San Francisco Garden Club

From the moment Annette Kunz of Occasion!! LLC and I started to plan for the arrival of internationally acclaimed designer, Hiroto Inoue, I knew we were in for a spectacular and unprecedented ride. The more I learned about his style, creativity and techniques the more excited I became. Diving into his Instagram account and getting his book all helped to inform me of his genius mind. I couldn’t imagine though— how magical it would become, how it would unfold and how it would feel to get to know him a little, learn of his sensitivity and warm heart. And then, inevitably but nonetheless sadly, after preparing for such a long time, how it would all come to an end seemingly too quickly. BUT he left us dazzled with a lifetime of memories.

As those who saw firsthand or those who are looking at the photos for the first time, the sculptured vessels and armatures Hiroto conceives and builds are as much an art form as the way he effortlessly places his flowers. His background in architecture and construction have served him extremely well and his relationship with plant materials is endearing, especially as he says when flowers face out speaking to us (and possibly to each other.)

I was fortunate to receive his Flower Mart list of what he needed us to preorder before he arrived. Everything from Narcissus, Ranunculus, Anthurium, Tulip, Clematis, Scabiosa, Phalaenopsis, tons of water tubes, wire and more. Accompanying that list were sketches of the actual pieces he would make, and in some cases had already made for us with Koyori paper, (a strip of tissue paper rolled up into itself), handmade Washi paper and Kyogi (wood). Seeing this all come to fruition through the week leading up to his demonstration and then unveiling it in front of our eyes— was nothing short of magnificent. Yoko Fukumura, a former student at CCSF and a recipient of our Alice Eastwood Grant, was his assistant for two days and his expert translator. Together he inspired us, and she explained it every step of the way. All in all, Hiroto made nine completely distinct pieces along with two modeled floral necklaces— all for us to raffle off. It was very exciting to see happy people win these!

Amy Vassar of Garden Party S.F. delivered lush trees and lighting spots to spruce up the Metropolitan Club’s large Garden Room— where one could hear a pin drop amongst the 110 guests. The beautiful tabletop garlands and arrangements for the luncheon upstairs were also expertly made by Amy Vassar. Hiroto was very appreciative of all that was done to make this event and his stay in San Francisco such a successful and memorable one.

Thank yous—this event couldn’t have been pulled off without many people, but my friend Annette Kunz, was what made it happen to begin with. She was tireless and having done this many times before— an expert in facilitating and navigating a myriad of moving objects. I really thank her.

Our Vice President, Bonnie Demergasso, was all over the place helping us out including a trip to and from Napa to pick up linens, donating a lot of miles to bring Hiroto here and running credit cards on our newly acquired SQUARE for Hiroto’s book Funny Style the day of. Janet Cushing and Gail McCollum were our expert check-in team and Verona Boucher, Natasha Hopkinson, and Cynthia Woods were selling raffle tickets. Eva Monroe organized who won which piece of Hiroto’s, expertly and calmly I might add through a little bit of chaos. Steven Brown for always being our cheerleader, for generously buying a table and inviting many floral artists to witness Hiroto in person. The staff at the Metropolitan Club treated our guests with the utmost respect and made for a very nice, well-received event.

Finally, this couldn’t have been done without the support and trust afforded me from our president, Betty Voris. After a dry period without fundraisers— a big thank you to all that supported the SFGC’s 2023 Floral Fête!

Lisa Harris, Event Chair