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Mike and Jodie Nieman’s 1972 Volkswagen Bug was decked out in flowers on Main Street on Monday, Oct. 22, courtesy of Erica Grube and her Calistoga company, EV Floral Design.

“We have weddings and afterward, we have left-over flowers,” Grube said recently. After getting permission to decorate the VW Bug, Grube and her best friend, Lilly Griffin, spent more than two hours draping the flowers and arrangements in the engine compartment, in the hood and even decorated the wheels and tires.

Grube and Griffin showed up at 8:30 p.m. “It was a larger install, because we had to use chicken wire inside the hood to attach the flowers,” Grube said. Her inspiration came from a florist in New York who creates art called a “Floral Flash.”

“They don’t tell anybody they’re going to do it. They just show up,” Grube said.

When the Niemans showed up at their Main Street shop, they were thrilled. “I was looking forward to it and it was so beautiful,” Jodie said. “It’s putting a smile on everyone’s face. We see people walk by and they smile and take pictures.”

Mike added he was “honored that they would chose the Volkswagen as a place to have a beautiful display of their work. I think it’s great that she gets this kind of attention, because she works very hard.”

Nieman added his 1972 VW Bug is special because it’s fitted with a World War II Continental, 7-cylinder radial tank engine. A propeller powers it forward and the engine runs on propane.

Grube, who was born and raised in Calistoga, said her next floral art installation may be later this month, since she has a big event on Saturday, Nov. 17.

“I’m thinking about maybe (doing it in) Calistoga. We have to find someone to give us permission,” she said.

Overall, the floral art projects are a fun way to give back to the community, she added. “And not have dead flowers lying around my studio.

To contact Grube, call 623-8362 or email

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St. Helena Star Editor

David Stoneberg is the editor of the St. Helena Star, an award-winning weekly newspaper. Prior to joining the Star in 2006, he worked for the Lake County Record-Bee, the Clear Lake Observer American, the Middletown Times Star, The Weekly Calistogan and st