By Jill Brooke
As part of our Fabulous Florists to Know segment, we want to introduce you to Ashley Fox Designs.
Along with a garden vibe, she brings an architectural airiness to her work, which has been lauded in Vogue Magazine and by countless clients.
That’s no surprise really.
The Minneapolis, Minnesota native was an educator teaching horticulture and the environmental impact of flowers prior to starting her own shop, Ashley Fox Designs in 2009.
Fox also had a six-year stint teaching at the respected Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. Imagine dreaming about your own shop while driving through 1200 acres of magnificent gardens and flora. It shaped her future work.
Garden flowers, as we know, don’t take kindly to feeling cramped.
“I was the first one in the Twin Cities area to do the garden aesthetic and pull away from the tight more sleek compositions,” says Fox, whose work has also been highlighted in several books including “Slow Flowers Journal Book (2019-2020)” and “Table Stories by Lanoo Publis.”
And right now that garden vibe echos the desired ethos of a public starving for beauty and simplicity. This is why of course she’s so busy with weddings and events, even though they are smaller gatherings.
“For the pictures, you want the floral canopy and beautiful bouquet,” she says. “The flower budgets aren’t that different.” But so worth it.
Part of Fox’s joy is the collaborations with local growers, who are the unsung heroes in her world. Places like Blue Sky Flower Farm, Arcola Trail Flower Farm, Green Earth Growers and Sarah’s Cottage Creations who collectively help her find the unusual blooms her clientele knows she can find.
Let’s look at her artistry.
August is the month of gladiolus. In her hands, she took off “the heavy stem” and just kept these luscious blooms. Dropping them in a small vase is divinely elegant. Or using it as a napkin holder.
We really liked the color combo of this lavender and amber arrangement. “The inner stamens of both flowers have similar dark tones,” she explains. “The ebb and flow of colors are what makes it interesting.”
Inspired by the florist Sarah Winward’s explanation of thinking about colors as “bridging,” Fox plays with contrasting flowers by finding similarities.
Look how she matches a cut kiwi and radicchio salad and with such a light touch. She places them delicately on a jaw-dropping ensemble that is simple but elegant. Don’t you just feel the breath of happy air running through that table? The creamy white anemone is in flight.
And notice here the way she took a long stem of scabiosa and made it a focal point? It stands proudly, taller than the other flowers but proportionally poised, partners with a pale blue Bachelor’s button.
It’s the stretching creatively that gets these results and why Ashley Fox is one of our favorites.
Jill Brooke is a former CNN correspondent, Post columnist and editor-in-chief of Avenue and Travel Savvy magazine. She is an author and the editorial director of FPD.