Not your typical floral arranger, Sarah Lim is an artist at heart. As the Founder, Managing Director and Creative Director of Poppy Flora Studio and event space This Flower Haus, Lim has worked to redefine floral arrangement over the past two decades. Her unique creations employ natural movement and whimsical botanical combinations to bring inspiration and joy. In her own words, her intention is to “emulate how Mother Nature works… ‘dancing’ in the wilderness."
For the Rose and Ginseng collection launch, we’ve partnered with Sarah on a series of projects to bring forth the beauty of the storied flower rose. In a short interview, we sit down with Sarah to discuss the inspiration behind her floral art, the appeal and benefits of roses and why they don’t smell as they did before.
Sarah of Poppy Flora Studio
How did you get started with floral art and arrangement?
I have always loved the look, feel and spirit of wild flowers. When I used to see florists arranging flowers in a way that is so manicured, I would think to myself that flowers are not meant to be arranged in such a controlled way. To me, it feels unnatural and unflattering. I then developed this determination to recreate Mother Nature’s art in my way, so I started on this floral journey.
Tell us a little about roses. Why are they so rare and expensive?
Roses are traditional symbols of love and romance. Rose essential oil, also known as attar, is made from the Damask Rose (Rosa damascene) or the Cabbage Rose (Rosa centifolia). Because the oil is so concentrated, it’s diluted before it’s used commercially. The aroma of these roses is said to be relaxing and restorative because it encourages us to breathe deeply and slowly, hence promoting slow living and calmness.
Unfortunately, naturally scented roses are rare nowadays as these flowers are now bred to last long as cut flowers. Their scent gene is removed to make roses more durable which is unfortunate because this gene is essential to create the highly coveted rose oil. This means that scented roses - and rose essential oils - are now both expensive and rare.
Behind the scenes at the Rose and Ginseng campaign shoot
What is your favourite rose?
The Old Garden rose has a special place in my heart. They have such an eye-catching beauty and mysterious allure while the fragrance can be romantic, sweet and even surprising.
Is there anything that you find most interesting about these sweetly scented flowers?
It’s interesting to note that no two people experience the scent of a rose in quite the same way. This is not only because everyone has a different perception of smell, but also because there is a myriad of roses with different genetic makeup and growing conditions, providing each individual rose with their unique scent. For me, all of this adds to the mystery and allure of these special flowers.
It must be rejuvenating being surrounded by flowers and nature every day. What is it like?
It is indeed very rejuvenating to be surrounded with flowers every day and it’s an honour to work with these exquisite natural artworks. Working in this mystical and magical world of flowers is indeed a journey and a life-long project that I am blessed to be a part of.
Celebrate the Rose and Ginseng collection with us at a creative floral workshop with Poppy Flora Studio. Centred around the ethereal rose, the afternoon of nature and rejuvenation sees you creating a rose arrangement of your own while indulging in our latest wellness offerings. Book tickets at https://essentials.banyantree.com/collections/rose-and-ginseng
See more of Sarah's floral styling for Rose and Ginseng collection at https://essentials.banyantree.com/collections/rose-and-ginseng
The interview has been edited for length and clarity.