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Blog

Filtering by Tag: florals

Pick from Your Neighborhood

Suzanne Pollak

When he walks down the steps and sees the fronds, the person living here thinks,  This is my kind of house!

When he walks down the steps and sees the fronds, the person living here thinks, This is my kind of house!

Even if you must sneak out before dawn so as not to get caught, do it! Clipping fronds and ferns is not really stealing. Leaves grow back. The trick to the chicest arrangements is choosing different textures, colors and heights. Stuff your pickings into a long vase filled with water, bottom leaves stripped so as not to contaminate the water.

Think of this as an architecture project. Take a look at your space and then use your imagination. Leaving air between leaves allows imaginary butterflies to fly through. The goal is to for the width and height to fill the space on a hall table so every time you walk by, or go up and down the stairs, wherever your interior path may lead -- a jolt of jolly green pleasure hits you.

Natural, fresh, sometimes with a delicious aroma, this easy-to-DIY project breathes life into your space. The arrangement can actually make you feel different, like you are in the house that you deserve to be in. 

Easter Magic

Suzanne Pollak

Scrambling to add a last-minute centerpiece to your Easter feast? There are a million ways to make your table uniquely you. Remember, there's help all around, right under your nose. Consider these everyday resources:

1. Your KIDS

Children are little creators by nature. Don't let these Spring Breakers off the hook. Engage your child’s genius & insist they carry their weight this holiday. Kids will appreciate the Easter feast and feel proud of their contribution. Your tip? Do Not Be Bossy. Small children can draw place cards or placemats. Middle-schoolers can really go crazy -- nothing is off the table. They might choose to feature their ant farm, their gold fish swimming in a bowl, a butterfly collection, little league trophies. Who cares? In the long run, it’s not about the elegance of your table. It’s about the value of your child’s contribution.

2. Harris Teeter

...or your local grocery store, a place laden with sui generis centerpieces, many perfect for Easter. Walk in the store with your eyes open for pastel colors. E.g., look for pink breakfast radishes or many-colored round radishes; all delightfully spunky orbs when stuffed in silver cups or crystal goblets. Fill small tureens with spikes of asparagus, for structure, and green onions, for looseness. Give your guests eyes something different than the usual pink tulip centerpiece.

3. Public Parks

Someone has to do the trimming. Why not you? Go under cover before dawn, clippers hidden in your pocket and help yourself to the back branches of azalea bushes (those up against the fence), lurking ferns, stems of palms. Tip: cut long branches.  Fill a tall glass container halfway with water, and arrange the stems loosely. It’s like nature coming to the table, and yields an arrangement perfect for a sideboard, buffet table or at the end of a dining table if no one is sitting there.

4. Objet d'Art

Are you a collector? March your collection down the center of the table. Handmade wooden bowls, antique brass candlesticks, tiny chairs sculpted from the wire surrounding champagne corks -- the Dean doesn’t know what you collect, but if you are a collector then you are a proud owner with a passion. Your passion needs to be displayed! Herend bunnies, Steuben crystal hand holders, painted eggs...you get the picture. It’s not about cost of the objects or the organization on the table, it’s about showcasing your personality.

5. Pastry Shops!

Great pastry shops are actually like jewelry shops with edible gems. You have enough to do this weekend. It’s too late to make a 3-day Coconut Cake, but not too late to pick up a French pear tart, or cherry pistachio tart, or cupcakes, or a lemon layer cake. The point is showstopping beauty that can sit upon a pedestal being the center of attraction. All eyes are awed, reminding guests to save room after the main course.

P.S. Don’t forget chocolate bunnies on top of each place setting as a party favor for your Easter company!

Florals Workshop: Basics

A. K. Lister

Five ladies -- including us Deans -- took Florals Workshop: Basics with Lily Peterson of Flowershop [top left] and all we got were these UNBELIEVABLY GORGEOUS ARRANGEMENTS to take home!  Not to mention a dose of the beautiful outdoors in the Academy Garden, along with tea, coffee, and Charleston's finest croissants by Cristophe.  Some of the flowers used in our arrangements were Pepper Berry, Spray Rose, Garden Rose Caramel Antique, Ranunculus, Kangaroo Paws, Smoke Bush, and painted leaves...all in warm Autumnal hues perfect for Halloween weekend.

 Q & A

We asked, Where can I find flowers locally? Lily answered: Horst in Charleston, or Whole Foods, which has their own farms so offer great prices and great specials (Mothers Day peonies, etc.)

What kind of vase should I use? A trapeze shape, which is very forgiving.  A smaller opening will give your arrangement more support, and heavy base will make it easy to transport.

How much greenery do I need?  How many flowers?  At least one green element (lots of it) and three different kinds of flowers, to start.

Is it OK to see the back of the leaves?  Yes!  When you are looking for that natural feel, it helps to have the contrast of matte and smooth leaves.

How do I water my arrangement?  Put the entire arrangement in the sink, directly under the faucet, and (without removing any flowers) let the flow of water for a minute or two refresh your vase.

Lily's Lessons

Don't let the shape of the flowers control you.  Remember, you are in charge!  Create a tight grid on the mouth of the (still dry) vase using floral tape to help format your flowers.

Start with greenery.  Clean the stems, cutting off any loose leaves, and don't be afraid to edit, removing branches, starting at the bottom.  Lily suggests working with a diagonal line for a loose, airy feel, which results in a grander arrangement.  Avoid the dense, compact, "soccer ball" effect which was so popular in the 90s.

Add three of your largest blooms.  Trim stems at an angle, which makes it easier for the plant to hydrate.  Cut to different heights and aim for a triangular arrangement.  Always, when you find that something isn't working, STOP.  Take a breath, remembering there is no such thing as perfection.  Regroup and come back to it.  Life Lesson #1.

Fill in with interesting pieces, adding color, texture, and filling in spaces.  Have faith!  It will all come together in the end.  Life Lesson #2.

Needless to say, everyone passed with flying colors.  Lily returns for Florals Workshop continued: Centerpieces on Wednesday 11/18 at 10AM, and Wreaths and Wine on Wednesday 12/9 @ 5:30PM.  Spaces will go quickly, so reserve yours HERE!

Xx the Academy