December 15th, 2013

kinfolk table at elmwood
Two summers ago, Kinfolk came out to take some photos at Elmwood for this fall's The Kinfolk Table cookbook. I made some blueberry currant jam for the book and damn- don't you miss blueberry time? The entire perimeter of Elmwood's pond is lined with hundreds of wild blueberry bushes. I know I should be basking in December's holiday glow right now, but no. The snow here has turned to slush, give me goldenrod and horsefly bites any day.
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I might ease into holiday excitement except for the fact that the Merricks already celebrated Christmas 3 weeks early. We made the dinner and did the tree and all that. No real presents because there is no stress like present stress. I see holiday decorations in the streets and candy in the stores and surprised that the holidays are still happening. Yes, the world spins without you. I did, however, treat myself to a new camera lens so I'm hoping that encourages me to capture and post more creative projects here. That will be a big present to myself, and I hope that you get some enjoyment out the bargain, too.

November 16th, 2013

It's been a good long while but I think we're the kind of friends that can go MIA without feeling guilty. I've had some passing thoughts about just putting this place to bed, but I've come to terms with the fact that it doesn't have to be all or nothing. All you can do is the best you can do. Michael says this to me frequently.

Elmwood has been missed in the off season, and Michael too, now that he is living in California. Lots of changes but some things stay the same. My camera is still busted, I still don't have a car but I have been beyond blessed with work opportunities and the status quo has worked well this fall. My body no longer lets me sleep past 6am because so many flower market mornings have reset my clock. I'm dreaming of a warm winter with lots of orange blossoms and mornings spent in the sun. Wish me luck on that front.
Have flowers lost their charm these days? Maybe. But then again maybe it's just November. (Most likely the latter.) It's a hard time to arrange flowers- no local product yet and nothing is really hitting its stride anywhere but Australia. I miss the days of throw some weeds in it and call it done. There are no weeds to cut, so we pay an arm and a leg to get weeds flown in from California because their growing season defies time and space.

I better buck up because I have 400 Chilean peonies with my name on them for a wedding next weekend- the last wedding of the year. When people come to you for beautiful flowers, you give them what they want, November or not. But what I really want is a late morning in bed, a piece of pumpkin pie and Michael home for Thanksgiving. Let the countdown begin.

A blog in motion stays in motion.

I miss having a place to put my photos, I don't miss the pressure bomb of writing a story to match. Of course it's the writing bit that gives me the most satisfaction. My friend Logan says you know you're a writer when you love it but hate it even more. (Or maybe I said that? We said it together.) It other words- not today, kiddos. LOOK AT THESE ROSES! They are all from Elmwood in June.
June is a bit of a floral cliche at this point. Peonies are your favorite flower? You want them in your bouquet in October? Yes yes yes yes yes.... Peonies ahhhh, I get it, they are beautiful.

But when facing down June, soft fluffy sweet ruffly June, that professional iciness melts into soft pink ruffly bliss for a bit. An obvious choice, but obvious choices are obvious when it comes to June. We are long past those days now and I'm missing them. (Obviously.)

Flashback! Peony times.

Thank you for the excitement for our upcoming class in Washington, we sold all of the 15 spaces in two days! Can I just travel and teach all of next year? A floral roadtrip of sorts in a truck like this. Accepting corporate sponsorships.

I haven't been home much in the past month, just a few days here and there.  Traveling hasn't always come naturally to me, us cancers have to fight the urge to stay put. But that doesn't mean I don't love it. A good trip always makes coming back to New York a tricky maneuver. I find it's always nicer to leave than to come home to the city.
But! Michael and I swam darn near daily in New Hampshire, I gave a lecture (I give those now!) in Kansas City and we drank beers in Austin, Texas. I really love seeing how other people live and work. I was especially excited about Kansas City, I gave a presentation to the creative staff at Hallmark about my process and ideas on creativity.  It was a real honor to talk to such a big group and I left feeling more inspired and excited than ever. I'm becoming more interested in tracking my flow of creativity and using my experiences to inspire others in turn. That's more important than wedding flowers any day of the week. But, ahem. I still do wedding flowers, too.

New Workshop

A quick little post in between radio silence to announce that, hello! I will be teaching a weekend flower intensive with the supremely wonderful organic flower farmer and floral designer Erin Benzakein in Mount Vernon, Washington August 24th and 25th. It's been a collaboration years in planning and oh geez, to cut from her fields will be the highlight of the year! I know the weekend will bring so much inspiration to us all, and I really hope you consider joining us. For details and to register, more information is here.

Newsletter news

This flowering paperbush is one of the earliest spring bloomers on the east coast, fitting to show now since I am in a bit of confusion in terms of time and space. Work came in backbreaking spurts this spring, and the traditionally crazy month is June is delightfully relaxed. I use the world relaxed very loosely. I guess I mean I'm eating decent meals and sleeping 8 hours a day! The novelty. I always thought the work/personal life balance was an ephemeral mist that evaporated the closer you got to it, but we are snatching handfuls this month.
In addition to a smattering of beautiful weddings and tending to some truly wonderful clients, I'm prepping a series of summer classes that will be posted online soon. Brooklyn, New Hampshire and Washington State- here's looking at you. I've finally started a newsletter that you can subscribe to here, I will send out an email when the classes are listed. Hoping to share some floral inspiration from both inside the studio and out in the coming months. Happy soon-to-be summer!

New York Spring


Spring has basically come and gone since I was here last. The windows are open, the fan is on and sticking has started. Roses, iris and vibrunum are out in Brooklyn and it feels like the start of the next big thing. The totaling of the truck is a long released nightmare of a situation but I've actually almost enjoyed being vehicle-free.  The past few months have been spent reconnecting with the sidewalks- the true home of all New Yorkers. The sidewalk here are our backyards, our only daily connection to nature. There is something more inspiring about a violet growing in a cement crack than damn near anything else in the world. And can it please going without saying that we are all that violet in our own way?

This winter was brutal. Truly. I felt abandoned by this city and ready to abandon it right back. But seasons have a way of turning corners and this place still has me under its thumb. Not just because of my loving boyfriend here and enough stuff to fill several large dumpsters, but at this point, I'm finally ready to be called a New Yorker. Not permanently, maybe just for now, but after 11 years of hustle I better face facts. The scales tipped when I did the flowers for a party at the Met this month for the opening of the new Costume Institute show. This place has been hard on me, but wow. That was everything.

(Here is a photo I took with my phone of that, since I am camera-less these days. Those instagram kids get all the news as it happens. But they don't get my heart like you do.)

Steven Alan pop-up

Steven Alan pop-up
I'm currently writing this post from a huge rental cargo van, on the way to pick up dozens of beautiful houseplants for a pop-up shop at the new Steven Alan home store this weekend. I'll be selling simple bouquets and fool-proof plants- a perfect way to welcome spring (and fund my post hit and run truck!). The pop-up has been in the works for months, and I'm over the moon excited for it to finally be happening. Please stop in and take a bit of nature home with you!

Truck troubles

The past few weeks have piled up a few small sadnesses. A month of sickness in the house, back and forth between Michael and I, and the senseless smashing of my beloved truck. It was totaled in the middle of the night by a teenage boy who, after wrecking both of our cars, just ran away on foot. We woke up the next morning to find nothing but scatted broken vases and flower buckets at the spot where the truck had been towed in the early hours of St. Patricks Day.
Trucks are replaceable. Humans are not. I've been through worse, so much worse, and yet I'm still heartbroken. Sadness, anger, guilt, sadness, anger, guilt! We are so very fortunate, if you have to be hit by a drunk driver, it's best not to be inside the car. The other driver's insurance situation is a diaster though, so everything is in painful limbo. But birds are chipping here and spring seems to finally be breaking through. Cars don't matter, breathe, cars don't matter, breathe, cars don't matter. Maybe now is the time to revive my hunter green jaguar e-type dreams?

Quick pics


A surprising amount of flowers have come through the studio considering it's winter. Too bad I've momentarily lost interest in photographing arrangements, the same super blurry depth of field shot, blahhhh. It's nice to let pretty things pass undocumented sometimes, good for the creative cycle. 

People frequently ask what camera I use, I have an old canon 5D, a little 35mm point and shoot and my currant favorite, my iphone. This is a camera shot- the reflection of Broome Street in the back window of my truck after a finishing a job at the St. Regis. I've found that shooting phone photos is my new favorite creative game- the limitations of the camera make it much more casual and fun. Inspiration is hard to come by, and as long as I don't shatter my phone on sidewalk again, I'll catch a bit spontaneity whenever I can.