Posts Tagged ‘Holly Heider Chapple’

It’s Raining Dahlias in Chicago

Friday, January 4th, 2013

Most planners have a saying that goes: You are only as good as the vendors behind you”. Well us floral designers have a saying: “You are only as good as the blooms you get”. If the quality of a flower arrives in absolutely pristine condition it is easy to create a design that speaks for itself. But when blooms arrive looking a little beat up or just plain ol’ sad it’s hard to make something gorgeous out of them, especially when they are two breaths away from death.

Two years ago I was having that issue with dahlias. Dahlias are hard to grow, hard to transport and since they were high in demand a few of the usual suspects were incredibly hard to get. Especially those Cafe au Lait dahlias that everyone seems to love for their creamy with a blush undertone. Last year around mothers day I told myself I would try it, because what did I have to loose…. and this is a blog post about what happened.

I started as everyone else does…. with dahlia tubers which I ordered online and around late May when the tubers started sprouting. Trust me when I say this, I had no idea what was in store for me but all I had to lose was the time I spent planting them and $160 I spent on them.

Unless you don’t remember it was a hot summer, super duper hot. I probably watered these plants just about every other day in the summer and I did throw in a few prayers that my plants wouldn’t die on me. Maybe because I wanted to see them come to life after all the time spent on them. While my babies were growing I got to spend some time with my friend Holly Heider Chapple out in Virginia. During my time there he took me to see Don from Don’s Dahlias whom she purchases dahlias for her designs. Don knows his dahlias quite well and he thought me a few tricks to ensure my plants kept on thriving and continued providing blooms the entire season.

After two months of dragging hoses, pinching back plants, staking them, fighting weeds, praying that the hot weather would not absolutely fry the plants and a few spiders. They started to look like this.


They grew so much that I had close to 20 to 30 blooms every other week. Again that was from just 20 tubers that I planted. My goal was to get my plants going pretty strong for one wedding taking place late in September. If it didn’t work out… well then it didn’t work out and I could still order from my wholesaler. What I didn’t expect was the fact that my plants gave me so much back. So much…. that I was able to do this.

Do you see that dinner plate dahlia? It was the star of the bridal show. Other designers at the show wanted to ask were did I get them.

So you see them on the escort card table? Yep, we had them there too… and on this bride’s bouquet, and on the floral arrangements we placed on her chuppah.

We also put them in this huge arch for our bride at the South Shore Cultural Center, that arch looked divine in person.

They also made an appearance at these weddings and events!

And for good measure I grew some purple ones too because I knew I was going to use them.

So there you have it, my little secret is out. If you were my client last year (between late July to late October) and you had happened to have white, blush or purple dahlias in your designs summer chances are you had them at your event.  I had a great time growing them (minus fighting the spiders!) and of course getting to use them in my designs. That’s as locally organic grown as we get around here!

We will be growing some other things next year….already on the ground more tulip bulbs than I can count, hellebores, peonies, freesias, clematis and will test out ranunculus, sweet peas, pieris japonica, mock orange, fox tail lilies (aka emerus), forsythia and hops vine along with what else… dahlias!

That is what I call… reaping what you sow. Literally!

I’m crazy for compotes too…

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012

Earlier last week Martha Stewart Bride’s Guide posted a “Crazy for Compotes” blog post. Well, I’m crazy for compotes too. So crazy that I have created compote designs for 80% of my wedding clients this year, social and a few corporate ones too. Compotes elevate a floral design and it’s a great way to use cut glass, milk glass, grandma’s vintage pieces and maybe a few plastic pieces too that look like the real ceramic.

Here are a few of my favorite designs that will be making a debut at a wedding this summer and fall.


White Zinnias, White dahlias, privet berrie leaves, privet berries, white astarantia, queen anne’s lace in a white milk glass compote

Yellow zinnias, olive leaves, white wax flowers, queen anne’s lace, orange aslepia, astilbe and grass on a white milk glass compote

This is one of our designs for an upcoming fall wedding, orange unique roses, scabiosa pods, orange ranunculus, fall foliage, orange spray roses, red hypericim berries and seeded eucalyptus on a footed black compote.

But guess what? I have some friends… actually some Chapel Designers who are crazy about compotes too. Isha Foss, from Isha Foss Events had the idea that we all shared our compote designs today. So here are some sites you should also visit for added inspiration today! Just click on the company names below to see some beautiful designs.

Isha Foss Events

Alluring Blooms

Floral Verde LLC 

Flirty Fleurs

Celebration Florals

Holly Heider Chapple Flowers


Petals & Hedges

Bare Root Flora

Loda Floral Design

True Florette Floral Design

Courtenay Lambert Florals

Grapevine Floral Company 

Modern Day Floral 

Sebestia Designs 

Meeting Ariella Chezar ~ Part Three of my trip to NYC

Friday, March 23rd, 2012

As a floral designer I can say last week I met with my old flower sisters and got to connect with some new ones. One of the highlights of last week was getting to meet and take two floral classes with the fairy god mother of many floral designers, Ariella Chezar.  After a crazy cab ride to get to the Flower School of NYC on time I took my spot and afterwards we got to meet our lovely instructor for the day.


Ariella was everything that I expected and more. She was gracious, with a very calm personality and soft spoken. She was also willing to share all her sources and answer the group’s questions; and when I say questions she answered everything from “Where do you get the ribbons for your bouquets?” to… “How old are you?”

The first class I took was a hand tied bouquet class. We used light pink wax flowers, dusty miller, carnations, white freesia, white anemones with green centers, ranunculus, quicksand roses, passion vine, hellebores, jasmine vine, parrot tulips and dusty miller.

My lovely bouquet…. thank you Holly for holding it!

Ariella’s Bouquet, love the passion vine!

After an amazing lunch in the afternoon at La Grenouille (thanks to Eileen who got us a reservation at the last minute) we came back for an afternoon class on the art of the compote.



I have to finish by saying that Eileen Johnson who started the Flower School of NYC is a lovely lady. She had lots of great advice and made us feel welcome. In addition, I loved how she offered champagne, scones and macaroons while we designed away. I highly recommend the school to anyone looking to take a floral class.

A Day Designing with David Beahm, Jeremy and Holly

Friday, March 11th, 2011

This is a third blog post in a series documenting my recent trip to New York City. You can read the first and second series by clicking on the links.

While we were at the NYC floral market quietly David and Jeremy from David Beahm Design were quietly purchasing florals that caught the designers’ eyes. For one designer it might have been a bunch of yellow parrot tulips, for another designer coral double (or peonie) tulips, or the anemones (they were gigantic at the floral market in nyc) for someone else it might have been double white lisianthus (that they couldn’t get of that quality back home),  for another designer it was mimosa that really caught her attention, for me it was the green hellebores. I had only worked with it once and I definitely wanted to work with it again.  After we visited the floral market with David Beahm and his lead designer Jeremy (Have I mentioned how nice these two guys are? They are awesome) we went to their office, unpacked the flowers and we talked about the care of flowers. Jeremy gave us some great tips and David reminded us of the correct way to cut stems so they drink lots of water while keeping bacteria at bay. Basics that every designer should know… but it was certainly a good reminder, and of course he also taught us a few tricks!

Look at all this nice floral product!

Jeremy kicks off the designing!

Show stopping Tall Arrangement created by David and Jeremy

We had a lovely lunch provided by Liana Rae Private Chef and Boutique Caterer. If you are having a small intimate party out in NYC I highly recommend her. This was lunch, I can’t even begin to imagine what she would create for dinner. The food was absolutely delicious.


Afterwards the real fun began. Holly and Jeremy began arranging 8″ rectangular glass vases with florals. They created three different arrangements on their own, and then asked us to pick some of the florals that they had purchased and create a design of our own. I choose that green hellebores that caught my eye and “borrowed” some of those yellow parrot tulips along with a few stems of yellow mimosa to create the arrangement below.

Green Hellebores, Dusty Miller, Mimosa and

Yellow Parrot Tulips  Created by ME!!!

All designers came up with different designs. Some full of color, others contemporary and sleek. Others used organic elements like tree bark or steel grass to complete their designs. It was a great way to see everyone’s different styles. Clearly, we were all so very different in our designs but we shared one thing in common…. our love of flowers.

Cascading Bouquet of Hot Pink Tulips, Scabiosa and

Hot Pink Sweetpeas Created by Jeremy

Hand Tied Bouquet of Red and White Roses, Yellow Parrot Tulips

and Mimosa Created by Holly Chapple

Afterwards, we got to split in teams of two and were given a random celebrity name to design for…. some of them male actors! David was not going to let us go easy on this one. Others got famous authors or singers.  Which was a tad different from the usual, but it certainly made it for an interesting challenge.  Once again, I was in awe of what the other designers created. So very different, yet all so lovely.

Design Challenge ~ Light Blue Hydrangeas, Blue Anemones, Lilacs,

Jasmine Vine, Scabiosa and Purple Sweetpeas  Created by Janice from Precious Pear and myself

After we cleaned up, David treated us to a session he had given before. He also shared with us how he stated in the business and was honest about what it takes to survive in this business. Hard work.

It was a wonderful day, we got to top  it off with a glass of bubbly. Thanks to Holly, Jeremy and David for such an amazing day! We were also invited by David to a party hosted by 100 Layer Cake and Elan Artists at the hip Ace Hotel!

Tomorrow on the blog … The Martha Stewart Show, our unexpected invitation to tour the  corporate offices by the woman herself, shopping at MJ Trim and a visit to Ovando!