Cutting Edge: California Cutting Garden


Cutting Edge: California Cutting Garden

June 9, 2010

When Flora Grubb added a floral-design studio to her San Francisco garden boutique and nursery this past fall, she created it with intent. The Cutting Garden would use only in-season California-grown materials, and strive to inspire clients to grow and gather bouquets in their gardens at home. Enter floral designer Susie Nadler, a San Francisco native who finds inspiration in materials seen in her everyday surroundings. “For me, they evoke emotions that are very personal and tied to my own sense of place and home.”

For this textural and wild-looking arrangement, Nadler added dashes of Golden Gate Park, as seen in the yellow-orange Kniphofia, Japanese maple (Acer palmatum) and Japanese andromeda (Pieris japonica). Then Nadler included some of her favorites: eucalyptus for its fragrance and texture, the white-leaved plant with the red center, Leucadendron ‘Pom Pom’, for its longevity — at least 10 days in the vase — and for its tulip shape that is “perfect for filling in holes,” and the wispy, lavender cilantro flowers that are “fragrant and herby.” Adds Nadler: “Part of what the Cutting Garden is all about is using whatever you can find in your garden. Not just the big blooms, but unexpected flowers like the blooms of an herb gone to seed.”

Nadler centers and completes her arrangement with a few succulent varieties that she transforms into cut flowers by “cleaning them down to the stem, removing any threadlike roots and lower leaves, and then inserting a wire into the stem so I can place the plants where I want them.” Once the rest of the arrangement is past its prime, the succulents can be planted again in the garden. “Can’t get more sustainable than that,” says Nadler.