Scilla appear

scilla christ church

baird tall cp close up (1)

There is no thrill of Spring quite like spotting blue Scilla flowers blanketing the earth, these minute beauties massing together to produce this trick of the eye, this message just for those with eyes to see! My mother always pointed them out to me in “Grandma’s garden”  , the wilder garden across from the Lincoln Park Conservatory in Spring. Like near incantations, the way mothers teach the language of flowers to their children, planting these mysterious words and beautiful images in their minds has always been especially lovely to me,  delphinium, daffodil, scilla…..

baird low centerpiece

daffodil basket

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scilla valley

Baird tall centerpiece

Wintering over

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Every year there comes a period of time when I actually can’t look at any more flowers. This past January, my eyes were actually weary of them,  sumptuous seed catalogs would arrive and I had to toss them aside.  It’s a natural part of the cyclical nature of this work, it’s all go go go, growth and production from early spring straight through to Christmas, and then I’ve got to just hunker down, rest, gestate. Our farm is now also in dormancy, nestled down under straw and goat manure, ( solid gold fertilizer), from our West Side friend Carolyn Ioder‘s goats. She keeps them in Oak Park and makes the most incredible feta, goat cheese and milk. As members of the Goat Guild, we take advantage of the manure for the farm, and it is also pretty fun to run them up the street to their gorgeous urban pasture….

running of the goats

clematis

Hazel weed warrior

Lavender Beebalm

Brian and goats

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Winter Flowers

ranunuclus

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As lovely as the flowers are that we can get imported are, we sorely miss cutting product fresh from our farm- these cafe au lait dahlias were a huge element in most of our fall weddings, love their multi-hued petals! Planting for specific weddings and events is really thrilling, and we are expanding our farm vastly next year to produce on a larger scale as our biz flourishes.  During this exciting time where everyone is dreaming up gorgeousness for celebrations and ceremonies, pouring over seed and bulb catalogues for each new client is an ultimate luxury.

fowler centerpiece from up front

cafe au laits

 

Cake Flowers

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pink dahlias row less yellow

cake flowers

 

Although we got the farm planted late this year, it’s really beginning to jump off now. Our cosmos got stem rot as usual but are still blooming prolifically. We planted 17 different varieties of dahlias alone for our fall weddings, but of course the Cafe au Lait steal the show every time! You can’t tell if they are pink, gold, ivory or all of the above…

leo at five row

single cosmo

flower girl

more cake flowers

Constance Spry

palms

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florida

magenta hazel and the arch

 

When working with red I always think of Constance Spry, the legendary English social reformer and society florist whose heyday was in the 1930’s and 40’s. Famously introducing vegetables, weeds and found objects as vases to the art form,  she was essentially to flower arranging what the sex pistols were to rock-n-roll. When discussing the color red she says,

” Striking and beautiful effects may be obtained by mixing strongly contrasting shades of red and by adding fruits and berries. You get brilliance rather than hardness by combining many shades and tones in an arrangement; rose, vermillion, crimson, magenta and so on to provide a strong, warm effect that is comparable in color to the sound of a trumpet blast.”

She goes on to strictly advise that when sending flowers to men, one must use entirely red flowers… what could be more brilliant?

firebird

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Flowering at the Thompson

Hazel working

This week we had the pleasure of flowering with the lovely Molly Guy,  creative director of Stone Fox Bride on the inaugural party for Guest of a Guest at the Thompson.  We designed a Stone Fox flower crown bar replete with antique baskets of calendula and chamomile from our farm. The event was packed with genius babes and we had a blast seeing all the gorgeous crowns they came up with. Hazel is pictured here wearing a crown of her own design, available at Hazel Baek…..

close up siragusa

Siragusa centerpiece

cointreau centerpiece

Bouquet Siragusa

bubblegum, bubblegum in a dish…

me working

Last weekend we produced the most vibrant, summery wedding! The flowers were in the dreamiest bubblegum pink/ creamsicle palette, with Coral Sunset, Angel Cheeks and Etched Salmon peonies all on the scene. Adding to the sugar-sweet look, we arranged the centerpieces on crystal cake plates with honeysuckle, mint and mock orange blossom, whose fragrance hung heavy in the gorgeous ballroom at the Ivy Room.

june rosez

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peonies

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old fashioned at the New Modern Wing

sea shell marlin close up

mums aqua

Upclose shell blush

marlin pix

We recently had the pleasure of decorating tables for an under the sea themed event at the New Modern Wing of the Art Institute. These fragrant, golden throated Cattleya orchids were grown just 20 miles away at Hausermann’s orchids in Villa Park!  Established in 1920 with 3.5 acres of orchids growing under glass,  Hausermann’s is a thrilling step back in time to an era when florists got all of their flowers from hot houses and local farms. Speaking of old-fashioned exotics, I especially adore these Anastasia chrysanthemums which look like sisters of the sea anemone…

aqua mums on step

close up marlin#2

Hearts of palm

me and ferns

Amaryllis and ferns to the max

I am loving this cold Spring we are having, taking it’s sweet time as it languorously rolls out towards Summer. Also, it helps me stay calm about how behind we are with basically everything, organizing the office, our annual spring cleaning studio smack down, and the flower farm where we haven’t even tilled our rows yet!  With each chilly night under my down comforter I can pretend it might still be March. These Challenger amaryllis also take their sweet time opening, but then refuse to wilt for a week! Not sure why I’m so obsessed with palms, if it’s that they are so iconic or if it’s how deeply inspiring Miami Vice was to me as a child of the 80’s…

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delphinium arrangement

Sweet Pea Madness

coral peony and needlepoint

gift arrangements en masse

gold and coral cpSpring has arrived in Chicago, as have some exquisite projects for our studio! Gilding foliage, waves of gift arrangements for fashion editors, and samples for some brilliant clients whose taste and vision have yielded really lavish and original results. Oh, and just incase you ever wondered what 170 stems of “Misty Apricot” sweet pea looks like, now you know!

peach sweetpea

gilded coral foliage

les nereides gift arrangement