it is a weird summer. it reminded me of Barcelona’s weather in winter. New Yorkers don’t seem to enjoy it but i totally loved it. Cold chilly mornings and evenings, and soft mid-day sun. The only regretful thing was I wore the same pair of jeans for the whole of 3 weeks.
My New York trip was super fulfilling this time, a day after we landed we took a road trip 5 hours north of NY to stay in a ranch for a few days. Quiet family time and definitely the best way to get over jet-laggedness. It was of course kids’ haven, my 1 and a half year old had a ball of a time at the beach. Even though he didn’t enjoy the horse-back riding, I definitely felt a connection with the horse I was on. Bob the horse ate non-stop when i was on his back and I had to yell at him throughout my otherwise serene walk on the trail. Le hubs commented, like human like horse.
That part flew by, and soon I was in Flower School in Manhattan. I was living the American dream, my kid was with my in-laws and le hubs and I were staying at THE STANDARD at Meatpacking. The Standard sits on the High Line, which was an old rail road converted into a park. Walking to school in my sweater, plugged into Tom Petty and coffee in hand, I felt like a subject of the Humans of New York but all happy story.
I really have to say that people in the school were really genuine. The Instructors were exceptionally friendly, though they were cautious of my questions ( they do not want to leak too much info, because there is always another class to answer all that questions! ). What i was humbled to see was the founder of the school, Eileen Johnson sweeping the class after we were all done. Beth and Cal were my Instructors and both of them are immensely passionate about their jobs, I took a few of the Introductory Classes from Beth and the Advanced Wedding Series from Cal. I had a few private lessons with Beth too and I really enjoyed it because I thought i really needed supervision when using the floral knife. ( Real florists use knife instead of that damn useful clipper! ) It was hard trying not to kill myself.
The most interesting class would definitely be the huge centerpieces we made. It is rarely seen in Singapore except Hotel lobbies to have such a big piece especially in just water, it was definitely fun to make and the outcome was definitely very jungle-like and impactful.
Bridal Bouquet making was also one of my favorite class. It was easy for me because i have done a few of that by now, but what i found out was coming out with the recipe seems to be some people’s biggest challenge. All recipes were given at the flower school, so it was more of the technique of putting the bouquet together we were learning but a lot of the questions asked were about what goes with what. That’s a mindset I am glad i don’t have. A dozen more students with all the same flowers, each and everyone came out differently. Hence, the takeaway was you can learn the technique but you cannot learn the style.
What i also liked was, despite the trend of inserting 20 over different flowers into a bouquet ( come on! how not to be beautiful when you put 20 beautiful things together!) the school emphasized on basics: a focus. I am guilty of having floral envy as well, but the school reinforced the truth i already knew, basic is still beautiful.
Beth using only roses for a bridal’s bouquet. Not the typical roses, excuse moi. Garden roses grown in California and Spray roses from Ecuador.
I enjoyed Cal’s lesson a lot too. he has an upbeat personality, fun and easy to talk to. It is a totally different conversation when you talk to men about flowers. IT’S ALL BUSINESS. so naturally, Cal took over the business aspect about owning a floristry. It was technical, excel spreadsheets and a whole lot of other un-happening-calculator things. But definitely insightful. He also took me on a private tour to the New York Flower Market which i thoroughly enjoyed! Another thing i was jealous about him, he is connected to two of the most talented florists in NY. Business partner Ariella Chezur and his wife Phobe Crary. I got into huge fan-mode meeting Ariella at the Flower Market that rendered me speechless for a few moments, just gleaming ear-to-ear.
fan mode on. is this how a florist suppose to dress? i thought i was more appropriate with my overalls and flower power sweater.
At the flower market, lined along the streets of W28th and 6th Ave it wasn’t just what i expected. I was expecting huge cold rooms, high ceilings packed with stacks and stacks of flowers. However, it was just shops and shops some without air conditioning that carry the prettiest blooms of the season. I saw an overwhelming amount of Dahlias, and because of the over-supply it was relatively cheap. Otherwise, all other flowers were equally expensive as Singapore.
B-Groovy and Smarty-Pants Dahlias (picture on the bottom right): American growers definitely have a sense of humor. Check out the colors of these dahlias. Dahlias love cold climate, their petals shed off easily when in warm temperatures.
Roses are extensive too, for brides who hate roses wait till you see this. not all roses are created equal, and these are the most beautiful lots i have seen. I love the colors, i love how big and round they are, i love their scents, but only if i can lay my hands on them in singapore.
L to R: Sahara roses, nice mustardy in color, i can so seem them in a vintage and rustic bouquet. Another kind of David Austin. Garden Spray Rose from middle pic to the end. Except the last flower in the picture is really fairy-tale like! Its lilac in color!!
Other interesting finds include this unknown vine ( which cal also doesn’t know), rambutan like plant which is known as caster bean, grape hyacinth and mimosa foliage. I super want to do something with the mimosa plant, Cal said I got the “foliage envy”.
Love-in-a-puff: grown in Ariella’s farm, this vines have poofy-lantern like fruits which house a seed that shapes like a heart shape. hence the name. exudes a very “garden feel”.
At the flower market with Cal, I saw first hand how are flowers dip-dyed. Although unnatural, i feel that this will be an upcoming trend creating customize colors for end consumers. White dahlias are dip-dyed into whatever colors consumers want.
white dahlias dip-dye in yellow.
Cal is also very hands-on, he taught the advanced wedding series which was super useful. Making a chuppah ( pronounced as hoopah) is definitely on my next to-do list. But the warning given by Eileen makes me shiver, be prepared that one of these may fall. No!!!! I will make it so steady it won’t fall, unless its built with concrete and drilled into the ground otherwise yes be prepared it might collapse! The thought of it collapsing on my bride and groom really scares me. Nevertheless, I loved the significance and oh-how-beautiful-it-is!
And the cascading bouquet class was awesome because i get to use Gardenia, really hard to find in Singapore. I have actually never seen it in Singapore. Even in NY, they come pre-packed into a box, because they are so fragile their growers put a flower cap onto them way before they bloom and they are being sold per bloom. A whooping $10usd per head. But when you smell it, it is really heavenly. One flower to rule it all! All hail the Gardenia.
And my cascading bouquet, there are a lot more flowers available to use however i omitted them out so i could get this really elegant bouquet. Look at that blush colored rose, where can i find it in Sinagpore?!!!
That was it, it went really fast. I felt like i was working everyday when i was in NY. i didn’t even had the time to go to all of my favorite restaurants. But it was really purposeful, hopefully i will put what i learnt into good use.
Till the next post, tata!