Eileen Tongson of FarmGal Flowers gave in-depth presentation and demonstration of floral design at the Designer of Distinction on April 28.
Tongson constructed several arrangements including a kitchen garden bouquet, her signature botanical design, a Florida foliage design including succulents, and garden scene tablescape of bud vases. She shared the story of her passion for locally grown flowers, starting with a packet of seeds from her mom that grew into a successful business with a national reputation.
Tongson is the owner of FarmGal Flowers, an urban flower farm and design studio in Orlando. She is also one of the gardeners at East End Market where she grows flowers and helps maintain the market garden. In addition to growing her own flowers, Eileen designs with them and provides arrangements for special occasions and events. Tongson completed the University of Florida IFAS Master Gardener Program and has studied floral design at numerous locations over the years including Floret Flower Farm and Flower School New York.
Tongson is also a gardening and floral design instructor at Harry P. Leu Gardens and East End Market. Her flowers and gardening expertise have been featured in Flower Magazine, Florists Review, Edible Orlando, Slow Flowers, Orange Appeal magazine, Houzz.com, The Spruce, and most recently, in Floret Farm’s book, “Small Plot, Big Impact: Inspiring Stories, Profiles & Advice from 30 Flower Growers From Around the World” and Debra Prinzing’s book, “Where We Bloom.” Tongson was voted Best Florist in Best of Winter Park 2020 and 2019. Clients have included The Ford Motor Company, Chico’s (clothing), Williams-Sonoma Winter Park, the Orlando Museum of Art, and the Orlando Magic. Eileen is a contributor to the Growing Kindness Project where she shares her knowledge and skills for growing flowers in hot climates and encourages others to “garden and give.” She continues to expand and refine her skills through floral design/flower farming workshops across the country and as a member of the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers.
FernTrust, which sponsored Tongson’s Florida foliage design, is a marketing cooperative of 11 family farms located in Seville, Florida, the heart of fern country. With more than 120 foliages in stock each day, they are truly a one stop shop for everything foliage. Their unique product lines include our patented FernCool and Delta sleeved leather leaf, our ColorFresh foliage and the Fabulous Foliage bouquet line. They love working with creative designers like Tongson to share the beauty of their industry with the world.
The Riverdale Inn, which provided lodging for Tongson, is a family owned and operated business located in the heart of Riverside in Jacksonville. With 11 individually designed and decorated guest rooms, guests feel at home while still enjoying the amenities of a hotel or larger inn.
The Designer of Distinction is an annual fundraising event that presents an expert in the field of floral design demonstrating and discussing her work. Tongson’s presentation was followed by a raffle of the arrangements she created and a three-course catered lunch from Davoli’s Catering and served by All About You Staffing.