Tulips two ways

I picked up some Tulips at the market on Sunday, and guess what? They’re already blown open. That does happen and it has been quite warm in the house (75 degrees) today. Even the ice-cube in the vase trick didn’t help much. Alas, so much for 3-5 days.

Today I removed them from the vase they were in and cut them down quite short. I was able to make two arrangements using a square vase for one and a short cylinder for the other.

In the cylinder vase I tucked in some random foliage I picked up today on my hike. I also snipped the tiniest bit of a succulent (from a plant on my porch) and added that in the front of the arrangement. The leaves used in the vase to conceal the stems, are that of the tulips.

The second Tulip arrangement is in a 5×5 cube. I used more of the random and wild foliage for filler, as well as a few stems from the Acacia tree. Incidentally the Acacia is blooming already, but I wasn’t able to reach that far. Lucky for the Acacia tree.

Though they are quite striking when they are fully open, I’m hoping for one more day (at least) from these Tulips.

Promising blooms

Recent clippings for the mantle piece. I’m happy to say I picked them from my backyard slope (and not on a hike).

The bloom promises to be pink. Can’t wait to see how it manifests.

The old wine bottle is great to use for long and random stems. I have quite a collection. Of both.


There are many (more than 15) varieties of Leucadendron. Leucadendron are also part of the large family of Protea. The family tree is quite extensive so if you are interested in either, check each link which will take you directly to the Wikipedia page.

When I worked in a floral boutique in Houston, we commonly received various Protea product (grown in California). Incidentally Protea is native to Australia and South Africa, and grows extremely well in California’s accommodating climate. I once spoke with a man whose family owns a Protea farm in California. As you might imagine, they like Protea quite a bit.

Here a few shots of the restaurant installations last week. The photos were shot with my camera phone so please understand why they are a little fuzzy. My camera phone isn’t one of the best, but it’s what I had at the time.

Both arrangements are in the back corners of the dining room.

Safari Sunshine with Pussy Willow

The vibrancy of the red colors of the Safari Sunshine, looked beautiful with the long stems of Pussy Willow.

Below is a better picture of what Safari Sunshine looks like.

photo of Safari Sunshine Leucadendron

from Upland Nursery


In the middle section of the restaurant (separating the bar and the main dining room) are two white boat-shaped pods. Somehow they acquired the nickname ‘Avatar arrangements’. I generally execute one of the large arrangements in the dining area, but last week I was asked to do the Avatar pods.

I really enjoyed doing both. The detail work that goes into these pod arrangements is entertaining to me.

Elements include in both pod arrangements are:

Inca Gold Leucadendron, Seeded Eucalyptus, Magnolia leaves, Banksia and thin stems of Pussy Willow.

It is hard to tell where the Banksia is in this picture. Banksia is also in the extended family of Protea. The variety used this time is brown and dried in appearance. It resembles that of an elongated pine cone (see below image corner right).

I can’t help but share this gorgeous illustration of Banksia from

Ferdinand Bauer’s Illustrationes Florae Novae Hollandiae.

I’m a huge fan of vinatge floral illustrations.


I am too excited and too honored, when this fabulous Floral Designer, asks me to cover her Monday account. She has impeccable style and gorgeous taste, so of course I’m flattered that she would ask me to install.

Last year, I’ve had the great opportunity to work with and assist her with several weddings and it was such a wonderful learning experience. I have also had great fun in covering several of her restaurant accounts (Coco 500 and Foreign Cinema) when she is out-of-town.

Monday is an early day and a busy day at the San Francisco Flower Market. I’m always eager to see what flowers she has ordered for the account. This past Monday I was so happy to see Quince branches in the bundle. This is the time of year when all of the flowering branches are in season. They add such beautiful simplicity to arrangements as well as looking perfect all on their own.

Also included in the arrangement are Mandarin (on the stem), Pincushion Protea, Thistle (Eryngium) and a cluster of blue-gray berries, whose name I do not know.I’ve seen it before, but unsure of the exact name. The berry reminds me a bit of a Juniper berry, but the stems are without leaves.

Here is a close-up of the base of the arrangement.

I just love the way the whole arrangement looks ‘bountiful’ and abundant with berries and citrus. As well the colors and textures are a little on the wild side and remind me of a tropical island.

Queen Anne’s Lace

“There’s nothing left here. At least nothing with a bloom”.

That’s what he said.

I was at this past Saturday’s Farmer’s Market at the Ferry Building, wandering around, avoiding the lines of Roli Roti and scanning the booths of produce.

I was in the mood for flowers. The flower stall that I like to go to (behind the building in front of Sur La Table) was absolutely wiped out of flowers. So my partner chimed in, stating the very obvious.

Yes, nothing had a bloom at this stall. Oh well.

There were Tulips and Anemones, offered from a grower  in the front of the building, but something about the soft colors of purple and light green caught my eye.

This is Queen Anne’s lace and a bunch of a light-colored lavender plant. It is quite interesting. I’m not sure what it is. Rather I didn’t pay well enough attention to the tiny sign attached to it.

I am really loving the textures of the two together. Very romantic and sweet. It’s just missing some blown open white Peonies.

I also decided to chop the stems and do an arrangement in a 5 x 5 glass cube. I do like Queen Anne’s lace as a tall composition, but when it is short and full, it is absolutely gorgeous. See below.

Maybe next time I’ll get something with a ‘bloom’.

But right now I’m loving the soft, delicate, textures of this lavender and minty green arrangement.

Restaurant installations

Here are some recent  shots from the restaurant installations.

Please excuse the quality of the photo, they were taken with my camera phone.


In the entry of the restaurant, behind the host stand is a beautiful iron wall/ partition. Sitting on the edge of this wall is a large and beautiful hand-crafted pottery vessel. The idea is to put one or two elements in this vessel. As well, the element should be seen from up close and a far.

This is a composition of tallow berry I arranged in the vessel back in November. Tallow berry is wonderful. Considered a weed in Texas, it grows like crazy. But it is quite beautiful and lasts for ages dried , as is.

And here is this week’s composition.

view from the front

Elements used are pods and a type of silver eucalyptus (with out leaves).

view from the side

One of two large arrangements in the restaurant. This is composed of silver dollar eucalyptus and dogwood branches.

Let me tell you it is serious business working on this arrangement. It is large. But it is great fun to do. It sits between two banquets and is one of the first things you see when you walk in the restaurant.

I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to work with this amazing Floral designer. I began assisting her last year while she was pregnant and have since continued to work with her on her several restaurant accounts.

Red protea, camellia foliage, magnolia leaves, calla lilies

At the second restaurant install I have become in charge of the bar arrangement.

The bar arrangement is smaller and as Desi called this one (sexier). Blends well with the colored dripping glass light fixtures and the sultry essence of the restaurants bar and lounge.