The New Faux Floral: A Conversation with Greg Lehmkuhl


Although we’ll always love celebrating spring’s return with a bouquet of fresh cut flowers, some occasions call for a long-lasting display—which is when our collection of faux florals steps in. We’ve spent countless hours curating this assortment of stems, bringing in specimens that mimic those found in the world’s best gardens. We appreciate the imperfections of real botanicals, with buds that are just opening, or blooms that have just passed their peak, and have infused our faux program with these natural quirks. The final effect? Wild, effortless arrangements that are just a little undone. Our creative director, Greg Lehmkuhl, recently sat down with us to give us his unique, inspiring, and fresh take on how to transform your space with our newest faux florals.

1. Give it distance. “We approach faux as an element that helps create a lush, green environment, but only with supporting natural elements. In fact, we have an unspoken rule that faux should always be just slightly out of reach of the senses. For the displays in our stores, anything that can be touched or smelled is real. The midground is filled with a combinations of real and faux plants while the ‘background’ is where faux takes center stage.”

2. More leaf, less flower. “We shy away from showstopping blooms like peonies and roses for a very good reason—even the real ones look fake. Instead, we look to the sidelines of stems that are considered beautiful like staghorn fern fronds, hanging rhipsalis, air plants, and graceful, leafy branches. We still want color, but keep colorful blossoms as the secondary statement. Form and grace always come first. Blooms are incidental.”

3. Arrange artfully. “These days, the realism of artificial stems is incredible. But the artistry of the arranger is still the key to creating an elevated environment with faux. Statement arrangements can use faux in ways that real just can’t. The arrangement then becomes a work of art. Fashion for the home. A new way of expressing the love of nature, but in a more representative way. It’s a challenge and that’s my favorite part.”

4. In the mix. “Combine real, dried, or even dead natural elements to give faux some grit and reality. Using an old craggy tree limb and attaching faux air plants with preserved mosses emulates how they grow in some climates. It’s evocative and romantic while not being traditionally beautiful. The effect is more fulfilling.”

5. The right balance. “Artificial flowers have been around for at least 3000 years. Early popular flowers were traditionally made from paper, wood shavings, and lightweight linen. They were used as decorations in festivals, on traditional costumes, and in churches. For us, nothing will replace living plants in all their boundless wonder and discovery, but artificial in the modern times is an exciting, new palette to help us tell a broader tale. We’re having fun discovering the boundaries.”

Feeling inspired? Check out our Faux Flower Shop to put together your own faux floral arrangement or pick up one of ours!

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