Best Florist

Catherine Thoele

"Nature doesn't grow in fabric colors," says Catherine Thoele, manager at Kirkwood Florist. "We always say, 'Don't get all matchy!'" You ought to listen to her, plaid couch be damned. Thoele has been in the floral industry for more than 30 years and holds a degree in art history, not to mention experience in architecture and drafting. Plus, she's accredited by the American Institute of Floral Designers -- something only 1,200 people worldwide can say. She views her work as botanical media: Other artists use clay or watercolor; she uses nature. A master of turning clients' floral dreams into a beautiful reality, she acknowledges that emotion is what drives every sale. It's also what accounts for phone calls from frantic brides asking her advice on how many tiers should be on their wedding cake. "The energy you can produce from these buckets is truly an art form," Thoele says, her enthusiasm as bright as the gladiolas and asters that surround her. "A lot of people don't like carnations, but I mean, look at these colors!"
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