Last week Margot Shaw, founding editor of flower magazine, was the 25th anniversary lecturer during Art Blooms at the Walters Art Museum. She spoke about a year in the life of flower, not a plant, but her magazine. A fellow Hollins graduate, I felt lucky to be included in a dinner with her.
What Shaw reported about flower amazes this longtime freelance writer, who has experienced magazines shrink, fold or file bankruptcy. Reversing an industry trend, flower magazine has continued to expand since it began in 2007. It started as a quarterly magazine and is now bi-monthly. It has a print circulation of 40,000 with a strong online presence. As is often the case, the print and online editions of flower are not exactly the same. Until I heard that Shaw was coming to town, I had not ever seen the magazine. Luckily, the flower website told just where copies were available. I ran to the Ruxton Pharmacy for the March-April issue.
Now I am a fan of the magazine described as the nation’s only floral lifestyle publication. While I love plants and gardens, I would not say I have a floral lifestyle. The decorative arts confound me. When it comes to flower arranging, I am all thumbs. My husband and I do not entertain at home. What used to be the dining room is his painting studio. The dining room table, moved to the living room decades ago, is piled with books.
I do keep at least one blooming Phalaenopsis orchid by the front door or somewhere on the first floor to greet visitors,
a plant or cut flowers on the kitchen table,
a friend’s jade plant above the pantry sink,
and another plant or vase of flowers in the bedroom.
I love flowers, but I would describe my lifestyle as more bookish than floral.
Reading Shaw’s magazine online and in hand reminds me of looking at Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa cookbooks. Garten makes me think that maybe this old dog can finally learn the cooking trick. Likewise Shaw’s magazine makes me think our studio-house might eventually look softer and more decorative.
If not, I can learn more from flower than flower arranging. A lot more. flower fuels my well established interests in visiting gorgeous gardens (this month in Charleston), in trying plants I have not grown before (this month unusual clematis) and learning more about art (this month a history of women painters who focused on flowers). To the young women in my life, I want to share flower for inspiration and with the hope that they will learn sooner rather than later how to enrich their lives through flowers.