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Wednesday, December 13, 2017, 8:51 p.m.

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HIGH PROFILE: Little Rock florist's fascination with flowers began in his grandmother's garden

By Helaine Williams

This article was published December 3, 2017 at 4:29 a.m.

“My reputation is what I feel I hold onto and I guard because you’re only as good as your last event.”

Self Portrait

Michael Walls

DATE AND PLACE OF BIRTH: Feb. 17, 1967, Little Rock.

FANTASY DINNER GUESTS: Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton; my late grandmother Mary Garrett Stormes; Dolly Parton — three very strong women.

OFF-DUTY PLEASURES: Antiquing and gardening. I love to see the process of planting something and watching it flourish.

THINGS I WISH PEOPLE WOULD “GET” ABOUT FLOWERS: You don’t need a huge amount of flowers to create a beautiful event. Obviously, there’s this trend now to do all these floral walls — “Let’s cover this whole wall with flowers.” That’s beautiful, of course it is, but who has that kind of budget? People can take a small amount of flowers and make them look exquisite and creative without it being so over-the-top.

BEST ADVICE I’VE EVER RECEIVED: To be true to myself and let my upbringing speak for me.

BEST ADVICE I’VE EVER GIVEN: Same as I got. Be true to yourself.

ONE WORD TO SUM ME UP: Humble

“I actually like to underpromise and overperform, because it’s going to make them want to talk [me] up to their friends.”

It's a sunny Friday midmorning in early November. Michael Walls is working busily in the small pool house behind the home of Lenora and Richard Steinkamp, close friends whose son's wedding will be at the home the next day. The main room of the house, done up in beachy hues, is a contrasting backdrop for the fall-hued flowers -- some in containers -- adorning counters, a makeshift work table and the floor: Marigolds. Teddy bears. Blue thistle. Hypericum. Gypsy roses.

Self Portrait

Michael Walls

DATE AND PLACE OF BIRTH: Feb. 17, 1967, Little Rock.

FANTASY DINNER GUESTS: Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton; my late grandmother Mary Garrett Stormes; Dolly Parton — three very strong women.

OFF-DUTY PLEASURES: Antiquing and gardening. I love to see the process of planting something and watching it flourish.

THINGS I WISH PEOPLE WOULD “GET” ABOUT FLOWERS: You don’t need a huge amount of flowers to create a beautiful event. Obviously, there’s this trend now to do all these floral walls — “Let’s cover this whole wall with flowers.” That’s beautiful, of course it is, but who has that kind of budget? People can take a small amount of flowers and make them look exquisite and creative without it being so over-the-top.

BEST ADVICE I’VE EVER RECEIVED: To be true to myself and let my upbringing speak for me.

BEST ADVICE I’VE EVER GIVEN: Same as I got. Be true to yourself.

ONE WORD TO SUM ME UP: Humble

“I actually like to underpromise and overperform, because it’s going to make them want to talk [me] up to their friends.”

This story is only available from the Arkansas Online archives. Stories can be purchased individually for $2.95. Click here to search for this story in the archives.

Print Headline: Michael Rayburn Walls; Floral designer Michael Walls is very much sought after in Los Angeles. Bornin Little Rock, his fascination with flowers began in his grandmother’s backyard.

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