Wednesday, July 30, 2014

summer nights

cosmos, cockscomb, firework gomphrena, scabiosa and fern

summer nights during the week find a way of being filled with rose (the drinking kind, not the flower kind), oysters and evening strolls.  and summer time brings the farmers market to life with local fruit, veggie and floral goodies such as the flowers in this arrangement (i'm having a brief obsession with cockscomb and cosmos and bright colors right now).  

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

c + e wedding

pete and i were way up in maine a few weeks ago to flower up an intimate outdoor wedding complete with beautiful couple, gracious parents (and hosts), a barn, hand-made bars and signs, a few horses and some of the cutest dogs i've ever met (perhaps i say that about all friendly dogs).  this wedding was simply gorgeous!  congrats, c + e!

how so did i ever agree to go from nyc to maine (total trip time is 8 hours each way)?  it wasn't a hard choice, really.  i love outdoor weddings.  i'm a new england girl at heart.  doing weddings outside the normal nyc wedding scene is quite enjoyable.  i have a place to work right outside boston with relatively easy access to the market.  and the bride really wanted to use summer flowers which i could largely source from local growers (NJ, NY and MA).  

the wedding took some work to figure out logistics with ordering, buying and storing flowers outside my normal home base.  we stuffed our little volvo c30 with 12 buckets full of flowers on wednesday night for 4 hour ride to boston.  next day, i went to the boston flower market for more pick-ups and met up with a flower friend, julie of bittersweet gardens, for some of her beautiful poppies.  and later that day, i visited another flower friend, grace of five fork farms, for more poppies, grasses and some of the most amazing sweet peas i've seen grown locally.  dare i say that the quality rivals that of sweet peas from japan?  i met both lovely ladies via instagram (kind of love social media that way) and i hope to have new opportunities to work with them.

and i made flowers standing in my parents' kitchen.  i completely took over the space so we had to order domino's pizza -- yeah, i know, but my parents live in the 'burbs.  we took over a spare bedroom with an old ac unit and blasted that thing until no end (my dad referred to the room as the "cooler" which it totally became).  and there was lots of running back and forth with flowers and finished arrangements.  the behind the scenes pictures are below.

at five fork farms

and a tired florist....

Monday, June 30, 2014

evening lit bouquet

leftovers from my blue arrangement and carnations from two weekends ago.  i'm starting to think that the recipe for a good looking bouquet is some inky tones combined with some muted tones as the base and then you're free to pick either a bright or subtle tone.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

sunday blues

i wanted to do a little color study on blue, mostly inspired by the japanese delphinium that i found in the market.  i'm somewhat sad the peony season is over, but relieved as well.  peonies can distract me from using other flowers and it's nice to move on... particularly to some blushing bride proteas!  there are winners every season.

i tried to do a step-by-step for you, but i failed.  it's hard to do solo and i tend to get carried away (excuses, i know).  i did capture the backbones to the arrangement -- chicken wire (bent to an 's' shape) and some clear floral tape to hold it down.  bending the chicken wire into an 's' form provides two layers to hold the stems.  i find that top heavy stems tend to fall out if held in place only at the top, which, for example would happen with a simple tape grid.  floral frogs can do the trick, but are costly and i hate dealing with floral putty.  another cheaper option is to get some chicken wire and bend it.

can you see the two layers of chicken wire?

i used 42 stems for this arrangement:
- 6 hydrangeas
- 5 gardenia leaves
- 5 ageratums
- 4 white garden spray roses
- 5 blushing bride proteas
- 4 black pearl lisianthus (i'm not a huge lisianthus fan, but these are so pretty!)
- 7 white lysimachia
- 1 japanese delphinium
- 5 proteus clematis

my first layers were the hydrangeas and gardenia leaves for the overall structure and then added the ageratums for pops of blue.  spray roses went next; i opted for spray roses rather than full on garden roses because the heads are smaller.  then filled with lisianthus and blushing bride protea.  for both fill and whimsy, i added the japanese delphinium and lysimachia.  finally, for movement, i added the clematis vines. and then went back to fill in with some more gardenia leaves.  i think i could have done with less but this arrangement was for me.

maybe next time, i'll get a photographer to take pictures as i make.

Monday, June 9, 2014

garden june 2014

peony garden planted last year with a dozen peonies

garden update of the season.  dahlias are in, all 235 of them across 60 or so varieties.  the bleeding hearts and lilies of the valley came and went in a short-lived but glorious burst.  the poppies are reaching peak.  zinnias and cosmos are coming up.  peonies are about to open.  clematis are climbing and blooming.

'bourbon' clematis

the clematis are having a great time, with bourbon being the most vigorous out of my 6 varieties.  but a few others are really trying to put on a good show.  i've been drenching them with an aerated tea of compost, kelp and fish.  my fingers smell like fish for days afterwards, but worth it.  the plants seem to love it.

my strawberries that i planted yesterday are definitely bearing the fruits of my labor (quite literally).  they were pitiful little things but look at them now!  i think i messed up with planting them last year; buried the crowns too deeply.  perhaps that delayed fruiting last year; no matter, this year's crop seems to be making up for it.

yeah, it's a constant struggle with sweet peas.  really i need a cold frame to properly raise the seedlings.  these don't look bad but it's a gamble as to whether they'll bloom before it gets too hot.

i have poppies on the left and cosmos on the right.  well, next year i've decided to do an entire bed of poppies.  i bought pint size 'champagne bubble' poppy plants from a wholesale grower in town.  plan to do the same thing next year, but this time i hope to snag a pink one.  this year, i seem to have only white, yellow and orange, which are great and all but a little more color variety would be nice.  the cosmos are doing well.  not much to say other than they're fairly easy to germinate.

close up of the peony garden.  they're about to blow!!!

dahlia beds 1 and 2, same ones as last year.  the weeding shouldn't be so bad this time around.

dahlia beds 3 and 4, new ones.  our plan is to wait until the weeds get a little taller and then start yanking them out and cover with mulch.

Monday, June 2, 2014

sensation lilacs

sensation lilacs with champagne roses, mock orange, ninebark and parrot tulips

spring in nyc seems to turn into summer within a few weeks time and the transition feels even faster now that i'm older.  i suppose that's the benefit of having a garden further north; at least we get to hold onto spring for a bit longer.

i was perusing the flower market over the weekend, mostly to prepare for a wedding later this month.  with my eyes full of hope, i stopped shop after shop asking whether flowering branches (any other than mountain laurel -- color doesn't work) would be around.  give me something, people -- viburnum, spirea, lilacs (no hope of that)!  all i got is check in two weeks beforehand.  boo!  i have a back-up plan but flowering branches make large arrangements so effortless and so good.

i couldn't walk away empty-handed though.  there were bales and bales of beautiful lilacs from canada and i had to grab a bunch.  and then i had a moment with my lilacs.  i pressed them against my nose and i took a deep yoga-style inhale.  their perfume is so perfect.  these sensation lilacs are sensational.

Monday, May 12, 2014

mother's day 2014 and upcoming garden work

another year, another mother's day.  unlike last year, i was in the city to make and deliver arrangements.  we are thoroughly exhausted and will spend the rest of the week saving our energy for garden work this weekend.

our garden is in western mass and the climate there seems to be 2-4 weeks behind nyc (it's a very cold zone 5a).  i hear that my hellebores from last year are in bloom and perhaps some of the other ones i planted earlier produced a second flush of blooms.  and i'm excited to see how the poppies, foxgloves, bleeding hearts and columbines are faring.  back in march i trimmed back and re-tied my clematises; i think one will bloom earlier this year.  it's my third year for these clematises and two of the three are going really strong.

for this coming weekend, we have to dig new beds, order compost, buy more plants (perennials and annuals) and plant some of my seedlings that i've been doting on in my apartment.  i have some sweet peas that needed to go in a month ago but obligations have kept me from doing so.  so they will be a complete experiment as to how long they'll last into summer.  my zinnias are suffering from aphids and i'm picking them off and killing by hand.  ugh.  it was going so well until it wasn't.

but anyways, more mother day arrangements below filled with loads of peonies.  peonies get me every eff-ing time.