Puts Down Roots for New Location in Washington Heights
Story and Photography by Edible Staff
April showers bring May flowers… and, in the case of Stems Cut Flowers, a brand new brick-and-mortar location by the name of Wood Violet at 5119 W. North Ave. Named after the Wisconsin state flower, proprietess and flower child Emily Watson’s new store combines design and retail, providing elegant florals and seasonal decor to weddings and events, along with opportunities for visitors to learn through workshops and classes.
Wood Violet’s focus, an extension of Stems Cut Flowers’ mission, is to feature Wisconsin-grown flowers, supplemented by a few West Coast options.
“Four to five years ago, I had to explain what I was trying to do with local flowers,” says Watson. “Now, people who are looking for an eco-friendly, Wisconsin-based florist find me—many are from Chicago and DC—folks who grew up here and come back to get married. Over the past three to four years, the market has really developed.”
Angela Quigley, co-owner of Married in Milwaukee, agrees: “People are definitely looking to buy local gifts, food, flowers… They even have dresses made by local designers. Emily from Stems is the option we give to people if they’re looking for flowers grown close by. Not only are you supporting a local artisan, you’re supporting a local grower—it’s amazing that she does both. The added design aspect of Wood Violet is fantastic. Our passion is supporting Milwaukee businesses and it’s easy with the quality we’re seeing in the city.”
A degree in the biological aspects of conservation from UW-Madison gave Watson an overview of things affecting the natural world. Botany, geology, wildlife ecology and soil science brought things full circle: The native of East Troy left home and came back again, growing her flowers on a one acre plot, nestled in her grandfather’s 300-acre working farm.
“We’re seeing a wonderful movement focusing on bringing customers farm-to-table ingredients. But there are hyper-local places with Colombian flowers on their tables. What if we didn’t draw the line there?” Watson queries.
5119 W. North Ave.