Sunday, June 23, 2013

Monday Flowers in the House and Kantha quilts

June is when everything is blooming in my yard, although the Felicia rose which has blossomed abundantly, is on the wane.  So, I've snipped a little climber whose name I forget.  I planted it with Felicia when they both arrived from The Antique Rose Emporium ten years ago.

Goat's beard, unripe Annabelle hydrangea, Vetch I purloined from the road along St. Michael's cemetary.  And a stalk of Raspberry leaf all in a chinese teal vase.


Little climbing rose

I'm a sucker for Kantha quilts.  I've purchased six of them over the last four months on  They make great throws for the couch:  after Blossom has drooled on them, left muddy paw prints on them, they wash up beautifully and the colors are so satisfying: floral and plaid prints with little patches on them.  I bought one for the bed, for Blossom's window perch and for the couches.

Jane's hosting Monday's Flowers in the House.  Invite her over for a look-see from your garden!  Or your latest farmer's market flower bouquet!  Or your Supermarket bunch in your funky or elegant vase.

Friday, June 21, 2013


During my childhood, my Stepfather took hundreds of pictures of my Mother, of me, of the cat and... my Mother.  Whenever I was called upon to shoot a photo of him and my Mom, the photos came out blurry, and at the time, it took about a week for my Stepfather to see the results and fume.  Whenever someone took a photo of me, I always closed my eyes.  Our family album is filled with blurry pictures of them and me with my eyes shut.  Photos of my Mom always looked great.  

The psychological implications of the blurry photos might bear scrutiny, but what's most important for this post is the excellent photos of my pretty Mother, taken by a smitten man.

Ken Rockwell is a photographer whose website I found through The 7msn Ranch (where Linda Carson blogs about her three donkeys and her horse and dog, etc).  Ken says our photos improve when we care about our subject, plus he says a lot of other amazing things about photography that have encouraged me to actually read my Instruction Manual and press a lot of scary buttons on my new camera.  This may not be a revelation to some readers, but I found it enlightening,

especially, considering how much I love my subject.  This pretty arrangement was designed by Marisa.  The Nikon was on automatic and had the LCD brightness on +3. (I have no idea what LCD is yet, but it seems to brighten things up)!

Kris, over at The Dancing Donkey takes beautiful photos of her donkeys, Emma and Ramsey, and her horse Tessa with an old point and shoot.  Each of her photos of them is filled with love. She really works her little camera and follows a blog called Sunday Stills which is a kind of no pressure photography challenge that gets people 'out with their cameras'.

Denise at Chez Danisse left a comment yesterday recommending that I 'play, play, play', and I guess, along with learning about the annoying buttons, is just what I'll do.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Flower Mentors from across the miles and across the years AND why I might love my new Nikon.

My assistant, Marisa and my previous assistant Peicha both travelled to New York from Boston and Philly to take a day long class from the Rulers of a certain type of floral design that we admire here at Bow Street Flowers.  Sarah from Saipua and Nicolette of Nicolette Camille held court to teach their students how to design an arrangement based upon Dutch flower paintings. The place was packed.  Everyone was dazzled.

While our design style has always been inspired by gardens and we've always used interesting materials, these two women have taken this style to another plane and have developed a philosophy of flowers that is thrilling and speaks to the heart of all florists who truly love beautiful flowers.

Other inspirations are Erin at Floret Flowers who grows impossibly gorgeous flowers on her farm in Washington, Ariella Chazar whose bride's bouquets are flawlessly beautiful. Lotte, from Lotte in Bloom makes lovely soft arrangements and wedding work that look as though the flowers were picked moments before.

A favorite painter from the 18th c.  I wish had some of her containers!

I played hooky on Tuesday and went to Maine with a friend, looking for interesting containers.  I found two metal Jardinieres from England that I thought might work for a certain customer whose anniversary is coming up soon.

Yesterday I bought a flower frog and at the end of the day, Marisa and I set up on of them with the frog and chicken wire.  Then Marisa strut her stuff she learned in NY.  The result was pretty great.  Unfortunately, most of the flowers died overnight so I didn't get a photo this morning.(the flowers were pretty old). Today, I did try and follow the lines Marisa had created.

  This brings me to the subject of my new Nikon D 3100.  I've played around with it for a few days.  I read the Manual.  I formatted the memory card.  I adjusted the viewfinder.  I took notes on the photos I did take on different settings.  My photos kept looking like crap.  I did learn, though, that the morning has the best light on a sunny day.  I learned that landscape mode is a good choice for what I photgraph, but manual works good too.  The screen is my only gripe.  All the photos look grainy and the color is awful.  So I took some photos with my Canon point and shoot.  Photos on that screen looked pretty and the color looked great.  I put them both onto the computer.  Here is the difference:



Anyone who wants to weigh in with an opinion, please feel free, and if you're a photographer, PLEASE weigh in!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

The Lyman Estate and taking photos

A very small country style wedding yesterday at The Lyman Estate in Waltham.

We've done weddings here before, but I never took photos of the grounds or interior because we're always in a rush to set up.  So, yesterday I spent some time in the house photographing details, but I still felt pressure to leave and the photos are more 'record' than nice pictures.  I need a lot more practice with my camera!

The Greenhouses

The wedding guests

Fireplace surround in the library

Some Lyman from the 19th c. (no indication on the painting)

I believe this is Theodore Lyman

And his sweet looking wife - love the cap.

A bow front chest in the oval room .This room and the ballroom have never been changed during several renovations of the house.  The portraits above are in the oval room too.

The bride's bouquet.

The ballroom set up for dinner.

Friday, June 14, 2013

bespoke bouquet

Several times during the Spring and in Autumn, there are requests for a single bouquet for either a City Hall wedding or a restaurant wedding.  And among these, there are a few where I have pretty much free reign: just a color to work with.

Tomorrow we have a wedding at the Lyman Estate.  Colors are yellow and grey.  The bride wanted yellow and blue and green for her bouquet.  I'll post the results tomorrow.

Today, my 'free reign' bouquet was picked up by a friend of the Bride and taken to the Cape as a surprise.

Peonies, Juliet roses, deutzia, sea star fern and the roses on the right are cut from The Cambridge Historical Society ... legally.  A member of the society had me cut some flowers there for an engagement party.  Apparently they're doing work on the house, so all perennials will be moved out of the way.  I don't know the name of this rose, but it's lovely.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

before and after front garden, flowers, bunny and dahlia bed

On the Home Front

Before and after Charlie


My fragrant Felicia


The little Beast that DID!!

Dahlias ready to go in.

So, I made an attempt several months ago to put shelves inside my Fireplace surround.  I thought I was very clever, but the whole thing turned out to be crap.  It fell apart when I walked passed it.

Then one morning, I was dreading coming downstairs to the tumbled mess of books and baskets and suddenly remembered some glass tiles I had at the shop.  Even better, I remembered there were two GIANT glass tiles in the basement.  My suddenly (but infrequently) nimble brain put the whole bookcase together in about 60 seconds and I spent the day gathering the bricks from the shop and from the basement and then neatly arranged my very special books, my World of Interior collection from this year, my portrait of my dog Pickles and the print of a wild Indian Ass given to me by Lizzie who works in the shop.  Baskets fit beneath the lower shelf.  Genius.

Then, I topped off the mantle with yellow garden roses.

On the Shop Front

Couldn't resist posting this Instagram photo of the arrangment I did in my lovely new Victorian vase.

Wedding arrangement for Memorial church

Wedding bouquet

Centerpiece at Tower Hill Botanical Garden last weekend.

And my favorite photo of the week:  Alice finally relaxing and dreaming in her new home.

Sunday, June 2, 2013


When I walked into the Open House of our future home thirteen years ago, my eye looked beyond the dark sub-floor of the living room, through the door ahead of me into the sunny kitchen and out the windows where the expanse of a huge backyard shimmered in the morning light.  All I saw was a blank canvas for a garden. It was the biggest backyard in the neighborhood: techinically two lots.

For three years, I planted roses, perennials, made a slew of gardening mistakes, like pruning down an arborvitae, planting willow whips and a white wisteria that decided to eat the yard and never bloomed.

In 2003 I bought Bow Street Flowers where I'd worked and apprenticed for three years.  The 'garden' turned into a yard.  Seedling trees sprouted unnoticed and turned into saplings. The saplings turned into trees before we noticed.  Joe mowed the lawn and I pulled Tree of Heaven  babies, but the vegetation slowly took over and we were overwhelmed.

Charlie has helped me with post wedding rental pick ups.  He has been a pleasure to work with.

When he returned some pedestals to my house, he offered to help me with my yard.  He and his crew came today.  I am blown away by the job they did.  They created real beds in the front yard around the roses, pruned the wisteria beautifully and fixed the molding that the wisteria had pulled off of the garage. They also pruned my out-of-control hydrangea and pulled weeds everywhere.  My 'yard' is a garden again.

In three weeks, Charlie's coming back to transform the backyard that had dazzled me with it's possibilities in 1999.  My dahlia bed is in and the vegetables will go in this week.  Will I be able to garden again?

Looking for someone to whip your garden into shape?  Call the shop and I'll give you Charlie's number.