Friday, April 26, 2013

the bride's cafe

janie medley of was sweet enough to feature me today on her "meet the designer" series:  i'm very excited and flattered to be part of janie's roster of featured designers.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

april peonies

pink peonies, viburnum, hellebores, andromeda, hypercurium berries  and fern

i'll warn you ahead of time that i'm feeling a bit loopy right now.  i had to sleep with my windows open last night to cool my apartment.  i don't have a flower fridge so windows or air conditioning are my options to keep the flowers looking fresh (thank goodness for a cool spring).  our apartment faces a busy avenue and it's really a terrible thing to hear every car and truck pass by through the night.

anyway, it's administrative professional's day today and pete and i delivered a number of arrangements this morning.  we worked pretty hard on these bouquets last night, all of which showcase the peony among the other spring beauties.  it's a bit too early for local peonies, so these came france and california.  otherwise, the hellebores, viburnum and ranunculus are local and i greedily snatched up more than needed, particularly the hellebores (the spotted variety is my favorite).  and the andromeda are the ones that i cut from my friend's garden in shelter island over the weekend.

as an aside, yes, anna, i always overbuy.  sometimes things don't work out as planned so i always want enough product on hand as insurance.  i don't want a repeat of the cafe-au-lait-dahlia-episode.

peony wonder world (i used three kinds:  darker pink, light pink and white.  smelled so good):

dark pink, light pink and white peonies with viburnum, hellebores, andromeda, hypercurium berries and fern

coral glory:

coral peonies with coral and raspberry ranunculus, hellebores, andromeda, hypercurium berries and fern

woodland magic (and my favorite):

light pink peonies with viburnum, hellebores, andromeda, hypercurium berries and fern

watermelon-berry sorbet:

coral peonies with viburnum, ranunculus, hellebores, andromeda, hypercurium berries  nd fern

btw, this is likely the last post you'll see on flowers for a little bit.  pete and i are heading to london and holland!  i'm hoping to see fields and fields of tulips.  i'll try to update photos regularly but we'll see how it goes. i still need to post pictures from our paris trip; maybe i can get to them before we leave.

Monday, April 22, 2013

like a string of pearls

i'm kind of high on andromeda these days.  it's really inexplicable.  i love the drippy white bells and rich foliage.  as you may have read in my forsythia post, we drove to shelter island for the pleasure of cutting andromeda from my friend's yard.  both my friend and the bushes were so generous to me.

one of the true pleasures of spring is that the flowers and flowering branches are so fleeting.  there's beauty in the bud, in the bloom and in its inevitable fading.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

khmer new year

khmer (cambodian) new year happened last week (april 12-14th).  i went home for my annual visit to our local buddhist temple for good karma.  my mother tries really hard to keep us involved with our culture and community and i do my best to comply.  we celebrate two of the bigger holidays -- new year's and the day of the dead to honor our ancestors (sometime in october).  so for mom, i try to come home every khmer new year and this time, i put together three simple bouquets -- two for home for our family's offering to this year's deity and one for the local temple.  

i'll likely botch up describing everything so it take with the grain of salt.  

each year, mom lays out an offering fruit and soda for the deity on the eve (i don't know why soda).  the fruit should be the deity's favorite fruit, but we didn't find out in time so mom put out mangoes and watermelons.  and everything needs offered in pairs.  

we went to the temple the next morning.  it's difficult to describe what's going on here, partly because my khmer isn't as good as my english.  much, if not all, of the prayers are in sanskrit and i only know a single prayer, which they didn't say this time.  i was somewhat disappointed; it's the only meaningful way that i could've participated.  just for the sake of sharing, here it is:

buddham saaranum gachaami - i take refuge in the buddha
sanghum saaranum gachaami - i take refuge in the sangha (the community)
dharmum saaranum gachaami - i take refuge in the dharma (the teaching)

i somewhat dread prayer time though.  we have to sit there with our legs folded to the side.  i'm not flexible and it's not comfortable.  i'm grateful that it lasts for less than 10 minutes.

at some point, we kneel before the buddha altar (below left), light three sticks of incense, put our hands together in front our faces and bow down three times and say "saa touk".  afterwards we place the incense in a pot (below right).

below is an offering of rice.  everyone each has a little bowl of rice and with a clean spoon, places a scoop of rice in each of the five black pots (below left) and the remaining rice is placed into the big silver bowl with our hands (below right).

when i was much younger, my parents were really good about teaching me the rituals.  however, it was an intro buddhist studies in college that helped me understand the overarching principles and the creation myths.  i'll admit that the language barrier is pretty tough (sometimes in temple, i don't know if they're speaking khmer or sanskrit -- sigh), so learning the subject in english was much easier.  for instance, i know that cambodians and other southeast asians mainly practice theravada buddhism, in which the lay people help monks attain enlightenment.  also, i learned the prayer above along with the translation.  

Saturday, April 20, 2013


forsythia are in full bloom everywhere in NYC and Long Island.  pete and i drove out to shelter island earlier today to visit some friends and harvest many, many stems of andromeda.  we were greeted with a sea of forsythia's brilliant yellow blooms alongside the L.I.E. (long island expressway).  it was truly a gorgeous sight but it reminded me that i'm terribly behind with my garden planning this year and probably won't get anything started seed-wise until mid-may!

typically, blooming forsythia signals me to prune my garden roses.  i need to get to massachusetts soon to take care of it (or have my dad do it -- yikes!).

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

tulips, part 2

i've been messing around with colors a bit; the hellebores' coloring was pretty nuanced and it seemed that the color palette could've gone a handful of ways.  i used some of the same flowers from sunday's arrangement, but swapped the white peonies and white-yellow double tulips for pink peonies.  let me know what you think.  i like this one.  it has a tropical feeling to it.

Sunday, April 7, 2013


i have this love-hate relationship with tulips.  not sure why.  perhaps i see them too often.  it seems like either the greenhouse- and/or field-grown kind are available at least 10 months out of the year.  and they're always on sale, e.g. 3 for $10 (not that there's anything wrong with that; i've been known to indulge in supermarket flower specials from time to time).

but, these days, i'm really liking them, especially the double and the parrot ones.  and if they're fringed, particularly the queensland variety, i absolutely need to have them so badly that i'll completely re-arrange my flower buying to incorporate them.

BTW (by the way), i'm doing a new exercise lately to work on my color selection.  the basic premise is to use some of the same flowers but add a different bloom or two to change up the color scheme.  i'll post my other arrangement later this week.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

where is spring?

bouquet of ranunculus, bearded iris, sweet peas, clematis, lilacs and peach campanella roses

it's cold here.  it caught me by surprise this morning on the way to spin class.  yep, folks, i'm still spinning monday and wednesday mornings.  monday's classes are usually pretty nice -- a good way to start the week.  but the instructor for wednesday's class is brutal (in a good way, of course).  she makes sure that i sweat and pant and nearly faint at least three times over the course of 45 minutes -- very intense.  naturally, i've signed up for her class this friday (pray for me, please).  my legs are burning.  i've consumed two glasses of wine to help relax my muscles ;)

 and a little garden snake baking in the morning sun.  he kept me company as i was taking photos.