Steven Cox - Blooming Artisan

If you’ve forgotten about Valentine’s Day, Steven Cox is here to save you from embarrassment. But don’t expect to walk into his shop and buy just roses with baby’s breath.

“For Valentine’s, give something sexy and tasteful, not big and showy,” says Cox, owner of Steven Cox Flowers, an upscale flower shop offering the finest in Dutch flora. “There’s so much out there, so make it pretty.”

He should know. He’s been dealing in the flower industry for about a decade, specializing in private parties and weddings. For him, flower arranging is about making people happy, be it coordinating bouquets with place settings, or developing a color scheme-in-a-vase. “You can learn, but you can’t be trained to arrange flowers,” he says. “With too much training, it’ll end up looking like your grandmother did it.”

Cox hasn’t always dreamt of a career in tulips and anemones. Flowers entered his life by happenstance while studying German literature at graduate school. “I met a woman in Philadelphia who roped me into the business,” he says. “I found I really like working with flowers and it wasn’t nearly as depressing as German literature.”

Cox recently relocated from his downtown location to a cozy shop in German Village at 503 City Park Ave. The 150-year-old “country home” evokes a French salon, where one can peruse flowers like Parisians did Picassos. But don’t feel pressure to buy; it’s all about the experience. “I want to create a space where people didn’t want to leave. Half of shopping is seeing,” he says.