Home Grown

Willa Rose Floral’s cut flower farm and design studio brings beauty to the heart of Detroit
Julia Griffin of Willa Rose Floral uses homegrown blooms to create unique bouquets and arrangements that are ethereal, raw, and “a little quirky.” | Photographs: courtesy of Holden Photo, The Kismet Collective, and Shutter Sam Photography

BLOOMING ACROSS THREE and half city lots in Detroit’s Core City neighborhood lies Willa Rose Floral, a cut flower farm and floral design studio operated by Julia Griffin. The urban oasis bursts with a myriad and bountiful mix of native beauties (think pollinator-friendly spotted beebalm) and rare blossoms (her tulips are unlike anything you’ve seen before). Willa Rose Floral is all about local, non-traditional, and seasonally-inspired floral designs for weddings and events, installations, and editorial styling.

Launched a year and half ago, the studio doubles as Griffin’s home and is adjacent to the farm, where she grows most of the blooms used in her one-of-a-kind arrangements. “In order to do really unique and beautiful designs, you have to have access to local flowers, and I think me being able to grow my own has given me access to flowers I couldn’t get anywhere else,” Griffin says. And when additional florals are needed for larger-scale events, Griffin sources them from other Michigan farmers during the growing season.

“For me it is so special to have these flowers that remind you of what was actually blooming at the time of your wedding and what is actually local to the area you were married in,” Griffin says.

While her commitment to locally harvested flowers and seasonal offerings are integral, it is her creative approach to floral styling that has also won over many a bride. Ethereal, raw and as Griffin says, “a little quirky,” her unique arrangements are a must have on any event table.

“Most of my designs have a very natural look to them. There are always some blooms popping out at you and flowing. I like to use branches and gnarly natural things that might not have perfectly straight stems,” Griffin says. “I’m not creating a design that is a perfect mound. It has more feeling and movement.”

Her ever-expanding business also includes workshops and lessons for those interested in all things floral, but this season Griffin is also renting out her farm and kitchen for small event gatherings. Situated in the back of the garden under twinkling lights and near the warmth of a bonfire pit is a long wooden table that sits up to 30 people. Ideal for dinner parties and intimate weddings, this organic space is as magical as the florals Griffin grows and designs.

For more information, visit willarosefloral.com.