Thursday, March 31, 2011

Flower School 02 "Acanthus"

Acanthus (Bear's Breech)

The myth goes that Calimachus, a Greek architect and sculpture had visited a grave site and happened upon the grave of a young girl which had been adorned by a votive basket which was filled with her dolls. The basket was covered by a tile to protect the dolls from the elements and and Acanthus plant had grown around and through the weaving of the basket. This sight was the source of his inspiration for a beautifully ornate column which is referred to as the Corinthian Column. The plant can bee found growing lavishly wild around Greek and Turkish ruins. The Leaves of the Acanthus have been used throughout history for ornamentation of interiors, textile prints and all types of decorative detailing.
The Acanthus is a hardy perennial which does well in full sunlight.
Conditioning :
The stems are best cut when all flowers have blossomed, then their ends should be placed in boiling water for 30 sec and after placed in deep cold water for a few hours. The flowers can also be dried by being hung upside down. The leaves should also have their stem ends dipped in boiling water watching not to let the steam damage the leaves. After, they should be completely submerged in water with a little bit of starch for half a day.
Since they do so well in August or September they are perfect summer flowers for larger bold arrangements combining well with other naturally occurring flowers of the season like Sunflowers, Olive branches, Dahlias and Thistle-(whose foliage closely resemble the Acanthus).

Print depicting the origins for inspiration of the design of the Corinthian Column

Frank Oliver Call

Beneath the sculptured marble portico
Of a Greek temple, white against the sky,
Carved capitals on pillars rising high
Gleam like great blossoms in the noonday's glow.
Proudly each column in the stately row
Its crown of beauty wears; the sunbeams die
Among acanthus leaves that nestling lie
Where they were carved two thousand years ago.

Eternal Beauty, thou wilt not be bound
By time-forged fetters, but dost find a home
Where Gothic pillars rise acanthus-crowned
Beneath gray northern spires or southern dome,
Eternal Beauty, Everlasting Truth,
Thou hast the secret of undying youth.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Savage Tropics

Detail of large escort table arrangement composed of various tropical foliage,
wild blossoming smilax and masses of cascading Hawaiian dendrobiums.

Another Time

Age of Consent
Amos Poe

A palm frond, the awkwardness of coming of age and feeling out of place in a world where your romanticism doesn't match the world your in. The utter abandon and freedom of youthful self discovery. A time when all is possible if you believe it. This video took me back in my own personal history to this period in my life. The wind swept shore above -an ode to my home town, West Palm Beach where I spent this part of my life and New Order somehow made the angst and heartbreak of first love worth suffering through. Funny how emotions were all that existed and drove me. Glad to have survived it and grown into a more manageable human being with a place in this world.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Mocha Flavored Inspiration

There are better ways to start your day
but none will tell you all the sweet lies you want to hear...........

"You're completely happy"

"You're brimming with energy"

"You're going to accomplish everything you need to for the day in the next 3 hours"

and most importantly,

"You're damned sexy!!!!"

............like the frothy and artfully made Mochaccinos at Gina la Formarina

Please don't delete my blog from your bookmarks when you order the second one and throw your body rhythm off for days ahead!

Charles Spurrier/ Margaret Thatcher Projects

Charles Spurier 2011
Margaret Thatcher Projects

Had a lovely day visiting galleries in Chelsea today. Above is a close-up detail shot of an art work that caught my eye. The artist, Charles Spurrier, used packing tape and cutouts from Christie's catalogues to make this assemblage. The final product looks like a flat two dimensional surface until inspected closer where the layers are barely visible. He has burned holes into the tape and then continued adding more tape and necklaces. The burning creates a nice smokiness to the transparent areas. This photo doesn't do it justice. Hopefully I can acquire art like this in this lifetime!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Central Park- Almost there

The buds on the trees in Central Park are an auspicious sign of the burgeoning Spring. This weekend the only dashes of color came from forsythia and the bulbs ( daffodils, crocus and bluebells). It was still sweet to see the young leaves breaking their way through to new season. there was also a nice show from the andromeda bushes by the boathouse which were tender and abundant. Give it another three to four weeks and then visit your local parks for the full effect. The magnolias and cherry trees are chock full of buds most certain not to disappoint!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Flower School 01 "Acacia (Mimosa Wattle)"

I am pleased to write the first of many posts to come encompassing the history, disposition and manner to treat and condition specific flowers (A-Z) as well as suggestions or examples of incorporating them into arrangements. The sum total of these posts will eventually make up the contents of an encyclopedic resource for you flower buffs out there to reference when arranging or caring for cut flowers. I am overcome with excitement and inspiration about this new project and hope to be helpful to all you flower enthusiasts! Please feel free to post comments or any specific questions that you might have and I will do my best to answer in an timely manner.

Acacia (Mimosa Wattle)

The Acacia is said to have over 1300 varieties whose genus have been divided into five. The name Acacia is reserved for those coming from Australia and South East Asia, and the remaining four are classified as the European Vachellia and Senegalia and the Acacialla and Mariosousa of the Americas.
The Silver Wattle ( Acacia dealbata) is an idea tree for landscaping with it's bright yellow flowers, lovely glaucous foliage and the sweet fragrance of it's flowers. It also serves as a protective barrier as the branches have very dangerous thorns from where the name was derived of the Greek term for spike "akis". Tannins and gum are both products widely used from the tree as well as it's strong and beautiful wood used in furniture designs.
Freemasons used the acacia to symbolize purity and endurance of the soul and the
perfume industry uses Acacia farnesiana for it's strong fragrance which has a steep history in the bible often mentioning the burning of it's wood as incense.
The acacia blossoms have a tendency of turning brown and hard when exposed to the air, therefore they are shipped in special bags to preserve the fluffy yellow blossoms. Once the cut stems have been removed from the shipping bags, immediately submerged them entirely under cold water and then dip the end of the stems in boiling water for 30 sec. Place them in warm water until the flower puffs have dried. This technique will help prolong its life. Because of it's temperament this is a flower that should be used for an event and not expected to last beyond a few days. The flowers are charming when combined with daffodils or other early spring varieties like tulips or viburnum for centerpieces or bouquets. (see "Bright and Daffy" post).

Friday, March 25, 2011

Bright and Daffy

Bright and sunny Spring bouquet of Daffodils, Francoise Tulips, Mimosa, and Viburnum

Odd Couple

photographers unknown

These two photos came from ebay. They didn't have details so I don't know anything about them but they seemed to oddly go together. If there's a story here it's likely endowed with humor and curiosity.

Blood Red Passion

A contrasting bouquet for a glamorous urban bride in a white chiffon dress with an antique rhinestone brooch containing Lady slipper orchids, Spider Gerbera Daisies, Calla Lilies and Black Dahlias.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Satyajit Ray

The Masterworks of Satyajit Ray

Panther Pantanjali clips:
The Rain Scene
The Train Scene

Listening to Satyajit Ray The Masterworks today with scores by Ravi Shankar and recalling the ravishing beauty of his films. Absolutely one of the greatest film makers of all time. Worth seeing each and every film especially the earlier films (the Apu Trilogy) exquisitely shot by cinematographer Subrata Mitra.

Scheltens & Abbenes

LUMAS 2006




I have always thought of floral arranging as essentially sculptural collage. The fantastic Dutch duo Scheltens and Abbenes take this concept into a graphic two dimensional form using cutouts and photographing the beautifully assembled still lifes of paper.

Warriors Wanted

Photo by Eric Lafforgue

It makes sense that one of the few places on this media-saturated scientifically "advanced" planet where warriors still exist is Africa where lawless governments rule. This photo is a Koro tribal warrior from Ethiopia. His war painted face is fiercer than any make up artist could conjure, 'cause it's the real deal.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Beware the Ides of March

Montage Cityscapes
photos by Charoonkit Thahong 2011

This week has been a roller coaster of weather patterns. It's Spring. It's not. I was asked to make this rose bowl for a corporate client's breakfast and felt a bit schizo making it on such a dreary day. I have to say, I have always loved rain! Frost I can live without but nothing is sexier than tropical rains(that is warm days and drizzle) not what we're up against today in New York.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

yes is a pleasant country...

yes is a pleasant country... (XXXVIII)
E. E. Cummings
yes is a pleasant country:
if's wintry
(my lovely)
let's open the year

both is the very weather
(not either)
my treasure,
when violets appear

love is a deeper season
than reason;
my sweet one
(and april's where we're)

Monday, March 21, 2011

Beetle Bride

Beetle Bride 2011

Our little Beetle Bride is all dressed up with no groom! She can try searching for a suitable mate in one of the Eugene Seguy prints above but she might be a bit too overdressed to seal the deal.
Her skirt is a frilly bouquet of mini Cymbidium Orchids and White Nerrines

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Dream Zone

"Tropical birds"
Bridget Vizoso 2006

Neutral Grooves

Another summer bouquet made for New York Magazine this year of Fleshy Phalaenopsis Orchids in a bed of Lily of the Valley and Assorted delicate ferns has a, "Just Plucked from Nature" feel to it that I love.
Above is a booth at Diffa By Design that I particularly enjoyed for it's throwback tongue in cheek reference to a privileged set from a few decades back as well as the overall restrained desaturated colors. The mix of Ikat prints and the groovy vintage Echo scarf "Pair of Lions" mounted on a frame are tres fab. I expect an overly tanned Playgirl pin-up from the early 70's to be making an entrance any minute now offering something unspeakably manly to a socialite from the same era dressed in a floor length printed wool dress and perfect roller hair. This is no party for lightweights!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Home for Purim

Photographer- Unknown, 1924
Portrait of the Valentin Family

Yesterday on my way back from PS1 Summer Sessions featuring the astoundingly talented Reggie Watts(that's a whole 'nother post), my subway car was taken over by a number of giggly young men and women dressed in fantastically original costumes! I asked what costume party they were going to and they said, "Purim". Unfortunately I have been remiss on posting this but I felt it was imperative that I not overlook this public celebration of the Jewish people which emphasizes giving of food gifts and charity. Again- most appropriate given the current events.

Vernal Equinox

Ostara (1884) by Johannes Gehrts

David Austin Garden Roses, Icelandic Poppies and Jasmine

The fertility goddess Ostara is celebrated by Wiccans on the spring equinox which is officially March 20th at 8:07 pm. New beginnings! In many Arab nations Mother's Day is celebrated on the Spring Equinox. Tomorrow's "Super Moon" will, according to astrologers, bring heightened emotions with it and is an opportune time to transform turbulent situations into auspicious regenerations. Timing couldn't be better!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Enamel Nesting Bowls

Saw these at the 1st Dibs showrooms in the Design Center. Great bold color!

Please Help Japan

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


Couldn't help myself! Here is a wonderful collage by an unknown artist that I saw at 1st Dibs. I decided to throw my two cents in by adding the fishbowl with flowers. Somehow the associations came together in an un-realistic yet optimistic way that summed up my day. What is a world without color or flowers?

Monday, March 14, 2011

Please Help Japan

Crisp and Clean

I can go nuts adding different elements to a bouquet and they might all work together as a complex tapestry but my favorite medleys usually happen when the third or fourth element is added and something modestly whispers, ".....that's it".
Simplicity is often the best choice.
I was tickled to see this flirty green and white bouquet featured in a full page spread for WEDDINGS New York Magazine Spring /Summer 2011 issue!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Cabbage Rose

"DARCY" Rosa Centifolia

The Thin People
Sylvia Plath

They are always with us, the thin people
Meager of dimension as the gray people

On a movie-screen. They
Are unreal, we say:

It was only in a movie, it was only
In a war making evil headlines when we

Were small that they famished and
Grew so lean and would not round

Out their stalky limbs again though peace
Plumped the bellies of the mice

Under the meanest table.
It was during the long hunger-battle

They found their talent to persevere
In thinness, to come, later,

Into our bad dreams, their menace
Not guns, not abuses,

But a thin silence.
Wrapped in flea-ridded donkey skins,

Empty of complaint, forever
Drinking vinegar from tin cups: they wore

The insufferable nimbus of the lot-drawn
Scapegoat. But so thin,

So weedy a race could not remain in dreams,
Could not remain outlandish victims

In the contracted country of the head
Any more than the old woman in her mud hut could

Keep from cutting fat meat
Out of the side of the generous moon when it

Set foot nightly in her yard
Until her knife had pared

The moon to a rind of little light.
Now the thin people do not obliterate

Themselves as the dawn
Grayness blues, reddens, and the outline

Of the world comes clear and fills with color.
They persist in the sunlit room: the wallpaper

Frieze of cabbage-roses and cornflowers pales
Under their thin-lipped smiles,

Their withering kingship.
How they prop each other up!

We own no wilderness rich and deep enough
For stronghold against their stiff

Battalions. See, how the tree boles flatten
And lose their good browns

If the thin people simply stand in the forest,
Making the world go thin as a wasp's nest

And grayer; not even moving their bones.

Hot Magenta

I'm smitten with this little pedestal bowl I broke down and bought on Ebay. It's really no holds bar kitsch while being over the top fabulous all at once! Flowers: Peonies, Garden Roses, Hydrangea, Begonia, Lemon and Aspedestra leaves with Maidenhair Fern(not see in these shots).