I've just returned to my room in an (ahem) 1820's mill-cum-New York loft which by some fluke of luck I'm sharing with Corbin Gurkin. If that sentence makes you gag with envy you probably shouldn't read on as the name-dropping is going to proceed apace (but I promise to include plant names too).
I'm always on the hunt for new and interesting things to grow. From Ariella I give you this: Corydalis which you can see pictured above, posing as a pale fern (and I'm going to work on getting the species on that as these were quite large and Corydalis in my mind are teeny shade plants). From Max (aka Tarzan of the Jungle he loves vines so much): Akebia (pictured to the left above); Clematis purpurea 'elegans'; thornless blackberry; Vinca (never tried it…grows everywhere as a ground cover) and Pandorea jasminoides aka 'Wonga Wonga' vine (Tarzanian? Actually Australian).
Max led the design session today. Top tips gleaned included:
- Snapping stems and branches as opposed to snipping. Better water uptake he claims as cell walls snapped not cut. Here I go again: Tarzan hands.
- Nestle darker colours into the arrangement to add dimensionality and draw the eye in.
- Honour the way plant grows. (My comment: So know your plants. Garden. Visit botanic gardens.) Max even deepens his interpretation by using shade-loving plants in the shadier nooks of arrangements, stretches sun-lovers up to the light. Such a lovely notion.
- Clustering types of flowers together gives your eye a point to focus.
One query I posed to Max (he flowers for Michael Pollen and Alice Waters in San Francisco, eco-advocates both) regarded the tremendous growth in forage-floristry. Personally, I'm concerned about the lack of botanical knowledge many foragers possess re: what's native and what's invasive and safe to cut, and he shared my sentiments adding that "the goal is to honour nature, not exploit it." Pithy, perfect.
Max on gesture (paraphrasing): Sometimes you see an arrangement on Instagram that might use a single gesture or have flowers leaning out in space/creating space. But be careful (and here he threw his arms in the air, gesturing): I mean, does the arrangement have a question? Is it waving a hand to use the bathroom?