flowerflinging fun

 Hard at Work bannerIt is always a treat to attend a floral design workshop. Hopefully, the teacher has chosen beautiful materials to use and attractive containers.   In September, a delightful group of Rochester NY ladies spent the day making two very different designs.

Modern mass with Hypericum berries Modern Mass with rosesThey began with a modern mass design in a slim green container. The materials used were Rosa ‘Cherry Brandy’ with its subtly darker outer petals, a coral mini carnation, coral tulips, green Hypericum, tiny button mums in chartreuse green, lily turf grass and a green/cream/burgundy striped Leucadendron, a kind of Protea.

Happy students with designsThe happy students pose with their designs and soon after,  we were spoiled with a delicious hot lunch!! Yum – thanks, VC.

Underwater design with callasThe afternoon session delved into the world of underwater designs using a handsome container from from Target – Threshold Large Globe Glass Vase http://www.target.com. At 11.5” x 7.5”, the opening is large enough to get your hands, making it easier to work with the materials.   This container was last seen in “Blooming Birthday, part two” (see Archives, June 2013).

Callas and orchids underwaterDesigners had Monstera ‘Xanadu’, the distinctive dark green leaf, curly willow, purple Dendrobium orchids, variegated Aspidistra leaves, Anthurium obake ‘Rainbow’ and mini calla lilies in the most beautiful shades of blushing pink. The callas were not the really smallest ones, but had good stems for curving around in the space.

 Underwater with AnthuriumMechanics were passed out in brightly colored bags and included a 1” pin holder, florist clay, glue dots, small light green glass stones (Michael’s Crafts) and chartreuse aluminium wire (www.jamaligarden.com).

Underwater with OrchidsIn the GCA, underwater designs are those in which all or part of the design is submerged in water.  The emphasis is on the design being in water; not just a group of stems in water. Filling the container to the top changes the design by its marvelous magnification of what’s inside.

Underwater design with layersBecause of carrying it back home, not everyone wanted to put the water in. However, it is easily siphoned off with a length of plastic tubing.

 Underwater Willow weavingAfter some initial hesitation, all the students had fun with this concept, as there was no right or wrong way to do it – just creative expression. Most of these flowers above rise up from the pin holder, hidden by stones, with the willow circling the design.

 Underwater Xanadu leavesThe truly lovely and very fresh Anthurium, orchids and ‘Xanadu’ leaves came directly from Hawaii to Rochester, courtesy of Green Point Nurseries. Visit their website and drool… http://greenpointnursery.com. Their tropical flowers and foliage are always just picked and beautifully packed. It is a complete joy to work with such perfect flowers. Thanks, Green Point and thanks ACGC!!



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The Barnes….interpreted

The Barnes AdmissionThree weeks ago, we were in Philadelphia with a large group of Tigers for a long weekend that culminated in a visit to The Barnes Foundation, founded in 1922 by Dr. Alfred Barnes.

 Dr. Barnes by de ChiricoLocated in Merion PA, a short 5 miles from downtown Philadelphia, the original building was designed by Paul Cret in classical style within a 7-acre arboretum.. Dr. Barnes amassed a collection of over 2500 objects. Over 800 are paintings with an estimated worth of $25 billion, including 181 Renoirs, 65 Cezannes, 55 Matisse and 46 Picassos. The fascinating story of Dr. Barnes is found in “The Devil and Dr. Barnes”.

The Art of the StealNot without a lot of controversy, the museum moved to central Philadelphia in 2012. “The Art of the Steal, a 2009 documentary, tells the tale. Or click on this link for some of that story http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/18/arts/design/the-barnes-foundation-from-suburb-to-city.html   As engrossing as the book, the movie and the NYT are, the story I want to tell is about the remarkable building designed on the Parkway by Todd Williams and Billie Tsien.

c Billie Tsein

c Billie Tsein

At a presentation by The Barnes’ Director of Development, I was totally captivated by this eloquent sketch concept of the two museum buildings, old and new. It is a perfect form of interpretation showing the Merion building as “gallery in a garden” and interpreting it on the Parkway as a “garden in a gallery”. Bingo. Not a copy but an interpretation of an historic building.

c David Brownlee

c David Brownlee

“Two Buildings One Mission” by David B. Brownlee is the story of relationships between the Merion building and the center city building  and the steps that brought their plans to fruition. The details are fascinating.

Barnes Entrance Reflecting PoolThe pathway to the main entrance is flanked by reflecting pools. Landscape designer Laurie Olin embellished and complimented the architecture of the building.

Early Model of the BarnesThe theme of a ‘garden within the building’ can be seen in this early architectural model showing translucent shapes which eventually would manifest themselves as interior garden spaces.

Barnes Inner GardenToday, this garden space is open to the sky and is surrounded by the glass walls of the library and the visitor assembly space.

Barnes Pottery Wall Barnes WAiting WallThe visitor space is home to a collection of beautiful southwestern pottery whose colors are reflected on the opposite wall.   It is probably the latent interior designer in me that likes these thoughtful details.

Barnes Light Court WallThe central ‘Light Box’  is the major thoroughfare to the galleries and filled with repetitive patterns creating a rhythmic flow space and texture. The large serene spaces contrast with the tightly packed galleries, as set out by Dr. Barnes, and maintained exactly today even to the same light exposure as they had in Merion.

Barnes Negve Limestone chiseledInside, the ‘Roman Gold’ limestone panels, from the Negve desert in Israel, are warm, softly colored and hand chiseled with different patterns.

Felted Silk and wool panelsBarnes Silk and wool panelsThe felted textile panels above the stone were specially made by Claudy Jongstra, a Dutch textile artist. As the light changes across them, they lend a subtle color and textural difference to the chiseled limestone as well as offer some sound baffling.

Floor PatternsBlack and White Patterns sofasThe architects were inspired by the African decorative arts in the collection which show up in the design of floor tile patterns and the low benches of visitor seating.

Barnes Outer CourtyardBarnes and the CityDeceptively simple plantings frame the building’s relationship with the center of Philadelphia. When next you go to Philly, do pay a visit. You won’t be disappointed.


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Centennial flower power

Flowers at Hawk HillIf you like to arrange flowers, there is nothing more wonderful to be invited to show up and design.

Gorgeous abudanceAll the materials from JK and MR were beautifully grown and conditioned – ready, set, go! What fun!

 Garden GloryVases were 8” heavy class cylinders, filled with a variety of conifers which acted as the pinholders, looking beautiful while supporting all the stems.

 Black-eyed SusansThe bounteous garden flowers included pink, orange, red, and yellow dahlias,

Red dahlias and pink pholxWhite (tinged with pink) cosmos, tiny daisies, yarrow

 Pink DahliasSolomon’s seal foliage, coleus, perovskia

Dahlias and ColeusSedum, goldenrod, hydrangea

Jewels of OphirAsters, Jewels of Ophir, helenium

 All pink among the coffee cupsWhat’s left in the garden? Thanks to everyone who made things beautiful!


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