Clare Lee, the founder of botanical studio Friday’s Garden, opens up about her profound love for botany and her passion for crafting exquisite floral arrangements.
There it sat, resplendent on the dining table. Forest ferns pirouetted next to palm fronds as striking celadon anthurium bracts bobbed in the foreground. It was already refreshing for a floral arrangement to be mostly foliage, playing off variations of the color green in intriguing juxtapositions of textures and hues. But the delightful strangeness of the other botanicals radiating from the vessel aroused a fierce curiosity. What were these beguiling fuzzy jadeite leaves? Or those mysterious emerald berries?
The floral sculpture I had been gifted was the Foliage arrangement from Friday’s Garden, a botanical design studio with a loyal coterie of customers, and a rising go-to for celebrities and luxury brands. “I don’t just want to present decor. That’s not what we’re about,” explains founder Clare Lee. Behind her, fringed flame tulips from the Netherlands and fuzzy kangaroo paws native to Australia wait in beautiful vases to be assembled into their final incarnations. “I want our arrangements to make you wonder.”
Lee has an infectious warmth and ready eloquence. Our conversation at Friday’s intimate botanical design studio in Midview City is powered by the force of her enthusiasm for floriculture. “Nature is crazy clever,” she proclaims. “Plants have a contour of their own. We respect them and try not to wire recalcitrant stems because if a bloom wants to bend a certain way, it isn’t a slouch but a ballet position.”