Monday, November 10, 2014

Autumn Wedding at Cranberry Park

An outdoor wedding in the late fall can be risky – and many a bride and groom have worried about rain or cold.  These days, thanks to heaters and well-seasoned caterers, even the nastiest weather need not spoil this special day.  A Greenwich couple found this out recently, as they made their way from Christ Church to the Gallaher Mansion at Cranberry Park in Norwalk in the pouring rain.  With Susan Scully, owner of Watson’s Catering at the helm, everyone knew this event would be spectacular.

For the décor, it was my job to find a colorful and modern way to distill autumn’s essence.  I had begun by injecting bursts of color in the Bridal and Bridesmaids’ Bouquets and in the Boutonnieres, turning to Coffee Break roses and hypericum berries.

Once inside the tent I set to work with rolls of natural burlap, transforming tent poles into trunks of trees that I topped with canopies of sweet gum leaves.

Table centerpieces picked up this theme, using many of the same ingredients… Pressed maple leaves scattered on each table and votive candles finished the look.

What fun! What a joyful celebration!


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Roses...My Favorite Roses to Work With

Roses are considered the Queen of Flowers, and for good reason.
They work wonderfully with many other flowers, and with varieties from California, Central America and Europe readily available there is always ample supply.

At a workshop not too long ago at the Gunn Memorial Library I explored some possibilities, using 400 top quality roses fresh from the New York Flower Market.

There were striking yellow David Austin roses with eye-popping green centers.
There were garden style centerpieces employing a pink palette, with roses in varied sizes and shades of pink.
There was the fiesta-ish “Free spirit”,
Stand alone or combined with Hot lady and magenta spray roses 
Imagine their impact on a buffet table at a wedding or gala.
As a group we delved into the world of topiaries, using pink spray roses and needlepoint ivy. We mounted the rose-studded oasis globes onto a wooden dowels that we covered in silk ribbon. I
For the cost conscious, we looked at how rose petals and small votive candles could go a long way toward striking an elegant tone.
And the ever- glamorous crème de la crème rose arrangement, elicited its usual oohs and aahs.

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.