Wednesday, February 29, 2012



We just got back into town last night after a wild ride through the southern tier in pursuit of hellebores. Nicolette and I..

I am still processing the weekend. In so many ways it was what we jokingly refer to as Beyond

Let me be clear; I have seen hellebores unlike anything I've ever seen in person or in photographs. Hellebores that made me feverish. Hellebores that live in quiet peace on the side of a mountain top in West Virginia.
And I got to see Aaron too.

I'm behind on some pressing maters here in town...but I wanted to pop in to say I miss you and I have a ton of shit to show you the first chance I get...

Thursday, February 23, 2012

rambling, free flower friday






Yesterday we had a busy studio day, my friend Sarah was over learning about flowers, helping us with the arrangements for the John Chamberlain opening at the Guggenheim. I always love having lots of people around.

There are no words for how...I just tried the thesaurus - there is no adjective to describe these hellebores from a grower in New Jersey (Hautau). They make me walk around in circles. Literally. We use them in arrangements, but it's rather difficult. They are too beautiful on their own. All the flowers lately are getting so good. Too good. Its a meltdown in the studio, for me at least. I get nothing done. I try to make an arrangement quickly since there are a lot of them to make and I can't finish one...I keep getting lost in the individual stems.

The girls around me, I keep an eye on them. When they grab an especially phenomenal ranunculus I grill them "What are you doing with that!?" Are you planning to use that to it's full potential? An impossible task to do justice to the hellebores the fritillaria, the muscari, the ranunculus, the magnoila, the forsythia, the sweet peas.

[We'll deliver flowers to you in Manhattan or Brooklyn tomorrow afternoon, you'll see for yourself, I got lots of leftovers. Just comment to enter the drawing. Remember to leave your email.]


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Monday, February 20, 2012

chatty kathy


Got the evening alone! Well alone except for two dogs, one of whom has a flatulence problem. Fortunately for me, I got a stuffy nose and can't smell anything.

I've been working a lot on my photography lately, and by "working on" I mean that I've turned into a total gearhead who just lusts after expensive equipment. (I learned it from you dad...?)

Blessed is the soul that achieves greatness with megar resources, who toils with point and shoot 35mm and learns the tricks of light and shadow without fancy lenses. Who reads the manual. You are a testament to the art. Me? I want a new camera, and I want it to be expensive. And BIGGER than yours.

I rented a Mark II a few weeks ago just to see if I noticed any difference in the output. I also want to start making videos and my current DSLR didn't get that gene. For example, I have this idea for a video called "handjob" in which I demonstrate my method of giving myself a hand massage - so necessary for those of us in the floral industry. Clipper-wrist is a real, and the longer you wait to deal with it the more serious it becomes with repercussions in the shoulder and neck. Apparently hair stylists have the same trouble, and anyone else who wields shears or scissors for a living.

Anyway so my video projects, they are starting to pile up. Also Professor Nickles and I want to make floral arranging videos and put them on the flower school blog; not only because I had a hater who was lurking in my comments section (miss you!) who said I should share my talents (or lack there of) for free, but also in part because I know that our classes at LFS are cost prohibitive for lots of people. So the idea would be to create some videos and share them for free on the site. It feels like a natural way to round out our tutorial offerings.

Where was I going here?

You wouldn't know this, but I used to be the photo editor of the Collegiate Times, the Virginia Tech newspaper. Back when we shot film and processed it ourselves. Back before Virginia Tech football games were nationally televised. Once our sports photographer got sick right before a big game with Miami so I had to go down to shoot the game. I loaded up the 300 mm or whatever one brings to shoot sports, and boared the first of three flights to Miami International. (We must have had a very strict budget and flying direct was out of the question). Upon my return I processed the film to find... not a whole lot of action. Sitting in an editorial meeting I learned about an alleged incident with 3 seconds on the clock in which someone, maybe a young Michael Vick? threw or kicked the ball to victory. Problem is you wouldn't know from my documentation.
Standing up suddenly, jovially asking "Hey anyone want some Chick-fil-a?"

Saturday, February 18, 2012










I wanted to make something on Wednesday but didn't have anything around the studio. I wanted to make something beautiful and take pictures of it; an exercise that always makes me feel good. I was tired, emotionally and physically drained and so I went to work. The rosehips down by the pier caught my eye a few weeks ago - weathered only mildly by the temperate winter we've been having, and of no use to the birds. Nea and I walked down there with clippers and a camera. I went to work (cutting is illegal on park lands, so I'm not necessarily advocating this) and Nea dillegently wandered the grounds until she found some questionable excrement to devour. I hesitate to tell you that part beacause she looks so goddamn regal in that photo above, but hey life is full of smoke and mirrors. We all have had our shit eating days, I suppose.

I've been in a mood for a while. I am looking forward to moving to the farm and getting busy on the next phase of my work. Suffice it to say, making flowers and participating in this floral racket is leaving me unsatisfied lately. I feel so unlike what this is. I wish I could explain myself better, but I probably should just shut up about it.

When we were breaking down the valentines day shenanigans I saved that red ranunculus. I wish photos could do it justice. It traveled back to Brooklyn in a vase of random refugees at my feet in the truck. Each flower passes through so many places and hands to get to where it gives it's final performance. A spectacular vermilion ranunculus. From New Jersey!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

the return of free flower friday...

Because we can, and because something very lovely happened on Tuesday that made me remember why we make flowers in the first place. Not sure how long we'll be able to keep it up once wedding season starts, but a little free flower here, a little free flower there can't hurt.

(Comment before 9am Friday to win flowers delivered to YOU in Manhattan or Brooklyn tomorrow around 2pm. Remember to include your email address so we can reach you.)

I'm excited about this!!
And for the florists, a valentines day wrap-up:

The Mott Street project successfully concluded, we loaded out everything yesterday. Unscathed for the most part. What a lot of hauling this job includes. Sometimes I think I should be a professional mover. Would probably be more lucrative.

I think we made a lot of people happy with flowers this week. We sold almost every last stem which is nice. Only one man was cranky; upon seeing his bouquet for pickup, he said "Wow, I thought for $50 it would be bigger." [That's what she said?] Several of our deliveries got lost on a truck with a driver who stopped answering the phone around 3pm. At 5:30 the phone started ring ringing with sweet guys just wondering "Where their girlfriends flowers were..." About two hours later we had remade 5 deliveries and sent them in a car service with Liza our devoted helper. The delivery guy never called back until the next morning - he had "lost his phone." I'm assuming the other 18 made it to where they were supposed to go. I'm afraid our delivery man doubled up his truck with another florists overflow orders. What a shit show of a day for delivering stuff in Manhattan...


NO DELIVERIES; We sort of learned this last year but failed to remember that once the arrangement leaves the studio you have no control over what happens to it - and we are responsible for it arriving on time with care. Impossible with our fragile compositions...

ONLY ONE WAY TO ORDER; Over the phone. We got confused a bit between call-in orders, emailed orders, bigcartel orders...streamlining a process like this is so necessary.

NO TULIPS; I love them, but folks still think they are pedestrian. We always seems to have tulips left over.

SMARTER TIMING; We ended up throwing out around 150 stems of anemones because they progressed too quickly - anemones should have come in on Monday for use on Tuesday, especially in a space without a cooler to keep them tight. I won't sell an anemone that is dusting black.

KNOW WHEN TO CALL IT; at the end of Tuesday we knew we were really out of flowers, down to the dregs, but guys kept coming in begging us to make something. We cranked out a few less than perfect arrangements to make them happy. Next year we'll call it off earlier because it makes me sad to think that someone might have received an arrangement that wasn't photo-shoot quality.

I think that's it. Did I get flowers? No. I did get a real nice dinner made for me without lifting a finger, a martini and a chance to sleep till 7:30 Wednesday. Drinking coffee in my chair by the window, walking the dogs like a normal brooklyn thirty-something. Manhattan looming rather epically across the river.

Monday, February 13, 2012

dare I say...











Dare I say Manhattan is the new Brooklyn?

There is so much good coffee, so many high heels - so many well-heeled. Standing in line at LaColombe on Lafayette yesterday I felt underdressed so hard I blushed and backed out slowly. I was wearing H&M, and not ironically.

Big city, it's so inspiring. It's fast, and it's free of handlebar mustaches and full of snakeskin. [YOWZA, trend alert!] And also it has a new flower shop, but only for one more day. Girls who say they don't want flowers are lying. It's complicated.

We're done taking orders but accepting walk-ins. I stocked it up again this morning.
223 Mott Street
Tuesday 10-8pm
Someone already brought us cupcakes, now we need gin.

ex-ooooohhhhhhh yes I did

Sunday, February 12, 2012

I was in bed last night by 10 so I didn't get the news till this morning, when upon stumbling out to make coffee saw my phone lit up like a christmas tree with messages from my friends about Whitney. They know I like a lot of Whitney Houston, and I like it loud.

What a BEAUTY. This was the picture on her 1987 self-titled album - which was incidentally the first compact disc ever to grace the Ryhanen household. (Either that or Starlight Express, the soundtrack to a rollerskating musical which I estimate only 1% of you readers will be familiar with. Fortunately.) It's interesting how the music of our childhood shapes us.

I've mentioned this before I think; as a kid there was a vivid moment when I suddenly understood that the whitney on the radio next to my bed was pre-recorded...that she was not live somewhere singing. It was a very lonely moment.

Right now I am going to walk down to the store with Nea, pick up a yogurt for breakfast and then get ready to go into my new big-city job at 223 Mott Street, maybe you'll stop by?! The last few days have been bananas, so I'm looking forward to kicking back with Nicolette and playing shop keep, maybe download my camera and show you all that's been happening. The world goes on with it's business, as it should I suppose.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012



I've never met Martha Stewart in person. Well, once I ran into her at the flower market early with Kevin Sharkey. It was early, but I swear to god she smiled at me. She was very tall.

I've done a lot of work for Martha in the last few years, or it feels like it. And I am very thankful for that. The first time Weddings contacted me to do a flower feature Eric and I opened a bottle of champagne. It was surreal.

Since that feature 3 years ago I've been at the MS headquarters a handful of times. There's always o lot of friendly people around, always gossip, and ALWAYS some kitchen editor sashaying in with some fresh baked cookies they are "testing."

When we were trying to raise money to buy our farm, I considered trying to get Martha to cut me a check. What's 200K to a woman like her? I was desperate, and hey - I've never been paid a day rate so I figure she owed me?

We worked it out without her, but tonight, I realize she's done more than her share to promote my business. I'll try to make this brief:

In 2003 when my mother was hammering away at her farmers market handmade soap business I picked up a copy of Living and saw a story on rubber stamps. It was beautifully shot, and brimming with applications...

I said to my mom "We should wrap your soaps in nice paper and stamp the labels."

The rest is history. Wholesale soap, trade shows, retail shops, the addition of flowers to Saipua...

In lots of ways we owe it all to Martha incredibly tough, ingenious woman who inspires us to be practical and indulgent; who reminds us to light candles at the dinner table every night and to schedule windowsill cleaning. A woman who, despite her schedule and stature, still makes a point to shop the flower market, on occasion, in the flesh.

Here's to you Martha. I can't wait to meet you in person one fine day.
Thanks to Stephen Orr for the story and for his inspirations in all things flora, thanks to Jen Causey for the gorgeous pictures, and thanks to Lena, Jennifer, Jenny, Liane and Fay for being our floral students in the shoot. And of course thanks to Nicolette for being the best partner in floral crimes.

The February issue featuring our Little Flower School is on news stands till Sunday if you want to see the full article.

Sunday, February 5, 2012



there are so many atoms.

atoms that combine to make happiness, death, movies. wine. the smoke from a cigarette.

growing up: we never watched sports on television, except figure skating. my father watches nascar. and boxing, i think, occasionally. I went briefly to a superbowl party tonight and left shortly after arriving

home to a sad dog.

i needed some time alone, and i got it. my world is a chaotic one lately.
more atoms than necessary

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Valentine On Mott Street

As Nicolette and I have been planning for our ultimate takeover of Manhattan, we kept using the phrase "pop-up shop" which I totally hate - not only in part because "pop up" sounds like an erection, but also because it brings with it such a sense of...trend. And I loathe trends.

<span class=

But that dear friends, is essentially what it is. It will hopefully be the raddest, baddest flower shop in the city. The one I've been searching for all this time but have never found.
We have a lot of work to do, but hopefully it will all be worth it.
I can't imagine having a better partner in crime than the Professor, someone who has made my life so much more fun. So perhaps this collaboration is a testament to our combined love of flowers; and that you can imagine is a lot to work with.

<span class=

So the next few days we'll be seeking out the most beautiful specimens, potting, making, pasting, and slapping together all our talents into one tiny 450 square foot space in Nolita. We'll most likely plan an opening party, and if so, you'll definitely be invited. Keep next Friday night free...Can't wait to see you in the city!

<span class=