In Season: Amaryllis

There is nothing quite like the quadruple trumpeted flowers that pop from the top the long stalk of an amaryllis. They are most abundant in the winter making them all the more lovable in the cold landscape of December and January. I was able to use a bright red variety and give them away as little tokens of affection this Christmas. The best part of giving them away is that you know they will be flowering for another week, giving the recipient a new view of the arrangement every day!

Swanky Seasonal Decor

Every December while people are decorating trees, homes, tables, and parties around the world the same questions come up. What colors am I going to use? What theme am I going to have? Will I get a new set of ornaments or use the same decorations I keep in storage? In the case of Della and Richard's home, Della had a clear vision. She wanted something new, fresh, modern, and with enough "Umph" to make it special for her holiday party. She also had a color theme starting with her Christmas tree in hues of copper, teal, apple, and hint of silver. These colors complimented her home as well.

This house was deserving of arrangements and props that defied gravity and had very hard shapes in soft colors. I included everything! 4 ft vases, hanging glass balls, extra long flowers, and a crystal tree. All of the elements tied in from room to room in a dazzling display of the new floral style.
There was a repetitive theme of ball shapes and you could find them out in the open (flower and moss balls in bowls) or hiding in arrangements. The buffet table boasted 5 mammoth white double peonies in full bloom as part of an arrangement with coordinating flowers. The centerpiece rested under a famous chandelier that Della purchased and embellished herself. You may recognize this as the very same one that hung in the home on the movie "The Firm". I think that is so cool!
Starting with her sleek slate mantle, I shaped long white callas to bow over their vases in a dramatic curve. To retain the original feel of her home we blended the collection that normally occupies the space with the new flowers and the result was asymmetrical and awesome.
Next I mimicked the chic kitchen lighting with a wild arrangement that had 5 aluminum wired tentacles that held glass test tubes. In each tube was a stark white spider mum. I think these polished aluminum vases are so contempo!
Lastly, I could never resist a little bit of organic sculpture, so I made a friend out of flowers and galax leaves for their pet turtle "Sparky" as well as a little area for the floral turtle to live.

There were so many floral touches that my friend Anca and I installed to cause wonder at every turn. Also Anca took a majority of these photos. I thank her for her help Saturday and look forward to seeing photos of the actual event with the lights lower. I also thank Della and Richard for inviting us in their home. What a privilege.

Beautiful Boxwood

When asked to decorate the home of Della and Richard for the holidays and later for their upcoming gathering, I just couldn't resist. Their style is modern and polished and they are fun to work with! Della really wanted to add some holiday cheer outside in the color palate she chose for this year: teal, apple green, copper, and a touch of silver. The boxwood wreaths and wood curl topiaries are only the beginning of what will await the party guests inside the house next weekend. Working with pounds of boxwood an making hand tied wreaths is a skill I truly enjoy using. If I could, I would teach classes for those who share my interest. Perhaps next winter?.... In the meantime I can't wait to blog part 2 of this Contempo Christmas theme with the next phase - fresh flower installation!

Love in Lace: Radonich Ranch Part 4

Without spilling too many photos of the vintage looks created by the team at Radonich Ranch, I can't help but show some more soft and wistful images. This vignette is partly a table scape that reflects some of the amazing lace tablecloths and blankets that Robin now has in her antique store/bridal boutique. I love the colors and the feeling I get from the images in a story board.
(This collection also features a full yet delicate cascade bouquet. This is something that is certain to keep showing up in future bridal trends for 2010 and possibly beyond. I already have brides asking for shapes that are less "round" and more textured.)

My hope is that this inspires the brides out there who are ready to cut their wedding from the cloth of vintage and the still enjoy comforts of our modern world.

Sugar Country: Radonich Ranch Part 3

This next set of photos from the Radonich Ranch series is just too sweet not to post. The model is so naturally beautiful in the vintage dress and hand tied and natural bouquet. Whenever I hear brides say they want their bouquet to look like it was "hand picked on their way through a meadow", this is what I visualize. Most floral work in weddings can be so structured and this is a truly serene contrast.

In events and photo shoots, typically the more natural and loose a hairstlye or dress or floral arrangement looks, the more skill it took to create. Amburlee Price proves this when she created this hair updo that looks so perfectly easy and flowing but I assure you I could never do this in hours with my own hair! Hairstylists are just one part of the magic that happens when you hired trusted professionals to make all your event details look seamless and effortless.

Dusty Pinks: Radonich Ranch Part 2

When Monica and I started creating the flowers for this shoot we wanted to capture the softness and beauty of dusty pinks and all of the shades in a hydrangea at the end of the season. This bouquet perfectly embodies the fabulous range of the hydrangea itself as it also brings so much detail out of the other flowers. I enjoy photos shoots because there are no limits on the creativity or whimsy of a moment. Model Anastasiya looked so free and happy standing barefoot and yet I would have never done such a thing when I was a bride myself!

Again I must mention that these photos are so true to the day because of Chyna Darner's talent.

Radonich Ranch Photo Shoot is Here!

I received the most wonderful DVD in the mail from Chyna Darner this week! I will feature a montage every other day of this amazing photo shoot at Radonich Ranch. It started with a sunny day that was soon filled with happy vendors and models (as well as honey bees) buzzing around the property getting made up and dressed, setting up props, posing, and photographing. I had such a great time I didn't want to leave!

This is the first session of the day inspired by the vintage dresses of Robin from Recapture Vintage Bridal Designs and my grandmother's peach cameo. Hair and makeup was by the talented Amburlee Price and hosting by the exclusive event coordinator of Radonich Ranch, Marky Carr. Working on all florals along side me was Monica Kau from Signature Bloom.

As Seen In: The Flirty Guide

The Flirty Guide reported on the San Francisco Dream wedding giveaway earlier in October and I must have missed Stacie Tamaki's awesome recap of the evening's events on October 6 at 1 Fort Mason. It was so surprising to see my Golden Gate Bridge in the article, as well as my Pink Rock table and my beloved mentor Nancy Liu Chin setting up her mouth watering popcorn display. These photos remind me of my dear friends in San Francisco and San Jose. I am sure they are going full steam ahead into the holiday hustle and bustle of The City by the Bay.

Liz Guthrie's San Francisco Dream Wedding Giveaway 2010 is nearing the closing date for entries. No matter where you live in the U.S. if you are getting married and have a good story to share, why not enter?

Here is a photo from The Flirty Guide blog! Thanks Stacie!! It was so great to meet you!


Bouquet of the Week: Amethyst in White

What a magnificent way to end my wedding season in the Bay Area of California. Amethyst and Paul are a kind, gracious, and generous couple, and I wish them the best in their new lives together. Here is a set of photos that just came to me from S&J Photo Creation. I can't wait to share all of the details on my website this winter. Until then, here is the latest Bouquet of the Week. Enjoy!

Bough Frau

Loosely translated into "tree branch lady" the woman behind Bough Frau is more than just a maven of nature's bounty. Nikki Pham is opening a storefront in Galena, IL this weekend as well as a website that helps us decorate our homes and lives. New businesses are so exciting to me and with a slogan like, "Embrace Your Space" how can one resist the temptation to do just that with dried naturals, wreaths, and German themed decor. As Bough Frau grows and prospers, I will give updates on this exciting new store. Both Wreaths and Nikki are dear to my heart!

New Beginnings

It has been a while since my last blog post and I assure you I have been both hard at work and extremely busy with the move to Tennessee. The last month in the San Francisco area was a wild one with photo shoots, weddings, and parties galore. I cannot wait to share all of the fabulous pics with you! The DVD's are soon to be rolling into my mailbox with photographs galore by some of the best in The Biz of the Bay Area. Since the pro photos are in transit, I will instead share a photo from the inside of my new home. We have chosen a "fixer-upper" in the form of a beautiful and semi-famous log home in Arlington, TN that used to be know as The Lodge at Hickory Withe. Perhaps the family will come up with an updated name for out little piece of history. More details to come as I unpack all of Haute Horticulture's treasured inventory and organize it into the new studio located underneath the lodge...

Come Join the Party!

If you are thinking of entering the San Francisco Dream Wedding Giveaway, supporting someone who has, or are a supporter of this local cause, you should come to 1 Fort Mason (San Francisco) for the Meet the Dream Team Mixer on October 6th next Tuesday. It will be a great feast for the eyes and yours truly will be donating some conversation worthy floral gifts to the evening. Don't be surprised if you see the logo above come to life in 3D on a table for 8!
Liz Guthrie knows how to host a party as San Jose Wedding Consultants and the Dream Team do their magic! I can't wait to see it and be a part of a good cause at the same time. This will be my very last event in San Francisco this year and feels bittersweet. I love this area and yet it is time for me to move across the country and start decorating the South. Memphis look out!


Sign Language

There are so many ways to guide your guests to the right location when they come to your wedding or reception. This sign was made for Bena and Ed to make sure their guests knew exactly where to be on their special day. The idea that originally came from Liz Guthrie ,their coordinator, was then brought to life by Quyen Murphy and embellished by Haute Horticulture. The bold purple print and coppery red flowers were hard to miss! See for yourself.

Bouquet of the Week: Irish Lace and Lily of the Valley

This week's feature bouquet is from the Ireland Meets Italy Wedding in May. Terry Way took this stunning photo of the bride holding her bouquet of sweet pea, lisianthus, beautiful swan garden roses, bells of Ireland, and lily of the valley. Every flower had a special meaning to Catherine and even the pearl bracelet in the photo has a story behind it.

The bride had taken a necklace, that used to belong to her dear grandmother, to a jeweler who broke her heart by saying that it was not worth the time to repair or remake. Catherine's friend, who also made all the necklaces for the bridal party, was able to restring the sentimental pearls and give her a special bracelet for her wedding day!

I just love a good wedding story!
The photos below are of the bride and groom before they saw each other for the first time on their wedding day. Daniel also had a sentimental boutonniere that held a silver claddaugh in the front of lily of the valley to match the bride's bouquet.

Ireland Meets Italy Wedding


The photos from the Ireland Meets Italy wedding are now on the Haute Horticulture website! Being Irish myself, I get a little misty eyed thinking about the bagpiper as he played in front of Catherine down the wedding aisle and then played the couple out of St. Mary's together. Then the entire crowd of 150 guests followed the piper through Los Gatos to a cozy park for pre-cocktail refreshments! This wedding had it all: perfect weather, a happy couple, beautiful scenery, great food and spirits at Testarossa Winery, and (one of my favorite things) a candy buffet. It was non-stop photo ops for everyone involved!

Thank you to Catherine and Dan for allowing me to share these photos with the world. Thank you also to Terry Way for capturing the emotion of every moment.

To view the entire slidewhow click here:

Red Roses Renewed

I know it isn't Valentine's Day just yet, but I had some leftover roses from a client sample this week and made an arrangement in the name of modern love. With only maidenhair fern, lily grass, and red local roses this crimson and clover gem sits pretty in its silver vase.

Sneak Peek: August 1st Wedding Part 2

Here's another sneak peek at the wedding collaboration with Monica Kau this past weekend.
The Queen Wilhelmina Tulip Garden is a hidden gem at Golden Gate Park that is filled with beautiful flowers and plants even during the off Tulip season. See for yourself!

Sneak Peek: August 1st Wedding

I still don't know exactly what I will title the wedding from this past weekend. It was a beautiful blend of a garden wedding with Asian elements and Chinese banquet reception. The colors were hues of purple, blue, copper, and orange. Often the night before the big day I will send the coordinator, in this case Liz Guthrie of San Jose Wedding Consultants, an iphone photo of all the flowers sitting pretty in the cooler. I do this for few reasons:

1. It's a sneak peek at what is to come for the next day
2. It assures her I am ready to go for the wedding
3. It's fun to see all the flowers waiting for their big debut.

Above is an example of one of the photos I sent her in the middle of the night. I'm just too excited to keep them to myself!

Lemon Drop Dahlias

It's no secret that I love candy. Perhaps that is why I use it in floral designs and inspiration boards all the time. Love, like candy and flowers, is sweet! I think candy buffets, soda stations, chocolate tasting tables, and all the like are fabulous additions to any wedding or reception. I noticed at a recent wedding that the candy buffet we set up was most appreciated at the end of the night. It kept dancing guests energized and gave them something to snack on after the food was no longer available. Of course, nothing is better that well made wedding cake, but these additional sweets will only enhance any celebration!

That said, I offer a sweet centerpiece that is a bit unique. As a designer I am constantly trying new shapes, sizes, and mediums. The dahlias and rose petals look a bit lamp-like with a candy lemon drop filled acrylic post. This would be funky for a cocktail area especially if I decided to light them from within. Enjoy!

Bouquet of the Week: Dahlias

Our bi-weekly feature is also a flower that is truly at it's peak this month. Dahlias as small as daisies and as large as dinner plates (literally!) are all over the market in their seemingly endless variety of bold and beautiful hues. The only colors unavailable are blue and black and the maroon dahlias can be very close to black when they want to.
Today's feature bouquet is a yellow that is so bright it borders on florescent. It is paired with some viburnum berries and grosgrain ribbon. The flower heads are so large that nothing else is necessary to make this 7 flower bunch large and in charge!

PS: Seven is usually the number of choice for the amount of flowers, like roses and dahlias, needed to create that perfect round bouquet shape.

Fun with Light

Most of the time floral designers and wedding coordinators spend a bit of effort convincing a bride that the money she invested in lush flowers and interesting detail will go to waste if the venue doesn't have good lighting. With that in mind, this small cocktail centerpiece is one of the few that look better in the dark. What you may notice in the photo is that there still no true substitute for hired spot lighting and up-lighting because the rose is still in the shadows. I just liked the way the crystal and light outline the shape of a beautiful red petals. This was made for my cousin to give to a friend. I thought I'd share this little abstract idea for the week ahead.

Inspiration Board: Golden Garden Roses

As promised I have a small inspiration board for the golden garden roses in the bouquet of the week. I used the same variety on a metal fashion form and the results are as sweet and feminine as the roses themselves. I wish garden roses were a little more hearty so I could use them in abundance for brides, but their delicate nature is part of the allure and rarity that makes them so very special.

Bouquet of the Week: Golden Garden Roses

I am not ashamed that roses were on the top of my favorite wedding flower list when I first started planning my own event. And why not? They are available most of the year, have a great fragrance, and are beautiful yet inexpensive. What is most amazing about roses is the huge variety that is in the world today and how every color, texture, and size is unique. Today's bi-weekly feature is made with local golden yellow roses, freesia, stock, and a personal favorite; garden roses. These delicate beauties are packed with petals and when I work with them I wonder, "Is this what heaven smells like?". Enjoy the bouquet that is as fragrant as it it lovely! A matching golden rose inspiration board is in the works for this coming week...


A Japanese Master: Keiko Okada

Keiko Okada was a featured florist at this year's AIFD conference and show in Kansas City. She was able to stop by San Francisco and to our humble school auditorium for a Sunday morning demonstration of her work and her style. She is Cheif Designer at the Mami Flower Design School of Japan. My attitude towards floral art will forever be changed by this amazing experience. I am so grateful that my friend Monica was generous enough to give me a ticket to the show.
Keiko uses all natural objects as mechanics, often splitting bamboo and other harder materials to create a natural and minimalist design that still commands a large presence. Here are some photos of the show. I am so inspired! I hope you are too.

Above, a tree is split and placed in a vessel of water with no other mechanic to hold it upright.

Here Keiko is using unopened chopsticks to extend the sides of a glass vase.

This is one of my favorites; a floating island of wildflowers that spins in the water if you touch it.

This is also so simple in its beauty, a vessel that is entirely interlocking parts and reminiscent of a boat.

Fruit Topiary

I could just eat this beautiful and nearly 4 foot fruit and flower topiary that was made this week in my studio. This giant cone is composed of ball and informal dahlias, roses, clementine oranges, ranier cherries, a few alstomeria, palm tree berries, pom pon mums, and some boxwood. The form was handmade "old school" style from chicken wire. If I wanted to be truly traditional I would have simply packed it with moss as well. I love topiaries (especially live plant topiaries) almost as much as wreaths! Enjoy the bounty of summer in the colors of fall. Autumn is not too far away!

In Season: Blue Hydrangea

It is time to start another new feature that I have been posting for a while but didn't have an official name. The feature In Season starts off with one of the best blooms of summer; Blue Hydrangea. Thanks to local growers this boisterous bunch of flowers can be very affordable and bring arrangement costs down. It's bold, big, bountiful in July, and it's a beautiful BLUE!

This centerpiece was made for my dear friend Karina. Her daughter is now 4 and had a party to celebrate with her friends. Happy Birthday Alyssa!!

-XOXO Karin

Lantana In My Garden

Lantana is such an interesting plant with an even more fascinating flower. It's all over California in suburban yards but is new to me because I am not a native to the area. The large flowers actually consist of many tiny flowers clustered together in intricate and unique patterns. My son and I are both in love with the Lantana bushes in our backyard and I wanted to share a photo of the vibrant pink, orange, and yellow blooms.

Bouquet of the Week: Pink Ginger

Our Bi-weekly feature goes asymmetrical with this pink ginger bouquet. It's different, but I had to try it after being inspired by a Spring wedding magazine photo. For an accent I used a dash of fiddle head fern and a matching chocolate ribbon. Ginger is fragrant, hearty, and unique for the bride that is looking for a stand out bouquet for herself or her bridesmaids. Ginger will also work well in a tropical themed wedding. Enjoy!