Garden Diary - November 2021

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Flower Flash, by Lewis Miller
a book review
Friday, 12 November 2021

Cut flowers, whether from a florist or a garden. What would a joyous wedding or a somber funeral be without flowers. Indoors: a bouquet on the dinner table. Outdoors: flowers as a memorial, sign of public mourning after a car crash, a shooting, other events where people died.

May Day flowers - it used to be a lovely custom. Make a small posy and leave it on a doorstep as a gay surprise. I did that once, wove two heart shaped baskets of cut paper. A small bouquet in each and then left home very early to leave one on each of the doors of two friends. Small, personal, a token of my affection. But what if, how much more fabulous if

image copyright Adrianna Glaviano
flowers were to magically, spectacularly appear and create joy in the city.

Oh yes, there's graffiti, which sprayed, splashed, tags rundown buildings
and trains with color and names and images perhaps be painted over.

Flowers are evanescent. They fade. That is part of their magic. Enjoy them now for soon they'll be gone. But what if there was a record, if these magical moments were photographed so anyone, any place, any time moving forward, could enjoy.

This is what Lewis Miller does / has done, now brought to unfading life

image copyright Adrianna Glaviano
with Flower Flash, published just this month by Monacelli Press.
He stealthily arranges an exuberance of flowers - in trash cans,
on food trucks, garlands statues, anywhere that takes his fancy.

image copyright Adrianna Glaviano

The book is more than just portraits of Flower Flashes over the last half decade.

Profusely illustrated, every page an assemblage, a montage of a Flash
perhaps with a backdrop, maybe with closeup of some detail, and more.

Vocation / avocation. Lewis Miller is a floral designer. That's his profession. The Flower Flashes are for fun. Without a client, unlike say, a wedding, they are created free of expectations. In a webinar on November 4 he mentioned that some think cut flowers are wasteful. But if they bring cheer, it's worthwhile. Spread the joy. It is not performance art, he doesn't want volunteers or even an audience. Flower Flash early, early in the morning and then the passing multitude - their day begins after an unexpected, unanticipated delightful surprise.

The many thousands of flowers for more than 90 exuberant Flower Flashes - where do they come from, how are they obtained. It's like this - they're recycled. The very first Flower Flash, around the John Lennon memorial mosaic at Strawberry Fields in Central Park came from a flower wall for a television premiere party. The flowers came back from the event in giant clear plastic bags. And on October 20, 2016 they became a Happening.

I don't arrange flowers. It's more a matter of stuffing them into a vase and hoping it doesn't fall over. Those with the talent to arrange flowers, they have a knack. Lewis Miller is so obviously skilled it hardly needs mention. He also draws inspiration from historical art of the Golden Age of Dutch floral still life paintings of the 18th century.

A profusely illustrated book, Flower Flash brings joy to the reader, as did the actual magical flower enchantments on the streets of New York.

image copyright Adrianna Glaviano

Flower Flash, by Lewis Miller
published by Monacelli Press
Hardcover, ISBN: 978-1-58093-585-2
published 2021, $55

A review copy of this book was provided by the publisher.

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