2017-01-06 / Neighbors

Flowers take the spotlight

Simi florist’s arrangements featured in parade
By Melissa Simon


JOB WELL DONE—Simi Valleyflorist Maria Cady created 13 large flower arrangements for the City of Burbank’s “Home Tweet Home” float featured in the 128th annual Tournament of Roses parade. At right, Cady works on one of the 60-pound arrangements. JOB WELL DONE—Simi Valleyflorist Maria Cady created 13 large flower arrangements for the City of Burbank’s “Home Tweet Home” float featured in the 128th annual Tournament of Roses parade. At right, Cady works on one of the 60-pound arrangements. A florist for nearly 40 years, Maria Cady was presented with the opportunity of a lifetime in December: providing flower arrangements for a float in the 128th annual Tournament of Roses Parade.

Cady, who owns Flowers by Maria at 2768 Cochran St. in Simi Valley, was commissioned by the City of Burbank a few weeks ago to create 13 flower arrangements for its “Home Tweet Home” float featured in the Pasadena parade on Monday.

The 57-year-old said the City of Burbank’s Rose Parade float committee contacted her late in the game because the florist they usually use hadn’t responded to them. One of Cady’s employees, Melissa Kegel, has been a member of the committee for several years and suggested her boss.


Photos courtesy of Maria Cady Photos courtesy of Maria Cady “I jumped at the opportunity because I’ve always wanted to work on the floats,” Cady said.

Despite being given only 12 days to fulfill the request, she said, she wasn’t worried about getting the arrangements done.

“I’ve done big events, like weddings and large parties, but I’ve been a florist a long time so it wasn’t something that made me nervous,” she said. “I knew I could do it and was up for the challenge.”

Audrey Prest, decorating chair for the Burbank Tournament of Roses Association, said she was excited to work with Cady. The all-volunteer nonprofit is charged with designing, building and decorating the city’s float for the parade.

“We wanted a casual, homegrown feeling for the design, which Maria was on board with,” Prest told the Acorn last week. “She has a very good eye as a florist, and she’s very good at what she does. We’re glad she’s doing the dozen or so flower arrangements for the float.”

With a whimsical theme, “Home Tweet Home” featured several birds hard at work building homes and a fountain, looking over blueprints and gathering supplies.

Cady was tasked with selecting flowers to complement those already on the float. She chose orange free spirit roses, hot pink spray roses, lavender and white stock, snapdragons, yellow gerbera daisies and an assortment of greens and fresh weeds.

The completed arrangements were composed of hundreds of flowers, and each weighed about 60 pounds, she said.

“ The arrangements were pretty massive just looking at them on the table, but once they were on the float they didn’t really look all that big,” Cady said, recalling the 10 hours of decorating she helped with on Dec. 30. “Everyone knew what their job was, and we were all trying to get those last-minute pieces on the float and place the flowers.”

Cady said it was an honor to work on the float, especially knowing that Burbank’s team was counting on her to come through in a pinch. She spent three days helping the team decorate.

“When we were pulling out the completed float, I wanted to cry because I was part of something so big,” she said. “The Rose Parade has been around for 100- plus years and to be a little part of that is such a big deal for me.”

On Jan. 2, when she saw the decorated float winding its way along the Rose Parade route, Cady said, she felt an overwhelming amount of joy and pride in her work.

“I went to bed late the night before (Sun., Jan. 1) but I got up just to see that part of the parade, and we recorded it on several channels to see who had the best coverage. We even have family and friends back east in New Jersey that were able to see my work, which was pretty cool,” she said.

Despite the last-minute rush, Cady said she would do it again. In fact, she said, the City of Burbank has already commissioned her to work on its float for 2018. While she hopes the spotlight on her work will be good for business, she said she does not plan to make a huge deal out of it.

“We already have a pretty good reputation as a mom-and-pop flower shop because all our customers are important, whether you buy a single rose, a dozen roses or spend thousands on a wedding,” Cady said.

“Sure, I’ll put up some stuff showing our work on the float, but I’m hoping through it all to stay humble because arranging flowers is really where my passion is.”

Return to top