Cinco de Mayo: Fiesta Flowers
While I've always admired flowers, my real appreciation for them began after a special New Year's gift. Ok...hold on, are you wondering why I get/give gifts on NYE? Allow me to explain:in the former USSR, NYE was celebrated almost identically to how Christmas is celebrated in America. My parents are Ukrainian Jewish immigrants who came to the U.S in 1989, so growing up we followed a lot of these old world customs. Superstitions, borscht recipes, you name it. We would light Hanukkah candles, skip over Christmas, and then wait patiently for midnight on the 31st. Mom and Dad would dress up, invite friends over, pile gifts under the yolachka (new year's tree), eat black caviar and sip champagne. At midnight, Ded Moroz (grandfather frost/actually santa) would show up and bestow presents upon us.
Naturally, my Long Island born-and-raised fiancé was a bit puzzled when I explained this tradition to him. However, being the great sport that he is, Brandon was on board to exchange presents. We'd only been dating for two months at that point, so I was a litttttle nervous to see what he would get. He showed up at my tiny east village apartment around 9PM with a huge box, handed it over, and then refused to step inside.
I couldn't understand why he wouldn't come in, but was instructed to open the box. Inside was a vase, and a card with a promise to keep the vase full for the whole new year. Cue:tears. When I finished weeping, he finally revealed the bouquet that was hidden in the dusty stairwell, and my first flower arranging course began.
This vase was the catalyst to my obsession for flower vessels. It also prompted our new weekend activity. We would go to the corner bodega and pick out different flowers, bring them home, and it was my challenge to figure out how to arrange them.
I highly recommend playing around like this to get comfortable and creative with fresh flowers. You can find beautiful vases at antique sales or even online for less than $20. You can use a small Ball jar for a mini-bouquet. You can utilize an old acrylic pitcher. Get creative; if it holds some water and a few flowers, it fits the bill. When you go to the flower store next, think about a color you like, or a shape, and how you can bundle for a stylish look.
For Cinco de Mayo, I was inspired by the vibrant colors of Mexico. I thought about bright yellows, paprika reds, ocean blues. This is the kind of party where you should not be afraid of being bold.
Start with a brightly colored vase. I bought 3 matching blue vases at Marshall's for $10 a piece (what a steal!) I chose flowers that had a variety of size, texture and color, focusing on red and orange. The final bouquet was composed of orange garden roses, red lily of the incas (also called alstromerias), and yellow ranunculus. For the other two vases, I kept them simple. One tall one was filled with curly willow branches, and the shortest one had green leaves, rose buds, and one lush white ranunculus.
Do you have other suggestions for fiesta flowers? Or questions about any of the above? Share your thoughts below!
all photos for this post were taken by Katherine Marchand of Wilde Scout Photo Co. and cannot be shared, downloaded or repurposed for any reason without written consent Wilde Scout or Be Like Family
Flowers for this post were provided by my favorite Boerum Hill florist, Edelweiss Floral Atelier