“Orchids are strong,” says Norma Satizabal, founder, owner, and creative director of Verdant Floral Studio in Stonington, Connecticut. “They can last more than two weeks in an arrangement.” That, and their idiosyncratic beauty, make orchids her favorite flower—with the possible exception of roses. “Roses are classic,” she says.
Established in 2010, the Studio continues a family tradition that started in the city of Santiago de Cali, Colombia, over 30 years ago. “I grew up around flowers,” says Satizabal. “My mother had a shop. My sisters and I worked with her. For ourselves, purely for pleasure, we grew flowers, especially orchids.”
As good as life was in Cali, Norma Satizabal and her youngest sister Jamie wanted to see new places. “We didn’t come to the United States because we were desperate,” Norma says now. “We came because we were curious.” She was only 19 when they came to America from Colombia, but it didn’t take long to find her way around the circus-like New York City flower district. She worked for Doro’s Annex, an upscale florist in Chelsea which recently closed after 33 years supplying flowers and plants to a discriminating clientele, and for 212 Bouquet. She also worked at Le Bouquet, a shop known for particularly unique and original creations.
During her time in New York City Norma Satizabal was not limited to weddings and private dinner parties. She provided flower arrangements for Saks Fifth Avenue, Hermes, and Tocca. The Waldorf Astoria, the Pierre, the Plaza, and Cipriani’s were frequent customers. She worked on set designs for “Sex & the City” and “Gossip Girl.” Her designs ranged from extravagant to intimate and modest, avant-garde to classic, quaint to casual.
With a strong following in Manhattan, Norma liked living in Brooklyn, yet she often spent her weekends with friends in Stonington. Her nephew Carlos lived in Stonington Borough. One summer, she agreed to do the flowers for a Stonington wedding—it was Carlos’ nuptials, actually. Her talent was not lost on the guests, and demand for her art continues to grow.
Norma loved Stonington and easily found an audience there. In 2010, she and Carlos teamed up and opened Verdant Floral Studio. The shop blossomed, and today, Norma Satizabal and Verdant are a vital part of the village.
She commutes to Manhattan’s flower district to buy unusual and classic flowers arrived fresh from all over the world. Combined with her artistry, the variety, color, and scent of the blooms and greens she chooses make for memorable arrangements, bouquets, corsages—and maybe even an icy-white wedding crown of blossoms.
Should the flowers you bring home be beautiful, but not have that palpable scent of a Stargazer lily, Verdant Floral can provide a convenient substitute in scented, hand-poured 100% clean-burning soy candles. The person responsible for those delicately aromatic items is Janet Beck. “I started working with Norma when she opened the shop,” says Beck, “mostly to help with customer communications and event coordinating, writing up proposals and pricing.”
Beck’s job description expanded in time to include making the exquisitely scented candles that people are buzzing about. Handsomely boxed, perfect for gift-giving, they come in the most popular floral and holiday scents, but also unexpected aromas like Fresh Tobacco Leaf and Havana Dreams—for the masculine nose.
Verdant Floral Studio
123 Water St.
Stonington, CT 06378