Garden & Floral Design Business Partners on Working Together as a Couple

Photographs by  Erin McGinn

Photographs by Erin McGinn

Kim and Chris are not only engaged, but they are also business partners in a gorgeous garden and floral design studio, Greenlion Design. They asked me to photograph their engagement session at their home, where they play their music and spend time with their pups. Being gardeners as well, Kim and Chris maintain so many unique plants on their property, from autumn clematis to a little grove of Bamboo, ponds, and vines abound. We completed the end of the shoot at their favorite local hiking trail. I felt like Cottage Hill would be a great place to tell their story, because not only do they have great tips for being in a working partnership as (future) husband and wife, but they are also makers of both floral art and music, and their story is so genuinely beautiful.

How did you two meet? What's your story?

Christopher and I met at an open-mic night in Newport, RI. We are both singer/songwriters. Long story short we ended up at a nearby bar after the open mic, and when the lights came on—as it was closing time—we were both taken by surprise as we were so enthralled in our beginning-getting-to-know each other conversation we did not notice the place was closing. We have been together ever since that was 11 years ago in April. 

What's your philosophy on couples working together, or, what has worked best for you?

Communication, dividing and conquering when needed, gin and tonics when needed (haha!) and supporting each other through the unique creative processes we both go through. Flexibility in the way we problem-solve and keeping an open mind to each other's way of seeing things. We both have to be flexible in the hats we wear, sometimes he's the boss and sometimes I'm the boss. 

Through working together we have learned things about each other we would never have had the opportunity to learn. Also, we just click and want to do everything together. We will spend all week together and then actually want to go grocery shopping together, we just function best as a team. We balance each other out as he is a Taurus and I am a Leo. 

Do those ideas or rules apply differently for the different things you work on together—floral art and music?

The music process creation/songwriting is more personal for each one of us, but the collaboration on a song after it is written by one of us is similar.  Allowing space and flow for the creative process that may be different from your own/ each other. 

Tell us about your adorable home. Erin said you had some beautiful, unique plants.

We live in a cedar A-frame house surrounded by mature gardens with our two dogs, Montgomery and Feather. We've recently counted our houseplants, and are up to 78. In the gardens we have magnolias, cryptomeria's , a wide-ranging variety of perennials, bulbs, trees and shrubs, clematis vines, climbing roses, hops, viburnums, beech, dogwood, evergreens, a handkerchief tree , Japanese maples, bigleaf magnolia “Magnolia macrophylla”  which has the biggest deciduous leaf in North America, oh and a tiny patch of lawn that has not become garden. Yet. 

Based on your time together, growing and loving each other, what advice would you have for other couples in their engagement season who may in a similar situation as you, as business partners?

To enjoy, and have gratitude for the smallest and biggest accomplishments. And remember to be gentle with one another. 

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