Clover Chadwick, owner of the L.A. flower shop Dandelion Ranch, starts her day like a chef, combing the farmers’ market for seasonal ingredients such as Peruvian apples, wine grapes and oregano. Back in the shop, she incorporates them into beautiful floral arrangements.
“Flower designs are like food pairings,” says Chadwick, who studied viticulture and worked as a maître d’ at French Laundry in Napa Valley before opening the store. “Certain things just go really well together.” For instance, she loves to mix ruffled, tutulike ranunculus with greens like ferns, ivy, eucalyptus and Thai basil: “This combination is a classic—the floral equivalent of Champagne and blini with caviar and crème fraîche.”
Chadwick starts each bouquet with anywhere from five to 12 varieties of greens, to get a bright, layered base, before adding flowers. Another Dandelion trademark is the use of unexpected serving pieces and wine accessories as vases—wine crates, soup terrines, teacups.
Classes on potting and flower arranging are held in the store’s back garden, often accompanied by wine tastings and snacks from terrific local restaurants, like Sona, Campanile and Grace—all regular clients. “I like to teach people not to be floral snobs,” Chadwick says. “Sometimes carnations provide exactly the color you need in arrangements. You should choose flowers for their beauty, not their image.”