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Late bloomer offers up some floral advice

Late bloomer offers up some floral advice on picking flowers for your big day

Imelda Martinez is a late bloomer — a description that fits her just fine especially now that she’s found her love and ultimate passion in flowers.

The floral designer and owner of ‘Flowers and Designs by Imelda’ said her journey may have been long but the destination is totally worth it.

“I’m one of the lucky ones (who is) able to do what I am called to do in this world: It is to share my passion and designs for flowers.”, Imelda shared with Kubo magazine.

The 50-year-old Torontonian said she’s been told she’s crazy because she talks to flowers and plants. “I love flowers!” Imelda said. “You look at the flowers and
they smile at you. I feel that.” Imelda holds an Interior Design Diploma and a Ceramic Arts Certificate but none of them panned out into a career.

The mother of two worked in retail, production line and administration. She was working as a receptionist more than a decade ago when she started feeling that
there was a hunger that’s not being filled. “It just made me think that I need something else,” Imelda said.

And the questioning began: “What have I done? Why is my life missing something?”

Then life took a sharp turn. Just right after her parents’ 50th wedding anniversary, her mother passed away.

She quit her job at the dental office and stayed with her kids throughout the summer to find herself.

“I was home with the kids throughout the summer and then when they went back to school I sat back there and opened the Yellow Pages. When I opened it, right there was the floral design school,” recalled Imelda.

More than a decade since planting the seed through her training in school, Imelda’s career blossomed into a full-time gig, allowing her to design for more than 100 occasions, most of them are weddings.

Kosta Korinis, president of ‘Floral, Home & Gift Savvy’, has worked with Imelda since her start in the industry: “She’s actually taught me quite a lot. Out of all the Filipinos I’ve worked with, I can honestly tell you she’s the most reliable one,” said Kosta.

“She’s a very homely person, very much into her family, religion. An overall personable, gentle human being.”

Imelda remembered her last conversation with her mum who told her: “When I get up there, I’ll talk to Jesus to give you a better life and a better perspective of yourself.”

Wedding Flowers

As the wedding season gets into full swing, Imelda offers the following suggestions in incorporating flowers into your big day.

She says the first thing she asks at consultations is, “How are flowers a part of your wedding?”. Some consider blooms a piece of art while others likes that they help enhance the scene.

Next is identifying your budget. The basic formula is usually 10 percent of your overall fund but there are many ways to get around it if you don’t have the dollars.

Imelda said to look for flowers that are in season as they are generally cheaper. Also consider locally-grown blooms, such as hydrangeas and carnations. “I know a lot of people stay away from them. Give them a chance. They are beautiful in their own way.”

Most couples consider the blooms “an added piece of art” but don’t have any clue as to what flowers they exactly want. For cases like this, hiring a designer can
help with the execution. “Some of (the brides and grooms) have the vision of what they want. (Floral designers) just enhance it.”

And remember to have fun with it. Imelda said you can add jewels, feathers, ribbons, sinamay, branches, fruits and vegetables. Let your personality come out of the design.

The best thing about working with blooms is you’re making nature a part of the event. “It just gives added beauty to it. It makes the nature a part of it and it becomes an expression of the bride and groom.”

Career Advice

For those who are still searching for a career, Imelda has this advice:

” Dig deep within yourself. Really find what’s your
strength and your passion and look really closely what makes
you smile every day when you get up and say: “Oh, I do this for a living! “

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