Sunday, February 14, 2010

Be My Valentine

I'm a bah humbug when it comes to celebrating Valentine's Day - commercialism at its worst, marketing gone overboard, that sort of thing - and there is nothing worse than receiving an anonymous bunch of long-stemmed, red, hothouse roses that have absolutely no smell at all and die after 24 hours! (Actually, that's probably a good thing.)

In saying that, I adore flowers in general, so I thought I would take this calendar moment to share my favorite florists in this city:

First up is a nod to fellow aussie Antony Todd. Predominantly known now for his interiors and event planning (try Elton John's Oscar party and the UN's 50th anniversary party) Todd was originally known as a florist. He can still count Martha (Stewart) and P. Diddy as fans for his beautifully simple if not very structured arrangements.

If you prefer something more wistful and natural, you will adore Jessie Weidinger's arrangements from Rountree Flowers.  She does the most awesome table decorations for Karen Mordechai's Sunday Suppers, one of my fave blogs and desperate-to-be-at dinners. I love the way she mixes florals with fruit and creates a nostalgic wildflower kind of feel.

For a more extravagant impact, we use ZeZe Flowers for all our work dinners and functions. ZeZe is a larger than life Brazilian who began life on a Rio stage. He favors bright colors and orchids and is the darling of the UES social set, who regularly use him for their charity galas. ZeZe recently opened a heavenly cafe on the Upper East Eide, where you can nibble on pastries and breathe in the intoxicating scent of lilies, hyacinth and freesias.

On a more local level, I have VSF (Very Special Flowers) around the corner from home. Apart from personifying your typical West Village boutique store, VSF is famous for fabulous arrangements combining "unusual" blooms.

Over in funky Williamsburg, you can't help but enter Sprout Home when you pass it. The way they arrange the flowers so simply at the front of the store just makes me want to pick a bunch immediately. And without the pretense or high prices!

If party planners and sometimes overpriced store fronts are not your "thang", there is always the Chelsea flower market which runs for two blocks at 28th St and 6th Ave. There are endless warehouses full of dried flowers, silk flowers, enormous blossom boughs (perfect for those cavernous Tribeca warehouse spaces), indoor plants and freshly cut flowers of all colors and types.

Or, if you want to pride yourself on a small carbon footprint, try the greenmarkets. My local is at Union Square. Every Saturday I wander up to choose my blooms from a nearby grower who tootles in from Jersey or Hudson Valley and sells their seasonal florals from buckets out of the back of a truck. Now that is quite authentic for this town.
Happy Valentine's Day x

Images: Antony Todd, Karen Mordechai @ Sunday Suppers, Rountree Flowers, New York social diary, David Fratianne, nyc loves nyc, nymag, disdressed, wedding aces, mine

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