Week 23 // Slow Flowers Challenge
June 13th, 2015
This week’s arrangement comes to you courtesy of a special event in which I participated to benefit the King County Library Foundation.
Called an “Author Salon,” the private gathering was one of several offered at the Library Foundation’s recent annual Literary Lions Auction. Library supporters Elaine & John Hogle and Felicia Dixon & Lucas Hoban hosted the Author Salon last weekend at theBellevue Botanical Garden – one of my very favorite public gardens in the Seattle area. Landscape architect Liz Browning of Swift Company also participated by leading a tour of the newest garden BBG installations area designed by her firm.
What a beautiful venue! I was asked to talk about Slow Flowers, the book, as well as the slow flowers movement to source domestic and local flowers rather than rely on imports.
My publisher, St. Lynn’s Press, generously donated copies of Slow Flowers so that everyone in attendance took home a signed copy. And all the proceeds of the afternoon benefit the King County Library Foundation. Cindy Sharek and Andrea Quigley of the Foundation ensured that we had a lovely reception to hear the message of supporting literacy education!
And about the flowers you see here. I asked – and received special permission – to cut from the famed Perennial Border at the Bellevue Botanical Garden for my demonstration.
While you might think I focused on which blooms to choose first, it was the oak leaf hydrangea that caught my attention before anything else.
My vase had a fairly wide opening of about 7 inches, so I needed larger, structural branches and leaves as my design’s starting point. Plus, I absolutely love the hydrangea’s stage right now. The leaves are large and supple and the flowers are still in bud so they’re the same color green and the foliage.
See my entire plant list below. As I was basically designing on the fly, (I only clipped the blooms 30 minutes before the event!), it occurred to me that I had three primary hues and three secondary hues of blooms — and naturally, that gave me an organizing structure to discuss a bit of color theory.
I had a few longtime friends in the audience who surprised me by attending, people I hadn’t seen for years!
How cool that my friend Susy Hutchison, former news anchor for KIRO-TV (CBS affiliate) won the doorprize to take home my arrangement. Seriously, it was not a fix!
Susy reported to me that the bouquet was “still going strong,” one week after she brought it home. Yes, folks, that’s another great reason for sourcing locally – your arrangement’s vase life will be extended!
Here is the recipe, with all ingredients from the Perennial Border at Bellevue Botanic Garden:
- Oak leaf hydrangea foliage & flowers (Hydrangea quercifolia)
- Lady’s mantle (Alchemilla mollis)
- Red/Maroon: Astilbe
- Green: Allium ‘Hair’ (a mutation of A. sphaerocephalon)
- Orange: Geum (Geum chiloense) possibly ‘Totally Tangerine’
- Purple: Catmint (Nepeta sp.)
- Yellow: Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)
- Blue: Sea holly (Eryngium amethystinum)
- Bonus stems: I added a few beautiful stems of pale orange and yellow foxglove