A devoted and determined and diligent friend I met at the community garden -- let's call her the Plant Whisperer -- made them. The Plant Whisperer is no amateur in this department. She works as a celebrity stylist, and her portfolio has like every famous person I've ever thought of in it. Her apartment is stuffed with amazing things, from bajillion dollar silk curtains a rich client tired of to a Louis the something-or-otherth vest that Andy Warhol tossed her way. I call her the Plant Whisperer because however impeccable her taste and impressive her client list, her skills in the garden outstrip them. The Brooklyn Botanic Garden just traded 90 year-old peonies to our garden in return for her fairy foxglove seeds, because, frankly, the alpine garden she's established in the corner of our old building lot is better than theirs.
Months ago, she asked me to send her a list of flowers I like, and I did nothing about it, in part because I'm lazy and would find a way to postpone breathing if I could, in part because I was determined at that point that the legal business was no big deal -- the real celebration will come in the spring, when our friends can come to a big party. Three days before the wedding, my mother just happened to forward me an email she'd sent to old friends, telling them we were getting hitched:
I hope they'll carry flowers.
Mama always has been good at finding that B in subtle. She checked in via phone to be sure I hadn't missed it.
Sugar and I had invited our parents and two friends from our respective early childhoods who have ended up living within blocks of us, hundreds of miles from our hometowns. I called my "womb buddy," who'd offered to help with flowers, but it soon became clear this was asking a lot. Womb Buddy is a Soil Engineer and terrified she'd screw this up. I wasn't expecting much -- a grocery store bouquet with a ribbon from home? -- and I thought the Plant Whisperer could at least supply the name of the flower I don't like. She did (alstroemeria), and immediately took charge of the whole project, sending me home with ribbon swatches to hold up to our dresses, enlisting another garden stalwart and all-around prince to drive her to the flower market at 5:30 am, and ultimately coming up with this:
I still can't believe we had something so beautiful to carry. They were stunning. I couldn't have even imagined something so lovely. The roses came from an established bush in the community garden, so we'd have something "old." The heather made me feel less bad for forgetting the Scottish tradition of a silver coin in my shoe (though Mama says my blood was Scottish enough). The dark red peonies reminded me of Sugar's grandmother, who grows them and who couldn't travel for the ceremony.
The leather box in the photo is from the Plant Whisperer, too. We carried our rings in it. It's a replica of an opera glass case belonging to Napoleon's wife, Josphine, and so it has Sugar's and my shared first initial J embossed on it.
And as if all that wasn't enough, she's insisting on naming the new peony at the garden -- the one she got in return for her seeds -- after us.
It all makes me think about grace. Grace is like all of this: something you get despite the fact that you could never deserve it.