Margot Shaw, the founder and editor of Flower magazine, the nation's only floral lifestyle publication, knows a thing or two about blossoms and botanicals. Since 2007, she has cultivated a loyal following of readers who share her passion for all things floral. Margot's steadfast belief that "the urge to gather flowers and all forms of beauty into our lives is primordial and begins in the garden" is the guiding principle of her flower-focused magazine. The magazine features the work of top tastemakers, interior designers, and event planners who celebrate the fact that "flowers lend a richness and romance to living and celebrating life that is undeniable."
Now in her first book, Living Floral – Entertaining and Decorating with Flowers published by Rizzoli, Margot has gathered her personal favorites in a must-have book for the flower enthusiast in us all. In the introduction, she explains that "in this book, we paint and elevate flowers with words and pictures, looking at creative and talented people from the worlds of interior, garden, floral, and event design, as well as architecture and gastronomy – all through a botanical lens." Yep, as in the inspirational and instructional pages of Flower magazine, floral design meets interior design meets special occasions meets food and fashion. There's something for everyone in this beautiful book. It can be as simple as arranging flowers cut from a backyard garden or tucked in your weekly grocery cart, or as complex as planning an elaborate wedding or formal garden; but to be sure, Margot is honoring flowers and natural beauty as a lifestyle.
The book is arranged by season because, as she explains, "my husband is the gardener and I cut what he grows. There's always something to clip and arrange – whether French blue hydrangeas in summer, white nandina berries and remontant roses in the fall, camellias in the winter, Lenten roses in late winter, and forsythia and tulips in the spring, among other blooms and branches." It is easier to incorporate greenery and blooms into an everyday lifestyle when thinking about it seasonally, much like we do food. The forward is written by Margot's dear friend, the designer Charlotte Moss, who shares her summery East Hampton garden and pool along with her creative tips for clever containers and arrangements that look effortless. Like Charlotte, who hails from Virginia, Margot is Southern which means they both abide by the unwritten rule that "flowers run through our veins; they make a home feel gracious and welcoming."
Throughout the book there is a focus on bringing the outdoors in, not only with foliage and stems but through botanical-themed wallpaper, fabric, accessories, and tabletops. Noted interior designers such as Suzanne Rhinestein, Bunny Williams, and Elaine Griffin weigh in with well-appointed rooms that incorporate flowers and natural elements in their choice of color palettes, art, and decor. Talented event planners show us how to develop entire parties – including tablescapes, menus, and decorative schemes – around exuberant flowers and spectacular sprays of greenery. From rustic and laid-back gatherings to lavish and over-the-top garden parties, Living Floral is teeming with stunning photography, industry expertise, and an abundance of enthusiasm.
For those who love to entertain or for those of us that enjoy a luscious book and a cocktail by the pool, Living Floral is the perfect read. There's lots of "how-to" information right along with the high-style elegant petals and posies. This compilation of well-designed homes, gardens, and occasions (you'll even see one or two from our neck of the woods) makes a single bud or lighthearted nosegay feel like one of life's sweetest luxuries.
This article appeared in the Summer 2019 issue of Adore Magazine.