Tuesday, June 19, 2018

In Spades

A recent newspaper article about florists reminded me of a pleasant way to send flowers to a friend. Order specific blooms delivered with the stems set into water tubes. That way, the recipient can use a favorite container and enjoy the relaxed effect of amateur arranging. English designer David Hicks recommended cutting flowers and arranging them in one's hand as one goes, then setting the bouquet into a jar as is.

During the Eighties and Nineties, I read furiously in glossy shelter magazines and books about interior design. The floral arrangements of the New York firm Pure Madderlake never failed to enchant, but I did not expect ever to enjoy one first hand. Around 2003, a local gardening organization solicited nominees for a contest. I contacted the unknown gardener who had transformed a long-vacant lot into an indescribably beautiful haven.

The fellow declined the nomination but offered me a tour of his guerrilla garden. He had organized it as a memorial to his brother, a fireman, lost on 9-11. The garden was designed for reflection and relief. My guide picked up clippers and a small, very good piece of northern European glass. We made our way through narrow paths, and I chose from appealing and subtle varieties. As I was leaving, my host mentioned that he had worked at Pure Madderlake and had sunk $20,000 into the plant material on his vacant lot -30-

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