Friday, December 31, 2010

Weddings- Morgan and Gavin

Isn't she just beautiful! Morgan and Gavin were married last September, and I had the privilege of designing their wedding flowers. We talked about different styles, but in the end Morgan decided to go with a classic look. White Akito and Cool Water roses with touches of white stock and wax flowers made the perfect bridal bouquet.

Morgan's gown was stunning!
The bridesmaids carried bouquets of Cool Water and pink Sophie roses with touches of white stock.
Cheerful gerber daisies surrounded by votive candles adorned the reception tables.

And as the evening began, the couple and their guests enjoyed the most spectacular views high above downtown Raleigh at The Capital City Club.
Pascale Fitts is the very talented photographer who captured their most wonderful wedding day!
Wishing you all the best as you ring in your first New Year as husband and wife!!!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Wedding Flowers- Think Spring!!!

Most everyone in central North Carolina woke up this morning to beautiful scenes like this. I love to gaze at the splendor of snow robed branches such as these on the curly willow in my garden border. But after a while, my heart keeps turning to thoughts of spring. I have daffodils and tulips planted, and several trays of seeds that will yield flowers for mid to late spring.
For brides in our area, spring bulbs will start their show as early as mid February. While the above photo is not from my garden beds (it's from Purple Star Photography), I do grow this particular narcissus called Ice Follies. These sweet daffodils send up white flowers with lemon yellow centers that will mellow to a soft creamy white. I usually have them available by the third week of February. They would look charming nestled in bouquets with yellow ranunculus, and ivory hued garden roses.
May is one of my favorite months in the garden. This design contains Sarah Bernhardt peonies, purple larkspur (Consolida), pale blue flowers of Love in A Mist (Nigella), pink and yellow yarrow (Achillea), lamb's ear (Stachys), and yellow-green bracts of euphorbia. Foliage includes hostas and lime green Bleeding Heart (Dicentra).
All of these flowers are wonderful in floral designs for spring weddings. I can't wait to show them off in bouquets with tulips, hydrangeas, cybidium orchids and freesia.
This basket design is brimming over with flowers from my late spring- early summer garden beds. It contains cute little button flowers with yellow centers called feverfew, spires of pale pink foxglove (Digitalis), lavender larkspur (Consolida), pink and yellow yarrow (Achillea), pink and yellow calla lilies, silver green artemesia and lamb's ear (Stachys), and pink coneflowers (Echinacea) with bright orange centers.
These flowers are ideal for garden or barn themed wedding designs.
I will have more to say about these wonderful beauties from the garden as they begin to make their appearance in the months ahead.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Merry Christmas!!!

On Christmas Day our family will gather together to read the Christmas story from the Gospel of Luke. Here is a portion from chapter 2:
"In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to his own town to register.
So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
And there were shepherd living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."
Suddenly a great company of heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another , "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about."
So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart."

Wishing all of you a Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

DIY Wedding Flowers: Paperwhites

Paperwhites are fragrant white flowers grown from bulbs. These bulbs can be purchased from garden centers such as one of my favorites- Garden Supply Co. in Cary, or bulbs companies such as John Scheepers, (on the internet). It is such a pleasure to plant these bulbs for their cheerful blooms in winter. They can be started in containers such as these hurricane vases pictured above. Three bulbs were were placed in each vase in pebbles about two and a half inches deep, then water was added just so that it touched the bottom of the bulbs. These were planted on November 26th, about 3 1/2 weeks ago.
The next picture show how the paperwhite bulbs quickly send out roots and green strap like leaves. This picture shows about two weeks of growth.
These next two pictures were taken today, (December 21st). These bulbs have started blooming and will continues for about two weeks.
Paperwhites often need support for their stems, but the support can be made to look quite attractive. For the cylinder containing a single bulb, I nestled in a curly willow branch with many secondary stems. These were woven around the stems and flower heads.
For the hurricane vases, I attached Oasis aluminum flat wire to the tops of the containers and swirled it around into a spiral that wraps around the leaves and stems.
These bulbs would be a great DIY for the bride who is planning a wedding late January through early March of 2011. One of the main reasons I like this project is that it can be done weeks ahead of your wedding. The bulbs should be started about 4-5 weeks before your wedding. Once they have sprouted green shoots, place them in a sunny window, that faces south or west. Keep the water level up around the roots, but make sure that it doesn't go above the bottom of the bulbs, (this will cause them to rot). Turn the vases about once a week to keep the stems straight.
Several hurricane vases set on the place card or gift table would look lovely surrounded by short pillar candles. The cylinder vases set among votive candles would add a simple elegance to some of receptions tables. They would certainly bring a cheery touch of springtime wherever they are used.
If you have any questions, please feel free to send me an email:

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Colors of Christmas

I just love the rich traditional colors of red and green for Christmas bouquets. This cheery bouquet is sporting a vintage look with red rose hips, white Festiva Maxima peonies, bright green button mums, red spray roses and seeded eucalyptus, wrapped in a brocade ribbon. It smells great too with just a touch of scented geranium leaves. Scented geraniums (pelargoniums) must winter over in the house, so I keep several in pots to bring inside once the weather turns cold. This herb gives a gentle fragrance to corsages and is useful in wedding cake designs because it is food safe.

Red roses and white peonies are made for each other, and are set off beautifully by the creamy edged leaves of variegated pittosporum. This bouquet also features the tight flower buds of viburnum tinus from the garden. This is an ornamental shrub that provides dark green leaves and wine colored flower buds that will open to a pale pink in spring. I actually prefer these spray clusters in their bud form for winter bouquets.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Celebrations- Christmas

This has been a joyful time of creating floral designs for Christmas celebrations. This piece has been embellished with crystals, manzanita branches, and hanging votives. Christmas greens from the garden include variegated osmanthus, sedum, nandina and white pine branches. Other florals include white hydrangea, rose hips, green button mums, cypress, seeded eucalyptus, and Majolica spray roses.

These designs are headed to Peace Presbyterian Church for the International Christmas Dinner tonight. White pine branches, dried crested celosia, holly berries, and variegated osmanthus are all from the garden. Other flowers include seeded eucalyptus, cypress, green Fuji mums, green button mums, and white cushion mums, purple stock and white Majolica roses.
This piece was created for a Christmas Tea last weekend. The holly berries, variegated osmanthus, and yellow cypress are all from the garden. This vintage design also includes rose hips, green Fuji and button mums, red spray roses, green and blue cypress, seeded eucalyptus and fresh Lady apples. The base of the design was decorated with a fresh willow wreath dressed in greens and berries.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Christmas at Garden Supply Company

During the Christmas season, one of my favorite places to visit and really linger for a while is Garden Supply Co. in Cary. Keith and Deb Ramsey have the most fabulous garden shop around. And at Christmas time it is a feast for the eyes and (and the nose) with so many gorgeous trees and wreaths and ornaments and plants and one of kind gifts and... well you get the idea. Today I stopped by to purchase paper white bulbs for a DIY for brides with winter or early spring weddings, (more on that later), and I just had a wonderful time looking and looking and looking at their beautifully decorated store. Here are a few pics that I took to share.
Each tree is so decked out and boasts its own theme and personality. There is something for everyone!

And the wreaths are incredible. You can also find some beauties that are made with a wide selection of fresh greens.
This is such a fun place to visit. I highly recommend bringing your friends and family and be sure to tell folks to bring the kids this Saturday for "Breakfast with Mrs. Claus"!
Garden Supply Company is on the west side of Cary, off Old Apex Rd.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Happy Anniversary Bill and Nancy

A couple of weeks ago, my friend, Bill, dropped by to ask me to provide a floral arrangement to for his sweet wife. They are celebrating many wonderful years of marriage. I decided to work up a design that would also be perfect for the Thanksgiving table, but you just can't forget that it's still about love--- hence the three seeds from a Love in a Puff vine....

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Wedding flowers- the Supporting Cast

The hanging strands of pieris and the ivory and burgundy blooms of hellebore are available in the garden by mid to late February. The silky soft buds of pussy willow start to open in March
This cascade bouquet includes hellebore, pussy willow and viburnum tinus from the garden.
These bright green euphorbia, soft pink cherry blooms, and blue muscari along with the Negrita tulips were gathered from the garden and woven into this ceremony design for Amanda and Jonanthan's wedding last March.
Sometimes brides will ask me, "Do you grow all your flowers?" And the answer is "No," but each year I work to grow more and more. And I am striving to have "garden additions" to add to my designs in every season. In addition to flowers, I also grow ornamental shrubs, herbs, and vines- most of my garden beds and borders are filled with plants offer something unusual or interesting to add to floral designs. Sometimes they are the stars in my designs, and sometimes they are the supporting cast. Flowers from Springwell Gardens are ideal for a vintage or garden chic design, and truly offer my brides and clients treasures to add to their floral arrangements that aren't easily found anywhere else. And who knows, maybe someday you will want to try your hand at growing a garden of your own.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Zinnias and a Wedding

Some of you may have noticed that a lot of the pictures I post of flowers have zinnias in them. I thought that I might share why I love these flowers so much, (and those dear brides who have already heard this story, please bear with me).
When I was the young bride-to-be, I knew the names of very few flowers. The only flowers that I was familiar with at the time were roses and carnations. So when I visited the florist to discuss wedding flowers, I thought that since my bridesmaids were wearing blue dresses, I would ask for carnations- dyed blue. Hmmm.... blue carnations.... I wasn't super enthusiastic, but I went ahead and requested them anyway.
As I was walking out of the shop, I thought, "Yuck, I don't want blue dyed carnations!" And then I remembered the many visits to my grandmother's garden and her little zinnias... I turned around and asked the florist, "Can I change the blue carnations to pink zinnias..."
And the dear woman said, "Why, yes."

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


Negrita Tulips in a ceremony arrangement
White and Apricot Parrot Tulips on the window sill
Last year I grew several varieties of tulips. One variety in particular, Negrita, was for a March wedding. I was so impressed with the color and the quality of the flowers that I planted tulips again last weekend for next March and April. I have several early varieties such as the double early tulips "Foxtrot"(a pale peachy pink) and "Monte Carlo"(fragrant light yellow blooms). A double flower is a flower that has lots of petals. Other varieties of early tulips that I planted are Triumph tulips, "Barcelona" (hot fuchsia), "Negrita" (a deep purple that I grew last year - see picture above), and "Wildhof" (blizzard white). I also have planted some later blooming varieties- well late blooming in the South means early April- the French Tulip "Menton" (a rose pink) and the Peony Flowering "Angelique" (a fragrant full bloom- lots of petals- that is pale rose pink with dark rose flushes). Now I am just praying that I have the same wonderful results as last year! I will keep you posted.
Align Center

Saturday, November 6, 2010

First Frost

Tonight we are expecting our first frost for the Triangle area, so yesterday I gathered the last of the flowers for the season. As these summer beauties bow out for the year, I am looking forward the subtle beauty of viburnum buds, bare twisty branches of curly willow and bright redtwig dogwood. Then the hellebores and Ice Follies narcissi will begin their show in mid February, and before we know it spring will be popping out all over the place.
Today I planted about 220 tulips, (in the rain) for my March weddings, and I will start batches of Paperwhites and some beautiful amaryllis to chase away the gray days of January. More about these later.