Sybil Sylvester’s Fresh

The floral designer's book, FRESH, will inspire even the most florally frightened reader to venture into the garden with a pair of clippers
sybil sylvester arrangement
The traditional garden urn and arrangement are the ideal complement to the antique English sideboard. The bright color mix—various hues of peonies, garden roses, French tulips, lilacs, and viburnum—is one of Sybil’s “happy favorites” and makes it English garden glam. Photo by Monica Buck

“When I look back on what made me fall in love with flowers, I can’t help but conclude that I thought of them as friends,” writes Sybil Sylvester in the opening line of Fresh (Glitterati, 2017). Reading Sylvester’s book indeed feels like sitting down with a friend, albeit one loaded with talent and expertise. The tone is intimate, honest, and empowering, full of insider tips and practical know-how. “I’d like to debunk that inner voice that says, You can’t do flowers, and replace it with an encouraging voice that says, ‘Yes I can,’ ” she says.

fresh by sybil sylvester
Sybil includes all family members in the wedding; some are more willing participants than others! This precious pup, Ollie, got a canine treat for his troubles, posing for a photo that is a prized part of this family’s wedding memory. Photo by A. Bryan Johnson

sybil sylvester arrangements
This faux bois container holds a Victorian tussie-mussie. In the language of flowers, this bouquet symbolizes love, celebration, and endurance. Photo by Monica Buck

The writing here is as delightful as the imagery, betraying Sylvester’s genuine affection for her craft. Flowers prepped in buckets lined up against a wall look like “bridesmaids about to start down the aisle,” she writes. A feminine arrangement of aubergine and green spiked with a bit of attitude is called “Lady on a Piano.”

I’d like to debunk that inner voice that says, You can’t do flowers, and replace it with an encouraging voice that says, “Yes I can.” — Sybil Sylvester

Above all, the book is a source of inspiration. Spread after spread of Sybil’s designs, organized by season and occasion, will send even the most florally frightened reader outside into the garden with a pair of clippers. Each arrangement—whether massive or diminutive, meant for a cathedral chancel or a cottage nook—has been thoroughly “Sybilized,” given that magical mix of elegance and whimsy, showcasing a joyful interplay between friends.

By Kirk Reed Forrester

Fresh: Fresh Flowers… Fresh Arrangements… Fresh Ideas… by Sybil Brooke Sylvester (Glitterati, 2017)

Floral designer Sybil Sylvester crafts an abundant arrangement that is easy on the eyes and beckons to be touched in Arranging with Texture.

Fresh (Glitterati, 2017)

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