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A Monthly Culture Matrix For the Cosmopolitan Traveler

Constance Spry and the Fashion for Flowers

Garden Museum / London / Art

Constance Spry, also known as the “flower maven,” is considered the 20th century’s most influential floral decorator. She was born in Derby, England, in 1886, and after an early career in civil service and education, she opened her first flower shop in London, in 1929. Spry gave it the unassuming name “Flower Decoration.” Perhaps because she lacked training, Spry brought a democratic approach to her arrangements, mixing popular flowers with species unpopular and ignored. This was astonishing. But even more astonishing—it won her the embrace of London’s high society. In 1953, Spry managed the design of Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation. A year after Spry’s death in 1960, a cultivar rose shrub named “Constance Spry” was bred—it became the most popular rose in English gardens. This exhibition, curated by the acclaimed florist Shane Connolly, presents 100 photographs (never before exhibited), documents, and personal items from the RHS Lindley Library. —E.C.

Garden Museum 5 Lambeth Palace Rd, Bishop's, London SE1 7LB, United Kingdom
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