Flower Power

Known for his exuberant charisma and expert green thumb, floral designer CANAAN MARSHALL—and his bodacious arrangements—is the life of every party

Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles: Tell us, how did you get your start as a floral designer?

Canaan Marshall: I was working at the Museum of Arts and Sciences in my hometown, Macon, Georgia. While I was there I would see people come to the museum to host parties and events. Helping to plan those events brought me so much joy and I felt inspired to add more to them. That addition just happened to be flowers.

AH&L: You’re known as the flower whisperer, and with a charismatic persona to match, you make a lasting impression on most you meet. How do you infuse your vibrant personality into your arrangements?

CM: I start with color. I love creating color palettes for the flowers I’m arranging and I think that really expresses who I am. I’m a colorful person and I like to have a great time with my designs. I can provide structure in my arrangements while still creating a piece that’s over the top. You should never be afraid to enjoy and do flowers like you want to! My motto is “place it and move on.” I don’t ever want to lose my authenticity in my work.

AH&L: What are your favorite flowers to work with?

CM: I love peonies, roses, hydrangeas and especially phalaenopsis orchids. Really, I love all flowers because I think you should be able to enjoy working with everything you have.

AH&L: How do you take your floral arrangements from pretty to exceptional?

CM: When I’m designing, the arrangement really comes to me as I’m building it. So, once it starts coming together, I’ll walk out of the room and come back to it with fresh eyes. That really gives me a chance to elevate the design. I can see what I may have missed or what I can tweak in the piece to give it the “it” factor it’s longing for.

AH&L: What was your inspiration for this tabletop?

CM: The chargers on the table inspired me a lot. They were so colorful and pretty. I wanted those chargers to really highlight the flowers and vice versa. Then, I added in neutral elements, such as the plates, to enhance the elegance and take the overall palette up a notch.

AH&L: Aside from beautiful arrangements, what are your other must-have entertaining items when hosting friends and family?

CM: I think the most important things are great food, great conversation… and great champagne!

AH&L: What advice would you give those who don’t have a natural green thumb?

CM: Just try it! How will you know you won’t be good at it? Even if an arrangement doesn’t come out like you imagined, learn from that and try again. 

Favorite Shopping Spots

Boxwoods Gardens & Gifts

Mayesh CutFlower

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B.D. Jeffries