Monday, February 28, 2011

Par Avion

O.K., so this post wont have much to do with flowers for royal weddings, but, above is a little something special I received in the mail today.  Any member of the royal family can be sent correspondence and their mailing addresses are very easy to find on the Internet.  For example, simply use Google and search for "write a letter to the Queen."  Many sites will appear that give you the addresses for the principal members of the royal family, and many others.  The staff at each royal residence dutifully respond to all letters.  The letter I received from St. Jame's Palace was in response to my letter of congratulations to Prince William and Catherine Middleton.  It will make a wonderful souvenir to add to my collection, next to the letter from Her Majesty's penned by one of her ladies in waiting, postmarked from Balmoral two years ago.

Too bad it's not an invitation to the wedding!

Royal Family Tidbit for the day... We normally only hear the names Prince William and Prince Harry... but, Harry's real first name is Henry.  Harry being the popular nickname for Henry.  If you click on the above image, you will see that the letter is from the residence of Prince William and Prince Henry of Wales.

Favorite Flower of the Week... Cymbidium Orchid, variety "Jade"

Friday, February 25, 2011

The Belgians - Matilde's big foliage bouquet...

Prince Phillipe and Mathilde d'Acos were married in 1999 in Brussels, the religious ceremony being held at The Cathedral of Saint Michel. 

I have read many criticisms of Mathilde's bouquet... "too bushy" was one comment.  Agreed that the size and scale are a bit off for her dimensions, but, I understand the look the designer was going for.  I would probably have kept with the same materials, but only tapered the bouquet in order for it to better compliment the cut of the gown.  There is a lot of foliage there, and the white flowers are so small that it is difficult for this florist to determine exactly what type of flowers they are.  Perhaps they are white freesia.  I do really like the look of the trailing jasmine vine.  Someone was definitely going for the "natural" look... and they got it.

I myself have created a similar bouquet... the bride specified lots of interesting foliages and with a grassy look, she also instructed, "all white flowers", but "no roses, orchids, or lillies", so it too some work to come up with a flower combination that did not include those three traditional flowers.  That bouquet ended up containing things like lisianthus, freesia, Queen Anne's Lace, bouvardia and stephanotis, and it was lovely.

Royal Wedding tid-bit of the day.... with the big day for Prince William and Kate Middleton getting closer, the wedding party has been chosen, and the invitations have gone out.  The bride's family in this case doesn't handle the invitation list, however, the staff at the palace have the job of issuing the roughly 1,800 that will go out to some very lucky people, and the Queen herself doesn't even have to lick any stamps!  The Lord Chamberlain's office at Buckingham Palace follows the orders of the Queen and sends out royal wedding invitations.  And, two celebrations are planned for April 29th following the ceremony at Westminster Abbey.  First, Her Majesty the Queen will host the traditional wedding breakfast at the palace... which will hopefully be proceeded and followed by balcony appearances by the newly wedded couple and the rest of the Royal Family.  Later in the day, the father of the groom, Prince Charles will be hosting an evening party/banquet, to be held at Buckingham Palace as well.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Camellias, lovely, but challenging...

Down in our part of paradise, this time of year we she the beautifully stunning Camellias, so many varieties and colors dot our landscape.  We are fortunate to have all of them that are surviving a particularly difficult winter.

A blog follower of this blog, Colleen, asked how to use camellias in arrangements, other than floating.  Well, then I had to really think about it.  When I was very young, my grandfather cultivated about, I would think, thirty or so camellia bushes on his property in south Georgia, USA.  They were of every color and variety.  Grandaddy let us cut the ones we want, he would wrap the stems in wet paper towel and cover them with tin foil, which we would take to our school teachers the following day.  They were little nosegays of big brilliant flowers.

But, the blooms grow at odd angles, making vase arrangements very difficult to construct, even for a seasoned designer.  So, if you don't want to float them, they can be wired or pinned to branches or willow or birch, lying flat as a long table centerpiece or stood upright in a vase or basket arrangement.  Sorry that this idea involves wiring, and removing the blossom from the stem.  There will be no water supply and the camellia will be short lived, but, aren't they all once they've been cut.  Do wish that I could find a picture of an arrangement like this.

Some flowers are just really difficult to use in arrangements.  Two others I can think of are daffodils and gardenias.  Daffodils have such a bent-head problem that wiring is almost necessary in order to get a face on view of the flower.  And daffodils are extremely short lived in vase arrangements and their growing season.  Gardenias, normally are cut down to the short fleshy stem, off of the plants woody stems.  Floating is always a popular use of gardenias, but, in an arrangement, newer longer stems need to be made from wire and tape.

I hope my suggestion on camellias was helpful Colleen!

Royal wedding tidbit for the day...  Kate Middleton has chosen her 27 year old sister, Pippa (that's short for Phillipa) as her maid of honor.  Traditionally, only younger people below the age of 15 or so, are chosen for attendants in royal weddings as bridesmaids and pages.  Lady Sarah Snowdon, daughter of Princess Margaret was maid of honor to Dina Princess of Wales in 1981.  And, a very young and mischievous Prince William acted as a page at the wedding of his uncle, Prince Andrew, Duke of York in 1986 when he married Sarah Ferguson at Westminster Abbey.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Day for Hearts

Before this blogger gets too bogged down in Valentine's day arrangements, wanted to wish everyone a very Happy Valentine's Day.  Monday is the big day, but floral designers everywhere are digging in for a very busy and probably exhausting weekend.  Hundreds of thousands of roses will pass through flower shops this weekend and their way to intended and fortunate recipients.

Remember to be kind to your florist during these busy times.  Patronize locally owned and operated shops, order promptly, be expectant of higher prices, and always give your professional florist a good amount of freedom to arrange the best of available flowers for you.  Giving a florist a little more freedom helps avoid problems especially when rose quantities are so in demand.  Remember that though what you must have is Red Roses, that when you order late, the red roses may all be spoken for... pink is a wonderful substitute and comes in many beautiful shades.  Also, consider letting your florist express your thoughts with a more interesting arrangement... something other than the standard vase of one dozen roses.  Options can be mixed vases with red, pink, and white flowers.  Planted flowers such as tea roses, or tulips, orchid plants, etc.

Composite arrangements, smaller vases with massing of roses in one or mixed colors are a beautiful and contemporary alternative to the traditional tall vase of long stemmed roses.  However, consider, there are many more roses in this type of arrangement and will cost considerably more.  Small doesn't always mean less expensive!

Royal wedding tidbit for the day... With the next royal wedding(s)... Zara Phillips is getting married too!... coming up, many folks are looking into Westminster Abbey, interest in the ancient church has been surging since Prince William and Kate Middleton announced their plans to marry there.  But, did you know that some of the most popular monarchs and members of the royal family were married in other locations?  Queen Victoria wed Prince Albert in The Chapel Royal, London and more recently, Prince Edward and The Countess of Wessex were married in St. George's Chapel, Windsor Castle.