Get That Green Thumb Out and Get Plants: Barbara and Audrey at Century Florists

Get That Green Thumb Out and Get Plants: Barbara and Audrey at Century Florists

Maxwell Ryan
Aug 11, 2005

(In a new column, Matt is attempting a challenging double axel with a half twist, tracking down flower resources and flower knowledge in the urban jungle. We aren't sure of the title yet, but thought we'd try this on for size.)

Having grown up in a town that had ONE lone florist, I am humbled by the variety offered up in NYC. As distinct and personal as your choice in clothing or hairdressers (or friends), if you search you can find one that is just right for you. For this reason I love the distinct personality of the good, small flower shops throughout the city.

I needed flowers for a small vase and decided to stop by Century Florist, a small shop on Lex and 80th that is carefully curated by two sisters, Barbara and Audrey. They do not have everything; but they are careful about what they do select, a combination of regular favorites and surprises.

Walking by this shop is a good way to see what the season has to offer, and they normally display these in-season picks right in the windows. At present, they have containers of fresh lillies.

What attracts me to their shop is their choice of wall color (I am a sucker for fresh green) and selection of baskets and vases.

Some shops have containers as an afterthought, with uninspired and dusty selections for purchase. But these sisters collect baskets and hangers as they find them, and they all look at home in their cozy shop. The vases are made by a ceramic artist friend of the owners. Lined up on the wall, they create a beautiful effect.

By the door is a collection of bamboo rods that are used to support sagging branches and flourishing orchid stems. As someone who is looking for ways to have plants coexist in his apartment, bamboo rods seem like a useful choice that could easily be overlooked as decoration.

This morning's suggestion for a delicate flower for my vase? Lisianthus. They have crepe-like petals, gathered like a loose sketch of a rose. They do not need much fussing to look good in a vase, and seem to invite the wind into our apartment. MN

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