Magnolia Floral Studio’s owner has roots in plant business

03/08/2012 12:00 AM

03/07/2012 11:33 PM

Opening her own floral shop at the age of 25 didn’t faze Jessica Ammons. Then again, the owner of Magnolia Floral Studio has some pretty deep roots in the plant business.

Her maternal grandparents, Shirley and Robert Christensen, started McPherson Floral in 1962, and her parents own a tree farm in Towanda.

"I kind of grew up around it," said Ammons, whose shop is in Cambridge Market at 21st and Webb.

Ammons majored in agriculture communications at Oklahoma State University before deciding she didn’t have a passion for that field. After college she managed McPherson Floral for 11/2 years. "I just absolutely fell in love with it."

She then spent a year at Susan’s Floral in College Hill, where she soaked up as much information as she could about floral design and the market in a bigger city.

"I learned so much at Susan’s," she said.

Another big influence was a scholarship she won to the American Institute of Floral Design’s annual conference in San Francisco.

"That’s the world’s best designs that they put in one place for a week," she said.

Ammons said her shop is different from some others in that she focuses entirely on fresh flowers and live plants. She does not sell silk flowers or gifts.

"We specialize in one thing and do it well," she said.

Ammons describes her design style as modern. In her flower arrangements, she likes to include an element that will live on after the flowers themselves have wilted. In one arrangement, for instance, purple anemone, pink Asiatic lilies and green orchards are backed by yellow forsythia that will sprout roots in water. She uses house plants instead of traditional greenery in other arrangements.

"I want to provide a lasting value to every customer," she said.

Ammons also tries to carry a variety of flowers "that are hard to find at other places."

Ammons opened in late January and said her first month of business was "real successful." For now, her only employee is her mother, Pam Ammons, a retired teacher who handles the deliveries. Chunks of trees from her parents’ farm are used as pedestals and platforms in the shop.

Ammons is a full-range florist but admits to a weakness for wedding work.

"I like it all, but that is one of my biggest passions," she said.

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