For Clover Chadwick, owner of Los Angeles-based Dandelion Ranch, floral design is a lot like cooking. It was during her years spent studying agriculture and working in the restaurant business at French Laundry in Napa Valley that Chadwick developed her love of nature and appreciation for fresh, seasonal ingredients.
Each day, Chadwick pays a visit to downtown L.A.’s Flower Market in search of the best that Mother Nature has to offer, including fresh fruit, herbs and spices. “I look for the best of what’s in season each day to create designs based around that. Seasonally, Mother Nature gives us a pallet where everything matches,” she explains. “Eucalyptus is a great example; every stage of growth has a different color and texture that lends itself to different designs.”
Chadwick often turns to wild, native ingredients to bring out the beauty in her nontraditional floral designs, noting, “I love to use greens and weeds that we don’t normally think about for floral arrangements.” Another trademark of her signature creative style, each unique design comes in an equally unusual container. “We plant everything in found objects—tin cans, pallets, crates, serving pieces—anything we can find that will hold soil.” As part of Dandelion Ranch’s eco-conscious commitment and design philosophy “rooted in the observation of nature,” she also uses earth-friendly foam in her arrangements and recycled water in her gardens.
Chadwick’s highly coveted creations can be spotted all over the L.A. area, decorating restaurants, hotels, galleries, as well as weddings and events. Recently, she brought her inimitable designs to Alternative’s flagship retail store on Abbot Kinney Boulevard in Venice, where she landscaped the store’s luscious garden. Inspired by New York City’s High Line Park, the Alternative garden “has the feel of an abandoned railroad station where nature has taken over—really green, wild and natural,” she describes.
Chadwick’s regard for natural elements is apparent in the garden’s distinctly reclaimed vibe with plants growing out of old tires and recycled tin cans—a perfect complement to Alternative’s vintage-inspired aesthetic. “I try to keep my mind open and let Mother Nature inspire me,” she says. “I’ve been doing this for nine years and I still continue to get inspired. There’s something new blooming every day.”
photos by Stephen Zeigler and courtesy of Dandelion Ranch