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Omaha Magazine

Vickie Lea Designs’ Brittany Black Delivers Her Artistic Flair for Flora.

Apr 28, 2022 05:09PM ● By Megan Fabry
brittany black stands in greenhouse

Photo by Sarah Lemke

Vickie Lea Designs has been a horticultural staple in Nebraska for over 25 years, receiving national recognition for their interior plant scapes for all seasons. When owner Vickie Lea made the decision to retire two years ago, the team wanted to find a fresh, modern designer who could capture their classic approach to landscape and floral design as well. 

Their search netted artist Brittany Black, who uses her creativity and innovation to create stunning arrangements and scenes of all things floral.

Black’s love of art started at a young age. She began drawing as a child, eventually graduating to more advanced art classes as a teenager. Her interest in floral arranging bloomed about four years ago, just as she finished earning a biology degree from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Black said, for her, it made more sense to join an existing design firm than to start a business from scratch when giving this new creative outlet a go.

Today, Black serves as Vickie Lea Designs’ full-time lead designer, using her talents to create and install decorative front entry and patio planters, floral window boxes, holiday greenery displays, and landscapes for commercial and residential customers alike. Vickie Lea Designs currently serves 120 clients and has hundreds of referrals from past customers. 

Although some homeowners provide Black with guidelines for custom creations, such as what color scheme or specific plants to use, most grant her full artistic freedom to develop ideas from anything she wishes. Business clients offer a bit less design flexibility. 

Black said limitless variety is one of the best things about floral design, Yet, big palms and tropical flowers are wildly popular with their client base.

“Nature and art are my primary sources of inspiration, but what’s fascinating is how we can find inspiration anywhere, whether at home, while traveling, on social media, or even some random thing that just catches my eye while driving down the street,” Black said.

Container arrangements are one of Vickie Lea Designs’ signature presentations, but the company also offers landscape design, installation, and maintenance, along with interior decorating. Black said each landscape design they create is unique, and they strive to make their clients’ dreams come to life. 

“Most of the time, that spark of inspiration just happens,” Black said. “I know within moments and conceptualize in my mind how I want the design to come together.  Next comes the fun process of collaboration with our clients, discussing their particular wants and needs, plant species and color preferences, and more.  Attention to detail is what takes a little time here, making sure that the design elements we incorporate will integrate well with each other, with the home, and in our climate.  Depending on how intricate the design is, this process can take a couple of hours, days, or weeks.”

Although Black has created a name for herself through her designs, she faced difficulties while learning to blend Vickie’s original style with her own. Thankfully, she received guidance from her team, including director of operations Fallon Dickes and owner Shawn Kolterman. They were both important mentors in teaching her the business side of floral designing as well.

“If someone met or worked with Vickie Lea herself, it is easy to see that replacing her would be a challenge,” Dickes said. “Brittany’s attitude, patience, attention to each individual client, and excitement toward her designs have been a thrill to see. It has been fun watching her abilities unfold and her blossom into the designer she is today.” 

Go to vickieleadesigns.com to learn more about Vickie Lea Designs’ services and see photos of Black’s creations.

This article originally appeared in the May 2022 issue of Omaha Home. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.  

Photo by Sarah Lemke