Style Me Pretty Feature

One October weddings from last year, photographed by  Kyle John Photography, was just featured on Style Me Pretty!  We were so lucky to have been involved in this wonderful family’s celebration of marriage. Because the wedding was in October, we were able to use lots of flowers from our farm, including lisianthus, dahlias, spray roses and plum foliage.  To see more images on our site click here, or for the Style Me Pretty feature, click here

Prairie Chic Wedding


 

As a proper Chicago girl, I’ve been raised to revere Jens Jensen, the Scandinavian landscape architect who designed so many of the city’s treasures- Garfield Park, Columbus Park, the fern room at the Garfield Park conservatory. His ethos of celebrating the prairie’s own native loveliness, working with the native landscape rather than against it, was one which I followed in designing this remarkable wedding, ( that, and Kate’s Moss’s wedding in Southrop in the Cotswalds of course!) I suggested that the bride and groom exchange vows beneath the natural canopy of two ancient willows whose boughs were intertwined. We then constructed two, 20ft “hedges” of foraged cattails to create what looked almost like a naturally occurring path from around the pond and neighboring swales, with plenty of frothy delphinium, queen annes laces and fragrant lime basil from our farm. As the the wind moved though them guests were treated to wafts of delicious fragrance…

Eau de lime basil

saad sample close up

lambs ear at the farm

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Our farm’s theme this year is fragrance, we are growing lime basil, chocolate and pineapple mint, lavender and the like. I like to bring old fashions back in floral design whenever possible, and these days people rarely encounter scented flowers. There is no aromatic luxury quite like working out there after a heavy rain, the wind kicking up wafts of tuberose, wild sweet pea and chocolate cosmos! The bouquet pictured below is wildly fragrant with grape hyacinth, cheerfulness jonquils and muscari…

frontal blue and yellow bouquet

saad sample

blue and yellow bouquet

farm pix

Foxgloves and thistle

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We are a bit late planting at Five Row Farm this year, but I say you are only late planting your first flower farm! And, we have the most fantastic PH balanced soil and meticulously tilled beds courtesy of our farmer friend John Tong. However, our seedlings are already bearing many blooms, see foxgloves, dahlias and thistle wedding below…

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foxglove close up
croghan sample

Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose

lantern painting

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Sometimes it seems that my true occupation is to listen to people describe their distaste for carnations, lilies and even roses.  Now, with heavily petaled garden roses being all they rage, even the rose, a classic symbol of romantic perfection, has also been shunned. You probably can’t imagine my joy when I was asked to design a debutant ball based on John Singer Sargent’s painting, Carnation, Lily, Lily Rose, but it was real. Restoring these innocent beauties to their righteous place at the top of the flower chain is a job I was born to do!

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lanterns from below_Snapseed

Hellebore

First off, we decided to create what would look like the forest on the stage, and brought in 24ft oak and maple trees forming an allée of sorts for the debutants to emerge from like the girls in the painting. Next, we created two 16ft “mossy ruins” on either side, which formed a kind hedge that obscured the big band of 20 tuxedoed musicians on the stage, they looked like they stepped out of Fantasia! The mossy ruin we sculpted in sections out of foam and covered in living moss and maiden hair fern, foxgloves and Juilet garden rose bushes tumbling over mossy rocks and lichen. We also hand-painted 300 paper lanterns, which hung from deep green glossy camellia and magnolia, giving the room a soft rosy glow…

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cotillion room shot long ways (1)

 

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

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

Natural law

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cafeaulait b-maid

working with light

I long time ago, I went to career counseling to figure out what I was supposed to do rather than be a florist. The results of extensive testing concluded that I should be a lawyer or a farmer. Back then I was living in Brooklyn and the idea of pursuing farming was unimaginable and hilarious but now farming is an integral and inspiring part of my business.  It was an effective exercise though in that I ended up realizing how much I wanted to do this work. I found myself passionately describing to the career counselor how the occasions I am hired to enhance are so momentous that Mother Nature herself is a necessary and honored guest. Check out these dinner plate dahlias, Japanese anemone and hydrangea that we grew last year…

gemnani lighting

pale farm dahlias

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bridal blush and apricot

dahlias escort card

following the flowers

fruit

I seriously do learn a lot from our clients.  A particularly glamorous groom once explained to me in an exquisite English accent that he preferred plants “that flower before they fruit,” as he set his feet on the coffee table in flowered pink socks.  As a city girl,  I thought this was just some smart-sounding poetry from a fancy classics professor,  but later realized that that is how it actually goes down in the natural world.

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clematis

violets

glam fruit

 

 

 

Festive Elegance

 

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Last December, we had the honor of decking out this incredible home for the holidays decorated by legendary interior designer, the late Nora C. Marra of Nora Marra Interiors. In deference to her brilliance and the understated splendor her work, we kept the adornments to silvers and aquas with dashes of gold, citron and fuchsia.

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Early on in the process I got my heart set on securing a blue spruce… the perfect shade of silvery blue to compliment Nora’s dreamy drawing room design. Blue spruce are a very slow growing tree and a 7ft one was so difficult to find I almost had to go chop one down myself… luckily John Beffel at Christmas Farms in Michigan came though and fed ex’d us this glorious tree overnight!

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We employed the families hunting tartan in custom silk and wool ribbons we had woven in Scotland, which you can see here on this sweet rhino footstool along with material native to the Scottish Highlands such as thistle and Ponderosa pine….

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