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Follow Your Star

One of my readers asked if Bunny Mellon ever wrote a gardening book.  While she hasn't, I can recommend the book The Surprising Life of Constance Spry.  Ms. Spry (1886-1960) was a floral designer and business woman at a time when most women weren't working outside the home.  She also wrote books not just on flower arranging but also cooking, gardening and entertaining.  I'm beginning to think she was the original Martha Stewart.  Her big claim to fame came from designing the flowers for the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor whose home in France she also filled with her artful arrangements.  Constance Spry created masterpieces of not just fancy flowers like roses but weeds and even kale.  I love a good story about a gutsy woman who blazes a new trail.  My favorite quote of hers sums things up best, "I want to shout out, "Do what you please, follow your star: be original if you want to be and don't if you don't want to be.  Just to be natural and gay and lighthearted and pretty and simple and overflowing and general and boroque, and learn and learn and learn. Open your minds to every form of beauty."  Amen sister!

A mass of lilacs, 1951

Constance Spry and her needlework

Constance Spry arrangement

Constance Spry and a reporter, 1951

June Morning, 1951

Her students at work.

Arrangement of fennel and orange lilies, 1951

More students arranging flowers

White arrangements in the white living room of Syrie Maugham

Rose felecite et perpetue, 1951

The Duke and Duchess of Windsor in front of a Constance Spry arrangement. 

Wedding flowers for Lady Alice Montagu Douglas Scott to the Duke of Gloucester, 1935

Wedding flowers for Lady Alice Montagu Douglas Scott to the Duke of Gloucester, 1935
There is also a rose named after Constance Spry which were planted along the 100 yard fence outside of Pixar Studios by Steve Jobs.  I think Ms. Spry would definitely approve! 

Photos from the Design Museum and Google


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