Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Getting Ready for Winter

Yes, that's right- Getting ready for winter! I know, I know, it's still summer and all, but now is the time to start getting ready for winter. What I mean is this... now is the time to take little bits and pieces of summer to hold onto in winter.
If you are like me, winter can sometimes feel a little heavy and dark and gloomy and gray. One of the ways I have learned to brighten it up is with plants. Not just any plants though, they have to be generous plants, plants that have something to share. And some of the MOST generous plants are fragrant plants!!!
Like this sweet little African Blue Basil pictured below.
Last Wednesday I got a call from Jeff Lee with Bramble Wood Gardens. He has a spot at the State Farmer's Market in downtown Raleigh. He was calling to let me know that he had brought in some new starts of one of my favorite herbs- African Blue Basil! I bought two because I knew they would be the perfect size to brighten up a spot in the home during the winter months.
And then I thought there may be other folks who may be interested in having some fragrant herbs to brighten up their winters too.
As you can see by the roots in the picture above, these plants are ready to move up in pot size. I like the roots to be slightly moist but not too wet when being prepped for moving up in pot size.
After taking the plants from their containers, I take the pointed end of the plant tag and gently rake it through the outer roots. The idea is to loosen them up a bit so that they will be able to reach out into the soil in their new homes.
After I am finished, the roots look kinda of messy and the plants need to be potted up right away. I place them in two 6" terracotta pots with more potting soil and water them in.
These plants will continue growing through fall and may need to be cut back at least once. When I bring them inside for the winter, I will find a bright sunny, south facing window to place them in.
And when it is dark and gloomy and COLD outside, I will stop by that window often. Because I know that these generous plants will always have some wonderfully, summery fragrance to share.
Next week I hope to share some more about Jeff Lee and Bramble Wood Gardens!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Late Summer Bouquet from the Garden

I have been playing around with dahlias for several years, and I still have mixed feelings about growing them. But the blooms that are coming along as the season progresses and the days get shorter, are making me take a second look. What a gorgeous flower!!!
I wish I could tell you the name of this peach colored beauty, but I have misplaced the tag- Oh well...
This summer bouquet features zinnias, a black-eyed Susan called Indian Summers, gomphrena and celosia as well as dahlias. The zinnias are Benary Giants- Salmon Rose, and I hope to have them for Gretchen & Jason's September wedding and Katherine & Jared's October wedding. The gomphrena are a saucy orangey-red called Strawberry Fields, and the celosia is a soft yellow with just a hint of green undertones.
I also added some foliage. I think that the bronze hue of the new growth on this Japanese Cleyera (Ternostoemia gymnathera) is such a lovely accent. Whenever new plants go into our landscape, I like to make sure they can do double duty. I am always cutting stems from these shrubs for bouquets and for large scale designs. They usually hide in the background, but I thought I would let these glossy leaves peak out a little.
Summer flowers are oh so SWEET!!!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Summer Weddings- Scott & Sarah

No matter what the weather- it could be buckets of rain or blazing hot or an unexpected snow or WHATEVER- the most important thing is that it's YOUR WEDDING DAY, and soon your lives will be joined together for Life, and that always makes this day a MOST wonderful day!
Last Saturday, Sarah and Scott were very blessed with normal summer weather, but I am sure it would not have mattered. August 13th was their wedding day!
I loved having the opportunity to meet some of Sarah and Scott's family and friends. I even got to talk to Scott for a few moments and his Dad (we talked about gardening!), and of course I loved seeing Sarah and her bridesmaids all excited, her mom, Sally and Aunt Elaine and all the others who had come together for such a joyous occasion. I also saw my sweet bride Anna and her husband Josh!
I paused for a few moments to watch their special day unfold, and as I do for all my couples, I whispered a prayer for God's blessing on their wedding.

The vibrant colors of the flowers kept everything cheerful. The bouquets for the bridesmaids were filled with Gerber daisies, purple stock and purple carnations, green button mums and soft purple asters. I also used antique green hydrangea heads with touches of teal blue.
Sarah's bouquet was filled with purple hydrangeas, stock, dark purple lisianthus, green button mums and Spider mums and the wonderful fragrance freesia and scented geraniums.
I am so happy for this sweet couple who have been married ONE week. Praying God's blessing for you!!!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Sarah's Bridesmaid Luncheon at Caffe Luna

It was wonderful to have the privilege of designing Sarah and Scott's wedding flowers. And I was so excited to receive a call from her Aunt Elaine in Georgia a few months back to do the flowers for the bridesmaids' luncheon too!
I try hard to listen to what my brides desire as they tell me about their wedding flowers. And as Sarah shared I could envision gardens, carefree flowers and BRIGHT colors.
I love the richness of the play between complimentary colors such as purple and yellow and how well they pair with bright greens and yellow-greens. The asters look just picked and the purple globe gomphrenas and scented geraniums WERE. And what's more cheerful and carefree than yellow Gerber daisies?
Some of these designs would have to fit on long narrow tables. So I created a couple of two tone ribbon bands studded with green button mums that would join petite vases of flowers together.
Two larger cylinder vases were designed for a couple of round tables. These vases sported a ribbon belt with a bright green button mum.
Here are the flowers all ready to go!
And here they are at Cafe Luna in downtown Raleigh ready to welcome Sarah and all her bridesmaids. And be a part of the festivities the day before the Wedding!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Getting Ready for Sarah & Scott's Wedding Tomorrow

It seems just like yesterday that I first met with Sarah and her Mom, Sally. As we talked about flowers, Sarah knew she wanted something that had a fresh garden appeal.
Colors... well lots of them- bright vivid greens, golden yellows, different shades of purple, touches of white and some pinks.
Yellow gerber daisies, green and purple hydrangeas, asters and stock, and green button mums have all found their way into bouquets, centerpiece designs and ceremony decor.
There have even been a few picks from the garden such as honey scented phlox, purple poms of gomphrena, fuchsia zinnias and scented geranium. Hopefully I will have some pictures to post of the finished designs tomorrow or Sunday. Now it's time for a shoulder rub!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Summer Bouquet in Bright Jewel Colors for Janine

This summer bouquet is for my friend, Janine. We are calling it her practice bouquet.
She and Tim will be getting married in a couple of weeks, and hopefully the garden will provide some of the same flowers.
This bouquet has zinnias, wheat celosia, Neon dianthus, tansy, croscomia, gomphrena and scented geraniums nestled in with some antique green hydrangeas and of course a few Love-In-A-Puffs.
I am looking forward to designing the real bouquet... very soon!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Weddings- Grace and Nathaniel

Saturday was the wedding day for another sweet couple- just a few short hours ago Nathaniel and Grace became husband and wife. I was so happy to add the flowers for their special day.
Soft blue hydrangeas for the bridesmaids and white, ivories and creams for the bride. White stock and freesia added a pleasant fragrance to the Vendela roses, lisianthus and white hydrangea in Grace's bouquet.
Centerpiece designs also included hydrangeas in blue and white mixed with ivory Majolika roses, white stock and larkspur. Glossy green ternstromia and viburnum leaves from the garden peaked through the flowers.
The subtle colors of the designs were understated and elegant, and just what Grace wanted.
A fun surprise for me was seeing two of my former brides during the bustle of getting ready. Emma and Mary Beth, who are both now happily married!
And my prayer is that Nathaniel and Grace will be wonderfully happy too! Praying God's blessing for you as you begin your married life together!!!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

A Summer Wedding- Casey & Meredith

Yes, last Saturday was Hot, Hot, Hot, but more IMPORTANTLY, it was the wedding day for Casey and Meredith!
It is always a privilege to be asked to design wedding flowers. Each bride becomes very special to me and I love it when I get to know her parents as well. In this case, I already had a connection with the groom because his parents, Doug and Teri, are good friends of mine. And though I just met Meredith and her folks several months ago- I feel like they are now good friends of mine too!
The flowers that Meredith chose were perfect for summer- her bouquet was classic all white roses, freesia and lisianthus, and the rest of the flowers were bright yellows and blues- Gerber daisies and roses, hydrangeas and delphinium and yellow and white daisy mums and button mums.
And dainty baby's breath because Meredith really likes that too!
Garden picks included a few yellow zinnias, Love-In-A-Puff and Kimberly Queen fern fronds. Below is a picture of the bouquets all boxed and ready to go.
I ended up taking most of my pictures indoors because it was already in the mid 90's by late morning. I can't wait to see the wonderful images that Robyn Van Dykes took. She is definitely the pro at capturing beautiful photographs of weddings, (See Weddings-Rob & Nicole, The Real Pictures).
Praying for God's blessing for you, Casey and Meredith, as you begin your lives together as husband and wife!