Letting Go. Slowing Down. Soaking In.

January 1, 2016
Posted by in Classes

In December 2014 a flood engulfed my studio and destroyed most of the contents. Was it a sign?

walking in japan garden

‘Take a Break!’ it may have said…or at least that is what I chose to hear. It had been Go! Grow! Expand! More! More! More! since I had started Lila B. Design in late 2006. A bit of weariness had set in for me and maybe that ‘voice’ was right?

I took a deep breath, let go of my list of ‘shoulds’, and hit the road.

Thai Garland, Farm, Kokedama, Vietnam

‘Take a Break’ was replaced with ‘Re-discover, unlock curiosity, and create flow.’

In retrospect, it wasn’t a break at all but a re-connection. A re-discovery of what and who I love.

Vero, Bangkok, Macy's
What I found was a heartening. My connection to plants and to family was an ongoing theme in my travels. My work and life didn’t need hard-lined break, it just needed a slight adjustment.

A year after the flood, our garden within Stable Cafe’s courtyard is once again lush and our worktable is filled with plant projects. It is bittersweet that there are no longer Lila B. staff buzzing about creating arrangements and assisting customers. It is just me and some extra talented hands for sizable projects.


Lila B. Entry

For now this works well. I work on fewer projects and one at a time. Whether a hands-on demonstration, botanical photo shoot, living-centerpiece styled corporate event, or a hotel lobby living arrangement, each one gets all my focus and enthusiasm.

Holly Stewart - Date Palm

In 2016, I’m excited to share stories about florists, farmers, gardeners, and designers whom I’ve met around the world. They’ve inspired, enlightened, and reminded me how much I love working around plants. I’m hoping that you find these new friends and their practices entertaining, educational, and fascinating. I certainly do.

Screen Shot 2015-12-31 at 4.29.54 PM

When not in the San Francisco, I plan to do more traveling to both learn and to teach. This way of life indeed makes me and those around me smile. 2015 was lovely that way and I’d like to keep it rolling along…

Wing Haven

Wishing you and all those around you – connection to what and who you love. It just plain feels good.


Photo 1: Garden exploring in Kyoto, Japan.
Photo 2:  Farm tour in Thailand (and our guide’s fabulous tractor!), my sister making her first Kokedama with florists from Phoebus in Kyoto, Flower over-loaded motorbike in Hanoi’s flower market, elation after learning garland making from two florists for the royal family of Thailand – at Wat Po with my friend Khun Nuanprang.
Photo 3: My amazing Aunt (a Lila relative too!) invited me to speak in Florida to her Lively Oak Garden Club. She made me cry during her thoughtful introduction to our full house of friends and garden enthusiasts. Sadly she passed away just a few months later. I, and so many others, miss her. Growing hearts in Bangkok and Macy’s hands-on ‘living centerpieces’ class during Art in Bloom (photo courtesy Macy’s).
Photo 4: Lila B.’s entry by Sophie de Lignerolles.
Photo 5: Date palm for a hotel’s botanical strategy project photo by Holly Stewart Photography
Photo 6: Floral offering making in Bangkok’s flower market, Lotus farm tour, Bangkok’s Farmer’s Market, Royal floral art class by Sakul Intakul in Bangkok’s Museum of Textiles, Floating farms in Myanmar.
Photo 7: Demonstration for Wing Haven photo by Craig Sumerell and hands on living centerpiece making with students at Wing Haven. My mother joined me on these southern adventures…Thanks Mom!



Making beautiful statements with living things