An English Garden Centerpiece

Jessica Mackin-Cipro

I’ve never had much of a green thumb. I’ve even managed to kill a succulent, a plant that I’ve heard called “indestructible.” For every plant I’ve put on my desk at work, the watering duties were taken over by others once the leaves started to brown. I had a magnificent orchid that I’ve given to my mother to take care of, knowing an orchid is way out of my league. Whenever I make an arrangement (aka buy bodega flowers if I have friends coming over), my husband Joe always scoffs at my work and re-does it.

When the chance came to take a flower design class, I jumped at the opportunity. I’m always looking for ways to better myself and learn new skills.

Stephanie Lessing of Millstone Flowers offers a solution to anyone who is florally-challenged like myself, or just wants to hone their craft, by offering a flower design workshop. I attended the class on Thursday, June 27, at the Millstone Flowers barn in Water Mill.

The workshop teaches guests to design an English Garden centerpiece, dripping with roses, peonies, and organic wildflowers in ivory, pink, and cream palettes. We sipped wine (rosé of course) and enjoyed pretty pink cupcakes by Sugar Rush Bakeshop, making it the perfect girly afternoon.

As we entered the all-white barn, filled with flowers, I had to think I was living my best life. I’d like to move into this flower-filled oasis, please! The fragrance from the flowers was nothing short of miraculous.

We started with a brief tutorial. Lessing basically explained that however we chose to do our display, it wouldn’t look bad. Although I had doubts for my own arrangement, knowing my history.

We each picked our favorite flowers from the selection. Once I had as many as I could carry, I found a station and got to work.

I opted for pink hues. I love all things pink, so this was an easy call. With so many gorgeous flowers in my hand, how could I go wrong?

Halfway through making my arrangement, I started to doubt myself. My ivy wasn’t sitting the way I wanted it to as a base and my roses were all odd heights. But after correcting the problem, and as I continued to add as many beautiful flowers as I could get my hands on, it somehow managed to work itself out. My final creation — if I do say so myself — was a spectacular arrangement worthy of the Queen of England’s dining room table, and if that’s a stretch (it is) maybe a guest room.

Millstone offers flowers for all your event needs, including a fun flower cart. This mobile make-your-own boutique bar is available in the Hamptons and NYC.

I couldn’t believe how relaxing the process was, the perfect way to spend the evening. At the end of the workshop, each attendee went home with their dreamy arrangement and a set of design skills we could all use for many years to come.

The next class will take place later this summer. Millstone is also available for private parties. Visit

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