Flower Power

If you asked me one hour into my day at Twig if I was destined to be a floral designer I would have said no…because I would kill all the flowers! All morning I was rinsing vases and putting flowers in them, but I kept forgetting to fill the vases with water. But as the day went on I saw how soothing, creative and fun being a floral designer is.

Twig gets two big orders of flowers direct from Europe each week. The flowers are picked, packed, flown to New York and arrive in Boston the next day. When I arrived at 7:30am boxes filled with hundreds of flowers covered the floor of Twig’s South End shop. My first job was to unpack and count the stems to make sure that all the flowers that were ordered were delivered. Then the “processing” began.

Processing involves cleaning the flowers and putting them in vases so that one stem can be plucked out easily. Twig’s Rob Galeski talked me through processing a variety of flowers and foliage. We started off easy…with leaves. Yes, I started by cleaning leaves. Rob is smart: don’t have a novice begin her first day as a florist butchering expensive roses. We did move on to roses…eventually…I learned how to use a de-thorner and managed not to spill any blood (mine or others)

Then we moved on to arranging. I learned some rules about creating a floral arrangement including the first commandment: thou shall not arrange symmetrically. I also learned that sometimes customers and florists don’t speak the same language. Words like “colorful,” “texture,” and themes like “Tuscan” can mean very different things to different people. We created one arrangement for a customer to bring to a man’s birthday party, which turned out beautifully despite the unusual color palate request of orange and purple. We also created a bouquet using a flower that honestly looks like human brain matter, but among hydrangeas, tulips and thistle it looks lovely.

The highlight of my day was the wedding consultation. Courtney, a sweet, very non-bridezilla bride-to-be, came into Twig armed with pictures and ideas. She is also a strawberry blond with more freckles than you can count so I knew we would get along wonderfully. We — and by we I mean Courtney and Rob (I was afraid to open my mouth out of fear that I would suggest something that she hated and therefore reflect badly on Twig) — went over the floor plan for her December wedding. We talked about colors and flowers. After seeing all the plans and hearing her ideas I am hoping I can snag an invitation to her and Randy’s big day. Hint, hint.

As I walked home after my time at Twig, I was stuck by the fact that my day of free labor didn’t seem like work. Compared to the daily grind of sitting in my office, unpacking, preparing and arranging flowers seemed like heaven – a very colorful, fragrant heaven. It was cathartic to create the perfect spiral of stems so that when placed in a vase each bloom could be easily plucked out one at a time. It was fun to take a request, like the odd orange and purple order, and try different combinations until a lovely little arrangement developed organically. Best of all, there was no wrong answer. Sure, Rob filled me in on the rules of arranging (i.e. no symmetry) but floral design is not a practice of absolutes. It is an art of expression. Sure if the customer hates what you’ve created, you have a problem…but you can’t really get something wrong. Coming from the world of journalism where one wrong fact negates (as it should) the rest of the good reporting you spent days doing, that was liberating. Now I know this is only by first adventure, but I think I could get used to this!

Many thanks to my fine friends at Twig for being so patient and kind and allowing me to spend a day with them. They are creative professionals with a lot of knowledge to share. And most importantly, they are fun!

View all the pictures from my day at Twig.

Every Rose Has Its Thorn

I grew up with an eccentric mother.  She loves animals and the outdoors.  She prefers forests to fashion; insects to interior design.  So when she told me she wanted to give my childhood home a new look, I thought YURIKA!  My first adventure will be redesigning my parent’s house.  Maybe there is an interior designer hidden inside this former journalist.  I politely offered my services, and my mom bluntly declined my kind offer, “I don’t think your father and I can handle that much pastel.”  So I helped her find an interior designer with a more mundane color pallet, and I got to thinking: she was right.  I do love color, lots of it.  I started to explore what I could try out that included some Roy G. Biv (come on, you remember that from second grade!).  That’s when my fine friends at Twig, the fantastic South End flower shop (there is also a location on Charles Street), answered my prayers.  This weekend I will be a member of the Twig team.  On Saturdays they receive deliveries direct from Europe and those flowers have to be sorted (hopefully by hue), prepared (ie. dethorning roses), arranged and delivered (I may look good behind the wheel of a truck). I love flowers, especially hydrangeas, calla lilies and peonies so I am hoping there will be some of my favorite varieties to work with.  If I can manage not to loose too much blood on those roses, then this may be the job for me!  Check back in on Sunday to hear, and see, how my day as a floral designer goes, or stop into Twig on Saturday and see for yourself!

I borrowed this picture from apartmenttherepy.com,imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.