by Laurie Stern
“I’d rather have roses on my table than diamonds on my neck. “
I love flowers so much that I started a flower business on a whim. One day I saw a flower stand and I thought to myself, “I want to do that!” And so I did. I got a permit and bought a vintage canopy bed at a garage sale and named my stand “Bed of Roses.” I went to the flower market and started buying flowers, surrounding myself each day with the most aromatic and glorious of nature’s gifts. I experimented endlessly and discovered for myself the wonders of flower arranging. Soon, my customers were asking me to arrange flowers for their daughter’s weddings, and my little Bed of Roses wasn’t big enough anymore. My business grew and my arrangements became bigger and more elaborate. One day I looked up from the roses and ribbons and 15 years had passed. I left the wedding flower business, though I loved it, and started creating perfume, a different, more ethereal bouquet. But even today, nearly 25 years after I pulled the canopy bed from my tiny truck and set up shop in Kensington, the thought of bridal bouquets and May flowers makes me delirious! I remember making bouquets with trailing jasmine, and adding roses, gardenias, freesias, and sweet peas to form a new flower scent…
It’s amazing how nothing really changes. I’m still arranging flowers, even though I’m not waking up at 2 a.m. and working on weekends. I still bring many ravishing scents together to create a new flower, a new arrangement – all of my perfumes are mixed bouquets. There’s Songbird, my first favorite perfume, a mouth-watering blend of citrus, spices, and sweet, narcotic flowers that unfurls towards a soft, powdery finish. Then there’s Honey, a blend of French orange blossom, Moroccan and Bulgarian roses, deep vetiver, Madagascar vanilla, honey, and beeswax crowned with antique clove, pomegranate, and pink grapefruit. There have been many more perfumes, hundreds in fact, and I put just as much care into creating these bouquets as I did when I filled Tussy Mussies with delicate blossoms and antique French ribbons for my brides. My love affair with flowers continues, always tempting me to try something new. Today, as I stand among the May flowers in my garden, I feel a shiver of excitement, and I can’t wait to see what enchants me next.
Thank you so much, Roxana, for inviting me to contribute to your wonderful May Flowers blog event! You are so gracious and a delight!
Images: Antique postcard from my families collection dated circa 1900, Argentina, Bed of Roses drawing and Bouquet photo ©Laurie Stern.