‘Zip Ties are the Bomb’ and Other Holiday Decorating Insights
2017 is Deborah Hudgens’ (owner of The Little Garden Spot) second year decorating Willowsford’s Tenant House and Boat House information centers for the Holidays. We caught up with her as she was putting the finishing touches on the festive, yet understated, Tenant House and got to talking. What began as a hobby blossomed into a business that has allowed her to follow her passion and have fun while doing it.
Question: How did you get into the floral business?
Answer: I have two grown sons now, and when the younger one graduated, I found myself in a funk. A friend suggested I start a flower business because I’ve always loved to garden. So, I created a Facebook page and started out small.
Question: You say that you’ve always loved gardening. Can you remember when that passion began?
Answer: When I got my first apartment I had one little pot of geraniums. As I’ve lived in bigger spaces, my garden has grown. When we moved into our current house, I started learning a lot about it, and over the years it has grown into and English country-style garden.
Question: Where did the Name ‘The Little Garden Spot’ come from?
Answer: It’s happy and warm. Unpretentious. That’s the feeling I strive carry over to my clients. I thought the name would be perfect for retail but I never opened a storefront. I have a studio in my home where I meet my clients and work from. It’s the same home where I began gardening 15 years ago. So, as it turns out, the name came full circle.
Question: What was your first big event?
Answer: I was out to dinner one night at a favorite restaurant, and it came up that the chef needed a florist for his wedding in 6 weeks. I told him, “I’ve never done a wedding.” And he said, “Neither have I.”
Question: What types of events do you do most?
Answer: I do weddings the most. Larger parties. This year has been my busiest with 13 weddings. Having events once or twice per month is great because I work alone out of my home studio. It allows me to focus all my energy into one project at a time; with help from my husband. He is my heavy lifter and my biggest cheerleader.
Question: Where do you get the flowers that you use from?
Answer: I source flowers from several wholesalers in the area. They’re local businesses. In the summertime, I like to source from local farmers, but that can be tricky, timing-wise, for weddings.
Question: When you plan for holiday decorating at Tenant House and Boat House, what is your inspiration?
Answer: Both spaces are very rustic and natural. I love to use live greenery and plants—things that fit your surroundings. Both buildings are cozy and I wanted to keep them that way. You want your décor to feel like it’s yours.
Question: You’re used to decorating other people’s events and weddings, but what are your favorite holiday touches for your own home?
Answer: Some of my favorite holiday flowers are Amaryllis, paper whites and evergreen greenery. But, I love to decorate with non-florals, too. Every year after my boys were born I collected a photo ornament for each of them. Now, they have a collection. I put them on a separate tree, a metal decorative one, and it’s a nice personal touch—especially for a centerpiece.
I’ll use big glass bowl with ball, and fill it with different textures and colors. Two of my favorites to use are oversized ornaments; I have them hanging from my ceiling. And mercury glass.
Question: Do you have any holiday decorating advice for those of us on a budget this season?
Answer: If you’re on a budget, try focusing your décor on the inside of your home, as opposed to the outside. This way, you can enjoy it more. Try a tabletop tree and put as many lights on it as you can. The more lights the better.
I like to work with other people’s things. If you already have decorations, why buy them? Find a way to use them differently; repurpose the things you already have. I have a “cellar of shame.” It’s full of Christmas decorations. I don’t bring them all out but the ones I do, I try to use differently than the previous year—making each year feel different than the last.
Question: What’s the biggest holiday decorating faux pas?
Answer: Dangling pieces of string lights that are floating out into the middle of nowhere. This usually happens when they’re trying to reach an outlet. Add an extension cord so that you have more flexibility and so that you can use every light on the string in decorating. It’s my biggest pet peeve of Christmas.
Question: Can you share any tips that makes sprucing up for the holidays a little easier?
Answer: Hanging doesn’t have to be a nuisance. I’m a big user of green floral wire and small nails (wire brads). Use the wire to help hold the decoration in place by wrapping it tightly around the nail. Make life easier and leave the nails up; they’re small and can be inconspicuous at the right angle. Zip ties are the bomb. Use them to incorporate lights onto garland.
Deborah Hudgens is a local florist and owner of The Little Garden Spot, a floral and décor business based out of Falls Church, VA. Visit her website at thelittlegardenspot.com and follow her on Instagram @gardenspotgirl.
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