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The Everything Guide to Flowers

Fresh, fragrant, elegantly arranged blooms can cost a bundle in New York. But they can also cost very little, thanks to our cutthroat corner delis. A stem-by-stem look at the city’s floral bounty.

At their late-spring peak, anemones are bursting-red reminders that we’ve turned a corner weatherwise. “They give you that feeling of coming out of fall/wintertime,” says Tara Simone, owner of Barbara’s Flowers in Harlem, who recommends adding a bunch of anemones to a small pitcher or galvanized pail to create a rustic-looking bouquet ($1.50 per stem; 2522 Frederick Douglass Blvd., nr. 135th St.; 212-234-3211). Anemones also hold up well without water, which makes them a good variety to bring to a barbecue or garden party. “Not all flowers are like that,” she says. “Although the color is robust, it’s a very soft, billowy blossom. It almost feels like nice sheets.” For more floral expertise, click here.

The Best of Buds
We asked floral experts to tell us where they go when they want an outrageous orchid, centerpiece, or a last-minute something.
What $100 Gets
We ordered five bouquets (anonymously) from a range of florists, giving only two directives: Use what’s freshest, and keep it to one Benjamin.
Cheap. Fresh. Near You.
A neighborhood mini-directory of bodegas, delis, and low-cost florists with beautiful blooms.
The Deli-Flower Challenge
The players: David Stark, event designer; Paula Hayes, artist.
Make Your Own Flower Arrangement
How to transform corner-deli blooms into a good-looking centerpiece.
Dead in the Water
How to keep them from wilting prematurely.
Where Have All the Flowers Gone?
The flower district keeps shrinking, but hope blossoms.
Not Just a Pretty Vase
Flower-ready vessels you won’t find at your neighborhood florist.