Flower-shop challenge: make us a $10 bouquet

file-41Anyone who’s walked by a grocer in the spring knows it’s possible to get a handful of stems for $10—especially if you like carnations. But we had no idea what exotica that budget could afford until we sent one of our favorite photo-writer bloggers, Amy Melson, to five Brooklyn florists to find out. Sticking to it wasn’t easy, considering that these folks try, when possible, to include locally grown, organic flowers, which cost up to three times as much as the grocery-store kind. 

Not long after I stopped by Opalia, a rustically styled shop named after an ancient Roman ceremony dedicated to Ops, the goddess of fertility and abundance, I heard the midday call to prayer the must have rung out over all of downtown Brooklyn. The Opalia bouquet, which binds locally grown lilac (half a bunch at $3), a pale green rose ($3) and chamomile ($4), is a call to appreciate the freshness of spring.

Opalia, 377 Atlantic Avenue between Hoyt and Bond. 718-643-9169.


The neighborhood’s first full-service florist to open in over a decade is housed in a storefront left as it might have appeared 50 years ago. Now packed with lush flowers and appealingly homespun gifts, it’s a place where one can lose time. For owner Kimberly Sevilla, whose parents have a wild flower farm in West Virginia and bring her baskets of field-grown lavender when they visit, floriculture runs in the family. To the right of the shop is an alley filled with larger collections of reclaimed planters that include dresser drawers. This delicately lyrical $10 bouquet designed by Kimberly boasts Star of Bethlehem (two stems, $1.50 each), pink lisanthius (two stems, $1.50 each) , tulips (two at $1.25 each) and a wax flower ($1.50).
Rose Red and Lavender
,  653 Metropolitan Avenue, between  718-486-3569

A recent addition to Cortelyou Road, Sycamore sells flowers during the day and at night opens up the cozy pub in the back. When I went in, I was instantly calmed by the smell of woodsmoke wafting through the empty tavern from the meat smoker smoking away in the back. Allison McDowell, who also owns The Farm on Adderley a few doors down, hopes to sell flowers grown in her backyard later in the season. This bouquet features a stem each of leucadendron ($2), lisianthus ($3), agapanthus ($3) and eucalyptus ($2).

Sycamore 1118 Cortelyou Road, between Stratford and Westminster, 347-240-5850.

Coming across this shop is like stumbling into a peacefully sun-dappled forest glade. I wonder if the street is named after Macon, Georgia, one of the many rural towns where once upon a time many fled the agricultural life for the opportunities of the city—or so I learned from Toni Morrison. Now it seems like a bit of the country once abandoned has found its way into the city. There I got alstroemeria (five at 75 cents each), snapdragon (three at $1 each), a rose ($3) and wax flower (free filler).
Creative Blossoms, 370 Lewis Avenue at Macon 347-240-9720.

Visiting Saipua on this stretch of Van Brundt in Red Hook is like stopping by an old country store somewhere in a land of uncommon spaciousness and the uncannily crafty (and the slightly salty). How nice to come across an elegant assembly of botanics in an old storefront made approachable by vats of flowers that casually ramble out the front door and onto the walk in front, accented by the store’s friendly dog. Saipua’s classically nuanced offering is a hand bound besom of peony ($7.50), scabiosa ($5) and seed eucalyptus (free with an arrangement).
392 Van Brunt Street in Red Hook, 718-624-2929.

See more from Amy on her blog, Brooklynometry.

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