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Columbus florist helps design float in famous Rose Parade

January 5, 2019

Robin Hendrix-Salzwedel had a New Year’s Day she won’t soon forget.

Hendrix-Salzwedel, owner of Secret Garden Floral in Columbus, participated in the 130th Rose Parade in sunny Pasadena, California. She came to Pasadena to volunteer for the famous New Year’s parade, something she has always wanted to do, and that turned into an opportunity to help design a float.

“When I told them I was a florist and I owned a flower shop, they let me go in and actually work on the floral design of one of the floats,” Hendrix-Salzwedel said.

She said typically Rose Parade volunteers help clean flowers, paint pedals and glue beads onto the floats. But, Hendrix-Salzwedel was able to make floral arrangements, making them look beautiful as they basked in the California sunshine.

“I got to go up on top of the floats to make arrangements,” Hendrix-Salzwedel said. “It was pretty awesome.”

Hendrix-Salzwedel worked on a float representing the city of South Pasadena. The float, named “Three Little Birds,” was chosen as the city mayor’s favorite float.

Hendrix-Salzwedel’s hard work paid off. Parade organizers have already asked her to return to next year’s event. She said the entire experience made for an unforgettable trip.

“We got to work with all of these very expensive, exotic, tropical flowers,” Hendrix-Salzwedel said. “There were thousands of dollars worth of orchids and birds of paradise, so that was fun to see all that. It was exciting.”

Hendrix-Salzwedel said the people she met and worked with were friendly and encouraging. Among them were the float’s lead designer and director of construction.

“They were excited to have a designer to come and actually work with them,” Hendrix-Salzwedel said.

Once the float was ready, it was time to hit the parade route. Hendrix-Salzwedel sat on high-rise bleachers for a great view of the parade.

“We got to see all the floats the day before the parade too, so that was cool,” she said.

Hendrix-Salzwedel’s floral shop, Secret Garden, is well known in downtown Columbus. For the past two years, the shop has participated in Petal it Forward Day, surprising people in Columbus with two fresh bundles of flowers. The idea is for people to accept one bundle and pass the other one onto someone special, thus “petaling it forward.” Hendrix-Salzwedel hopes to continue the gracious giveaway for years to come.

As she returns to Wisconsin, Hendrix-Salzwedel leaves the Golden State with fond memories.

“As a floral designer to be able to do that and work on that was really a privilege. It was so much fun,” Hendrix-Salzwedel said. “It was a great learning experience. I’m glad they asked me back for next year because it was such a fun experience.”

Secret Garden Floral is located at 115 N. Ludington St.

For more information, call 920-623-3060.

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