Human Flower Project


Monday, January 04, 2010

2010 Unfurls in India

Since wintertime is flower-rich in India, blooms are better than fireworks for the New Year’s holiday.

imageBouquet makers hustle to meet demand at Kolkata’s New Market New Year’s Eve

Photo: Sandy Ao

Christmas - yes. Valentine’s Day - Oh, yes. But, no, flowers are not a big part of New Year’s festivity in the U.S., where glittery sunglasses, champagne and bottle rockets prevail.

For floraphiles, the place to be is India. “Be it for decoration or gifting, flowers are in great demand all across the city,” writes an online paper from Chennai. Express Buzz calls New Year’s blossoms “an old concept” though we don’t know how old “that continues to find favour even today with masses and classes alike.” Consequently, the flower season in India runs from mid-December all the way through mid-February.

In Chennai, roses and gladioli have been somewhat displaced by carnations, orchids, and more exotic varieties of flowers – anthriums and “even tulips.” These rarer blooms, claims florist Uttem Kumar, “express the taste and status of the sender.”

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Posted by Julie on 01/04 at 12:45 PM
Culture & SocietyCut-Flower TradeFloristsSecular CustomsPermalink

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Saved by the Eryngium

Seduced again by tulips, an amateur flower arranger reaches for something rubbery and something wild.


Pittisporum, tulips, and (praise be) eryngium

Photo: Human Flower Project

Hubris, failure, luck: The annals of amateurism are filled with these.

May we add another chapter? Today is a friend’s monumental birthday, a milestone we have yet to reach. Another great chum and world-class hostess is having the quasi-surprise party, a dinner at her home, and we volunteered to bring the flowers. Earlier in the week we hit “Family Thrift” and the St. Vincent de Paul store looking for some low, matchable-ish vases and today set out at noon to shop for flowers.

The hostess’s domain is saturated in bold rich colors: black, deep purple, reds, greys and dark greens. We had those regal shades in mind browsing the plants and flowers at the market. Five big purple and white orchids would have been swell but we pulled back. They’re pricey and so tall guests would be craning for conversation during the meal. The market was especially well stocked — many shades of roses, proteas buds (looking a bit too much like medieval flame throwers), lilies, lots of berries, even big purpling bouquets of kale.

There were also loads of tulips—white, red and purple—some tear-drop tight, other beautifully open. That was it. We bought five bunches and, on added impulse, several stems of a thistle-looking plant. As several tulip petals flew off in the wind on the way to the car, hubris began chafing.

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Posted by Julie on 12/02 at 04:58 PM
FloristsGardening & LandscapePermalink

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

At Home with Chaos

The Obamas are poised to hire a new First Florist, a fan of chaos and French style.


Laura Dowling, said to be the top contender for post of White House florist

Photo: Parisian Events

The latest presidential rumor here in the U.S. is human-flower gossip. Washington Post sources say that Laura Dowling, a Francophile from Alexandria, Virginia, will likely become the new White House florist.

“In June, chief florist Nancy Clarke retired after 31 years in the mansion, and there was speculation that Michelle Obama wanted a more contemporary look for flowers. Two weeks ago, three designers slipped into the White House for a tryout: Each created a state dinner centerpiece, flowers for the Oval Office, etc.—and Dowling’s romantic French look apparently won the day.”

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Posted by Julie on 10/20 at 04:34 PM

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Matchmaking on the Wedding Day

Georgia Silvera Seamans and other family members of a lucky bride and groom take on a human flower project the morning of a summer wedding.


For a Pittsburgh wedding the bride’s mother, a professional florist, guided the other women-relatives in making bouquets for the whole wedding party

Photo: Joe Seamans

By Georgia Silvera Seamans

I had watched my mother make bouquets for my brother’s wedding and even helped to wrap the stems, but I had never constructed a wedding bouquet on my own.

This gap in my resume was filled at the wedding of a cousin-in-law this August.  A cousin of my husband’s was marrying the daughter of a floral designer. Not only is the bride’s mother a working florist, she’s a great teacher.  She and the mother of the groom organized a bouquet-making class for the women relatives to take place the morning of the wedding.  (Prior days’ activities had included cookie making and Bollywood dancing lessons at the bride’s mehndi—though the bride is not of Indian descent).

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Posted by Julie on 10/07 at 10:22 PM
FloristsReligious RitualsSecular CustomsPermalink
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