Cook helps ‘Secret Garden’ bloom at Macy’s 

Floral designer Billy Cook is excited about his installation at the Macy’s Flower Show, “The Secret Garden.”

Taking inspiration from the show’s theme and the famous book of the same name, the designer created a garden of secrets based on a child’s imagination.

“There will be secrets exploding out of an open diary,” says Cook, executive designer at Taste Catering & Event Planning in The City who is providing the first of five Bouquets of the Day.

“We’ve gone and collected secrets from people. I picked good ones,” adds Cook, noting that they’re all G-rated.

Cook is participating for the sixth time at the show, which opens Sunday at the Union Square Macy’s. Not only is it an extravaganza of live flowers, plants and trees from around the globe, it also features two weeks of special events, including music, fashion and cooking demonstrations.

Work by five local designers will be showcased in “Bouquet of the Day,” a changing installation on the second floor on the Geary Street side of Macy’s.

“This is right up our alley,” says Cook, noting that his event planning company — unlike some neighborhood floral shops making gift and home items — creates large displays, sometimes 10 feet tall, for big parties.

The designer and a crew of about five or six people will spend several hours installing the artwork tonight, and will be on hand to keep it fresh throughout its display period, a task he calls “an opportunity to have a fun time.”

Cook, who grew up in Michigan and “picked up design along the way in New York and Chicago” before moving to The City, also will give a demonstration focusing on found objects and offering easy techniques and tips for those new to floral arranging. The talk is at 2 p.m. March 27 on the sixth floor.

He also is excited about an in-store pop-up shop, a first for the show. San Francisco-based MakersKit, a DIY boutique carrying locally made products, will offer terrarium and herb garden kits and instructions, as well as a demonstration at 2 p.m. March 29 in the Cellar Kitchen.


Macy’s Flower Show

Where: Macy’s Union Square, 170 O’Farrell St., S.F.

When: Opens Sunday; 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays; 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sundays; closes April 6

Tickets: Free to view; some events require RSVP or tickets

Contact: (415) 397-3333,

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Leslie Katz

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