■ SUBMITTED BY THE GARDEN CLUB
The irrepressible J Schwanke lands in Boca Grande February 6 for two days of flower festivities. Mr. Schwanke, who may be the hardest-working designer in the floral biz, will speak about “Creating a Life in Bloom” on Wednesday at 2 pm at the Boca Grande Community Center. The next morning he will give one of his hugely popular hands-on floral design workshops at the Boca Bay Power House.
“Flower Week is really one of our biggest and most popular events,” said Peggy Saewart, Garden Club president. “We have an amazing committee that selects the most outstanding designers in the country, and we have been fortunate to attract top talent. We have hit the jackpot again with J Schwanke.”
Mr. Schwanke comes by his love of flowers naturally: He was born during a Nebraska blizzard in the middle of the state’s florist convention. He was put to work in the family business as soon as he could handle his secateurs. Since then he has shaped a career which touches on every part of the flower world. As a businessperson, he’s CEO of an integrated flower business. As a consultant, he helps businesses and individuals to refine their flower business. As an educator, he works with professionals and hobbyists alike to share his enthusiasms and talents with audiences . As a tour guide, he leads educational trips to flower farms, markets and festivals here and around the world. And he’s a star of PBS, has his own online flower school, has posted more than 900 videos and is a best-selling author and publisher. It’d be exhausting but for his infectious passion for the floral life.
He’s very clear about his expertise, trend spotting and color forecasting. This gives clients and students a leg up in the competitive flower business, allowing them to drive the trends. Plus, he threads decorating, food and crafts into his work, making for a full-circle lifestyle company.
His online flower design school, uBloom.com, teems with content and even makes some of it open to non-subscribers. In addition to hundreds of how-to videos, an addictive interactive “Flower Guide” allows searches by color or season. Results are not only abundant, they are full of ideas for floral combinations.
Another section is chock-full of flower-studded recipes, such as one for herbed goat cheese with tulip petals. His books are best-sellers. Full of color and jam-packed with hundreds of tips to bring this creative art to anyone with a kitchen, shears and water, they are practical and beautiful. “BLOOM 365, the essential guide to arranging flowers every day” is the latest, written with Kelly Blank. The cover is actually 12 variant covers, each with a single gorgeous flower just about popping off the page. “Fun with Flowers, a guide to selecting, arranging and enjoying beautiful flowers,” is his first title. Both will be available for purchase at his events.
Can’t get enough of J Schwanke’s world of flowers? He maintains five distinct social media accounts, including one on Twitter, one on Youtube and two on Facebook (search “uBloom” for one and “jschwanke” for the other).