It’s all about glamour at Claridge’s, and, as it’s a landmark hotel, the flowers have to reflect that unique status, says owner of McQueens, Kally Ellis.
Ellis has been the florist for London’s fashion set for more than a decade. Her clients include LVMH, Roland Mouret, Christian Louboutin and Alexander McQueen. The last name is particularly apt since the florist derives its name from its first location on Great Eastern Street in Shoreditch, east London, an old flower shop once owned by the late designer’s aunt.
Ellis’s signature same-flower displays have become a tradmark of any event that is cool enough to know her, and also of Vanity Fair magazine parties. What sets her apart is that her eye is driven by art rather than convention. To this day, she doesn’t employ traditionally trained flower arrangers, peferring artistic people with an “eye”.
Our bbrooks member in Berlin, Blumen-Koch, took a few moments during Valentine’s preparation to share their thoughts on how this holiday effects flower prices. Vielen Dank!
“Did you notice that some of our colleagues in London do not sell any red flowers? We started to limit the choice of red flowers too. Quality Red Roses are 9,00€ ($12US) - it’s a twofold increase since last week! Increasing demands on the Dutch nurseries and Flower Auction at Aalsmeer make the price situation shake.”
“We (at Blumen-Koch) recommend our clients to select from the beautiful choice of blooming twigs such as red plums, Japanese cherries and Chaenomaelis… instead of letting them run into the Red-Flower-Price-Trap.”
“Have a wonderful Valentine’s Day! Sending you warm greetings from Berlin!”
Heather Pando of L.A. design studio, Little World Design, use botanicals in a whimsical fashion—a style translated to this wreath. With her team—including Manuel Acosta, who put together this piece—she fashioned “blossoms” out of scallop shells and glued them to a manzanita frame that resembles driftwood. littleworlddesign.com
To get this wreath project kickstarted, Hank Jenkins of SF Bay Area firm, Lushland, simply took a walk. “What’s here is what grabbed my attention in my own garden and on hikes.” Despite the fresh take on materials, he keeps the color palette traditional with green eucalyptus pods and red pincushions (leucospermum).
Zenaida Sengo of Flora Grubb Gardens and Susie Nadler of Cutting Garden in San Francisco, created this colorful holiday wreath of kumquats, dried palm stems, red leucadendron, green citrus leaves.
As seen in December 2012 issue of Sunset magazine.
“During a walk through the vast grain fields adjacent to my friend’s house (on Oland, a large island off the east coast of Sweden), I was lucky enough to catch these poppies the moment before their petals closed as darkness set in… The image recalls the tranquil feeling of a summer night – the noise of hawks and swallows flying overhead, the wind, and the soft evening light as the drops below the horizon.”~Thomas Ljungberg
The rescue happened in 2006, in a remote area of Southwestern China in and near the Yachang National Orchid Nature Reserve in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Regions, in the foothills of the Yunnan-Guizhou plateau. This remote, 220-square-kilometer nature preserve holds more than 150 species of orchids, some of them in extremely large, relatively undisturbed populations. It exemplifies the world orchid hotspot that is Southwestern China, consisting of Yunnan, Guangxi and Guizhou Provinces.
Nearly 1000 delicate, reproductive-size orchid plants were carefully translocated from places slated for flooding. Altogether, the plants represented 29 species and 16 genera. In addition, a landscape company was hired to relocate nearly 1500 trees on the Chinese endangered plants list. The whole rescue action took nearly seven months to complete.
Above left-Cymbidium tracyanum, a rescued species. Above right- Kingidium braceanum, an epiphytic orchid which can be found growing naturally in the Reserve.
May Day (May 1st), falls exactly half a year from November 1, another cross-quarter day, which is also associated with various northern European pagan and neo-pagan festivals such as Samhain. May Day marks the end of the un-farmable winter half of the year in the Northern hemisphere, and it has traditionally been an occasion for popular and often raucous celebrations.
For the Druids of the British Isles, May 1 was the second most important holiday of the year, Beltane. Then the Romans came to occupy the British Isles. The beginning of May was devoted primarily to the worship of Flora, the goddess of flowers. May Day observance was discouraged during the Puritans. Though, it was revived when the Puritans lost power in England, it didn’t have the same robust force. Gradually, it came to be regarded more as a day of joy and merriment for the kids, rather than a day of observing the ancient fertility rights. May Day may be best known for its tradition of dancing the maypole dance and crowning of the Queen of the May.
By the Middle Ages, every English village had its Maypole. The bringing in of the Maypole from the woods was a great occasion and was accompanied by much rejoicing and merrymaking.
The tradition of celebrating May Day by dancing and singing around a maypole, tied with colorful streamers or ribbons, survived as a part of a British tradition. The kids celebrating the day by moving back and forth around the pole with the the streamers, choosing of May queen, and hanging of May baskets on the doorknobs of folks — are all the leftovers of old European traditions.
In Hawaii, May Day is also known as Lei Day, and is normally set aside as a day to celebrate island culture in general and native Hawaiian culture in particular. The first Lei Day was proposed in 1927 in Honolulu. Leonard “Red” and Ruth Hawk composed “May Day is Lei Day in Hawai’i,” the traditional holiday song. Originally it was a contemporary fox trot, later rearranged as the Hawaiian “hula” song performed today.
Floral Designer Laura Dowling’s arrangements combine a just-plucked quality with a refined modern aesthetic.
She is fond of using various shades of a single hue and containers wrapped in materials such as moss or leaves to heighten the drama. She layers materials freely, incorporating unexpected elements, such as fruits or vegetables, bundled twigs, or horsetail bamboo cut into pieces and tethered with twine.
Her role as Chief Floral Designer at the White House has her innovative arrangements contributing a new brand of chic to historic rooms.
Flowers and landscapes are at the heart of Ori Gersht’s mesmerizing photographs. …Except… he blows them up… Quite literally!
For his 2006 series “Exploding Flowers,” the Tel Aviv–born, London-based artist worked with a florist to create elaborate bouquets inspired, he says, by Henri Fantin-Latour’s lush 19th-century still lifes. Gersht clicked the camera’s shutter as each bouquet was ignited with a small explosive. The resulting photographs are gorgeous and a little unnerving; the artist describes them as “celebratory and violent.”
Gersht’s career is exploding too. A graduate of the master’s program at London’s Royal College of Art, the photographer is on a creative tear. This past summer alone, Gersht had solo shows at CRG Gallery in New York and at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art. Meanwhile, he continues to travel throughout Europe and beyond to shoot new photographs and short films, including a video he made at a bullfight in Andalusia, which was part of a group exhibition organized by Ron Arad at London’s Roundhouse.
To read more please see Elle Decor, October 2011 issue.