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!
 
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