“If you’re going to San Francisco, be sure to wear some flowers in your hair.”
lyrics by John Phillips, sung by Scott McKenzie
Back in 1967, these iconic lyrics sold more than 7 million copies, and brought thousands of people to San Francisco where the song was considered to be the unofficial anthem of the counterculture movement of the 1960s including the Hippie, Anti-Vietnam War and Flower Power movements.
Its gentle lyrics and musicality defined the 1960s, and certainly left an indelible mark upon the city of San Francisco, where counterculture thinking evolved to accept many lifestyles and an individuality unlike anywhere else in the world at the time.
In fact, the term “Flower Power” originated in California as a symbolic action of protest against the Vietnam War. In November 1965, an essay entitled “How to Make a March/Spectacle,” Beat poet Allen Ginsberg advocated that protesters should be provided with “masses of flowers” to hand out to policemen, press, politicians and spectators.
While the Summer of Love is now more than 50 years ago, the visual impression of nonviolent protesters, nicknamed Flower Children is still intrinsically linked to the city.
A visit to the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood affirms that connection.
Gratefully, the love of flowers has remained alive and well in the city. Silicone Valley is pumping out disrupter, direct-to-consumer flower distribution companies; the San Francisco flower market is going through the controversial beginnings of its rebirth; the DeYoung Museum de-pends on local, cutting-edge floral designers to create much of its annu- al revenue stream and young, entrepreneurial designers are redefining floral design and the business of floral design for the city.
It’s an exciting city filled with new ideas and new designers and while the flower power of the 1960s is long gone, the flower power of the city will never decline.
In this issue, our editors explore the city, the cultural traditions, the exciting new direction for its main flower market and how local floral designers are leading the city’s vital flower culture forward.
San Francisco is distinctly Californian: It prides itself on its fierce independence and distinct voice. Many cities have tried to replicate its culture, but no one can replace a city that combines cutting-edge busi-ness, finance and banking with a genuine sense of individuality and creative freedom of expression.
If you were beginning to think I left my heart in San Francisco, you would be right. What an amazing city: from its street floral vendors to its expensive neighborhood floral boutiques, it is lovely, unique and vibrant. What else can you say about a city that coined the term “Flower Power”?