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Flower Power Grows Permanently

Bea Schriver spends her days surrounded by tropical foliage, sprays of vivid orchids and buckets of perfect roses. Cherry blossoms are in full bloom and dainty miniature calla lilies are poking their heads through mossy beds. All this beauty is in her rather chilly Wilton studio – and, surprise, surprise -- none of it is real. Bea has created a thriving business designing floral arrangements. These days she prefers to use the amazingly realistic flowers known euphemistically as “permanent botanicals.”

Bea is one of those people who took a few detours before she found her true calling in life. First she thought she wanted to be a teacher. “I did a year of student teaching and I knew it wasn’t for me,” she says. Next she tried a job in sales support and marketing. “One day I said I can’t stand this,” Bea says, and she quit. “I took time off to see what I wanted to do.”

Around the same time, Bea was planning her wedding to husband, Robert Schriver. “I was planting flowers on my deck one day,” she says “and I suddenly realized that there was nothing I loved more than flowers.” With the “ah ha” moment behind her, Bea, a Norwalk native, looked around for classes on flower design. Nothing turned up. Then a friend hired her to work part time in her florist shop and Bea started making arrangements for weddings.

After a few months she decided to open her own business and "used what I’d learned in my marketing job to find customers,” she explains. Soon she had freelance work with high-end floral designers. “I learned a lot from them, though I’m mainly self-taught,” Bea adds.

In 2008 Bea made the transition from fresh flowers to permanent botanicals. “The flowers are better every year,” she says, adding that her years working with fresh flowers have made her extremely particular about the quality of faux flowers she uses. Bea will design arrangements for a client’s own vase but she also has an interesting collection of antique and contemporary containers available for purchase.

“Every arrangement I make comes with a care ticket,” Bea adds. Those of you who have trouble keeping flowers alive will be thrilled to know that Bea’s arrangements last for ever. And the only care they’ll need is a little dusting from time to time. Bea says a hair dryer on the "no heat" setting will do the trick. It doesn't get much easier than that.

Bea says she makes many arrangements for foyers, dining rooms and coffee tables. Where would you put a floral arrangement ?

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