entertainingFood & Drinkoutdoorweeders digest

new d*s columnist: sarah ryhanen of saipua

by Sarah Ryhanen

today i’m thrilled to welcome a new columnist to d*s! i’ve been wanting to add someone to our tiny team who could help with all things floral and garden-oriented so i was beyond excited when sarah ryhanen of saipua accepted my invitation. i’ve long been a fan of sarah’s (and eric’s) work at saipua, a beautiful flower and soap shop in red hook brooklyn, and have been following her blog for months (you might remember her hilarious guest blog posts at d*s). once a week sarah will be joining us to talk about floral arranging, urban gardening, plants, diy floral centerpieces, introducing us to interesting (and affordable) flowers and anything else that relates to nature and our modern world. we’re still working on a name and permanent day-of-the-week for the column so stay tuned for her regular schedule. so, without further ado, take it away, sarah…

Flowers make people happy in the simplest way. I used to work at a Carvel Ice cream store, and it was pretty much the same type of simple pleasure. But more delicious I guess. You want to know how to make those chocalate crunchies? No you don’t.

So I’m really glad to be here, glad to be sharing pictures of flowers and a few words of wisdom on how to arrange, care for, grow, and sometimes eat flowers. Also here to let you know that your girlfriend likes flowers, would like you to bring home flowers tonight, and would like you to start thinking about valentines day now…Jus’ saying.

Today the anemone is on my mind. Anemone Coronaria… and don’t call her poppy. She can be French or American and comes in shades of white, blue, pink or red but is distinguished by her blue/black center. She’s around from November to April and now – January – finds us smack dab in the middle of the season when anemones are their strongest and most beautiful. Winter flowers always feel really special to me. They are lovely contrast to the weather outside. Such a lovely contrast to the clothes all over the floor or the sink full of dishes. Those things tend to fade into the distance with some flowers on the kitchen table. The cat threw up? Who cares! We have Anemones!

The anemone is a saucy and versatile flower. She can stand surprisingly well on her own – holding a room with just a few stems, but she she also mixes exceptionally well with a myriad of other blooms. She’s great at parties. All this despite her tragic name – Anemone comes from Greek, meaning Windflower. It symbolizes the foresaken and is said to have sprung from the blood of Aphrodite’s slain lover, Adonis. I generally don’t tell that to brides.

I like to put a few stems in small bottles by my bedside or on the kitchen table. To dress them up a bit I mixed about 14 stems here with a few bunches of fresh oregano. For something a bit more styled I made a quick tie-up bouquet with quince blossoms, salmon parrot tulips, poppies, roses, and eucalyptus. Might as well get this out of the way up front: best advice for keeping these beauties looking good for 5-7 days is to change the water daily. Thats all. Some people add drops of bleach (kills bacteria) or dish soap (glycerin acts as a stand-in for flower food) but I don’t monkey with flower cocktails. Just keep the water changed and away from the heater.

Anemones leave you cold? Single petaled flowers seem shallow? Next week we’ll take a look at the Anemone’s illusory cousin THE RANUNCULA.

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  • oh i just love anemones. i think they are so incredibly striking with their dark centers. just gorgeous.

  • brilliant! i’m absolutely tipsy – the anemone is so beautiful, it doesn’t seem like enough to call it beautiful, and the ranuncula is my favorite flower.

  • Thanks for these beautiful images–anemones are my favorite flower and may be one of the few redeeming things about January!

  • what’a small world!!.. i just subscribed to the saipua blog earlier today!.. fabulous photos..flowers..and text! thanks so much.

  • Yay! I love learning about flowers and I adore Saipua’s style! I’m really gonna’ like this column.

  • I love this – particularly love the last photo – a dreamy, opulent arrangement in a mason jar. so perfect and cinematic.

  • I’m so happy to read this! I’m always wondering how to make arrangements look better. This was very helpful.

    Btw, I was chosen randomly by the bloggie awards to vote for my favorite 5 finalists for blogs of various categories. You were listed for “Best Design Blog” and naturally I voted for you. I love it here. Thanks for the inspiration!

  • Oh how great~ I looove Saipua and Sarah’s blog is beyond beautiful. Can’t wait for ranuncula, perhaps my all time fave. Yay!

  • These are gorgeous. And I love ranunculus!!! And perfect timing for DIY flower arrangements since I hope to do them for my wedding reception. Grace, I heart you.

  • absolutely gorgeous. i am so excited you’ve chosen to write about my two favorite flowers! can’t wait to see more!

  • What a great addition – it helps that this and the ranunculous are my two FAVOURITE flowers! (runner up is peony in case you care). LOVE this blog, I check it every day, several times a day. In fact I should probably get it under control. :)

  • MUST HAVE those foo dogs in the first picture. Where do they come from?! They look just like my Tibetan Spaniels ;)

  • I love anemones! I am getting married in two days and the white French anemone will be highlight of my bouquet. Whenever I see them, I smile!

  • Really excited about this new column! I’ve decided to regularly buy fresh flowers for the house as a small luxury – balance to the belt tightening in other areas. Now, I’ll have wonderful inspiration about what to do with them and different varieties to buy.
    Sarah – I’d love a post of on the humble carnation, perhaps my favorite flower.

  • yeah! i love sarah’s blog. and i am doing the flowers for my brother-in-law’s wedding this august. i am going to need some guidance!!

  • Anemones have such classic, Victorian look. These arrangements are inventive and stunning!!

  • Anemones are one of my all-time favorite flowers…I almost changed the date of my wedding to fall in Anemone season! Thanks, Sarah; I can tell I’m going to love this addition to the blog.

  • WOW, delightful! Sorry to say this Grace — because I am an obsessive d*s checker-outer — but these flowers (and tips) are the first thing that have inspired me to comment! I love them. Keep it coming.

  • This news is THE BEST! I cannot think of a more perfect addition to the d*s team. Look forward to much much more!!

  • This column has inspired me to add “learn about new flowers and buy them for my apartment” to my list (yes, still growing) of new years resolutions. Thanks!

  • I can’t wait to see photos of ranuncula. I have some on my website that I took on their verge of dying. Even then they were so beautiful.

  • I love flowers but never seem to be able to arrange them so they look as great as these… so thank you! I’m looking forward to more.

  • I can’t wait to see more of this column! I just love the simplicity of the flowers and the way they are used. Just one tiny flower and a lovely old bottle is all it takes. Perfect!

  • I LOVE this new column, such a super idea Grace, as always! and still would like to wish you a wonderful 2009 … may all your dreams come true! Irene xx

  • i loved sarahs writing and am really looking forward to learning more about flowers. she has a really fun/dry sense of humor. can’t wait for more from her. the photos are beautiful!

  • OMG! I LOVE Saipua, LOVE her blog, and LOVE LOVE anemones and rannunculas. You couldn’t have picked a more perfect hook to keep me addicted to this blog for life! I am so glad that it’s going to be a weekly thing!

  • YES YES YES… I didn’t think I could love this blog more. I AM SO EXCITED FOR OBSCURE FLOWER NAMES.

  • i am SO glad you’re adding sarah in a semi-permanent way! i loved her guest blog posts. her gorgeous photos, beautiful arrangements, knowledge, humor, pop culture references and descriptions of animals get me every time. yes, all that.

  • lucyjupiter took the words right out of my mouth, Yes yes yes! My two favorite things (sponge and saipua) in one! Made my day.

  • Brilliant! Saipua and Design*Sponge all intertwined together in one scrumptious package! Fantastic idea Grace, you are an international crowd pleaser!

  • I am really looking forward to your posts Sarah.
    I started reading D*s about a year ago, and this is where I read about your store in Brooklyn. So when I was in New York past September, I walked across the BBridge all the way to Red Hook (man it was HOT) only to find that your store was closed!
    So silly of me not to have checked beforehand. But I loved Brooklyn so much, that I’m pretty sure I’ll be back some day. Walking over to Red Hook was one of the best day’s ever!

    Enjoy posting!


  • Oh, I’m very glad as well, I love gardening and everything flowers. Anemone is one of my favourite bulbs. Great start!

  • GORGEOUS. Thrilled you are contributing and can’t wait for additional beautiful, engaging, practical posts like this one. Wish I lived in Red Hook so I could partake of your magic live.

  • i’m so pleased that you all are pleased, and am gearing up for lots of good material to share here – thanks to grace and all of you for giving me a needed boost of inspiration with this new project!

  • What a super addition to d*s! Love anemones and ranunculas are my favorite (peonies too!). Grace, mad props for continuing to expand the scope of d*s while still staying true to your vision — that’s why I voted for you in the AT survey and am super happy you won. Somehow you’ve made the d*s world so much bigger without any dilution in the quality of the content. Sarah, I just read your blog. I will be a regular lurker there too now!

  • Ooh! I am so excited to see this as a new column on d*s! I have just recently become fascinated with flower arrangements and I have been posting some on my blog. I can’t wait to read Sarah’s posts!


  • i love anenomes. i can;t wait for more columns like this. does anyone know of a good source for anenome bulbs?

  • I popped over this evening, hoping to see if you have links to great urban gardening blogs – and you’ve exceeded my expectations . . .I can’t wait for Sarah’s column. You had me at “anemones”.

  • One of my all time favorite flowers all though I have to admit that I’m guilty of calling them Poppies. They don’t seem to be very fragrant however and are a bit hard to find. Does anyone know where to get these in the Seattle area?

  • Sarah: I love these French Anemone Coronaria (white with blue center). I’m looking all over but can’t find a source to buy these bulbs. Where would you recommend I buy these bulbs from? Thanks!!