Thursday, December 29, 2016

His and Hers Wedding Flowers in Autumn

Photo by Jon Jarvela
Sometimes, I am asked to provide the simplest of wedding flower orders - a bride's bouquet and a groom's boutonniere.  I find that these weddings are really memorable, because so much effort goes into making the one bouquet and buttonhole just right.  In Autumn 2016, I was asked to do a simple bouquet and boutonniere for a couple who were getting married in the Huon Valley.  

The bride provided some pictures of the styles and colours she loved.  The inspiration came when I saw what the groom had picked out to wear.  

I loved the sage green in the tie, and the golden yellow and apricot too.  I decided to go for a bouquet with plenty of creamy white and green, with touches of apricot and bronzy gold. 

For the bridal bouquet I used a Protea White Ice, two types of banksia - Banksia Baxterii, the Birdsnest Banksia, and Banksia Marginata, a local native.  Brunia Albiflora in full flower was used along with flowering Eucalyptus Cordata, usually used as a cut foliage.  The apricot came with the use of Fountain Pincushion and Leucadendron Safari Goldstrike whose new growth is tinged with a pinkish bronze.  

The foliage I used includes Grevillea, again with a bronze new growth tips, flowering lemon-scented Leptospermum and the shimmering Leucadedron Argenteum or Silver Tree.  You can also see, peeping out on the left of the above photo, some creamy Leucadendron Pisa cones with their outer bracts removed.  

Other foliage included Eucalyptus Cordata, and some Cootamundra wattle in bud. 

For the groom, I used a small Banksia Marginata in creamy yellow, Grevillea foliage with an orange bud, Cootamundra Wattle with its little buds, tea tree (Leptospermum) and Eucalyptus foliage. 

Photo by Jon Jarvela
Autumn weddings in Tasmania really are special!  

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Christmas Time!

Christmas is fast approaching and I've started the annual Christmas Wreath making, one of my favourite Christmas activities.  I have a number of different styles planned which I'm looking forward to making.  There is so much variety in colour and texture at this time of year, which makes it a joy to get creative with flowers.

This year, I've decided to streamline the ordering process and use my Swallows Nest Farm online shop to handle the payments.  This way if you're a Hobart local, you can order and pay with credit card or paypal.
Here's a link to the listing.

There are three different styles you can choose from this year.  "Traditional" is your typical Christmas colouring - red and green with added holly.

Christmassy and full of fresh native goodness!

The second style is "Citrus" - yellows, oranges, and greens in a celebration of our Australian summery Christmas.

The third style is "Surprise Me!", where you give me permission to get creative with colour and come up with a unique design for your wreath.  So far, its proving to be the favourite style which has made me happy!

I love the opportunities for endless combinations of colour, texture and pattern that floral wreaths give.  Playing with flowers is a beautiful job to have.

I hope you have a wonderful, joy filled Christmas and that you have time to enjoy the beauty of the season wherever you find yourself.  

Saturday, December 3, 2016

April wedding at Frogmore Creek Winery

Picture by Kristy L Photography
Autumn in Tasmania is so pretty!  I might go so far as to say its my favourite season… The autumn showers bring green to the sun-tired landscape and the colours of the autumn leaves are so beautiful.  I think its a great time for a wedding.  And I think you'd have to agree that the gorgeous pictures by Kristy L Photography capture an Autumn wedding so perfectly.  In April, I was lucky to be involved in this beautiful Autumn wedding at Frogmore Creek Winery

Burgundy was the colour theme of the wedding, so I used some new season Silvan Red Leucadendrons, which are a lovely rich deep-red colour in April.  

The bride loved the King Proteas so they became the focal flower.  

The Red King Proteas were teamed up with some pink Protea Repens and Brunia Albiflora in flower.  I also used gum buds, white flowering tea tree, and some fine leucadendrons in green with a bronze blush on the tips.  

The bouquets were bound with a rustic chocolate coloured twine, which I think really enhanced the burgundy colouring.

Cootamundra Wattle in bud was the foliage I used mostly.  It is a beautiful wattle foliage that comes in both a silvery blue green and a purple.  The frilly fern-like leaves of the green variety shown here, are covered in a silvery bloom which gives that blue-green, eucalyptus look.  And those buds, frilly and wonderful, create a cloud of soft texture around the bouquets.  

Boutonnieres made a feature of the new season Silvan Red leucos.  They were teamed up with white flowering tea tree, Cootamundra Wattle, deconstructed Brunia, and the fine bronze-green leucos.  

I loved using the flowering Brunia.  Brunia Albiflora (meaning "white flower") grow a cluster of balls which are covered in tiny flower heads.  By deconstructing them, I've been able to use the individual balls in these boutonniere.  

The beautiful bride wanted a floral crown.  I used plenty of foliage and texture, for a rustic look.  The tea tree, gum buds, eucalyptus, and Cootamundra wattle all make an appearance.  But the richly coloured Silvan Red Leucos were the focal point.

There were a number of little wrist corsages too, continuing with the overall theme.  

They look so cute, all in a row!

Picture by Kristy L Photography
I just love this beautiful photo by Kristy L Photography.  Stunning!  So happy to be involved in such a gorgeous wedding.  

Dryandra Formosa

Dryandra Formosa is a beautiful Australian Native Flower that I've begun to grow at Swallows Nest Farm.  It is an unusual flower that is from the Proteaceae family, as are many other well known Australian Native flowers.  As recently as 2007 it has been re-classified at a Banksia, so is now known as Banksia Formosa.  Its common name is Showy Dryandra, and it is!

The flowers are golden and at once furry and bristly - a strange combination which makes sense when you see them begin to open more.  The bristles are very firm, almost plastic-like.   A fibrous golden top, when all clumped together, forms the "furry" look.  It has the appearance of velvet and catches the sunlight in a similar way.   

The colour is difficult to describe too - golden orange, or old gold would be my best words to describe it. 

Another feature of this unusual flower is that the leaves almost become part of the flower.  The leaves grow immediately below the flower and are long and deeply zig-zagged.  They are beautiful to use as a cut foliage.

Like most proteaceae plants, what we call the "flowers" are actually many small individual flowers clumped together.  The diagram above shows that each bristle is an individual flower.

With so many flowers in each flower head, there are many opportunities for seeds.  When you look at the seed heads of the Dryandra Formosa you can see why they've been re-classified as Banksias.  The seed heads are very banksia-like, as are the seeds which are very dark and attached to a papery film, just like banksia seeds.  Showy Dryandra grow well from seed.  

Dryandra or Banksia Formosa are a great flower to use for weddings.  You can see how the leaves are put to good use in the boutonnieres above.  I love the way the leaves sit haphazardly.  

The young flowers really catch the light because of the velvety texture.  They look great in corsages too. Here, the young flowers are teamed with Pimelea Nivea or Bushman's Bootlace, Lipstick Boronia, Berzelia buttons and Grevillea.

The effect is different when the flower is more mature and the velvety texture is replaced with the tips of the bristles.  Still lovely, just different.  In this boutonniere, it is teamed with a Blusing Bride Serruria flower, Berzelia buttons, and flowering gum.  

I really love the colour of this flower!  It's not a "hit you in the eye" colour but it just provides so much depth.  There are times when the colour combinations just sing!  I think the wreath above would be a bit bland without the Showy Dryandra.

Again, in a brides bouquet, the Showy Dryandra really makes the colour palette.  There's nothing else that adds the colour and texture quite like these amazing Australian Native blooms.  

Friday, September 30, 2016

Rustic Farm Wedding in North West Tasmania

An old machinery shed in the middle of an apple orchard!  Sounds like the perfect place for a Tasmanian wedding in March.   The bride wanted vibrant reds and pinks, and some King Proteas with  foliage and nuts.   

So that's what she got!  Beautiful Compacta Proteas with silky pink outer bracts and a rich red center, along with red mini king proteas were the main flowers used.  I also added some Banksia Occidentalis which are a stunning pinky red colour in March.  

Nothing can compare in richness of colour to the new season growth on a red leucadendron and the Silvan Red Leucos were ready to pick early for this wedding. They added a darker rich red conrast.  Brunia Albiflora were in flower and looked great adding highlights.  They're such unique flowers - one of my favourites.  

For foliage, I used some lovely Eucalyptus Cordata which was heavily in bud, with some of the white fluffy blooms just starting to burst.  I also used silky Silver Tree Leucadendron, which is always wonderful in a bouquet.  It's luxurious foliage adds wonderful glowing highlights.  The other foliage used is Irish Juniper, a blue green foliage with variegated stripe on its fine foliage.

Dried Corymbia Ficifolia gum nuts were added too.  I like the way the colour of the nuts went with textural fibre I used to surround the bouquets.  I like the nest-like quality of the fibrous posy holders.  They add a rustic touch to a bouquet.  

The boutonnieres combined Juniper, Myrtle and E. Cordata foliage with some Cordata gum blossom and a Corymbia Ficifolia nut.  

The groom stood out with a rich Silvan Red leuco added to his.  

The bride and her bridesmaid wore floral hair pieces.  Juniper, Myrtle and some smaller leafed Cordata were the main foliages used.  The Cordata blossom was mixed with a spindling of wax flower, and some rich red Leucos added colour.  

The pieces were built on metal combs to slide into the hair style.

The comb provides a structure to built the hair piece around.  Those gum blossoms are so pretty!

Stunning photo - looks like something out of a fairy tale!  It was a pleasure, as always, to be a part of this couples special day. 

Friday, September 9, 2016

"Birds Nest" Bouquets for a Cradle Mountain Wedding in February

In February I provided flowers for a wedding held at Lemonthyme Wilderness Retreat in the Cradle Mountain - Lake St Claire National Park.  

Cradle Mountain
The Cradle Moutain area is World Heritage listed with stunning scenery and pristine wilderness that draws tourists from all around the globe.  What a beautiful place for a wedding!

Lemonthyme WIlderness Retreat
 The bride had chosen a rich strong purple for the bridesmaid's dresses and had the idea of adding some yellow as a contrasting colour to really make the colours pop.  

Its called a complimentary colour scheme, using colours which are opposite each other on the colour wheel.  It works to accentuate colours and make them stand out.  The bride also wanted natives to go with that beautiful backdrop of the Tasmanian wilderness that the venue offered.


Banksias were the focal flowers in this wedding with each bouquet having a Banksia Baxterii as the main flower.  Baxterii are a beautiful late summer banksia here in Tassie, and are often called Birds-nest Banksia because of their unique shape and the way the styles open from the bottom upwards.

I continued the Bird's Nest theme using posy holders made from natural fibrous material in a great chocolate brown.  I love the textural quality they created and the addition of the deep brown which enhances the colours in the flowers.  I also loved the bird's nest feel they added, with the flowers nestled into the "nest" and the foliage spilling over the edges.  

Other flowers used were the beautiful rich red Banksia Occidentalis, Leucadendron Safari Sunset, a deep burgundy in late summer, and Brunia Albiflora.  Little pops of purple to tie in the bridesmaids dresses were added with Hebe.  

Vibrant yellow was added with Kangaroo Paw, Bronze Fennel flowers, and Leucadendron Pisa.  Foliages used include the gorgeous native coral fern called Gleichenia Dicarpa, Myrtle Beech,  a beautiful burgundy tea tree foliage, and some Smoke Bush leaves.   

The bride requested all the boutonnieres be different designs, all with the same theme.  Music to my ears!  Its such fun to play with the colours and textures and find different ways of putting them all together.  Banksia Baxterii leaves, deeply zig zagged and fabulous, form the backing for each Boutonniere.  

In front, different mixtures of the foliages including the burgundy tea tree and myrtle, and then more of the other flowers featured in the bouquets.  

The grooms boutonniere had some of the coral fern added.  I really love working with the coral fern.  It can be very difficult to store and work with as it tangles very easily, but the lovely angles that it sits at make it a wonderful, whimsical addition to a bouquet or boutonniere.  

The colours and textures of this wedding were wonderfully satisfying to work with.  I hope the bride and groom enjoyed the results!