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Follow Your Star

by habituallychic

08 . 03 . 10
One of my readers asked if Bunny Mellon ever wrote a gardening book.  While she hasn’t, I can recommend the book The Surprising Life of Constance Spry.  Ms. Spry (1886-1960) was a floral designer and business woman at a time when most women weren’t working outside the home.  She also wrote books not just on flower arranging but also cooking, gardening and entertaining.  I’m beginning to think she was the original Martha Stewart.  Her big claim to fame came from designing the flowers for the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor whose home in France she also filled with her artful arrangements.  Constance Spry created masterpieces of not just fancy flowers like roses but weeds and even kale.  I love a good story about a gutsy woman who blazes a new trail.  My favorite quote of hers sums things up best, “I want to shout out, “Do what you please, follow your star: be original if you want to be and don’t if you don’t want to be.  Just to be natural and gay and lighthearted and pretty and simple and overflowing and general and boroque, and learn and learn and learn. Open your minds to every form of beauty.”  Amen sister!
A mass of lilacs, 1951
Constance Spry and her needlework
Constance Spry arrangement
Constance Spry and a reporter, 1951
June Morning, 1951
Her students at work.
Arrangement of fennel and orange lilies, 1951
More students arranging flowers
White arrangements in the white living room of Syrie Maugham
Rose felecite et perpetue, 1951
The Duke and Duchess of Windsor in front of a Constance Spry arrangement. 
Wedding flowers for Lady Alice Montagu Douglas Scott to the Duke of Gloucester, 1935
Wedding flowers for Lady Alice Montagu Douglas Scott to the Duke of Gloucester, 1935
There is also a rose named after Constance Spry which were planted along the 100 yard fence outside of Pixar Studios by Steve Jobs.  I think Ms. Spry would definitely approve! 
Photos from the Design Museum and Google

Comments Closed

  1. Heidiopia August 3, 2010 | 6:06 pm

    Marvelous!! I love the quote as well– inspiration from the past is a beautiful thing.

  2. Teresa Hatfield August 3, 2010 | 6:12 pm

    Love this story. Thank you for sharing!
    Teresa (Splendid Sass)

  3. Dobbygirl August 3, 2010 | 6:19 pm

    I need to pick this book up – I’ve always wanted to know more about her and her work, plus we share a last name. There aren’t many of us Spry’s out there so it’s interesting to me. Thanks for the post!

  4. My Dog-Eared Pages August 3, 2010 | 8:44 pm

    Thank you for the introduction to this charming book. I will get a copy. Amen, sister is right!

  5. pavlova August 4, 2010 | 12:55 am

    Aha….i have a magnificent “Constance Spry” rose bush in my garden and now I know the background of its name. Thank you….and love the quote!

  6. Ragland Hill Social by Gwen Driscoll August 4, 2010 | 3:12 am

    this looks like such a great book. have so missed the world of blog this summer. i’m back and so glad. hope you are well.

  7. The-Countrypolitan August 4, 2010 | 3:15 am

    She sounds like she must have been a real character… I love stories about people who dare to blaze their own trail… ~Terri

  8. Karena August 4, 2010 | 4:11 am

    Heather, I love the quote, how true. Beautiful to see a woman of that era find her own way! And quite the road she traveled.

    Art by Karena

  9. Alice August 4, 2010 | 4:33 am

    So interesting… definitely adding this to my book list!

  10. Flotsam Friends August 4, 2010 | 10:49 am

    Wow, this sounds really inspiring. Great shots. Pruxxx

  11. mary August 4, 2010 | 1:36 pm

    I keep rereading the quote. I can feel it lighting a fire under me. Thanks for a great start to this gorgeous summer day. Mary

  12. In Full Bloom Photography August 4, 2010 | 2:31 pm

    I love this…and I absolutely LOVE your blog!!

  13. Anonymous August 6, 2010 | 6:19 am

    If I could get a lilac bridal bouquet that would stand for 12 hours, I would get married tomorrow.