Bouquets to Art

Inspired by a successful Bostonian floral fundraiser, where arrangements mirrored masterpieces, the San Francisco–based Bouquets to Art event is celebrating its 25th anniversary and a total of $4.24 million raised for the Fine Art Museums programs and acquisitions. Ever since its inception, a handful of Marin County women have been involved—if not at the helm. “Our first show featured 45 florists,” says longtime organizer and this year’s cochair, Barbara Harbinson of Ross, “and nearly half of these designers are still on the roster.”

This low turnover speaks to the camaraderie between organizers and artists. Three of these florists are from Marin and include Marcia Maffei of Main Street Floragardens, Peggy Blachford of Mill Valley and Peggy O’Neill of Tiburon’s Hearts and Flowers. Maffei, whose studio is in San Anselmo, looks forward to the event every year and maintains the only big change is the restrictions placed on materials in order to protect the artwork. “We are not permitted to use many materials like wooden objects, dried branches, driftwood, silk, fruit, clothing and feathers, to name a few. We can, however, have some of these items fumigated if there is time to plan ahead. So far, my only problem has been a hairline crack in one of my containers (potential water leakage), a very big no-no. Thank goodness for duct tape!”

The event lasts for six days and includes a Hat Day emceed by Sausalito’s Jan Wahl, who will discuss flowers in the movies; lectures by notable floral designers; luncheons and, of course, the opening night gala Monday, March 16. Also new this year is an online auction of six original paintings, which will be on view at the de Young throughout the show. For more information, go to

2009 Participating Floral Designers from Marin

Jessica Hart and Martin Lewis (Ross), Bonnie Hart (Tiburon), Hearts and Flowers, Peggy O’Neill (Tiburon), Kate’s Blossoms, Katheen McEwen (Novato), Lesley de Lone, English Florist (Mill Valley), Main Street Floragardens, Marcia Maffei (San Anselmo), Marin Garden Club, Janet Scales (Ross), Marsha Heckman Bouquets, Marsha Heckman (Mill Valley), Dee Moss (Belvedere), Paradise Flowers, Patti Bradley, Latisha Chiurco (Kentfield), April Flowers, April Abbott (Mill Valley), Peggy Blatchford (Mill Valley), Catherine Scott Flowers (Fairfax), City College of SF Jenny Tabarracci, AIFD (Novato), Silvia Davidson (Belvedere), Fantasy Florals, Susan Barton (Fairfax), Sweet Pea Floral Design, Julie Lerious (Woodacre), Judy Cochran Ward (Novato), Woodlands Floral, Cathy Boldt (Kentfield), Yukiko Neibert Floral Design Studio, Yukiko Neibert (Kentfield).

Marcia Maffei’s tips on March flowers

What’s available in March? March is a great month for spring flowers; however, a lot of these are not long-lasting. I try to use varieties that last, like blossoms, orchids, calla lilies, amaryllis and foliages.

How to keep them fresh? Keeping flowers fresh has a lot to do with how they are processed. Buying quality, proper cutting and hydration, knowing your mechanics when putting displays together are all important. I also use floral preservative in all my designs. Finally, be sure they are well watered. It always amazes me how much flowers can drink in one night!

Mimi Towle

Mimi Towle has been the editor of Marin Magazine for over a decade. She lived with her family in Sycamore Park and Strawberry and thoroughly enjoyed raising two daughters in the mayhem of Marin’s youth sports; soccer, swim, volleyball, ballet, hip hop, gymnastics and many many hours spent at Miwok Stables. Her community involvements include volunteering at her daughter’s schools, coaching soccer and volleyball (glorified snack mom), being on the board of both Richardson Bay Audubon Center. Currently residing on a floating home in Sausalito, she enjoys all water activity, including learning how to steer a 6-person canoe for the Tamalpais Outrigger Canoe Club. Born and raised in Hawaii, her fondness for the islands has on occasion made its way into the pages of the magazine.