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CCSS: 6.RP.A.3.C, MP1, MP2, MP8

TEKS: 6.5B

Flowers for the City

These floral designers turn everything from subway stations to trash cans into floral showstoppers

Courtesy of Lewis Miller Design (All Images)

Late at night, Lewis Miller installs a Flower Flash at a subway stop in New York City.

For the past few years, massive art installations have taken the people of New York City by surprise. They find flowers bursting from trash cans, draping over sculptures, and curling around lamp posts. These installations are called “Flower Flashes.” They feature colorful flowers like red roses, yellow carnations, and pink cherry blossoms.

The stealthy florists behind these bouquets work at Lewis Miller Design. Lewis Miller, the company’s owner, came up with the idea to share leftover flowers. He was carrying an arrangement home after an event one night and noticed amazed looks on people’s faces when they saw the gorgeous roses and peonies out of context.

So early one morning in 2016, Miller put his idea into action. After filling the company van with 2,000 leftover flowers, the designers visited Central Park. They created a lush border of hot-pink, yellow, orange, and red blooms around the “Imagine” mosaic at the John Lennon Memorial.

For the past few years, people in New York City have been surprised by giant bouquets of flowers. The blooms burst from trash cans, drape over sculptures, and curl around lamp posts. They’re part of massive art installations called “Flower Flashes.” They feature colorful flowers like red roses, yellow carnations, and pink cherry blossoms.

The florists who make these bouquets work at Lewis Miller Design. Lewis Miller, the company’s owner, came up with the idea. He was carrying a flower arrangement home after an event one night. People looked amazed to see the gorgeous roses and peonies in the streets. Miller decided he wanted to share leftover flowers with the public more often. 

Early one morning in 2016, Miller put his idea into action. His team filled the company van with 2,000 leftover flowers. Then they visited the John Lennon Memorial in Central Park. They arranged hot-pink, yellow, orange, and red blooms around the “Imagine” mosaic at the memorial. It formed a lush border around the black and white tiles.

This Flower Flash decorates a lamp post.

Miller likes to use his business to transform big life moments, like weddings, into magical memories. “My desire was to re-create just a sliver of that sentiment and offer it up to the city dwellers and tourists of this great city,” he says.

When they’re not decorating phone booths, hot dog carts, and Dumpsters with pops of color, the company’s designers create elegant bouquets for parties, weddings, and business events. Tawana Schlegel, the company’s head designer, is responsible for turning Miller’s and clients’ visions into realities. Schlegel calculates how many flowers to buy to fill centerpieces on every table and ensures the designs stay within a client’s budget.

For Schlegel, installation day is the best reward for all the planning and hard work. “Seeing that all of your equations have worked and the floral arrangements come together is definitely my favorite part,”
she says.   

Miller usually uses flowers to create a magical feeling at big events like weddings. “My desire was to re-create just a sliver of that [feeling] and offer it up to the city dwellers and tourists,” he says. His team has decorated phone booths, hot dog carts, and even Dumpsters.

But on most days, the company is still creating elegant bouquets for parties, weddings, and business events. Tawana Schlegel is the company’s head designer. She’s responsible for turning big ideas into reality. For example, Schlegel calculates how many flowers to buy to fill centerpieces on every table. She also ensures that designs stay within a client’s budget.

For Schlegel, the day the flowers are installed is the best reward for all her hard work. “Seeing that all of your equations have worked and the floral arrangements come together is definitely my favorite part,” she says.

Use this information to answer the questions about different floral arrangements and Flower Flashes. Round answers to the nearest whole number. Record your work and answers on our answer sheet.

Use this information to answer the questions about different floral arrangements and Flower Flashes. Round answers to the nearest whole number. Record your work and answers on our answer sheet.

Peonies are sold in bunches of 5 stems. Schlegel puts 40% of a bunch in a wooden vase. How many peonies is that?

Peonies are sold in bunches of 5 stems. Schlegel puts 40% of a bunch in a wooden vase. How many peonies is that?

Each glass vase at a Mother’s Day brunch has 8 stems, of which 37.5% are stems of greenery. How many stems of greenery are in each vase?

Each glass vase at a Mother’s Day brunch has 8 stems, of which 37.5% are stems of greenery. How many stems of greenery are in each vase?

An arrangement of 41 stems is on each table at a dinner. Each arrangement is 7.32% red peonies. How many red peonies is that?

An arrangement of 41 stems is on each table at a dinner. Each arrangement is 7.32% red peonies. How many red peonies is that?

Out of 65 arrangements at a wedding, 49.23% are in Mason jars. How many is that?

Out of 65 arrangements at a wedding, 49.23% are in Mason jars. How many is that?

After an awards show, Miller has these leftover flowers: 163 carnations, 240 daisies, and 189 lilies. If he uses all of these in a Flower Flash, what percent are daisies?

After an awards show, Miller has these leftover flowers: 163 carnations, 240 daisies, and 189 lilies. If he uses all of these in a Flower Flash, what percent are daisies?

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