Thursday, November 16, 2017

Storybook wedding at Lake Waramaug Country Club

It had the makings of a storybook wedding: childhood sweethearts, and spectacular views of the golf course at The Waramaug Country Club and of Lake Waramaug’s sparkling waters.
Photo by Keane Eye Photography at Lake Waramaug Country Club

With such ingredients already in place, I turned to glorious, old-fashioned lavender and white flowers to make this bride and groom’s celebration all the more special.

The result -- as sweet as the young couple –could have served as inspiration for a succession of Victorian-era valentines.

Centerpieces of scabiosa, calla lily, larkspur and white veronica complemented the bride’s bouquet of lavender and baby’s breath and groom’s matching boutonniere. (I repeated the floral mix in the aisle chair décor.)

Votive candles brought these lovely wooden tables to life as the sun began to set.

Meanwhile the couple supplied joy and exuberance. It was simply a stunning event.

Friday, September 22, 2017

American Gold Cup Equestrian Event

American Gold Cup Equestrian Event
Old Salem Farm, North Salem, NY

While it was basically a “first world problem,” and not the devastation and heartbreak that was unfolding as Hurricane Irma ripped north from the Caribbean to Florida, a portion of my flower order, the 500 Ecuadorian roses, was stuck in the Miami Airport. With the prestigious American Gold Cup competition at Old Salem Farm in North Salem three days away, I knew I’d have to scramble if I were going to guarantee delivery of 88 centerpieces on time.

When snags like this happen, having contacts and experience really helps. My dear vendor, Chris, at Dutch Flower Line in the NYC flower market sprung to my aid -. voilà, this was the result. The roses were a hotter shade of orange than I’d ordered, but sometimes serendipitous outcomes turn out even better.

These arrangements, placed in wooden cubes of various sizes, and in custom made grey wooden containers , served up scrumptious mélanges that included artichokes, sea holly, pincushion flowers, Dutch hydrangeas and aubergine mini- calla lilies, Arachnea orchids, hypericum berries and kangaroo paws as well. I set them in beds of eucalyptus dotted by single magnolia leaves. Their autumnal colors looked fabulous with all of the tablecloths selected for this five day event.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Elegant Summer Party on Candlewood Lake

August is the ideal time to enjoy life on Candlewood Lake. Last weekend hosts Greg and Laura invited their friends to a very special summer party.
Laura had selected periwinkle blue and shades of white as the color palette. She loves hydrangeas, so I ordered periwinkle hydrangeas (imported from Holland) as the favorite flower to be included in all of the designs.
Cocktails were enjoyed under the blue skies around the cocktail tables which were decorated with small centerpieces (similar to the ones on the dining tables).

The guests then moved under the tent to savor the dishes prepared by Bonni Manning Catering while viewing the lush centerpieces which included hydrangeas, roses, mini calla lilies and scabiosa. The colors were set off by the shimmering pewter tablecloths. 

Tall dramatic arrangements with similar flowers (and including periwinkle blue hybrid delpheniums) decorated the buffet table. The guests were very impressed with the location of the private home, right on the shoreline, and all of the delights of the evening.

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.