Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Magical Milestones of 2017

Happy Brand New Year, friends! The year is so very young and I'm feeling somewhat tentative and excited all at the same time for everything that's to come in 2018. I've been working on my book, (as mentioned in my New Year's post in 2017) but I'm not as far along as I'd like to be.

 I took off down a few new and unexpected rabbit holes this year and that put me a wee bit behind but these cold, dark days will be perfect to keep me grounded enough to finish in 2018. I'll be posting on Facebook and Instagram along the way to get you all primed and ready for the release date! 

I'm happy to report that I did indeed stand by my 2017 touchstone word ( Fearless)  and because of that it was a year filled with many magical milestones. I kept my promise to get out from behind the flowers and make some in the flesh connections last year and boy did I! 

 None of which I would have accomplished without the help of my sweet hubby. He's always behind me in everything I do. When I panic, he's my rock. When I'm overwhelmed, he picks up the pieces, and when I DREAM BIG, he digs in with me to make it all happen.

Me and the man behind my dreams and the camera.

The flowers led us to wonderful places and people last year! 


In March and November, I organized and co-hosted two gatherings for the New England Farmer Florist Connection. A Facebook group I founded for flower farmers and florists in the New England Region. Both gatherings were filled with energy and passion. Flower Farmers and Florists gathered to network and collaborate to grow the slow flowers movement here in New England.
You can read about both amazing days, here and here.

Debra Prinzing, Semia Dunne, Me, and Monica Tavaras


I am a proud member of these Sustainable Flower Organizations
Fall Floral Exchange attendees at Flowers by Semia, Studio.

 April brought more fun challenges and new experiences.  My husband and I were invited by a dear friend of ours to speak at a Woman's Club Meeting about Creative Living. Neither of us had ever done something like that so it was fun to work on it together. It was a 35 minute talk with some Q and A time at the end. I'm not gonna lie. I was TERRIFIED before the talk, but once we got inside the room and started talking to all the nice people my nerves took a back seat and we just had a good time talking about creativity of all kinds, including growing and designing with flowers of course. Phew. I was relived and elated when it was over!


In June I hosted a floral workshop on my backyard flower farm for a group of the sweetest retired ladies. This event was organized by my friend, author, speaker and gardener, Betsy Williams. This time our son was behind the camera while I talked with the attendees and my hubby was on yard detail making sure it was all perfect for the ladies, and me.

I wrote a blog about how to host a Garden to Vase workshop of your own, here. And, I'm planning more for 2018!


July and August kept me busy in the cutting gardens and making arrangements for luncheons, charity events.

Ball Jar Bouquets
My ball jar bouquets graced the tables of several luncheons and events this summer.


Dandelion House Garden was featured in the Country Cottage Issue of the Cottage Journal Magazine this summer. It was our second time being featured in this wonderful magazine and it was just so exciting! Maybe you saw us!?

We were also featured in Johnny's Seeds " Fifth Season Floral Design Elements" newsletter article here.


Photography Credit: @liztracyphotography
Vintage Glam ( November )
I had the honor of  flowering two beautiful fall weddings in 2017. I can't express in words what it feels like to be apart of these special milestones, but I can say that I simply love every part of creating beautiful designs for weddings and events. I'm so excited for more opportunities in 2018 that I created a website just for weddings and events.

First Look " Old World meets Vintage Romance" Red Lion Inn, Cohassett, MA. 

Photography Credit: @theshannongrant

 I will stay true to sourcing local material from my own cut flower gardens, and other local flower farmers in season. And when the gardens are sleeping here in New England, I'll buy beautiful American Grown product and Dutch Blooms for my floral work.

My helpful guy's.

We managed to get away to the beach this summer for some much needed R and R and to celebrate my hubby's 60th birthday.  Well, 60 is the new 40, right? That's what I keep telling him so he'll keep up with me!

 My year of being " fearless" taught me to have faith and courage and to continue on this path laden with beautiful flowers and lovely people. So, I declare COURAGE my touchstone word for 2018! 
The skies the limit! 

Have you chosen yours yet?  
Blessings in the coming year from all of us at Dandelion House.
Deb ( and Boz )

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Dahlia Season is Here!

American Dawn and Semi-Cactus Dahlia ( Magic Moment)
 Happy Fall Ya''ll! As we transition from late summer to autumn my heart is happy. Dahlias season is here ( FINALLY). At the same time, my heart is also heavy for those who have been effected by the recent hurricanes in the south and the Caribbean. I pray they will get the supplies, relief and care that is needed to rebuild their communities, and ultimately their lives. The human spirit always prevails in times like these and it does my heart good to see all the outreach that is happening for those who are suffering such great losses right now. 

Because of these storms, many florists have had to scurry to find flowers for weddings and events due orders from wholesalers being cancelled. The upside is that more florists are reaching out to their local flower farmer to source flowers and making new connections for the future. I've been able to personally help a few florists out this past week and the New England Farmer Florist Connection Facebook group has been great for helping florists in the network find flowers in a pinch.

Here in coastal New England, we have been on a tropical storm warning for several days from hurricane Maria. We've had high surf and minimal beach erosion and not much flooding. Compared to the destruction that has happened elsewhere, it's hardly worth mentioning, but it has had an effect on the dahlias. Just when peak bloom time hit, the rain and wind arrived too! Gr.

I've been harvesting like mad to save them! I have some

   new varieties to share with you that are perfect for cutting and floral design. 

 Let me introduce you to American Dawn.

American Dawn
 She's the most beautiful shade of soft coral with pink and purple undertones, making her a lovely companion to deep purples, light pink, yellow and deep burgundy reds too. She's no wall flower either. She throws out blooms right and left.

I found last year that I didn't have enough yellow in the garden for cut flowers.To me, there's nothing that says summer more than a big yellow flower in a bouquet.  Sunflowers are a natural, but they only bloom once and in a small scale growing situation I've learned it's just not a wise use of space when you're going for maximum blooms. 

Dahlias are very giving sending out bloom after bloom until the first frost. If you're growing for weddings or selling to floral designers, you may not sell out of a bright yellow but this little lady is great in arrangements and farmers market mixes.

American Sun 
American Sun has long and strong stems making her ideal for cut flowers. I'm kind of in love with this pink and yellow theme. Yellow is like the sun. It makes everything near it shine!

Boom Boom Red ( below ) is the perkiest little pom pom dahlia ever!

She just fires out blooms left and right. I can hardly keep up with it! 
If I was growing on a larger scale I would definitely include this one. It comes in yellow as well. While red and yellow aren't currently popular wedding colors, the long stems and mid-sized blooms make this variety ideal for market bouquets or event work. 

These easy ball jar bouquets went to a ladies fundraiser luncheon. 

Lastly, I created this mock bridal bouquet with white dinner plate dahlias ( Fleurel ), Magic Moment, Semi Cactus, Arabian Night ( burgundy) yellow lisianthus, white lisianthus, sedum joy, forsythia foliage and fern leaf pine scented geranium. Kinda made me want to say, I do all over again! 

I hope you all enjoy this turn of the seasons. It's always bittersweet for me, but spring is only six months away and I'm already planning for next years cut flower gardens.

Stay tuned for my next posting. We have some fun things in the works for Farmer~ Florists here in New England! 


Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Host A Garden-to-Vase Floral Workshop With Seasonal Flowers

 Have you ever dreamt of hosting a garden-to-vase floral workshop in your own backyard? It's something I've had on my goals list for a while now and it finally happened last Tuesday right here at Dandelion House!  I'm so excited to share the day with you and give you some tips on how you can host your own.
 I was fortunate to have some help with promoting my event from Betsy Williams, author, garden writer, teacher and speaker. We met at the New England Farm and Floral Meet and Greet in March.  Betsy was so inspired by all the energy around the slow flowers moment that she reached out to me afterwords to see if I'd be interested in hosting a garden tour and floral workshop for a group trip made up of gardeners, floral designers and other creative gals from a retirement community. I jumped at the chance to make it happen and Betsy took care of sign-ups and collecting monies from the retirement community coordinator.

Me, Micayla and Ben at Bramhall's Country Store in Plymouth, MA. 
 My zinnias weren't quite ready for harvesting on the day of the workshop so I purchased some from a local flower farmer at Bramhall's Country Store in Plymouth. Ben and Micayla are in their first year flower farming and very excited to grow things they can turn into food to sell at their farm stand. Their zinnias stole the show at my workshop giving us just the pop of summer color we needed. 

Before the workshop I gave a short walking tour of the gardens and cut flower raised beds and answered questions. Then we took a short break for some cool lemonade before getting busy at the table.
My first class. They were first class ladies!
We limited the number of participants to 10 and that was a good number. With Betsy's help we were both able to assist the ladies during the design process.  I honestly can't say that I instructed them all that much. I prepared a flower bar of flowers for them to choose from and they just dove in and had fun. I labeled the buckets and jars with the flowers name on it with post it notes for reference.

My new flower cart came in handy for holding extra jars, buckets, flowers and greenery.

  These ladies came with energy, smiles and were ready to create! 

They really inspired me. Some day, I'll be this age too. I can only hope I'll be as gracious, wise and FUN as they are. We only had a short hour and a half together. I wished we could have had more time to sit down and visit. I would have loved to hear their life stories.

Here are a couple more bouquets from the workshop. 

Betsy had the idea to have each person study their arrangement on a table set apart from the other bouquets to look for structure, balance, texture and color. This exercise helped the participants see if and where they wanted to make any changes.

I think they did a beautiful job, don't you? 

 Garden to Vase Floral Workshop Supplies  
  • fresh local flowers ( from your own farm or garden or sourced locally if possible)
  • buckets (  plastic or galvanized )
  • vases ( I used wide mouth mason jars )
  • scissors ( medium sized )
  • name tags
  • business cards
  • tables/benches
  • burlap runner 
  • camera  
  I provided only locally grown seasonal flowers from the garden. Zinnias, black-eyed susan's, apple blossom snapdragons, lisianthus, sedum, hydrangea foliage, forsythia foliage.

I was able to find a large selection of colorful plastic buckets at the dollar store. I also picked up name tags, small scissors, plates, napkins and drinking cups. It's canning season and mason jars can be found at your local grocery store, feed store, or craft store.  I chose mason jars because the ladies arrived on a bus and I needed something simple for them to carry home flowers in, but any type of vase would be fun at a floral workshop. You could use vintage pitchers, vases, tea pots, pewter, milk glass, etc.

 I also purchased 9 feet of burlap for 4 dollars to cover the plywood tables we put over sawhorses.  I say " we " because my husband and our son helped me with the set up and our son also took some of the great photos in this blog post! With a short event like this you don't need to go crazy with food. Offer something refreshing to drink like, citrus water, or lemonade and put out some cheese and crackers, grapes, and cookies.

The idea behind a garden to vase floral workshop is to have fun while educating your guests about the benefits of growing flowers and supporting local flower farms when ever possible. Once they step foot into your beautiful garden they'll never look at a grocery store bouquet the same way ever again!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...