magic at cairnwood

I spent the day helping Peicha Chang of falls flowers, and my what a lovely day it was.  We set up for a wedding at Cairnwood, a magical place that beckons you to “experience the grandeur of the Gilded Age.”

This country estate in Bryn Athyn, 16 miles from center city Philadelphia, was constructed in 1895 and has been designated a National Historic Landmark.  Looks like a great place to get married!

mason jars filled with blooms cap the end of every other row

rustic chandelier is hung in the gnarled conifer, with roses in place of candles

Inside the estate, we had 14 tables to cover with centerpiece “collections” in three different rooms, a mantle to hang with vintage bottles filled with buds, a cake cupboard to strew with loose flowers, and a greeting table to bedeck with more vintage bottles filled with blooms.  The palette features grays and creams and peachy pinks, which echo the colors in some of the rooms of Cairnwood.

Peicha’s centerpiece collections include the clever use of succulents as table number holders

the mantle, covered with old pictures, is hung with vintage bottles filled with buds

a glimpse of the bride

Juliet roses, peachy stock, white anemones, brunia and succulents on display

I couldn’t help myself, while taking pictures of the bouquets wrapped and ready to go, I had to capture the bridesmaid’s room.  People are so interesting.

bridesmaids getting ready

awaiting fresh cakes

groomsman with boutonniere

I am feeling a little like a maidservant in Downton Abbey at this point, trying to be silent and unobtrusive and graceful.  Peicha infuses the day with positivity and humor.

On our way out, we discover a great photo op…the very gorgeous bride and groom!  Best wishes to you both for a beautiful life together.

Bridal bouquet designed by Peicha


my world is full…of flowers

I started my day making a birthday arrangement for a friend of the family named Pat, who is my stepmom’s dear friend and probably the hardest working person I know. She’s in the restaurant biz, and owns a cute restaurant in Downingtown called The Blue Cafe together with her husband Paul. Go there, the food is great! Pat is the kind of person who will literally hug the stuffing out of you, whose perkiness precedes her, and despite having been through some tough times, always manages to see the positive in everything and everyone. Julie picked up most of the flowers and I put them together – quite a cheerful mix, just like Pat herself! Happy Birthday Pat.

pat's bday arrangement: bubblegum roses, freesia, pom pom mums, protea, billy balls, boston fern and aucuba (from the garden)

Then I scooted off to falls flowers for my weekly dose of apprenticing. The materials Peicha selects for her shop are really exquisite, and there’s always something I’ve never seen or worked with before to choose from…which makes designing pure heaven!

fuschia boronia

Meet Boronia heterophylla, as I did for the first time today. A shrub native to Australia cultivated for the cut flower trade, boronia has fairly long stems of vibrant pink flowers and a fruity, tea-like fragrance. It really pops! Now, here’s another delicious dish of a flower – and don’t be afraid of it’s Latin name – Scabiosa. They can range in color from white to light lavender, to blue, to purple, to deep maroon. How very romantic.

Scabiosa, or Pincushion flower if you can't take this beautiful flower being called 'scabby'

'Free Spirit' Rose - couldn't you dive right in?

My thirst for loveliness partially quenched, I set to making a few arrangements that had been phoned in. This one was the April representative for a customer’s ‘year of flowers,’ something I think everyone should do! Wouldn’t that make a lovely mother’s day gift: a year of flowers?

hobnail vase with scabiosa, french lavender, white roses, veronica, purple clematis vine

Next up, a birthday arrangement for a customer whose only specification was they wanted it to be “WOW.” My interpretation of wow included the use of protea, orange ornithogalum, boronia, ranunculus, Free Spirit roses, and hypericum.

'wow' design

And finally, some little jars of delight, using leftover materials from the cooler. These were freebies – visual inspiration for a 2nd grade class as they create shapes and forms using clay. Little bit of this, little bit of that…

jars of fun for 2nd grade class

Thanks for letting me have full creative license today, Peicha! I had a blast. I never thought I’d put pink, orange, bright green and yellow together in one design, but I actually did it twice in one day…and I may do even do it again someday.