When I worked in publishing, early in my career, I was introduced to the thrill of buying cheap flowers from street vendors in Boston. Every now and then I would grab a bunch of roses on a Friday and bring them home on the train to enjoy over the weekend. They never lasted much longer than that, but for what little I paid for them, it was hard to mind. I wasn’t home during the week to look at them anyway.
There aren’t as many vendors as there used to be. You might find them at Back Bay or South Stations, but no longer at North Station, where I would pass through to the commuter rail. The guy who used to stand in a doorway on Boylston Street with his buckets of about-to-fade bouquets is long gone; no doubt chased away by the new managers of the storefront, or new owners of the building.
When I stopped commuting and was home in the colder months, I started to buy tulips at the supermarket, when they were available, to keep me sane during the winter. The cold weather irritates my lungs and makes it harder to breathe, so I don’t get out in nature much during the winter. Just to be able to pass by a vase of flowers and take in their bright green leaves and pastel petals gives me hope for Spring and lightens my spirit. I tend to gravitate toward the hybrid tulips with two colors; lavender and white, pink and peach. I thought I would stop buying them when the weather got warmer and I had my own garden to visit, but what happened was that the variety of flowers available expanded. So I started changing it up a little.
Now almost every week I get several bunches of flowers from Trader Joe’s and mix and match to create my own arrangements. I have no training in this sort of thing, so I’m making it up as I go along, but I just find it so peaceful to work with the flowers and bask in the freshness of them.
A family friend owned a florist shop in Pacific Grove, CA, and as a wedding gift she did the flowers for the ceremony and the reception. She flew the flowers out to Connecticut and assembled them at my mother’s house. Had I not been the bride, I might have had the opportunity to learn a thing or two from her, but there was no time.
So I’ll remain self-taught, and keep bringing flowers home to get me through the winter.