There are other people in Japan like myself in search of a brave florist like Yuko. When I discovered her shop, Givré, (whose name translates to "frosted"), it became my favorite instantly—but it isn't easy to find.
I usually visit Givré while I wait for my lunch or afternoon tea from the restaurant next door, and by the time I finish up, my bouquet is ready—a blend of dried and fresh flowers similar to those I've seen growing in the French and Swiss countryside.
"We like the flowers that look natural, almost like wildflowers in a field," says Yuko, who co-owns the shop with her husband. "Some might call them 'weeds.' In fact, when we opened the shop, we were worried that nobody would want to spend their money on the kind of flowers we like."
Located in a nondescript building, the shop blends into a typical residential neighborhood in my hometown, Gunma, and you might not find it on your first try. The shop popped up four years ago and since its opening, Givré has become the best local resource for dried bouquets and wreaths and the rare floral varieties you don't typically find in most Japanese shops. In addition to floral design, Yuko teaches a floral arranging lesson twice a month at Bottega 616, and the couple offers gardening design and wedding flower services. For more information, visit Givré online or in person if you are passing through Maebashi in Gunma.
Photography by Akiko Seki for Gardenista.
Above: Givré sources flowers from wholesale markets in Gunma and in Tokyo, where flowers are shipped in through Amsterdam.
Above: Yellow pincushions and leucadendron from South Africa.
Above: Dried hydrangea, lotus pods, and sphagnum moss hang from the window frame.
Above: A few varieties of ranunculus recently hybridized in Japan and rarely exported overseas.
Above: Pink sweet pea, roses, and ranunculus in the foreground.
Above: Thanks to Givré, you don't have to have a green thumb. Are you too busy to change the water in your flower vase? It's perfectly OK. This wreath used to be green and fresh. Just tell Yuko that you want to dry out your dying flowers, and she'll know exactly what to do.
Above: Yuko designs a bouquet with pale pink roses.
Above: Tulips and blooming branches illuminated at night.