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Hudson Valley, Catskills + beyond

PARTY PEOPLE: A Conversation with Colie Collen of Flower Scout, Hudson Valley Wedding Florist

It was a hazy January day, just days into the new year in 2023, and I found myself on a Zoom call with one of my September clients and Colie Collen of Flower Scout, discussing the design direction for her upcoming wedding at Hayfield Catskills. “It’s like…I think it’s like a roadside ditch, but a chic roadside ditch,” the bride said, and just like that, the theme was born: chic roadside ditch was the first line of the proposal Colie put together for the wedding.

Hudson Valley Wedding Planner Canvas Weddings - Party People - Interview with Hudson Valley Wedding Florist Flower Scout
A snippet of the “chic roadside ditch” design. Floral by Flower Scout, Photo by Joel + Justyna.

Whenever I have clients looking for something fairly earthy and organic, Colie is one of my first go-to florists. Based in Troy, New York (just north of Albany), Colie’s company Flower Scout is the epitome of local, sustainable florals. The majority of the product she uses for her wedding work is grown in her own gardens and then returned to the earth in her compost pile. 

Colie’s roots (pun intended) are in farming, where she began playing with flowers during a farm apprenticeship in western Massachusetts in 2012. After the end of her time on the farm, she returned to Troy and began experimenting with the small pockets of urban land she found there. Troy is “light on the land,” she says. “In the beginning, it was discovering what can I grow here?” 

Weddings and event work weren’t really on her mind in the beginning. She started taking orders for florals around Valentine’s Day of 2013, and after that success she started a floral subscription program that she still offers today, providing bunches of local flowers to people in the area.

Over time, Colie’s interest in art fused with her desire to make things grow. Inspired by Dutch masters paintings, Colie began developing her use of space, movement and air in her arrangements. Today, she describes her style as “wild, organic, textural, and seasonal,” but most importantly, “hyper local and hyper seasonal.” What is growing locally and in season is of utmost importance to Colie, as she views her arrangements as expressions of being present with nature.

Colie Collen of Flower Scout / Photo by Nicole Van Slyke

“Everything has its moment,” she says of flowers, although she does admit to favoring the flowers of Spring. “It’s so exciting to see things wake up and emerge.”

Colie’s ideal clients have a similar focus on sustainability and seasonality, and ultimately, a great sense of trust in her artistry. Because her work relies so heavily on what’s growing, what’s available and what is thriving naturally at any given time, it’s important that she has some creative license to pick and choose the best looking product that’s aligned with the design. “I want to know the big picture of the design,” she says. “How do the florals fit into the final moments of the wedding? I want to know who the couple is, what they’re drawn to, and what the linens and flatware are like,” she says. All of those things and more give her the background she needs to create her designs with the materials that nature has provided. “Trust is the move,” she says.

Florals by Flower Scout / Photo by Forged in the North

During wedding season, life is full for Colie. Tuesdays will find her picking up some materials from some local farms. On Wednesday, she harvests her gardens for that week’s CSA pick ups and that weekend’s events. Thursdays and Fridays are spent in studio designing for the weekend’s weddings, and Saturdays are for installs at events. On Sunday, there’s tear down and composting. Monday is spent with her daughter, and then it starts again. 

“I don’t get a day off, unfortunately. Sometimes I need to be reminded to eat real food,” she says. Self-care in the midst of wedding season can be hard, but she’s found some oases – whether it’s guitar lessons, cranio-sacral therapy (she trades her therapist flowers for her sessions), or a great novel by Ali Smith. “When I have a novel, I’m much mentally healthier,” she says.

Colie is really proud of her business and growth over the last few years, which she credits to her strong work ethic and ability to adapt. Both of those were put to the test during the pandemic, which she called a “scary, special” season. While raising her 8-month old daughter, Colie provided 80 floral deliveries around the Easter holiday in the early days of the pandemic. “It was terrifying to do those early deliveries,” she said. “I love a pivot, but I certainly don’t want to be challenged like that all the time.” Through the pandemic, she continued to offer her floral CSA and also started offering some lite garden consulting services for folks starting their own home gardening projects. She hopes to continue offering more of those services in the future.

Tables at Bar at Gather Greene / Floral by Flower Scout / Photo by Chris Mongeau

Looking forward, a lot of things are growing for Colie. She recently expanded the size of her many gardens, and is looking forward to filling homes and weddings and shops and windows with the best of what nature has to offer.

Rapid Fire with Colie Collen

  • What’s your Enneagram Type? 4
  • Spring or Fall?  Spring
  • Sweet or Savory? Savory
  • Go-to Snack Food: BBQ Kettle Chips
  • Guilty Pleasure TV Show or Podcast: Poog Podcast Kate Berlant and Jacqueline Novak
  • If you were a flower, you’d be a ______?  Hellebore – it’s both a flower and foliage.
  • Biggest Pet Peeve: People who don’t listen when you’re talking to them.
  • Your dessert island food: Pho
  • Morning Person or Night Owl? Morning person
  • If you could teleport right now, where would you go? Sebastopol in Northern California

Thanks, Colie, for spending some time with us! You can find Colie via her website and Instagram. We’ll see you next week with another exciting vendor profile.

xo, Corinne

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