Saturday, December 31, 2011

Speaking of Roses

At this year's MoMA Film Benefit, honoring film director Pedro Almodovar, attendees were greeted with an eye-popping wall of beautiful red roses. Designed by Raul Avila, the wall was comprised of 25,000 red roses, in 3 varieties: Cherry Love, Freedom, and Charlie.

The wall proved to be a popular spot for photo ops.
Here, actress Blake Lively strikes a pose.

You might ask, aren't all red roses alike?
Not at all!
Some of the differences in roses can be vase longevity, resistance to disease, head size,
stem length, number of thorns (less is more, to a florist!) and fragrance or lack of.

Based on these criteria, Freedom is easily the most popular red rose,
and the number one variety used by florists the world over.
If you are the lucky recipient of a red rose bouquet this Valentine's Day,
it will no doubt be comprised of Freedom roses, thanks to its classic shape,
gently rolling petals and long vase life.

Here is Cherry Love, with its bright red, large blooms.

Not all reds are created equal-
For instance, this 'Black Magic' rose, is actually a red rose as well!
It's deep dramatic coloring gives it the effect of being black,
especially when placed near other colors.

Sexy Red, a favorite of mine, is a deep red that opens into a huge, long-lasting bloom.
It's a scene-stealer !

Bloomers Floral Design
122 South Front St.

Wilmington, NC 28401


2012 Color of the Year

Tangerine Tango was recently announced by Pantone
(The Color People) as the 2012 Color of the Year.
What does this mean for you as a consumer?
Well, along with 2011's color "Honeysuckle" (a vibrant pink),
it heralds a move away from subtle earth tones,
such as the sands and soft greens,
instead moving toward vibrant, happy colors.

Tangerine Tango is a bold reddish orange, full of energy.
But don't think pumpkin! This is a hue that plays well with others.

We've already seen it pop up in the fashion world...

...and in home decor, as small accents...

...or as the focal point for the entire room.

Brides have already begun asking for orange tones for their wedding flowers.
Either as a bouquet composed of tints, tones and hues of orange,
or mixed with other, complimentary colors such as blue,
this is a choice for the bride (or consumer) who wants to make a statement!

Bloomers Floral Design
122 South Front St.

Wilmington, NC 28401


Saturday, December 17, 2011

Baby's Breath-Love it or Hate it?

Baby's Breath. The very word conjures up unpleasant images for some folks.
True, over the years, it became a tired staple in every Dozen Rose arrangement,
seemingly tossed in at the last minute, a "cheap filler".

Fast forward to 2011.
No longer 'cheap', no longer simply an afterthought, Baby's Breath, or, let's call it by it's true name "Gypsophila" , is experiencing a rebirth of sorts. Brides especially may be looking for a true romantic touch for their bouquets, and "Gyp" can add that as no other accent flower can.

There are now several different varieties available as well.
Some with petite florets, others give a fluffy mini-snowball effect.
Aren't these filled buckets lovely?

Look how fabulous "Gyp" can be on it's own!

So, while I'm not advocating the return of Baby's Breath
as the be-all and end-all of filler flowers,
I do think it's time to turn it's use upside down...
and give it the presence it deserves!

Bloomers Floral Design
122 South Front St.
Wilmington, NC 28401


Sunday, December 11, 2011

Bella Swan's Wedding Dress

Unless you have been living in a cave for the past years, you've no doubt at least heard about the Twilight series of books, and the successful movies they have spawned. The stars of these stories are Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) and Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson), and in the most recent movie to hit the screens, "Breaking Dawn, Part 1", Bella and Edward are to be married. In this day of cross-promotions, it was bound to happen that one of the country's top wedding dress manufacturers would hop on the bandwagon, and agree to design a replica for sale to the general public.

Bella's dress heralds a return to a more demure type of gown. For several years, we've seen strapless and very bare dresses be the norm. This beautiful gown, designed by Spanish designer Carolina Herrera, changes that completely. At a cost of $35,000, it is breathtakingly simple on arrival, and beautifully embellished with lace and 152 covered buttons on the peek-a-boo back.

Perhaps it's a bit reminiscent of Pippa's buttoned-up maid of honour gown?

National wedding dress designer Alfred Angelo is offering a
'Bella" dress for $799.
So yes, you can look just as elegant as a movie star!

This isn't the first time a movie gown has been interpreted for sale to the public.

Elizabeth Taylor's dress in Father of the Bride...

Audrey Hepburn's ballerina style in Funny Face...

...even Sarah Jessica Parker's iconic, over-the-top Vivienne Westwood confection from the Sex and the City movie, have all been made available to the public in their various incarnations.

Bloomers Floral Design
122 South Front St.
Wilmington, NC 28401

Saturday, December 3, 2011

White House Florist

I recently came across an interesting book: My First Ladies, by Nancy Clarke. In this slim volume, Nancy holds the reader's interest with little tidbits about her 30 years as the White House Florist, and her interactions with those first ladies. Starting with Rosalynn Carter, on to Nancy Reagan, Barbara and Laura Bush, Hillary Clinton, and finally, a few months with Michelle Obama.

The White House has employed 'bouquet makers' since the 1850's.
But it was President Buchanan's niece who returned from England and
told of fresh flowers gracing the most elegant homes there.
This heralded the end of the use of wax flowers, and the White House hasn't looked back since.
Even in these days of economical austerity, Michelle Obama is careful to use long-lasting forced branches, natural elements and even asks that flowers be 'recycled'
to other rooms when they are past their prime.

Nancy started out as a volunteer in 1978, quickly moving up to Head Florist and working through 5 administrations. Nancy's patience and dedication are evident throughout the book, as she tells of the many long hours spent meeting with White House staff and the First Ladies themselves, each one having their own idea of what the White House flower arrangements should look like. It was Nancy's job to help each First Lady put her own stamp on the White House, while also maintaining a certain decorum.

And of course, each First Lady also had her own favorite colors or flowers. For instance, Nancy Reagan loved the color red, but for flowers, her favorite was pale peonies, and she requested them often during her stay in the White House. But peonies are notorious for their short period of availability. So much so that Nancy had a small pillow embroidered for her that read:
"Peonies bloom in May", as a gentle reminder.

Decorating for the holidays is no small feat, and decorating the White House even more daunting, requiring an army of volunteers, and hundreds of man-hours of planning for Nancy and her staff. The First Lady would generally decide on the theme for the year, such as Mrs. Carter's "Antique Toys" theme, and then most everything else floral and decorative was left to Nancy to plan out and execute.

There were few weddings in the White House during Nancy's tenure, but she was asked to help with the flowers for Jenna Bush's wedding in 2008 at the family ranch in Crawford, Texas. Flowers were selected in Washington and sent to the ranch for the big day, arranged there by Nancy and a team. Jenna had requested a rustic but elegant look, which Nancy achieved using birch containers, roses and Hydrangeas.

One big change brought about by a First Lady was Hillary Clinton.
Until she came to the White House, the florists wore skirts and pantyhose...
not the most convenient outfit for a physical job!
Hillary wore pantsuits, and shortly thereafter,
so did the florists, and they all breathed a sigh of relief!

Along with keeping flowers in the public rooms in top condition,
there were multitudes of dinners large and small to plan for visiting dignitaries, at times involving travel to Camp David, or flowers for Air Force One.
Here, the staff is shown preparing flowers for Queen Elizabeth's visit in 2007.
You can see there wasn't much elbow room!

How lucky is this florist that she had beautiful vases, pitchers and containers,
not to mention all the different patterns of beautiful White House china patterns, to work with!

To help with new-home jitters, Nancy took Sasha and Melia Obama to the flower shop when they first moved into the White House, and had them create their own flower arrangement for their rooms. What a great way to welcome the new First Family,
and a special touch that helped Nancy be considered family by all her First Ladies.

Bloomers Floral Design
122 South Front St.
Wilmington, NC 28401