Florals | Early Summer Blooms for Memorial Day

Friday, May 27, 2016

What I love most about picking farm flowers, as opposed to buying cut flowers at the store, is the variety, and its something I strive for in our gardens! I love being able to put together a beautiful arrangement with unique foliage (it's the foliage that's so hard to find at a store)!

Yesterday, I took to girls to Fields of Flowers in Purcellville. Forget that it was the hottest day of the year so far my stroller doesn't move through grass very well ;) It really was a perfect afternoon. My intention was to pick flowers and greens for a simple Memorial Day inspired table arrangement. You never know what you'll find at the pick your own flower farm, since pretty much every thing can impact availability. But I squealed inside when I peeked around the corner of the wisteria canopy and saw a row of deep red and pink velvety peonies. I had a hard time resisting cutting them all.

Then I discovered my NEW favorite flower: baptisia. It looks slightly like snapdragon, but the blooms are smaller, and a little more spread out. I love the way it looks with the buds unopened, and the softness of the stem. We continued to explore and found some gorgeous vines growing in another bush, some viburnum (I think), a bush with long stems of small flowering red, bell-shaped blooms (possibly an azalea variety? help, flower friends), a ninebark bush with gorgeous purple leaves and small white flower clusters, and wisteria. Kate, who works at the flower farm, took me to an area I've never seen before, and introduced me to mahonia, which grows these wonderful blue berries. Mahonia is an evergreen flowering shrub, and I cut off the long spiky stems and green leaves (like holly leaves) and just let the berry clusters hang over the pitcher!

When I put together arrangements, I start with the sturdier stems, and usually work my way through the stems, ending with the most fragile blooms/stems last. In this case, I started with the mahonia, since the stems are really woody and I knew I wanted them to cascade over the sides of the vessel. Then I added other pieces: vines, to which helped provide the shape I was looking for, viburnum, which helped fill out the shape. Then I added the peonies, which I chose to keep clustered together. Then I just added more and more filler (vines, baptisia, more ninebark). I am so pleased with the final product, and love that it's 100% local, fresh flowers! Hope you're inspired to go pick some blooms & make a subtly red, white, and blue arrangement for your Memorial Day!!

A Daily Gathering | Spring Workshop Day Part 1

Thursday, May 26, 2016

 Today I'm sharing part one of my last A Daily Gathering, our Spring Workshop Day in Bluemont, VA. On a threatening-to-be-dreary (but turned oh-so-beautiful) Saturday about one month ago, a group of us gathered at La Montagne at Bluemont for a day of shared meals and learning. La Montagne at Bluemont is a charming nearly-300 year old farmhouse tucked away in Northern Virginia's Loudoun County, and it's a favorite secret of mine. When our guests arrived in the morning, they were greeted by a warm selection of quiche, crispy bacon, croissants and jam, fresh fruit, and coffee & tea. At each place at the farmhouse dining table, we set out the wonderful packages put together by our partner, Be Clean Shop. These bags were chockfull of some of my favorite self care & body products.

After mingling and getting to know each other for a bit, we dove right into our workshops, the first of which was all about social media, which I taught alongside Joy of Mornings Like These, and Aley and Andrew Dawson of In My Bowl. I honestly think we could have sat in that dining room for an entire day and discussed social media! Aley and I styled a little tabletop, and explained what works with different media channels in terms of styling, frame, angle of shots, etc. I had a blast working with her on that tabletop vignette, and those photos are some of my favorite!

We had a fascinating discussion, and I'm so thankful for everyones' contributions to that workshop! After a short break, we relocated to the pool house for the natural cleaning workshop! Guests were greeted by some more goodies from our partners at Rail 19 and Eden's Garden Essential Oils. I taught about the basics of natural cleaning, and then students made their own DIY cleaners and face wash. We used essential oils from Eden's Garden, and glass bottles from Rail 19. Everyone left with gorgeous bottles filled to the brim with safe, natural cleaners!

After natural cleaning, we moved to the portico where lunch was waiting. We served a simple, hearty lunch: my favorite roasted asparagus quinoa salad, green goddess sandwiches (avocado, cucumber, sprouts, mozzarella cheese, quick pickled onions, olive oil, and salt & pepper), and a refreshing vodka thyme lemonade.

We relaxed on the porch over lunch for an hour or so, and then moved on to two more hands-on workshops and dinner under the stars! Part two coming soon...with lots more about the people who made this day possible!

Photos by Sweet Root Village

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