This month, Olga Berman launches her first flower arranging class at Hill Center. During the two hour hands on class, a quick field trip to Trader Joe’s to pick up seasonal flowers will be followed by mimosas and all the tips you need to turn store-bought flowers into a beautiful arrangement. Because her class is sold out(!), we thought we’d ask her a few questions so you can get to know her a little better. And then, keep your eyes open for more workshops to be added soon!
1. What’s your favorite place to buy flowers?
I buy all my flowers at my local grocery stores: Harris Teeter, Trader Joe’s, and Whole Foods. I tend to pick up a few bundles when grocery shopping to brighten up my condo and to motivate myself to keep my place clean. It’s amazing how spending about $10 can elevate your mood. Depending on the flowers you choose, and with good care, they can last several weeks. I highly recommend treating yourself to flowers if you can afford it, and not to wait for a special occasion! Unsurprisingly, my favorite hashtags are #flowerpower and #treatyoself.
2. Are there any Russian customs associated with flowers that you especially love?
I was born in Moscow and spent the first 13 years of my life there before moving to the States with my family. Nationally, it was a tradition to bring flowers to your teachers on the first day of school, September 1st. My grandmother would take my twin sister and me to buy flowers to bring to our teachers. Most often, the flowers were asters, but occasionally we would buy roses, and I would never forget my grandmother teaching us how to make sure there weren’t too many petals underneath the seller’s table: those would signify the roses were old and not fresh!
Another tradition, was for my parents and grandmother to always have flowers in my twin and my bedroom after we’d come home after a summer camp or visiting our paternal grandparents in Ukraine. It was a way for them to show how much they missed us!
Finally, and I don’t know if it was just because my family is somewhat superstitious, we would never put an even number of flowers into a vase, because it had something to do with death. All these years later, I still only put an odd number of blooms into a vase (unless it’s a very large arrangement, in which case I don’t bother to count the number of flowers). Plus, it’s a generally accepted rule that an odd number of objects makes for a more aesthetically pleasing design.
3. What’s a good houseplant for beginners?
There are a few plants that don’t require a lot of care and do well in most environments: snake plants, rubber plants, and pothos. They are also easy to propagate!