Thursday, May 18, 2017

Lecture at the Washington Garden Club

The topic was trends in floral design, and I’d brought some amazing materials to work with. Roses, peonies, ladies mantle, cock’s comb, green and white hydrangea, lisianthus and Bella Donna delphinium were the undisputed stars of the afternoon.
We played with a number of ideas, from container selection, to palettes of color and texture perfect for the season ahead. We created everything from a table centerpieces of varied white flowers that would be perfect at a summer wedding, or a fiery of orange and green mélange of flowers with tangerines as accents that seemed to cry out for the sounds of a Cuban bans.

One again I reminded people that simple seasonal arrangements feels right at this time of year, whether it’s this ethereal delphinium arrangement with a collard of ladies mantle, or lush peonies grouped in glass containers of three.
Hope I inspired everyone to be creative.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Wedding Season is Here

We’re moving into the wedding season now, and I am not at all surprised that many bridal couples are craving color. The choices for centerpieces are seemingly wide-open – that is, thanks to my longstanding relationships with the vendors in the NYC flower market, color trends, and a healthy dose of imagination. As an unabashed flower lover, I never grow tired to playing with certain themes. How operatic these red callas feel in a glass container – an arrangement for the late Maria Callas perhaps….
While delicate creme de la crème roses, Dutch hydrangea, and blue tweedia would be at home a table in a Jane Austin novel, or to set the stage for a wedding on Midsummer’s Eve.
Look at how this rustic container makes an exotic mix of or artichokes, sea holly, orchids, roses, and cock’s comb feel like the discovery of underwater treasure.
Simple glass containers of single varieties of flowers feel sleek and modern.
And because I’m conversant with the many varieties of roses available throughout the year I can play with vintage, springtime or autumnal looks confident that my flowers will be the best choice for any occasion.
And who could resist the cubes of flowers at this garden party? I love the way the dahlias, hydrangea and ladies mantle sparkle on beds of emerald sea glass along this fuchsia runner. The table setting is summer itself—and notice how covering the seats in matching fuschia fabric takes a great idea even further.

Monday, November 21, 2016

A Day with Loretta Stagen at the Judy Black Memorial Park and Gardens

I relocated to New Preston, CT, in 2008 and it has turned out to be one of the best decisions of my life. I love the people here, and as an avid sportswoman, love the hiking, swimming, and biking just outside my door. What better way to show my gratitude than to share my design skills at a free lecture at the Judy Black Memorial Park and Gardens in Washington Depot. I came laden with gorgeous flowers and greenery that I’d procured at the NYC flower market on an early run the day before.

 Forego the clichéd baskets and orange gourds, I urged the assembly of women, and opt for the more subtle autumnal colors you’d find in the Connecticut woodlands. Mix the ordinary (onions, brussel sprouts, artichokes) with the extraordinary (orchids, unusual roses, scabiosa, sea holly and Dutch green hydrangea).
Create works that proclaim abundance, as you play with colors, shapes and textures. Even China-pink euonymous, gathered from the countryside (and a nice use of what today is seen as a menace—on Connecticut’s invasive species list) can be pressed into service. Unbeknownst to them, the women seated in chairs with ribbons would win these arrangements and get to take them home later in the day.
 

I had just a few hours to catch my second wind...before returning to give an evening workshop. The fees from this sold-out event went directly to the Judy Black Memorial Park and Gardens. It was a whirlwind of a few days, but very happy ones, with a sincere “thank you” from me to the place I call home.

Monday, September 26, 2016

American Gold Cup Equestrian Event

More than 80 of my floral centerpieces took center stage inside the glorious double tent at The American Gold Cup competition. The event, legendary in the world of International Show Jumping, is elegant with a capital “E”. Once again it was held at the historic Old Salem Farm in North Salem, NY. The Cup is an iconic event, now in its 46th year, with the top purse $216,000 for the Gold Cup Prix. Success at the Cup enables the gifted equestrians to move on to the ASPCA MacLay Finals.

In this stunning rural setting my challenge was to select plant material that would match the beauty of the landscape and withstand the rigors of five days of festivities.
 I turned to roses and green thistles, green Dutch hydrangea, green hypericum berries, celosia, spiral eucalyptus, kangaroo paws, scabiosa and crocosmia pods, and magnolia leaves. These gorgeous mélanges went into custom barn wood troughs and offered delight at each and every table.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Unique Wedding Reception held at the Famous Old Salem Farm in New York

Horses are wonderfully social creatures, and what can be more joyful than a wedding that includes them? Recently a stable-full at Old Salem Farm served as a celebratory Greek Chorus – as guests filed past stable doors to the tent where a sumptuous candlelight dinner was served.

From the lush green late summer fields to the white silk tablecloths and sparkling crystal, the late afternoon and evening event was the epitome of taste and understated grandeur. The scene cried out for table arrangements of Dutch white hydrangeas, white roses, white freesia and green hypericum berries; at the head table I showcased forest green Italian ruscus, spectacular white hydrangea heads, and green cymbidian orchids.
For the bride’s bouquet I opted for a romantic confection of white hydrangeas, white Hawaiian dendrobium orchids, green hypericum berries, and a collar of dusty miller. The bridesmaids carried a variation on this theme with bouquets of white lisianthus, white roses and green hypericum berries. Imagine flowers as spun sugar …made from the finest of fresh ingredients. The bride and her party looked astonishing, and so did these floral concoctions.

And of course the horses, their velvety heads taking in the happy scene, helped make this a wedding t to remember.
*****
Wedding Coordinator: Eileen Smith Events

Monday, June 13, 2016

Ocean Cliff, Newport, Rhode Island

Ocean light. Cliffside views. Puffy clouds. Blue skies. What could be more inspirational that a wedding at this time of year in Newport, RI, land of gilded mansions and sparkling seas?


 The flowers for this glorious wedding picked up on some of the trends I’ve chronicled – the use of high quality flowers, and startlingly fresh bursts of marine color. Talk about a modern day wedding with elegant “cottage” appeal.
I had gorgeous flowers to play with – hydrangeas, peonies, freesia and delphinium, and turned hypericum berries and Italian to complete the wonderfully romantic look. I added snapdragons to the mix on a lovely arbor and wrapped its columns in white organza; for the bridal bouquet I mixed peonies, hydrangeas, freesia, delphinium and the charming chartreuse ladies mantle that is in bloom right now in the garden. It made for a great look for a great day.
 

Monday, April 4, 2016

New Trends for Bridal Bouquets

Bridal bouquets are shifting from the tight domes of recent years into a looser, multi-floral style that mixes colors and textures. Look for dramatic contrasts, as in this bouquet of blue anemones, black calla lilies and white roses, or a variety of arrangements that incorporate mixes of contrasting colors
Choose this effervescent mix of Japanese sweet peas and lily-of-the valley; or go for the monochromatic drama of red roses and hypericum berries.

Unusual materials, such as the rosemary, lamb’s ear and muscara featured here add surprise and charm to this custom look.
Partial collars, using either lime green Lady’s Mantle or Springerei add interest, but keep the focus on the high quality flowers selected. While roses are favorite mainstays, freesia, lisianthus, hydrangea, sea holly, anemones…all work wonderfully in concert. 
As a final thought, look at how the braided ribbon adds further glamour to this spectacular bouquet.