Color Story: Ocean Inspired

Sunday, July 24, 2016

White Flowers and Shells-

On these hot summer days, airy ocean colors have a distinct appeal.  I find myself bringing soft whites, pale teals and blushing beiges into our decor to lighten the look for the season.  This chosen collection of seashells, amassed over many journeys to the beach, inevitably comes out of storage and gets strewn around the house.  It is a summer ritual that reminds me of beautiful days spent on the California coast.   

Shells and Blossoms-

These photos, taken of a tabletop vignette I styled, capture the serenity of the sea through color.  Faded mauve, warm beige and dusty taupe are all hues that conjure up memories of sand and shore.

Decorative Shells with Blush and Beige-

Soft teal encompasses the essence of water reflecting the colors of sky and trees on the northern coastline.  

Bowl of Blossoms and Shell-

White stock blossoms floating in a mercury glass bowl mirror the tones and texture of a nearby shell.

Sand Dollar and Anemone Shells-

A sand dollar, washed up on the shore and broken by the waves, is subtly accented by flowing lace and a soft pink anemone shell...   

How to Make a Hydrangea Wreath

Friday, July 1, 2016

How to Make a Hydrangea Wreath-

The midsummer heat is starting to fade the bright pinks and lavender hues of our hydrangeas to soft mauves and greens.   This is when I usually cut the remaining blooms to bring inside to use for decorating.  Last year I mixed them with seashells and made summery vignettes (See Summer Decorating:  Seashells and Hydrangeas) but this year I've decided to design a few wreaths to hang or give as gifts.

How to Make a Hydrangea Wreath-

I started by clipping the hydrangeas at daybreak when the blooms were fresh from the evening air. Then over my morning latte, I began stripping the leaves off the flowers and weaving the blooms into a grapevine wreath form I'd purchased at the craft store.  As you see, I added the mauve blooms first spacing them evenly throughout the wreath.  

How to Make a Hydrangea Wreath-

Then I worked the green blooms into the empty spaces until the wreath was completely covered with flowers.  After I finished, it was misted with water to keep the blooms hydrated as long as possible.  It will be misted each day until the hydrangeas start to dry.

How to Make a Hydrangea Wreath-

Here is the finished wreath!  It is now hanging indoors, still fresh and holding its color beautifully.  I would expect it to dry into a soft beige tone but I may be surprised.  And of course that is part of the fun!

Early Summer Peonies

Monday, June 13, 2016

Pink Peonies and Periwinkle Hydrangeas -

Pink peony flowers are spectacular in early summer.  I look forward to purchasing a bunch at the market to enjoy the large and showy blooms and their sweet floral scent.

Pink Peonies-

They are a pleasure to photograph because the many layers of petals on each bloom reflect the light.  These photos were taken in the early morning just after sunrise when natural light has a subtle glow.

Pink Peonies in Decorative Pot-

Peonies are beautiful on their own, placed in a decorative pot or vase with no need for filler or accent flowers.  The blooms are very fragile and often drop petals when they are handled so it is important to be gentle when arranging them.

Pink Peonies and Periwinkle Hydrangea Blossoms-

Softly colored garden hydrangeas or other flowers may be paired with them for a mixed bouquet.   Here the cool pink of the peonies is enhanced by soft periwinkle blue hydrangea blossoms.

The Changing Color of Hydrangeas

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Hydrangeas in Blue Beach Glass Vase-

Hydrangea season is here at last and our side garden is now filled with glorious pink, purple and lavender blooms.  Every year the plants get larger and now they are almost as tall as I am.  If I don't get busy pruning, we may be growing hydrangea trees instead of bushes by next spring!

In this area, the native soil turns some varieties of blue flowers pink after a year or two in the ground.  Although the pink is lovely, I grew restless with it this year and tried to turn them back to blue by adding a soil acidifier.  It worked a little bit and now they are purple.  I usually apply new products with a light touch and only did one application of the acidifier in early spring.  Next year I'll know to make generous and frequent applications for a more vibrant blue.  Still, I am very happy with the purple hue for now as it blends beautifully into bouquets and is slightly different that what we've had before.  The arrangement of lacecap and mophead hydrangeas above shows the transition in color from pink to purple.

Angel's Parasol Hydrangea-

We grow several varieties of hydrangea but the most delicate of all is the Angel's Parasol pictured above. This is often considered a premium florist's potted hydrangea not a landscape variety but ours has unexpectedly grown into a huge bush in a shaded and protected area of the garden.  When its soft velvety petals emerge it is always a clear signal that summer is on the horizon.

Angel's Parasol Hydrangea in White Vase-

This plant was originally a light periwinkle and the color has turned more lavender over the years.  After adding the soil acidifier,  you can see that some of the blooms appeared in a cooler and brighter purple.

Angel's Parasol Hydrangea in White Vase-

Hydrangeas make excellent cut flowers as long as they are kept cool and hydrated with fresh water.  To create these simple summer displays I chose a blue beach glass bottle and a classic white porcelain vase to hold the blooms.

Spring Garden Floral Arrangements

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Pink Yellow Pastel Tulips

Creating a spring garden floral arrangement using a mixture of homegrown and market flowers is a simple, inexpensive way to bring the spirit of the season into your home.  It is also a delight to share the beauty of the garden with those that you care about.  After all, who doesn't love to receive flowers?

After discovering a beautiful bunch of tulips and snapdragons at the market,  I styled these arrangements using filler flowers from our garden to create texture.

Tulip and Hydrangea Pedestal Arrangement-

This pedestal vase holds budding hydrangeas and some tulips for color and gesture.  The sprigs of star jasmine draping over the edges add a sweet intoxicating scent to the design.

Simple Hydrangea Arrangement- Create a Spring Garden Floral Design

Freshly cut purple and pink hydrangeas were placed in a porcelain pot for an uncomplicated arrangement that emphasizes the broad blooms.

Cottage Garden Floral Arrangement- Snapdragons and Hydrangeas

The height of this tall cylindrical pitcher is accentuated by stalky snapdragons and hydrangea buds.  Soft purple and pink cottage garden flowers paired with spring green buds and foliage reflect the shabby chic style of the container.

Cottage Garden Floral Arrangement- Snapdragons and Hydrangeas

There are so many ways to combine and design flowers into lovely arrangements using just a few purchased stems with homegrown accents and foliage.  This is an easy and beautiful way to turn a store-bought bouquet into a unique and decorative design.

Bouquets to Art 2016

Monday, April 11, 2016

It is an annual treat to visit the de Young Museum's lovely Bouquets to Art show in San Francisco.  During this weeklong event, select floral designers create magnificent interpretations of works from the de Young's permanent collection using flowers and other organic materials.  The designs this year were stunning.  Below are a few photos of floral artistry from the 2016 exhibition.  

Bouquets to Art Exhibition, de Young Museum, San Francisco, 2016
Waterlily Pond Floral Design Studio, Natasha Lisitsa, Daniel Schultz (San Francisco)
Inspired by Helen Frankenthaler, Crusades, 1976.
Bouquets to Art Exhibition, de Young Museum, San Francisco, 2016
Anne Mendenhall Flowers, Anne Mendenhall; co-exibitor Darlene Wertz (Walnut Creek)
Inspired by Jasper Francis Cropsey, October, 1887.
The floral designs at the Bouquets to Art show vary each year, making this exhibition perpetually fascinating to view.  To see more captivating designs from a previous Bouquets to Art show, please visit this post.

Bouquets to Art Exhibition, de Young Museum, San Francisco, 2016
The Bud Shop, Cathy Boldt; co-exibitor Jessica Thorwart (San Francisco)
Inspired by Martin Johnson Heade, Orchid and Hummingbird, ca. 1885

Sunshine on a Rainy Day: Daffodils and Ranunculus

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Yellow Daffodils and Orange Ranunculus- #floralphotography

Daffodils and ranunculus are in beautiful bloom now in the garden.  Their soft lemon yellow and warm orange colors remind me of sunshine peeking through the clouds on a rainy spring day.  These photos were taken on just such a day, when a few moments of sun illuminated the garden and I rushed out with my camera to photograph the dreamy light. 

Daffodils and Vintage Porcelain Plate

A vintage porcelain plate with a pastoral scene of country life shares the same color scheme and captures the character of this peaceful day.  

Daffodils and Ranunculus in Vase #floralphotography

Gathering the blooms to bring inside before the next rain, I filled several small vases for the entryway. Now the scent of spring flowers fills the house!  Have a lovely week...
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