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Thursday, February 9, 2017

February has been a camellia-filled month so far with the garden starting to bloom and pink camellia flowers everywhere.  As the buds pop open, I find myself bringing them inside to admire while planning new ways to style and display them.

One afternoon as I was outside clipping camellia blooms my mail arrived. There I saw the new issue of Garden Design magazine, a subscription I always love to receive. So of course I immediately took a break, made myself a cup of tea, and opened the pages only to discover this fascinating article on- you guessed it- camellias!

The opening words said it all. "Camellias have captivated gardeners for centuries but new forms and cold-hardy versions have added pizazz to this beloved genus. Prepare to dream and ponder as you revel in over twelve pages of Ngoc Minh Ngo's astounding photography."

So dream and ponder I did. The stunning photos by Ngoc Minh Ngo (author and photographer of In Bloom: Creating and Living with Flowers and Bringing Nature Home: Floral Arrangements Inspired by Nature) along with the interesting text by Jenny Andrews started me thinking about this flower in a whole new way.  I was inspired to style it creatively.  And so I began...

According to the article, the camellia was considered sacred in ancient Japanese culture, so I chose an antique Japanese teacup to hold this bright pink bloom. 

Camellia in Teacup- www.gildedbloom.com

Then I designed a tray of Debutante camellias in a bit of water around a set of lit votives for an elegant candlelight display.

Tray of Camellias with Votive Candles- www.gildedbloom.com

Next I used this vintage glassware, recently given to me by a dear friend, and created these fanciful vases to scatter across the table for an upcoming brunch.  

Camellias in Vintage Glassware- www.gildedbloom.com

Then I designed a ruffled ring of multilayered camellia flowers to encircle the new Pink Champagne candle I bought for Valentine's Day.  Again I kept the flowers moist with water at the base.  The fragrance was beautiful and the candle more glamorous surrounded with blooms! 

Camellias and Candlelight- www.gildedbloom.com

I hope you'll try some of these simple ideas to enjoy your camellias.  Styling them was such fun!   

Also, if you'd like to get your own subscription to Garden Design magazine so that you can be inspired, I am happy to announce that friends of The Gilded Bloom will get the first issue free!  There are no ads in Garden Design and each issue is filled with gorgeous gardens, informative text and outstanding photography.  To subscribe go to www.gardendesign.com/gildedbloom or call (855) 624-5110 Monday-Friday, 8am-5pm PST.  Be sure to mention The Gilded Bloom to get your free issue.

Disclosure:  This post contains an affiliate link which means that if you choose to subscribe through the link provided The Gilded Bloom will receive compensation.

A Camellia Arrangement for Valentine's Day

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Pink Camellias- www.gildedbloom.com

Camellias are blooming in abundance now and filling the garden with pink- just in time for Valentine's Day!  To bring some of their lovely color indoors I created a mixed arrangement of camellias and other winter blooms.

Pink Camellia Arrangement- www.gildedbloom.com

Because camellias are heavy and delicate flowers I find it is best to follow their natural habit in the arrangement, letting them drape and twist as they please.  Touching the petals of these flowers may result in brown marks and gashes appearing on the blooms.   So, to prevent overhanding them, I added the camellias to the vase first and then filled in the gaps with foliage.

Pink Camellia Arrangement- www.gildedbloom.com

Cutting the camellia stems in different lengths allowed for some blooms to hang near the mouth of the vase and others to drape out further creating a natural look.

Pink Camellia Arrangement- www.gildedbloom.com

Adding contrasting textures like snapdragons, pomegranate branches and hypericum berries gives the arrangement a contemporary quality to match the mercury glass vase.  The Safari Sunset Protea shown below emphasizes both color and dimension in the mix.  

Safari Sunset Protea- www.gildedbloom.com

The pink amaranth draping out of the side of the vase picks up the color of the lighter camellias in the arrangement.

Pink Amaranth- www.gildedbloom.com

Showing the camellias in different stages of bloom provides an additional level of variety and extends the life of the arrangement as camellias will bloom indoors when kept in fresh water.

Pink Camellia Bud- www.gildedbloom.com

Wishing you all a Happy Valentine's Day!

A Twist of Lemon...

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Meyer Lemons- www.gildedbloom.com

Citrus season has been beautiful this year.  Even with heavy rains the lemons are fresh and robust.  These Meyers were just picked and are soon to be brought inside and displayed on our kitchen table.  I arranged them on a decorative cake plate and added sprigs of green foliage for accent.

Meyer Lemons- www.gildedbloom.com

Did you know that lemons are thought to have originated in Asia? The Meyer is a cross between a lemon and an orange or mandarin which makes it sweeter and a brighter yellow than other lemons.  The skin is also smooth and thin making it difficult to package for shipping, so they are rarely sold commercially.  But growing them at home is easy as long as you have good soil and plenty of sunshine!

Lemons are delicious in aromatic dishes and also make an excellent addition to winter floral arrangements, when the garden is still bare and one has fewer flowers available.

Lemon Floral Arrangement- www.gildedbloom.com

I purchased these light yellow roses at the market and worked them into an arrangement of lemons and winter berries with a few budding citrus blossoms that have just started to appear on the trees. Arranging flowers and fruit in a low bowl like the one shown above makes a simple and lasting display.

Lemon Roses- www.gildedbloom.com

I like to have floral designs indoors that reflect the spirit of the season and these lemon yellow roses and deep blue berries provide a striking contrast.  They remind me of winter days when just a bit of pale sunlight pops through a clouded sky.

Lemon Roses- www.gildedbloom.com

In the Studio: Spring Flowers and Vibrant Pastels

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

"Cascading Tulips", 9 x 12- www.gildedbloom.com

Hello and Happy New Year! I hope you all had a lovely holiday and that you are now enjoying the beautiful quiet days of winter. For me this season provides a break from the many tasks that pile up in the garden and I find myself in the studio more often exploring the process of painting.

One of the highlights of creating art is choosing a palette of color and these fresh and spirited tones of pink, blue, green and yellow are bringing the essence of spring into the studio on these cold winter days.

"Cascading Tulips", 9 x 12- www.gildedbloom.com

The first painting of 2017 was this watercolor tulip study.

"Cascading Tulips", #wip- www.gildedbloom.com

Here you can see its beginning as a watercolor sketch.  The finished work below is highlighted with iridescent paint to catch the light.   The colors in this piece remind me of the vibrant pastels that often tint tulips as they bloom.

"Cascading Tulips"- www.gildedbloom.com

You can follow my progress as I create more paintings for the new collection on Instagram @gildedbloomstudio or visit the studio website at www.gildedbloomstudio.com.

Floral Styling for the Holidays

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Floral Styling for the Holidays- www.gildedbloom.com

Creating a festive floral arrangement can be a fun and easy way to welcome guests to your home during the holidays.  This piece was designed using fresh market flowers and a few decorative embellishments packed away in a Christmas box.

To create your own version of this design you will need a pedestal vase, greenery clippings, two fresh bouquets of seasonal flowers, something sparkly, floral wire, several branches and a few Christmas ornaments.  

Floral Styling for the Holidays- www.gildedbloom.com

This pedestal vase is one I keep filled with faux greenery throughout the year.  When styling in fresh flowers, I line the vase with a plastic bag and then insert a watertight jar inside the bag to hold the fresh stems.  This prevents the urn from getting rusted and ruined.

For this design, after preparing the vase I added the greenery to provide structure in the arrangement.  The seeded eucalyptus brings a unique texture to the piece.

Seeded Eucalyptus-  Floral Styling for the Holidays- www.gildedbloom.com

Next I put in fresh seasonal flowers.  Our living room is decorated in soft greens, grey blues and ivory for the holidays,  so I chose white alstroemeria, mums, and roses with a mixed bouquet of dried lotus pods and flowering kale.

Lotus Pod- Floral Styling for the Holidays- www.gildedbloom.com

After inserting the fresh flowers into the vase I selected some glittering poinsettias from our Christmas decorations and integrated them to add a touch of sparkle to the arrangement.

Glittered Poinsettia- Floral Styling for the Holidays- www.gildedbloom.com

Lastly, I included a few faux ranunculus blooms and curly willow branches for height and hung glass ornaments from the branches.  Floral wire was used to attach the smaller ornaments.

Ornaments- Floral Styling for the Holidays- www.gildedbloom.com

I hope this arrangement inspires you to make fresh flowers a part of your holiday tradition.  It really doesn't take much to create a festive display using just a few blooms and whatever decorations you have collected.

Happy Holidays!

 Floral Styling for the Holidays- www.gildedbloom.com

Creating a Mix-and-Match Thanksgiving Table

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Thanksgiving Table Setting- Creating a Mix-and-Match Thanksgiving Table- www.gildedbloom.com

The holidays are coming fast and designing a seasonal table for Thanksgiving is always one of my favorite traditions.  This year I created a harvest table to use throughout the fall as well as on Thanksgiving.  
Choosing mix-and-match dishes and linens is an easy way to entertain without having to restyle the table for every dinner.  In order to accomplish this, it is best to commit to a color scheme at the beginning of the season and design a worthy centerpiece that will last. 

Pumpkin & Hydrangea Centerpiece- Creating a Mix-and-Match Thanksgiving Table- www.gildedbloom.com

The dried hydrangea wreath made from summer blooms and a small pumpkin surrounded by acorns and olive branches is displayed on a small cake plate covered with a glass cloche for the centerpiece.  To see how the wreath was made visit this post.

Pumpkins and Olive Branches- Creating a Mix-and-Match Thanksgiving Table- www.gildedbloom.com

I was inspired by our recent journey to the wine country, where olive trees abound, and used olive branches with baby white pumpkins throughout the table.  A cozy throw blanket that usually lives on our reading chair became the tablecloth for the season.

Pewter Bird Salt and Pepper Shakers- Creating a Mix-and-Match Thanksgiving Table- www.gildedbloom.com

These pewter bird salt and pepper shakers are nestled into the vines and always prove to be a conversation piece.

Pumpkin in Pedestal Dish- Creating a Mix-and-Match Thanksgiving Table- www.gildedbloom.com

The amethyst dessert dishes I often use for fruit salads are the perfect size and shape to hold a miniature pumpkin at each place setting.  They are set on vineyard toile linen napkins, which are layered with an amber glass salad plate and a white embossed dinner plate.  For Thanksgiving, I'll replace the pedestal dishes with the festive turkey salad plates below instead of restyling the entire table.

Turkey Table Setting- Creating a Mix-and-Match Thanksgiving Table- www.gildedbloom.com

Furniture polish works wonders on acorns to bring out their natural color and make them more decorative.  We found those used in the centerpiece while walking under oak trees. They also make beautiful autumn vase fillers and are strewn throughout the table for accent.

Pumpkin & Hydrangea Centerpiece- Creating a Mix-and-Match Thanksgiving Table- www.gildedbloom.com


Fall in the Wine Country...

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Oh, what a busy season it has been so far!  We spent time in Napa Valley which is a magical place to take pictures now as the vineyards are washed with glowing autumn sunlight.

The view from our room in St Helena was spectacular in the mornings.  I loved waking up in this peaceful place.

Vibrant cabernet grapes were still on the vines at Clos Pegase Winery in Calistoga and caught my eye with their stunning color.   

We also visited Castello di Amorosa in Calistoga. The castle has a expansive view of the surrounding vineyards and opulent paintings that imitate the style of medieval Italian art.  Below is a picture of the dining hall with its colorful wall paintings.

Our time in the wine country was so inspiring and such a relaxing break from routine.  Now that we are home, I am busy catching up in the garden and decorating for Thanksgiving.  I hope you are all having a beautiful and enjoyable autumn! 

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