Leila and Philip

April 12th, 2012

The Sunnyside Conservatory is hidden away in a weird spot near the Glen Park Bart, and for decades it looked like nobody cared about it. I grew up just up the street, and I always thought there must be ghosts (or, at the very least, giant raccoons) lurking in its overgrown depths. A few years ago it was renovated, with spectacular results. The conservatory building is immaculate, with rich wood paneling all throughout the inside, and the plantings around it are interesting and very well-maintained. (My husband, who is a bit of a palm tree nerd, wouldn’t forgive me if I didn’t mention the rare Chilean wine palm that’s part of their collection.) Anyway, this is all to say that we did a lovely wedding at Sunnyside a few weeks ago, on a rainy Saturday in March. It was so cozy and intimate inside the conservatory, with the rain battering on the glass. The light that day was beautiful but kind of tough to work with for a (very very) amateur photographer like me, so the photos below do not do the flowers justice. I hope to share some professional shots when they come in!

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We made a couple of tall mossy branch arrangements for the ceremony. Together they suggested a kind of archway as a backdrop for the couple’s wedding; I didn’t get a good shot of both together, but I’m hoping to pass on some professional photos when they come in. Here’s a bit of a close-up, with some mosses on the windowsill…

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And Leila’s bouquet:

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I was so excited when she told me she wanted a lush cascade, down to her knees. We used ranunculus, some leucadendron, and berzelia, and for the vines there is passiflora, jasmine, and asparagus plumosa, with Spanish moss and “old man’s beard” lichen. Julie models here, but I can’t wait to see the bridal portraits with lovely Leila in her gown.

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More sprawling vines for the centerpieces! In the antique shop, surrounded by chandeliers and oversized armoires, they had a kind of “Alice in Wonderland” feel, perfect for early springtime.

Amirah and Dave

April 6th, 2012

The military buildings in the Presidio and Fort Mason make such fantastic wedding venues… you get that elegant “old San Francisco” feeling along with a playful kitsch factor. Amirah and Dave got married at the General’s Residence at Fort Mason, where there is a parquet floor to die for and some stern old generals smirking down at you from their oil portraits on the walls. For their flowers, too, the couple wanted elegance with a sense of play.

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I used lush, deep purple spring flowers in Amirah’s bouquet — anemones, lisianthus, sweet peas, boronia (so fragrant!) — with succulent rosettes and a few tillandsias and ferns.

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The guinea hen feathers gave these dramatic corsages a sense of whimsy too. Julie Benjamin (of Little Lane Studios) never ceases to amaze me with her work on our “small flowers.” Thanks also goes out to the lovely Alysia Hook, who joined our team for this wedding.

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We’ve been playing with “container-less” arrangements, using mosses to create the look of a little garden growing right out of the table.

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More fun with mosses and succulents!

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Bi-Rite created this pretty (and no doubt delicious) cake and decorated it with some plants I pulled from our palette of purples and greens. Amirah and Dave are putting together a “wedding garden” with all of their succulents; they asked guests to sign river rocks to place in the garden in lieu of a guestbook. So lovely and fun!

Amanda and Sean

March 19th, 2012

This dreamy wedding happened in Guerneville last fall. Amanda and Sean and their family and friends took over the magical little riverside cabins at Dawn Ranch. For the centerpieces, Amanda collected old copper kettles and pots, with some amber and green glass bottles for accents. Her stunning veil was a family heirloom. Sigh! I loved this one. Enjoy the photos, generously shared with us by photographer Lyndsay Undseth.

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Julie Benjamin made the adorable aeonium boutonnieres.

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A bridesmaid’s bouquet, enjoying the cocktail hour.

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I love working with vintage copper with a tarnished patina. The finish is so versatile, and it looks stunning on white (or with greenery, like the feathery live moss we used here).

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Michele and Tony

February 10th, 2012

Michele and Tony got married in our very own garden at Flora Grubb back in October. Couples who get married here at the nursery don’t need a whole lot of other décor, what with the plants everywhere and all, but Julie and I did their personal flowers: Michele’s bridal bouquet, the boutonnieres, and a few amazing hairpieces. Their photographer, Marla Aufmuth, got some insanely beautiful shots and was generous enough to share them. Please check out more of Marla’s lovely work on her site.

This photo of Michele’s bouquet appeared in the SF Chronicle in a piece about the wedding. The ingredients: sempervivum rosettes and sedum ‘nussbaumerianum’ (that’s the orange-ish succulent); senecio ’string of pearls’; some pittosporum foliage; echinacea; various tillandsias; a fragrant, lemony geranium; orange cockscomb and chocolate cosmos.

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What a dress! Later on in the evening, the lovely white layer on top was removed to reveal Michele’s gorgeous orange party dress underneath. Michele and Autumn Adamme, the owner of Dark Garden, collaborated on the design of the dress.

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Here’s a nice detailed shot of Michele’s hairpiece. Julie Benjamin made it, of course, along with the stunning boutonnieres below.

Sarah and Alex

December 13th, 2011

Right now the Headlands Center for the Arts is my favorite place to work. Its dramatic, expansive surroundings are a perfect contrast with the elegant intimacy of the venue. Sarah and Alex drew on the aesthetic of the building and the Headlands for their wedding inspiration. We discussed working with colors that would evoke autumn but wouldn’t read as a traditional fall palette: matte (metallic) gold and amber, creamy neutrals, seafoam green, soft purple. I collected old brass bowls for their containers. My favorite piece was this bouquet in three layers for the guestbook table:

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So romantic! Lots of succulents and tillandsias, along with privet berries, yarrow, lisianthus, queen anne’s lace, seeded eucalyptus, arbutus blooms, acacia, antique hydrangea, and crape myrtle leaves.

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Sarah’s bouquet turned out beautifully. We added a few little gilded baby pomegranates for some subtle metallic glow.

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Sarah’s bridesmaids were wearing party dresses in creamy neutral shades, so we did little monochrome bouquets for each of them, drawing four colors out of our palette: cream, gold, soft green, and deep purple.

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Corsages with lace bracelets, and lovely boutonnieres with some subtle gilding (thank you, Julie Benjamin!)

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Another nice shot of Sarah’s bouquet awaiting her arrival.

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This fun display, with amber glass apothecary bottles collected by the bride and groom, greeted guests on their way into the building. The crazy big pouf is a dried cardoon… I wish you could see in the photograph just how sparkly it was!

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Such a gorgeous way to end the wedding season. We were lucky to have Alysia Hook’s help with these bouquets as well. Congratulations, Sarah and Alex! More photos coming in soon from this summer and fall…

Sasha and Tomás

November 28th, 2011

As we head into winter on this cozy gray day, I thought I’d bring you a little bit of springtime with some photos from Tomás and Sasha’s June wedding. The setting was Sasha’s mother’s lovely home in the hills above Bolinas, with the wild grasses blowing in the blustery weather. Sasha wanted a lot of lush greenery and vines paired with white flowers and bits of orange and electric blue. The very talented Octavia Hunter was kind enough to share these photos. You can see more of her work here.

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It’s rare for me to do a bouquet without any succulents, but not by my own choosing. Brides generally gravitate to us wanting that part of the Flora Grubb Gardens aesthetic. But let me tell you, I LOVED making this bouquet without any succulents at all, just giant gorgeous white peonies and tons of vines, including the most exquisite passiflora I have ever seen.

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This lovely little table sat at the front of the ceremony aisle under a huge oak tree.

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I love this shot of Tomás pinning on his mother’s sweet corsage (the handiwork of Julie Benjamin, who was (as always) indispensable in putting together this wedding).

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Some hawthorne branches and memorial photos at the side of a barn. Simple and perfect. We had to bolster the whole thing with some giant mossy rocks to keep it from blowing down in the wind, but they really did look like they belonged there!

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On the long tables we created centerpieces with vines (Persian ivy, passiflora, asparagus fern), nasturtiums, Star of Bethlehem and vibrant, feathery live moss. In the end they looked like they’d been gathered from the surrounding hills and woods.

Kristin and Jason

October 21st, 2011

And now for one of my favorites from our busy September… Kristin and Jason, both marine biologists, wanted to transport the coastal beauty of their home in Bodega Bay to their lovely wedding site in Sebastopol. They also wanted lots and lots of color! Here’s Kristin’s bouquet:

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And here are the centerpieces (arranged by me and the lovely and talented Alysia Hook) waiting to be placed on the dining tables in a dappled redwood grove:

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We tried to evoke the feel of a coastal meadow without being too literal about it. And we used elements that reminded us of sea flora and fauna, like ornamental kale and eucalyptus flowers.

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We also had some fun with mosses and lichen, which seem to link the coastal landscape with the woodsy one: elkhorn moss, old man’s beard.

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Another angle on Kristin’s bouquet, with her “best lady” bouquet in the back:

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We did a mossy branch encrusted with succulents and tillandsias for the guestbook table. It’s decorated mostly with living plants, so the branch probably still looks just like this six weeks later! The couple can eventually plant the succulents and bring the tillandsias inside, a nice reminder of the wedding day.

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Check out the garland we installed on the rail of the little redwood deck where the couple stood for their ceremony. Those dahlias! I just can’t get over them.

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Kristin and Jason brought along some crab pots from their neighbor’s yard in Bodega; we hung some mosses, plants and flowers over them to look like seaweed, barnacles, and urchins. Julie and I kind of went nuts with this one. That blooming eucalyptus makes a perfect anemone!

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Jessie and Jane

October 12th, 2011

Lots of photos rolling in from summer and September weddings, so get ready, folks! No more radio silence — I’ll be posting a bunch in the next few weeks. This wedding happened way back in July, at the lovely Brazil Room in Tilden Park. Jessie and Jane, two lovely brides, got married in the morning, with their kids, Ruby and Xander, as flower girl and ring bearer extraordinaire. We went for wild and romantic and fresh, with succulents and tillandsias mixed with summer beauty in vintage milk glass.

I had quite the team with me for this wedding: my usual partner-in-crime, Julie Benjamin, along with the fabulously talented Liza Lubell of Pear Tree Flowers in NYC. We’ve been lucky to have Liza on board for a few events this season when she was passing through town. Check out her gorgeous work here.

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Here’s Jessie’s bouquet (Jane carried one too, but I didn’t get a good shot of it). Dahlias, scabiosa, asparagus plumosa (one of my current obsessions), queen anne’s lace (obsession #2), abelia, and of course lots of tillys. We used the same elements for Jane’s bouquet, but with succulents instead of tillandsias.

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For the ceremony aisle, we did bouquets of asparagus with baby xerographica tillandsias and dahlias. I love the lacy softness of that asparagus plumosa… maybe a little too much. I think I’ve used it for almost every wedding this season. Heh heh, so maybe I could stand to give it a rest. It’s just so pretty, though!

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Congratulations, Jessie and Jane! And stay tuned for further posts.

Taylor and Todd

July 11th, 2011

Taylor and Todd got married down in Pebble Beach, right on the 17-mile Drive at the Church in the Forest. For her bouquet we did some woodsy greenery with “string of pearls” and shots of purple for rich color. So pretty with her simple dress! The amazing Julie Benjamin (of Little Lane Studios) made Todd’s gorgeous boutonniere. Photos kindly shared by Viera Photographics.

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For the reception at Bernardus Lodge in Carmel Valley, we mixed some succulents and tillandsias in with a kind of romantic, French-garden-inspired palette of springtime plants and flowers. The peachy leucospermum (pincushions) were a little outside the box, but we loved the color, perfect against the terracotta walls at the lodge.

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Ivette and Ben

April 26th, 2011

Ivette and Ben came to me about doing their flowers way back when my two babies (see pic below!) were just the proverbial twinkle(s) in my eye. A couple of weeks ago they finally got married at the stunning Headlands Center for the Arts in Marin, a building whose state of elegant disrepair has been so well-preserved that you really feel transported in time. Did you see “The King’s Speech”? You know that gorgeous peeling paint and the huge skylights in the speech therapist’s office? That’s what this place is like (according to Haley, one of my lovely assistants, and she is absolutely right). So inspiring!

Originally Ivette and Ben were thinking about a “World’s Fair” theme for their celebration, but in the end they went a little less literal, and we tried to create a whimsical old-timey feel that would complement the location’s amazing vintage-ness.

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Her bouquet had lots of springtime goodness, including some devastating orange ranunculus. Eventually I’ll share some pics of the couple, who were adorable. Ivette’s dress was perfect for her and for this bouquet… simple, flowy, and so elegant.

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Ivette found some cute old cheese crates on ebay, so we used those for the centerpieces.

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This is an underwater succulent “garden.” Go figure, right? The plants don’t last underwater terribly long, but it’s a pretty look for an event. The little favors are Ivette’s homemade Mexican wedding cookies.

I’ll pass on some more photos when they come my way. In the meantime, here’s one of our twins, Iris and Jonah. They pretty much put the flowers to shame, don’t they?

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