Friday, August 31, 2018

Aztec Dahlia Workshop 2018

Last night I returned to the scene of the crime- that is; if flowers, and creativity have been outlawed by the current administration..... Whew, they haven't! So it wasn't a crime scene I came upon, but one of a more benign and curious activity. 

I arrived at Aztec Dahlias at 6:30 PM, as the sun was softening in these shorter days. Buckets were filled with water and flower food in preparation for a big dahlia harvest. Yes, 7oo or more blossoms for various orders. E- Gods, could the field give up that many flowers? Kate had been keeping everyone away from her white dahlias for the past two weeks in anticipation for cutting 250 , which was about what the field had to offer. Three of us got to cutting; pausing every so often to look at this or that amazing dahlia and a short pause to watch the sunset. 

But we were not dawdling. We were racing the light of day. That order was done and dusted pretty quickly- next! Then it was on to other colors of the rainbow. Then it got a bit trickier. How to determine whether a color really was coral in the fading light, was that a cool yellow or warm yellow? We finally put on head lamps to continue our harvest. We were more than half done when I took off,  the rest to be picked at the crack of dawn. I took no dahlias home last night, too tired and too dark to dahlia shop. Kate said that we would be surprised how many dahlias would open up during the night to replenish what we had cut. Truly a field of dreams.

I wanted to share that experience with the 12 of you who came out for our splendid 3rd Dahlia workshop at Aztec Dahlias. You have walked those fields and felt the magic. You were newcomers and accomplished designers alike. Always a good mix as the experienced designers help lift the others energetically.

Thanks to Mary, Diane, and Lourdes for providing some photos. I hope we got everyone's in here somewhere. What a special day.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Daily Vase

Dahlias can be such stand-alone flowers. But a little chocolate cosmos doesn't hurt either.

Friday, July 13, 2018

How to Make Store Bought Bouqets Look Great! 2018

This fearless, awesome group met just a few weeks ago. Hold onto summer by admiring these beautiful "after"pieces!

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

A Wedding bouquet

I was practicing a new technique for making a cascading bouquet for a bride recently and ended up making two bouquets. This is the one I kept back. 

There is a lot of hard work behind the flower business. We designers get very involved and connected with the flowers and those receiving them. The relationship begins when people see my work/ my portfolio and ask me to make something for them. For a happy or sorrowful occasion, it's a time that asks for flowers and it has it's own feeling of intimacy. 

Sometimes it might mean that your involvement has been such that you are asked to stay for a wedding and have a rather teary eyed conclusion to your work. Other times you are simply delivering the flowers for a wedding. What lies behind the the correct door is a scene of joyful bedlam ; a room of women getting dressed and having their make-up done. Or maybe the person you are delivering flowers to at the home isn't there and the flowers are simply left. Still small enough to do my own deliveries. FTD I am not.

This was a delivery of bouquets and boutonnieres to the bride. She saw my work at a bridal fair and I talked with so many people I didn't remember her. So we sent emails and photos and I didn't really meet her till the delivery. She seemed truly delighted, confirming her initial instinct when she chose 7petals. The flowers for this wedding, with the garden roses and dusky pink carnations was one of the most scented groups I've made. Making them was a feast for the senses. It made me wish that I had been making them for a couple I had more of an the opportunity to connect with, but I believe the flowers worked their magic anyway!

Monday, July 9, 2018

Aurora Bell, Chapter 3

My cat told me that it is here. She is on red alert; her tail smacking the bookshelf perch that allows a bird's eye view of all the action on the quiet side street below our second story. The coyote is back. Every day once or twice a day, it passes to and from it's territory in the hidden creek nearby. I run downstairs and chase it off when I see it, "hazing" it's called and recommended by the nearby Wildcare Facility -so that coyotes don't get too comfortable in urban settings.

Aurora Bell has in fact been up close and personal with Mr. Coyote. A few weeks  back a neighbor called to tell me that she and this young male coyote were sitting was only 3 feet from each other. By the time I got outside he and she were circling round a car. Inter species friendship or stalking? Not going to find that one out. So now she is a mostly indoor cat.  A move neither of us ever expected down the the urban flat lands of Gerstle Park. I feel bad for her. She's young and loved to roam. Time for a different life.

Six weeks later finds me crouching down in the bushes across that little side street. My neighbor drives by and I poke my head up and nod. Hmmm... what is she doing, they might briefly ponder. Why I am on a cat walk with Aurora. She is now somewhat leash trained, which means she doesn't spring up vertically anymore at loud sounds and wiggle out of her harness. 

Cat time.... At first I was rather annoyed by the inconvenience of giving her a daily outside time, rather than just enforce an indoor life. But how could I do that? Outside time is supervised time, off leash in the yard and on leash out of it. I have to watch her so there is little time for weeding or doing tasks in the garden. I can take my phone out and answer some texts, but mainly I am following her. Her pattern is arrive, roll, lay and what? Asses her domain? Then move on. We repeat this here and there and there, which sometimes takes me into the bushes and other odd places that I didn't realize I would be squatting, sitting and waiting on a daily basis.

Now I mostly enjoy this little enforced meditation. Do nothing. Enjoy the garden without seeing it as one giant to-do list, see the neighborhood from a new perspective. Breath.

             And spend time with my girl.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Rose Workshop at Garden Valley Ranch

I pulled into the hidden driveway at Garden Valley Ranch at an ungodly morning hour and no one is  around. Yes! I was hoping to be here by myself for awhile. As I've begun doing destination workshops, I've discovered a secret agenda to enjoy these flower filled places alone, in the soft early light. It's a little mediation, a time of appreciation and quiet before all the tasks at hand.

Garden Valley is not only a rose farm but an event venue so the grounds are beautifully magical; the many vistas perfect backdrops for wedding photos. But today's gathering was not that of a bridal party, but for people who will go to great lengths (or distances, in this case, Petaluma) for the adventure of working with uncommonly beautiful flowers- they are not just for brides, ya'll. Today we were working with the queen of the flowers, Roses.

                                                                                                        Photo courtesy Garden Valley Ranch

And here is the work made that day:

Friday, April 13, 2018

Pave' Workshop!

The rainy skies cleared, so where was everybody? A mix up in printed times caused a staggered arrival and finally our group was gathered.

It was a mix of those who have worked with flowers a lot and those who had no experience. The best combination really. I think there is something about a group of people with a spirit of adventure and goodwill that lifts everyone up, no matter their experience level.

And ah, the agony and ecstasy of a manual camera. The ISO was set really high and gave the photos a grainy sixties feel. I feel like these arrangement photos could have been pulled out of an old "Life Magazine"!

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Pave'/Flower Carpets Workshop!

It's Pave' Workshop time again. I usually hold this workshop around Valentines Day. As many people come back again and again to do Pave', it will be held later so we'll have a different seasonal group of flowers to play with. These flower carpets are more like painting to me than any type of arrangement. A flat shallow container of water holds the short stems and there is a painterly aspect to creating these shallow 3 dimensional compositions that can be geometric and tidy or sprawling and natural. In keeping with my promise to myself to broaden my color palette, I am exploring colors that are not magenta and mauve. 

Workshop Details:
Date: April 7, Sat
Time: 9:30-1:30
Cost:$115 includes all materials but not container
Where: College of Marin
Link for workshop, listed under HOME AND GARDEN


Those gosh darn dandelions. And the sour grass; just can't stop them from getting in everywhere!

And speaking of Pave's being painterly; I find this resulting photo flattened and floating in an interesting way. If a painting were made from it that was big enough to fill a wall, it might have the feeling of a photo realist painting- or not.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Daily Vase, daily life...

Where have I been? Do you ever just look up and wonder where two weeks, or even two months have gone?
I wonder if people's perception of time has changed with all attention on screens every moment. It sometimes seems like life is lived in the little moments of a text or an email or a Netflix or the latest thing Donald has said and- wow, wasn't it just Christmas and now it's almost spring.

Thankfully, the nature of flower work commands a certain kind of attention that has one focused on the seasons. Roses may be available all year round from some part of the world, but the fragile spring flowers like frittilaria, muscari, fruit blossoms, magnolia, etc, etc are fragile and ethereal. A sigh of delight, manifested in matter -  those have a short window.
You have to pay attention or they will go by.

So, a few to share.

Above, we have tulips and hellebore's,  and young buckeye branch mixed with a tillandsia plant from warmer climates that insisted on being part of the party.

Below are anemones, coming in like crazy. The first of the field flowers ( or hoop house flowers). This black, purple, somewhat crimson color is my favorite this season.


Monday, February 19, 2018

Bold and Dramatic!

Is the last flower long gone? And the vase- have you used it again, since or is it washed and put away? Now that the day is a distant memory, it's a great time to revisit that arrangement made in early February!

The passage of time gives a great perspective on what you did without the filters of the day. I'm hoping you feel a sense of pride for what you accomplished on your floral journey, cause the arrangements were pretty awesome.