Friday, 23 August 2013

Beer & Coffee

Green wall!
There are few things that I love more in life than plants, but a good beer and amazing coffee definitely rank up there. After busy month of wedding prep, job changes, new relationships, and crazy heat, I was more than ready to disappear for a couple days and hide out in wonderful beer and coffee Mecca of the PNW: Portland. It. Was. Wonderful. But it was 35 degrees while I was there, so it wasn't so much of a reprieve as an intensification of the conditions back home in Vancouver.  Oregon has long been one of my favorite places to venture off to when I only have a short window of leisure time, though generally I find myself in tents along the coast, trying to avoid as many fellow tourists as possible. I've passed through Portland a couple of times, but have never spent more than an hour or two on the outskirts of town, in Powell's. This time I wanted to enjoy the city and spend some time there. The hotel was booked, Hotel Modera right downtown (randomly it had terrariums--with sad fake plants--in the lobby and a lovely exterior green wall to welcome me), and all other plans put aside. Vacation! 

Me, playing with the lovely foliage
It was lovely. I went with one other person, and we pretty much just ate and sauntered around the downtown core, and of course did some tax free shopping. There was even a showing of "Grease," the sing-along version, in Pioneer Square the night we were there, so of course we sat down and enjoyed the show. And sang. I don't sing well, so perhaps be thankful you weren't there. By sheer chance, the Redhead Event was happening in Pioneer Square on our second day. My people were calling me. For those of you who may not know me personally I am a Ginger, born and raised, so of course I had to go check it out. The Redhead Event was a mass gathering of fellow natural Ginger's in an attempt to break the Guinness World Record for number of natural redheads gathered in one place at the same time. The number to beat was 1255, and from what I last heard the unofficial count was between 1300 and 1600 Gingers. Unfortunately I was unable to be counted officially because I did not have a photograph of myself as a redheaded wee child, but nonetheless it was neat to see so many of my kind together. 
The remnants of a stop by Stumptown

But here's the thing: I spent too much time wandering Powell's, eating at food carts, drinking coffee, frolicking through flea and farmer's markets, ogling the vegetation (seriously, always a major distraction, as anyone who travels with me knows oh-so-well), and sipping on tasty wines...that I had not one delicious drop of beer. Not. One. And I am a Deschutes girl, so please understand that my heart broke a fair bit over my absentmindedness. Oh well, guess I'll just have to go back. Shoot darn! Next time, Hawthorne. 

Carrots, in such wonderful rich tones. Makes me want autumn!

Unknown plant! Help! Hebe or para hebe I presume: soft hairy foliage, small profile, geometric

Dahlias were EVERYWHERE! And I was happy. 
Beautiful coral tones.

Almost impossibly hard for me to leave this pitcher plant behind. Look at that colouring!! Makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. 

I have never seen a carnivorous plant like this before! 

Crazy carnivorous plant. Little hungry bubbles...

Beautiful trees.


The hotel entrance. 

Artichokes in the market. 

Monday, 19 August 2013

Love & Marriage

If you have been following my  blog, you know that I recently had the opportunity to do the flowers and decor for a wedding for some friends-of-a-friend of mine. I had such a blast doing it, and everything came out beautifully! I took a few pictures of the prep and behind-the-scenes set up and have posted them below. Hopefully they tide you over until the professional photos are ready. Special thanks goes out to Curt, Daniel, Lou, Jaron, Melissa, and Carissa for all your help and inputs; to West Coast Wood Slabs and Jason for their beautiful pieces and the use of their shop; to my incredibly tolerant roommate Tyler for letting me turn the house into a flower shop/craft factory for the past two months; to the folks down at Southlands, the Flower Factory, and Whole Foods; and to Sarah and Wayne for letting me take part in their special day. Alright, now for the pictures. Enjoy!

Cuttings for the bouquets and button holes: sedums, echevarias, flowering origanum, senecio greyii

The flower selection: lisianthus, seeded eucalyptus, dahlias, native sword fern, dusty miller, freesia, baby's breath, eryngium, echinops ritro, gerba daisy, roses (defoliated for petals).

Wiring up the bridal bouguet: lisianthus, dusty miller, succulents, eryngium, echinops ritro, flowering origanum, dahlias, freesia, and a monster tillandsia xeographica. 

A fern frond and dahlia for the ladies in the wedding party to hold, and the bridal bouquet. A happy bucket!

The groom's button hole: tiny tillandsia, echinops ritro, seeded eucalyptus, senecio greyii, succulent cuttings. Backed with hand coiled silver wire, and wrapped in jute twine.

A more feminine look for the female friend who officiated: flowering origanum, seeded eucalyptus, echinops ritro, echeveria cuttings, and senecio greyii.

For the men in the wedding party: eryngium, echinops ritro, echevaria cuttings, seeded eucalyptus, and senecio greyii. 

And the same ingredients for a handsome man on the bride's side.

Setting up the ceremony site! The small and intimate gathering of about 25 friends and family took place at the gazebo on English Bay.  

Two arrangements, set atop stunning salvaged yellow pine side tables flanked the alter. White organza drapes gentle billowed in the sea breeze, really adding to the beachy-and-vintage romantic vibe. 

Alter arrangements: lisianthus, dahlias, gerba daisies, sword fern, eryngium, seeded eucalyptus, passion vine, dusty miller, succulent cuttings echinops ritro.
Cute bunches of sword fern, baby's breath, and eryngium wrapped in jute adorned the aisle-side chairs.

The guestbook table, a.k.a. my potting table, all cleaned up and and staged with various ferns and an agave from my collection, a succulent terrarium, and a few trinkets from home. 

Some antique window frames and old orchard crate planted with ferns and pennstemon welcomed guests to the wedding. 

A close up of the plants in the crate. 

The ceremony.

The view.
Part of the centerpieces, inspired by Studio Choo's "Flower Recipe Book." Craspedia mounted in small slices of salvaged arbutus.

The craspedia cuties from the side.

Last minute details for the reception! Recycled San Pellegrino bottles stuffed with seeded eucalyptus and leucadendron joined the craspedia pieces and small mason jars with LED tea lights on the tables.

Another picture of one of the alter arrangements. 

And the other....

A close up of the flowers and textures.

The guestbook table, a close-up.  

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Weddings & Moving Forward

Well, the wedding has come and gone, and boy was it fun! I haven't worked so hard on such an important project since University. In the week and a half leading up to the wedding, I am pretty sure that I had not one thought in my mind that didn't have something to do with the wedding! But the best news is that all of the hard work paid off and the Bride & Groom were ecstatic  and for that result I am more than happy to sacrifice sleep and relaxation. I don't have time to do a big write up about the wedding today, but I promise to have something up in the next couple of days. Keep checking back! 

In other news...I've moved on from Southlands Nursery. It was a pretty unexpected and bittersweet change, at a very chaotic time, but it felt like the right move. That is not to say that I am leaving the plant world; in fact, I am hoping that this move will open up more time and opportunities to expand and commit to this little side business of mine. Maybe there will be more weddings and events to do down the road...! But I would like to say this, a wee homage to the characters that work at Southlands Nursery: in the year and a bit that I worked there I learned more about plants and gardening craft than I think I could have ever learned in a school setting, from mentors who geek out about plants as much as I do. Gord, Grant, Evan, Barry, Brock, Graeme--each one a lovably ridiculous character in love with the plant world. And I got to work for Thomas Hobbs, a man who has impeccable style and quirky tastes like no other, and is fellow Prairie descendant who has created a life so full of successes and generosity and passion for his craft that it is inspiring. Southlands will always hold a very special place in my heart, for all that it taught me, but more so for the individuals who so dramatically impacted my life in such a short amount of time.

One of the arrangements for the wedding, complete with Thomas Hobbs dahlias.