Red Deer florist is a key part of the Calgary Stampede traveling exhibit

Red Deer florist is a key part of the Calgary Stampede traveling exhibit
Red Deer florist is a key part of the Calgary Stampede traveling exhibit

“You can’t just say, ‘Hey, I want to do this.’ You have to be invited, so we feel pretty honoured. Plus, most of the florists are local to Calgary, so it’s exciting for them to connect with someone in a smaller centre,” Mills admits.

“Our Beyoncé creation took over 60 hours of work, and we found out about this about two months ago. We started doing research to get an idea of ​​what the outfit should look like and how we would design it.”

Each florist was assigned their own icons, including Blake Shelton, Carrie Underwood, Dolly Parton, Faith Hill, Shania Twain, Johnny Cash, Taylor Swift and many more.

Mills explains that her team has to care for the Beyoncé doll every two days, replacing many of the flowers each time so that the doll looks fresh and new for each visitor. The Hank Snow doll is made with artificial flowers and is just as dazzling.

“There are quite a few mechanical components to the bottom of Beyoncé, including water containers and floral foam. We created the base of the outfit using preserved rose petals that don’t require a water source,” says Mills.

“The wings are made with what’s called a cordyline leaf, so again, no water was needed. We used the sewing machine to make ruffles. The skirt is mostly roses, orchids and carnations — flowers that last a little longer.”

On the legs are skeleton leaves, real leaves that are made with a special drying process, to give the sheer panty look. The upper part of the outfit is also made of rose petals, which are ironed and then glued on. The ‘jewels’ on the outside are peppercorns, she reveals.

Mills says they continue to tag Beyoncé in every social media post, hoping to get her attention, but that the chance of being included is greater than the best posts of her career.

Looking back on starting her flower business almost two decades ago, and now being part of Flowers of the City, it gives a satisfying feeling.

“It’s pretty incredible and was a really cool learning experience. I went in thinking I knew everything about flowers, but as the days went on I was like, ‘Oh boy,'” she jokes.

“It’s a dream come true to be a part of something like this. I’ve always loved flowers and I’ve always loved design, so to be able to be so creative is amazing; and then to have someone say, ‘Here, take our money and be creative,’ is pretty unique and fun.”

Earlier during Stampede, Flowers of the city presented awards to the florists who were part of it, with Calyx coming in second for the Most Creative Award. Attendees can still vote on-site for the fan choice award that will be presented before Stampede ends.

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