I have been a massive fan of Ariella Chezar for my entire flower career. I actually credit her with getting me hooked on this crazy, beautiful adventure that now envelopes my life!
The first time I saw her work was in a gorgeous spread for Garden Design Magazine, featuring clematis grown at Chalk Hill Clematis Farm in Healdsburg CA. I was designing and installing gardens at the time and it had never occurred to me that one could clip such treasure from the garden and use it in bouquets. Witnessing her approach to arranging, nature and flowers stopped me dead in my tracks. Who knew such magic was so close at hand!?
And like that, my course corrected, out came the vegetable garden, in went flowers and here we are today!
I’ve tried to get myself to one of Ariella’s amazing workshops for the past two years but just could never seem to make it work. But when I heard she’d be teaching at Chalk Hill Clematis I knew I was meant to be there for sure!
It’s literally insane that I stepped away from the farm this time of year with so much needing attention and care, but there was no way I could let the opportunity pass by, I HAD to go, I HAD to be there! So just days after the Mother’s Day madness settled and right before wedding season begins in earnest, I hopped a plane for Napa and had the time of my life.
Kaye Heafy, owner of Chalk Hill Clematis, was the most exquisite host one could hope for. She guided us through her incredible fields, shared wonderful stories, let us dine in her gardens and essentially gave us free reign of the farm for 3 whole days!
You can imagine how freaked out with excitement we all were with clippers in hand and buckets in tow!
The first day we watched Ariella create a massive, breathtaking arrangement of clematis recta, ‘Evelyn’ garden roses, giant heirloom rambling roses, large white clematis, eleagenus foliage, olive branches and other treasures from the field. We then set about making our own.
What fun to work with such amazing product, on such a large scale!
Dusky pink bearded iris, ‘Evelyn’ garden roses, phalenopsis orchids, ‘Notre Dame’ carnations, eleagnus foliage, brodea, nerine, clematis recta…. too much beauty in one place I tell ya!
Photographer Meg Smith showed up near the end of the day, at magic light hour and catured our bouquets on film. Watching her work was a real treat.
Sue Prutting, from White Magnolia Designs in D.C. knocked it out of the park with her monster bouquet. Both being troublemakers, we became fast friends and spent a good deal of the workshop laughing our heads off and having a total blast. She is one seriously awesome lady and totally talented designer!!!
Day two we got into vines, purples and crazy color combos. Stay tuned.
I’ve thought about how to start this post for days now. Staring up at my hotel room ceiling each night, sorting through the mountain of emotions, ideas, thoughts and stories that I’ve experienced these past days has been immensely overwhelming. So much to take in and process, so much to integrate and absorb.
I witnessed so much beauty, that I think my heart broke just a little bit. Truly.
I made the most amazing friends who will be treasured for this entire lifetime. Sue and Courtney, you have my heart, always! The generosity that was shared with me was so humbling, and so real that I know will never be the same.
But most of all, I became very present to how full this world is of goodness and beauty and love.
I was reminded that while we are each on our own unique path, living lives unrecognizable from each others that we share so many of the same struggles, barriers and fears.
This past week I left the farm, boarded a plane to northern California and essentially stepped off the plank into uncharted waters. Thank goodness Ariella was waiting there for me when I arrived.
She held space, while I expanded into more of my true self. It was amazing and terrifying and wonderful, all in the same breath. I am changed, forever and certainly for the best.
***A detailed, picture infused re-cap of the journey will be streaming live all week. Stay tuned, because it’s gonna be good!
And the lucky winners are:
Looks like a fabulous book and I would love to win it for my mom for Mothers day..she’s the one that gave me my green thumb!
My favorite flowers are sunflowers, bright and happy!
Ooo, I’ve had my eye on this book and Studio Choo!
Its like picking your favorite child… so hard. I’ll say coral charm peony! I just love the way the color changes with time.
What a great give away, If I don’t win I will buy it. My favorite flowers, it’s hard to say. For Mother’s Day this year, I bought my roses from PeterKort in Hillsboro, OR, and they were the most beautiful roses I have seen, so fresh and the colors so vibrant, I’m sure they were picked the day before they shipped. So for favorites right now, roses, gerbs, tulips, delph, all the flowers, I don’t think I really have an unfavorite. Good luck to me and you are a great inspiration to me.
Thank you so much for joining in the fun and congrats to Barb, Nicole and Katie!!!
Ladies, email me at info (at) floretflowers.com and I’ll pop these beautiful books in the mail to ya!
I have been a fan of the Small Stump & Studio Choo ladies for years after discovering their awesome flower column on Design Sponge. Their relaxed approach to flowers, their creative spirit and close friendship has been so very inspiring. When I got wind that they were writing a flower book, I knew it was going to be amazing!!!
If you’re in the flower world, then you know there are very few GREAT flower books out there. Unless you have the opportunity to spend time with someone who knows their stuff, and can show you the ropes, then you’re pretty much on your own to figure out the basic mechanics of arranging. Luckily for us, that isn’t the case any longer!
The Flower Recipe Book is chocked full of over 100 step by step hot-to’s for creating lose, natural, seasonally inspired bouquets. If you’re just getting into flowers, this is a killer reference that will get you going in the right direction. If you’ve been at it awhile and need a dose of GORGEOUS inspiration, then this baby should be on your shelf. If you need a gift for sweet ole Mom on Sunday, this is definitely the ticket!
I’m now including it in my wedding consultation bag, since it features so many of the flowers we grow and highlights such gorgeous, unfussy bouquets that I know my brides will love!
Jill and Alethea will visiting Seattle this week on their book tour! The Seattle Wholesale Flower Grower’s Co-op is hosting a flower demo and book signing from 8:30-10 a.m. of Friday, details HERE. Then Saturday the ladies head to West Elm from 10-12 for another class and signing, details HERE!
But here’s the best part! I have 3 beautiful signed copies of the book to share!!! All you have to do is leave your name and favorite flower variety in the comment section to win. Cut off for the drawing in Saturday night, May 11th. The lucky recipients will be announced on Mother’s Day!
There are little windows in time, fleeting flashes, that if not fully embraced are lost for another season.
The garden has helped me learn the art of seizing these brief moments of magic like no other teacher. Lily of the valley comes and goes before you’ve had a chance to really soak in its heavenly scent, sweet peas are here for a mere 6 weeks and lilacs, ten days if you’re lucky! Flowering crabapples are even more fleeting.
A few years back I planted a row of the French variety named ‘Everest’ along the driveway. It not only puts on the most sensational show in April but is also loaded down year after year with glowing cherry sized fruit through Christmas. The best part of all? It’s completely disease free. If you need a great landscape tree, this beauty is for you!
In honor of this once yearly floral explosion, my dear friend Georgianna Lane zipped up from the city and photographed all of the beauty for you to enjoy!
The roses were sourced from my favorite grower in Oregon, PeterKort . The rest is all from my garden. How wonderful it is to finally be able to walk out my backdoor and have such bounty to work with!
p.s. If you need a little more beauty in your day, head on over to The Seasonal Bouquet Project and see our newest entries!