Alex W. Crowder is never out of season with his flower arrangements

Alex W. Crowder at Vanishing Point Farm.

Photo: Winona Barton Ballentine

“I need to see where the flowers grow, what they look like in the wild,” says New York florist Alex W. Crowder, whose sculptural arrangements use only local flora, almost entirely in season. It’s June and she’s just returned from Vanishing Point Farm (pictured), one of many nearby springs. A host of new materials will soon be at your fingertips: bearded iris, Queen Anne’s lace, yarrow, hydrangea, and her current favorite, crowned vetch, a purple-flowering plant often considered a weed. “I spent much of my childhood alone in a forest, looking at the little flowers you only noticed as a child,” recalls Crowder, who grew up in the Ozarks and studied the graphic design at Missouri State University. Since moving to the big city eight years ago, she’s retained that curiosity about the natural world, whether it’s Japanese barberry (a thorny invasive), milkweed (the host plant of the monarch butterfly) or the crowfoot violet that grows in the cracks of city sidewalks. Today, her business, Field Studies Flora, creates weekly arrangements for Roman and Williams Guild and La Mercerie, as well as a growing list of private clients. Working with the seasons is not always easy. “When it’s colder, you have to be more creative,” she explains. “I use a lot of pods, dried elements and evergreens.” It’s worth it, she says, to disrupt the unsustainable systems (waste, transportation emissions, unregulated labor) ingrained in the flower industry. “How can we rearrange this?” she asks. “What excites me the most is problem solving.”

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