Jane’s New Floral Design Book! (featuring some of my photos)

cover photo by Tom Weishaar (all other photos in this post by me, most of which appear in the book)

Jane Godshalk, AIFD floral designer and instructor at Longwood Gardens, is now also an author!  Her new book, titled Flower Arranging Secrets: Natural Designs for Everyday Living, offers tips and tricks acquired throughout Jane’s decades of floral design experience. Some of my photographs are featured throughout the book, and I feel lucky to have been a small part of Jane’s incredible floral world.

Jane makes it look easy.

Jane makes it look easy. Buy her book, and it will be easy for you too! Here she is making an early spring parallel design using sand to hold the stems in place.

Jane has studied floral design internationally, is a longtime faculty member at Longwood Gardens, and is an award-winning floral designer whose work has been featured in publications such as the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society’s Green Scene magazine.

A lunchtime spring flower fiesta

A lunchtime spring flower fiesta Jane created using chicken wire to secure stems

At the heart of Jane’s book is the idea that floral design is for everyone, and the book aims to “demystify the process of arranging flowers for your home.”  Jane gives advice on how to select material and where to find it, how to care for stems once you’ve purchased them, which vases and containers to use, and design tactics such as color, stem placement, and rules of proportion.

Jane shows you where to find materials and how to prepare them for arranging

Jane shows you where to find materials and how to prepare them for arranging

Spring Design by Jane using chicken wire for mechanic, featuring peonies and materials from her garden

Spring Design by Jane using chicken wire for mechanic, featuring peonies and materials from her garden. Behind the scenes shot.

Jane empowers everyday floral designers by giving us the “how to” in a clear, simple fashion – and all the design mechanics she uses in the book are sustainable (can be reused or recycled.) In other words, no floral foam!  One of her tried-and-true methods of anchoring flowers is by using chicken wire. She also shows us how to use branches, bark, grapevine, and even sand as the mechanic for holding stems in place.

Using bark and branches to hold stems in place

Using bark and branches to secure stems

Jane shares many other secrets, such as the proper use of a kenzan or frog, how to create a hand-tied bouquet (a personal favorite!) and how to successfully incorporate fruits and vegetables into your design.  There is also a handy flower identification chart included. Jane’s new book showcases beautiful, eco-friendly and easy floral designs for everyone from beginners to experts. I highly recommend it. Congratulations, Jane.  It was so thrilling to work with you, and I am continually inspired by your knowledge and talent.

Jane's hand-tied bouquets are to die for! (photo not featured in book but concept is)

Jane’s hand-tied bouquets are to die for! (photo not featured in book but concept is)

Want the book? Buy it from Jane’s website for $24.99. Or, take a class from Jane at Longwood Gardens!

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Ladies Hat Day at the Devon Horse Show

Ladies Hat Day competitors and winners with Carson Kressley (judge) photo by Brenda Carpenter

Ladies Hat Day winners with Carson Kressley (judge) photo by Brenda Carpenter

Heard of the Devon Horse Show? If you’re from the Philadelphia area, you have!  It’s been around since 1896, when it began as a way for the newly migrated wealthy business men of the Main Line to discuss the need of better horses for their vehicles.  In 1919, it was decided a Country Fair should be held in conjunction with the horse show, and that the event should benefit Bryn Mawr Hospital.  Women were gaining their rights all over the country and with the Country Fair, they proved their strength and organizational skills with a successful fundraiser that to date has raised almost 14 million dollars!

Ms. Betty Moran at Information booth, one of the many volunteers

Ms. Betty Moran at Information booth, one of the many volunteers, photo by Devon Horse Show on Facebook

To this day, the Devon Horse show still raises money for Bryn Mawr Hospital, and one of the Country Fair Special Events that contributes to that donation is the Ladies Day event, where elegant ladies don their best hats to compete for Best of Devon, Most Fascinating, Best Hat to Toe, and Best in Show.  This year’s theme was “Ribbons and Pearls,” and was held on May 28th.

But wait, where's the lady?

But wait, where’s the lady?

In addition to all the voluminous chapeaus, the Ladies Day event features floral centerpieces donated by area floral designers such as VF Flowers, Beautiful Blooms, Robertsons, Cottage Flowers, Fleur, and…Roots to Blooms! (That’s me.)  Our centerpieces would be displayed in the preferred seating tent with a luncheon included, and then moved to the blue room where the box holders have dinner.

Preferred seating and Luncheon area displaying floral centerpieces in hat boxes

Preferred seating and Luncheon area displaying floral centerpieces in hat boxes

I was contacted by the lovely and energetic Karen Meehan to be a part of this event, and was thrilled to participate in the hat box challenge.  Here were a few of the other hat box designs:

Robertson's design

Robertson’s design

Heather, from Cottage Gardens

Heather, from Cottage Flowers in Malvern, chose delphiniums, clematis, and peonies; and mossed the hat box herself.  This was my favorite design as I love the more ‘gardeny’ feel.

Juliet roses in this peachy display

‘Juliet’ garden roses in this peachy display!

I chose to visit my local Peony grower, Eleanor Tickner, for the bulk of my floral material, as it is peak peony season and not only was this a cost effective choice, but an eco-friendly one as well.  You just show up with a bucket and get your stems ($1.50/stem and up.) Everything is in full swing right now at A Peony Garden in Glen Mills, and with the help of Eleanor’s daughter Butch, I was able to cut many varieties including Red Charm, Raspberry Charm, Battle Flag, Coral Charm, Do Tell, and Festiva Maxima, to name a few. The peonies are well grown, well loved, and enchanting to say the least!

Me with my peony design (thanks Heather!)

Me with my peony design (thanks for snapping this, Heather!)

My design using peonies with a little hat netting

Mine got to sit at the judges’ table!

First, I lined the hat box (bought from Amazon) with plastic, added a thicker plastic liner, and yes, I had to use floral foam for this.  There was no way around it.  After doweling together my foam, which rose three to four inches higher than the lip of the box, I added the base foliage of dusty miller and variegated pittosporum… and then I just kept adding peonies.  It was a delicious experience to work with so many peonies (the white peony edged with pinky/red ‘Festiva Maxima’ has the most wonderful fragrance!) I added filler such as nigella, blue cornflower, Queen Anne’s lace, some spray rose and a few fronds of maidenhair fern.  I tucked a few black feathers in for accent, as well as some lacey hat netting and some black bows and a few pearl thingamabobs.

25 peonies all in one hat box, with pittosporum, nigella, cornflower, waxflower, dusty miller and queen anne's lace

My design used twenty five peonies all in one hat box

All in all, I was pleased with the result and think I will definitely do more hat box designing in the future!  I couldn’t have done it without my trusty assistant Julie, and wouldn’t have been included if it hadn’t been for Karen.  Thanks, you guys! I hope to participate next year.  It was so much fun, and all for a good cause!  Three cheers for Ladies Hat Day.

Karen, Devon volunteer extraordinaire, and my trusty drop-off assistant Julie

Karen, Devon volunteer extraordinaire, and my trusty drop-off assistant Julie

The Devon Horse Show and Country fair will continue throughout the rest of the weekend and there are lots of cool exhibitions and vendors to check out.

It’s Almost Peony Time!

Wondering if the peonies are blooming at A Peony Garden yet?  Almost.  “I give it until next Thursday,” says garden maven and peony expert, Eleanor Tickner.  (That’s May 29th, and I’m counting the days.)  We met Eleanor two seasons ago while on the hunt for peonies as cut flowers, and succumbed to peony mania in the process.  Read the BLOG POST describing all the details.  Right now, there are many buds and a few blooms over at the garden in Glen Mills, and we were lucky enough to catch a glimpse!

Meet 'Sunny Boy,' a peony within a peony.

Meet ‘Sunny Boy,’ a peony within a peony and quite a rare find.

'Laning Peach'

This peony’s a peach!

'Raspberry Charm' is so bright I have to wear shades.

‘Raspberry Charm’ is so bright I have to wear shades.

And of course, no visit would be complete without a greeting from our old pal, Riddler, who is still going strong.  But don’t worry, his humans are very responsible with dog-shy visitors.

Enter as strangers, leave as friends.  Like the sign says.

“Enter as strangers, leave as friends.” Like the sign says.

See you in a little over a week, Eleanor! Thanks for creating a little slice of heaven on earth for us to visit.

A Peony Garden address: 1739 Middletown Rd. Glen Mills, PA 19342 – about 20 miles SW of Philadelphia.  4.6 miles NW of route 1 on 352.  tel 610.358.1321 call ahead for large orders.  Cut flowers offered as well as peonies in containers.  A must visit for any peony lover!

 

Mother’s Day Jars Of Love

This Mother’s Day was a real miracle, from the moment I was commissioned to create these “Jars of Love,” to the hour we spent delivering them.  To all those who donated your money or time, you are part of this incredible story of giving!

A couple weeks ago, Emily Malloy of falls flowers was contacted by the Little Sisters of the Poor.  They were looking to get Mother’s Day floral designs for the low-income, high-risk residents of Holy Family Home, an assisted living facility in Philadelphia, PA.  When the shop was unable to accommodate the request due to the high volume of Mother’s Day, Peicha, the owner of falls flowers, contacted me. (I used to work there and do freelance work now.)  A few email chains later, and we realized that there really was not enough money in the budget for what they were asking for.  So – sitting at home on my couch later that night, wishing I really could do this work, an idea came to me:  we could just raise the money through social networking, and then the residents would get their flowers for Mother’s Day!  Peicha and Emily pitched in, and with the help of our families and friends, we ended up raising $988 – more than what was needed for the wrist corsages they wanted!! So the plan changed to create 50 mason jars filled with a lovely assortment of floral material.  And I had a lot of work to do.

Finished "jars of love" ready to be delivered

Finished “jars of love” ready to be delivered: lilies, larkspur, ranunculus, roses, waxflower

After picking up materials through Peicha’s wholesale connection, the 50 Jars of Love were completed over two days.  When it was nearing time to deliver, I got a call from the home – there was a miscommunication along the way, and they needed 80 designs, not 50!  Uh oh.  I had been meditating earlier that morning and decided my mantra for the day was to “be in the moment.”  Well, for the next hour while I divided materials out of the completed designs to create 30 more, there was nowhere else to be!  This is where some angels came in and made the rest of the story happen.

Todd and his son Ryan flew in from above to help load and deliver designs

Todd and his son Ryan flew in from above to help load and deliver designs – THANK YOU!!!

Captain Mac (my Dad) lent his car, his strength, and his support

Captain Mac (my Dad) lent his car, his strength, and his smiling support

Riding in our little caravan on the way to Holy Family Home, my Dad and I singing along to old songs, with Todd and his son Ryan following behind us in their fabulously huge vehicle, I knew the best part of all was about to happen.

Riding the elevator to give out the Mother's Day flowers

Riding the elevator to give out the Mother’s Day flowers

When we arrived we were greeted by the smiling faces of the Sisters of the Poor, including Elizabeth Ann who hails from the Boston area.  She got us carts and we made the trip up the elevator to stop at every floor and give out our floral jars to the residents while they were eating lunch.

Sister Elizabeth Ann distributing arrangements

Sister Elizabeth Ann distributing arrangements

You will not believe how tickled the female residents of Holy Family Home were when they received their flowers!  Here are a few pictures from the delivery:

 

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Dad chatting up the ladies

Dad chatting up the ladies

The last woman I handed an arrangement to was Margie.  She is 102 years old.  When I asked her the secret to her longevity, she replied, “It’s all in God’s hands.”

Margie, 102 years young

Margie, 102 years young

There are many people to thank for their generosity in making our charity project happen, including Todd, Ryan, my Dad, Peicha, Emily, and all of our donors (last names omitted for privacy): Motria L., Aaron B., Elizabeth C., Shannon O., Jen S., Amy K., Walter B., Emily M., Carolyn D., Josh L., Lise N., Mandy G., Mary F., Emily M., Vincent T., Jason H., Joseph K., Michael B., Joseph K., Amy K. (2nd time!), and Rebecca M., Penny B., Julie S., Dan B., Eunice F, Elvira G., and Sandy F. I should also thank my own mother who was an example of giving.  I think she would be happy that we did good for the ladies at Holy Family Home.

Sister Elizabeth Ann and her garden - come back and visit!

Sister Elizabeth Ann and her “gah-den” - COME VISIT ANYTIME!

This could be an annual tradition, don’t you think? Let’s do it again next year.  Happy Mother’s Day to all!

Mother’s Day, Here We Come

Well I’m so excited…thanks to all of your kind donations, I was able to order some lovely materials, and Peicha of falls flowers helped me procure them.  As you know, I’m creating 50 Mother’s Day designs for the ladies over at Holy Family Home run by the Little Sisters of the Poor in Philadelphia.  The nuns didn’t have enough money in the kitty for flowers this year, so we raised it ourselves, and you guys came through bigtime.  I can’t wait to get started!

Peicha and her lovely daughter Naima get the positive vibes going!

Peicha and her lovely daughter Naima get the positive Mother’s Day vibes going!

It was great to be back at falls flowers today, picking up our materials for this weekend.  I got: lilies, larkspur, ranunculus, stock, waxflower, rose, and artemisia, to name a few.

Mother's Day Flowers after processing - condition for a day

Mother’s Day Flowers after processing – conditioning for a day on my enclosed porch

I processed them (re-cut the stems, took off any leaves below the water line) and stored them on my enclosed porch.  I’ll make the designs over the next few days, hopefully with some help from my dog Larry.

King Larry presides over the floral realm

King Larry presides over the floral realm

Did I tell you, we raised at total of $988!!  Here’s our most updated Hero List of awesome donors (last names omitted for privacy): Motria L., Aaron B., Elizabeth C., Shannon O., Jen S., Amy K., Walter B., Emily M., Carolyn D., Josh L., Lise N., Mandy G., Mary F., Emily M., Vincent T., Jason H., Joseph K., Michael B., Joseph K., Amy K. (2nd time!), and Rebecca M., Penny B., Julie S., Dan B., Eunice F, Elvira G., and Sandy F.  Thank you everyone.  You’re the best.

Ranunculus Smiles

I’ll leave you with some ranunculus smiles xoxoxoxo

Mother’s Day Will Rock This Year!

I am speechless. Stunned.  What an outpouring of support for our little idea!  This Mother’s Day, the 50 residents at Holy Family Home run by the Little Sisters of the Poor in Philadelphia are going to be receiving some gorgeous designs, thanks to all 24 of you who found it in your hearts to donate.  We received donations from $10 up to $200, and each one counts!  Our total amount raised is $938.  Can you believe it???

carniv2

Our Donation Hero List (last names omitted for privacy): Motria L., Aaron B., Elizabeth C., Shannon O., Jen S., Amy K., Walter B., Emily M., Carolyn D., Josh L., Lise N., Mandy G., Mary F., Emily M., Vincent T., Jason H., Joseph K., Michael B., Joseph K., Amy K. (2nd time!), and Rebecca M., Penny B., Julie S., Dan B., and Eunice F. 

'Do Tell' Peony

I can’t wait to get started ordering materials (extravagant wonderful things) and planning the designs with our ladies over at falls flowers!  If there are those out there who still want to be a part of our project, feel free to click this link:  DONATE.  You will receive a Paypal receipt that can be used as a tax deductible donation to charity. However, we do have enough to make some lovely things!  I am so touched by the generosity of others.  Stay tuned for the next update, and thank you again.

Mother’s Day Flowers – Donations Update

Thank you to the 19 people who have donated to our Mother’s Day Flower Project so far. Your generosity is stunning, and will make a big statement to the 50 elderly residents of Holy Family Home, run by the Little Sisters of the Poor in Philadelphia. We’ve received Paypal donations from family members, friends, colleagues, and acquaintances we’ve only met a few times.    It was my sister Amy and her husband John who brought us over the $500 mark! Right now, at $563, we have enough to make some simple wrist corsages.  If we get more, we can give these elderly residents something really over-the-top!

combos2Our Donations Hero List, last names omitted for privacy:  Motria L., Aaron B., Elizabeth C., Shannon O., Jen S., Amy K., Walter B., Emily M., Carolyn D., Josh L., Lise N., Mandy G., Mary F., Emily M., Vincent T., Jason H., Michael B., Joseph K., Amy K. (2nd time!), and Rebecca M.

We are still accepting donations! Please visit the Paypal site by clicking this link: DONATE.  You will receive a Paypal receipt that can be used as a tax deductible donation to charity.  Even just a few dollars will go continue a long way.  

I’ll leave you with some quotes on mothers, who all deserve flowers on Mother’s Day:

  • A mother is a person who seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie.  –Tenneva Jordan
  • All mothers are working mothers. –Author Unknown
  • Sweater, n.: garment worn by child when its mother is feeling chilly. –Ambrose Bierce
  • Biology is the least of what makes someone a mother. –Oprah Winfrey
  • Our mothers always remain the strangest, craziest people we’ve ever met. –Marguerite Duras
  • There’s no bitch on earth like a mother frightened for her kids. –Stephen King
  • Most mothers are instinctive philosophers. –Harriet Beecher Stowe
  • All that I am or ever hope to be, I owe to my angel mother. – Abraham Lincoln

Help Give Elderly Residents a Great Mother’s Day

The Little Sisters of the Poor Holy Family Home in Philadelphia does something special for each of their 50 elderly residents each year: they purchase wrist corsages in celebration of Mother’s Day.  But this year, they don’t have the money to do it.

Residents at Holy Family HOme

Residents at Holy Family Home, from their website

Peicha and Emily of falls flowers, the fabulous flower shop in East Falls where I used to work, wanted to collaborate with me on making them since their shop is already so busy. Because the Sisters don’t have the budget to commission us at a regular price, or even enough to cover the flowers, we decided to raise money and give these residents a great Mother’s Day!  And that’s where you come in.  We only have two weeks until Mother’s Day, and depending upon how much you’re able to share, we can give them small or large wrist corsages dripping with roses, ranunculus, and other accent flowers.  If we raise even more, they could each get a small bouquet!

bouquet created by peicha chang of falls flowers

Won’t you share your generosity and give some low-income elderly women a great Mother’s Day?

DONATE ON PAYPAL TO CREATE ONE-OF-A-KIND FLORAL DESIGNS FOR THE RESIDENTS AT LITTLE SISTERS OF THE POOR ON MOTHER’S DAY!

We need donations in the next week so we can then plan the acquisition of materials and do the labor.  We will only use these funds to create floral designs for these residents, and if we receive excess of what we need to do so, the money will be contributed directly to Holy Family Home via me, Ann MacMullan.  You will receive a Paypal receipt that can be used as a tax deductible donation to charity.  Even just a few dollars will go a long way.

The blog will feature updates, how much we raise and how much we spend, photos of the process/making the flowers, and then the delivery of the flowers and hopefully the delighted residents receiving them!  Lend a hand, and spread some beauty!

Awakening

When spring finally comes, especially after a long winter, I think to myself how very brave it is for plants to send out buds and leaves and flowers again.  They have the courage to reach for the light and keep growing, despite the fact that they’ll inevitably die.

Magnolia

Magnolia

Especially courageous are spring ephemerals like Mertensia virginica, or Virginia bluebells; for these beauties are but fleeting bursts of color in the spring landscape, typically above ground for only a few short months before folding back into dormancy again.

Virginia Bluebells, or Mertensia virginica

Virginia Bluebells, or Mertensia virginica

And what about the sheer doggedness of our native dogwood tree, whose bracts unfurl in April to reveal the true inner blooms, tiny and button-like?

Dogwood

Many of our spring flowering trees send out blooms even before leaves emerge.  That’s like getting up in the morning and walking outside naked, in my opinion!

Yellow Magnolia

Yellow Magnolia

If only I could take a lesson from spring’s treasures, and learn to get back up with grace when life knocks me down, knowing that it’s all just part of the cycle of life.

Art in Bloom

Imagine a work of art that’s come to life…in flowers.  The colors, textures, lines, and emotional energy of the painting or sculpture are all interpreted in the floral design, displayed next to the artwork itself.

Warning by Jimmy Ernst, 1960

A spot-on floral translation of the painting Warning by Jimmy Ernst, 1960                                 Photo by Laura Blanchard

That was the challenge for 45 national floral designers and 15 garden clubs during the first weekend in April at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts – and I was lucky enough to be one of them.

This floral designer showed unbelievable mastery over her material.

This floral designer showed unbelievable mastery over her material.

With the inaugural PAFA in Bloom event, a breath of fresh air blew into the 138-year old Historic Landmark Building.  Sixty diverse floral designs, from the diminutive to the dominating, were placed carefully throughout the building, and an echo was sounded between paint and bloom.  (Or in some cases, marble.)

Nydia, the Blind Girl of Pompeii

One of my favorite floral designs, depicting Nydia, the Blind Girl of Pompeii by Randolph Rogers c.1853 – Marble

So, how does one go about tackling a floral interpretation?  This was the question I asked myself months before the exhibit.  It was my first time doing something like this and I was more than a little intimidated by the scope of the project.  First I had to study the work of art, which in my case was a portrait of the poet Walt Whitman done by Thomas Eakins in 1887.  

My lovely sister-in-law Juliet and I took a trip to PAFA to get an idea of how large a space I'd have to fill and see Walt close up.

My lovely sister-in-law Juliet and I took a trip to PAFA to get an idea of how large a space I’d have to fill and see Walt close up.  Here, she shows how large the pedestal will be.

I started thinking about colors: brown, sage, slate; white, grey; peach. I decided I wanted the container to represent his body, and the design to be symbolic of the painting’s content rather than a recreation.  There were some very specific rules about what materials we could and could not use, with the emphasis on using fresh material as opposed to wood and fabrics like wool which could harbor damaging insects.  You could still use those items, if you fumigated and/or dry-cleaned them, but I didn’t really want to add any steps to the process, and wanted to keep my design as simple as possible.  To me, the energy of the painting is male, vital, and merry; and with that white collar my mind went instantly to calla lilies; a perfect representation of Walt’s joie de vivre.  His gnarled quality might be echoed by a branch of some kind.  The greys and whites of his beard could be items like spanish moss, dusty miller, and I loved the idea of using a big air plant – Tillandsia xerographica – as a focal point.

I ended up picking out my Calla lilies personally at Del Val Wholesale, with the help of Carol Taylor. These were locally grown and the most deliciously huge callas you will ever find!!

I ended up picking out my Calla lilies personally at Del Val Wholesale, with the help of Carol Taylor. These were locally grown and the most deliciously huge callas you will ever find!!

Picking up materials from DV Flora was an exciting part of the process, because I got to see behind-the-scenes of the largest wholesale floral operation in our area, and meet some of the friendly and helpful staff who were topnotch to work with. Thanks, DV! After gathering all my materials, I did a mock design first; borrowing the perfect container from my friend Jane (her basement is a designer’s dream come true)! I was really happy with the outcome, but could I replicate my design on the spot, at PAFA, on the day of the installation? I was incredibly nervous about that part, but luckily I had a huge help from my sister-in-law Juliet (who is a talented architect.)  This short video shot by Juliet shows the scene at PAFA the morning of the preview party.  There was also a cameraman from FOX news there, to add to the excitement!  

Then it was time to place the design upstairs on the pedestal.  We wheeled Walt’s floral counterpart up to see if it stacked up next to the real Walt.

Making some last minute tweaks to my design...having trouble 'walking away'...photo by Juliet

Making some last minute tweaks to my design…having trouble ‘walking away’…photo by Juliet

In the end, I was pleased with our efficiency in getting in and out of PAFA, because my design really only had a few materials in it (I had created the base of galax and some spanish moss the day before.)  Thank you Juliet for rocking this day with me!  

Getting friendly with Walt

Getting friendly with Walt

Then, it was on to the Preview Party, a gala affair attended by those in support of PAFA in Bloom.  It was so exciting to see all the fresh faced designers and my floral friends Peicha, Valerie and Jane in one place..and to watch people looking at my design!  Here are some photos from the evening:

Jane takes a closer look at an intriguing design

Jane takes a closer look at an intriguing design

Peicha is in the house! With Naima, quite a masterpiece herself.

Peicha is in the house! With Naima, quite a masterpiece herself.

Ariadne Asleep on the Island of Naxos as interpreted by Peicha Chang of falls flowers

Ariadne Asleep on the Island of Naxos as interpreted by Peicha Chang of falls flowers.  Simply sensual!

Valerie's magnificent "hand-tied" bouquet

Valerie McLaughlin’s magnificent “hand-tied” bouquet.  Thanks Valerie, for making me aware of this event!

Take a look at Death on the Pale Horse, a Benjamin West painting, which at 176 x 301 inches is one of the largest oil paintings in PAFA’s collection.  The floral designer who interpreted this one was a genius in my opinion…

Benjamin West's Death on The Pale Horse 1817

Benjamin West’s Death on the Pale Horse 1817

This floral translation of Death on The Pale Horse knocked our socks off!

This floral translation of Death on the Pale Horse was astounding.

It was intimidating to be in the same room with the works of so many great artists, and then great floral designers as well, but it was an experience I will never forget. Thanks to Schaffer Designs for including me and for organizing this very successful event, and for maintaining my design over the course of the exhibit…I hope this will be the first of many!

Walt and my design

After the show, I got some great feedback from George Hubner, right here in Swarthmore:  “I saw the PAFA in Bloom exhibit this afternoon, and your arrangement stood out in particular among the 60 others! I didn’t go around paying any attention to the names of the arrangers, but I noted yours. I have noticed that in the US when someone makes a flower arrangement, the more flowers they can cram in the better. Why use just three flowers then you can stuff in 30 in the bowl instead. The Japanese will use three to great effect, but in the US more is preferred (or as Mae West is supposed to have said “too much is not enough”).  Your arrangement stood out for your use of only three flowers. It looks like a Sogetsu to me. And it seems to me that your using calla lilies was referencing Whitman’s calamus poems too. There must have been thousands of flowers used in the arrangements!  The masses were impressive, but your arrangement was simplicity itself and refreshing to see in the middle of all the other over-the-top arrangements.”  Thanks, George!