Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Pink Is In!

This season we have had many brides request pink flowers for their weddings! Recently, we had a bride that preferred an entire pink flower theme. We love how everything looks so bright and cheerful for this wedding! We used all pale pink Sophie roses, Peonies, and Spray Roses to create a full soft elegant bridal bouquet.

In the bridemaid bouquets we used hot pink Gerber Daisies, Topaz Roses, and Bouvardia which looked fabulous next to their deep blue dresses!

In the centerpieces we used hot pink Gerbers, Sweet Unique Roses, Asters, local Cockscomb, and a special soft pink hydrangea.

Our bride got the pink wedding of her dreams!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Day Seven: April 18, 2011

Keukenhof, the largest bulb garden in the world was our last flower excursion. Our driver took us through the back roads filled with tulip fields. The tulips fields were at their peak. We “tip-toed” through the tulips for a photo session.

Darrin arranged a special tour of Keukenhof with Jan Pennings, the president of one of the major Dutch growers and VP of Keukenhof. We learned the history of Keukenhof and its purpose as an exhibition garden for growers. Jan showed us his company’s garden, including their special daffodil, “My Story”. We ventured all over the gardens and discovered amazing varieties of tulips, a fascinating display of daffodils, the orchid house and inspiration gardens.

We had our finale dinner at the 17th century canal home of the former American Ambassador to the Netherlands. We experienced a Dutch “walking dinner” as we toured the restored home overlooking a canal and filled with six floors of art and antiques.

We said good-bye to our wonderful hosts and instructors, Isabel, Lieve, Haruko and Rob joined us at our dinner. We were so lucky that the weather was beautiful every single day. Our trip was filled with people opening up their hearts and homes for us our amazing flower adventure. Until the next adventure…. Laura

Day Six: April 17, 2011

We headed out to Historic Alsmeer for a workshop with Rob Plattel. Rob guided us on a exploration of “decorative” versus “vegetative” design. We created containers out of sticks and bark filled with the most glorious flowers. We examined how to build arrangements which were sensitive to the structure and natural growing patterns of the flowers. Rob provided us with helpful critique of our designs. It was amazing to see how different the arrangements looked which all started with the same materials.

We had a fabulous tour of the original Alsmeer flower auction and historic flower gardens and greenhouses. We saw where the farmers used to bring their boats filled with flowers to be auctioned. This region is a large lilac growing area. (Lilacs are Victoria’s favorite flower!) We were particularly enjoyed seeing a demonstration of how lilacs are grafted. Some even used cuttings from plants dating back to the 1600s .

Rob arranged for us to take a boat ride through the canals surrounding Alsmeer. Exploring the canals on a beautiful spring afternoon was one of the highlights of the trip. We saw lilacs growing on island plots, antique dutch homes and families on picnics.

More of the Magic of the trip!

Day Five: April 16, 2011

Rob Plattel led us on a jam packed day in the flower world of Amsterdam. We were up and on the bus at 5:45 a.m. for a tour of the Alsmeer Flower Auction. We were amazed by the technology behind the auction process all geared to getting the flowers on the 11:00 a.m. KLM flight to New York.

Rob took us to the wholesaler adjacent to the auctions. I could not get over the size and quality of the calla lilies and delphinium. Victoria was enchanted with the roots and all kinds of natural materials.
We then headed to Hortus Botanica,
one of the oldest botanical gardens in the world. We had lunch at DeKas, a farm to table restaurant in a greenhouse and nursery.

Rob took a group of us on a tour of his favorite flower shops in Amsterdam. Buying flowers is a regular part of life in Amsterdam. We enjoyed the lush bouquets that locals stop by to bring home or take as gifts. The shop displays had incredible flowers and incorporated interesting natural materials.

Many of the ladies went to the Van Gogh museum in the evening and enjoyed strolling around the city.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Day Four: April 15, 2011

Another whirlwind day! We started with a shopping excursion to the local floral wholesale company. We hunted for all the interesting materials we had seen in our classes -- wool, bark covered containers, test tubes and treasures.

We were treated to a tour of Poelman and DeWilde shop in Melle. Their shop was filled with beautiful and unusual flowers and plants. They created many intriguing floral displays for our group -- tulips wrapped in kiwi vine, hanging callas, and a Eucharistic candle with eggs. We made our own arrangements using wool, ribbons, bamboo pieces and phaleonopsis orchids.

Lunch at an old home and then we were on our way via train from Antwerp to Amsterdam. We had a free evening to explore the neighborhood of our Hotel Jan Luyken.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Day Three: April 14, 2011

We think we went to "flower heaven" yesterday. Our day began with a tour of Katrein's garden which she describes as a "woman's garden". She designed her garden, which has a dozen different rooms with vistas of the adjacent fields with cows and sheep. This photo of one garden room is filled with forget-me-nots which turn to a sea of lavendar during the summer.

We were served lunch in Katrein's charming and creative home prepared lovingly by her mother and daughter. Our afternoon was filled with demonstrations by Katrein and Gudrun. They created arrangements inspired by the nature surrounding us--armatures from lichen covered branches and mass arrangements with knobby twigs and flowing garden material. Gudrun taught us techniques with bear grass and aspidistra. We made bouquet holders and woven armatures from bear grass.
One of the most wonderful things about this trip is that we have been treated as special guests in our instructors homes. We have become friends through our shared love of flowers and gardens.

Day Two:April 13, 2011

One of the ladies at lunch said, "Pinch me, I cannot believe this is real!" That summarizes how we all felt. We arrived for a full day of workshops at a quaint school in a picturesque Belgian village with sheep, goats and beautiful gardens. We learned about working with wool, hemp, brown egg shells, and lovely flowers. We were taught how to create containers out of linen paper, wax, bark, and twigs. Our instructors were Haruko Nado and Gudrun Cotteniere. We had a lovely lunch, cooked by Gudrun, who was a chef, before she was trained by Daniel Oost. Our instructors drove us through little villages. We finished the day with a gourmet feast overlooking a river with beautiful fields complete with a sunset.

Monday, April 11, 2011

We celebrated our first lunch together overlooking the Gent canal. Note the view.

Here is Haruko, one of our instructors placing the most beautiful tulips on our tables. Tomorrow we start the day with a class taught by her.

After a full day with a walking tour of Ghent, boat rides in the canal, shopping and of course dinner, the ladies are sound asleep.

Just finished a fabulous week in Amsterdam with Joe, Laura Caroline and my parents. The weather was glorious. Sunshine everyday except one. Walked all through the city extensively everyday learning its nooks and crannies for our Flower Arrangers Tour. The whole city was out and about enjoying the weather.

Flower update: Muscari everywhere in vast quantities. Yellow is the color of the year at Keukenhof.

Waiting in Gent for my ladies to arrive. Hotel is set on beautiful canal with 14th century buildings. Keep your eye on my blogs about the tour.