Amy Stewart at the Horticultural Society of New York

Amy Stewart at HSNY

This evening I had the pleasure of attending Amy Stewart's appearance at The Horticultural Society of New York. Amy was promoting the paperback edition of her bestseller, Flower Confidential, and provided a synopsis of the themes she covers in detail in her book.

I enjoyed her talk. She illustrated her stories with photographs from her research and travels for the book. The photo above illustrates Florigene's attempts to genetically engineer a blue rose by combining Petunia genes with a Rose's. Telling stories through pictures is something I strive to do here, however statically. Amy's talk was a model for me.

Amy Stewart

Amy was also an animated speaker, so few of my photos successfully captured her spirited delivery. A couple of quotes:
  • "What would a blue rose mean?" We have cultural associations for Roses of other hue: white, red, yellow. Blog Widow suggests a blue rose should signify "disease," ala The Glass Menagerie.
  • "You don't see a lot of flowers in bloom" in greenhouses. Except for Gerberas, most flowers are cut, prepped and shipped while still in bud.
  • "We Americans know nothing about flowers." (On national pride in flower-growing)
  • "There are good and bad farms everywhere." (On making assumptions about floral industry practices based on the region of the world in which they're located.)
  • "The focus is you." (Advice to brides seeking her consult on where to obtain the "chocolate" rose.)
  • "Florists have to have a careful understanding of human nature." Which leads us to the florist's axiom:
  • "Use a different florist for a different woman."
Amy also announced her next project: "Wicked" Plants - illegal, illicit, immoral, murderous, and so on. Sounds delightful! It reminded me of the wormwood, Artemisia vulgaris, I've been striving to eradicate from my gardens the past three years. It has been used as an arbortifacient in early pregnancy. I have thought of simply keeping some of it in a container, but it's not the most attractive plant, and its flowers are visually insignificant.

Signing Table

It was also a pleasure for us to finally meet face to face, having known each other only through the gardening blogosphere up to now.


The Horticultural Society of New York

This was my first visit to the offices of The Horticultural Society of New York (HSNY). The building was midtown non-descript at street level.

148 West 37th Street, New York

But HSNY announces itself when the elevators open on the 13th floor. (It didn't strike me until just now how unusual it was that the building even has a 13th floor.)

This must be the place

This simple arrangement of Spring flowering bulbs stood on the other side of those green doors.

Spring Bouquet


Fritillaria (pallidiflora?)
Fritillaria (pallidiflora?)

Their beautiful space is open to the public Monday through Friday, 10am to 6pm. Their library is impressive.

Horticultural Society of New York


Amy Stewart's Web site
The Horticultural Society of New York

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