Maurice Harris didn’t exactly plan on becoming a ﬂorist, but his decision to express his creative voice through ﬂowers was strategic. “I was always ﬁguring out ways to be creative, whether through hair, fashion or makeup,” he says from his oﬃce in Los Angeles. “But ﬂowers were a space that wasn’t heavily saturated with black people, black men, black gay men. Those other industries have their fair share of stars. I felt this was the industry where there was the opportunity to breathe new air.” Under the brand name Bloom and Plume, Harris’s rococo creations are indeed light-years away from the baby’s breath and pastel roses of traditional ﬂower arrangements. On Instagram, his captions are laden with the sort of slang and Internet memes that would make the cardigan set clutch their collective pearls. Social media has been a way for Harris to invite more people to participate in a world that has hitherto been occupied by the (white) ladies who lunch. His has been a popular invitation. He has over 150,000 followers and growing. “My platform is very interesting,” says Harris. “Most of my clients don’t look like me, but my Instagram following is very diverse.” Photographs are useful as a visual aid, Harris believes, but they don’t adequately capture the experience of engaging with his arrangements. A new café he’s launched in LA’s Filipinotown will feature his arrangements on each table. He hopes the café will make his art accessible in person to people who’ve perhaps never seen a high-end ﬂower arrangement. “You get to come and be a part of our brand and community,” he says. “You get to feel really seen.” Harris’s arrangements take cues from his family’s history. Flowers were a big part of his childhood community’s celebrations, both big and small. At church, “my grandmother was in charge of doing the ﬂowers at the pulpit. It was kind of a big deal, and she took a lot of pride in that.” She also made the arrangements for the weddings of her eight children, photographs that Harris studied as a child. “My grandmother had this design principle that I constantly use: a triangle, which for her represented the Holy Trinity,” Harris says. Asymmetrical triangles are indeed very present in his designs, often in twos or threes. The angular geometry of the bird-of-paradise ﬂower, the ﬂoral emblem of the city of Los Angeles, also captures Harris’s imagination. “It represents blackness for me, in a way,” Harris enthuses. “It stands out above the crowd. It blends in before it blooms; it’s got a weird nose or beak. And that beautiful vibrant blue! That orange!” This story is from The Kinfolk Garden Buy Now TwitterFacebookPinterest This story is from The Kinfolk Garden Buy Now Harris likes to experiment with unusual blooms, such as the toffee-colored rose he is holding in the image above. The sepia-toned bloom was developed relatively recently by an Ecuadorian breeder, who cross-bred different species of rose to achieve the desired coloring. Harris’s outdoor workstation is crowded by plants on all sides, with an emphasis on red blooms such as the anthurium in the foreground and hanging lobster claw (Heliconia) behind the chairs. A bouquet of fringed tulips and a vase of red anemones sits on the indoor table, opposite. Related Stories Arts & Culture Garden Issue 37 Ron Finley An exclusive excerpt from our forthcoming book, The Kinfolk Garden. Garden The Kinfolk Garden An easy approach to bringing more nature into your life. Garden Fem Güçlütürk In a quiet corner of Turkey, a former PR executive has turned to botany in her retirement. Garden Cécile Daladier In work and in life, ceramicist Cécile Daladier finds inspiration in the bounty surrounding her French farmhouse.