Monday, December 29, 2014

Blue Forget-Me-Nots for Spring Weddings

Now is the time to start sowing more cool season annuals for spring and early summer weddings. And a favorite for blue flowers is Chinese Forget-Me-Not or cynoglossum.
This will be the third year of growing them at Springwell Gardens, and I am finally getting a lot of the kinks worked out. One of my biggest problems has been germination. I have worked with two different types- Chill Out which is a white and blue mix, and Blue Showers which is a taller variety with uniform blue flowers. The germination rate with Blue Showers has been excellent, and there should be an abundance of plants this year.
While the flowers are dainty, they make a big statement in design work. Last year I used them only sparingly since most of my wedding work did not include blue.
But this spring I will be using them in several weddings in May and June, as well as offering extra plants for sale to folks interested in including them in a spring cutting garden.
Plants from an earlier sowing are already plumping up and some even have buds. I hope to have cynoglossum blooming from March through mid June!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Color and Texture for great Christmas Wreaths

It was so exciting to see some great designss happen when my daughters and daughter-in-laws got together to decorate wreaths for their homes.
We purchased standard wreaths from the wholesaler and yes, the grocery stores, and embellished them with fresh gatherings from the garden and nature walks,  and came up with some great designs!
There are so many foliage plants that look stunning in winter designs. Here are a few from the beds at Springwell Gardens- fresh nandina, Goshiki False Holly, blue cypress, Threadleaf False Cypress and Gold Crippsii Chamaecyparis. There were also some nandina and holly berries as were as nature gatherings. Gingko leaves both natural and gilded are a favorite of mine this time of year and so are the cotton bolls that Wilson was able to pick on a farm site he visits. Red chili peppers went into a wreath for my Mom's door and a centerpiece design for my mother-in-law.
And here are the fabulous results!!!
My favorite part is the time spent together with them all.  Natalie had a conflict so we got together later to do hers, and that was good too!
I am looking forward to making this a yearly tradition!!!

Friday, November 28, 2014

Weddings: In Search of Fabulous Fall Colors

October is the first month that comes to mind when you think of peak fall colors, but it really depends on what part of the country you live in.
Here in North Carolina, peak fall colors start around mid October in the mountains, and work their way into our area (Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, NC) a few weeks later. Which means those radiant blazes of scarlet, yellow and orange don't really show up until November. In fact the most spectacular colors for autumn for our area often occur between November 7th and November 15th.
So if you are planning a wedding in the Raleigh, Durham, or Chapel Hill area, and you really want those fabulous fall colors, think November!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Cotton Bolls and Gingko Leaves for a Lovely Fall Bouquet

Katie and Jon wanted a softer color palette for their November wedding. One that included creams, olive greens, ivories and accents of gold. 
And textural elements that would be nestled within the flowers. Katie wanted cotton bolls. I had purchased some through my wholesaler, but days before the wedding my husband came home from work with gleanings fresh from a farmer friend's field.
Other textural elements such as dried nigella pods from late spring and creamy beige stems of Sweet Everlasting gathered in September were included as well. A collar of rich, dark leaves of Fragrant Tea Olive (Osmanthus fragrans) encircled her bouquet and provided a delicate scent.
Boutonnieres for the groom and groomsmen featured versions of these elements as well as white gomphrena blooms, (picked just before our first frost).
Since gold was an accent color for the wedding,  I called Katie at the last moment to see about adding some to her flowers...
She thought that would be fine. So Gingko leaves picked earlier in the week from a nearby tree were gilded and placed into her bouquet.
Sometimes the garden gatherings are not abundant, but that makes them even more special. I would love to help Katie learn to grow some of these flowers some day... And show Jon the perfect spot to plant a Fragrant Tea Olive of their own!!!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

First Frost

Our first frost has finally made its appearance. We had a close call a few weeks back, but last night it really hit.
And while it's hard to see the flower season come to a close.
I can't help but look back and be thankful. 2014 has been a great year for growing flowers and I have enjoyed it immensely!
And I am so thankful for each time I have been able to take those flowers and work them into wedding designs for some very special couples!

Friday, October 31, 2014

The Bridal Bouquet....

It's exciting each time I put the finishing touches on a bride's bouquet, turn it around to inspect it to make sure it's just what she wanted, and when it is, to let out that grateful sigh....
Each bouquet is so different from all the others, because each bouquet is for that one special bride.
It starts with that first meeting where we talk flowers and styles and what she likes and what she doesn't, and little touches that will make that bouquet HER bouquet.
It's really great when I am growing flowers for her. Sometimes actually starting the seeds or planting the bulbs with her wedding day in mind. Or maybe it's a special flower or vine we discover together when we step outside to view the gardens.
It's a privilege and it's so rewarding, and I am so thankful for each woman who asks me to make her bridal bouquet!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Wooden Boxes for Centerpiece Designs

My husband Wilson made some wooden boxes a couple of years ago for our daughter's wedding, and I have loved designing with them ever since.
So whenever I see boxes at a thrift shop or flea market, I grab them up. They are the perfect containers for couples who want to bring a rustic elegance to their reception designs. 
These centerpiece arrangements created for a summer bridal shower were filled with flowers from the garden such as Queen Ann's Lace, Lamb's Ear, Love-in-a-Puff vine, Mountain Mint, zinnias, dahlias and more.
Below is a sewing machine box filled with zinnias and black-eye Susans for an inspiration shoot by Blest Photography.
And for the foodie- kale, purple hull crowder peas, and pattypan squash add a playful touch to this fall design.

Friday, September 26, 2014

More Love-In-A-Puff Wedding Designs

The Love-In-Puff vines at Springwell Gardens will continue to produce lots of lovely tendrils and balloon-like puffs until frost. They are slated to make an appearance at several weddings in October.
They are lovely for bouquet work, but they work great in centerpiece designs. 
Delicate vines swirling in and around flowers with the  glowing green puffs hovering about.
And what happens when you open up one of those little puffs- It's fun to watch the look on a bride's face when she realizes what she sees- The little black seeds say it all....

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Ranunculus and Anemones for Spring Weddings

This will be a busy month! In a addition to some upcoming, lovely weddings, there are of course, garden chores.
Yesterday my shipment of ranunculus and anemone corms came in. These flowers are breathtakingly lovely, and are a favorite of brides! I plan to get the first batch of corms into the garden beds later in the month. I hope to have some Carmel white anemones with dark eyes ready for Kaitlin's December wedding.
The plantings will be staggered a bit. Most of the corms should be in by mid October, but I am still experimenting with putting in a small batch for later springtime blooms. Anemones will start blooming as early as December, and will continue slowly through January. The pace will begin to pick up by late February and continue to gain speed through April.
If the temperatures for winter are normal in 2015, I expect to see the ranunculus blooming by early March.
There will also be other lovely flowers to join them- Hellebore, Winter Honeysuckle and Winter Daphne will begin to bloom in January. And I plan to set aside some protected garden space for lots of pansies. All of these flowers are absolutely fabulous for winter and early springtime bouquets.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Late Summer at Springwell Gardens

September is here and summer is slipping away... well sort of... the days are getting shorter, but the heat and humidity are hanging on. The garden is full and kinda overgrown...
Don't look too closely or you will see there's a bit of mildew on the stems and insect nibbles too...
It's like shabby chic for the outdoors if you ask me. There are still  flowers blooming, but some are slowing down.
It's time to gather blooms for drying for winter designs,
And to keep an eye on the dahlias and sedums that I need for weddings this month and next.
Soon it will be time to start planting corms and bulbs for next season's blooms.
One of these days I hope to have the beds neater and better organized. I will keep you posted on how that goes....

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Cafe Au Lait Dahlias and Pink Majolica Spray Roses

Some things are worth the wait! That is what I think about these Cafe Au Lait Dahlias. They are starting to bloom now at Springwell Gardens.
This is my second year of growing them. Last year I received dahlia tubers that were supposed to be Cafe Au Lait, but they were not!
Here they featured in a bouquet with pink Majolica spray roses, coral pink Jitterbug and white Bride-To-Be Dahlias, with a collar of seeded eucalyptus, Dusty Miller and Centaurea "Colchester White".
 I am looking forward to using them this fall for a few special brides!