Early Summer Peonies

Monday, June 13, 2016

Pink Peonies and Periwinkle Hydrangeas - www.gildedbloom.com

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- www.gildedbloom.com

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- www.gildedbloom.com

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- www.gildedbloom.com

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- www.gildedbloom.com

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- www.gildedbloom.com

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- www.gildedbloom.com

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- www.gildedbloom.com

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- www.gildedbloom.com

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- www.gildedbloom.com #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 www.gildedbloom.com

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 www.gildedbloom.com #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...

A Bunny Brunch Table

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Bunny Brunch Table- Set a spring table with flowers and bunnies.  www.gildedbloom.com #tablessetting

This spring I decided to host a brunch for friends and have styled a table filled with country garden flowers and bunny plates to welcome my guests.  This is a very simple table to set up using home grown flowers and what dishes you have on hand.  I chose to feature a pink, blue and yellow color scheme but any flowery spring hues could be used.

Country Garden Floral Arrangements- Bunny Brunch Table- Set a spring table with flowers and bunnies.  www.gildedbloom.com #tablessetting

Our garden is in bloom with fragrant hyacinth, daffodils and camellias which I cut and arranged in a blue majolica pitcher and some matching bowls. These small floral arrangements are scattered down the center of the table for a casual look.

Bunny Brunch Table- Set a spring table with flowers and bunnies.  www.gildedbloom.com #tablessetting

A pitcher of daffodils and azalea blossoms adds country charm and height to the center of the table.  

Bunny Brunch Table- Set a spring table with flowers and bunnies.  www.gildedbloom.com #tablessetting

To create texture, woven placemats are layered over a beige tablecloth then each place is set with a bunny salad plate on top of a blue majolica dinner plate.  The flatware is wrapped in a white cloth napkin and tied with a simple pink satin ribbon to accent the flowers.
  

Bunny Brunch Table- Set a spring table with flowers and bunnies.  www.gildedbloom.com #tablessetting

The tall blue goblets add height to the table and a bit of vintage style. They will be perfect for a blended juice.

Bunny Brunch Table- Set a spring table with flowers and bunnies.  www.gildedbloom.com #tablessetting

A few bunny figurines are strewn throughout the table to complement the plates and add to the whimsical mood of the brunch.  

The menu is very simple with scones, quiche and a fruit salad then coffee or tea after the meal.  

Happy Spring!

Harvesting the Winter Garden

Thursday, February 18, 2016


Lemons-Harvesting the Winter Garden-www.gildedbloom.com #gardening #citrus

Spring is just around the corner now which means I have been harvesting the winter garden and preserving our citrus fruit to use throughout the summer.  We have a short winter here with a few months of bitter cold, then in February spring begins with the orchards blooming and the most spellbinding scent of blossoms in the air.  This is my cue to get busy and finish removing fruit from our trees, cutting the first herbs of the season, and harvesting the broccoli and salad greens before they go to seed or flower. 

Harvesting the Winter Garden- www.gildedbloom.com #gardening

This is also my first year growing broccoli in pots and we've had a few lovely little heads but a full harvest will clearly require more room.  The salad greens are happy as ever in their containers and continue to thrive through the cool spring weather.  Much to my surprise, our Greek oregano survived the frost and has come back beautifully, doubling in size! We're also growing spearmint, rosemary and several pots of Italian parsley.    

In the citrus garden we have Meyer Lemons, Lisbon Lemons, Bearss Limes, Blood Oranges, Tangerines, Navel Oranges and miniature Calamondin Oranges.   The trees begin fruiting around November and we usually cut the fruit as we use it. Then right before the trees start to flower, I remove the excess and juice it to freeze for summer.  The taste of a sliced lime in a glass of water is so refreshing and although this Bearss variety looks like a lemon, it tastes like a lime! 

Lime Water- Harvesting the Winter Garden- www.gildedbloom.com #gardening

This winter we had a bounty of blood oranges for the first time and the dark red juice has a unique berry-like flavor.  

Blood Oranges- Harvesting the Winter Garden- www.gildedbloom.com #gardening

The baby Calamondin oranges stay on the tree almost year round and are ornamental.  I like to use them in arrangements and often as a vase filler.  Removing the fruit in the winter keeps the tree healthy and the fruit fresh and pretty.


Calamondin Oranges- Harvesting the Winter Garden- www.gildedbloom.com #gardening

Here is a small vase of Calamondins and parsley I cut for display in the kitchen today.  The fresh oranges smell so good and perk up the kitchen counter with the scent of citrus and herbs.

Citrus Bouquet- Harvesting the Winter Garden- www.gildedbloom.com #gardening

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