Tuesday, August 2, 2011
Thursday, June 2, 2011
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
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!
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.
Many of the ladies went to the Van Gogh museum in the evening and enjoyed strolling around the city.
Thursday, May 26, 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.
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
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.
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.