Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Winter Ilex Berry With Fantail Pussy Willow

We have often wished for the temperate climate of California with the bounty of gorgeous local flowers that seem to proliferate everywhere you look. Then again, we have certain times of the year that we are ecstatic over the wonderful flora we can find right here in the Midwest. December is one of those months where our cups--or vases--runneth over with intriguing specimens like fantail pussy willow and robust branches of winter ilex berries, otherwise known as holly berry. Our local growers deliver these right to our door and we love the way they spark every arrangement where they make an appearance.

Fantail pussy willows are dry and look lovely for as long as you might care to have them around. Ilex berries prefer cool temperatures and will last for weeks if they're watered from time to time and not overheated.  Nestled in evergeens, magnolia leaves, and pinecones, the berries just sing!

When the season is over, set the berries in your yard as a gift to the birds who love them almost as much as we do.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Holiday Tables

Holiday table with red Amaryllis, dried Lotus pods, Magnolia leaves and green Trachillium

Garnier Thiebault linen napkins
Intimate dinner parties, family gatherings, a feast with friends, and grand celebrations fill the season. We wanted to share a few of our holiday inspired tables with you. Incredible scarlet amaryllis are bold and elegant in a simple basket collared by Lotus pods and Trachillium. Large Magnolia leaves scale up any arrangement with rich green leathery leaves lined with soft amber undersides. Hand written place cards are nested in a miniature mossy terrarium and votive candles glow surrounded by pieces of sea glass.

Vintage table with  centerpiece of Eucharis lilies, Ornithoglium, and Amaryllis in Milk Glass

For a more casual inventive table, vintage containers from you grandmother's cupboard make delightful vessels for fresh flowers and vintage ornaments. We used white Ornithoglium, Eucharis lilies from Holland, red Amaryllis, and sprays of evergreen in a Milk Glass compote. Then we set it atop a pie crust-edged Milk Glass cake plate.

Vintage Bakelite flatware with contemporary Eigen Arts chargers

Bakelite flatware with contemporary Eigen Arts ceramic chargers topped by red and white decal plates make charming place settings. A 1950's Army Navy linen cloth is accented by a homemade red cloth with fat rick rack trim. Browse in the family cupboards of china and linens, then have a little fun with it!

Monday, October 25, 2010

An Evening With Friends RWF Open House Event

2009 Harvest Table Place Setting
We are excited to be holding our Open House Event 2010 on Wednesday, November 3rd and Thursday, November 4th from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m.

It is an evening of beautiful flowers, inspired table settings, seasonal decor, unique gifts and floral demonstrations. Bring a friend and be our guests for wine and hors d'oeuvres. Stroll through our shop and visit the studio of SPACES ~ Interiors, Architecture, Construction.

2009 Harvest Table Centerpiece

Please visit our Web site at http://robinwoodflowers.com or call 513-531-5590 to make reservations. While the evening is free and open to all, we do have a limited amount of space and so must request reservations. Valet Parking.

2009 Holiday Table
We look forward to sharing the evening with you!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Vintage Pottery at Robin Wood Flowers

Browsing through local flea markets, tag sales, and an occasional antique shop turns up some of the loveliest vintage pottery in subtle hues and glazes. We are especially fond of these ceramics for creating flower arrangements, each an original fresh creation. When the blossoms have faded, a very special piece of vintage pottery becomes part of our customer's collections.
Subtle vintage blue and green pottery
Warm and sunny yellow vintage pottery with McCoy dish
Vintage McCoy blue pottery with soft fall blossoms

At our shop we gather our latest discoveries and happily share them with our clients. While many of our pieces hail from regional potters such as McCoy, Weller, Roseville, and more, we collect anything that strikes our fancy. Many of our pieces are marked and date from the 1920's and later and are in excellent condition.
Soft vintage whites in Milk Glass and Ironstone

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Wedding Bouquets In Dahlias

We were so taken by the beauty and rich color of these early autumn Dahlias that we wanted to share them with you. Last weekend we had a garden bride with a vision of merlot Dahlias, clear blue Nigella, purple Astrantia and velvety Scabiosa nestled with blue Hydrangea.

For the maid's bouquet, we added antique "You and Me" green Hydrangea. Both bouquets held a collar of Hosta leaves with a chartreuse green ribbon wrap. Yoko Ono Mums made into hanging flower balls for the trellises by the groom's family created a charming backdrop for the wedding.

Stepping into fall with fiery orange Dahlias, deep Callas, and sweet strawberry-like globe Amaranth Gomphrena balls, our French Park bride presented a brilliant statement of color.

The maids carried simple and elegant persimmon orange Calla bouquets collared with green Hypericum berries. Set against a sunny, bright blue sky, the combination of colors was a spark of inspiration.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Summer Farm Flowers

Deep summer with the pitch of cicadas in the hot sunshine and a brilliant parade of farm flowers. . .

The flowers brought to us each week from our friend and farm gardener extraordinaire-- Tammi Stanley--are bigger, brighter, and more robust than any we can find elsewhere.

Each Tuesday the week's pickings arrive at our door fresh from Mockingbird Hill  Farm near Williamsburg, Ohio. Imagine the hubbub as we all gather round to pull our favorites from her buckets, one bloom more beautiful than the next. Check back as we share more of summer's best and early offerings from autumn.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Antique Carnation

At Robin Wood Flowers we have been known to say to customers that we do not use inexpensive "filler" flowers such as carnations--unless of course a customer requests it. Well, we're rethinking the carnation since we have found a unique variety from Holland that has enchanted us.

Our new favorite dianthus, called Antiqua Carnation, is lovely tucked into arrangements. It almost masquerades as a hydrangea with soft variations in hue and tone and a ruffled array of petals. If you take a moment to sniff this blossom you will find it has a light, spicy scent. Look for this variety making appearances in our arrangements this summer.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Spring Hydrangea

Spring hydrangeas are blooming in our gardens. Last year we took home potted plants from the shop that we had used for cuttings and put them in the ground. After wintering in the garden it's looking like a robust harvest of blooms. Not all potted hydrangea plants will thrive and flower in the garden, but the varieties we have at the shop adapt happily. Should you decide to plant some in your own garden, remember to leave the stems long as the buds will grow on old wood each year.

Each week we get a shipment of hydrangeas from Holland surprising us with yet another stunning variety. With more than 50 varieties from which to choose it's a tough decision when we place our order. The spring varieties are vivid and refreshing. Check back in September to see a gallery of the more subtle antique hydrangeas.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Joli Jewelry Florals

Happy finds from our travels to the Atlanta market that can be had through the internet--Joli jewelry by artist Judy Lyons. The studio is in Park Slope, Brooklyn where her line is designed and assembled by hand. http://www.jolijewelry.com 

Judy creates limited edition wearable pieces of art from vintage beads, charms, buttons and other surprises. She has a wonderful sense of color and style, mixing vintage and contemporary elements for truly unique jewelry along with an occasional dish or two. We love the many floral notes in these little treasures.

This little fish pond dish uses 1930's art deco glass for leaves, vintage plastic from the 50's and 60's for the flowers, etc. and the fish is carved from bone. Each piece comes with a note about the origins of the various elements.

Her collection is currently being sold in boutiques and specialty stores throughout the US, Canada, Japan, Hong Kong, Spain, Italy, France, Holland & South Korea. You can find a select few pieces through the internet.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Tulips Tulips Tulips

A recent trip to Holland to see the magnificent tulips and flowers markets in Amsterdam has renewed our love of tulips. The incredible varieties propagated currently are simply amazing. While our admiration for the sheer beauty of tulips has grown, so has our appreciation of what it takes to bring a fine tulip variety to market so that we can share them with you.

At Robin Wood Flowers, we have found that the varieties we import from Holland hold beautifully in arrangements for at least 4-5 days, unlike those you might pick from your garden.

Behold just a few of our favorites!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Here Kitty Kitty

Now is the time of the year when we love to add pussy willow branches to many of our floral arrangements and because we also have a good source of locally grown plants, we are blessed with some beautiful specimens.  One woman recently stopped in with huge arm loads of the funky looking contorted pussy willow variety which was quickly snatched up for some fun, contemporary arrangements.

Pussy Willows get their quaint name from the buds, called catkins, which is a take on the dutch word for kitten (pussy)...they do remind me of a soft kitten tail!  Also, historically pussy willow branches were carried by some East European peoples on Palm Sunday instead of palms because of the scarcity of palm leaves in the northern regions of Europe. Even here in North America, native Indians used the willow species to make medicinal brew since the plants secrete a substance similar to some of our over the counter analgesics.  Don't try this at home!

We are not the only ones who find pussy willow desirable.  A couple of weeks ago, while on the hunt for migrating waterfowl at a lovely wildlife preserve, I was pleasantly surprised to find a whole grove of these charming bushes.  These particular willows are the native American Pussy Willow (Salix discolor) and like their willow tree cousins are a moisture loving plant.  Sure enough they were flourishing amongst the cattails and duckweed in a marshy area of Spring Valley Wild life area, just north of Waynesville http://www.dnr.state.oh.us/tabid/20055/Default.aspx.

The ones here are the "plain janes" of the family, but provide a host of benefits for many wild life.  Besides providing an early pollen source for our native bees and being a host plant for numerous butterfly larvae; the buds are quite tasty to several bird species such as Goldfinch, Grouse and Cardinals.  The shrubs themselves provide nesting sites for our avian friends as well.

Soon the furry catkins will pollinate, the stems will sprout leaves and we will no longer be quite as enamored with these fun harbingers of spring, but until then, here kitty kitty...

Field notes from the "B-Lister"

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Eco Minded Brides Repurpose Wedding Flowers

Wedding Flowers at the Hall of Mirrors

Occasionally, brides will ask us what happens to the flowers after the reception ends.  Since hardly anyone needs more vases in storage, renting the glassware for centerpieces saves both money and space in the basement. We usually pick up what's left of the decorations on Monday and frequently, toss the flowers or take a few home for the kitchen table.

Now there's a better solution. It's called ReBloom and is the brainchild of recently retired, Marilyn Aardema. Marilyn visits the reception site on Sunday, gathers up the flowers in buckets, and takes them home to re-arrange in donated vases. By Monday, they are happily adorning the bedsides of patients at Mercy Fairfield Hospital.

We love this solution and encourage newlyweds and their families to think about sharing the beauty. We are also happy to be a depository of unwanted vases that we can share with Marilyn. Another pleasant thought--since Rebloom is a not-for-profit organization donating flowers and time, you may be able to take a tax deduction for your flowers. Check with your accountant for information.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Flower Find--Designer Daniel Ost

In our expanding blog we are posting some of our favorite "Finds" to share with our friends. Publishing has taken on a whole new meaning with the internet, but our first find can happily be viewed both online and in print. We love the sensibilities of Belgian designer and sculptor, Daniel Ost, http://www.danielost.be/ .  

Ost's books are readily available if you are a fan of pulling a book onto your lap and leafing through pages of inspiring floral images. 

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

First Local Flowers!

Nothing makes us happier than seeing the big plastic buckets being carried through our front door. Yesterday we received our second delivery of huge, local anemones. Our friend Tammie Stanley grows them in her 'hoop' houses near Williamsburg and they are like nothing we see on the wholesale market. She also brought us some extraordinary grape hyacinths. We met Tammie at her stall at Findley Market http://www.findlaymarket.org/ and her niece, Emily, helps us with all sorts of shop chores after school.

Anemones are called 'wind flowers' because long ago it was thought the spring winds made them bloom. They come in such gorgeous colors and we love the detail of each petal. Later in the season, Tammie brings us the most amazing lisianthus. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

In these grey, cold days of January, we have the time to notice the smallest details of the horticultural world. The other day, I spied a small bunch of poppies at the market looking limp and lifeless in the bottom of a box. Who knows where poppies are growing at this time of the year, but all they needed was a quick snip and an inch or two of water. And so the show begins … amazing from a distance, but astounding through a micro lens.