A group I volunteer with had their spring fundraiser today and a friend and I were in charge of the arrangements, color scheme, etc.

The space has a bright red wall which could have been a limiting factor. The other issue was sightlines.  And of course cost!  I chose a color scheme of black/white and green as there would be black and white comix for each participant and I wanted to echo the “flourishing” element of the theme in greenery.  To do this without being too “Christmasy” was the trick and I determined that a only touches of bright spring green would be necessary.





The red wall and an arrangement up close


The little dangly hearts were made out of old sheet music and the “cones” were copies of the comic fit inside the pilsner glasses.  They added the right touch of color and whimsy to the event.

The materials I used included green hydrangeas, viburnum (snow ball bush), curly willow and hosta leaves.





Focus on line

Did you know that Japanese flower arrangement, Ikebana, has its roots in Chinese flower arrangement?


Before I began preparing for a demonstration at the Lan Su Chinese Garden, I didn’t either, although I have had some training in Ikebana.  Apparently, when Buddhism crossed into Japan, flower arranging techniques associated with temple offerings crossed over as well.


My presentation focused on “line” which is a major feature in Asian floral design.

In very traditional arrangements, a few materials are arranged to evoke heaven, man, and earth (tallest line usually branches, middle height line – flowers or shrubs, and shortest line – usually flowers or occasionally seedpods and the like.)


This kind of simplicity works well in most rooms, and is certainly very useful in the spring where a few foraged branches and snips of shrubs and flowers can create a contemplative and beautiful design.

Even a few store bought flowers or a bouquet from your local grocers can be transformed. Try your hand at it. And bring a bit of spring into your home.


Spring….walking slowly into our lives

It’s been a long slow winter in most of the country and the Pacific Northwest is no exception. What keeps many of us going is the hope of spring! And for a floral designer, eking out beauty from the simplest of materials.

I’m scheduled to do a demonstration at the Lan Su Chinese Garden in a few weeks and have been contemplating the importance of “line” in eastern floral design. Although these kinds of designs do not typically show up in western weddings, the understanding of the role line takes in design is an important foundation for any designer.

In these two small examples, we see how the beauty of the coming spring can be transformed into simple, but effective arrangements.

First some photos from the garden stroll.


Now the arrangements.


One note about spring flowers — they are often very fleeting and do not last long in an inside environment. The hellebores featured in both arrangements, for example, may droop and fade within hours. A tip about these, be sure the stamens (inner seed containers) are full. These will look like fat, green, seed pods. You can cut these earlier, when the seed pods are forming as well.

I’ll be posting about my demo later this month. Or if you’re in the area, you can come join me at the Lan Su Chinese Garden in Portland on Saturday afternoon, March 18.



I don’t usually care or follow trends myself, but brides and others do who want to stay up to date. It was however with some interest that I noticed that the Pantone color trend this year is “Greenery” a color familiar to floral artists. Green in all its shades and tones serves to unite the riotous variety of color found in nature and in floral design.  Green is almost a neutral in this context, flattering the bolder colors around it or encouraging the more muted shades to stand out.

You’ll notice most well done bouquets have a goodly amount of greens in differing shades and textures. In fact, what a floral arranger does with greens separates a good florist from a great one.

Green flowers exist as well as foliage.  You might want to check out some of these lovely, and unusual bits of nature.


Green roses, green tulips, snowdrops, mums, hydrangeas, carnations, alliums, calla lillies, Solomon seal, ladies mantel are but a few (not all pictured her).

In theese two recent bouquets from my work with the Bloom Project, you might notice how green comes into play, from the greenish-yellow centers of the daisies, to the pale green outer petals of the lisianthus,



back to the yellow-green centers of the teeny mums and the very green outer petals of the closed lillies.



Green brings it all together.






To the new year


One of our simple traditions for the Holiday and the new year is to see what our garden can produce in the dead of winter. Obviously, living in Zone 8, in a fairly moderate climate, means that we usually can find a decent number of things blooming. Alas, this year, we are stuck in the heart of a deep freeze. Even so, there is life to be found.

Unbroken dreams of spring regard us in our hibernation,
roots of remembrance tug in the mind, buried in sleep.
Smell spring in the slightly thawed earth,
in the desiccated flowers that have no right to bloom.
Against the frozen remains of winter.
we scent something fresh.

Welcome to the return of hope.


Blooming in late November

I volunteer for a wonderful organization, The Bloom Project, (thebloomproject.org) which repurposes flowers into bouquets for patients in  hospice with the mission of demonstrating beauty, giving and joy during end of life care.  The organization was founded in Bend, Oregon and has been operating in Portland for at least three years. Heidi Berkman, the organization’s visionary, has found wonderful floral partners including Teufel’s Nursery which donates space in Portland to the Bloom Project.

From raw material to bouquet

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Demo in Action: And results

On Saturday, Nov. 12 I did a floral demonstration at the Lan Su Gardens here in Portland. The focus of my talk was on using color but also included tips on using found or everyday objects.

I was left with a few flowers and invited people to come up and make a bouquet.

Here I am at the start of working on the basket arrangement. That arrangement nearly done and it’s final form.

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A few other pieces in both spare and lush styles.

My audience felt that it changed with the inclusion of the material.

My audience felt the vase changed color tone with the inclusion of the material.



I have had to practice my use of complementary colors as this color combination does not come easily to me.  Volunteering at  The Bloom Project has stretched my skills in this area as we repurpose flowers into bouquets for individuals in hospice.  We don’t get to choose what flowers we get to use!