Sanea Sheikh, skinny and six foot tall, says she was called a "freak of nature" growing up. That explains why her favourite flower is the Protea. "They're gangly and kinda strange looking, but I embrace their awkwardness," she says, while planning her next Fashion Week trip to Delhi. Did we mention that she’s a model?
For a decade now, Sanea has been breathing the air up there, towering over the ramp for every big Indian designer from Manish Arora to Malhotra. Last month, she decided to be more down to earth, swooping in to pluck wild flowers, bending to make box gardens. The result is a rustic new floral delivery service called Botany, which sends hand-tied bouquets, flower crates and bud boxes to and from well-wishers in Mumbai.
The Rose & Its Woes
Meander through Botany's Instagram garden and you'll barely find a rose in sight. Here instead are a jumble of wild flowers grown around Maharashtra, held together by brown paper (cellophane is a no-no); crates of sunflowers; and boxes of scarlet blooms with textures that Sanea can't stop talking about. "I use deep red celosias which look like sliced brains and have a velvety texture; eucalyptus leaves, waxy with a lovely silver-grey color; and gomphrenas that feel like berries, and if dried and potted, the flowers act like seeds," says Sanea, who recently completed a course at the Indian Floral Design school.
"I use deep red celosias which look like sliced brains and have a velvety texture; eucalyptus leaves, waxy with a lovely silver-grey color; and gomphrenas that feel like berries."
Botany also works with flowers like blue daisies, Lady's Lace, sunflowers, cabbage flowers and lots of foliage. "My technique is wild and freestyle, my aesthetic is earthy and my arrangements are garden-like with multiple textures and flora of varying heights. I don't like flat arrangements and I especially try to surpass usual bouquet suspects like roses, lilies and carnations."
bpb loves Botany's Wild Child Bohemian bouquet where a mishmash of flowers are tied together with a crochet strip, pretty enough to be a hair band. There's also instant mood-lifting Sunny Side Up and for those who insist on roses, check out Rubywoo Rose, which gives you the following advice: only grow thoughts in your brain that you wouldn't mind putting in a vase. Perhaps one that's called The Dirty Bunch, then?
In its current avatar, Botany is a one-maali army that hopes to, like its produce, grow organically into a team that can provide floral services for events (this has kick-started already), weddings and your home through a monthly subscription service.
Until then, Sanea will be juggling posing and posies, so be patient with Botany's current growth. A spurt is expected soon.
Getting there: Botany, call 9082880154 or email email@example.com, follow them on Instagram @botanyflorals, hand-tied bouquets for Rs 1,200.
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