Yesterday morning found me bright and early on 28th Street, the home of New York’s flower market. It’s kind of odd: intensely stocked store-fronts with flowers spilling onto the street are buzzing, while next-door the curry shop is shuttered and across the street people in suits are spilling out of a nice hotel into waiting cars. What they make of the early morning hustle and bustle, not to mention the dozens of buckets of dahlias and tall bundles of plum branches, wasn’t clear in passing – maybe they didn’t notice anything at all, being too intent on their coffees and iPhones. Last time I went I was too timid to actually engage, but this time I was on a mission. Flowers had to be procured for 10 centerpieces (for a dinner at Faculty House, oh boy!) and while my backup plans were in place (Union Square market and Trader Joe’s) I really wanted to brave the wholesalers.
Turns out I had nothing to be worried about. Sure, there are no prices on anything but one guy patiently followed me around telling me how much the roses were ($10 for 25) vs. the clematis ($75 a bundle – but it’s so pretty…). It took me a while to decide, I wasn’t entirely sure how much I would need or what I was looking for, but I early on decided that phlox and veronica were necessities and after that, everything else was just a question of quantity really (yellow roses, jasmine, dahlias, mint). I got lucky and had just enough of everything, but in retrospect I should have gotten more for back-up (especially because dahlias are notoriously short-lived) and done at least one extra arrangement (they bumped it to 11 tables at the last minute). Also, mint sucks.
More importantly, the trip to the market was a reminder that I have much to learn about colour and how to visualize combinations. Some of this likely comes with practice and experimentation, but a book and some pencil crayons might not be amiss. I’m not disappointed with these arrangements, but they’re not what I would like to make for myself. They were too safe and somewhat unpolished for the style they’re arranged in. Enough with the useless self-analyzing though – it was a good experience and much fun was had. Plus, for two days my apartment smelled like a flower shop. Every time I came home I couldn’t help but smile.