Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Last Wedding of Summer....

It seems like only yesterday that I was putting together these flowers for the lovely Ms H's wedding. In fact, it was the last one of summer, way back in Easter.

Mind you, the bride only received the photos in August, so I'm showing you as soon as I could !

Ms H lives in Queensland, which is about a 3-4 hour flight from Calypso Flowers here in Melbourne, so there was much sending of emails and photos. But she knew what she wanted, which on this occasion, made it very straightforward.

Ms H and Mr T were getting married at Garden House, part of the botanic gardens, and wanted the beautiful trees and shrubs to provide the colour. Ms H wanted a natural, rustic hand-tied posy, in the colours of autumn, and her bridesmaids were to have big, full, floaty bouquets of gypsophlia, to match their floaty dresses.

The bride's bouquet had a delicious combination of peachy dahlias, mini-gerberas, red leucadendron, calendula, sweetly perfumed bouvardia, veronica, fragrant freesias, hypericum berries and alstromeria.

The flowers are by Calypso Flowers. Have a look at other recent weddings there.

The photos by , and they speak for themselves:

The charming Mr T

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Spring Wedding

Last Saturday, we at Calypso Flowers decorated a garden for the spring wedding of Sam and Sophie.When I first saw the garden, it was towards the end of winter, and Margaret and I stood under an umbrella in the rain, looking at the beautiful structure of the bare garden. The only flowers on that day were green and white hellebores (Christmas roses). Hundreds of them! 

Early spring being early spring, we had to take into account the fact that the ceremony might have to take place under a marquee, and that everything might have to be moved around.

Their plan was to have the ceremony and then croquembouche and champagne in the garden, then go to a restaurant for dinner later.

After thinking about the wedding for a few days, I came up with a picture – no, some pictures - in my head. Sophie was going to wear a pale apricot/orange – the colour of rock melon or cantaloupe – and so we discussed orange, red, and hot pink as the theme colours. Pockets of colour would be strategically place around the garden, to inject a feeling of gaiety… of celebration … a party! Rather than make the whole garden ablaze with colour, I imagined vignettes, as part of the journey that the guests would take.

Guests were to enter via a side gate bedecked with Tracey’s gorgeous wreaths, and walk down the rose-petal strewn path, through the ‘spindle walk’ (bamboo poles with vine wound around the top, and ribbons blowing in the breeze) to the seating area. Here, the petals have still to be strewn, and flowers to be placed on the table in the distance. This would lead the guests by colour.

The ceremony was to take place in front of an old urn. We ‘planted’ dark orange tulips in the urn, and defined the ‘stage’ with 2 bamboo tripods which held polyanthus plants in the theme colours. You can see the signing table on the right (3rd picture), minus its white cloth and orange and red roses.

 The  bar was to be set up under an arbour covered in Boston ivy – all branches, not a leaf to be seen. Paper lanterns added a party atmosphere, and bobbed around in the breeze.


Another area needing some colour was the veranda entrance to the house from the garden. I had several wooden fruit boxes filled with polyanthus that could be easily moved around the garden to add colour into ‘dead’ spots, and we positioned some of these by the steps. A large, beautiful woven basket was placed against the wall and filled with polyanthus plants. On the corner we hung glass test tubes with ranunculus, tulips and roses.

I was really pleased with the way the garden was transformed. I wanted it to be that no matter in which direction the guests looked, there would be something interesting and colourful at eye level...something that would invite closer inspection and intrigue. The photos don’t do true justice because they were taken quite hurriedly as the rain was falling…as you can see, they decided NOT to have the marquee…and because the rose petals and some other flowers were to be put out at the last minute.

It was an unconventional wedding in many ways. The bride and groom arrived together, and were the first to arrive ! I love it when Brides smile on their wedding day.  She was blown away by the transformation of the garden, and her dress was sooo beautiful.

It had stopped raining when we left, 45 minutes before the ceremony. 

Happy days, Sophie and Sam ! And thank you, Margaret, for inviting me to be part of the wedding.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Pallet Garden - the end of the tale

There have been a lot of people reading about my pallet garden effort on this blog, so I thought it only fair to finish the story...

I planted the garden in August last year (which is late winter in Melbourne), and  was in  a bit of a hurry as I was going overseas for a month the first week in September. I left it in the care of my fellow workers in my absence.

When I came back, it was flourishing - but no-one was eating the lettuce, and it was going to seed ! By then it was spring, and the vertical garden was getting more and more sun, it being on a north-facing wall, and needed more and more water, which I couldn't apply becuase it was so leafy and couldn't get the water in.

Then came summer, and it was HOT. The garden was in the sun. Against a brick wall. All day. 12 hours a day.

I gave up.

My advice to anyone planning a garden is this:

You are supposed to leave the pallet horizontal, once you have planted, to allow the root system to develop, and preferably in the right direction. I didn't do this. I planted it when it was attached to the wall. Wrong ! Be patient.

Put it somewhere where it gets a couple of hours of full sun, but not all day. It will dry out too quickly -  in the southern hemisphere, anyway.

If I did it again, I would put a piece or two of garden hose going to various lengths within the planter, so that you could pour water down the hose, and it would be guaranteed to reach the lower levels. Do this when you are filling it with soil.

It was fun while it lasted, but I don't really feel inspired to do it again - at least not in this location.

Friday, May 17, 2013

An Autumn Wedding in Green and White

Usually, I am approached about wedding flowers two or three months before The Big Day. The dresses are chosen, the venues are booked, the theme has been selected, and now attention can turn to the type and colour of flowers.

The last couple of months has been unusual, in that 2 couples have come to discuss their flowers over a YEAR in advance ! Talk about organised ! I can't really be too much help, apart from giving them some hints about what they should take into consideration, showing them some flowers and colours, and giving them a ballpark figure for their budget.

At the other end of the spectrum, Brian and Brooke came to see me just 3 weeks in advance. Nearly all decisions had been made, and they had a pretty good idea of what they wanted - at least, an overall feel.

The flowers arrive !

The brief was:
  • natural looking table arrangements and bouquets
  • in green and white
  • some texture.
The wedding ceremony was taking place at Siglo, on a sort of rooftop bar, half-covered to provide at least some shelter.
These were the little 'rustic' pots we had on the cocktail tables.

The reception was at Alto, which is the top floor of the GPO. Quite different in style and mood, we used similar flowers, but in a more elegant presentation. We had some long, white ceramic containers...

and between them, some arrangements on pewter-coloured cake stands, providing some height.

We were able to move the rustic pots to the reception, and placed a couple of them on the bar, next to some taller arrangements...

Brooke and her six bridesmaids had very similar posies, except that Brooke's had some dirty pink roses, called Inner Secret, which hinted at  the colour of the sash on her dress.

I can't wait to see some of Brian and Brooke's official photos. Thank you for allowing me to be part of your wedding celebrations !

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Beach Weddings (Part 1)

Even though autumn has definitely arrived here in Melbourne, at Calypso Flowers we are already starting to discuss weddings for next spring and summer !

I've started to collect some images for a beach wedding, and there are so many options...
I love this idea for a seaside that's not actually ON the beach, but where you can see the sea.

You could mark the ends of the rows with buckets of gypsophilia, otherwise known as Baby's Breath...


or hang little bottles of flowers from shepherd's crooks...

I don't know whose beautiful flowers these are

and just imagine the scene if you had the ceremony at dusk, and had all the candles pre-set and ready to go....

I would recommend using lanterns instead of candles, though. I've spent too much time at wedding ceremonies battling that gentle evening summer breeze that becomes a gale once you take out a box of matches !

What sort or dress would you wear ?

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

More photos from Fleuramour

This was perhaps my favourite exhibit. The designer is Felix Geiling-Rasmus, a young German who was trained by Gregor Lersch, one of Europe's most highly respected florists. The design consisted of rings of varios sizes, gold in colour, with test tubes holding white Eucharis lilies (?).and black berries.

The chapel windows were a very soft pastel colour, and the sunlight glinted on the glass containers. I wish I could tell you what the music was that was playing - it was moody and modern, and totally added to the experience.

These were all calla lilies in a design by Stef Adriaenssens. What is hard to see here, is that every element is so intricate: the table was covered in little squares of tropical leaves, carefully interwoven. The table was about 3 metres long and 1 metre wide. The stick-like structure holding in the lilies, and those overhead concealing the lighting, are a hollow stemmed plant...perhaps something like a sunflower stem. There were hundreds of them, callas and stems !

In Australia, I have only ever seen crimson coloured gloriosa lilies, but as you can see, they also come in orange and yellow. The vertical structures were spindle-shapes covered - or made with - jute in a lime green and pea green. I read that white ones will soon be available in Europe.

There was also the opportunity to watch the artists at work.
In one tent, you could see a group of florists making wedding bouquets... like you've never seen before ! This man was wiring about a hundred individual vanda orchid flowers so that they would hang from a 'bracelet' worn on the wrist.

And finally, there were several displays of potted plants, like these phalenopsis orchids. The display was a well-balanced display of colour (pinks, greys and mauves), texture (look at those dried parsley-flower-like stems, towering over the pretty orchids),  and movement, from the curved table top, round pots, and the parsley plants .

You can see more photos on this Facebook page. They're not my photos but they show the range of the wonderful exhibits and their talented creators.

This weekend, there is a winter happening....wish I could be there...maybe not the winter bit...

(I apologise for the less-than-perfect layout. I just can't seem to get it right. I DID try !)

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Fleuramour at Alden Biesen, Belgium

It seems like ages ago that I visited Fleuramour floral festival in Belgium.

I had watched the video of a previous festival several times and was astounded by the nature of the displays that were featured. I was equally impressed by the presence of so many florists whose work I have long admired: designers such as Geert Pattyn, Ivan Poelman, Jan Deridder, Moniek Vanden Berghe and Stef Andriaenssens who together form the Fleur Creatif team.

When I discovered that (a) the festival was going to be on when I was in Europe, and (b) that Moniek Vanden Berghe was to be giving a workshop, I knew that I had to go.

It was a bit of a trek to get there, as we were to be in Alsace, in France the days prior, but 4 trains and a shuttle bus later, I arrived at the castle of Alden Biesen in Belgium.

One of Moniek's works.

Another design using alstromeria and bleached willow.

My completed design. 

The theme was 'Making Waves' and we used, as a base, a grey, concrete-like vase. We then shaped wire and covered them with strips of flax, positioning them in the vase so that they reinforced its shapely curves.

The floral material comprised white roses, anthuriums, snowberries, green trick, little apples, and aspidistra leaves.

 The only sad part was that it was quite heavy, and there was no way that I was going to carry it on a shuttle bus and 4 trains back to Strasbourg ! ( I gave it to 2 Portuguese women who were going home the next day).

In this next photo, you can some other participants in the workshop working on the wavy wire pieces, and also see the container before it was filled.

Was it worth it ? Oh yes !! I'll post more photos of other exhibits shortly. There are a few on the Calypso Flowers Facebook page, if you can't wait.