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:
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.
Sarah’s bouquet turned out beautifully. We added a few little gilded baby pomegranates for some subtle metallic glow.
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.
Corsages with lace bracelets, and lovely boutonnieres with some subtle gilding (thank you, Julie Benjamin!)
Another nice shot of Sarah’s bouquet awaiting her arrival.
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!
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…
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.
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.
This lovely little table sat at the front of the ceremony aisle under a huge oak tree.
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).
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!
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.
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:
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:
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.
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.
Another angle on Kristin’s bouquet, with her “best lady” bouquet in the back:
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
Congratulations, Jessie and Jane! And stay tuned for further posts.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Ivette found some cute old cheese crates on ebay, so we used those for the centerpieces.
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?
March 23rd, 2011
While I’ve been on maternity leave with our amazing twins, Iris and Jonah (!!), lots of photos from fall weddings have trickled down into my e-mail. This was one of my favorites, an incredibly beautiful wedding in a Woodside garden on a sweltering Indian summer day.
I was so worried about the yellow garden roses! They were about as open as open could be without completely falling apart. Katie and Karl and their amazing photographer, Gia Canali, shared these photos with us. You can also check out their wedding on Style Me Pretty.
Enjoy! And look out for some more new pics soon… I’ll try to post some while the babies snooze.
December 14th, 2010
Samantha and Jeremy were married way back in August, but their color palette, with its rich berry tones, vibrant greens, and deep browns, feels just right for this time of year, doesn’t it? They are the sweetest couple; they planted the succulents from Samantha’s bridal bouquet in a little pot, which the plants have already outgrown, despite being kept indoors. Happy plants for a happy couple!
Samantha wanted to keep her bouquet modern and sculptural, so we focused on defined shapes, with smokebush foliage, chocolate cosmos, leucadendron ‘jester,’ echeveria ‘perle von nurnberg,’ and the dark aeonium ’schwarzkopf.’
A couple of tall pots for the corners of the chuppah were moved to frame the dance floor after the ceremony was done.
Generally I am not a fan of gerbera daisies, but these locally grown ones were the perfect shade of berry red for this wedding, so we went for it. I actually loved the way they turned out, with green figs and the maidenhair fern for softness.
Congratulations, Samantha and Jeremy!
December 3rd, 2010
Our wreath workshops at the Thanksgiving open house were so much fun. We taught participants how to dress up a plain evergreen wreath with living plants, both succulents and tillandsias. I love this project because the evergreen wreath, to me, is so evocative and nostalgic… the smell of it, and the textures, and the layers of green. But the succulents and tillandsias add an interesting sculptural edge, and after all, winter gardens in our area are often full of colorful succulents, not just the green conifers that thrive elsewhere in the colder months. When your wreath is past its prime, you can remove the succulents and plant them in your garden, and bring the tillandsias inside (care instructions later in the post). So you’re getting a wreath and a little garden all in one.
Get this: we made a lot of wreaths like the sample below, each of them unique, but we’ve also set up a little DIY station at the store where you can come in and make one of these wreaths yourself. If you’ve got some time this weekend, come on in, get your coffee or hot chocolate and set yourself up with a wreath and some plants. We’ll have all the supplies you need, so you can bring them home instead if you’re so inclined. Scroll down for some basic steps and instructions to follow (adapted from a post I did about this on Apartment Therapy).
Once you’ve got your wreath base and a few simple supplies, it couldn’t be easier to dress up your wreath for the season. You’ll want to start with a bunch of the little wooden wonders called “wired picks” (pictured above). This is basically a thick toothpick (or a miniature wooden stake, like the kind you’d use to kill a vampire) with a length of wire attached to it at the top. We’re selling them along with the wreath bases at the store; you can also find wired picks at any craft store.
Essentially all you’ll need to do is lay the stem of whatever material you’re working with flush along the length of the pick and wrap the wire around it. If you need a bit of extra support to keep your stems from breaking, use some floral tape wrapped around both stem and pick.
Then insert the pointed end of the pick into the bundled greens at the center of the wreath. If you look at the back of your wreath, you’ll see that most likely it’s wired onto a frame; you want to aim to place your pick in the center of that frame. If it’s too tightly bundled and the pick won’t go all the way in, try pushing it straight down (again, vampire-killing style) instead of at an angle, or just get it wedged in the best you can, even if it’s not between the wires. You’ll find that with lighter plants and cut material, the picks won’t budge even if they’re not placed exactly in the bundle.
I use the picks for my tillandsias too, bending back a few of the lower leaves and sort of bundling them with the roots around the pick. You can do the same with little clumps of moss, or pretty much anything else you can think of. (Sometimes with moss you don’t need a pick at all; it will suffice to just wedge the clumps in among the greens.)
Tillandsias are air plants (their roots grow in the air), and while they don’t like cold weather, they make great houseplants anywhere at all. Remove them from your wreath at the end of the season and place them around your home in little dishes or vases; a weekly mist of water and some nice indirect bright light is all they need.
If you’re using succulent cuttings, you might find that some plants are too heavy to attach to the wired picks. Try some thick-gauge wire instead, inserting the wire directly into the stem of the plant. I prep my succulents by removing all of the soil and thread-like roots, leaving only the stem behind. After the holidays you can plant your succulent cuttings again in the garden or in a pot, just tucked into a bit of soil, where they’ll happily take root.
The thick-gauge wire will be even easier to insert into your bundle of evergreens. Again, use floral tape wrapped around the stem and wire if you’re finding that your stem breaks easily. When you’re finished with your design, lift up your wreath and use a wire cutter to trim any pointy ends of the wire or wooden picks that are sticking out of the back of the wreath.
Here’s one of our fabulous workshop participants with her wreath. Isn’t it gorgeous? I like the look of a wreath with a cluster of decoration in one spot, leaving nice stretches of simple greens. But you can design your dressed-up wreath however you like. Consider using cut materials that dry well (like the pepper berries and moss we used in the workshop) to complement your living plant choices.
This is Patrick; some of you may have met him on the sales floor at the store, but you probably didn’t know he’s also a floral design genius, having run his own shop in L.A. for many years. He and I taught the wreath workshop together, and he’s the man to look for if you’re in the store this weekend and need a little guidance with your wreath.
Have fun, and happy holidays!
November 18th, 2010
It poured rain all day and night when Uyen and Steve got married at Atwood Ranch in Glen Ellen back in October, but I have to say I have rarely seen anything more beautiful. The ceremony was set up in a tent nestled in the vineyard, with the grape vines dripping sparkly raindrops everywhere, and the soft sound of it… so nice! Their reception was held in the amazing barn on the property; I didn’t get good photos, but I’m hoping there will be lots to share later on. In the meantime, here’s a taste:
Uyen’s bridal bouquet, with late-season dahlias, smokebush, various aeonium and sempervivum rosettes, snowberries, nigella pods, and a few fun guinea hen feathers.
We used dramatic xerographica tillandsias for the pew bouquets, with some olive leaves (grew them ourselves!), more smokebush, figs, soft reindeer moss, and ivory dahlias for a little contrast.
The barn looked so gorgeous dressed up for the reception, with the dim rainy light floating in from outside… this is the table in progress. Hopefully I’ll be able to show you some better pics soon, since I didn’t get any good shots of the centerpieces.
Come down and see us for our Thanksgiving weekend open house event next week! Details coming soon in the newsletter.