Larry Crume holds a Valentine’s Day treat of boxed roses in a heart-shaped pattern, as an inlay with a moss bed in a handmade wooden crate.
The holiday is typically florists’ best-selling time of the year. Flowers by Larry offers roses in a heart-shaped pattern, as an inlay with a moss bed around in a 10-by-10 inch wooden crate boxes, shop workers build.
“A dozen or more roses helps create the heart,” said Crume, who has run floral shops for over a decade and a half. He has been a floral stylist for nearly a quarter century — since 1991.
Adorned with a cupid in the window, Flowers by Larry has operated at 427 N. Church St. for a year — since Feb. 9, 2014. The retail flower shop and design studio is the northern segment of what long was Freeman’s News Stand, on the edge of downtown Hendersonville.
“We’re more boutique-driven, and not the norm,” Crume explained of his sophisticated mountain style. “Our stylish floral designs are classic, with European influences. We have a Dutch-Flemish still life, in feel. It’s flattering when people say it reminds them of a shop in Paris, bringing ‘charming’ to Hendersonville.”
There is a “mountain influence on a cosmopolitan feel” in his “relaxed, creative designs,” he added. “It’s all done with reclaimed wood. It’s rustic, and very mountain chic reflecting the lifestyle here. There are not lattice and pink walls. It’s very earthy, warm and inviting yet with underlying currents of elegance.” He offers “understated yet sophisticated floral and decor for home, office and event. We consider ourselves current, but not necessarily trendy.”
He noted he and nearby florists refer customers to each other, for a better stylistic fit as needed. “There are many good florists in town. Some are more Asian. We each have a niche, and bring a design element to our work.”
He said “we don’t use carnations or gladiolas. We work with nicer flowers.” Unusual species include “various orchids, lilies, and odd roses. The helleborus Lienden (Lenten) hybrid winter rose blooms now. It’s a long-lasting cut flower that grows in gardens at this time of year.” By spring, he imports tropical flowers from Hawaii. They are part of a “collection we have gathered from the world over. It’s truly beautiful.”
He added that “we’re also known for mixed flower arrangements, with not too much foliage. These include hydrangeas, sunflowers, and hyacinth for fragrance.”
He matches arrangements with a vase, sized for where they might be shown. A tall vase is isolated. A smaller one fits on an island. “Display concepts include the container, and the overall environment.”
Slender Crume stands out, along with his floral arrangements. “People know me for my bow tie, round glasses and my mustache. It’s either pointy or curly.” His handlebar mustache is “part of the (store) brand.”
He grew up mostly near Dallas, Texas. Trained in all areas of floristry, he did floral design, interior decorating and/or floral retail in Manhattan, Dallas, Atlanta, and St. Petersburg, Fla. First, he was a floral stylist for the Ritz Carlton hotel chain “all along the East Coast” starting in ’91, while based in Boston. He moved to WNC 10 years ago, in 2005.
He has been floral arranger for several local events. “I’ve always worked in cut flowers, and party events. We’re getting known for weddings.”
His main shop assistant is Tyler Deso. He contracts with nearly a dozen people for weddings, and this Valentine’s Day week. Working some days to 11 p.m., “it’s the best sort of exhaustion I’ve felt in years.”
His grandparents were “into agriculture. My love for the botanical world stems from them. There was nothing they couldn’t create from the soil, in a garden.”
As a child, his first favorite flowers were bright, large crocuses and pansies. Such flowers still delight and inspire him. “You see the first bit of color, after winter. You know the world’s about to come to life again.”
For more on Flowers by Larry, call 698-5060 or check flowersbylarry.com.