A Luncheon in the Garden

Monday, May 8, 2017

A Luncheon in the Garden- www.gildedbloom.com

May is a lovely month to be outdoors and what better way to celebrate the beauty of late spring than with a luncheon in the garden...

A Luncheon in the Garden- www.gildedbloom.com

A centerpiece that features home grown flowers is simple to create and ties the table design to the surroundings.  Here I used a plaster pedestal container and inserted a glass vase filled with water to hold the flowers.  Snipping and clipping from the trees and bushes, I began to fill the vase with greenery and then worked in a market bouquet of lilies.  Flowers like azaleas, roses, trumpet vine and purple clematis were added to provide more color and texture.  There is so much in bloom during May!

A Luncheon in the Garden- www.gildedbloom.com

I have been waiting for a proper occasion to use these lovely vintage china plates given to me by a dear friend.  Painted with dainty purple violets, they complement the many shades of lavender in the garden.  They are edged with gold so I paired them with gold rimmed glass salad plates and simple white dinner plates.  The gold napkin rings are accented with sprigs of purple campanula.

A Luncheon in the Garden- www.gildedbloom.com

A vintage lace cloth covers the table and green silk fabric is used as a runner. The placemats provide a pop of purple to match the plates and the amethyst glass goblets.

A Luncheon in the Garden- www.gildedbloom.com

Pillows on the outdoor chairs make dining on the patio more comfortable and colorful. 

Birds- A Luncheon in the Garden- www.gildedbloom.com

We have so many birds in the garden that these two on the table must feel quite at home!

A Luncheon in the Garden- www.gildedbloom.com

This vintage vase has flowers tucked in for an accent.

A Luncheon in the Garden- www.gildedbloom.com

The table is now ready for a relaxing outdoor get together!

On My Bookshelf: Floret Farm's Cut Flower Garden + Floret Daffodils in Bloom

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Oh what a busy spring it has been so far...  In addition to seeding and weeding I've also been reading!  The new book by Erin Benzakein of Floret Farm is the latest to capture my attention and I am learning so much from its pages.  It includes detailed directions for growing, harvesting and arranging  seasonal flowers and features many interesting and unique floral varieties to inspire readers to plant and tend a gorgeous cutting garden throughout the year.

Last October I was enthralled with all the stunning floral beauty I saw on Erin's Instagram feed, and I ordered some daffodil bulbs from Floret for our entry garden and to fill in a few pots on the back patio.  I wasn't sure if they would grow up to be as spectacular as those shown online since I planted most in containers, but I have been happily surprised to find them healthy and beautiful in the spring garden.

Below are a few photos of the flowers which have been blooming in succession since late February.  It has been exciting and fun to see these unique varieties flourish!

Sir Winston Churchill Daffodils- www.gildedbloom.com

Here is the first daffodil to bloom, "Sir Winston Churchill".  These are small flowers with several blossoms per stem and a rich, sweet scent.

Pink Charm Daffodils- www.gildedbloom.com

The "Pink Charm" daffodils grew tall and dense with greenery in these ceramic pots.  Isn't the color amazing?

Pink Charm Daffodils- www.gildedbloom.com

I like to keep flowers growing in a bowl on our patio table during the rainy season.  It is usually too cold to eat outside but we see them from the kitchen window so it's worth it!

Flower Drift Daffodils- www.gildedbloom.com

These are "Flower Drift" daffodils.  They have a pretty yellow and orange center.

Flower Drift Daffodils- www.gildedbloom.com

Blooming this week is the "Deinashaugh" daffodil.  It is a beautiful soft peach color with multilayered, fringed petals.  Isn't it exquisite?

Deinashaugh Daffodil- www.gildedbloom.com

I'm still awaiting the last of the daffodils, which are budding and about to open.  Hopefully, by Easter they will bloom and I will post them on Instagram.

Branches and Blooms: Star Magnolia

Friday, March 17, 2017

Blooms and Branches:  Star Magnolia - www.gildedbloom.com

Star Magnolia is among the most dazzling of trees in our early spring garden. Its skeleton of branches features a profusion of stunning white flowers that brings the landscape to life. These double blossoms are also beautiful as cut flowers and can be used to add a seasonal touch to arrangements.

Blooms and Branches:  Star Magnolia - www.gildedbloom.com

Originating in Japan, the star magnolia (magnolia stellata) is a shrub or small tree that flowers on bare branches before its leaves appear.  Blossoms range from light pink to white depending on the weather and are easy to bloom in vases by cutting budding branches and placing them in fresh water near a window.  

Blooms and Branches:  Star Magnolia Arrangement - www.gildedbloom.com

Since the branches of this magnolia are distinct, swirling and curling in all directions, they create a dramatic display on their own when placed in a pedestal vase like the one shown above.  This simple arrangement also highlights the different stages of bloom, showing the buds as they open and the blossoms as they whiten with age.

Blooms and Branches:  Star Magnolia - www.gildedbloom.com

The velvety texture of the petals are an outstanding feature of this flower and add to the overall character of the plant.  Near the end of the bloom cycle, green leaves begin to grow under the flowers providing a new layer of color.

Blooms and Branches:  Star Magnolia Arrangement - www.gildedbloom.com

When flowers are in full bloom they are lovely in bud vases and can be displayed on a table or nightstand for an elegant accent.  However, if the flowers are cut from the tree when fully open they will only last about a day and the blooms are extremely fragile.  

Magnolias are just one of many beautiful flowering branches that can be grown in the spring and then styled for indoor display.  To learn more about flowering branches, see the 26-page feature article about them in the new Spring 2017 issue of Garden Design magazine.  You will find tips for growing, harvesting and arranging these lovely gifts of spring.

If you'd like to subscribe, 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!

Garden Design Magazine- Spring 2017

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.

Flowering Plum Trees

Friday, March 3, 2017

Plum Blossoms- www.gildedbloom.com

It is that beautiful time of year again when the trees are starting to bloom and fill the air with the sweet scent of spring.  I like to walk in the mornings and take in the beauty of the season.  

Flowering Plum Trees- www.gildedbloom.com

Last week I brought my camera along and found this flowering plum tree to photograph.  The blossoms are a very subtle pink and catch the light beautifully.  Later this tree will grow dark purple leaves that are lovely until the fall.  

Flowering Plum Trees- www.gildedbloom.com

After coveting these branches (which would look gorgeous massed in a big vase in our living room) I'm seriously considering planting a flowering plum tree like this one in the backyard.  They are so pretty throughout the year...

Flowering Plum Trees- www.gildedbloom.com

Flowering Plum Trees- www.gildedbloom.com

But until then I'll be enjoying the landscape on my morning walks.  Also...

Darling Ducks- www.gildedbloom.com

These adorable little ducks are often my companions during these a.m. strolls.  They are visitors to our neighborhood this time of year and are usually found in pairs sleeping on lawns or waddling down the street on rainy days.  Although they don't like to pose, I managed to snap a picture of them just for you.

Daffodils in Distinctive Containers

Monday, February 27, 2017

When daffodils start to emerge from the ground they bring with them thoughts of spring.  After many weeks of much needed rain here in California, winter is coming to a close and flowers are beginning to bloom again.  These daffodils are among the first to color our garden with spring by bringing a pop of yellow to the flower beds.

Daffodils in Statement Containers- www.gildedbloom.com

Since daffodils always make a strong statement due to their vivid color and unusual shape I decided to display them in equally unique containers.  This brightly colored heirloom porcelain piece is from Sweden and belonged to my great-grandmother.  It looks like a piece of kitchen crockery so I used it for a kitchen arrangement.  To support the flowers in this low container, I cut the stems about 3-4" and massed the daffodils into the base which was filled with water.  The country style of this arrangement makes a simple statement and is very easy to maintain by changing the water daily.

Daffodils in Statement Containers- www.gildedbloom.com

Mixing different kinds of daffodils forms an interesting arrangement with various colors and textures.  However, since daffodils secrete a sap that can shorten the life of other cut flowers, it is important not to include them in mixed bouquets unless you have soaked them in a vase of water by themselves for at least 12 hours. This will prevent them from affecting other cut flowers.

Daffodils in Statement Containers- www.gildedbloom.com

Another simple idea for styling daffodils is to use small decorative bottles or vases to hold a single bloom.  This blue and white porcelain tea jar provides a rich textural backdrop for the orange and lemon yellow "Tahiti" daffodil.  This double blooming variety with layered petals is one of my favorites and its exotic coloring fuses beautifully with blue and white.


Here a larger jar holds multiple blooms.  The Tahiti and petite daffodils are excellent companions in the garden and also in arrangements.  Enjoy!

Special Delivery

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!
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