Flowermaid Florist Becomes Floral Princess in HBO’s Hacks

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By Jill Brooke

Ines Garstecki, the owner of Flowermaid in Los Angeles, got to live one of all flower lover’s dreams.

Imagine getting a call from HBO and being told you have an unlimited budget to find the most beautiful,  colorful and spectacular blooms you can find. After all, even if you have well-to-do clients, rarely does anyone say to get the best flowers you can find in the world.

That’s exactly what happened when the German-born native, whose father had greenhouses developing new color combinations of carnations and chrysanthemums, was in her shop in Los Angeles, which she opened in 2003.

“It was a florist’s dream come true to be tasked with finding the most precious, premium blooms for this set,” she says. “So I went shopping and felt like I’m splurging each time. There were no budget constraints and I was able to pick and choose whatever I loved. ”

Of course production designer Jon Carlos and set decorator Ellen Reese Dorros, who most recently worked together on the award-winning HBO’s Westworld series, knew of Garstecki’s work and admired it.

With good reason.

She delivered the beautiful flowers that helped make the Las Vegas luxe glamor set sparkle.

In one scene when struggling comic Deborah Vance’s (Jean Smart) was hosting her daughter’s birthday. Garestecki had to modernize the classic flowers such as hyacinths, anemone, freesias, gloriasas, Veronica and sweet peas.

“For the hallway where guests arrived,  we added dyed hot pink pampas grass into the arrangement of hot pink flowers,” she says.

The biggest challenge was this dining room scene.

“The challenge with the dining room scene was that it was postponed twice, which was announced basically just a day before the flower drop-off,” she recalls. “So I bought most of these flowers three times. Each time I tried to keep them fresh in the cooler, in the hopes that the scene would happen in a day or two or three, but nobody knew the new date for the scene. So the first batch died. Then a new date was announced and it was canceled again when I had bought all the flowers (and made part of the arrangements). And so on. It’s tough for a florist to see perfectly good flowers wilt away in the cooler.”

Indeed it is. Whether a florist or a hostess.

However, it all worked out and the scene turned out to be a favorite.

Another challenge was when a scene got postponed due to Covid from December to February.

“I used Australian Christmas bush and had to recreate it for a reshoot but couldn’t find any,” she recalls. “So I had to find the most similar faux item, spray-painted it, and made it somewhat work. It’s still a sad example of the original, but hopefully, nobody noticed. Other varieties that were in that arrangement were blush peonies, shimmer roses, and Romantic Antique garden roses – which I used a lot, by the way. They had the perfect dusty,  antique-y pink that matched the sets very well.”

Of course, it is that romantic touch that separates her work from others and why Flowermaid is so popular with so many, including the Pritzker family.

Aside from the show now being nominated for an Emmy, Garestecki is on the radar of other producers as well as flower lovers.  

“All in all, it was an absolutely fantastic experience to work on the show,” she says. “I loved the creative challenge to match flowers and colors to the colors and vibe of each set. And what an honor to create florals for these elaborate stunning sets!!!”

And when asked what trends we can expect for fall, Garstecki has noticed that flower styles are more “loose and natural boho-inspired.”

“Pampas grass and dried materials are still very in,” she says. “As far as colors, brides are going for brighter color schemes. You will always find the traditional blush wedding tones, but we had some requests for bolder palettes (maybe also a result after Covid …to bring more color into our lives).”

Moody Victorian shades with purples, lavenders and mauves are all trending for fall.

“I’m also seeing more installation requests,” she observes. “It used to be the typical centerpiece, wedding arch order, whereas now clients are open to adorn elements of the venue like staircases, lamp fixtures, hanging flowers, etc. Low aisle flowers are another trend, like flower patches ‘growing’ along the aisle.In general, parties are still smaller but very embellished.”

But full of flowers to create cheerful happy memories courtesy of Flowermaid’s attention to detail and dreamy style.

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 and floral editor for aspire design and home magazine

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