Debra Prinzing

Archive for the ‘Landscape Design’ Category

SLOW FLOWERS Podcast: Rose Story Farm’s Danielle Hahn, a World-Class Rosarian and Cut Flower Farmer (Episode 127)

Wednesday, February 5th, 2014

Hello again and thank you for listening to the newest episode of the Slow Flowers Podcast with Debra Prinzing

Breathtakingly beautiful roses from Rose Story Farm. American Grown and more beautiful than anything imported.

Breathtakingly beautiful roses from Rose Story Farm. American Grown and more fragrant and lovely than anything imported.

It’s February and that means Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. So I am devoting the next two weeks to talking about American-grown roses. Most people do not realize that of the 233 million rose stems sold during the Valentine’s season, only 3 to 6 percent are domestic. There is something truly wrong with this picture. American roses are being grown in Oregon and California! Next week I will introduce you to Peterkort Roses, located outside Portland . . . a fabulous source for domestic Valentine’s Day roses.

Great Rosarian of the World, and American cut rose grower, Danielle Hahn.

Great Rosarian of the World, and American cut rose grower, Danielle Hahn.

Today, though, we are celebrating Danielle Hahn, owner of Rose Story Farm in Carpinteria, California. Located just south of Santa Barbara, where truly magical growing conditions for all types of flowers seem to exist, Rose Story Farm is a family endeavor specializing in old English, heirloom and garden roses for the specialty cut flower trade.

These roses are field-grown and you’ll notice that many of the varieties listed on the farm’s web site are types of roses found in the home garden. Because of this, they do not bloom all that prolifically in February. That’s okay with Dani and her crew. Their core business serves wedding parties that take place between May and October. 

Situated on a former avocado and lemon farm, this visually enticing venue offers many useful lessons in the viability of old-fashioned farming practices in today’s modern agri-business world (the kind of practices that were natural to our great-grandparents, for example.). Yes, this is an organic flower farm where hundreds of varieties of old garden and English roses thrive. It’s also a beautiful agritourism destination that attracts rose lovers from around the world as it educates and inspires everyone who visits to grow and enjoy roses in their own environment.

The setting in this little valley near the Pacific Ocean is quite benign - and so perfect for roses.

The setting in this little valley near the Pacific Ocean is quite benign – and so perfect for roses.

There are no fussy hybrid teas here, although there are varieties bred with ancient parentage for cherished traits like their long-lasting perfume. You will find row upon beautiful row of floribundas and climbers, chosen for bloom color, petal arrangement, and most of all – FRAGRANCE (scents like anise, clove, spice, honey, baby powder, a juicy peach, citrus…fill one’s nostrils).

The rose shrubs are planted on gently sloping hills, arranged like a technicolor vineyard. Organic mulch from a nearby mushroom farm cushions and nourishes the soil over their roots.

Tens of thousands of luscious roses are lovingly cared for by a small crew of farmers who know exactly when to harvest them. Can you imagine an east coast bride who simply MUST have a romantic, voluptuous rose bouquet of say ‘Fair Bianca’? It’s possible for her floral designer to order armloads of this vintage rose from Rose Story Farm.

Stunning. Nothing more to say. Drink it in and imagine the awesome fragrance!

Stunning. Nothing more to say. Drink it in and imagine the awesome fragrance!  Rosa ‘Singin’ in the Rain’

Say her wedding is on a Saturday. On Thursday, the roses are picked, hydrated and conditioned, de-thorned and carefully gathered into bundles of 10 stems. The cut ends are packed in wet moss to keep the roses hydrated; the flower heads are gently nestled in tissue paper; each bunch is packed in an ice-filled box and shipped overnight (Fed-Ex; next morning delivery) to wedding and event florists coast to coast. Around the country, on Friday mornings, the boxes of these Carpinteria-grown roses show up at floral studios and flower shops, serving as an enduring gift of romance, nostalgia and sensory delight.

This is the famed 'Julia Child' rose, which Dani's family friend Julia Child selected from plant trials at Rose Story Farm.

This is the famed ‘Julia Child’ rose, which Dani’s family friend Julia Child selected from plant trials at Rose Story Farm.

Last weekend, on February 1st, Dani was honored with the coveted “Great Rosarians of the World” award in a ceremony at the Huntington Botanical Garden in San Marino, near Pasadena.

This award recognizes major figures in the world of roses and honors their work in creating and promoting the flower. In the past 11 years, the Great Rosarians program has become a famous event in the world of rose growing, breeding, education and beyond. Dani is in excellent company, with past recipients including David Austin himself, Stephen Scanniello, Wilhelm Kordes III, Roger Phillips and Martyn Rix, and many others. The GROW award will also bring Dani to New York City in June, where she will be hosted by the Manhattan Rose Society for a series of events and lectures. 

Click here to learn more about the American Garden Rose Selections, the organization of trial gardens and experts who evaluate new plant introductions for their superior qualities. 

Here is Dani’s full bio as it appeared in the Great Rosarians of the World’s press material:

The old horse stables at Rose Story Farm are now the headquarters for this thriving specialty cut flower business.

The old horse stables at Rose Story Farm are now the headquarters for this thriving specialty cut flower business.

Danielle Hahn is the owner of Rose Story Farms in Carpinteria, California, a boutique rose farm for cut roses. Because of her skills and dedication to the rose, she has been able to develop a business model that combines growing roses and education. 

Danielle has maintained a hands-on approach to satisfy her market and has given this segment of the rose industry a successful working model, which encompasses the small boutique rose nursery and small organic farmer, for others to follow.  Her farm is a prime model for the future of small family farms to specialize into niche areas and succeed.  She has expanded her business to include the valuable component of educational tours which help inform and inspire her audience with the knowledge to grow healthy roses successfully. 

Growing from a lifelong love of flowers and gardening, Rose Story Farm has become the focal point of a wonderful mixture of business and life.  From the first day the mission was to produce beautiful, fragrant, romantic garden roses in exquisite shapes and colors. Now more than 120 varieties are scattered over the 15-acre farm. 

A gathering of blooms during one of the personalized rose farm tours.

A gathering of blooms during one of the personalized rose farm tours.

Tours are led by Danielle twice weekly, and a variety of seminars focused on garden design, rose cultivation and flower arranging are given throughout the year.  A major theme of the educational effort is to demystify the process of growing and caring for roses.  “Roses are magical and forgiving–they repay any effort on their behalf ten-fold,” says Dani. “We named the farm ‘Rose Story Farm’ because the roses are central to some of our most enchanting and memorable experiences. We encourage clients, visitors, and friends to exchange their rose stories with us, and in this way to share what we find romantic, passionate, joyful and sustaining.”  

Born in Santa Barbara, California, Dani attended local schools until she entered Stanford University.  She graduated three years later with honors with a BA in psychology and a minor in Italian.  Having played on the Stanford Tennis Team for three years, and being a ranked national junior tennis player, her first job out of college was managing an exclusive tennis club in Manhattan.  Returning to Santa Barbara in 1978, she opened a series of retail stores over the next 10 years in Southern California.  At the same time she was the founder and managing partner of an innovative gift business that designed, manufactured, packaged and ultimately delivered gifts for entertainment corporations.  With the birth of Geoffrey, her second son, in 1993, she backed away from the majority of her business responsibilities to focus on her family.       

Here's a glimpse of the larger setting at Rose Story Farm. I took this photo last July when attending an industry luncheon in the garden.

Here’s a glimpse of the larger setting at Rose Story Farm. I took this photo last July when attending an industry luncheon in the garden.

Her extensive experiences proved invaluable in 1998 when Danielle and her husband, Bill decided to expand the family avocado farm into a boutique rose business with the addition of 1,000 bushes, all of them garden roses. 

The farm now has over 25,000 bushes and since that time Danielle has overseen the steady growth and development to the point where thousands of roses are cut each day and shipped throughout the United States. 

Currently she manages all employees and makes the day-to-day decisions for the business, markets the products, selects the roses for production, designs rose gardens for clients worldwide, designs and maintains the farm’s gardens used for weddings and special events, oversees the rose boutique and leads the way on product development–a rose based perfume and body care line are currently in the works. 

The display in front of the rose boutique. . . what can I say? It's so enticing!

The display in front of the rose boutique. . . what can I say? It’s so enticing!

Dani is an active member of the Santa Barbara Rose Society, the American Rose Society, and the Garden Club of America in Santa Barbara. She is the founder and sustaining patron of the Carpinteria Community Service Toy Fund, a non-profit organization that raises money each year for the families of disadvantaged field workers in the Carpinteria Valley. 

The excitement and beauty of this enterprise and of Danielle herself has been featured in Santa Barbara Magazine, Wine Country Living, Sunset, Victoria Magazine, Oprah Magazine, Martha Stewart Living, Veranda, and the Wall Street Journal

She has had articles published in the 2012 American Rose Society Annual on both flower arranging and garden design.  Television coverage of Rose Story Farm has been presented on “California Heartland,” a PBS special, and on NBC’s Today show.  Most recently,  Martha Stewart Living media filmed a segment on the farm for their online American Made series (see above).  In addition to her weekly tours at the farm, Danielle is a frequent featured speaker at events that are focused on the beauty of the garden, and the special role of roses in our daily lives. 

The lemon rose cake. It is quite delicious!

The lemon rose cake. It is quite delicious!

Rose lovers are invited to visit to Rose Story Farm on a Wednesday or Saturday and spend $38-$45 for a small group tour, which is followed by a delicious garden luncheon.

A gift shop filled with rose-themed and garden-inspired ware from Europe and beyond (including a few antiques) is worth a visit.

To satisfy my current made-in-the-USA obsession, I picked up a cast-aluminum, rose-bloom-shaped bundt pan so I could bake the Rose Story Farm lemon cake. 

Rose_Story_Farm_8_IMG_7763

A small vignette of just-picked roses, spotted on my tour of the flower fields.

 

Rose_Story_Farm_7_IMG_7754

This rose caught my eye, dazzling against the blue Carpinteria sky.

 

Rose_Story_2_IMG_7712

Another beautiful floral arrangement at our summer luncheon.

It has been my pleasure to share my podcast conversation with Dani Hahn with you. All photos are (c) Debra Prinzing, except for the portrait of Dani Hahn, courtesy of Rose Story Farm.

Because of the support from you and others, listeners have downloaded episodes of the Slow Flowers Podcast more than 6,000 times! I thank you for taking the time to join to my conversations with flower farmers, florists and other notable floral experts.

If you like what you hear, please consider logging onto Itunes and posting a listener review.

Until next week please join me in putting more American grown flowers on the table, one vase at a time. 

 The Slow Flowers Podcast is engineered and edited by Hannah Holtgeerts. Learn more about her work at hhcreates.net.  

SLOW FLOWERS Podcast: All about Protea – a South African native that flourishes on California Flower Farms (Episode 119)

Wednesday, December 11th, 2013
Protea is a dazzling native South African flower that has adapted to California's benign growing climate - thus, perfect for the American-grown cut flower industry.

Protea is a dazzling native South African flower that has adapted to California’s benign growing climate – thus, perfect for the American-grown cut flower industry.

Today’s guests are two of the most influential US growers of Protea.

Mel Resendiz, an expert grower of Protea and other South African and Australian ornamental plants.

Mel Resendiz, an expert grower of Protea and other South African and Australian ornamental plants.

Owner of Resendiz Brothers Protea Growers, based in Fallbrook, California (in northern San Diego County), Mel Resendiz has been growing protea for 35 years. He’s joined by colleague Diana Roy, an equally passionate protea fan who handles marketing and promotion for Resendiz Proteas. 

You’ll hear us refer to this lovely flower a few ways. It’s spelled P-R-O-T-E-A, but pronounced:

Pro-tee-ay-AH . . . Pro-tee-Ah . . . or . . . pro-Tay_AH 

Whichever way you pronounce it, Protea is a luscious native South African flower, said to have been named after the Greek God Proteus, who was able to change into many different forms.

The Proteaceae family of plants is comprised of more than 1,400 species. Ranging from 2 to 12 inches in size, Proteas typically blooms in fall, winter and spring, although the folks at Resendiz are able to harvest and ship the flower year-round to customers in the U.S., Canada & Japan, due to their growing practices and attention to detail. 

Diana Roy, a board member of the California Cut Flower Industry and active protea promoter.

Diana Roy, a board member of the California Cut Flower Commission and active protea promoter. She was captured here at an industry event in a gerbera greenhouse.

 

A Resendiz bouquet in which Protea is paired with Pincushion flower (Leucospermum).

A Resendiz bouquet in which Protea is paired with Pincushion flower (Leucospermum).

Why are these South African plants now considered a valuable California flower crop? It’s because coastal California is one of five Mediterranean regions of the globe, similar to South Africa, Australia/New Zealand, Chile and Greece. Full sun, well-drained soil, good air circulation, mild winters and acid soil ensure that proteas thrive as if they were in their native environment.  

Established in 1999 and today one of California’s largest supplier of South African and Australian floral products and plants, Resendiz produces more than 200 varieties of these unique native plants.  Known for their exceptional value and long vase life, the protea and other blooms like PincushionsBanksiaKangaroo Paws and  Leucadendroncreate dramatic impact when incorporated in arrangements and bouquets. Many varieties are hybrids – grown only by Resendiz Brothers.

A wedding bouquet pairing protea with roses!~

A wedding bouquet pairing protea with roses!~

Rich in color, texture and form, the protea is both dramatic and exotic. The spectrum ranges from warm to cool colored blooms — Rich reds, deep pinks, and fresh greens. Together, these blooms make stunning arrangements – and they are long-lasting – a huge bonus for the florist and DIY designer alike.

If  you want an American-grown flower that will dazzle in the bouquet or the vase, look no further than the Protea.

Thank you  for joining me in this episode of the SLOW FLOWERS Podcast with Debra Prinzing. Because of your support as a listener, there have been nearly 4,000 downloads since July – and I thank you for taking the time to join to my conversations with flower farmers, florists and other notable floral experts.

If you like what you hear, please consider logging onto Itunes and posting a listener review.

Until next week please join me in putting more American grown flowers on the table, one vase at a time. 

The Slow Flowers Podcast is engineered and edited by Hannah Holtgeerts. Learn more about her work at hhcreates.net

SLOW FLOWERS: Week 49

Sunday, December 8th, 2013

Conifers, Cones and Lilies

Deep raspberry-pink lilies (Oregon grown) paired with evergreens from my yard.

Deep raspberry-pink lilies (Oregon grown) paired with evergreens from my yard.

Ingredients:
5 stems dark pink ‘Rio Negro’ hybrid Oriental lilies, greenhouse grown by Peterkort Roses
5 stems Norway spruce (Picea abies), gleaned from my driveway
7 short branches Western red cedar (Thuja plicata), clipped from my garden
3 stems Camellia (Camellia japonica), clipped from my garden
5 lengths variegated ivy (Hedera helix), trimmed from a neighbor’s fence


Lovely cones contrast organically with the teal vase and blue-green needles.

Lovely cones contrast organically with the teal vase and blue-green needles.

Vase:

12-inch tall x 9-inch diameter with 6-inch opening vintage McCoy urn

Design 101
Lilies for longevity: When you design with Oriental lilies, more than a week of enjoyment will ensue. One or two blooms at a time open and share their loveliness almost in succession, ensuring that something is always in flower. Don’t forget to clip the pollen-laden stamen and pistils from the center of each bloom as it opens. Otherwise, as those pieces fall, they can stain table linens.

 

 

 

 

 

SLOW FLOWERS Podcast: All About Growing Lavender with Susan Harrington (Episode 117)

Wednesday, November 27th, 2013

Close your eyes. Take a deep breath. Think about seeing a vivid purple-tinged field of lavender. Now imagine yourself walking through it, brushing your fingertips on the scented flowers dancing tall on their wand-like stems. Don’t you wish you could be transported to that place right now?

Fresh cut bunches of lavender from Labyrinth Hill Lavender (photo courtesy Susan Harrington)

Fresh cut bunches of lavender from Labyrinth Hill Lavender (photo courtesy Susan Harrington)

 

There is something so evocative about Lavandula, the plant that is the basis for all of Susan Harrington’s growing, writing and teaching activities. The owner with her husband Jack Harrington of Labyrinth Hill Lavender, Susan is today’s guest on the Slow Flowers Podcast.

Susan connects people with lavender, whether at the farmers' market, in workshops and through her web-based educational programs.

Susan connects people with lavender, whether at the farmers’ market, in workshops and through her web-based educational programs.

We met up recently after I attended one of Susan’s inspiring (and intoxicatingly fragrant) workshops at a local garden center. Susan and I discussed her decade-long adventure growing lavender on her “backyard farm” and how that led to a vibrant cottage industry selling fresh-cut lavender and dried lavender buds, first at the farmers’ market and later via mail order. Susan has expanded Labyrinth Hill Lavender into online training for others who want to get into the lavender-growing business and now, a regional conference for lavender farming.

Here is her famous lavender labyrinth, planted with 150 Lavandula x intermedia ‘Fred Boutin’ plants. The labyrinth measures 40-feet in diameter and produces about 700 fresh-cut bundles of lavender per season. 

The lavender labyrinth at peak of season. Photo, courtesy Susan Harrington

The lavender labyrinth at peak of season. Photo, courtesy Susan Harrington

Susan mentioned her YouTube video in which she demonstrates her Lavender Bud De-Nuding Process. It’s a little tongue-in-cheek, but clearly a huge success as a method for anyone harvesting lavender buds for aromatherapy or crafting:


More details discussed in our conversation:

Information about Susan’s online lavender growing course, and her FREE mini-course on growing lavender

Information about the October 2014 Northwest Regional Lavender Conference, which Susan and Jack are producing with the Oregon Lavender Association. 

 

SLOW FLOWERS: Week 46

Sunday, November 17th, 2013

A (LOVING) CUP FULL OF AUTUMN

The last flowers of summer, not to mention those like me who love them, are often reluctant to disappear come fall. That was the case with these beautiful Cafe au Lait dahlias.

The last flowers of summer, not to mention those like me who love them, are often reluctant to disappear come fall. That was the case with these beautiful Cafe au Lait dahlias.

 

Love the detail on this trophy, which my friend Kathryn Renner urged me to acquire.

Love the detail on this trophy, which my friend Kathryn Renner urged me to acquire.

Ingredients:

5 stems Rosa ‘Piano Freiland’, grown by Peterkort Roses
3 stems Dahlia ‘Cafe au Lait’, grown by Jello Mold Farm
9 blades green millet (Setaria italica ‘Highlander’), grown by Jello Mold Farm
3 stems scarlet oak foliage (Quercus coccinea), grown by Oregon Coastal Flowers
3 stems wild rose hips, harvested by Oregon Coastal Flowers
 
Vase:
10½ inch tall x 4-inch diameter vintage silver loving cup (look for old trophies at thrift stores or online auctions; or perhaps you’ll find one in the family that has personal meaning).
 
Design 101
A floral designer’s recipe: To create a classic floral arrangement, I need ingredients to fulfill three purposes. First, I choose the diva – an eye-catching, dramatic bloom with a symmetrical or dome-shaped form, such as a rose, peony or dahlia. Then I add taller ingredients to emerge from the main cluster of diva flowers. Flowering, fruiting or foliage-laden branches are ideal – I consider them the arrangement’s exclamation point. Finally, I add softer elements to drape over the edge of the vase, dripping like chandelier crystals.
 
 
 

SLOW FLOWERS: Week 39

Sunday, September 29th, 2013
Bowl on kitchen counter

I placed my beautiful bowl of zinnias on the kitchen counter, in front of a botanically-inspired tile triptych by artist Paula Gill of Red Step Studio

Ingredients:
 
5 stems fancy-leaf scented geranium (Pelargonium crispum), grown by Charles Little & Co.
7 stems Boltonia asteroides, a small daisy-like perennial, grown by Charles Little & Co.
7 stems Artemisia capillaris, a woody perennial, grown by Charles Little & Co.
6 stems pink crested cockscomb (Celosia cristata), grown by Charles Little & Co.
9 stems apricot cactus zinnias (Zinnia elegans ‘Pinca’), grown by J. Foss Garden Flowers
 
Great details add texture and interest!

Great details add texture and interest!

Vase:

4½-inch tall x 6¼-inch diameter hand-thrown clay bowl
 
Design 101
The power of green: The difference between one arrangement being just pretty and another being completely arresting is often not the flowers but the foliage. You see here that three similar-toned green elements are woven  together as a textured and verdant tapestry.
 
They are definitely the supporting actors to the zinnia and cockscomb divas, but they help this bouquet sing. Whenever you can use unexpected greenery, your design will take on a similar star quality. Often, these elements come straight from the garden – growing right under our noses.

 

Floral design in Tuscany

Friday, September 27th, 2013
The approach to Montisi, a small Tuscan village that has been our home this week.

The approach to Montisi, a small Tuscan village that has been our home this week.

 

Detail: An autumn bouquet from a Tuscan garden. Olives, roses, hydrangeas, scented pelargonium leaves, Rex begonia leaves - seen here.

Detail: An autumn bouquet from a Tuscan garden. Olives, roses, hydrangeas, scented pelargonium leaves, Rex begonia leaves – seen here.

This morning at the villa, two friends went off for watercolor lessons with resident expat artist Liz Cochrane.

After walking down to Il Barrino for hot tea and a croissant, I came back totally determined to make a bouquet for our group’s last night together.

We have a dinner coming in from Allesandro, the local chef (Marty organized the menu, which includes Ribollita, a Tuscan soup; sliced pork with balsalmic vinegar; zucchini flan; and that popular italian desert, Apple Pie!)

The Flower Arrangers’ Guild of Tuscany commenced its first session.

This garden is in its waning moments of late summer-early autumn. But it does not disappoint. So much to work with and we judiciously snipped, without hurting or denuding a single plant.

I had spotted a copper urn, weathered and slightly dented, sitting on the floor in the Lemonaio (the garden room). It inspired my palette – faded, tarnished and of the moment.

A rustic wooden garden bench, a perfect place to display and photograph my Tuscan bouquet in a timeworn copper vessel.

A rustic wooden garden bench, a perfect place to display and photograph my Tuscan bouquet in a timeworn copper vessel.

Here are the ingredients I began with:

1. Scented pelargonium foliage

2. Papyrus stems from the water pond

3. Hydrangeas – two types

4. Roses – two types

5. Olives branches w/fruit

6. Marguerite daisy foliage

7. Rex begonia foliage

Mary Watson joined me in the garden, eager to make something beautiful. She made two adorable bouquets:

Mary Watson, a new friend who I met through Marty Wingate. She is an art educator and bon vivant! Right when I started arranging this morning, Mary jumped into the fun.

Mary Watson, a new friend who I met through Marty Wingate. She is an art educator and bon vivant! Right when I started arranging this morning, Mary jumped into the fun.

 

READ MORE…

SLOW FLOWERS: Week 37

Sunday, September 15th, 2013

FADING HUES

Fading hues

This lovely autumn palette of fading flowers, foliage and seed heads reflects the season’s beauty.

Ingredients:

7 stems smoke tree (Cotinus coggygria ‘Grace’), harvested from Lizzy Jackson’s garden
7 stems pittosporum (Pittosporum sp.), harvested from the Lila B. lot garden
5 stems Dahlia ‘Hy Suntan’, grown by Jello Mold Farm
5 stems gold and pale pink garden roses, harvested from the Lila B. lot garden
3 stems terracotta-orange lilies (Lilium ‘Olina Tango’™), grown by Peterkort Roses
5 stems pale peach stock (Matthiola incana), grown by Repetto’s Nursery
7 stems perennial flax (Linum perenne), grown by Charles Little & Co.
7 stems brown millet (Setaria viridis ‘Caramel’), grown by Charles Little & Co.
Miscellaneous seed heads, harvested from the Lila B. lot garden, including purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea), Euphorbia sp., and rose hips
2 clusters yellow pear tomatoes, harvested from Marritje Green’s garden
 
Vase:
 
7-inch tall x 10-inch diameter antique-finish urn with 6½-inch opening
 
Delicious array

The luscious selection of California, Washington and Oregon-grown floral elements – on display

Eco-technique

A fresh drink of water: There’s a proliferation of advice for keeping a bouquet of floral ingredients fresh and lasting for many days. But one of the most important things you can do is give stems clean water. That’s not so easy with an arrangement like this one, where all the stems are knit together in a tangle of chicken wire.
 
My friend Lorene Edwards Forkner shared this easy water-changing trick: Place the entire arrangement in the kitchen sink. Gently lift the foliage at one edge of the vase so the faucet’s spray nozzle is directed inside. Turn on the water and let it flow for a minute or two. The existing water will begin to overflow and go down the drain, displaced by fresh water that now occupies the vase (dry off the bottom and outside of the container when finished). Do this every day or two for the life of the arrangement.
 
 

Color of the Moment

Saturday, September 7th, 2013
Detail of my color palette

Coral pinks, rosy oranges, a touch of faded terracotta and some dark burgundy foliage.

The overall scheme of the flowers I played with this week is hard to name. I’ve come up with the following:

Terracotta Pink

Coral Pink

Peachy Apricot

Pinkish Orange

Faded Terracotta

I’m up for suggestions on how to describe these yummy colors!

Dan Pearson of Dan’s Dahlias grew the two types of dahlias – one leans more toward the pink end of the spectrum; the other is more like that faded terracotta color I mentioned.

The antique pink-hued Celosia were grown by Diane Szukovathy and Dennis Westphall of Jello Mold Farm.

As I was leaving the Seattle Growers Wholesale Market the other day, Janet Foss of J. Foss Garden Flowers handed me the bunch of alstroemeria as a gift. These little beauties have flecks of dark maroon on a pale orange-pink throat. I love the way they tie together the more solid colored flowers.

Peaches and Cream Trio

There is a peaches-and-cream (with rapsberries added) mood to this trio of vases.

I came home wondering what to do with these evocatove botanical elements. I pulled down three ivory vases – one is vintage Haegar; two are vintage Hull (from my recent trip to Iowa). It felt right to use these vessels, each of which has an eggshell-like color and texture.

I walked around my garden and snipped dark maroon foliage from the Ninebark shrub, which as you can see really helped to define the spaces between the flowers. I also snipped Sedum ’Autumn Joy’ in pinkish bud and a few sprays of an inherited chrysanthemum, the flower heads toned dark terra cotta.

A few more shots, showing the designs for my medium and small vintage pedestal bowls:

Small Vase

This little saucer didn’t have a lot of room for stems. So I used a hydrangea flower as a fresh “frog” to organize the other short stems.

 

Medium Vase

A fabulous, creamy white vintage compote-style bowl, used with a cage-shaped flower frog for this color-intensive bouquet.

Everything seems to come together as a lovely gathering of a beautiful hue. The color of the moment!

 

 

Into the Garden with Charles Anew

Wednesday, August 28th, 2013
Table Arrangement

A lovely table arrangement where the vases seem to blend into the primitive wall mural of Orient, New York . . . as imagined and painted by Skip many years ago.

Last April 2012, I wrote about the beautiful memoir by my late friend Clyde “Skip” Wachsberger.

The book is called Into the Garden With Charles.  It was first published privately by friends of Skip’s (under the guidance of editor and friend Karen Braziller) in December 2010. Farrar, Straus and Giroux published it commercially in early 2012, although Skip did not live to see that event. Read more about the book here.

I have not been able to visit Orient, New York, or see Charles Dean, Skip’s surviving husband, since January 2012, when I traveled there for the memorial service honoring Skip’s life. I love this place and all of the friends I’ve met through these two men. The garden during summertime at Adsworthy, where Skip and Charles made their home, is very special. And for some reason, my trips in recent years were during fall or winter, so I hadn’t toured that verdant place during its peak since 2005 or so. Too long!

Last week I was fortunate to return for a mere 36 hours. It wasn’t nearly enough time, but every moment was filled with wonder, delight, friendship and memories. 

One of the highlights was getting ready for a big, yummy, community dinner prepared by the man Charles has now found to spend his life with. That is Charles’s very personal story to tell, so I won’t say more. I’ll only add that he is now with a dear, charming person and I’m pleased to see Charles so happy.

Skip’s presence is still very much evident in his garden. I was mindful of his exuberant spirit watching over me as I snipped stems, leaves and flowers from uncommon specimens that he originally selected, planted and tended to over the years. The opportunity to create the centerpieces for our wonderful dinner party was all the more special for the connection I felt between those plants and Skip. While the bouquets’ dahlias came from a local flower farm stand and the yellow roses were a gift to Charles from a family friend visiting his sister, artist Frieda Dean, everything else came from Skip’s garden. I relied on his plants for bold and fine foliage, tiny buds, fern fronds and seed heads. Charles supplied the beautiful cut glass urn and two small cream pitchers for the vases. 

Our table sparkled with vintage linens, pottery, silver and stemware. You can see how it looked above.

Here are some more images of the bouquets, in the garden:

Bench with three vases

A still life with three bouquets, on a vintage cast-iron bench in the garden.

 

Small glass pitcher of flowers

A small glass pitcher looks so beautiful in the dappled light that spills onto an iron garden chair.

 

Iron Bench

The larger vase features all sorts of gorgeous leaves, fronds and stems from Skip’s garden.

I’ll close with one of Skip’s quote about his garden, excerpted from Into the Garden with Charles:

 ”I had been presented with a blank canvas, a large one at that. For an artist, this was ideal. I gardened the way I painted: I began with a picture in my mind and then I figured out how to create it. The only difference was that my colors and textures were living beings with a thirst for life; they would grow every which way once I had placed them on the canvas. I had no intention of ever finishing the painting.”