Party Pink

sills_part_ii_45Occasionally I get garden requests that are out of the mainstream. The brother of one of my clients called and asked if I would be willing to host a birthday party for his sister at my store; so why not?  She loves her garden, and anything  flower-related, so it wasn’t hard to imagine this place dolled up and ready for party guests. Though he lives in California, he was able to plan with the local help of Fran Gross; her events are always well choreographed and beautiful.  Arranging the store for guests, and doing the flowers would be my part.  As the party was a surprise, we lined our iron gates with fabric. Douglas had told her he wanted her to look at something he was thinking of getting her for her birthday-little did she know.  She had ten seconds to process that her initials were in fact on the gates, framed in gerbera daisies, before she walked into a crowd of guests.  What fun for her-and her guests.

sills_part_ii_391We did lots of flowers-all in variations of a her favorite color-pink.  This vase placed outside the front door -a flowery ice cream cone with pink nerines, pink spray roses and a tutu of La Reve lilies. Yummy.

81Pink and gold were the colors of the day. Table cloths, and napkins,  the gold chairs and clear glass plates edged in gold set a very festive, and very feminine tone. I thought the flowers should be tall-in the airspace.  This not only makes conversation easy at the table top level, it creates interest at eye level when people walk into a room.  More than anything, a party should be designed such to put the idea of celebration in the air.

sills_part_ii_23These party favors are the work of my client. He knew his sister not only as very feminine and vibrant woman, but also as a very successful and high powered business woman.  She successfully balances being a woman, and a boss; this is not easy to do.  The flower coated hammer is his wry and supportive gesture.  The personal element celebrates the relationship of friends and family; the party is for everyone.

43The flowers set on top of twig stands are primarily every version and form of pink I could find.  But some contrasting color showcases that pink.  The brown amaranthus, yellow freesia and roses are a nod to the gold table accessories.

71The arrangements are shaped such that most of the blossoms are visible from a seated position; the oval overall shape is like a friendly umbrella over each table.

52I I think the room looks lovely.

91The flowers brought life to the room.  All it needed was company-and company she got.  What an incredibly thoughtful brother.  What fun it was to be a part of what is such a good memory for her.

62Garden spaces are at their best, filled with people.

Garden Party

party1Sometimes there is a call for a party in the garden.  in this case, the Texas-born gentleman’s 60th birthday.  He invited 60 friends to celebrate with him; getting the garden ready for this many guests was my job.  As he particularly likes yellow, as in yellow cars, clothes and cowboy boots, and anything else, as long as it is yellow, yellow flowers it was.  A late August date meant sunflowers were available at our farmer’s market; yellow gerbera daisies in the centers of these arrangements suggested a little fireworks-appropriate for such an occasion.  The yellow food coloring in the water was pure fun.

party2The black and white cowhide patterned tablecloths on the buffet celebrated the beloved home state, and were a dramatic foil to all those yellow flowers. An overscaled buffet says welcome, Texas-style.  

party3A landscape should be designed to accomodate those once in a great while events-as those events can be so important in the scheme of things.  Even a small garden can be outfitted to comfortably seat unusual numbers of guests.  For this reason, I am fond of walls at seat height in gardens.  They do a great job of providing a place to sit for numbers of guests when needed, in addition to providing beautiful structure to a landscape.   

party5The fountain, holding forth with its own refreshing rendition of fireworks,  welcomes guests on a hot August night.   A giant pot filled with Miscanthus “Zebrinus” adds to the festivity.  Yes, that was planned in advance.  Advance notice I do not always get, but when I do get it, there’s time for touches like this.

party4As guests arrive, and start out to the garden, one can’t help but think of all the things a beautiful landscape and garden can be.  A setting for birthday celebration is one of many.  As good lighting can set and sustain a mood, special party lighting was in order.  

party6A garden designed for good traffic flow, and different places to visit, encourages people to sit for a while, and then move around.  The small tables encourage people of like mind and interests to congregate as they please.

part7Though we battled wind, votives in glass are such an inexpensive and festive way to light a party. the more, the better.  It is an easy way to mark steps, as the natural light wanes. Garden torches are not the most elegant garden accessory, but they are a great party accessory.

part8Good friends and family, big water, a little fire, a breeze, a garden – all the makings of a great party.

partylastDoes Milo not look like he is having a grand time?

A Landscape for a Wedding

wed1Long about this time during the annual planting season, I start to wish for a wedding, or other event.  I really enjoy doing those landscapes that are just for the moment. Its not really landscape-its theatre. And there is not nearly so much dirt involved.    This wedding I organized around two kinds of trees-this a willow on standard. Having a gray green foliage, and a delicate breezy texture, it was perfect for an allee to celebrate the arrival of the bridal party.

wed2Planted in gray concrete pots, and whitewashed with a paint used to shade greenhouse glass,  the trees were “underplanted” in montecasino and roses.  Montecasino has the wispy field daisy look  of perennial boltonia.  The white rose is called Hollywood-it is my favorite wedding white rose.  It opens flat, and lasts for days.  A pergola I once covered in Hollywood roses without any water or oasis looked fresh 3 days later; even though the temperature was very chilly, that still speaks to great staying power.

wed3 Making another kind of welcome-gerbera daisies for the rooms of the guests from out of town. These flowers go beyond their beauty, and seem to express the happiness of the event.

wed5The tent set up outdoors had a white walk sprayed onto the lawn with athletic field paint.  On either side of the door into the tent, more pots.  These pots were ”planted” with Coralburst crabs, whose branches and trunks are painted white.  A grower who had lost a number of them was happy they were going to be used for something.  The mother of the bride greatly admires contemporary art and design, and very much liked the sculptural aspect of these trees.

wed7The cocktail tables had their simple bouquets-some tall, some short.  Every bouquet was oriented around a particular color, rather than a mix of colors.  This has a contemporary feeling as well.wed8

wed9Each table had low flowers closely color related, and a canopy of a single coralburst crab.  Tablecloths in subtle and varying colors were complemented with napkins tied in double faced satin in various shades of green. It was a  fresh and contemporary version of a garden wedding reception, including the paper globe lanterns hung from the roof ridge of the tent. My favorite detail-the fern curls to which the table numbers are attached.

wed10The fountain outdoors was decorated with a series of paper lanterns; we built metal stands to hold them, and the votive candles inside them, just off the surface of the water.  Weddings in gardens have a special romance about them.