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Dancing with the Prince of Flowers


For Anthony Ward, arranging flowers is part of a larger communion with nature.

This article appeared in the Spring 2002 issue of Spirituality & Health. Cradling a bunch of Casa Blanca lilies in one arm, Anthony Ward uses his free hand to set one stem and then another into a large glass vase. He has prepared for the flowers a nest of tall native grass, and before placing each lily he quickly studies it — the length and curve of the stem, the direction of the flowers. His long arms and graceful hands seem not so much to arrange the flowers as to dance them into the vase. Ward, as it turns out, did study dance, on a scholarship after high school. But he discovered his true calling in his mid-twenties, looking up at ten dozen freshly cut roses hanging from a flower shop ceiling to dry. His true calling is to dance with flowers. In recent summers, he has left behind a lucrative custom floral business in New York City to be the resident prince of flowers, as some friends call him, at Omega Institute for Holistic Studies in Rhinebeck, New York. He gets up at sunrise and spends a good part of the day walking around the 140-acre campus — the gardens, woods, and lakefro …

Ronnie Shushan did the design and art production for Spirituality & Health in its early years. She had been following the garden path since she first saw peony shoots pushing through the earth at her home in Woodstock, New York.

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