"From Wicker Park To HBO MAX"
Elizabeth opened Asrai Garden in Wicker Park, 1935 W. North Ave., on. Dec. 1, 1999. The name was inspired by the Brian Froud book, “The Dark Crystal.”
Cronin grew up on the Northwest Side. She took many trips to the Chicago Botanic Garden, where she attended children’s workshops on gardening.
As a young adult, Cronin lived in Wicker Park and worked in a floral shop, followed by a brief stint making flower arrangements for events. After opening her Wicker Park shop, Cronin opened a second location in West Loop, 309 N. Morgan St.
What sets the Asrai Garden shops apart — and perhaps what intrigued HBO — is Cronin’s devotion to native plants and natural-looking arrangements. Cronin’s arrangements celebrate the “wild” look of flowers, often including prairie greens native to Illinois or taxidermied insects.
In describing her approach to floral arrangements, Cronin referenced the “Dutch master” philosophy of keeping things natural. During a “Full Bloom” episode dedicated to this philosophy, two of Cronin’s arrangements were on display as inspiration for the florists.APPLY FOR FULL BLOOM
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