Bloom Maven’s Akiko Senda shares her insider tips on bringing the desert aesthetic into your home during this joyous season.

Bloom Maven
Thomas J. Story

Florist Akiko Senda, who runs floral design studio Bloom Maven in Tucson, created the desert-inspired florals and wreath for a high-desert holiday affair, including the beautiful wreath on our November/December 2019 cover. Here, she shares her insider tips on creating a desert aesthetic during the holidays, no matter where you live.

Thomas J. Story


“For the wreath I used a mix of preserved eucalyptus, Gypsophila (Baby’s Breath), lunaria leaf, bunny tails, bleached ruscus, artificial fern with some dried yarrow that I sprayed, and dry aloe flowers foraged from the local desert. The base is a simple grapevine wreath found at the craft store. I’m really into spray painting everything these days because it’s so hard to find the right shade, so most of these have a touch of added color magic.”

Color Inspo

“My favorite color palettes for our desert events right now include mustard with cream and sage, and dusty pink with blush and cream. I’m also excited to work with more of the white, cream, and sage color stories for this next season.”

Thomas J. Story

Texture Play

“The Sonoran Desert is full of texture of both dry and fresh elements…there is a beautiful balance of harsh and soft. One of the harsh elements is our dry, hot climate, so we often have to get creative with florals that will withstand that environment. The key to getting the desert look is to mix dry florals with textured fillers (all found at your local craft store) and combining those with fresh florals in dusty, muted colors. When building the wreath, I took small pieces of each element and kept building into the base to give it that full look.”

Thomas J. Story

Holiday Twist

“I like adding small touches of whimsy like bunny tail plant, brass vintage accents, or minimal ceramic ornaments. The wreath shape is always associated with the holidays and there are great ways to update it using dry florals and lots of spray paint.”

Attention to Shape

“Just like most of our desert plants, the shapes of my floral arrangements are often more wispy and natural with at least one taller line that draws the eye up or out. There’s also a sense of minimalism and order.”