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Flower power: Woodbury women fly to Pasadena to help decorate Rose Parade float

Lindsey Busch, Tara Carlson and Holly Macke (from left) pictured at Sweet Pea’s Floral in Woodbury, flew to South Pasadena, Calif., to help decorate the city’s Rose Parade float. (Bulletin photo by William Loeffler)1 / 2
Lindsey Busch, Tara Carlson and Holly Macke (from left) pictured at Sweet Pea’s Floral in Woodbury, flew to South Pasadena, Calif., to help decorate the city’s Rose Parade float. (Bulletin photo by William Loeffler)2 / 2

Woodbury

For someone who has made a career out of arranging flowers, helping build a Rose Bowl Parade float out of mums, carnations and other blooms must be akin to a kid being given the keys to Santa's workshop.

Small wonder that Tara Carlson, Lindsey Busch and Holly Macke are so excited. The Woodbury trio flew to California to help to build a floral parade float for the South Pasadena Tournament of Roses Association. The float, titled "Never Give Up," features a tortoise racing a hare. It's one of 40 that will appear in the annual Pasadena Tournament of Roses Parade Jan. 2.

The three work together at Sweet Peas Floral in Woodbury. Carlson owns the store. Busch, a certified floral designer, is an employee there; Macke is a contract worker.

This year's float is at least 85 percent fresh flowers, according to the South Pasadena website. Volunteers construct the bones of the float from June through November. Decorating begins in October and culminates with Deco Week Dec. 26-31. The three will join volunteers from the local community and others from around the country who applied online for the chance to build a float.

Busch's application was quickly accepted.

"They got back to me almost instantaneously saying they would love our expertise," Busch said.

The committee obviously was impressed with their credentials. Busch is a certified floral designer, one of only about 15 in the state. She participated in the Macy's Flower show in in 2013 and 2014 in downtown Minneapolis. Carlson has worked with flowers since her teens. She bought Sweet Peas in 2006.

"We're super-excited," Carlson said last week. "And a little apprehensive. It's a lot to close a business for a week."

She said they hope to blog about the experience and post photos.

"Our first day is 12-hour shift," she said. "Our second day we're signed up for a six-hour shift, but if we choose to stay later we can. We don't know how strenuous it's going to be."

Maybe pretty strenuous. The float built by the City of South Pasadena in 2014, titled

Intergalactic Vacation, was built using 20,000 carnations, 15,000 mums and 1.5 million bougainvilleas. But Busch said she and Carlson and Macke are used to using flowers to create something different almost every day. It's the nature of their job.

"We do everything from funerals to weddings to birthdays to get wells," she said. "Just order-wise, you never know what you're stepping into."

William Loeffler

William Loeffler is a playwright and journalist from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He worked 15 years writing features for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. He has also written travel stories based on his trips to all seven continents. He and his wife, Michelle, ran the Boston Marathon in 2009. 

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