Our dear friend, Nick Custumpas, also known as Farmer Nick, was commissioned by the New York Restoration Project to create installations for this year’s annual fundraising Gala. NYRP’s mission is to ensure that all New Yorkers have equitable access to green space. For over 25 years, NYRP has invested in and stewarded parks and gardens throughout the city’s five boroughs to strengthen communities, promote food sovereignty, and counter environmental and social injustice. For this year’s event, they wanted a photo opportunity that reflected the resilience of their community—specifically, their members and their community gardens.
Nick and his team used Accent Decor’s Moon Gate to create a foam-free statement for this year’s event. The display featured a collection of resilient florals in addition to foraged material from NYRP’s own community gardens and parks.
Decor was attached to a screen with a NYRP moss logo in the center. The foundation of the design used as much greenery as possible, then layering texture before adding single stemmed roses paying homage to the organization’s founder’s, Bette Middler, favorite flower.
Using a second Moon Gate, Nick and his team constructed another display centered around the theme of this year’s gala: Seven Deadly Sins. Each sin was assigned a color with the design allowing the colors to swirl together and meet in the center but have their own defined sections with distinct flowers and plants.
They decided to take the theme a step further by adding an eighth sin: time. NYRP’s mission is all about protecting and preserving the environment, and the understanding that we are false to think we have time to solve our climate change issues – which is just as dangerous as any sin. To bring this idea to life, they added clock hands detailed with broken mirror pieces.
In an effort to not use floral foam, the team chose flowers and foliage that could withstand periods without water. Using sturdier foliage as the base layer (citrus leaves are ideal) and then adding the flowers into the mix as late in their design timeline as possible.
Get to know Farmer Nick: Nick is a “plantrepreneur” who is passionate about all things green. As a full-time plant coach, urban gardener, and landscape designer, Nick’s mission is to leave the earth greener than when he found it – giving people the knowledge and confidence they need to create their own green spaces in the pursuit of environmental action and social justice.
Nick has more than 150 clients in New York + California and has been featured in the NY Times, Vogue, Food Network, Business Insider, and Goop and the Netflix original series “The Big Flower Fight”.
He is a host on Netflix’s Instant Dream Home and author of Plant Coach: The Beginner’s Guide To Caring for Plants and the Planet.