The floral whizkid and head of Fox Fodder Farm Taylor Patterson creates the sort of moody, jaw-dropping arrangements that make us scowl at the sight of bodega flowers. But before you get mad at her for upping the ante, you ought to know that girl’s about as fly as they come—and is hardly above picking greens sprouting out of sidewalk cracks. More on all that below. —carlye wisel
Q: Do you have any fail-proof tips for keeping flowers alive longer?
A: The big secret, which isn’t even a secret, is cutting the stems every day and changing the water. What kills flowers really fast is the development of bacteria in the water. Another trick is if you put a sugar cube in there or a little bit of Sprite, and then also a little bit of bleach or vodka—but very little, maybe a teaspoon per cup. That helps eliminate bacteria without killing the flowers.
Q: So basically…a teeny-tiny mixed drink?
A: Yeah! It’s like a teeny-tiny cocktail, like a vodka soda. Even tonic works, because tonic has sugar in it. Give it an itty-bitty vodka tonic, and that’ll help to feed the flowers and keep bacteria from growing too fast.
Q: You work on a ton of weddings. Does any one stand out as having the best wedding cake?
A: A friend of mine who got married last October had a wedding cake done by the pastry chef at Vinegar Hill House. One layer was black sesame with coconut, another was carrot—it was not at all conventional, and it was really delicious.
Q: Does being a florist bring down your jewelry game since you work with your hands?
A: No! I actually wear four to five rings at all times. I mean, they get dirty, but the rings are pretty simple. One is a gold band with rubies on it that my dad gave me for my 13th birthday. Three are these really pretty, simple silver bands that my ex-boyfriend gave me. The other is this gold pinkie ring that my mom actually found in her garden behind our house—behind our house used to be a dump in the early 1900s. There are all these glass bottles and old tin canisters and things, and she found it back there.
Q: If we were going to make a bouquet on the fly—you know, snipping stuff off trees and stuff—where in New York should we look?
A: It always depends on the season. Right now, we just had all the pear trees and cherry trees in bloom, and cherry branches make beautiful cut flowers. Toward the middle and end of summer, you seen Queen Anne’s lace growing out of the sidewalk everywhere. Greenpoint runs rampant with it, and that makes beautiful arrangements by itself.
Q: What are you working on next?
A: I’m in the process of developing a signature scent of Fox Fodder Farm. It’s going to start out as a perfume, and the idea is that it can be translated into different products, like a candle, room spray, and soap. It’s not a floral-based scent. It’s musky and woodsy, more like dirt than flowers. The bottle is going to be really simple, and it will be roll-on and unisex. And it’s all-natural—no synthetic fragrances.
Q: Have you ever lost an item of clothing that was really important to you?
A: My dad used to play polo, and he had this T-shirt from the seventies that said Palm Springs Polo Club. It was green—worn-in really well—and I used to wear it a lot…and then one day it disappeared. I used to live in Paris, and when I moved, I think it got lost in the move. Or a friend stole it. You know what, my sister probably took it. I’ve asked her about it, and she said no. But I’m, like, 75% sure she has it.
Photo courtesy of Lianna Tarantin.
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