Monday, June 16, 2014

Sweet Rose

Roses figure prominently in many of my bouquets, centerpieces, altar railings and topiaries. Knowing which roses to select - and how to intensify an appreciation of them - is an art in and of itself.

At a Danbury Garden Club meeting recently I put together a number of combinations to give the wonderful audience an idea of the breadth and scope of possibilities. Whether it was showcasing gorgeous melon-colored roses in a simple glass container with glass pebbles, or making a luscious centerpiece of cream roses, green hydrangea and tweedia, I begin with the finest of plant materials. My vendors help ensure this foundation, freeing me to be as creative as time and budget permit.

In one instance I added green hypericum berries and fiddleheads for a bracing, contemporary take on a traditional arrangement. In another instance, I veered off my rose theme – who in her right mind could pass up on these coral-colored peonies?

They look stunning in tall glass containers. These creations were auctioned off after the demonstration and went home with a number of happy garden club members. Many thanks to Carrie Pin for photographing some of the day’s creations.

Monday, March 31, 2014

More Than Just a Container...

Old World elegance. A rustic artisan’s table. A mélange of succulents and sunflowers nestled in birch bark. Mini-callas sleek as dresses on the red carpet in glass containers. At first blush, the role of the container may not be obvious. But trust me, containers are important stage props. A poorly thought-out selection will lessen the impact of even the most glorious of flowers.
Containers can be trendy, modern or vintage, permanent or temporary. Birch bark and elliptical glass containers are two current favorites, but I’ve created stunning arrangements in natural bases -- including watermelons and red peppers. Wicker, terra cotta, wood, ceramic, porcelain, silver or glass are all wonderful options.
What about that favorite heirloom vase or that coveted pair of matching urns? I love working with my clients to showcase their personal treasures.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Wedding Flowers

In recent wedding seasons we’ve seen some exotic concoctions. There have been bouquets of succulents. There have been hot-colored arrangements inspired by The Tropics.

But white arrangements have genuine staying power and can be highly original. With so many high quality orchids, roses, callas, freesia and hydrangeas available, what might once have sounded bland can become a remarkably imaginative component. If used alone or with tender fillers and greens, a white wedding bouquet can be pure magic!

Take a look at this collage of some of my recent work. With all-white arrangements, white seems whiter when you vary shades and textures. Other times I’ve upped the ante with subtle or dramatic bursts of color – whether it’s the brilliant blue of sea holly, or the sun-kissed yellow mini-callas. Finish off your look with a lush satin bow to match the white of your gown and you’re ready for your own modern-day John Singer Sargent portrait.

Whether you’re a bride-to-be dreaming of a medieval wedding or a naturalist at heart, hoping your wedding day will be as fresh as springtime walk in your favorite forest -- what better time to start planning for this special day than on this late-winter morning?

Friday, November 29, 2013

Holiday Decorating

It's time to remember those heirloom treasures you’ll soon be unpacking...with some forethought they can be incorporated into a fabulous holiday look that unites your home inside and out. I’m about the embark on just such a project, it’s one I look forward to each year in Belle Haven, CT. Have a look at how I mix some of my favorite greens and dried leaves and ribbons with my client’s cherished ornaments for a look that is fresh, cohesive and personal. I dare you to enter this beautiful home and not feel welcome! Consider placing a fresh wreath on a blank wall or in front of a window. A double-sided balsam wreath --plain or set off with a bow-- will do the trick... but for something that’s a little more originalI wove lime-colored ribbon through the wreath and embellished it with pinecones.
Here I mixed fresh bay leaves, fresh seeded eucalyptus and limes:
If your home boasts a sizable staircase, it can be dressed in greens to become a major focal point. I have worked with faux garlands and decorated them with pinecones and ribbon. But a favorite recent garland called for cedar, Douglas fir and magnolia. I tucked a fabric ornament into the greens at the landing in a large bow.
and the closeup:
Hall mirrors and mantels are also important. I coordinate the materials but also look to use objects from a client’s personal holiday collections. Do you have a nutcrackers, holiday globes, reindeer or santas that you’d like to display? Or would you prefer a garland of faux fruits?
On this mantel I’ve mixed fresh magnolia (or douglas fir) (place in mini-troughs of oasis to ensure they will stay fresh for the entire season).

One more idea for mantel décor: swag a garland of cedar and Douglas fir, accented with fresh bay leaves, fresh seeded eucalyptus and limes in front of the mantel.
There many ways ways to dress up your house at this time of year – and I’d love to help you create something magical.
All photos by Kathy DiGiovanna

Monday, November 18, 2013

Vegetable Centerpieces

With Thanksgiving approaching, consider designing a centerpiece with a variety of vegetables...or vegetables mixed with seasonal flowers for your harvest table. 
It's fun to play with shapes, colors and textures...whether it's mixing eggplants with peppers, leeks, turnips, radishes and Brussel sprouts...or possibly adding seasonal flowers.

The arrangements (below) were created at the St. John's Food Festival (Washington, CT)...as a demonstration. They were sold as they were completed.



Custom arrangements (below) were designed for the Washington Garden Club (Washington, CT) for their opening party for the Pick of the Crop event. The entry table featured an abundance of local vegetables... after the party; these were the main ingredients for a delicious soup.




Recently at Winvian, NOFA held a fund raising party. This large arrangement of local vegetables (donated by the Wild Carrot Farm in Bantam) was sold in the silent auction.

Vegetable arrangements never fail to charm guests. They are a welcome touch at country weddings, farm to table dinners, as well as at the bounteous Thanksgiving table.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Ribbons Complement Floral Designs

Ribbons are important accessories for a floral designer, and like a custom broach on that little black dress can elevate the tone of any occasion – and move it from exceptional to extraordinary.

Over my years in the business I have literally scoured the landscape to amass a collection of ribbons that most designers would envy.  Black tie or country wedding – no problem.  Unusual palette?  I am confident I’ve got just the right ribbon to match in hue and intensity.

These are some of the wonderful ribbons I’ve used in recent weddings.  They function beautifully as links connecting bridal and bridesmaid’s bouquets and boutonnieres.



I often fashion pew posies and streamers.

Talk about eye candy.  I love helping my clients work on these finishing touches. See how gorgeous satin overlaid with organza looks!

Photos by Corinne Torkelson

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Orange, Orange, Orange

For exuberant flower lovers, orange is a real crowd pleaser.  A number of my clients are opting for shades of orange, in monochromatic or strongly contrasting floral arrangements for a number of striking effects.  Here are some centerpieces that will catch your eye:
These flowers are truly sumptuous… for centerpieces as well as bridal bouquets and aisle chair posies:
Orange, grey and white flowers, by the way, is one of this year’s favorite mixes…But orange is also spectacular with purple, chartreuse or hot pink.

Recently I created the floral designs for a party at the Washington Club.  Party Coordinator, Dana Schulman selected orange colored tablecloths and it was my job to come up with a creative idea for the centerpieces.  I selected pincushion flowers mixed with an abundance of grevillia…arranged in birch bark containers.  The flowers matched the tablecloths perfectly and the fringy grevillia conjured a woodsy feel.  I decorated the shelves mounted on the surrounding walls with swags of dried bay leaves and birch bark of varied shapes and sizes.  Tables and shelves were backlit with pretty glass votives.  I left feeling quite sure that in this setting the guests would soon be engaged in lively conversation.