New York’s Own Flower Girl Opens Up About Spring Blooms

By Carolyn Stine May 21, 2019 

A Bashed primer on all of the flowers coming into season this spring, and how you can incorporate them into your next dinner party.

When’s the last time you strolled by fresh spring flowers on the street and either stopped to breathe them in, or backed up and took a moment to marvel? We’ve even done a little dance when we’ve encountered our favorite blooms, and have a hard time resisting bringing a bunch home with us. If you think about how excited we get by fresh flowers, magnify that by one hundred and you’ll have Denise Porcaro, the founder and CFO (chief floral officer) behind Flower Girl NYC, one of our absolute favorite places for fresh blooms in New York City. She’s a native New Yorker who masterminded this gorgeous full-service flower shop, which has also blossomed into an events space (hello, wedding season!), installations (read: living flower walls), and offers classes for you and all of your best buds (from arranging to flower crowns). So naturally, we turned to her for all of the know-how on spring flowers, where to find them, how to take care of them, and how we can incorporate them into our next spring dinner party in ways that feel fresh for the season ahead.

Denise Porcaro Flower Girl | Bashed
Denise Porcaro, Flower Girl

Q

Tell us a little bit more about Flower Girl, how the business came to be, and your love of all things floral!

A

The funny thing is, getting into the world of flowers was not where I originally started or where I intended to end up! I went to school for film production design, and started working in the restaurant world in New York City on the side. Bartending, waitressing, hostessing - you name it, I did it. I started doing the flowers for some of these restaurants when I graduated. From there, it blossomed (pun intended!) into working for the amazing woman who does the flowers for Danny Meyer’s restaurants, and I was literally working out of the basement of Gramercy Tavern with her, creating these incredible arrangements. I also started doing flowers for small parties on the side, and eventually for NYC spots such as The Park, the Maritime Hotel, and mini events in the backyard of my 7th Street apartment. At some point I realized that I needed to throw caution to the wind and do this full time, and Flower Girl was born. So here we are, fifteen years later!

Q

Spring has officially sprung, and in our minds that means one thing… fresh flowers! What makes flowers in the springtime feel so special?

A

There is truly nothing like spring flowers. Not only are there so many varietals that are in bloom at this time of the year, but spring flowers are particularly fragrant. We do flower market walks with Flower Girl and it’s absolutely incredible to walk through the sea of spring flowers - it’s intoxicating for the senses. I also love that spring flowers signify change and rebirth and a seasonal shift. You know that spring is in the air when you smell those fresh flowers.

Q

Can you tell us more about what types of flowers are in season for spring, and what we should be looking for at this time of the year?

A

I’m speaking locally for the Northeast where I’m from and currently live and work, but spring flowers fall into a few key buckets. The first is blooming branches, such as cherry blossom, red buds, magnolia, dogwood, and forsythia. They are absolute eye-catchers, and they tend to last a bit longer as well. We carry them at Flower Girl in a variety of colors, whether pinks or yellows or creams, and you can either have them on their own in a vase, or incorporate them into a monochrome arrangement with other flowers.

As I mentioned before, some of the most fragrant flowers come into season in spring. Lilacs, sweet peas, anemones, and ranunculus are among my favorites. The other spring classics are peonies, which absolutely scream spring and tend to be in particularly high demand for you brides to be out there.

Q

What types of flowers should we be buying when this season, and how can we catch them at their peak seasonality?

A

Let’s take peonies, for example. Peonies are in their prime right now - they start blooming in April, and will be starting to taper off around mid-summer. When you see the first of the peonies out in April, they tend to be more expensive. If you love peonies but don’t want to spend a fortune, I like getting them in June, when they will be a bit cheaper. Lilacs are in less demand than peonies, but they will be gone in July so I would recommend snapping them up in May and June, as their fragrance is just next-level. For your blooming branches, you won’t see those past June either, so make sure you take advantage of them now!

spring floral | Bashed
Flower Girl Bouquet

Q

Where do you recommend getting your flowers? How long do they typically last for?

A

Look, there is definitely a time and a place for corner bodega flowers. If you’re on the fly, or having people over and want to create a quick spring moment, they’re great for that. But if you want to put together a lasting arrangement, going to a dedicated flower shop is the way to go. At our shop, we sell single stems and we can help you put together an arrangement that fits all of your needs. Note that if you go to the flower market, most places make you buy in bulk. Also, they won’t be cleaned and processed for you, which can be a big pain if you don’t have the time or the know-how to do so. When you buy from a flower shop, we’ll do things like removing thorns and trimming the flowers so you don’t have to worry about that at home. Also, if you’re lucky enough to get out of the city, stop by a local farm stand and pick up your flowers there. They will be a reflection of what is local, what is at its peak freshness, and they tend to be less expensive as well.

Q

What do you do with the flowers once you bring them home? Can you share your care hacks for spring flowers?

A

With flowers, it’s all about the H2O. People often think that you can overwater, but you really don’t need to worry about that. Make sure that your flowers are always submerged in the cleanest water, as greenery and leaves that have fallen into your vase can pollute it. Flowers tend to drink the most in their first two days, and by day five or six you won’t need to fill up your vase quite as often. I’d aim to change the water and trim the stems every other day. In between, if you have a clear vase, check and make sure that the stems are all submerged in water. If you have an opaque vase, stick your pinky finger in there and make sure that it touches water. If not, fill ‘er up!

Q

What are some ways that Bashed readers can incorporate spring florals into their entertaining, beyond a vase of flowers as a table centerpiece?

A

My biggest tip here is not to overthink it and feel like you need to make a grand floral arrangement. There are plenty of options if you’re not comfortable arranging flowers, or simply don’t have the time for it. Something that I love doing for a long table is to lay cut greenery down the center of your table, kind of like a garland, and lay a few blooms into the greens throughout. You can also use bud vases or mason jars as a runner down the center of the table. I like using flowers in different shades, such as tulips, to create an ombre tablescape. If you’re hosting a family style dinner and won’t have room on your table for arrangements, I’ll often do a flower or two tied up with some raffia on top of the place setting for each guest.

Another playful way to use florals is to incorporate edible flowers into your menu. I love garnishing a punch bowl with pansy blooms, or serving a champagne cocktail with a single bud floating in it. They’re a beautiful garnish for dessert as well, or even tossed into your salad for a peppery bite. Edible flowers simply means that they are grown without pesticides and you can eat them without issue. Whole Foods carries pansies and nasturtiums, and your local farmers market should have them too.

Q

So what about when we’re attending a dinner party, instead of hosting it? Do you have any fun gifting ideas using spring florals?

A

Everyone loves fresh flowers, but often times it can be disruptive to a host to have to find a vase, fill it with water, unwrap the flowers, then trim and arrange them. I’ve found that wearable items for the female guests are both unexpected, and beloved by all. I’ve brought flower cuffs to dinner parties that the ladies can wear like corsages are a huge hit. I also like gifting dried flower smudge sticks, which the host can use on her own time to set the mood in her space.

Share your favorite spring flowers and all of the inventive ways that you’ve incorporated them into your hostessing this spring!

Tell Us What You Think

Carolyn Stine

A party without cake is just a meeting.

Follow Us

Related Stories

Copyright © 2019 Bashed, Inc. Read our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

>
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram