Buy (and Arrange) Yourself Flowers

by Diana Moskovitz

Closeup of a riotously colorful flower arrangement featuring alstroemeria, pink carnations and tiger lilies
Image courtesy of the author

I took a class in college called “Principles of Floral Art,” because a friend recommended it and I needed the credits. My final semester had arrived, and a class about how to arrange flowers sounded fun. It never occurred to me that it also would become one of the courses to which I refer back the most in my daily life—because buying and arranging your own flowers is one of the nicer small pleasures you can give yourself.

There is a great literature built around the romantic splendor and significance of flowers. Okakura Kakuzo’s 1906 classic The Book of Tea contains a whole rhapsodic chapter on the subject. “The primeval man in offering the first garland to his maiden thereby transcended the brute,” Okakura observes. “He became human in thus rising above the crude necessities of nature. He entered the realm of art when he perceived the subtle use of the useless... In joy or sadness, flowers are our constant friends. We eat, drink, sing, dance, and flirt with them. We wed and christen with flowers. We dare not die without them.” 

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