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VOL. 36 | NO. 49 | Friday, December 07, 2012

Keep holiday flowers simple

By Stephanie Toone

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Perri Crutcher, owner of OSHi Flowers

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For 10 years, OSHi Flowers has created floral arrangements to grace The Pinnacle in downtown Nashville and brighten homes and offices from Middle Tennessee to New York, London and Paris.

Perri Crutcher, the man behind the exquisite Japanese floral decor pieces, has been honing his agriculture skills since he was a small boy in rural Memphis. His great aunt taught him the basics of gardening, while his mother, legendary Stax Records songwriter Bettye Crutcher, introduced him to high-end design and decor.

“My mother always had fine things, so she gave me a certain respect for other people’s spaces,” he says. “When I was 21, I left for New York and soon landed a job with floral designer Ronaldo Maia.”

In New York, Crutcher says he built his confidence in floral design. Under Maia and Setuo Kitono, a master of Ikebana, the Japanese art of flower arranging, Crutcher created unique floral designs for the homes of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Barbara Walters and many others.

He shares some of his floral design expertise for those looking to give the gift of flowers or decorate a home or office this holiday season.

What is the major difference between creating floral pieces for home or office versus a large commercial setting?

“In the corporate setting there’s a standard. You want something that’s creative, a little more modern in style – a very clean line – not so overbearing or flamboyant. You’re looking for a modern conservatism in style, perhaps 4-foot white Catalinas in a black rock in the main lobby of a major building.

“For a personal gift, we try to understand why you’re sending the flowers for birthday, anniversaries, whatever and that encourages us to design a specific (piece).’’

What are some of the basic rules of floral arrangements for home and office this time of year?

“You want monochromatic tones like whites and greens, because a lot of the times you don’t know what someone’s interior colors are. You want it to sparkle without glitter. The mechanics of the flowers need to be robust, and all of it should have a luminous, but clean style. You want the floral arrangement to have one thought pattern. So many arrangements have too much stuff going on, so you want your floral arrangement to be done correctly but not overdone.

“You also don’t want to pick a floral arrangement that is overly fragrant for an office. In the winter, the heat being on in an office can make the smell of certain flowers even stronger. Something like a stardaisy would be too overbearing for an office.’’

When using a floral arrangement as a gift or “thank you,” should you keep your personality or the personality of the gift recipient in mind?

“I feel you should send something that you like versus too much trying to fit what they may like. It’s hard to determine what someone likes in flowers. If you send some that’s representative and an extension of you, it will be like “Peggy’s” love is surrounding me in this room. This flower arrangement is so “Peggy,” and it makes me think of her.’’