Nothing says spring quite like fresh flowers. Salt Rock-based floral designer, Nicola Nischk, lets us in on some of the latest floral trends, as well as a few tips and tricks for decorating with plants.
Nicola grew up on a farm in Kokstad and this, she says, is where her love of gardening, nature and all things floral began. “I was always in the garden with my mum and my gran, helping with our community wedding flowers and entering all the flower arranging categories at the agricultural shows,” she says. After completing a degree in Fine Arts and Visual Communication, as well as a course in Interior Decor and Design, Nicola went to work on super yachts, where she ran high-profile events. “I worked on events like the Cannes Film Festival and the Monaco Grand Prix,” she says. “These entailed a lot of floral designing, table-scaping and event management.”
Now, Nicola has settled on the North Coast, an area she loves for its outdoor lifestyle, community and scenery. She works in floral design, creating floral installations for corporate events as well as people’s homes. “What I love is that I get to combine my life-long obsession with flowers and all things botanical with my design background and degree,” she explains. “Every day I get to create slightly new combos of bright exotic blooms mixed in with the usual classic flowers. I then add in gorgeous leaves and plants I get at the flower market, as well as unusual plants I grow in my own garden. The real cherry on the top is that my creations bring my clients such joy, and this is the most rewarding aspect of what I do.”
When it comes to this year’s colour trends in fashion, decor and flowers, Nicola says that there has been a shift towards vivid splashes of colour that celebrate life. “Deep azure blues, raspberry red, cheerful yellow, and fuchsia pinks dominate on the runway and in floral bouquets,” she explains. “Stylistically, an eclectic mix of flowers in floral displays have embodied a bit of a wild and asymmetrical character throughout 2023.”
Our particular market on the North Coast is quite unique, and Nicola says that she usually works in one of two types of home – either a bright Mauritian-style coastal home with loads of colour, texture and pattern; or a minimal eco-home with lots of calm lines, a muted colour palette and a forest aesthetic. “I have wonderful clients who trust me and let me run with my own inspirations and ideas, depending on what’s in season,” she says. “This usually entails big bunches of wild green foliage, palm fronds, strelitzia leaves, tropical blooms, mini pineapples, draping palm-berry strings mixed in with bright anthuriums and orchid sprays, as well as traditional blooms like snapdragons and lilies.”
For those who would like to try their hand at floral design, Nicola suggests playing with the colour palette and style that you’ve already created at home. “Don’t over think it. You’ll be amazed at how a big, bold bunch of flowers or some tropical foliage can elevate a simple corner, counter top, or table,” she says.
If big and bold is not your style, Nicola recommends taking a more minimal approach. “Just three small anthurium stems, peonies, or simple strelitzia leaves arranged in a small vase instantly adds a dash of pizazz and glam to your space,” she says. “Flowers, foliage and plants are such a personal choice. They have the ability to cheer you up, so look around you, take a walk in nature and let the natural coastal greens and florals inspire you. We live in the most exquisite tropical paradise. Allow yourself to be creative and incorporate the appreciation of natural form and design into your living space.
NICOLA’S TOP TIPS:
- On arrival at home, re-cut stems at an angle.
- Mix 1 tsp of Milton/Jik and 1 tsp sugar into water before placing your flowers.
- Keep out of direct sunlight and drafts.
Details: Nicola Nischk, 071 215 0384, @botanics_kzn