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.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Orchids, Orchids, Orchids

While orchids may seem exotic to most people, I’ve been familiar with them from as early as I can remember. My mother grew her favorite Cattaleya orchids in her hothouse and Cymbidium orchids in the lath house, and in time taught me how to make corsages. 
In recent years I’ve come under the spell of the extraordinary Phaleonopsis and Hawaiian Dendrobium orchids, which are stunning in stand alone bridal bouquets and can energize any table.
I also like to create floral designs with Vanda and Arachne orchids. I’ve used them to great effect to mirror the glamour of an exquisite bridal gown, as well as to add a decidedly modern spin on a holiday mantel or combined with tulips, roses, hydrangeas or calla lilies for a special wedding.
Orchids make the potentially predictable unusual and special!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Holiday Centerpiece Workshop at the Re-invent Gallery in Lake Forest, IL

There are times when the behind-the-scenes work that goes into making the holidays special can seem overwhelming. Then there are times when we work together, and make magic.

At least that was the way it felt not too long ago when my daughter, Corinne, organized a floral workshop with her Lake Bluff/Lake Forest friends. The event was held at the Re-invent Gallery in downtown Lake Forest. As we sipped Prosecco, munched on goodies, and caught up on each other’s lives, we set to work on centerpieces that would soon grace holiday tables.

Imported Dutch hydrangeas, burgundy cymbidian orchids, gorgeous black pearl roses and green hypericum berries proved to be just what we needed.

Happily removed from what can be the sturm und drang of our lives, we remembered what should be at the heart of this season.

What fun it was to lead this workshop; and what a gift it was for me to watch these nine women head home with their beautiful creations!

All photos by Corinne Torkelson

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Lecture and Luncheon at Lake Bluff Garden Club

The Lake Bluff Garden Club recently invited me to give a lecture on creating centerpieces with vegetables and flowers.
Chaired by Sue Hetzel and Corinne Torkelson (my daughter), the event was held at the beautiful Elawa Farm in Lake Forest – and was attended by 60 members. Coming on the heels of the recent photo shoot for Fine Cooking magazine, I felt energized and full of ideas.
Artichokes, a variety of onions, including scallions, ornamental kale, radishes, broccoli, baby eggplants, asparagus and brussel sprouts were soon being placed in the four centerpieces we’d later auction off. Roses and rose hips, hydrangeas, berries and orchids came next, adding color and texture.
I trust the participants left the lecture armed with my “how to” tips and eager to jazz up their Thanksgiving tables. Thanks to Corinne, a most accomplished professional photographer, for capturing these finished product.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Loretta Stagen Floral Designs featured in the current issue of Fine Cooking Magazine

When Teresa Fernandes, the Art Director of Fine Cooking Magazine, asked me to design two Thanksgiving centerpieces for the October/November issue, I turned to specimen artichokes, asparagus, onions, turnips and ornamental kale for a mélange of autumnal color and shapes. Broom and seeded eucalyptus did yeoman duty as filler, while arachnea and cymidian orchids and hypericum berries were show stoppers, adding dazzling elements of surprise.
I loved that this centerpiece captured in microcosm the essence of a bountiful table…

…and hope that my work inspired the readers of Fine Cooking to consider new ways to celebrate this special holiday.

Photos by Loretta Stagen

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

American Gold Cup Equestrian Event

Summer ended with a dream assignment, one that challenged me creatively, and called upon quick thinking. The destination was the American Gold Cup Equestrian Event, an exquisite four-day affair at The Old Salem Farm in North Salem. My part was to create 80 centerpieces of varying sizes that would match the excellence being displayed in the ring on the difficult jumping course.

Container by Rustiek

Container by Rustiek
Artichokes, succulents, thistles, hydrangeas, hypericum berries, roses, mini calla lilies, pin cushion flowers, cock’s comb, arachnid orchids, kangaroo paws and single magnolia leaves joined forces for a veritable cornucopia of shapes and autumnal colors.

Container by Rustiek

And I used custom troughs of reclaimed barn wood for containers. These truly stunning assemblages added bursts of color to linens in shades of green, terra cotta and deep plum. I like to think that while the world class equestrians made their mark, my centerpieces helped make the experience of attending this event all the more spectacular.