Constance Spry and I

Rosegolden Flowers / T. Scott Carlisle Photography Rosegolden Flowers / Holly Carlisle Photography

Rosegolden Flowers / T. Scott Carlisle Photography

Rosegolden Flowers / T. Scott Carlisle Photography

Since I'm still fairly new at doing flowers there are a lot of flowers out there I haven't had the good fortune to work with yet. Flowers I've only seen in photos, in books, online, etc. Well, this past weekend I was able to get my hands on some tuberose. I was so excited!!! Mostly because I keep reading about how beautiful they are and how magnificent they smell in a biography called The Surprising Life of Constance Spry by Sue Shephard. Constance Spry was one of the most influential floral designers of all time. Mostly because she turned the rules of the establishment of their heads by using in her arrangements "common" flowers and plants, even vegetables like kale, alongside the usual expensive specialty blooms used by most florists at the time. In addition to that she championed using non-traditional containers (even things like cake pans) as vases, many of them salvaged from junk shops and restored as digging for hidden treasures was a passion of hers.

Being anti-establishment in early 20th century England was a terribly daring thing to do as the establishment (i.e. the upper class) made all the rules and did not take very kindly to change, especially change suggested by a member of another class. But that didn't stop Constance Spry, or Connie, as she was called. To her, beauty was beauty. It didn't matter if a flower came from the side of the road or from a premier european grower. If it inspired her, she used it. She knew she was edgy and never apologized for it. She always stayed true to herself. She pressed on and in the end, people could not deny how inspired her work was which made her more and more attractive to clients. She became THE floral designer of her day, even doing the flowers for Queen Elizabeth's wedding. She was a remarkable woman with impeccable taste and a brave spirit. Anyone who knows me would probably tell you that I'm not the most traditional girl. I have short hair. I wear men's shirts half the time. I had a pink wedding dress and for that matter, pink hair for a chapter or two in college. All I'm saying is, that while I respect tradition (and clearly the color pink) I'm not married to it. So reading about Constance Spry inspired me a great deal. If you haven't read the book, check it out!