Growing up I rejected my father's wild approach to landscape design.
But as I got older I noticed the nuances, order, and the artisan quality of his craft.
His garden is endless--literally every corner of my childhood remembrance overflows with plant life.
When I asked my father how his crops grow so big, so lush, and so plentiful every season he told me his secret: by singing the songs of his country's vocal ambassador: Fairuz.
He is also a flower guy.
When I was a little girl, he would hybridize roses to make his own custom creations that spoke to the personalities of each of his love ones. My mother's flower was a version of the Queen Elizabeth Rose he custom created; a soft pink color with perfect pedals. Elegant. Feminine.
Whenever I look at a Queen Elizabeth Rose I remember her special flower that was planted at the entry way of my front yard, welcoming guests to our home. I see my mother through my father's eyes.
For me he created a custom Fire and Ice Tea Rose. My Fire and Ice Tea Rose is smaller in size to its classic rose bush counterpart, but gives a dynamic color performance to my father's garden. Like an opera, its pedals unfold white, change to yellow and orange, and end with a grand finale of gorgeous red.
Perhaps he knew my spirit before I did.
My father has taught me valuable lessons about enjoying the botanical beauty all around that remain very close to my heart
But the best thing about him is he will always stop to smell the roses. #itsplantporn
Happy Father's Day!
Last weekend I couldn't stop refreshing my Instagram to see the minute by minute updates of Lebanese jewelry designer Noor Fares' lavish wedding to artist Alexandre Al Khawan. Fashion was alive and kicking during the weekend celebration but as I scrolled through the freshly posted images I couldn't stop staring at all the flowers.
The festivities kicked off with a Arabian Nights meets Bollywood themed party Friday night. The bride carried a psychedelic bouquet to emulate the "Kaleidoscope Utopia" she created for her guests to enjoy.
On Saturday gorgeous Noor wore a show stopping Giambattista Valli couture gown adorned with lace flowers for the fairytale ceremony
with her initials hand embroidered on the train.
At the church of Saint Catherine in Honfleur, France the beautiful bride walked down a Wisteria draped aisle that simply stunned beyond description.
At the reception she sliced an intricately designed cake filled with fresh flowers in a "simple" Alaia gown adorned with pearls
while her new husband made a toast, thanking his new wife for marrying him.
For all that witnessed the opulent affair in person or via Instagram there is no doubt that a beautiful love story is blossoming. #itsplantporn
My sister-in-law moved to California almost 2 years ago after living the majority of her life in the Middle East. It was a hard transition for her as everything she ever knew was suddenly very different. I admired her strength and courage during such a difficult transition, but what I will forever cherish is her happy smile and bright spirit.
A spirit plant is the plant that embodies ones' personality. My sister-in-law is a California Poppy. These wildflowers are bright in color (yellows, oranges) as she is bright in character.
Poppies open their pedals to the sun every morning as if saying HELLO WORLD! Just like Miro texts me from California every morning, excited to take on the day.
They blossom in large groups and are dynamic company.
I am very lucky to have such a wonderful woman in my life that I also get to call sister. HAPPY BIRTHDAY HAPPY POPPY! #itsplantporn
Visit the California Poppy Reserve or become a Poppy Reserve Volunteer HERE
My friend sent me a text last night with a link to an image that left us both stumped if it was actually real:
After researching I discovered the image is indeed the real deal. Goqui Island is one of many islands that makes up the Shengsi Islands, part of the Zhoushan Archipelago located at the mouth of China's Yangtze River. What makes Goqui Island the standout island of the bunch is its once inhabited fishing village that is now completely camoflauged by thick, green, magical foliage.
I imagined myself hiking up through the fog to the summit, looking down at dilapidated buildings renovated by nature into living art...
I wondered what it would be like to look out a window into a sea of green...
Then I thought of what my friend may have seen when she sent her text: Don't know how true it is, but I thought about (it.s) PLANTPORN when I saw this.
And I felt very grateful.
Feeling inspired to share a botanical moment that moves you. #itsplantporn
Thank you Marina ( @mariinabay ) for your text!
BUILDING A TREE HOUSE
Every Sunday I take a family walk to Toby's Estate in Williamsburg where I enjoy an early morning Soy Latte and read The New York Times in print. Yesterday's Style section caught my eye with an interesting article about Foster Huntington-- a good looking guy who quit his fast paced New York City life, spent some time living in a van, and built a tree house so cool I'm considering a lifestyle change of my own.
Huntington rounded up his bros and enjoyed a year designing, constructing, and ultimately finishing a tree house with two sections adjoined by stairs and a bridge on a hilltop in the thick of Douglas Fir forestry in Southwest Washington.
In true man form he also constructed a skate bowl
and a hot tub for leisure activities.
I did a little more research on my own and discovered that Huntington's next project is a book called The Cinder Cone documenting the process of his incredible tree house from start to finish. I'll let his beautifully filmed video explain:
After watching The Cinder Cone I realized that 1) I really want to learn how to skateboard and 2) nothing beats the sky high view of a breathtaking forest. #itsplantporn
Support THE CINDER CONE here
NEW YORK BOTANICAL GARDEN CONSERVATORY BALL 2015
Last night patrons of the New York Botanical Gardens came together to celebrate the success of "Frida Kahlo: Art, Garden Life" with a posh soiree hosted by the Carolina Herrera. With a host like that I knew the fashion would be fierce and floral. Shall we begin?
Carolina Herrera de Baez's exquisite headpiece paid homage to Frida's signature style.
Actress Emmy Possum brought Hollywood Glamour to Haupt Conservatory's Casa Azul.
Guests brought their floral A Game to the red carpet
Note the butterfly detail on Di Mondo's boutonnière (above)
A garden filled with beautifully dressed people festively supporting nature and their love of Frida Kahlo: #itsplantporn.
You can become a patron to NYBG here
My mother's love for Claude Monet was quite present in my house growing up. She used to collect keepsake works by him in various forms to decorate and add a touch of femininity to our California home. A special magnet hung on my refrigerator as a child, an image of Monet's painting Water Lilies Under the Japanese Bridge that my brother and I proudly gave her.
My mother's love for Monet became my love for Monet. We dreamed of a big road trip together from Paris to the South of France, where we would travel far and wide to see his majestic garden in Giverny, and walk the bridge he so famously painted.
We haven't made the road trip yet, but every time I see a Monet painting I think of my mother, my fridge, and his dramatic garden of feminine florals. #itsplantporn
Mansur Gavriel instagram: @mansurgavriel
This morning when I put on the same black jumpsuit for the third day in a row I decided it's time to class up**. Who better to offer a glance into the world of high end gardening than tastemaker, author, and lover of flowers Carolyne Roehm. I discovered her beautiful book Flowers on a late night internet exploration and have been eagerly checking my mail daily for its arrival. Here she is a few years back giving us a glimpse into the stuff abundant garden dreams are made of. #itsplantporn
Flowers by Carolyn Roehm, available here.
** I actually own two of the same black jumpsuits for rotation and hygiene purposes.
FRIDA KAHLO: ART, GARDEN, LIFE
For as long as I've worked in art, Frida Kahlo has been the source of my inspiration and creative process.
During my early years in college, I wrote many Art History essays linking Frida-- her fashion, her art, her fiery love affairs-- to whatever subject my professor happened to be lecturing about.
One of my senior projects in Art School was a 4 foot chandelier sculpted out of an old bike tire and recycled materials adorned with festive jewels inspired by the vibrant colors of Frida's unique Mexican dresses.
When Salma Hayek starred in the film Frida, I watched with a hawk's eye, cautious to approve her portrayal of an artist dear to me (fear not: I love the film!).
At the end of my first job interview in New York City I was asked by Mr. Larry Gagosian who my favorite artist was, to which I proudly replied: Frida Kahlo. (I got the job)
And now on set, when an Art Director gives me my own artistic freedom to create a makeup look, I think of Frida's freedom, her security in herself during a time when a female's artistic talents were far from considered. I'm always inspired by her.
In 2009 while visiting Mexico City I had the chance to tour Frida Kahlo's beautiful family home Casa Azul. I also sat in her fabulously festive garden.
So when the New York Botanical Gardens invited me to the press preview of their latest show "Frida Kahlo: Art, Garden, Life" I leaped out of my seat, feeling somehow that I had reached full circle with myself and my own art, Frida by my side the whole time.
Then a terrible mix of bad luck and bad timing struck (early onset Mercury Retrograde?) and I was not able to attend the preview. I decided that Memorial Day weekend would be the perfect time to beat the crowds and experience a journey with Frida in my own way.
The Garden part of the show in the Haupt Conservatory opens with an option to first view a plantastic interpretation of Casa Azul or an abundant tour of Mexican plants. Both experiences warmed my heart as I have a serious love for cactus and blue walls (also not to be missed: Prickly Pear Margaritas served at the pop up Cantina near the gardens' main entrance).
To many people she is known her for her graphic, phalic, and tragic self portraits, but equally Frida was known as a lover of beauty and an avid gardener-- the "plant lady" of her time. She incorporated cactus and succulents native to her Mexican country and heritage into her garden and later added plants from all over, particularly Calla Lillies and Sunflowers.
Also featured was one of Frida's favorite flowers used to adorn her hair.
What I learned from this show
through plant life, art life, and her life-
is that just like i am hers-
she would most definitely be my #1 fan. #itsplantporn
Frida Kahlo: Art, Garden, Life will be at the New York Botanical Gardens 16 May- November 1
MEMORIAL DAY PLANS
This Memorial Day I am looking forward to a beautiful day at the park curling up to my new favorite collection of dreamy landscapes. #itsplantporn
GET IN LINE
Pharrell x Adidas Originals announced their latest collaboration this week, a limited edition run of pharrell-ific jackets and shoes. The collaboration will produce only 200 of each style worldwide, jackets retailing for 750euros and shoes retailing for 180euros. Pharell's finery debuts May 30 in Adidas Originals flagships, select Adidas boutiques, and adidas.com. Start booking that early morning "doctor's appointment" now. #itsplantporn
BREAKFAST OF CHAMPIONS
Glazed doughnut served on a floral plate ; available at Toby's Estate, Williamsburg
CHELSEA FLOWER SHOW
Giant teapots and enormous jelly-filled biscuits.
Not Alice in Wonderland, but just two of the many magnificent floral sculptures at the Chelsea Flower Show, which opens to the public today at the Royal Hospital Chelsea in London.
Yesterday the preview showing witnessed a triple threat royal sighting: Her Majesty The Queen, Prince Charles and hot toddy Prince Harry. Grandmum and Dad came out to support designer Matt Keightley who created a landscape rendition of the African country Lesotho, where Prince Harry's charity Sentebale is based.
Silver medalist winner Kamelia Bin Zaal's garden caught my eye for her integration of traditional Islamic architecture with a wide variety of plants including jasmine, rosemary, and papyrus.
Synchronised swimmers in the pond of a silver gilt medal winner
It is exciting to see the enthusiasm from plant lovers on Instagram as they view the extraordinary creations of these talented artists.
But what really overwhelms me is to witness a love for nature truly come to life. #itsplantporn
GET TICKETS HERE: rhs.org.uk
A special thanks to my dear friend across the pond, Amenah, for inspiring this.
Ornamental Grass is the Victoria Beckham of landscape design: chic and cool with a cult following. Often overlooked, this accent offers a dynamic contrast to modern gardens and architecture with its soft, whispy structure. And just like Victoria, heads will always turn in their presence. #itsplantporn
Javari Ichi ornamental grass, Blasen Landscape Architect
CANNES FILM FESTIVAL
Chinese actress Viann Zhang brings new meaning to the term floral fashion as she stuns on the red carpet at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival. #itsplantporn
WEDDING SEASON IS UPON US
As I prepare my ensembles for the time of year known as wedding season, I think about the myriad of ways one accents their big day with flowers. Simple or sophisticated, lush or linear, flowers reflect the mood of this special moment in a way that cannot be expressed through words. #itsplantporn
Audrey Hepburn; Elizabeth Taylor; Kim Kardashian West; Victoria Beckham; Princess Rania of Jordan
Romantic Red Roses
Gorgeous green accents
A simple and chic Calla Lilly bouquet
EXCITING THINGS TO COME
Fresh from a meeting with the legend of landscape design. Can't wait to share! Stay tuned. #itsplantporn
HARPER'S BAZAAR UK MAY 2015
A quick jaunt across the pond last month had me quickly discovering every English garden I could get my feet to (more on that later!). On the flight back to New York while reading the last of too many magazines, my heart skipped a beat as I turned to this incredible editorial featuring the latest and greatest of floral fashions. #itsplantporn
Photographs by Erik Madigan Heck ; Styled by Leith Clark ; Set design by Andrea Huelse ; Hair by Brian Buenaventura @ Management +Artists; Makeup by Pamela Cochrane @ Bridge.
Just a small reminder that Mother's Day is Sunday. #itsplantporn
Mommy, Mother, Mum:
Over years these words expressed,
Memoirs of my love.
A chance google search introduced me to this incredible Architecture firm based in Ho Chi Min City, Vietnam. I live for their incredible landscape aesthetic which incorporates the lush vegetation of Southeast Asia into their residential home design. When I look at their projects, I imagine myself feeling the hot sticky air and relaxing with a cold beverage inside a jungle oasis built by these masters. #itsplantporn
LET'S TALK ABOUT....ORCHIDS.
Orchids are on our mind these days. Maybe it’s because we’re fresh off a visit to the New York Botanical Garden to see the final weekend of the glorious Orchid Show. Maybe it’s that these spindly beauties evoke a spring awakening that we’ve been begging for here in New York (seriously spring, what took you so long?). Or maybe it’s that they remind us of ourselves in this season: fussy and temperamental, needing specific attention and care and loads of encouragement before bursting forth in glorious bright blossoms.
Sweet, tempestuous orchid. You’re a pain to care for. But love, you sure make it worth the effort.
Just as I wonder
whether it's going to die,
the orchid blossoms
and I can't explain why it
moves my heart, why such pleasure
comes from one small bud
on a long spindly stem, one
blood red gold flower..
- excerpt from Sam Hamill's The Orchid Flower
CARING FOR YOUR ORCHID AT HOME
There's a lot of drama surrounding orchids, the notoriously "difficult" plant for the home. Follow these simple care steps and you'll find yourself a new beautiful bestie!
WHERE DO I PUT IT?
Phalaenopsis Orchids or "Phals" for short like to be near the sunlight, but not drenched in it. Pick a cozy spot near a window that will cast sunlight but may offer some afternoon shade.
HOW DO I FEED IT?
Over watering an Orchid is the fastest way to end your little friend's life, so be careful! At the same time, these little princesses do not appreciate a drought. As a rule of thumb, aim to water them twice a week.
A little bird once told me that she puts ice cubes in the base of her orchid. WHY? Placing 2-3 ice cubes per week will give your orchid the "cool drop" it needs to set a new bloom, making both of you very happy :)
Orchids and you. BFFs for life. #itsplantporn