Human Flower Project

Macy’s Uppity Flower Show

Georgia Silvera Seamans takes us on a multigenerational visit to the Macy’s spring Flower Show, an adventure in verticality and exuberance.


Above the Fray—one of the “towering’ floral displays at this year’s Macy’s Flower Show in New York

Photo: Georgia Silvera Seamans, Local Ecologist

By Georgia Silvera Seamans

The Macy’s Flower Show began as a “fragrance festival” at the Union Square Macy’s in San Francisco.  That was in 1946.  In 1953, the first official Macy’s Flower Show was held at the Herald Square Macy’s in New York City.  Between 1966 and 1973, the NYC show was not held due to the high cost of “maintaining cut flowers,” but the show returned in 1974 with potted flowers, a less expensive option.

This year’s theme was “Towers of Flowers,” which meant many of the gardens were displayed above eye level: a good way to keep visitors’ fingers off the displays but not so “handy” for seeing plants.

imagePreston Bailey’s ‘Poodles on a Carousel,’ Bouquet of the Day April 9, 2011 at Macy’s

Photo: Georgia Silvera Seamans, Local Ecologist

Several large scale gardens, however, could only be displayed on the floor, such as the Bouquet of the Day.  I, along with my mother and son, visited the NYC Show on Saturday, April 9, when The Bouquet of the Day was Preston Bailey’s “Poodles on a carousel.”  The design was exuberant and the flowers of the best quality.

My mother was impressed with the vibrancy of the flowers on the second to last day of this year’s show.  She had attended the 2010 Show and told me that the flowers had all but wilted on the last day due to the unseasonably warm temperatures last April.

This year the aisles of the perfume, jewelry and handbag floor were packed!  Women and men off all ages were in attendance, children, too, and definitely one toddler who did not like the crush of people.  He wholeheartedly agreed with the visitor who said, “It’s so crowded,”  failing to appreciate the floral ornamentation as others did: “Oh my god that is beautiful” and “Gorgeous, gorgeous!”  The quiet display in a tree planter outside on the sidewalk was to his liking.


Winning the Toddler’s Award, an outside planter at Herald Square

Photo: Georgia Silvera Seamans, Local Ecologist

Back inside, I viewed the gardens: Antebellum, Tropical, Hydrangea, Orchid Bromeliad, Desert, Urban Oasis, Rooftop, English Cottage, Japanese.  At least I saw what I believed to be the Japanese Garden: a small, subdued space offering a pagoda surrounded by vegetation. 

There was actually no mystery to any of the gardens; it was easy to guess which garden was which.  Spanish moss draped over plants was a major cue for the Antebellum Garden.  Even for a non-plants person, the exotic flowers in the tropical garden would have been a giveaway.


‘Rooftop garden’ in name only as the Macy’s Flower Festival, 2011

Photo: Georgia Silvera Seamans, Local Ecologist

The Urban Oasis and Rooftop gardens, however, did not read as urban or rooftop.  They were beautifully styled but the flowers that each one contained could have been found in the Antebellum or English Cottage gardens, for example.  My disappointment was mostly directed towards the Rooftop Garden.  Given the press about the multiple ways to green a roof I expected sedums, vegetables, or something uncommon… “Tower with a Twist” designed by Catherine Latson with Oriental bittersweet. This piece was a special favorite of our mother’s.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 05/12 at 03:50 PM


well done georgia!!!!!

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 05/13 at 05:04 AM
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