Floral designer educates industry pros on the intricacies of garden roses

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Earlier this year, Alexandra Farms honored longtime friend and collaborator Holly Heider Chapple with a namesake peach-hued garden rose variety: the appropriately named Princess Holly’s Hope. The expert designer, published author, educator, and business owner has taken her talents to the field and dedicated her time to spreading a wealth of knowledge and experience with others who long to follow in her path.

Based in Virginia, Holly’s first immersive experience in the floral industry began with garden roses in 2009, particularly Alexandra Farms varieties. These varieties contributed to the molding of her design aesthetic, combining romanticism and nostalgia. These varieties catapulted her designs to the enthusiastic recognition of her peers.

“Juliet and Patience made me fall in love with garden roses and really established my brand and changed the trajectory of my company because we started focusing on these luxury flowers,” Holly says. Her expertise and appreciation for garden roses eventually cemented a partnership with Alexandra Farms when she met our company president, Jose (Joey) R. Azout, at the American Institute of Floral Designers’ 2018 Symposium.

A hopeful partnership
That meeting between Jose and Holly was the start of a collaboration that would continue to exceed any expectations over the coming years.

In early 2022, the Alexandra Farms Certified Designer (AFCD) program was launched. The 12-part online educational experience, designed and developed by Joey and Holly, guides participants through the history of garden roses, anatomical vocabulary, varietal comparisons, care and design. The program – an idea born during Holly’s initial visit to the farm in February 2020 – was a combined effort to provide a supportive, educational opportunity to all who might benefit and an open community for participants to grow personally and professionally.

When Holly purchased Hope Flower Farm in Loudoun County, Virginia, eight years ago, her purpose was to provide education while maintaining a functional flower farm. Prior to opening her farm for workshops and training sessions to designers, she had previously hosted similar events across the globe and always featured Alexandra Farms’ garden rose varieties.

Each year, Holly holds five to seven workshops that focus on wedding and event design, the fundamentals of floristry, and a coveted flower festival design course called Flowerstock. Alexandra Farms was proud to host one of these workshops in late 2023, welcoming Holly and the workshop participants for an inaugural visit.

“Traveling to the farm and offering an educational opportunity for designers is something Jose and I began dreaming of in 2020 when [my husband and I] visited the farm,” Holly says. “We had a remarkable time, and we will produce another Alexandra Farms workshop in 2024.”

Her husband, Evan Chapple, was not only a business partner and contributor to successful farm and educational experiences but also an inspiration and constant support until his death in 2022. It was Evan who coined the name of the garden rose variety Princess Holly’s Hope.

Back to the farm
This inaugural trip to Alexandra Farms this year with program students was the first of many to come, according to Holly, who vehemently supports Alexandra Farms. It was important for her to be able to share the experience of visiting the farm firsthand and introducing the processes and the people who put their heart and soul into the very stems that bring joy to others.

“I want my colleagues to understand the importance of using quality stems and how that elevates your company’s name,” she says. “I want my attendees to know the people behind the roses because that helps one sell confidently and authentically. Our consumers need to understand the magnificence of these roses, and it takes education to represent the brand properly.”

Among the program’s students were floral designers and rose enthusiasts, all with varying experience and knowledge. They all responded with admiration toward the commitment of the Alexandra Farms team.

“Seeing the roses in person at the farm creates a connection and bond with the roses,” Holly says. “A commitment and pure love of the roses intensifies with a visit to the farm.”

Highlights of the visit included previewing new varieties and future releases, a full day of creative floral design using fresh stems for inspiration, tours, and a team collaboration project building a large-scale installation. It was a complete success, she says, and she looks forward to bringing students annually to immerse in the same inspiring experience.

After visiting the farm with her husband, Holly was pleased to return to a place where she had made so many magical memories and created a budding partnership and program that would flourish over time. “Each time I visit, I am inspired, rejuvenated, and full of ideas to advance the profession of floristry and floriculture,” she says. “Extraordinary things are happening at the farm, and I am honored to be a small part of its advancement and growth.”

Alexandra Farms is proud to partner with Holly on the AFCD program, which aims to inspire hope and understanding among industry professionals and those who appreciate the intricate beauty of the garden rose.

For more information:
Alexandra Farms

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