Words by Marléna Ahearn
Photos by Julia Merrell
After out-of-Rochester interludes, Rochester natives Tricia DiMarco and Michael Reyes returned home to start a business: Pistil and Pollen.
The two met in high school while both pursuing art. Though they drifted apart while attending art programs at college, they reconnected on social media (nearly 8 years later) over of all things: flowers. Michael was working as a landscape designer at the time, and Tricia was in LA working with a florist and on her art.
“We both saw we were working with flowers and reconnected over it. I came home for a weekend and asked if he wanted to get lunch. We ended up greenhouse hopping to make these Kokedama floral balls,” says Tricia.
Over lunch they discovered how dissatisfied they were with the work they were doing. They wanted more freedom, more creativity, and more control. In 2018, both moved back to Rochester permanently and decided it was now or never. Pistil and Pollen was born.
Tricia, who studied illustration in college, found that all her inspiration always came from botanicals. She created patterns and it got to a point where everything she drew looked like a flower.
Michael, who has been gardening since he was four, started working at a local nursery in high school. “Over the course of fourteen years, I worked in the landscaping industry and made my way up from digging holes to deciding where the holes were to be dug. I’ve always had this intense connection with gardening and cultivating spaces,” says Michael.
These collective experiences helped inform the business aesthetic of Pistil and Pollen: seasonal, local, thoughtful, (and tasteful!) arrangements.
For them, Rochester is home and fits their aesthetic. Michael has been growing flowers here his whole life and knows what works, so they are very much into growing as much a possible. For Tricia and Michael, growing, cultivating, and creating is cathartic and meditative. Here they could jump fully into their passions, without worrying about part time jobs to pay the rent. Plus, they fell in love with the small business culture of Rochester.
“We’ve made so many great connections with other people in the community. Everyone is very much about propping each other up and supporting each other here. There’s a sense of pride in helping each other out,” says Michael.
Together they strive to put love and care into every step. Their effort and care make them a unique business—one that prioritizes local culture and flowers.
Join Pistil and Pollen at Rochester Brainery for Fun With Florals: Flower Crowns & A Photoshoot where you can learn how to make your own flower crown and have a photoshoot!