Outside in…

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again- Sometimes some of the most interesting product is right outside your backdoor. You just have to know where to look, and when to put your creative goggles on.

I ventured out back this week and was delighted to wade about in the knee-high possibilities. You call them weeds, I call them exotic blooms.

In my opinion, pruning is always a good thing. So why not put the scraps to good use?

Ah, the joys of a pocket knife. It’s good to carry one. Especially on hikes. You never know what you might run into…

And while the rest of California is serving Nasturtium on a plate, I’m all too happy to tuck a few stems into a round cobalt blue vase. An unidentified wild blue flower also makes an appearance.


I know exactly what to do when someone brings home a bunch of carnations from Safeway….bind them tight, cut them short and use a really cool and vintage vase (if you have one) to display them in.

Someone brought home a bunch of carnations recently and I did just that.

Here is the pink carnation arrangement posing with some rather cute (and vintage) salt and pepper shakers I picked up in Sonoma last week. I tossed the carnations out today. The lasted 3 weeks. Seriously 3 weeks.

I feel the way about Carnations the way I feel about Baby’s breath. There’s nothing wrong with them, but use them all on their own. Many people still turn their noses up at the thought of using either, but it takes some imagination to turn them into something fabulous. As my dear friend Charles once told me when faced with a “cheap flower’ dilemma, “You have to know how to make lemonade out of lemons.”

Here are some past arrangements I’ve designed using carnations. Below are images of a pink and orange carnation arrangement. Makes me think of sherbet. Used in a glass cube that has pepper berry floating in it.

Here are the heads of purple carnations tightly clustered in the bottom of a bubble bowl to complete the look of an orchid arrangement. Again, carnations can look really cute and quite tolerable if done in the right way. Some shades even, such as the pale pink and peach can also pass along with spray roses.

With their long-lasting reputations and decidedly crinkled petals, I’m not scared to play with carnations. I just think it is all part of the challenge…

So when life gives you carnations, use them!

Smokebush and King Protea

I’ve been covering the account of a very talented floral designer and friend, who recently had an unfortunate foot accident. Though she has limited walking abilities she still has managed to produce some beautiful weddings and events recently. She is truly amazing! And while she continues to rest and heal, I’ve been delighted to be apart of the floral installations at one of her weekly accounts. The account is for all three of the Samovar┬átea lounges in San Francisco. Each space is a delight to be and work in, and let me just mention that I am now one of the many officially hooked on one of their signature teas. It is called Green Ecstasy and it is pure bliss, as in literally. It was also set you back 14$ for a cup and 45$ for a box. If I could drink this daily, you can bet I would. I highly recommend Samovar as a place to sit quietly with a book (no WI-FI here), enjoy the company of a friend and enjoy some amazing fresh food and wonderful tea blends.

The designer does the ordering and I pick them up at the SF Flower market. I’ve used Smokebush/Cotinus before as a filler in arrangements, but never have I seen it fluffy and in full bloom. It looks like a giant dark purple cloud that one can’t help touching. I also choose some green ‘pond rods’ to add to the arrangement.

Here is the arrangement at the Yerba Buena location.

Another view of Smokebush at the Zen Valley location.

The previous week it was all about King Protea with an accent of a type of blooming Bromeliad.


Naturally, I was curious to see what types of floral arrangements were being displayed at Harrod’s. Here are just a few that I saw throughout the perfumery.

You know that unsightly blue rose that is often carried at convenience stores and lower- end florists? Well here it is in all it’s splendor. Does it help that there are probably close to 200 blue roses in this arrangement? Yes. Does it help that this display is at Harrod’s? Yes. In fact, most things will look that much more fabulous when a shiny silver urn is being used as the vessel.

And two views of a Peony arrangement.

Open pink roses and branches.

The fresh-cut flowers in the case.

Aloe vera plant with roses and muscari.

Below this are Dahlias, stock, peonies, fox glove.

Orchids at the Savoy

He didn’t get the memo. Someone forgot to mention to my date he’d need proper foot attire to enter the American Bar in the Savoy. We still managed to gaze into the curtained lap of luxury where presumably Americans were not drinking.. The arrangements in the entry of the tea room/dining are literally dripping with orchids. This looks like a really fun account.

And the view looking into the chocolate shop, pardon me, Chocolate Couture room…

Hydrangea suspended in bird cage (at the top) is slightly out of view, but there is another one in the lower right are balancing the Chocolate sculpture. Balance always.