Bess Wyrick of Celadon & Celery, wearing one of her beautiful floral crowns (c) Jana Williams
Today’s guest is Bess Wyrick, founder and creative director of Celadon & Celery, a floral design and events studio based in New York City and Los Angeles.
I first learned of Bess when researching florists to possibly feature in The 50 Mile Bouquet – I wanted to document the emerging business model of floral designers who actively promoted green practices, such as using seasonal and local flowers, embracing earth-friendly products and promoting anti-mass market style.
I later learned that this category is called “eco-couture,” and it’s quite possible that Bess coined the phrase herself.
May 5, 2013 cover of New York Magazine, featuring Bess Wyrick’s floral crown on the head of artist Jeffrey Koons.
In 2009, Bess’s Celadon & Celery was featured in a New York Times‘ blog post about “organic flower” sourcing. The writer cited Bess’s policy of sourcing flowers within a 200-mile radius of NYC and also noted that when seasonal flowers aren’t available, she purchased Fair Trade, Veriflora and USDA organic flowers from certified vendors.
The following year, in 2010, BizBash, a web site devoted to event planning, published a piece about Celadon & Celery that stated: “. . . sustainability is important to Wyrick. She composts, grows many of her own plants in her Chelsea studio, sources flowers from local growers or certified organic suppliers, and scavenges for materials to repurpose.”
Bess shared this photo of a floral teepee, a recent installation.
To read about that philosophy today – in 2015 – doesn’t seem all that unusual. But five years ago, it was rare. Believe me, I counted on one hand the number of designers proactively taking the green approach. I saved that article in my folder of inspiring designers.
So how cool was it that when Celadon & Celery brought its floral design workshop series to Los Angeles, Bess’s publicist pitched me to write the story.
Local flowers in a beautiful palette, designed by Celadon & Celery
My editor at the Los Angeles Timesagreed, and I did a short Q&A interview with Bess about the workshop series in fall 2011. At the time, Celadon & Celery was charging $300 for its two-hour sustainable-design workshops at Bess’s loft-studio in New York’s Chelsea Flower District. For the Los Angeles expansion, she dropped the tuition to $125 and used social media channels to promote the classes.
Overwhelmed by the positive response, Bess rented a photography studio in downtown Los Angeles and turned it into a classroom. She hired a few local freelancers to help and ran three classes a day for three weeks. “In that time we taught floral design to more than 800 people,” Bess marvels.
bliss! a Celadon & Celery seasonal creation
I was able to witness the excitement in person and cover it for a chapter in The 50 Mile Bouquet. In the book’s pages, you can read about the explosion of DIY interest in floral design.
I’ve connected with Bess many times since the publication of The 50 Mile Bouquet, in both New York and Los Angeles, depending on where our travels intersect. She is a generous supporter of the new Slowflowers.com and you can find Celadon & Celery featured in the online directory under studio florists and weddings/events.
I’ve been wanting to have her on as a guest and I’m delighted to include our conversation here today. Please enjoy our discussion about how floral design – and this designer in particular – has evolved to encompass event production, conceptual storytelling and artistic installations.
a singular bouquet.
You’ll learn that floral design can be as multidisciplinary and multidimensional as you choose it to be. And, according to Bess, florists who advocate for their vendors, the family flower farm in particular, have an edge. She says: “I like to sell the fact that I’m a luxury brand and luxury brands work with really small artisans and that’s really important because you want to make sure that your flower farm vendors keep doing what they’re doing and creating unique and unusual flowers that the higher luxury market will pay for.”
(c) Jana WIlliams
I love how generous and frank she is and a few more of her interview comments really resonated:
For one thing, volunteering on flower farms has educated Bess to understand that “it’s not okay for clients to negotiate the cost of flowers because it is back-breaking work and there aren’t enough people who know how to grow flowers.”
And second: This quote is powerful and I hope it more than a few people in the floral industry to rethink their practices: “I don’t think that any florist in California should be importing flowers at all. That’s just being lazy.”
(c) Jana Williams
Ahem. Thank you, Bess, for stating the obvious. You’ve lent a lot of credibility to the Slow Flowers Movement with that proclamation!
Last weekend I was involved with the Hardy Plant Study Weekend as a speaker and a participant. This is an annual event, held every June. I rotates between Washington, Oregon and British Columbia, and this year was hosted and produced by the Northwest Perennial Alliance.
I was asked to present a floral design demonstration at Saturday night’s gala, held at Wells Medina Nursery. What could be better than attending a fun dress-up party with the theme “50 Shades of Green” (get it?). Surrounded by horticulture friends old and new, many of them who wore awesome green outfits, I demonstrated “The Marriage of Ornamentals and Edibles in the Vase.”
Here is a recreation of that arrangement, using most of the same flowers that I included in the first arrangement. I used a sizeable cast-iron urn (7 inches wide x 9 inches high) and filled it with a 5-inch vintage flower frog (cage style). NO FOAM, people! It’s not necessary and it actually shortens the vase life of flowers like these.
Step One: Choose an awesome container. This image gives you a good idea of the vessel’s shape and scale.
Gather together your foliage. Start with something large and dramatic. Artichoke/Cardoon foliage is a great summer element- straight from the veggie garden.
Step Two: Add the largest foliage first. I placed three leaves asymmetrically.
Step Three: Add the larger textural elements, like hydrangeas – straight from my garden.
Step Four: Add more texture for contrast. Here, I added ladies mantle – lime green and super fluffy. Also straight from my garden.
Step Five: Add smaller, darker, glossier foliage. Like sprigs of mint. They smell fantastic!
Step Six: Now, the diva flowers. Like these locally-grown garden roses.
Step Seven: The final “viney” elements! Love the nasturtium. It lasts surprisingly long in the vase. PS, one vivid yellow poppy!
How do you keep this looking fresh for an entire week? Place this urn down inside the sink and run water inside (using the nozzle on the sink faucet). Give this vase a drink for 2-3 minutes and let the excess water spill over the edge. You’ll basically replace old, clouded water with fresh, clean water!
But it all started with the book:Slow Flowers, four seasons of locally-grown bouquets, from the garden, meadow and farm.St. Lynn’s Press published this little gem in early 2013 and it has been the creative inspiration to launch the Slow Flowers Movement.
We just got word that Garden Writers Associationhas awarded Slow Flowers with one of two Silver Medals of Achievement for Overall Book product this year. I couldn’t be happier and I’m so pleased to receive the recognition because it reflects what together our American grown floral community has achieved in changing the dialogue and changing the relationship consumers have with their flowers. Congratulations to the entire St. Lynn’s Press creative team for making my words and images into such a beautiful little book: Paul Kelly (Publisher), Catherine Dees (Editor) and Holly Rosborough (Art Director). They are the dream team!
TODAY’S GUEST: MARGOT SHAW, flower magazine
Margot Shaw, “flower magazine” founder and editor-in-chief
“To Flower” ~ the definition embodies the spirit of this magazine.
Now, it is entirely fitting that I introduce you to Margot Shaw of flower magazine, my interview subject today. Margot has coined the phrase “a floral lifestyle,” a term I thoroughly embrace – and I know you will, too.
Margot calls herself a “late bloomer” when it comes to the art of floral design. A self-proclaimed “call-and-order-flowers girl,” Margot’s “a ha moment,” her view of flowers, changed when planning her daughter’s at-home wedding.
Working alongside the floral and event designer, she recognized the artistry and inspiration involved in “flowering” and soon began apprenticing with that same designer.
After a few years, enamored with all things floral but unable to locate a publication that spoke to her passion, she set about creating one.
With a clear vision, a deep appreciation for beauty, a facility with words, a hometown uniquely geared towards publishing, and the advice and counsel of generous industry professionals, Margot launched flower in March of 2007.
I snapped this photo of the flower magazine staff back in January 2011 when I visited Birmingham, Alabama, for a get-to-know meeting. That’s Margot, second from the left.
Originally filled with floral, garden, and event design, the niche publication has gradually broadened to include content that trumpets a floral lifestyle—interiors, art, travel, fashion, jewelry, and entertaining.
“It has something for everyone who likes flowers—and who doesn’t like flowers?!” Shaw proclaims.
Since its debut, flower has continued to grow at a steady pace, recently moving from quarterly to bimonthly, and available in all 50 U.S. states and 17 countries.
Here’s some more information on the publication and its influence on our floral community:
Here’s what you’ll find on the pages of flower magazine ~
Here’s who reads the magazine.
Here’s more about the circulation and geographic distribution.
Want to check out the current issue of flower magazine? Margot has generously shared the “secret” log-in password with listeners of the SLOW FLOWERS Podcast. Click here to read the digital edition and use TUBEROSE as the password.
Next week’s guests are Heidi Joynt and Molly Kobelt, partners in Field & Floristof Chicago. You won’t want to miss it!
Thanks to listeners like you, this podcast has been downloaded 13,700 times.
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 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.
Today, though, we are celebrating Danielle Hahn, owner of Rose Story Farmin 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.
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! 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 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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
A small vignette of just-picked roses, spotted on my tour of the flower fields.
This rose caught my eye, dazzling against the blue Carpinteria sky.
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.
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.
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:
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 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).
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 Pincushions, Banksia, Kangaroo Paws andLeucadendron, create dramatic impact when incorporated in arrangements and bouquets. Many varieties are hybrids – grown only by Resendiz Brothers.
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.
Deep raspberry-pink lilies (Oregon grown) paired with evergreens from my yard.
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.
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.
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)
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.
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
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:
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.
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
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).
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.
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
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!
4½-inch tall x 6¼-inch diameter hand-thrown clay bowl
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.
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.
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.
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.