Enjoying an Evening of Earthly Delights with Greg Campbell at the Garden District
An evening of Flower Power with Greg Campbell at the Garden District.
As far as blog postings go, any event that is not immediately documented and uploaded is almost considered ancient history. So, a wonderful evening spent with great friends learning new design skillz almost six months ago is just that. Yet, it presents a perfect time to reflect on this glorious gig with floral master Greg Campbell at the Garden District, a business he shares with Erick New. A little background info: Greg is a Grahamwood Elementary alum (Go Dragons!) and I approached him about a donation for the school’s annual fundraising event. Hoping for a few free flowers or a couple of gift items, I walked into his shop and gave him my schpeel on why giving back to one’s school is soooo important ... yawn. Not surprisingly, Greg blew me away with his deep love for his Dragon days and his boundless generosity. He ended up donating a workshop experience with him as the the Grand Master Teacher instructing how to make the most gorj floral arrangements. Interim Restaurant also threw in some of the most delish appetizers and wine pairings, completing a most unique auction item for a group of lucky bidders. All Private. With HIM. In his back room. Don’t be j ... I ended up splitting the winning bid for this event and I’m blogging about it now to share this design experience wealth with all of you, my three loyal readers.
On the highly coveted guest list were some of my reg crew mates: Lucia Heros, Mary Seay Taylor, and I invited my mom to ensure I’d behave in such a pristine environment. I won this with new bestie and fellow Grahamwood mom, Dana Daly. She brought in her sis Susan Hill and pals Amy Powers, Amy Mayne, and Debra Conner. Together, we were entranced by guru Greg as he tried his best to show us the ways of flower magic with the freshest imported Dutch flowers you have ever seen and smelled on this side of the Pond. Equipped with Amsterdam’s finest and with various tools of the trade, we were subdued by global chill music on the stereo system (like fav Thievery Corporation) and suave rum punch that made all of those intimidating flowers seem silly and malleable. Few things in life have prepared me for the glory that is watching Greg Campbell in his heavenly element and that night was the closest thing to witnessing a holy assumption that I can imagine. Greg flawlessly works his utensils with assassin-like precision. He is able to manipulate sticks and moss the way I fancy the CIA is able to gather intel in a bunker 6 feet below a foreign country’s surface — swift and accurate. But, he does so with angelic flair and he just makes it all look so ... easy. Which it’s not.
We were all gathered around a gigantic work table in the very back of the shop where the magic happens todos los dias in the Garden District. All of us were armed with buckets full of the most extraordinary flowers and the smells were intense and otherworldly. Everything — the colors, the scents, the music and chatter, the rum punch — it was a rainbow range of emotions that nearly caused a sensory overload. It was perfect. You know in the Snoopy and Peanuts cartoons when the characters all move their hands together really, really fast and suddenly a finished item appears? Well, that’s what it was like watching Greg master his opus. He was a kind and caring teacher that night; always watchful of his pupils and helpful with every complicated turn ... alas, I just couldn’t get the hang of it. He tried mercilessly to show me how to do things like dress wire or successfully incorporate figs, artichokes, and ornamental kale into my centerpiece but the pressure snapped me like a twig. And, dealing with the mental failures of being defeated by flowers is too much for me to handle. So, I’ve decided that buying arrangements is money well spent and floral design truly is a magnificent art that is fully appreciated by all of the senses — especially when it’s in a very special setting like the one at the Garden District. The evening was sublime and, best of all, it was done out of the kindness of Greg’s heart.