Lynn Fossbender of Pollen

At Greenhouse Loft, we have the advantage of working with some of the best folks in Chicago.

Recently, we thought it would be fun to do some blog entries about our favorite vendors whom we get to team up with frequently.

One of Greenhouse Loft's owners, Steve Ewert specializes in portraiture. Earlier this year, he went to visit Lynn Fossbender in her Floral Studio.

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We asked her a few questions and found out the insider scoop on how she got into the business, what excites her the most about floral design, and what steps she takes to be a green business.

GHL: How long have you been in the flower business?

Lynn: I started up Pollen in 2009, after about ten years in the floral industry. Before Pollen, I managed a downtown flower shop, worked as a freelance floral designer for a few of Chicago’s event production companies, TA’ed floral design classes at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and worked as a floral designer in a retail shop. I took a detour in the middle of my floral career and studied ecological restoration, then worked as a conservation specialist for an environmental organization in Pennsylvania. These two career and educational histories have led me to Pollen’s sustainable approach to floral design.

GHL: What path led you to floral design?

Lynn: I’ve always loved plants and flowers. I started out in college in landscape architecture, with an interest in restoring historic landscapes, before switching to horticulture. With floral design, I get to bring together my interests in both nature and design.

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GHL: What steps do you take to increase sustainability?

Lynn: Our approach is very nature-inspired, both in design and in flower selection. We work in a natural, gardeny style with the best flowers of the season. We work directly with local flower growers as much as possible to support local farmers and reduce the need for transportation. We operate in as eco-friendly of a way as we can, by doing things like avoiding the use of floral foam and having our organic waste composted.

GHL: Seasonally, which flowers do you look forward to?

Lynn: I love the flowering branches of early spring, like snowball viburnum and mock orange. After a long Chicago winter, these are my much-anticipated first signs of spring! Later in spring, peonies are another favorite. So fluffy and soft!

By summer, the local flower season is really starting to kick in. Summer offers up lots of bright, punchy colors from local flower farmers, such as zinnias, dahlias, lisianthus, and snapdragons. I love including herbs, such as purple basil, chamomile, and rosemary, in the summer months.

In late summer and into fall, I’m heavy-handed with burgundy dahlias. One of my crew joked last year that he was sure that I had a secret burgundy dahlia farm somewhere. Fall is also the perfect time to incorporate non-floral elements, such as berries, fall foliage, and ornamental kale.

In winter, we have to look to warmer climates for flowers. I keep on using the burgundy dahlias and purple kale of fall. Viburnum tinus is another favorite. It’s a shrub with small flowers that are dark mauve in bud, white in flower, then turn to navy berries. The same stem will frequently have buds, flowers, and berries. I love that so many phases of the life cycle of the plant can be on one stem!

GHL: Are there any trends in floral design that you are super pumped about?

Lynn: Our favorite design style is a loose, organic style that has a little bit of whimsy. I prefer that the flowers look a little imperfect, and not too contrived. I’m thrilled every time a client comes to us specifically for this look!

We love working with Lynn so much and appreciate her answering all of our questions! You can check out her website here.