The first thing I do is stand in front of the coolers and see what flowers I am most compelled to use. Normally I’m not a fan of carnations, but I did buy some very pale pink ones at the wholesaler that are as full and heady as small peonies. I am bound to grab a few hydrangeas in different colors. Anything gardeny like bouvardia is a go. I need interesting greens in the mix: today they are olive branches and scented geranium leaves. Something unexpected like yarrow makes me smile; and at least one fragrant flower–we often have freesia in four or five colors.
With my armful of flowers, I set up shop at my table, placing the stems in large vases along the perimeter of my desk until I’m surrounded. All that’s left is my knife and an empty vase waiting to be filled with an inspired design.