Constance Spry




magenta hazel and the arch


When working with red I always think of Constance Spry, the legendary English social reformer and society florist whose heyday was in the 1930’s and 40’s. Famously introducing vegetables, weeds and found objects as vases to the art form,  she was essentially to flower arranging what the sex pistols were to rock-n-roll. When discussing the color red she says,

” Striking and beautiful effects may be obtained by mixing strongly contrasting shades of red and by adding fruits and berries. You get brilliance rather than hardness by combining many shades and tones in an arrangement; rose, vermillion, crimson, magenta and so on to provide a strong, warm effect that is comparable in color to the sound of a trumpet blast.”

She goes on to strictly advise that when sending flowers to men, one must use entirely red flowers… what could be more brilliant?



Flowering at the Thompson

Hazel working

This week we had the pleasure of flowering with the lovely Molly Guy,  creative director of Stone Fox Bride on the inaugural party for Guest of a Guest at the Thompson.  We designed a Stone Fox flower crown bar replete with antique baskets of calendula and chamomile from our farm. The event was packed with genius babes and we had a blast seeing all the gorgeous crowns they came up with. Hazel is pictured here wearing a crown of her own design, available at Hazel Baek…..

close up siragusa

Siragusa centerpiece

cointreau centerpiece

Bouquet Siragusa

bubblegum, bubblegum in a dish…

me working

Last weekend we produced the most vibrant, summery wedding! The flowers were in the dreamiest bubblegum pink/ creamsicle palette, with Coral Sunset, Angel Cheeks and Etched Salmon peonies all on the scene. Adding to the sugar-sweet look, we arranged the centerpieces on crystal cake plates with honeysuckle, mint and mock orange blossom, whose fragrance hung heavy in the gorgeous ballroom at the Ivy Room.

june rosez

mango bouquet-fixed-1-fixed



old fashioned at the New Modern Wing

sea shell marlin close up

mums aqua

Upclose shell blush

marlin pix

We recently had the pleasure of decorating tables for an under the sea themed event at the New Modern Wing of the Art Institute. These fragrant, golden throated Cattleya orchids were grown just 20 miles away at Hausermann’s orchids in Villa Park!  Established in 1920 with 3.5 acres of orchids growing under glass,  Hausermann’s is a thrilling step back in time to an era when florists got all of their flowers from hot houses and local farms. Speaking of old-fashioned exotics, I especially adore these Anastasia chrysanthemums which look like sisters of the sea anemone…

aqua mums on step

close up marlin#2

Hearts of palm

me and ferns

Amaryllis and ferns to the max

I am loving this cold Spring we are having, taking it’s sweet time as it languorously rolls out towards Summer. Also, it helps me stay calm about how behind we are with basically everything, organizing the office, our annual spring cleaning studio smack down, and the flower farm where we haven’t even tilled our rows yet!  With each chilly night under my down comforter I can pretend it might still be March. These Challenger amaryllis also take their sweet time opening, but then refuse to wilt for a week! Not sure why I’m so obsessed with palms, if it’s that they are so iconic or if it’s how deeply inspiring Miami Vice was to me as a child of the 80’s…



delphinium arrangement

Sweet Pea Madness

coral peony and needlepoint

gift arrangements en masse

gold and coral cpSpring has arrived in Chicago, as have some exquisite projects for our studio! Gilding foliage, waves of gift arrangements for fashion editors, and samples for some brilliant clients whose taste and vision have yielded really lavish and original results. Oh, and just incase you ever wondered what 170 stems of “Misty Apricot” sweet pea looks like, now you know!

peach sweetpea

gilded coral foliage

les nereides gift arrangement

Natural law


cafeaulait b-maid

working with light

I long time ago, I went to career counseling to figure out what I was supposed to do rather than be a florist. The results of extensive testing concluded that I should be a lawyer or a farmer. Back then I was living in Brooklyn and the idea of pursuing farming was unimaginable and hilarious but now farming is an integral and inspiring part of my business.  It was an effective exercise though in that I ended up realizing how much I wanted to do this work. I found myself passionately describing to the career counselor how the occasions I am hired to enhance are so momentous that Mother Nature herself is a necessary and honored guest. Check out these dinner plate dahlias, Japanese anemone and hydrangea that we grew last year…

gemnani lighting

pale farm dahlias

close up gemnani cp

bridal blush and apricot

dahlias escort card

following the flowers


I seriously do learn a lot from our clients.  A particularly glamorous groom once explained to me in an exquisite English accent that he preferred plants “that flower before they fruit,” as he set his feet on the coffee table in flowered pink socks.  As a city girl,  I thought this was just some smart-sounding poetry from a fancy classics professor,  but later realized that that is how it actually goes down in the natural world.




glam fruit




The ferns and their allies


close up ranunc


One of our most seriously sophisticated clients reassured us when she saw this arrangement that ferns are very big this year. I recently read an article with a stellar title, The ferns and their allies. I’d like to be considered an ally of the fern, conspiring with this large group of ancient and primitive land plants to disseminate their spores throughout the urban/suburban Middlewest. Love these heart-stopping palest pink, “Hanoi” ranunuculus, hellebore and lilies too…


cloony closeup

whole blush arrrangement


Michigan Shores Wedding

neva and emily garlanding

sosque garlanding

installing garlands for costello

This classic November wedding was held a few steps from the lake at the Michigan Shores Club in Wilmette. One of my most favorite elements to work on were the lovebird’s initials made entirely of white roses, as well as these garlands of ferns and flowering dogwood for the chandeliers.  The incomparable women of Studio Starling made the glamorous, professional photographs of the rooms and table decor here. I mean seriously, what could be better than an all green and white wedding with a single dramatic dash of fuchsia for the cocktail hour?


costello escort card

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costello making escort card

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