Carly Cylinder is a fan of flowers and flour. And apparently, words that are both alliterations and rhymes. So in 2009, the UCLA graduate opened a flower shop called FlourLA. Per Cylinder on the name: She planned to open a floral studio-café combo, but the floral side didn't require a retail location initially, so she has abandoned the café idea for now.
Cylinder stocked it full of tightly packed bamboo boxes and glass vases filled with your typical – albeit beautiful – floral arrangements. But if you scroll through the dozens of sample arrangements on the FlourLA website, you'll see one that doesn't quite fit the mold. A Pyrex pie plate filled with flowers and topped with a lattice-top brown felt “crust.”
The faux flower pie wasn't an attempt to segue into a life of oxymorons (“Living” artificial food displays?). It was more of a retail challenge/request, says Cylinder. “A customer came up with it because her father-in-law loves apple pies,” she says, adding that getting a hydrangea to look like a properly cooked green apple was not as easy as she initially thought.
“It's actually hard to get that apple color in a flower, so I went with paler-yellow ranuculus.” She says she wasn't entirely satisfied with the color, but couldn't think of any way to resolve the “too fresh” look of those flowers.
“I put the whole thing in the [walk-in flower fridge] and actually left it in there to long, so the flowers turned a little more brown than normal,” she says. “It didn't smell too good, but it actually looked more like real baked apples.” And so Cylinder did what any good chef would do — she improvised, tucking peegee hydrangea in between those overly browned “apples” and sprinkled a little sand on top of the felt for texture.
A “Wish They All Could Be California” apple pie dream. Or something like that.
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