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Horticulture expert brings floral design class to ASU

Florist and arts advocate Morgan Anderson connects wellness and creativity through floral design

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Morgan Anderson, florist and floral art advocate, arranges stones in her cacti arrangements at her home in Scottsdale, Arizona, on Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2018.

Spring semesters bring new flowers and new classes to ASU, including a new stem class, but this one has no connection to the engineering school. 

Florist and floral art advocate Morgan Anderson is bringing floral design coursework to the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts.

Anderson received a master's degree in horticulture, the science and art of growing plants, at Kansas State University and her doctorate in horticulture from Texas A&M University. She also taught classes in floral design at both universities.

Anderson will teach a topic course called Wellness in Floral Art for the 2019 spring semester at ASU. The class will focus on how flowers relieve stress and affect the senses. 

“It’s biophilia, so we’re being connected back to nature, which is where we come from," Anderson said. "Working with plants is a therapy, so not only is it a therapy for me to educate others on floral design as an art form and a stress reliever, (but) it’s also awesome to see other people benefit from it.” 

While 90 universities in the U.S. offer bachelor's degrees in horticulture, only two universities offer degrees in floral design according to The Bachelor's Portal. As a result, aspiring floral designers often select horticulture as a major.

However, Anderson said an arts background is more valuable for entering the floral design field and modified her horticulture research accordingly. 

“When I was managing studios in San Diego and Los Angeles, the owners of the studios kept asking me to find florists that had an art background, not a plant science or horticulture background,” Anderson said. “That’s when I got the idea that we need (to) advocate floral design as an art form in order to have a more educated work force.” 

Anderson also has her own business, The Flori.Culture, in which she teaches floral art classes and creates arrangements for clients. She said she has created arrangements for events hosted by large companies including Cisco and Walgreens.

On the website, Anderson runs a blog called The Chlorophyll Chronicle where she discusses "flowers. food. fashion." She also has a YouTube channel, The Flori.Culture, where she shows off arrangements and gives tutorials on how to make them. 

“If you are interested in floral design, in the aesthetics, then you are probably also interested in food and fashion and even interior design, so I think it all goes hand-in-hand," Anderson said. 

Katherine Merveille, the owner of Merveille Floral and Design Atelier and a colleague of Anderson, said that Anderson’s extensive knowledge and creative flair positions her to be a strong professor.

“She has extensive knowledge about what each variety can do and can’t do, meaning longevity and what kind of floral is going to hold up or not," Merveille said. "She’s one of the rare gems that has an all-around knowledge, whereas some people bring to the table a lot of floral knowledge, but no design skill."

Morgan Anderson's husband, Chase Anderson, said that she wants to encourage and inspire others who love flowers to start a career with floral art through teaching and her business.

“She loves to learn and loves to engage," he said. "I think people see that, and that’s really helped her business succeed, with the hardworking mentality but also being very approachable and understanding."

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