Ashley Fox is a premier floral designer based in Woodbury and the talent behind our spring issue’s blossoming Guide column. She has a contagious love for her craft, seasonal blooms and time spent in nature. From breathtaking event design to stunning editorial work, Fox creates inspiring and expressive installations that have been featured in Vogue, People and many other esteemed publications. Here, we chat with the award-winning creative about her inspirations, her process and more.
What inspired you to become a floral designer?
Plants and flowers have played an integral role in every path I’ve taken in my life. I’ve always had a deep love and appreciation for dirt, flowers, gardens and nature. I didn’t know where it would lead, but I felt most at ease working with these things. I began as a salesperson at my hometown garden shop, earned my degree in plant and earth science at the University of Wisconsin – River Falls, and counted seeds for their fruit-breeding program. After college, I worked at a floral shop and enjoyed five years as an educator at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum before ultimately starting my own business, Ashley Fox Designs, in 2008.
You helped create the stunning images in our spring Guide column, including a flower sandwich. Can you tell us more about your process and approach?
I’m at my most creative when thoughtful planning meets seasonality. I begin by pulling inspiration from a client’s details or ideas — it could be a color or texture from a fabric swatch or even a bride’s eye color. From there, I focus in on timing to compose seasonal flower lists that align with the project vision, whether that’s sculptural, whimsical or classic. The small details are what draw people in and make it feel unique and special. The most beautiful moments happen when bloom time matches the right opportunity. For example: hellebore in spring, sweet peas in early summer or Japanese anemone in autumn. As for winter, I take a cue from the Minnesota landscape to rest and prepare for next year’s blooming fields and events.
How would you describe your personal design style?
My style has been described as “happy and whimsical,” which is true, though I take pride in creating timeless, one-of-a-kind arrangements. I’m always looking to connect the dots between an occasion and a selection of flowers I’ve not previously put together before. “No two alike” is a big motto in the studio. Once I produce a recipe for a client, I rarely — if ever — replicate that combination again. With hundreds of thousands of flower varieties in the world, there are endless possibilities to explore, which makes this career path continually new and interesting.
Do you have a favorite flower?
Please don’t make me choose! I couldn’t pick just one, but I’ll say that spring flowers as a category are my favorite: apple blossom, columbine, fritillaria, hellebore, peony, lily of the valley and white bleeding heart, to name a few. It’s difficult because I love so many! Spring blooms are truly a gift to the senses. Their delicate forms speak to the child in me who played in the garden and dreamt of tiny fairies frolicking among the petals.
What would you like people to know about you and your craft?
It’s not a very glamorous profession. I make beautiful things, but getting to that point requires many tedious steps: planning, carrying, bucket washing, hydrating flowers, packing, hauling, installing and eventually cleaning it all up. Even so, I get to meet amazing people, create alongside them and connect new “design dots” for each project. That keeps the job fresh, rewarding and worth all the work!
What exciting projects are on the horizon?
The studio is traveling overseas in early June for our first international wedding. I won’t say where at this time, but if you follow along on Instagram (@ashleyfoxdesigns), you’ll soon find out! I’ve always wanted an opportunity in Europe, and we’re looking forward to using flowers grown near the venue for this client’s three-day event.