“Is that pampas grass?” I’ve asked several salesgirls, at several stores, in the past few weeks. Yes, it always is, but no, it’s not for sale, because it’s decoration. So far I’ve seen reeds of the tall, wheat-colored feather grass at Côte à Coast on the Bowery, Brother Vellies and Porter James in Greenpoint, and in a pop-up fair in Bushwick. There are also the places I virtually peer into, like Glossier’s new Los Angeles showroom, Spartan Shop in Portland (at left), and General Store in Venice, California. Then, when a few stalks of it showed up in photos of the home of Dimes co-founder Sabrina De Sousa, I could really believe that pampas had arrived — there it was in a certifiably cool person’s home, next to certifiably cool geometric, custom-made furniture.
“Pampas grass is sort of like a pair of white cowboy boots,” says Lisa Przystup, a former florist who still makes occasional arrangements, like this one for hat company Tio y Tia. “It’s an instant fashion-maker that does all the heavy lifting.” Pampas is like an anthurium: visually weirder than a peony or a lily, able to pull off sitting in a vase with nothing else at all. Compared to other plants, though, it has a rustic, almost “rewilded” quality — think Cher Horowitz’s feather pen, but bigger and from the desert.
The ubiquity of the poofy grass might also speak to another shift: that increasingly urgent desire to use less and reuse what we have. If you bought metal straws this year, and pack a Baggu or fisherman tote when you go shopping, you might like that a pampas “lasts forever and and is zero-maintenance,” according to De Sousa, whose own arrangement came from Metaflora, the studio that does all of Dimes’ arrangements. “Dried bouquets are getting more popular here in the United States,” says Bianca Sparta, whose Portland plant store Colibri supplies Spartan Shop with its pampas. “They’re very popular now in Japan.” (Malaysian heiress Chryseis Tan incorporated them at her recent wedding in Kyoto.) Plus, Sparta says, florists are trying to use less of the floral foam that typically holds together arrangements and keeps plants hydrated. Pampas need no water or foam at all. “Now the world is going to shit,” she says, “and we have to stop throwing plastic into the ocean. People are adapting and want a product that dries beautifully.”
“Here’s a funny tidbit,” said Strategist associate editor Katy Schneider when I told her about this post on pampas grass. “When I bought mine, the woman at Stems,” Katy’s local florist, “told me they’d last forever if I hair-sprayed them.” Even more longevity for the already immortal grass. If you take that advice, might we suggest an eco-friendly hair spray.
Pampas grass to buy online
Pampas is delightfully cheap — the reeds in this 60-piece set are two feet tall.
Vases for your pampas grass
Some chubby colored glass that resembles Tom Dixon’s Bump series, without the hefty price tag.
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