Nancy Diedricksen works on flower arrangements. PHOTO COURTESY OF NANCY DIEDRICKSEN

Artist turns passion into blooming business 

BERNARD — Nancy Diedricksen’s new creative business venture, Paint & Petal, budded from her passion for flowers and art. Through her creations, she seeks to bring meaning to each carefully curated bouquet and arrangement. 

“Being an artist and a painter really helps me because I have an eye for color. In the summertime, my paint becomes the flowers, my tools are flowers and vasesin the wintertime, I’m using actual oil paint,” she said. 

Formerly a waitress for over 40 yearsDiedricksen reconsidered her profession in light of coronavirus concerns, saying, “There is no way I’m going to work inside a restaurant without windows open.” 

When pandemic restrictions began devastating the restaurant industry, she found a job at Town Hill’s Frost Farms Garden Center and Landscape. Working at Frost Farms has helped nourish her passion for flower arranging, a skill she harnessed years ago that has since become an additional source of income.  

“I’ve been [working with flowers] a little over 10 years, actuallyI used to garden with Kathy Vangorder and we gardened at a property for Tom Letty close to 20 years ago,” said DiedricksenHe had a cutting flower garden and wanted flower arrangements all around his property inside because he would give parties all the time, so we would make these arrangements and put them all through his buildings.” 

Friends of Diedricksen soon started asking her to create flower arrangements for weddings. “Every year, I do maybe three or fourbut I just got my website off the ground, so now I’m willing to do more of that because I’m just retired from the restaurant world.”  

Unlike most arrangements, Diedricksen said her style is more gestural. She explained that “different flowers have different meanings, so I will include that written on a little card with the flowers and the blooms what they are spiritually or medicinally good for.” 

“I have some [in-season flowers] myself, I use perennials, I also use a lot of greenery, branches, grasses, things like that,” she said. During the growing season in Maine, Diedricksen feels whatever is blooming at the time of someone’s event is “what is meant for them.” Unless the customer wants a particular flower, she tries to incorporate local blooms into the customer’s themed color palette.  

“Annuals are different from perennialsI buy local, inseason flowers and perennials from Salt Farm Flowers in Trenton,” said Diedricksen. However, if a customer wants a flower that is not in season, Diedricksen will order through a wholesale florist.  

From October through May, when there are limited blooms in Maine, Diedricksen gets supplies from wholesalers and retailers that import flowers internationally. “While you might have your tulips, greens and flowering branches that can be used in centerpieces, as far as bouquets, it is a time to supplement with more imports,” she said.  

In addition to arranging flowers, Diedricksen designs using stencils and paints, a creative task that she prefers doing in the winter. “I do decorative interior painting, custom stenciling, some murals and finishes,” she said. Her clients range from restaurants to residences. “I just finished work at a salon in Town Hill for Christine SwerseyI designed a stencil for her walls,” said Diedricksen. “I’ve done a few restaurants in town [Southwest Harbor], Little Notch and Sips.” 

When not gardening and doing things outside with flowers, she also creates oil paintings. “I’ve done a bunch of still life, which is what I adore… recently I started with portraitsI paint portraits of pets and people,” said Diedricksen. Back in 2014, she had a portrait show at the Southwest Harbor Public Library from which she was able to make a few commissions. 

“I try to capture the essence of the person, the light of the person, when I’m doing a portrait,” she said. 

With the recent launch of her business website, Diedricksen hopes that customers in need of floral arrangements for events or decorative interior design projects will reach out for her services. To view Diedricksen’s work, visit 

Ninah Rein

Ninah Rein

Writer at Mount Desert Islander
Ninah Rein, an MDI native, covers news and features in the Bar Harbor area. She is glad to be back in Maine after earning a bachelor's degree in San Diego from the University of California.

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