Our Garden Tour Star Hilary Bein

From time to time, we highlight “Our Garden Tour Stars” — landscape architects, florists, and interior designers who have participated at our annual Garden Tour and Showcase Estate at The Virginia Robinson Gardens. We want to let you know about these very talented designers, their inspirations, and their creations.

This month, we are featuring Hilary Bein. At the 2023 Garden Tour, Hilary thrilled the guests with arrangements reminiscent of Dutch Master flower paintings in the Guest Bedroom. The rich glowing colors and lush, opulent arrangements took one’s breath away. The delights continued in the adjacent bathroom where a bathtub was luxuriously filled with a dense tapestry of flowers and plants.

Hilary also masterfully decorated the Yellow Salon in the 2022 Garden Tour with many stunning fall vignettes featuring lit candles, gourds, pumpkins, and golden acorns, nestled among colorful flowers and foliage. The dazzling mantle was simply glorious with the most ravishing arrangement of roses in golden urns flanking either side of a gilded rococo clock.

We asked Hilary these six questions: 

1. How did you decide to become a floral designer?  

Totally by chance!

For many years, I have had the privilege of spending my days in Jamie Wolf’s garden. A large portion of the garden is devoted to providing flowers for arrangements that fill her home with fragrance, beauty, and comfort. I have always admired and often photographed them.   

Some years ago, for a period of time, various injuries prevented Jamie from constructing these arrangements herself. It was an opportunity for me to step up and to create substitutes that continued to lift the spirits of us both. I was able to utilize some of her vision as an inspiration when I pinch-hit for her in the Virginia Robinson Gardens Tours of November of 2022 and in May of this year. It was such a delight to scavenge her garden for whimsical structures and armloads of flowers. I was honored to be included, and I loved the challenge of sharing my vision at such a beloved event.  

2. Where do you find your inspiration?

 As an artist, I’ve worked in many mediums, and flowers became another. I see my arrangements as sculptures using the color, the texture, and the form of the flowers. My inspiration comes from the flowers themselves. Whether it’s Jamie’s garden or the flower market, there’s always something amazing that catches my eye, and I build a palette around that. After that, it’s just like painting: I put something down and everything that comes after is in response – it’s a conversation. I listen to the rhythm of my eyes moving through and keep going until it feels right.   

I studied painting at The School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and then went on to be a chef and pastry chef in New York for many years. Those experiences left me with a very strong foundation of concepts basic to all creative endeavors.  

“Vary the line,” “contrast colors and textures,” and most important, “MORE is MORE” — our mantra turned war cry from my brief stint catering “price is no object” holiday parties during the height of the hedonistic opulence that was Wall Street in the 1980’s.   

3. Can you please share some photos of your favorite floral arrangement(s) and/or projects you have worked on?

4. What is the book that inspires you the most?

The Phantom Tollbooth was my favorite as a child, and I have reread it repeatedly over the years. I love the fact that it’s totally ridiculous and silly while reminding us to focus on the things that have meaning in our lives. It taught me the importance of looking at things from different points of view and that the “monsters” in our lives are those that steal our time, misdirect us, and warp our perspective. 

5. Choose a work of art and then design a floral arrangement inspired by it.

Flaming June by Sir Frederic Leighton, 1895.

6. How would you like to be contacted? Please add your contact information.

Hilary Bein 
[email protected] 

11 Responses

  1. Kerstin Royce
    | Reply

    Endless beauty in Hilary’s arrangements

  2. Kerstin Royce
    | Reply

    Endless beauty in Hilary’s arrangements

  3. Patti Reinstein
    | Reply

    Breathtaking visions!

    • Hilary Bein
      | Reply

      Thank you!

  4. Burton Kendall
    | Reply

    Thank you for sharing your passion and love.

  5. Burton Kendall
    | Reply

    Sorry about the question marks. I guess I could not use emojis. They were supposed to be prayer hands.

    • Hilary Bein
      | Reply

      You’re welcome! Thanks for the effort ????

  6. Clare Wagner
    | Reply

    Your floral arrangements are absolutely stunning. Each one looks like a glorious piece of jewelry or a fine painting. I love your work.

  7. Hilary Bein
    | Reply

    You’re welcome! Thanks for the effort 😉

    • Hilary Bein
      | Reply

      whoops! I meant the this for the comment above! I guess I am technically challenged too! Thank you for your comment! It’s wonderful to hear.

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