Seasonal Style: Sprigs of Silver
Start a new holiday tradition: Deck your halls with shimmery foliage
By Debra Prinzing | Prop Styling by Janna Lufkin | Photography by Thomas J. Story
SUNSET December 2013
At Midnight Blossom, a plant shop and floral studio in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood, owners Amoreena and Matthew Herbage celebrate the season with traditional wreaths, swags and centerpieces. Their designs include a few surprising twists, such as pewter-colored pods, silvery houseplant leaves and tillandsias that look like snowflakes.
“We appreciate what the world has to offer – from amazing stones to beautiful succulents,” Amoreena explains. “We bring a fun, childlike discovery to our designs — the process is as important as the ingredients.”
Midnight Blossom began as a wedding floral design business; in 2010, the couple opened their retail store combining Amoreena’s love for plants and Matt’s custom woodworking shop.
Their tiny emporium attracts young urban customers who may never have gardened before, “but they love the artsy botanicals, preserved bugs and beetles, and unusual rocks we have,” says Matt, who builds display cases, shadowboxes and other custom pieces for Midnight Blossom.
The interior feels like an old-fashioned curiosity shop. Customers are welcome to explore and create terrariums and miniature tabletop designs at the “Garden Bar.” That’s where you’ll find glass jars, sand, pebbles, succulents and other ingredients to build one-of-a-kind miniature garden.
When they’re not at the shop, Matt and Amoreena are outdoors, gathering uncommon elements for Midnight Blossom’s shelves.
“We’ve managed to find beaches where harvesting is allowed,” he says. “So we’ve foraged for things like dried sea kelp, driftwood, agates and moss.”
Their forays into nature — always with the proper permits – have yielded creations like driftwood chandeliers, sculptural plant stands and tablescapes inspired by beach or forest.
Designing with nature as her guide, Amoreena says, “I am inspired by what I like, whether it’s a geode or a flower.”
Decorate with a silver palette:
Simple and elegant, this wreath is ideal for either the tabletop or door. The design combines only two main elements: a circle of pliable curly willow tips that are wired to a wreath base and a ring of tillandsias, gently wired in place. “Eventually, the tillandsias will need to be misted, but this design will look great for at least a month,” Amoreena says.
“These package toppers are like little gardens by themselves,” she explains. “Usually something here in the store will catchy my eye, especially if it shimmers.” She gathers leaves from house plants, tiny seed heads and even herbs into a mini-bouquet. Tied with raffia or twine, they add a touch of nature to a wrapped gift.
“Centerpieces don’t always have to include flowers,” Amoreena says. “I love using dried elements like pods and other items gathered from the garden.” There’s an organic beauty to the way she combines leaves, stems, branches and seed heads, showcasing the distinct shape and texture of each. Arrange a series of small vases along the center of a dining table or use individual vases at each place setting.
Fill a larger vase with dramatic silvery elements, such as branches of the silver tree (Leucadendron argenteum), which grows well in Southern California and is sold as a cut floral ingredient. Eucalyptus and silvery twigs finish the stunning arrangement — an unexpected interpretation for the holiday season.
Swagger for the Porch
Softly draped, a swag of seeded eucalyptus makes a modern-looking accent for your front door. Amoreena simply gathered together several lengths with twine. Before hanging the swag on a hook, she wired a single large tillandsia (such as Tillandsia xerographica) as its striking focal point.