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Jessica Ritz | Photo: Melissa Valladares | February 19, 2013
Why stop at flowers? Clover Chadwick teams up with Caroline Allain to create a full-service event planning company.
Floral designer Clover Chadwick of Dandelion Ranch describes her creative process with a phrase most commonly used by chefs. “I try to buy only local and seasonal. That’s the first step,” she says. So it’s no wonder that Dandelion Ranch is the go-to florist for some of the city’s most popular restaurants, including Lucques, BLD and Mozza, where principles of sustainability and seasonality are paramount. “I go to the market every day, so I know what comes in,” says the Southern California native.
Now Chadwick is expanding this farm-to-table concept from flowers to the entire event, overseeing everything from food to photography and venues. She and event planner Caroline Allain just joined forces to launch Dandelion Ranch Events (4701 W. Jefferson Blvd., Ste. 3, L.A., 323.640.1590, dandelionranch.com), an event planning company. Allain formerly ran special events at Campanile (most recently, she was named catering director for Barbrix and Cooks County), where she and Chadwick met while prepping for a wedding there. Allain was always drawn to the “flower-focused events” that she and Chadwick worked on at the now-shuttered restaurant. “It was just a natural transition to branch out on our own,” Allain says.
Instead of dyed blooms and artificial filler, Chadwick and Allain surround themselves with freshly cut greenery, succulents and other plants at their workspace, located on a stretch of Jefferson Boulevard in West Adams populated by small warehouses. Chadwick’s arrangements and other floral and fauna works range from lush bouquets to minimalist masterpieces, and each work references the way things actually grow in nature.
Much like her handiwork, Chadwick’s own career has followed an organic and unpredictable course. With a background in restaurant operations, she studied agriculture and gardening in Santa Rosa, and then worked in Bay Area and wine country restaurants. Chadwick is self-taught, but those years spent handling front-of-the-house logistics were the perfect training ground for learning to embellish L.A.’s casually elegant dining rooms. After more than six years at Campanile, Allain, who studied business, psychology and sociology, spearheads event production from the seed of an idea to the day itself. She presides over birthday celebrations, launch parties and lots of weddings. The pair also teaches a series of floral design and entertaining workshops at Dandelion Ranch’s facility and other private venues.
Whether the team is working on a small arrangement or an entire event, Chadwick always has a reliable source of inspiration. “Every day something new comes in that’s beautiful. And that day it’s the best it can be,” she says.