Posts tagged flower arranging

Flower Power 2

I am sure most of you know that I used to be a floral designer. However, since we have lived in Barbados, I cannot work any more. But I miss flowers, and when I found out that St. James Church was having a Harvest Garden Party to raise money for the restoration on the church, I wanted to go. As is the case of most churches, the congregation cannot cover the costs of the church, so St. James has been holding this fund-raiser since 1989.  There is entertainment by the Royal Barbados Police Band, many vendors and lots of food, but the flower arrangements were what I wanted to see.

And I was not disappointed. St. James is the oldest Anglican church on the island, originally built in 1628 of wood, the now day stone structure was built in 1847. It is an exquisite church, but the flowers enhanced it even more.

What do you think, did you like them as much as I did?

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Floral Fantasy: Soft Autumn Colours

What another floral arrangement? What had come over me? It is wonderful to have a friend who loves flowers as much as I do. And when I was staying with her in Toronto last week, you guessed it, we decided we had to have another flower arrangement.  So off we went to Av and Dav, a nickname for the corner in Toronto where you can buy cut flowers at a very good price.  We started to look at the oranges, but decided we didn’t see anything we were in love with. And then we spotted this celosia and realized, sometimes fall doesn’t have to be bright.

Once I had the celosia in my hot little hands, it was just a matter of finding a few things to go along with it. So we ended up with commercial mums, cabbage, roses and hypericum berries, and this time, I thought you might like a few pictures of the step by step (almost) process.

I did not think to take any pictures until after I had taped a grid out of clear tape on the top of the vase, and then used some salal as a base of greenery for my arrangement, but I think you have an idea of what that would look like.

When I am designing I always add in my largest flower first, when I designed this white arrangement it was the hydrangea, this time I started with the cabbage. After we have a bit more cold weather, the cabbage will have a bit more colour in it, but I still love them even when they are green.  A trick that floral designers use is to open up the cabbage and make it more decorative looking.

When you purchase the cabbage it looks like this,

and by folding back the leaves,you will end up with this,

much more attractive isn’t it.

So in they went.

Next I added my commercial mums. Grouping is the ‘trend’ now in floral design, and I am sure everyone knows about the odd number rule. But sometimes when the flowers are quite large,  group of three would be too much. If you use two flowers, try to stagger them a bit, just so they are not exactly side by side.

Then my roses went in,

these I always try to add in odd numbers.

Finally my hypericum berry is placed to fill in any gaps.

Do you like soft autumn colours? Or do you prefer a more vibrant arrangement for fall?

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Floral Fantasy: Hydrangea

Who doesn’t love hydrangeas? When I was working in floral design, it seemed to be the one flower that customers and designers always wanted to include in arrangements. And with good reason, it is classic and elegant. I was staying with a dear friend for a few days and we decided to make a couple of flower arrangements.  I was surprised at how much I missed flexing my ‘design’ fingers.  After the coffee table arrangement was completed, her amazing garden was raided, and the Limelight hydrangea was just asking to be used.


After lining the crystal vase with blue hosta leaves, three chartreuse ‘Sum and Substance’ hosta leaves anchored the base, before it was filled with the Limelight hydrangeas.  A few fronds of ‘Ghost’ fern added more texture near the bottom.

I have always loved large arrangments in a front hall or a dining room sideboard, not only do I think they look dramatic, they are one of my favourite to design.

What do you think?

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Floral Fantasy: Peonies, Part II

On my very last night in Canada, while I was pruning my willow, I started thinking, (I know, again, usually a bad idea).

The peonies were beautiful, they had just started flowering, and we were leaving, what a waste. But my MIL and SIL were there to take us to the airport the next day. Would they not like a bouquet. of course they would.

So I cut all the peonies, and since I had just pruned the willow, I had a lot of foliage to add to them.

Do you like them?

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For Diana

I thought, while I took the time to edit the 500,000,000,000 (at least) photos that I took on the cruise, I would show you this.

Diana from Elephants Eye has been a long time reader of my blog. I guess I have blown her away with the brilliance of my flower designing, because she is always commenting how she never gets to see it any more. I did think that I would be arranging flowers in the flat all the time, but for some reason, the gardeners at the complex where I live frown on my ‘helping’ myself to their stuff. I can’t understand why? I am just trying to make life easier for them.

But I did have a chance recently to visit a cut flower farm, here in Barbados.

This is not me!

So many flowers to choose from

And I purchased a couple of things…

Then I made these two arrangements.

This is a 3 sided, and it is on a chest in my foyer. It consists of 3 torch ginger, some song of India and 2 Strelitzia leaves.

 I also used the bottom half of the ginger when I shortened them. If you look closely, you can see 2 stems in the vase, they are a red bamboo looking stem.

In this shorter vase, I also used song of india, and a green that I have not seen before

 It looks like a giant Italian parsley, but the leaves are hard, not soft like parsley. And I added these peachy anthiriums.

I hate to tell you (but I will), that I purchased these flowers the week before I left on the cruise, and in the excitement I forgot to throw them out. Most of the anthiriums were still in good shape when I arrived back, so I just went for fresh water and a quick rearrange. I certainly got my moneys worth out of that lot…

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Garden Visits: Glendale

Yes, I am back, hope you didn’t miss me too much, lol.  I know that you are waiting anxiously to hear all about my cruise, and I will fulfill your every desire, but first I have to let you know what I did before I left.

Lucky me, I got to visit one more garden for the Barbados Horticulture Society before the Open Garden program was finished for the season. For the season! Where has the time gone? Yikes, a side effect of getting old(er).

This was the garden of Mrs Audrey Thomas. Her garden overlooks the Rockley Golf Course and is a rainbow of colours.

  There are water features, a wall garden, a terraced flower garden and a Fernery.

The Wall

 is a mix of a succulents and flowering plants in an astonishing array of pots and baskets.

I could not imagine how many hours it would take to water all those pots, and I am sure that it is every day, the sun here can be so hot and pots dry out so fast. 

 This is such a great idea for an ‘older’ gardener,  able to garden at shoulder height, certainly is back saving and you can constantly add and move plants. These were my favourite, I love succulents,

And this one, I know I should know the name of this plant, but I am having a memory lapse, anyone else know it?

According to the Barbados Horticulture Society

 the Terrace Garden was referred to by Peter Seabrook as a “Chocolate Box Garden” when he filmed it for “Victory Garden” on PBS in Boston. 

The blaze of colour is created with annuals and shrubs.

Mrs Thomas is one of the main growers of the huge variety of beautiful and unusual foliage that has been packed and shipped for the Barbados exhibit at the Chelsea Flower Show in London for the past 23 years.  As I have said before,  Barbados is a constant winner at Chelsea, and have a record to be very proud of.

Look at the beautiful bougainvillea at the front of her house.

 Not only is are the leaves variegated, but some of the flowers are two-tone as well.

 And it is gorgeous against the blue of the pergola, really shows it off.

The Fernery

 is filled with a large number of shade loving plants.

 Look at these wall, I know I have seen those building materials before, just not sure what they are. 

 The plants are sheltered from the sun with a shade cloth roof.

Although there are two water features in the Fernery,

 I found this one fascinating.

 I had noticed a large number of metal pots around the garden, and I wondered where Mrs. Thomas had found them. Talking to one of the volunteers at the garden, I found out where they came from. At first I wasn’t sure if I should share the info. I wanted to design something at KG and astonish you with my brilliance. But, it might be many years before we are able to come across, and I couldn’t leave you hanging like that.  They are discs from a plow.

Genius, I am sure my father has an old one around somewhere…


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Love is in the Air

Everywhere I look around,

I am no longer a florist, but I am missing the creativity. So I decided to paint a small picture for Ian as his Valentines Day card.

Hope he likes it…

If you want to see what I was up to on past Valentines Days, you can here and here.

lyrics by Tom Jones


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