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Flower Power: Meet three petal-pushing entrepreneurs who are delivering botanical beauty in unique ways

Flower Power: Meet three petal-pushing entrepreneurs who are delivering botanical beauty in unique ways
April 2024

New businesses are blooming all over the Lowcountry in the form of floral delivery, herb gathering, and craft making

(Left to right) April Punsalan, Wild Herb Academy; Joan McDonald, The Gardeners Green; & Gina DeMatteis, A Whisp of Time.

The Gardeners Green

Joan McDonald’s cottage industry delivers arrangements, growing advice, and a profusion of floral fun

Most spring mornings, Joan McDonald dons her “properly broken in” straw hat, grabs coffee, and heads outside with her Glen of Imaal terrier, Penelope Pitstop. In the yard of her 1940s Wagner Terrace bungalow, laissez-faire beds burst with verdant vines, frilly herbs, edible ornamentals, and cross-pollinated curiosities. “Annuals and perennials, that’s my whirligig,” says the self-taught horticulturist, whose personality is as layered and exuberant as her freewheeling cottage garden. >>READ MORE ABOUT THE GARDENERS GREEN

Wild Herb Academy

April Punsalan teaches budding herbalists how to forage for healing plants

“Encyclopedia botanica” could be April Punsalan’s scientific binomial. The herbalist infuses any conversation with the name (Latin, of course), myriad uses, and healing traits of countless plants. “We’re attracted to mulberry (Morus alba), because it’s high in minerals and vitamins, supports all body systems, and is known to be antidiabetic, anticancer, and anti-inflammatory. In Japan, they call it ‘hangover tea.’” Five minutes later, she might tell you that dune pennywort (Hydrocotyle bonariensis) is loaded with antioxidants and combats degenerative brain diseases. Or that Florida betony (Stachys floridana) is a weed here but farmed in Asia for its cancer-fighting properties. As an ethnobotanist, the founder of Wild Herb Academy studies how people around the world use and connect with plants. >>READ MORE ABOUT WILD HERB ACADEMY

A Whisp of Time

Gina DeMatteis transforms ephemeral flowers into beautifully enduring keepsakes

When her three children were small, Gina DeMatteis taught them to marvel at the fantastic—the sun dipping below the horizon or a lush greenhouse bursting with a floral menagerie. “I once thought everyone saw the world this way but eventually realized that most people don’t stop to see the sunset. Everything in life is just whisp,” she says. That ephemerality rests at the heart of this artist’s collection of floral works, sold under the aptly named brand, A Whisp of Time. >>READ MORE ABOUT A WHISP OF TIME


Photographs by (Background) Floral Deco, (The Gardeners Green-2) Brennan Wesley; (portraits-2) Alice Keeney & Courtesy of (Framed works) A Whisp of Time; (Foraging) Wild Herb Academy; Brennan Wesley; (DIY arrangement) Adrianna Davis; (Portrait & Juice) Alice Keeney; Courtesy of April Punsalan; courtesy of (Hammered flower prints-2) A Whisp of Time; Adrianna Davis; & Alice Keeney