Beyond Blooms: A Floral Designer’s Fragrance Journey
How a florist transmutes floral bouquets into portable fragrance.
There is something transformative about having fresh flowers in your space. Beyond the biophilia hypothesis, which explains the human desire to rē-connect with nature, bouquets are laden with emotional value and meaning: they can bring joy, rē-flect sentiments, and even express condolences. Blooms are key ambiance-makers in the home or office, with the right bundle elevating a room’s decor like none other. “Fresh flowers in your home will give any room an immediate facelift,” says Itika Oldwine-Grimble, the founder of the Los Angeles-based flower shop, OldVine Florals, and now, OldVine Fragrance.
Few understand this more intimately than she does, having launched her own floral design studio in downtown Los Angeles. “I launched OldVine Florals as a vessel for my own point of view on blooming creations and to give a modern twist to the flowery landscape of LA,” she says. Her passion stems from the fact that buds and blooms make up a non-negotiable presence in her home. “When I add a bud vase to my mantle or a small centerpiece to my kitchen table, it immediately feels like I updated my decor and brought the space to life,” she explains.
From Classic Roses to Floral Trends
Of the many different flowers to choose from, classic roses are her favorites to work with. “Roses are my favorite flowers to work with because they are hearty, long-lasting, and there is such a huge variety to pick from year-round,” she says. “I can get roses in practically every color, and there are hundreds of species to choose from.” Their many varieties can suit every mood, style, and budget. For a more luxurious arrangement, Oldwine-Grimble often selects an English garden rose; for a quick gift for a friend, she might pick up a premade bouquet at Whole Foods.
You have probably noticed that trends influence the prevalence of certain flowers, too. Not long ago, social media announced the start of “peony season” with countless colorful blooms gracing our feeds. Two of our current favorites to trend are the delicately contrasting petals of anemones and ranunculus. “Anemone and ranunculus are definitely some of my favorite flower trends and practically staples at this point,” she says. “I love working with them and use them any chance I get!” She also names pampas grass and dried ruscus as two floral trends to note. “People love pampas because it is long-lasting, and I think because people are still drawn to the ‘boho-chic’ look that it evokes, although it looks great in any interior,” she adds.
Her true floral artistry comes down to the custom orders that make up the bulk of her business. Her process also offers helpful tips for selecting your own blooms when requesting a custom order or, perhaps, creating your own arrangement. “Most people have an idea of what they want. When they need a custom design for a specific space, I ask to see the space and to find out what their personal style is,” Oldwine-Grimble says. This includes finding out their favorite color schemes, a preference for multicolor or monochromatic picks, and the type of vessel they prefer. “Vases are very specific, and almost all of my clients have a preference,” she says.
But here’s the thing — even if you have always loved having fresh flowers at home, many have no idea how to care for them or make them last. “The best tip I have is to buy the freshest flowers from your local farmer’s market or grocery store,” Oldwine-Grimble begins. “Make sure that the water is always fresh inside the vase — either swap the water out or add fresh water throughout the duration.” She recommends cutting the stems before placing your flowers in order to prime them for the absorption of moisture. However, as to whether they should be cut straight across or diagonally, there is an ongoing debate as to if one snipping technique is better than the other.
While the colorful petals and greenery tend to get all the attention, the fact is that fragrance makes up a second component of the sensory experience. Thus it came as a natural next-step for Oldwine-Grimble to combine her entrepreneurial spirit with her familiarity with floral fragrances, launching OldVine Fragrance as her next chapter.
The venture began with a signature line of candles — another potent ambiance-maker for the home — and the Meadow Bloom Eau de Parfum by OldVine Fragrance. “I have always loved how scents captivate and often take you back to a certain memory or moment in time, and I wanted to [capture this property of fragrance] with our collection,” she explains. “We created scents that will evoke memories.” This venture is also an opportunity for those beyond the Los Angeles area to experience her artistry, as her floral blooms are only delivered locally.
The Northern California native developed the Meadow Bloom fragrance profile based off of memories of her upbringing in the San Francisco Bay Area — “surrounded by nature, low and moody fog, and breathing in the fresh, chilly air amidst rolling hills and the water of the Pacific.” Her priority was to ensure that the key notes were from the fresh and floral family with notes of wild orchid, lily of the valley, and freesia, as well as natural scents like water.
Now that we think of it, it makes perfect sense: who better to translate the sensory experience of a bespoke bouquet into a portable fragrance than a seasoned floral designer that is regularly immersed in blooms?