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Summer in the City, Take 1

I'm typing this from my bedroom in South Brooklyn; the window's open wide and the breeze is friendly, generous. As the wind streams through the apartment I can't help but feel that everything's cleaner, brighter, more colorful. 

A few days ago some city workers came and finally filled the three vacant dirt-pits at the end of our street with soil, mulch, five young trees, and various ground-covering plants (I haven't looked closely but I know I've seen some violets and perhaps some pansies). This is a much anticipated change, for the sections have sat uncultivated for months now as a result of some recent sidewalk restructuring. And it isn't just the increased plresence of green on my block that has me all a-flutter - the thoughts of summers long-since-past keep springing to mind and I'm reveling in the memory of some of my favorite (early summertime) childhood blooms:

Black-Eyed Susan --- These had a stronghold over the garden patches in the front yard of my childhood home. I always admired their burnt golden petals and believed, for the longest time, that we had sunflowers guarding our lawn.

Gray Dogwood --- Of the various types of dogwood this happens to be my favorite. My father planted two dogwood trees (not grays) to flank the stone steps in our backyard and would often profess that it was his favorite tree, his favorite flower.

Asiatic Lilies --- I think my mother fancied these best for a time, mostly when I and my sister were very young. Whenever they'd first bloom she'd bring us outside to show them off, her smile a compliment to their pink and freckled faces.

Prairie Rose --- There are several kinds of roses which, to me, hardly look like "traditional" roses at all; but these, the prairie roses, have always caught my attention. They look like perfume would if it held a solid form: blushed pink fading to white.

Smooth Hydrangea --- O my. These! These might just have been my most favorite flower as a little girl. We had huge hydrangea hedges in the backyard and I'd often sit on the flat stone steps beneath them and admire their cloudlike presence. I also got in the nasty habit of picking off the full blooms just as they'd reach maturity (my mother never approved).

Witherod Viburnum --- The dainty white blossoms, the reddish-pink berries, the hearty red-brimmed leaves - I can't find anything not to admire about this plant. As they were also in our backyard my father would often remind me not to eat the fruit, regardless of how tasty-sweet it looked.


Customer Testimonials, Round 28 (Belated Happy Mother's Day!)

Mother's Day was particularly nice this year. Since getting married in the fall I've acquired a second Mother, a blond-haired spritely woman named Karen; and happily enough she and my father-in-law came for a short visit to the city. I'm sure they'd planned for it to occur during the Mother's Day weekend, but it seemed serendipitous all the same. To celebrate my husband and I prepared a modest Sunday brunch in our modest New York kitchen. The meal, all-vegan, consisted of whole-wheat pancakes with natural Adirondak syrup; baked red-skinned potatoes coated with a mixture of olive oil, lemon juice, and rosemary; mimosas with seltzer water instead of champagne; spinach and arugula salad with oil and vinegar dressing; and a fresh baguette from Bread Alone's stand at the Carroll Gardens farmers market. Needless to say it was comfy-cozy and absolutely delicious.

Of course we brought back some flowers to serve as the centerpiece to our handmade holiday brunch: purple tulips. Karen seemed to love them, especially the pixie-blue stars radiating from the center of their open blooms. In honor of this choice, and in further recognition of all those Mothers out there, this customer-testimonial post will contain pictures of nothing but purple tulips.

I wanted to send a thank you to your company! The flowers that I had ordered were stunning, on time, and a breeze to order online with my dinner reservation. 

We received the arrangement and it is GORGEOUS. Your local flower shop did a great job. Thank you very much. Sheila is verry happy, so I'm happy too. I'll have her take pictures and send them along your way. 

Thank you very much. I really appreciate your service and the flowers you have delivered for us. 

Hi guys. We want to thank you for the fantastic and correct service provided by your company. I chose a bouquet for my wife's birthday on March 19th, for a dinner at Mr. A's in San Diego and she loved it. Thank you and congratulations! 

We received the flowers at our table - thank you, they were a really happy-maker! 


May Flowers

A few weekends ago my husband and I, along with two of our friends, finally made the trip to the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens. Everything was in high bloom: the cherry blossoms, the lilac, the wisteria. The poppies, ranging from stark white to that deepest, darkest purple, stood erect with their petals bowing backwards, allowing the sunlight to pool in their open blooms. I've posted some of the photographs I took on our Facebook Fanpage - please, go ahead and give them a look, and see if you can't also help to identify a few of the plants whose names escape me!

Following my multiple Springtime flower obsessions, I thought it'd be nice to give you a post featuring pictures of flowers that bloom (or reach their pinnacle) in the month of May. You remember that old saying about April showers. So, there. That's it! A bare-bones, strictly visual post about May flowers. Let me know if there are any varieties (or colors!) that you'd like to see included, if I've forgotten them.

1: anemone

2: bloodroot

3: chionodoxa

4: daffodil

5: dogwood

5: hyacinth

6: azalea

7: rhododendron

8: roses (shrub)


Fleurotica 2012, Finally!

It's amazing that it's already been more than a year since I wrote this post about Fleurotica 2011. Back then, I was still living in Chicago and working from the Flower Petal H.Q. in downtown Chicago, right off the river and across from the Willis Tower (formerly Sears). All of it seems so distant now. Writing about Fleurotica 2012 from my modest Brooklyn apartment seems a far cry from my visits to our flower shop in Chicago, where I might've wiggled my fingers into some of the almost-finished arrangements or spent a few minutes in the walk-in flower fridge. But Springtime has finally overtaken this city, and I am all the more satisfied to be able to write about this year's event, even if from hundreds of miles away.

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LEFT TO RIGHT: a tulip skirt, taken literally; one of the lovely arrangements at the event.

Once again the Garfield Park Conservatory sponsored and put on this bright and colorful event, although it was held at a different location (Venue One) due to the damage the Conservatory's greenhouse sustained after a hailstorm last year. So 2012's gala was a benefit for the G.P.C., which gave a deeper purpose to an already pleasing visual spectacle.

In the photos below you'll see our signature look for the runway this year, a floor-length gown in firey red petals and blooms. To see our other creation, watch this video from ABC7 Chicago -- we snagged some major air-time in this one! Eunia Rushing described this outfit as "modern day fairytale urban evil queen," a three-quarter-length jacket featuring oak leaves, Mokara orchids, and wood moss.

ABOVE: our model blazing a trail down the catwalk.

LEFT TO RIGHT: the dress; Susan (head floral designer), our model,
and Andrea (our design coordinator) applaud toward the end of the show.

I'm certain it would have been magical to have been there. After browsing through the complete design catalogue of the show (photographs by Brian Kinyon) I was nothing but impressed. Beyond this, the designers and their models seem to have progressed in a very real way, almost toward a certain modicum of haute couture that, althouh present in previous years, seems to be coming into fullness. For more photos, visit Candid Candace's web page. For even more: a Fleurotica-focused write-up by Candace herself.


Customer Testimonials, Round 27: All-Things-Wisteria

I spent part of my spring break reading the first-half of a collection of essays/letters/poems by and about F. Scott Fitzgerald. A particular image, though it is one amongst many, remains steadfast in my mind: Parisian and Viennese wisteria. The vine-covered trees themselves played only a passing role in Francis and Zelda's recollections of their youthly travels, but appear lovingly throughout the couple's wandering prose ("Wistaria dripped in the court of the Høtel d'Europe at Avignon and the dawn rumbled up in market carts" [The Crack-up 43].) --- and, of course, my own preoccupation with these dreamy, creeping blossoms was happily reintroduced.

My daughter was absolutely delighted with the Orchid and immediately sent me a picture of the beautiful and delicate plant. Thanks for going out of your way for my last-minute color request. 

Just wanted to let you know that the arrangement I ordered far and away exceeded my expectations - you could not compare the photo on the web site with what we got. The arrangement was on the table when we were seated and my wife was surprised. She has worked part time at a high end flower shop in her past and she said the quality of the flowers and the arrangement matched what she was used to. Thanks so much! 

The flowers I ordered were absolutely gorgeous. By far the nicest roses I have ever purchased. Please forward me the name of the Florist. Thank you...you made a very special woman happy! 

Thank you very much for making my mom's birthday special. Everything was perfect! Given the quick notice I would say exceptional!