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Dubai entrepreneur Pilar Zambrano on all things floral

Flowers are the perfect finishing touch to any room, and Ecuadorian Pilar credits her 98-year-old grandmother with her love of floristry. With her flower business Casa Jardin she now offers UAE residents some of the most sought-after blooms from around the world (www.casajardin.net)

By Catherine Harper
11 Nov 2015 | 12:05 pm
  • Pilar Zambrano.

    Source:Aiza Castillo-Domingo/ANM

What’s the history behind Casa Jardin and why did you want to bring it to Dubai?

I grew up on a farm surrounded by flowers. My grandmother loved them, particularly the Ecuadorian rose, and I inherited my passion from her. Casa Jardin is an Ecuadorian flower company that was established in 1948. Since 2010 I’ve wanted to bring it to Dubai, as it’s known as a place where quality is appreciated and Casa Jardin is the highest quality you can get, but it took us until 2014 to actually manage to get it over here. Prior to setting up the business here, I was working in Barcelona for a UN association while studying political science, but I yearned to get back to my original passion.

What difference do you think flowers make to a room?

Flowers can make all the difference to a room in such an easy way! They have such a personality, they bring life to any space; they give a sense of class, creativity and elegance, not to mention colour and fragrance.
They brighten up any room, and show you care about your home and surroundings.

What are the most common mistakes people make with their home floral arrangements?

I don’t think there’s any such thing as the wrong flowers, You shouldn’t be afraid to mix flowers – I love to mix hydrangeas with roses, ranunculus, peonies and even fruit, as long as the colours combine well. The best part of such a mix is that all the flowers come from different countries so it’s a mix of little pieces of the world, all in one arrangement. I do, however, have one piece of advice for when you’re creating an arrangement of roses; stick to all light colours or all darker colours, and don’t mix the two. It’s definitely possible to have the wrong combination of colours.

Where do your flowers come from and can you get any flower from anywhere?

We import our flowers from pretty much every quality flower-exporting country, but particularly from Ecuador, Colombia, Holland and Italy. We’d love to import the monkey face orchid from South America but sadly it’s just too sensitive and wouldn’t survive the journey.

Should you always use cut flowers or will plants have the same effect in a room?

Plants and flowers are both living things, so they both have the same effect of bringing life to a room. I think a combination of both works well, and I always have both at home, especially in the living room and all the communal areas.

Home tips

1 Even cut flowers need looking after! Make sure your flowers last as long as possible by adding a little sugar to the water in their vase, and trim the stems every two to three days to make sure they’re absorbing the sugar-water properly.

 

2 Choose strong-scented flowers for an added dimension. To add scent as well as colour to your room – and to avoid the need for air-fresheners – pick a flower such as jasmine that has a heady, long-lasting scent.

 

3 Use what’s in your garden... For a quick, easy and cheap floral arrangement, grab a piece of wood or tree bark and use it as a base on which you can arrange a selection of flowers picked fresh from your garden. 

By Catherine Harper

By Catherine Harper