For about three years floral designer Lewis Miller has been recycling flowers as a way to jolt busy, always preoccupied New Yorkers into a moment of delighted awareness of their surroundings. He and his team seek out the most ordinary and overlooked features of the city, places like subway entrances, garbage cans, and construction sites, and exalt them with elaborate flower arrangements.
On a sunny, hot day last summer their most ambitious project to date bloomed on the Upper West Side: an array of pink, blue, and purple flowers filling and spilling out of a phone booth, one of the last of its kind still functional in the city.
The flowers the artists use for their “flower flashes” are from events for which Miller’s company, Lewis Miller Design (LMD), created the floral arrangements. They brighten up their new locations for a few hours, or even just a few minutes, until — as is Miller’s intention — they’re snapped up by people who recycle them yet again in their own homes or offices.
“New Yorkers are hard to surprise and hard to please, so if we can lure a childlike reaction out of them, that’s a victory and a gift to [me and my team],” Lewis says.

Trebbe Johnson
Trebbe JohnsonFounder
Trebbe is the author of The World Is a Waiting Lover and 101 Ways to Make Guerrilla Beauty. Her new book, Radical Joy for Hard Times: Finding Meaning and Making Beauty, will be published in Fall 2018 by North Atlantic Books. Her articles about people’s emotional and spiritual relationship with nature have appeared in Orion, Sierra, Ecopsychology, The Ecologist, The Nation, Harper’s and other magazines. She lives with her husband, Andrew Gardner, in rural northeastern Pennsylvania, a region currently under exploitation by natural gas companies.

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