Oscars business blooming for Sherman Oaks florist

floral designs by the numbers • 10,000 flowers• 400 arrangements • 25 local employees• Flowers used: Tulips, amaryllis, hyacinth, roses, hydrangea, anemones, almond blossoms, ranunculus Source: Mark’s Garden • 10,000...

Oscars business blooming for Sherman Oaks florist

floral designs by the numbers

• 10,000 flowers

• 400 arrangements

• 25 local employees

• Flowers used: Tulips, amaryllis, hyacinth, roses, hydrangea, anemones, almond blossoms, ranunculus

Source: Mark’s Garden

• 10,000 flowers

• 400 arrangements

• 25 local employees

• Flowers used: Tulips, amaryllis, hyacinth, roses, hydrangea, anemones, almond blossoms, ranunculus

Source: Mark’s Garden

Valentine’s Day has come and gone, but things haven’t slowed down at the Ventura Boulevard showroom of Mark’s Garden.

The high-end florist is a sea of red and white as workers prepare for the Academy Awards.

Dozens of deep burgundy roses wrapped in paper stand at attention in buckets on the limestone floor. On a nearby table, ruffle-edged white tulips bend gracefully toward the sun. Even the lowly carnation seems glamorous. “How is this possible?” asks a visitor.

“Because it’s Mark’s Garden,” says floral designer and co-owner Mark Held, a twinkle in his eye matching his silver hair.

RELATED PHOTOS: Mark’s Garden creates floral arrangements for the Oscars

For 25 years, the Sherman Oaks florist has designed dramatic centerpieces for the Governors Ball, the official after-party of the Academy Awards. Sunday’s bash in the Ray Dolby Ballroom at the Hollywood & Highland Center will feature a mid-century modern theme, which challenged Held to create a more streamlined, architectural look than the lush landscapes of years past.

“We’re not mixing flowers much this year,” Held explains. “The vases basically all have one type of flower, so it’s a cleaner look. We’re using flowers that are sculptural. It’s not fluffy flowers.”

The first wave of blooms has just arrived: Tulips, amaryllis and hyacinth from Holland, roses and hydrangea from South America and anemones from Italy.

“This year, we have almond blossoms from California – gorgeous branches, blooming branches and ranunculus. That’s the hot flower this year. That, and the anemones, are the popular flowers right now,” the florist explains.

RELATED VIDEO: Mark’s Garden Creates Oscar Arrangements

Boxes of vases have been unpacked in the alley behind the shop, with more on the way. Some vessels are sharp and angular; others are curvy and bulbous. Between now and Sunday, two dozen employees will have styled 10 thousand flowers into some 400 arrangements, ranging in size from the palm of your hand to the height of a small pony.

The Governors Ball is an A-list affair, bursting at the seams with Oscar winners past and present, many carrying their new hardware with them, carefully placing their statuettes on the table next to Held’s centerpieces.

Although about 35 million Americans – and more around the globe – are expected to tune into the Oscars. Only a select group of industry insiders receives invitations to the ball. Usually, it’s the first stop after the ceremony.

“This year, in the foyer and on the balconies as people enter, everything is red. The floor is red, the walls are red, the flowers are red. There’s a few pops of white and gold. Then, when the doors are open to the actual ball, it’s all white. It’s very uplifting and very happy this year.”

In these last hours before Hollywood’s biggest night, the back workroom at Mark’s Garden is a bevy of activity. At one table, a chunk of floral foam is dropped into vases and filled with water. At another,

RELATED STORY: Oscars stage gets its golden look from Sherman Oaks set builders

Pablo Hernandez peels the outer petals off burgundy roses to reveal their velvety virgin centers.

“This is my first Oscars. I’m super-thrilled to be part of it,” he says.

Hernandez wears rubber gloves to protect his fingers from thorns. “I still get pricked. There’s no way around that,” he said.

It’s crunch time for the Mark’s Garden crew.

“We install a lot of the bulb flowers on Saturday,” Held explains. “And then we send a crew to refresh them and just make sure everything’s perfect on Sunday.” ”

On Sunday night, as Hollywood’s movers and shakers hit the Governors Ball and admire the décor, the man who designed the floral arrangements won’t be there to hear the kudos.

“I’m going to probably go to bed early,” he admits. “But I love what I do. I’m the luckiest guy.”

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