Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Big and Beautiful

The Dinner Plate Dahlia with summer flowers

Every season seems to bring its own big beautiful flower that we love to use in centerpieces and bridal bouquets. Cut amaryllis is our workhorse during the winter. It comes in many colors and is available from the Christmas holidays until spring. 

White amaryllis with red velvet throats alongside spring hellebores

Gorgeous Coral Charm peonies with soft pink and peach

Those are followed by gorgeous peonies in April that make our hearts do a little dance. When the peonies fade, the hydrangeas come blasting in with a huge range of colors including pink, lavender, blue, purple, green, white and everything in between. 

Antique hydrangea makes wonderful wreaths that dry beautifully

Tall centerpiece with antique blue hydrangea
As a bonus, during the summer, the hydrangeas become ‘antiqued’ meaning that the colors change as the flowers age on the plant. These blooms keep for a long time and actually dry while keeping their color well. We like to make wreaths and arrangements with antique hydrangeas that will look great for years to come. Because of the enormous variety and abundance, summer is the best time to find affordable hydrangea blooms. 

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Flower Favorite: The Tulip

Striking salmon parrot tulips displayed on the bulb in an "aquarium glass" vase

Tulips breathe spring into our shop each year, starting around the Christmas holidays. We bring them in from Holland for close to six months of the year, as well as buying them on the bulb from our local flower farmer at Mockingbird Hill Farm. Each season we elevate certain flowers to our favorites list, and the tulip is one of those. The amazing colors, shapes, and sizes of the varieties we purchase are just one of the reasons we love them.

These parrot tulips have long, curly green petals interspersed with the bicolor petals

Parrot tulips are beautiful and painterly with touches of brushed color on the petals. They are one of the longest lasting of the tulip varieties, and the blooms continue to grow after they have been picked. French tulips are prized by many for the simple elegance of the large blossom on a unusually long slender stem. These French lovelies are so called because the French have perfected them through a process that keeps them cooler for a longer growing spell before cutting.

In a midday show, these open parrots will close for the evening

Double tulips with a lemon yellow stripe

Friday, February 10, 2012

Flower Trends For Wedding Bouquets

The new Tangerine Tango color in a mixed summer bouquet with dahlias.

It appeared to be big news in January when Pantone released their ‘Color of the Year 2012’ as Tangerine Tango. This made us wonder: what is Pantone and why does it get to predict the popular fashion shade for the year? We looked it up on Wikipedia and this is what we found:

The company is best known for its Pantone Matching System (PMS), a proprietary color space used in a variety of industries, primarily printing, though sometimes in the manufacture of colored paint, fabric, and plastics.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Autumn Dahlia Wedding Bouquets

Apricot and salmon colored dahlias with garden roses with a charming vintage button wrap
Sometimes in planning her autumn wedding, a bride mentions that although she loves the weather in September and October, she ‘hates’ fall colors. It always makes us smile because we know that she’s thinking of uninspired displays at the grocery store or remembering grade school window decals.

Rich purple dahlias with pink and salmon varieties
Although maple leaves and pumpkins are typical autumn icons, there’s no limit to the hues and textures of fall. As the leaves start to change, try to notice the infinite array of foliage that grows along the roadside – the bittersweet, indigo, teal, gold, and even fuchsia tones that color the plants in various stages of transition. We love the infinite variety of the season and look forward to designing with blooms that reflect that variation. Antique hydrangeas are fabulous now with new varieties arriving from Holland every week. The most beautiful, unusual, and robust dahlias are actually grown for us locally. When they bring a new batch into the shop, we’ve been known to swoon. Autumn dahlias are available in sizes ranging from an inch across to around 10 inches, and come in shapes described as ‘water lily’, ‘cactus’, ‘anemone’, and ‘peony’.

Antique hydrangeas, roses, and salmon dahlias
For a recent wedding, we were able to get locally grown dahlias in a divine shade of salmon. The bride asked for shades of coral and brown in her bouquet with a coordinating burlap/ribbon/button wrap. Sally, our designer, did a spectacular job of interpreting the bride’s vision for an unforgettable home wedding.

Just a few if the many varieties and colors of autumn dahlias

A lighter bouquet with lime green and apricot dahlias

Thursday, August 18, 2011

It's All In The Details

A rose bowl with exotic protea alongside garden allium, dahlias, and begonia leaves

Autumn leaves, cabbage, pears with lady apples
As we harvest flowers, buds, vines, and foliage from our own gardens to use in our arrangements at Robin Wood Flowers, we're struck by what wonderful plant materials we have in the Midwest. Even in the hottest months of the year and the extreme humidity of the Ohio valley, there are high notes to enjoy in the garden landscape. Not only are the cultivated garden flowers bursting with blooms for the picking, the shrubs, trees, and wilder parts of your yard can provide lots of wonderful texture in an arrangement. Varied edibles such as petite pears, red chili peppers, cabbage, and miniature lady apples from the table can make a delightful and unexpected appearance in arrangements too. Keep an open mind. An occasional wildflower that we see on the roadside may actually be just the right color or shape for your creation. Experiment a bit with the plant materials that you harvest to see which ones will take well to being picked and placed in a vase and which ones may wilt.

Cabbage, garden celosia, bittersweet and honeysuckle vines
Part of our philosophy at RWF is to make each arrangement with its own unique combination of materials and let the natural forms evolve the finished product. We take our inspiration from the seasons, using flowers from our local market and local farmers. Each day we personally select only the freshest, most colorful and long lasting flowers and greens. Viburnum and lilac in the spring, zinnias and sunflowers during the heat of summer, berries, fruits and vegetables, and interesting foliage in the fall and winter. We import incredible hydrangeas, delightful tulips, exotic peonies, and callas from the markets in Holland. And, we happily harvest foliage and blooms from our gardens all year long.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Succulents Come Indoors

A rich "succulent garden" for the tabletop with various exotic grasses and blossoms

Escheveria, or succulents, have a bold textural quality to them with a distinct effect in flower arrangements. While some of the taller varieties have rather fragile petals, the clustered concentric petals of the low varieties are great to work with in arrangements and bouquets. At Robin Wood Flowers, we often bring in shipments from Holland that arrive as individual cut flower heads sharing a long and low box, each nestled in soft shredded tissue. Some varieties are available at local green houses as live plants and can be cut for use in arrangements. After cutting and trimming the stem as close to the flower head as possible, we hydrate them for a few hours in a low flat bowl with half an inch or so of water, making sure the center cut on the bottom of the blossom head touches the water.

Live succulent plants potted in the shop
For a "succulent garden" that will last indoors for a month or more, we create a base layer of green moss that will provide a scant but needed source of moisture. For varied height, we use wet floral foam or rocks beneath the dampened moss and begin layering moss, succulents, and other long lasting varieties of greens, pods, and blossoms. The moss under the succulent heads should be lightly misted with water every 4-5 days to keep them happy, depending on the humidity and heat in your home or on your terrace. If you handle them gingerly, you will begin to see tiny thread-like tendrils growing from beneath the center that draw up the moisture from the moss bed.

In bouquets or arrangements in water, a sturdy cut stem such as a rose stem can be sliced at an angle and gently inserted into the bottom center of the succulent flower head. The new stem allows you to place it in an arrangement or bouquet as you would any cut flower. Our brides have used them in their bouquets as accents and as primary flowers and we think they are a lovely addition to the bridal party.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Summertime Blueberries

Clusters of blueberries on the stem
Some people might think I’m crazy to sit in a traffic jam for 20 minutes, park the car in a field of tall grass, pick my own fruit (in the rain), stand in line for 45 minutes to pay for it, then drive back to the city from rural Milford.  All for a few blueberries.

But these aren’t the berries you’ll find at the supermarket – most of them mushy and tasteless. Each of these is bursting with flavor, usually sweet, but sometimes tangy. And there’s something about that first day. Searching for the biggest, darkest blue berry, but loving the conversations that take place around the bushes ... berry recipes, family traditions, political commentary - some in several different languages. It’s an Easter egg hunt for foodies.

With (ahem) experience, you learn that the loveliest berries are sometimes hidden beneath the leaves and it’s really best to crouch down low and look up into the bush from many different angles. If the sun is in your eyes ... perfect. Other people will go to the shady side. It’s all about the benign competition and the annual Blueberry Cheese pie.

Rows and rows of blueberry bushes are ripe now through the middle of August at Rouster’s on State route 131 in Milford. Picking is only on Saturday mornings from 8 to Noon.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Robin Wood Flowers Spring Open House

"Garden Soirée" Inspired Table Setting

Robin Wood Flowers hosted a Spring Open House for our flower friends. We had a great time creating a tented landscape of seven different "Inspired Table Settings" complete with lighting to heighten the ambiance.  Camargo Rental provided the tent, stylish chairs, linens, place settings, and lighting. Elegant Fare brought delectable hors d'oeuvres and Piazza Discepoli Wine Merchants shared lovely wines with our guests. Interiors were by SPACES, and paper invitations, menu cards, and accents were provided by Designs By Dawson. It was truly a collective effort and was our largest event yet!

Garden flowers in French wire urns and aged Campo de Fiori  

California style "Wedding Banquet" table with exotic plants and flowers

The "Garden Soirée" utilized verdant garden greens and typical local garden flowers. We created a table runner with over 600 Galax leaves to underscore the arrangements.  An evening mood was set with a canopy of rice paper lanterns and glass "whirlie balls" with small flickering votives hung beneath birch branches.  The "Wedding Banquet" table, seating an impressive 18 guests, presented a California style tablescape of Protea, Succulents, Orchid varieties, Curly Willow, and flower spheres. Rich chocolate pin tuck tablecloths and square ceramic place settings were accented by large tropical Monstera leaves.

Festive and dramatic "Latin Barbecue" with tropical flowers and leaves

Our "Latin Barbecue" table held vibrant tropical flowers of Anthurium, Cymbidium Orchids, Dendrobium Orchid sprays, Pincushion Protea, and air plants nested in Malaysian driftwood. The colors were sparked by a brilliant orange topper. Chairs were tied with dramatic Monstera leaves and Orchids for each guest.  "Vintage Garden Swap" was a luncheon setting highlighting garden cuttings and local plant specimens in vintage pottery and charming wire caddies. Fiestaware, Bakelite flatware, vintage buttons accents on linens and paper goods, and heirloom seed packets echoed the primary floral color scheme.

"Garden Swap" with vintage pottery, garden cuttings, and Angel Vine topiary

Flower filled teacups, muffins and jam with lavish garden flowers

The "Birthday Bash" was a big splash of color with a fuchsia cloth, multicolored napkins, and a colorful bud vase at each place. Contemporary centerpieces were clusters of monochromatic blossoms in dark ceramic. The birthday cake was a tier of color on color flowers topped with candles. A sweet "Blue and White Shower" with fresh greens and yellows accented the blue and white scheme. Flower filled teacups and large, traditional garden roses, cabbages, hydrangeas and anemones lent a more lavish Victorian look to a charming table.

Vibrant "Birthday Bash" with contemporary monochromatic clusters of flowers

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Spring Wedding Flowers

Spring flowers have a way of being soft and at the same time bright. One of the things we love so much about the flowers, greenery, vines, and berries of the spring as well as the autumn is the array of textures in the flower forms and leaves. This bouquet is a light breeze of white lilac, blue muscari, gentle lavender sweet peas and scilla, delicate ladies mantle, and gorgeous pink peonies.

Lavender is the color of choice for many brides this year. Whether in a mixed bouquet of color or paired with whites and greens, lavender flowers are a striking complement to any color combination. In this April wedding bouquet, lavender and royal purple anemones with rich, dark eyes in the center contrast with slender miniature purple callas. Sweet peas, muscari, and lavender lilacs add different hues, and delightful checked fritillaria with arching leaves are nestled among them.
A sweet bud vase holds a casual gathering of lilacs, lavenders, and soft pinks with a just-picked garden style.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Fantasy Flowers From Brazil

Spray rose bouquet with a Pantams bow

Another "find" from Market, these fantasy floral creations from Brazil are made from skeletonized leaves and assembled into blossoms. You might have come across such leaves while strolling through a meadow, but they are fragile and best left on the vine to enjoy.

Delicate tracery of complex veins
In nature, insects and larvae consume the chlorophyll flesh of the leaf revealing the complex vein structure. Today, craftsmen gather deciduous leaves and skeletonize them through a process of cooking, washing, drying, and then dyeing to create the "vegetal fabric" for the Pantams.

It is said that craftsmen developed the process of skeletonizing centuries ago during the Ming dynasty. During the Victorian era there was a resurgence of interest in all things natural.  This process was again employed for the leaves used in "Phantom Bouquets". The unique bouquets are reported to have been made to impress the English nobility.

Fantasy blue "rose" with multicolored petals
We think they are enchanting by themselves, tied to a vase, or attached to a bouquet as a memento to keep long after the fresh flowers have faded.

Fantasy Hellebore blossoms

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Woodland Flowers For Early Spring Wedding Bouquet

March Wedding Bouquet With Elegant And Unusual Spring Flowers

Last weekend we had the pleasure of bringing some of the more unusual specimens of the earliest spring perennials into the shop. These woodland beauties have a simple elegance in their presentation, adding shape, texture, and color to this bouquet.

Black Hellebore Grows In Woodland Gardens
 The deep purple Hellebores are striking with bright green stamens crowning the center of the "black" purple petals, which are actually sepals. These are long lasting blooms that really do like our cool Midwestern springs.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Spring Tulips and Black Pussy Willow

Parrot Tulips with Garden Roses and Black Pussy Willow
Aptly Named - The Rococo Parrot Tulip
At this time of year we have a riot of tulips in the shop. The varieties we bring in from Holland are amazing in their colorful dress. The French tulips are sleek and elegant blossoms on two foot long stems, with an almost serene quality to them. Parrot tulips are fun and frilly with petals that are lightly stroked with contrasting colors. Some are quite painterly in their effect.
Others sport petals that are curled or feathered, and often they're rather large blooms. Tulips will grow after they have been cut--up to an inch each day--so changing the water often and a snip off the stem will keep them happy for days.

Black Pussy Willow
Another of our perennial favorites are the various pussy willow stems we bring into the shop in the spring. Not surprisingly, the different varieties have their own special qualities. Some have quite large, soft silvery buds while others have tiny knobs in deep crimson red with just a peep of a silver bud. This week we have the exotic looking black pussy willow which is striking paired with red and yellow blooms.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Wedding Flowers In Winter

Brilliant red ranunculus surrounded by spring blossoms

In deep winter it is refreshing to create wedding flowers in a preview of Holland spring bulb blossoms and rich jewel tones. Purple star hyacinth and deep crimson tulips are accompanied by chartreuse green mini dendrobium orchids, periwinkle hydrangea and hot pink spray roses. The feature flower of this bouquet is the splendid red ranunculus with a mass of concentric green petals in the center.

The orchids made another appearance in small glass squares scattered throughout the reception, and again in the centerpieces. The entire collection was lovely in the elegant and historic Bell Event Center in Over The Rhine.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Valentine Flowers - Matters Of The Heart

Fresh Flower Heart

Robin Wood Flowers
Robin Wood Flowers and Valentine's Day. Passion pink, deep amethyst, gentle lavender, bright fuschia . . . we're busy with flower shipments from Holland bursting with gorgeous blooms in all shades and hues of pink, red, and purple. Each time we put together a new portfolio collection we try to add something with a different twist. For Valentine's Day our designers were inspired to make a fresh Valentine flower heart.