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Creating the Perfect Bouquet for Mother’s Day

8 May

Mother’s Day is Right Around the Corner!

Seriously–it’s this Sunday. Don’t despair; I am here to help you make a memorable bouquet for mom that you did all by yourself. It’s like when you were little and made her ceramic doodads that she ultimately hid in the attic. This bouquet won’t be hidden though!

Creating your Bouquet: Choosing Your Setting

Pick your Flowers

Does your mom have a favorite color or favorite type of flower? Try to incorporate the things she already loves for automatic bonus points. Get at least 10 stems. Mixed flowers are great, but you can use all one type if you prefer.

Select a Container

Do you want to use a vase? Do you want to use a container with floral foam? Or do you want to make a hand-tied arrangement so she can put it into a vase she already has (like the one from 3rd grade that’s been hiding in the attic)? Fill the container with warm water and floral food (most flowers sold at the store come with a packet).

The container you selected will determine the shape and steps of the arranging process. For this article, I am going to use a vase arrangement, with no foam. The steps for a hand tied bouquet are almost identical, except you use  a table to create it rather than a vase.Vase

Building your Bouquet

When you select your flowers,  pick out some greens for structure and stability, and to fill in any bare spots. Fern, eucalyptus, and lemon leaf (salal) are common and readily available. I recommend at least two, but preferably 3 types of greens for visual interest.

Start with your Greens

Cut them to the level of the neck of the container, crossing the stems to create a framework for the flowers. Then add 3-4 more stems of greens, varying in height. The tallest should follow the “golden rule”: 1 1/2 to 2 times the height of your vase. The greens should mimic the total shape you are looking for, similar to a cone.

Add greens

Adding in Flowers

My flower school recommended starting from the tallest stem down, but I think it’s easier to start at the bottom and go up. This makes your arrangement straighter and holds that tall flower more securely. General rule of shape is the biggest, fattest flowers at the bottom, and smaller at the top.

Building your bouquet

Creating the Shape

Measure your flowers to the vase, and trim stems at an angle. Four to five should be about the height of the neck of the vase, three to four stems staggered a little taller , and then one stem (pick the tallest, straightest flower before you start cutting!) for the very top. Think of  a dozen roses and the shape they come in.

Continue to add flowers

The Finishing Touches

Give the vase a few rotations, looking for clumps/gaps and adjust accordingly. Remember: you can always make them shorter, but once they are cut, you can’t make them any taller.

Now you have a beautiful hand-made bouquet that your mom will love, and she will appreciate the fact that YOU made it. Of course, if this all seems a bit overwhelming, you can still call me for a beautiful arrangement handmade by me!

Good Luck!Your finished product


May Day: Traditions Old and New

1 May

It’s Already May!May Day flowers

Good morning, Bloomies! It’s MAY! The year is just shooting right past us. Before we get too far into this year, I would like to pause and look at the traditions of May 1st, also known as May Day.

 Ancient Roots of May Day

May Day started with pagan roots, in the holiday called Beltane. The maypole was a focal point of the old English village rituals. People would get up at dawn to go outside and gather flowers and branches to decorate their homes. Women would braid flowers into their hair, and both men and women would decorate their bodies.

Beltane marks the return of vitality and passion.  To celebrate your own version of Beltane, gather up some plants or flowers to display in your home. Moms and daughters can braid their hair, and weave in a few blossoms.

Bringing the Tradition to Life

I remember when I was little, our neighbor would gather flowers to leave on our porch; she would ring the doorbell and run, as to remain anonymous behind the gift of spring.

This is a fun use of those flowers that you gathered on your morning walk, and I think it should be resurrected as a new fun May Day tradition. Even just a handful of the common spring bluebells or lilacs would be a welcome gift for a neighbor or a friend.

I love the May Pole, but this “ding-dong ditch” seems more fun, and takes less practice, and fewer people.

I give you this challenge: even if you give ONE person ONE flower, let’s all try and practice this new tradition today!Ding Dong

Easter Flower Arrangement Ideas

27 Mar

Easter Sunday Wouldn’t Be Complete Without Flowers
Easter arrangement

Easter is this Sunday Bloomies! Easter is a celebration of re-birth, of everything in bloom and growing after a long winter. Flowers are as crucial to an Easter celebration as the Easter Bunny himself. There are lots of cute flower-centric things that are “springy” and festive for the holiday, beyond Easter Lilies or plastic basket grass (unless you like those, in which case, have at it.)

Tips for Easter Flower Arrangements

Size and Shape Matter

This week I did a few spring bouquets of pale green, white, pink and lavender. Low round, oval, or rectangular arrangements are best for centerpieces on a table. Taller or wider arrangements are best for buffets, counters, or sideboards… you want to see your table mates!

Include “Easter-y” Elements

Particularly “Easter-y” items you could use to amp up the holiday theme include:

Easter Eggs

Tuck colored eggs into a basket of flowers- so sweet! See, you can get past your plastic “grass” fascination. What a sophisticated take on the traditional Easter Basket.

BunniesShort Easter Arrangement

I have super cute rabbit cutouts I included this year. Painted dark brown, it’s reminicent of a chocolate bunny, without the melting or the calories.


An arrangement that includes a cross or a flower covered cross would be great for a church gathering or a post church brunch.


Seriously. Last year I used rabbit and chick peeps in all different colors, stuck them on sticks and made a fun diorama instead of having fussy, formal florals. Great for a party with lots of kids in attendance.


Also known as the Lenten Rose; this springtime, Northwest flower makes a simple, gorgeous arrangement all by it’s lonesome. It has no fragrance, so it’s a bonus for those allergy sufferers.

I hope this gets your flower juices flowing. Have fun and enjoy the amazing weather we’re supposed to have!

November Birth Flower: Chrysanthemums

7 Nov

Mums the Word

Happy Birthday November Bloomies! You lucky things, your birth month flower is the chrysanthemum. Mums are a symbol of cheer, optimism and long life. What could be more appropriate for a birthday gift?

I love working with mums because there are just so many colors and types to choose from, and they last a long time. Mums are a classic fall bloom. Their appearance so late in the season makes them really memorable. They really are a great boost of color just as everything else starts to go grey, especially here in Portland.

Varieties of Mums

The word “chrysanthemum” translates literally as golden flower, because the original variety was yellow, but since we’ve been cultivating them for about 700 years, there are now hundreds of distinct varieties of mums. They also come in just about every color imaginable.

I know that when most people think mums, they think of the potted plants you see outside of the supermarket every fall. While these are great potted plants, and are perfect on your front porch, they’re not exactly what you think of when it comes to a beautiful birthday arrangement. There are two classes of mums though- hardy and show. Essentially, hardy mums are the front porch kind and show mums are the celebration kind.

There are some really impressive mums that make great floral arrangements like Button, Spider, Japanese, Roman and Spoon Mums.

Button Mums

Pompon Mums are really perfect for bouquets because their compact burst of color really adds a lot of cheer to an arrangement. They are small and round, and come in great colors. Kermit button mums are a popular choice. It’s hard to match the energy of that bright lime green.

Spider Mums

Spider Mums get their name from their leggy petals. They’ve been cultivated for super long petals that reach out from the center. They add great texture to an arrangement. Some have longer, curlier petals, and others are almost downy. Like all mums, they come in a lot of different colors.

Japanese Mums

These mums are among the rarer varieties, and take a lot of work to bring out a truly great bloom. They’re grown one bloom to a stem, are sort of goblet shaped, and have loosely layered petals that scoop up, or dangle down depending on the type. They are  quite beautiful, but can be hard to find. They’re often seen at flower shows.

Roman Mums

This is one of my favorite type of mums to work with. They have the big bold impact of a sunflower, but they’re available later in the season, and come in more colors. Like the one in the arrangement just above, it really only takes one or two to make a statement!

Spoon Mums

These mums have a really unique petal shape, that resembles a spoon. The petals are long and slender, and open up at the end in a bowl shape. The long part is often a different color than the end part, and the center of the flower, which makes a really dramatic three colored flower.

Men’s Flowers…Really!

25 Sep

Fresh Flowers and Plants for Men are More Common Than You Think

I know. everyone assumes flowers are for girls. But did you know two thirds of my office deliveries are for men? There are several floral options that are more masculine than the typical babies breath and rose arrangement (not that I use babies breath!). From the structured look of tropicals, to the bold size of sunflowers, and the classic look of succulents, there are a ton of great ways to surprise men with florals.

Great Floral Picks For Men

Continue reading

Flowers For Sunday Dinner

15 Aug

Flowers On the Table Make Family Dinners Special

Recently, my family started a new tradition of family dinners, bi-monthly on Sundays. While it’s not a formal affair, flowers on the dinner table seem to make the evenings just a little more special. For many of us, it can be hard to get everyone to the table at the same time, and Sunday dinner is a time to re-connect with our larger family, and make time for each other, and that is certainly something to celebrate.

Fresh Flowers Add That Something Extra

Indoors or out, fresh flowers add interest, fragrance and beauty to the table. Flowers simpy add to the memories of a happy, love-filled evening with family. We all know that food is a multi-sensory experience, from the sight of the presentation, to the smell coming from the kitchen, and of course delicious taste. Flowers add a finishing touch to the experience, and can really make a simple family dinner an occasion.

Just one fresh bloom, a few tied together, or several in small containers down the center of your table can add the oomph without busting your budget. This simple bunch is tucked into a glass for a simple statement.

You can let your menu choices inspire your flowers or vice-versa. Play up a simple Cuban Sandwich, with a side of Avocado Salad and a tropical flower arrangement like this one. Now it’s a party!

Try roses or something more victorian for an English meal such as the classic, humble Shepherd’s Pie, or a more refined Roasted Cod and Saffron Mashed Potatoes. Are you hungry yet? This simple, elegant yellow and white arrangement is perfect for either meal.

There’s till plenty of summer left for dining ‘al fresco’, and daisies or sunflowers are perfect for an all american cookout. Get that grill going!

There are a TON of options for your many family dinners to come, and plenty of opportunities to gather with your clan with a bunch of fresh flowers to make it special. You don’t have to wait for the holidays to celebrate life! Use your imagination or pick my brain to create that special evening with your family.

Feathers and Food Oh My! Ideas for Unique Wedding Flowers

25 Jul

Would You Put Feathers or Food In Your Bridal Bouquet?

I’ve been busy the last two weeks doing flowers for some photo shoots. I’m excited to have some great professional shots of my work to use on my website and blog. These shoots were wedding based, which just reminds me that the wedding season is still far from over. Spring comes late here in Oregon, and the late summers are beautiful, so our wedding season is really from July to October. Before I get too off course, I wanted to share two of my favorite inspirations for creative and unique wedding flowers- feathers and food. Creative weddings are exciting!

Feathers and Flowers

Feathers are fun! They are an easy way to incorporate bold or complex colors. They are also a great way to add a new texture to your wedding flowers. You can pull the theme throughout your wedding decor too. Think feathers in your flowers, the men’s boutonnieres, your hair, and the table arrangements. What a way to bring all those elements together.

I’ve done pink roses with baby’s breath and black feathers, and several varieties of red roses with black feathers. The bold black really makes the other colors pop. Both weddings were unique to the couple, and the flowers were able to help reflect that uniqueness with the addition of feathers. Continue reading