AD: Tell us a little more about how your relationship with Accent Decor started.
JMM: Accent Decor has always been present in everything that we do and all of the major events that we’ve been involved with especially AIFD Symposium. However, it wasn’t until Sylvia Cup and Margaret [Accent Decor co-founder and Director of Philanthropy] was right there in front of me watching me design, that I got to meet her and get to know her better. That’s how it all really started!AD: Floral trends are forever changing and evolving. What current floral trends are exciting you these days?
JMM: The one trend that I’m really loving now that it’s coming back is all of the heavy foliage – all of the varieties and textures. Green, being my favorite color, makes all of these shades of green that are back in style very exciting.
We are seeing some very unusual flowers coming into the market and being commercialized for consumer use which is really fun. For instance, Butterfly Ranunculus. And lots of different varieties that are changing up which is always fun to see. Growers and breeders have been exploring many different things for a long time and they are just now coming forward with things that are more sustainable for floral design which allows us to switch up varieties. We have had Ranunculus forever but now we have this new species which makes designing exciting! They’ve been doing this more and more which keeps things new and fresh!
AD: What would you say is a tried and true trend that regardless if it went ‘out of style’ according to the industry, you would keep going with it because you love it so much?
JMM: So, there are really fifteen to eighteen floral design styles, most of them have been around for hundreds of years. So they never really go ‘off trend’ it’s more the products that we use that’s the most trend forward part.
I really love the use of color and it’s on the trends that I want to stay so that we can continue to explore new color palettes, etc. Getting away from that neutral / blush palette that has been so dominant for a long while now. While it truly is so pretty, with the use of Pinterest, it’s very difficult as a designer and really more of a hindrance because now they see it and that’s what they want and it doesn’t give us much freedom for exploration as a designer as their mind is already made up. Before, when we had consultations they came into meetings looking for answers as they weren’t really exposed to trends the way we all are now. Pinterest I’d be more than happy for that to be a trend that makes its way out!! But we all know it’s not going anywhere!
AD: Regarding plants, they’ve definitely regained their momentum recently and are becoming huge especially in the home decor space. What are your thoughts on that?
JMM: I think they’re just being brought to the forefront. There are some interesting touches of pink hues that we’re seeing within veins of the leaves — like what we are seeing in Arrowhead, Dracaena, and Hoya plants. And I can’t forget to mention succulents, because they’re everywhere!!
AD: When it comes to consumers, how can someone get the best bang for their buck when sprucing up their patio?
JMM: That’s a really difficult question to answer in general because planting is so regional. What happens here in Atlanta is going to be different than what’s favorable in Dallas and different that’s what’s going on in Tucson, and everywhere in between. I think the smartest thing you can do is consult with your local garden center / nursery and talk to an expert there because beyond just your local weather and climate is also the positioning of your patio / garden in relation to the sun, etc. They’re also more able to tell you about what’s sustainable in your area which helps with your ongoing budget in the long run. Heat, humidity, and sunlight are the biggest facets to consider when planting.
AD: In that case, tell us a little bit about what we can find on your patio in Arizona!
JMM: I have a forty foot patio! I have a lot!! The interesting thing with Arizona is that most plants thrive in that climate as long as they’re covered – there’s a limited amount of plants that can absorb that full sun. So as long as I keep them shaded I can kind of get away with anything! I have so much out there: Stephanotis plants. Kiwi plants, all kinds of vines, a Hawaiian Plumeria plant, succulents, cactus – the list goes on!
AD: In relation to Accent Decor, what are some of your preferred products from our Garden / Outdoor collection?
JMM: (Without hesitation) The Newport Collection is by far my favorite. They’re all so classic and you can put so many different things in them. I also love the Emmerson – I like that shape a lot. You’re able to do many different designs with them: low with succulents that you gaze into or something tall with bigger plants.
AD: We realize asking this question is much like asking someone to choose their favorite child, but do you have a favorite flower?
JMM: It varies and changes from time to time but the one that I’m always drawn back to is the Cobra Lily [Sarracenia]. I love the mix of greens, browns and burgundies. They don’t last very long but I always find them so unique and cool.
AD: Where do you seek inspiration?
JMM: Lots of places! I reference trade magazines for inspiration. For the most part, I am very inspired by the materials themselves: the actual flowers and branches and how they move and hold and take shape as I’m creating.
AD: Have you always wanted to be a florist?
JMM: Well… no! When I was graduating from high school I knew what college I wanted to go to but not the kind of classes I wanted to take. I knew something in the artistic field but I didn’t know what. They [Kirkwood Community College] had just started a floriculture program, so I decided to give it a try. I think it’s pretty obvious that I loved it.