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Meet Walter Zellweger

Meet Walter Zellweger

In the realm of flowers and floristry, we explore the world of Walter Zellweger, a passionate artisan whose journey began amidst the stunning landscapes of the Appenzeller Kronberg. Transitioning from a gardener to a skilled florist, Walter's creations draw inspiration from the seasons and weather, seamlessly intertwining nature's beauty with sustainable practices. Join us as we delve into the artistic perspective that fuses fashion and flowers, uncovering the daily inspirations and heartfelt wishes Walter has for the next generation in the context of his artistic endeavors in the Appenzeller Land.


  • What is your relationship with the world of flowers and floristry? Can you tell me how you chose this profession and what you love about working as a florist?


The playground in my earliest years was always nature. As children, we spent the entire summer with the family on the Appenzeller Kronberg, at 1600m, in the Alps. We had no toys and made something out of nothing; simply with what nature provided us.

This motivation during my upbringing, along with the influence of weather and seasons, played a crucial role in my decision to become a gardener after just one trial in the 5th grade. My first apprenticeship was as a gardener, and the second was as a florist.

I love everything about my work, especially when pruning branches in nature, it brings back the gardening aspect. Observing, searching, having an image in mind of what I need. What type of plant do I need? How does this plant grow? Only then do I go into nature to search. For this, I need to know where things grow, and only then can I see on-site if I will actually find what I need.


  • What role do sustainable materials and environmentally friendly production methods play in your projects? Are there specific efforts you make to promote eco-friendly projects?


Through my work as a vocational school teacher for gardeners and florists, this topic is very present and important in vocational school education. I always try to source seasonally, locally, and as close as possible. A good example is Christmas decorations; I buy and sell European Christmas decorations, such as Bohemian, Lauscha, and Gablonz ornaments. One can source these from Asia or buy them nearby; I don't look at the price. I also prefer to source conifers, olives, and other plants from places like Ticino rather than abroad. These are adapted to our climate and more resistant.

All our plant waste goes into compost and is recycled back into soil. Conscious shopping, caring about where the goods come from—these are aspects that a reseller can perceive very well.



  • How does nature and its beauty influence your floral creations, especially during the festive season?


It's quite extreme. I feel like a squirrel that needs to collect and store its winter supply, on which it will live during the cold, harsh winter months.

In November and December, I have to offer the most beautiful and best flowers and the lushest greens because people want their homes to look beautiful during the holidays. The year-end is always symbolic with winter greens and holly.

The transition into the cold season is probably easier when the lushness and greenery from summer come into the living room again. Because in January, there is a big change. Frugality is required. People no longer want the lushness. In January and February, there is no business in floristry.


  • From your perspective, what do flowers and fashion have in common?


A lot! It's about beauty and attractiveness. The flower adorns itself for its wedding. It presents itself with its full maximum. It may even be that some leaves partially die off, just so the full force can be invested in a huge bloom. Fashion is similar. It's about presenting oneself, maximizing one's potential. The motivation, however, is probably different.


  • What inspires your daily clothing, and how do you put together your looks? Are there specific influences on your personal style?


I buy everything in the same store in Appenzell. Quality and functionality are paramount. The material must be genuine. In summer, a lot of linen, and in winter, barchent shirts. My shoes are leather, and my entire outfit has a workshop character.

My pants are always made of Cordury fabric. This has a practical reason. I often carry heavy, large pots using my thighs. I can easily brush off Manchester pants afterward and have no dirt residues on them. Only the surface gradually peels off, which gives a natural "used look." Jeans don't suit my work well; they can stain, and dirt is more visible.



  • What sensory experiences in your daily life influence your creative work? Can you describe a touch, taste, smell, sight, and sound that inspire you?


Through my work and years of experience, I usually have a heightened sense of color compared to other people. However, it's often difficult to describe colors accurately in the German language so that everyone understands what is meant. We literally lack the words for it. I can immediately identify the smell of flowers by their variety. For example, I try to place scented roses centrally for customers so that they can smell them, which is their primary purpose.

I associate seasons with the scent, color, and form of plants. January, for example, immediately reminds me of bare branches, the first blooms of witch hazel. Then come spring flowers and the first moss. This continues through the seasons.


  • Are there books you are currently reading or music you are listening to that offer inspiration for your art? If so, what are they?


I have a good ear for music; otherwise, I wouldn't have been able to yodel as a "wüster (ugly) Sylvesterklaus" for 30 years (polyphonic, wordless nature yodeling with resonant vowels and syllables).

I own many books but am a very visual person. I only look at the pictures and derive my inspiration in this way.




  • What is your wish for the next generation, especially in the context of your artistic work?


I wish for the opportunity to go into the forest, cut plants, and gather moss to continue. However, I already notice that, for example, conifers are changing, and lichens are moving higher up because it was too warm this season. Therefore, practically no potted firs can be offered in trade because they don't last. Additionally, plant production locations are decreasing as it's more profitable to sell or build on valuable land than to cultivate plants on it. Such circumstances limit plant diversity. Urban gardening cannot withstand because the demand cannot be met.

One could counteract this by allowing non-native plants in the forests that are better adapted to today's climate. People will always want to surround themselves with beautiful things, and flowers will always be a part of culture.


  • Do you have a sentimental piece of clothing with a special story or meaning that you can share with us?


The "wüste (ugly) Sylvesterklaus" consists only of natural materials.


  • Can you tell us about a valuable possession you acquired during your travels, such as ceramics, a talisman, a beauty product, textile, object, or artwork?


I rarely travel. Here in Appenzell, I have everything I need. I own a historic house, where my studio and shop are located. Every object in my house has a special story. Old cabinets, old dishes, everything is local, everything is from the canton Appenzell, everything is connected with generations.


  • Is there a special message or particular feeling you want to convey through your works? If so, what emotions do you want people to experience when they see your works/decorations?


Emotions arise in every situation in life that I accompany with flowers. From birth, through baptism, to birthdays, weddings, and funerals, I try to understand my clients in all circumstances and do what they need in that situation.


Come and visit us in the ByAdushka stores in Zurich, Basel and Bern to view Walter's awe inspiring Christmas decorations!

More information about him and future events can be found here:


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