Nancy Zimmerman is an Illinois-based wedding floral designer and the owner of Fancy Florals by Nancy. She is an award-winning floral designer and a four-time second-place winner in the Alexandra Farms Garden Rose Design Contest.
How do you describe your design aesthetic?
I would describe my design aesthetic as lush garden style.
What is your process for creating a typical design?
As I am a wedding florist, we usually start with a color palette and then choose the container, size, and shape of our designs to fit the space and complement the surroundings. We also take into consideration if the event will be held outdoors where blooms will be challenged by wind and heat, and that determines what type of mechanics are used to support the flowers.
We do a lot of compote bowl designs for our weddings. We start with either a Kenzan pin or chicken wire balled into the compote for our mechanics. We add a first layer of greens to cascade over the lip of the bowl, then place some greens to start our shape and line. We build on the line we have started by adding some line flowers like stock, delphinium, or snapdragons. Next, we will fill in some space with nonfocal flowers such as carnations, sedum, or yarrow to get our mechanics covered. Then we add our larger focal flowers like garden roses and dahlias over and between our nonfocal flowers. We finish up with lighter dancer flowers such as ranunculus to float above the arrangement and add movement and whimsy.
Designs by Nancy Zimmerman, Fancy Florals by Nancy. Alexandra Farms varieties: Juliet, Eugenie, and Quicksand.
What challenges you and your team?
We love challenges and they usually come by way of something our couples want that is unique to fit the venue space. Most of the time it is just figuring out the mechanics to create what they envision.
Why do you choose Alexandra Farms varieties? How do our garden roses and dahlias play a role in your design vision? Because garden roses can be more fragile than standard roses, it is important to get good-quality blooms that will hold up. We know that we can count on good quality from Alexandra Farms!
What are your personal favorite Alexandra Farms varieties? I love Tess for a dark red, Keira for a feminine blush, and Juliet for a lovely cup-shaped peach. White O’Hara and Quicksand are true workhorses and colors that are very sought after. I am thrilled with the newer muddy tones of the Wabara roses.
How do you combine Alexandra Farms garden rose varieties with other botanicals?
Because my design is a lush garden style, I typically pair garden roses with other blooms that would be growing in a traditional English garden.
How would you incorporate the variety Catalina to create a fall harvest-themed design?
For a fall harvest design, I would typically choose a darker yellow like golden mustard or Symbol. To incorporate the lighter lemon yellow of Catalina in a fall harvest-themed design, I think I would choose an analogous color scheme with the colors on the color wheel to the left of yellow (orange-yellow, the darker yellow-orange, and shades and tones of orange for some depth). Dahlias are beautiful fall flowers in our climate, so adding some dahlias in these shades would be beautiful with Catalina.
Another choice to complement Catalina would be some fall leaves in these shades, and dried grasses for some texture, or possibly amaranthus which is another fall beauty in our climate. If the arrangement felt like it needed perking up, just a touch of lime green (right of yellow on the color wheel) or blue (contrasting yellow on the wheel) would do the trick!