Constance Spry found beauty in places others had not noticed. The unexpected drama of the plants she used surprised and delighted people. She turned to the vegetable garden and found one of her favorite plants – kale – but used other vegetables and fruits to brilliant effect.
Her arrangements would not have the same startling effect today, because the ideas she propounded, her cry to forget about the rules and have fun, to see beauty in the commonplace have actually become commonplace today.
Garden author and blogger Debra Prinzing is working on a beautiful book, A Fresh Bouquet, with photographer David Perry. Their journey among flower growers, the flower industry, and floral designers is being captured in their A Fresh Bouquet blog. There I found instructions very similar to what Constance Spry was following and teaching in the 20’s and 30’s.
“Use twigs and branches as well as more common foliage, conifers and broadleaf evergreens.
Use fruits and berries, and maybe vegetables.
Use other natural materials, seedpods, pine cones, grasses, moss.
Use commercial flowers with restraint. Flowers are not always necessary.”
For the full post click here.
This Post Has 5 Comments
It may be commonplace nowadays, but, it’s good to remember and appreciate those design pioneers. My husband gave me a bouquet of flowers and prominently displayed was a beautiful kale! it was really lovely. gail
Just found your site via quite a roundabout path. But I wanted to say I’ve just read the new bio on Spry, and just love the history of this style of flower work…yes, it may not be as startling today, but it’s still quite refreshing when the influence pops up. It almost never does when one is sometimes forced by circumstance to use tele-florisrty sites to send bouquets. Sigh!
P.S. I found your column while looking for references to Gray’s Sugarhouse in Ashfield, and whether the family ever opens the restaurant during sugaring anymore. Do you know?
Thanks so much!
Gail – It is funny that a vegetable like kale, which is not the most popular vegetable to eat, can be such a favorite of garden designers. I think it is beautiful and delicious. And nutritious.
It’s always interesting to read about these earlier garden designers whose innovative ideas inspired trends today. I added kale to my vegetable garden this year after seeing it at the Chicago Flower Show last year. We never did sample any of it, but it certainly added a touch of dramatic purple that lasted till early winter.
Rose – My husband loves kale in the Portuguese soup he enjoyed as a child out in Provincetown.