Chelsea Donoho Photography
Flower places—wild and domestic—are my happy places. And my sacred spaces. That first nasturtium garden my twin sister and I planted at age 4, with help from our young mother, is the magical mythic dream-space that still inspires me.
I grew up obsessed with flowers. In my late twenties, I went deep into the flower-working world, editing a national floral trade publication and traveling to centers of growing and selling throughout the U.S. and in Holland, Colombia and other countries. It was the early 1990s, a pivotal time when trade policies shifted and imported flowers began to dominate the U.S. market—but even then I saw a more natural, garden-style approach to design emerging. More recently, I have spent eight years working closely with ecologists at the Kansas Biological Survey. I helped establish the Native Medicinal Plant Research Garden at the University of Kansas Field Station and have learned about the native ecosystem on a new level.
My work with flowers as a business is not a change, but rather a surrender to lifelong loves and practices. Being outdoors with the seasons, which guides my design, gives me a grounding joy. About 10 years ago, as my seriousness began to ease, I put a to-do list in writing: “Be honest about what you love. Have fun. Make things.”