Sitting Down with the Lovely Cathy Graham of Second Bloom

Cathy Graham’s Second Bloom

A renowned artist and illustrator, hostess and floral designer, Cathy Graham’s career is having its second bloom, quite literally. Though triggered by the end of her marriage, this new chapter finds the lovely CG inspiring a new host (no pun intended) of creatives and home decor lovers alike. Her book aptly entitled Second Bloom is not only a beautiful coffee table piece, but has wonderful tips for prepping flowers, not to mention home decor and floral arranging inspiration for days!

Cathy was kind enough to sit down with me for a few minutes at this year’s Southeastern Showhouse and Gardens, which itself is full of inspiration and worthy of a trip! Below, some of the things we discussed, but first, a feast for your eyes!

Admiring the set up! Cathy’s floral arrangements never fail to inspire. 

This floral skirt is something Cathy and I bonded over! Then she told me she wore blush heels in my honor (I can’t even!). She also asked about my shoes, which have a touch of tulle. 

At Home

Cathy’s Nantucket home, pictured above and below, is all over my Pinterest page. I love the florals that cascade the exterior! 

My favorite room! So fresh and the perfect backdrop for Cathy’s flowers. 

What is your favorite hostess gift to give?

My favorite gift to give is from a little store in Chicago (but they’ll send it to you). The store is called Elements and they have these wonderful bags of chocolate. They look like pebbles and come in beautiful soft pastel colors. They’re really tasty!

Then I get boxes from Bell’occhio in San Fransisco, perfect little square boxes, and I wrap and embellish the boxes. They’re only about $25!

I read that you find inspiration at paper stores. Which ones?

Well, a lot of the paper stores have closed. Whenever I’m in LA I love Sugar Paper, I love the name. I love everything about it.

How soon after a party do you "straighten up" and take the flowers down?

I let the beauty stay as long as possible! [During holiday season] I even refresh the garland.

When I have a big long table I’ll condense the bottles [Cathy collects vintage glass bottles, often finding them on ebay, and uses them as vases] and put them all around the house.

How far in advance do you prepare for your parties?

If I’m having a dinner party I always plan at least a month to three weeks. I like to send out invitations and reminder cards, I do e-invites too.

I like to be prepared and start the flowers three days in advance of each party. It helps to have the flowers 90% done the day before the party. Less stressful that way. I always freshen them the day of the party.

What is your favorite flower?

Camellia’s are a favorite. Roses, peonies and delphinium too!

Thank you, Cathy!

For more entertaining tips, floral insights and eye candy, purchase Second Bloom or visit Cathy’s site (where you can also purchase her gorgeous line of products and collaborations, from candles to Pajamas).

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