Yasmine Khatib, a florist, and her partner Horace Cameron, a gardener, have built their lives around plants. Her primary focus is flowers, his food. They share a great passion for the beautiful things one can coax from the dirt: paper-thin cosmos, curling lettuces, jewel-like currants. Yasmine’s arrangements often include edible elements, some of which Horace has grown especially for her. Flowers are an integral part of his gardening philosophy, incorporated both to entice pollinators and enchant humans. Their garden in Los Angeles bursts with color and flavor. Together Yasmine and Horace live in the space where the plants we ogle and those we eat commingle. I love this collision of plants’ purpose. Cultivating flowers can seem frivolous when compared with the practical, urgent business of growing food. But the blooms we find so attractive have evolved to be seductive to the insects that aid in their reproduction — there is a functionality to their allure. We are entangled in a symbiotic relationship with plants and seduction is a crucial part of the dynamic. Horace and Yasmine help me remember and marvel at the interconnectedness of beauty and survival.
One photo below particularly encapsulates Yasmine and Horace dreamy botanical collaboration: a spray of traveler’s tomatoes, a variety that bunches in grape-like clusters, perched atop a green velvet pedestal. The fruit was grown by Horace and arranged, like a Dutch Masters still life, by Yasmine. That tomatoes stand in for the flowers you’d expect is surprising; the effect is both whimsical and also moving. The traditional art historical context (dramatic light, sumptuous tableau) interrupted by a funky tomato, of all things, invites us to reconsider our inherited aesthetic values. Those tulips you’d more often see in elegant, elevated repose are made of the same dirt and sunlight as the stuff we eat for lunch. I love that, in Yasmine and Horace’s universe, the difference between practical plants and pleasure plants has collapsed. We are nourished by them all in turn.