Posts Tagged ‘Scabiosa Pods’

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!

Amy and Cynthia at The Drake Hotel

Thursday, January 3rd, 2013

Last October we had the pleasure of working with Amy and Cynthia. They came to us via MDM Entertainment who was providing all the music and uplighting for the wedding at The Drake Hotel in Chicago.

Amy carried a bridal bouquet of green dianthus, aubergine callas, burgundy dahlias, scabiosa pods, green cymbidium orchids, burgundy celosia and green hypericum berries. Cynthia called a bouquet similar to Amy’s but with all white flowers  with accents of burgundy celosia, green dianthus, and cream roses.


I absolutely love this picture from Colin Lyons Photography. It captures the beauty of the day. The sun was shinning and the weather was absolutely perfect for their wedding. Notice Amy’s gardenias. She chose these in lieu of wearing a veil.


 The Gold Coast Ballroom at the Drake Hotel, all uplighting was provided by our friends MDM Entertainment


Amy and Cynthia share a kiss

Thanks to Colin Lyons for sharing these beautiful pictures and our friends at MDM Entertainment for introducing us to these wonderful ladies. Cynthia and Amy we wish you both the best. Thank you for letting us be part of your wedding day.

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 

Vintage Wedding ~ Ipek and Morgan at the Millcreek Barn

Monday, October 17th, 2011

I started working with Ipek and Morgan last year. They came as a referral to me from my good friend Liz Sisson at Studio Starling. From the moment I met them I knew I wanted to work with them. Ipek has the most beautiful smile that can light up a room and Morgan is so easy going… I knew I would have a great time.

Ipek and Morgan love all things vintage, and Ipek is pretty good at finding the diamonds in the rough in the middle of a flea market. They decided upon the Millcreek Barn without even setting foot on it, and what a find it was. It had everything they wanted in a venue to get married. The Millcreek Barn is two and half hours away from Chicago in a little town in South West Michigan called Watervilet. The barn has a beautiful outdoor area were couples can get married, an indoor area with lots of windows, a cute built-in bar, a stage for the band and oh yes… a fire pit. Hello s’mores late night food station!


Ipek also knew she wanted a very rustic but vintage look to her wedding. So we designed floral centerpieces, invitations and just about everything with that in mind. Signature cocktails….  we had to go old skool with those too. Morgan decided on Manhattas and Tom Collins. They were a hit with all the guests.


Our centerpieces were all similar but all slightly different. We covered the tables with burlap overlays and created collections of vases with the mason jars, books, votives wrapped in vintage lace and for the flowers we decided to give dahlias, olive leaves, queen anne’s lace, jasmine vine, white astarantia and privet berries a wildflower look.


Ipek carried a bridal bouquet of white astilbe, white wax flowers, queen anne’s lace, white dahlias, dusty miller, fiddle fern, scabiosa pods and white lisianthus.  We wrapped the stems with a burlap (for that rustic barn look!) but also gave it a bridal feel with vintage lace.

The men sported boutonnieres of white wax flowers and scabiosa pods. The stems were wrapped with twine.

We hung mini blue mason jars with chamomile and queen anne’s lace from the small ceremony pergola at the Millcreek Barn’s outdoor area.  I absolutely loved this look.

For the tables I let Ipek find all the little items that would adorn the tables. She visited flea markets and looked around places like etsy and ebay. She found quite a nice little loot…From old milk bottles, antique books, vintage bottles, blue mason jars, antique signs, an antique typewriter,  and even vintage handkerchieves.



We had a great time on the day of the wedding. For good luck the heavens opened and it even rained a little. We sure didn’t let that spoil the fun. Eventually, the rain stopped and we were able to do the ceremony outside. Morgan’s friend played the violin during the ceremony. Afterwards, we decided to kick things up a notch with a local bluegrass and folk band from Chicago who  played during cocktails and dinner. It truly set the mood for the day.

We couldn’t go all vintage though! So an 80′s cover band was hired to play tunes for dancing. Ipek and Morgan it was a pleasure working with you!

This wedding was featured in Style Me Pretty ~ Illinois. Visit the website to view more pictures by Studio Starling and learn more about the couple.

The New York City Flower Market

Thursday, March 10th, 2011

Also known to me… as the new floral heaven on earth.

We met David Beahm and his lead designer Jeremy (who were the most knowledgeable and nicest men ever! ) at the floral market for a tour of the who’s who of good product at the NYC Floral Market. I’m going to let a lot of the pictures speak for themselves. I’ve never seen such quality of floral product (anemones in the most vibrant colors), different varieties, flowers that I would never be able to get in Chicago because the florist designers here wouldn’t request it for their designs, plus a rose wholesaler who carries the most amazing and beautiful roses from south america. The varieties and colors were absolutely stunning!

I’ve always looked at Martha Stewart Magazines in awe as to were do they get these flowers! After seeing the flowers around me…. I knew were she purchased all of it for those amazing magazine spreads. The good news is that now I got the “scoop” on who to call to get the good stuff.

Pink Anemones Pink Anemones

Cabbage Roses

Cherry Blossoms

Inside the flower market

Fringed Tulips


Hellebores (they had it in deep purple too, too bad I didn’t take a picture of it!)

Greens & Foliage

Peonies, Jasmine Vine and Ranunculus


Orange Ranunculus (don’t they scream put us in a bridal bouquet?)

Light Pink Center Ranunculus


Green Centered Ranunculus

Roses at Harvest (they carried the most amazing species from South America)

Scabiosa Pods and Yellow Billy Balls


Jeremy, the lead designer at David Beahm Design mentioned that most of the floral product at the NYC floral market travels for a period of 12 hours on average, hence the reason why the product looks so incredibly fresh. After being surrounded by such floral beauty all I needed was my floral knife, a vase and water. I couldn’t wait to start arranging! That is exactly what I did at David Beahm’s office along with sixteen other designers! Tomorrow on the blog (as I continue my little trip down memory lane),  the one and only David Beahm.