LOS ANGELES — She’s done stints as a stylist and has been a buying director for Bottega Veneta, but now Los Angeles girl-about-town Ariana Lambert is taking on a new vocation: florist.

With Lily Lodge, her new 1,300-square-foot Robertson Boulevard shop, Lambert is introducing a new concept to the art of floral gifts. Absent are the generic, mass-produced, clear-glass atrocities that made her cringe when she was on the receiving end of such presents. Instead, shoppers can choose from Lambert’s inventory of one-of-a-kind, signed collectible vessels — from a $295 Rosenthal bud vase to a $795 hand-painted 19th-century Chinese urn and more.

“A good vase lasts forever, whereas flowers last only a few days,” she reasons. But since having gorgeous blooms even for a few days can still bring some joy, Lambert will fill the vases with vibrant blooms such as poppies and peonies. Betsy Bloomingdale recently went “off her head” when she received some, Lambert says. For those not opting for signature vases, Lily Lodge will happily pack the stems into one of its dark green, woodgrain-textured customized boxes.

Lambert also carries items with a longer shelf life. She offers first-edition and out-of-print floral and gardening books at prices ranging from $40 to $400.

Ariana Lambert’s Trade Secrets:

  • Remember to buy flowers closed; they will open up overnight and last longer.
  • Put them in warm water if you need them to open for a party that night (but cherry blossoms take a good week to open).
  • Buy flowers in bunches; it’s cheaper.
  • Keep arrangements out of the sun.
  • Simple can be better. “I love just putting some baby’s breath in an urn,” Lambert says. Other popular varieties are irises, poppies, quince blossoms and carnations.
  • If roses’ heads start to dip before they open, recut them and put a spot of bleach in the water, then fill the vase high, up to the neck.
  • Round felt stickers or museum wax are a must for the bottoms of vases (at least on the West Coast) so they won’t tip over in an earthquake.
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