City living

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Sometimes you just need to marvel at city life. New York- a place where it's possible to throw a 100th birthday party for a Chinese socialite who hobnobbed with gangsters and royalty in Shanghai in the early 1930s. Where the florist for that party buys 9 varieties of peonies and hangs dozens of hand painted lanterns to decorate an exceedingly fancy private club uptown.  Where the florist for the same party finds herself at the 11th hour in the backseat of a cab with the party's host, a client of legendary status among the Brooklyn flower scene, buying armloads of peonies at the grocery store for some extra something
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Untitled Untitled I'm attempting peace in the city, even if my personal life doesn't contain parties at private uptown clubs. Do you like wearing pantyhose? Cause that's what you have to do at those places. This month is my official 10 year anniversary of New York living, and while it makes me crazy, I feel lucky to have come as a teenager and grown up a bit here. Watching the sunset over manhattan from the roof, eating $3 falafel sandwiches and finally finding a girl to set up quickbooks online- city pleasures come in all varieties and I'm ready to stop being picky about where I find them.


Dog days

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A 3 minute arrangement with leftovers from Elmwood's class in the littlest room down at the end of the house. For the moment I've lost interest in doing big, dramatic things. I've been wolfing down queen anne's lace that grows 6 foot tall in empty lots all over Greenpoint and I'm really wanting to do nothing but arrange with wild grass. Florists in the city are all getting excited that ranunculus are back at the market but pftt! Where can i get more ruffly cosmos here? I'm really feeling summer, and wanting summer things. Peach juice is running down my arms daily. We are in the thick of it.
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Can I row boats in central park? Have a drink on the roof of the met? Picnic at the cloisters? Swim at Fort Tilden? Eat more hot dogs? Make more pies? Get tickets for Shakespeare in the Park? Ruin more perfectly good pants by cutting them into short shorts?

I'm excited to enjoy what we have left of summer. Do the same and report back.

Lately

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Now that Elmwood's over for the summer, we can talk about it. The class? So wonderful. The company? Beyond. Parker came from Oregon to shoot the afternoon for an upcoming issue of Kinfolk and it was so good to have him there with my usual cast of characters (Frank, Paul and Alice). They brought the booze and snacks and comic relief, and my indebtedness is bigger than the magnum of champagne we drank at the end.

When Parker gets his film back from the class, I'm hoping to post a few outtakes. For your eyes only.
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I spent the entire month incanting the phrase elmwood provides, like the property was a bottomless mary poppins bag of niceties. Butterflies and black eyed susans, some exquisite tiny, speckled wild canadian lilies and catkin grasses which somehow I've failed to notice every other year of my life. A single good thunderstorm, a campfire, a few more freckles, several shooting stars, the knowledge that turkey dogs are basically an abomination. I made several batches of jam, one particular peach variety never really set and was instead eaten with a spoon in one sitting. (By me.)

After being gone for the better part of a month- my houseplants are pathetic at best, my email inbox is a 3rd world country and my cat has gone feral again. That's okay. We are picking up the pieces of city life, and realizing that there is still a little summer left to be had here, too.

Stone Barns

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Last summer I naively questioned if I was a country girl or a city girl.  This summer, the answer came to me loud and clear as I collapsed into tears on the front lawn of Elmwood when it was time to drive home. If kicking and screaming were permissible grownup expressions of emotion, I would have gone that route. Sometimes it feels like New York is only good for 3 things- making money, spending money and eating Thai food in bed at 2am. After 10 years, it wears thin.

I've developed a new city life coping mechanism and it's called Stone Barns. A non-profit farm and education center located 25 miles north of the city on a former Rockefeller estate- Stone Barns and its partner restaurant Blue Hill are famous for their commitment to sustainable agriculture and local food. When I got an invitation to visit from Shannon Algiere, who started the growing operation with her husband 9 years ago, I jumped out of my skin.

UntitledShannon is the head of the flower and herb program at the farm while her husband manages the produce (200+ varieties). We talked and toured the farm, smelling scented geraniums and popping sungolds into our mouths off the vine. When it grew dark, we scooted into the legendary Blue Hill to eat, me looking like I had rolled up in a beat up pickup truck, with muck boots, messy hair and a work coat. (I had.) Fancy florist, what?
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There are, of course, no words to describe the dinner that may have stretched into the 3 hour mark. I had been to Blue Hill several times before but never to eat, mostly to work on weddings, peering at plates like a starving Oliver Twist-type. To sit down and eat with one of the farmers who's work sustains the restaurant was incomprehensible. Course after course, I was in awe. I mean, they slowcooked our potatoes in the farm's vegetable compost, 160 degrees overnight. Really.
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To meet Shannon and dream up ways to collaborate through flowers was beyond inspiring. Stone Barns is the one bright spot on my city horizon, and I'm already scheming to drive up and become Shannon's number one flower farming volunteer and fan club president. Please stay tuned for more gushy details about our future projects together and in the meantime, drool over what they do here.