Photo: Corbin Gurkin
I love what I do. Collaborate on a spectacular event, teach a room full of flower lovers, plant thousands of tulips or style a photo shoot, I consider myself lucky to love every aspect of my color filled world.
My mother Famke Zonneveld was Dutch and an artist. Everything she did was an extension of her creative self. She sewed and knit, made linoleum and wood block prints, created stained glass windows, cooked, gardened, stitched intricate wall hangings, carved wooden murals, illustrated a Biodynamic magazine and painted. Whenever she saw something she liked, she would figure out how to make it. Together with my father who built our house, she raised my sister and I to appreciate the natural world, and to see and seek beauty in everything.
While studying classical voice I visited a family friend, Pamela Hardcastle, who was preparing flowers for a wedding. Inside her home studio I saw the most spectacular selection of flowers I had ever seen. In that moment I realized that working with flowers was exactly what I wanted to do and that, lucky for me, there existed this huge wedding industry that would allow me to earn a living doing just that.
I moved to the Bay Area lured by the beautiful flowers I found at the NY Wholesale market. All the unusual vines, garden roses, and fruit on the branch. In that Mediterranean climate I discovered such abundance and so much inspiration. It was there that I started my business.
Shortly after arriving I was approached by Chronicle Books to write Flowers for the Table in 2002. With book in hand, I made my way to all the New York magazines and began working on stories with them. At the time, the trend in NY flowers was tight and contained. My work, inspired by the vine covered walkways of my Berkeley neighborhood was the opposite-loose, wild and playful. Because everything else at the time was tighter, my name became synonymous with this "new" look, a look that has persisted until today.
Two years ago, longing to grow all the flowers I love, my husband Christopher Gregory and I started a flower farm in Columbia County. We named it Zonneveld, which translates as "Sunny Field" in memory of my mother. Sustainably grown flowers from the farm supply my event work, my workshops, and a handful of designers in New York.
My work is divided between weddings and events, farming and teaching, all of which give me tremendous joy.
My new book, The Flower Workshop with Ten Speed Press is due out March 1.