I created these softly-colored summer bouquets for a wonderful wedding couple, who decided to do the rest of their wedding flowers themselves using Butternut Gardens flowers.

I created these softly-colored summer bouquets for a wonderful wedding couple, who decided to do the rest of their wedding flowers themselves using Butternut Gardens flowers.

Whether prompted by budget, by the desire to play a greater hand in wedding day design, or other personal reasons, I have been working with an increasing number of brides looking for DIY wedding flowers.  I have to say, I absolutely love it. I welcome all interested in DIY to contact me. In some cases “all” I do is supply the flowers, and the brides or wedding couples, with their families and wedding party, do all flowers from centerpieces to bouquets, boutonnières and ceremony pieces. I say, “all” I do is supply the flowers, but, in truth, quite a bit of planning on my part goes into the selection of a satisfying mix and number of blooms and greens and into conversations with my brides to educate on flower types, availability and design needs. For other weddings, I am entrusted with creating the bouquets and other wear and carry flowers, which will be most photographed, while supplying fresh blooms and greens for DIY table designs.

One of the reasons I find the DIY relationship so satisfying is I know the personal effort put forth by others in creating their floral designs is going to make them enjoy their flowers that much more. From personal experience, I know how absolutely fabulous it feels to share flowers with others. DIYers get to do just this – share their flowers - as well as learn more about their very personal flowers, take great pride in their creations and have a shared design experience to be remembered.  It is fabulous.

Next year I plan on offering several workshops especially for DIYers. I know, from my many, many  conversations to date, that DIYers are eager to take on floral design, but have quite a few of the same questions about how best to go about doing this.  I want to help with flower planning, budgeting and design.  So, please check back for my DIY wedding workshops starting in Spring of 2016.

A Local Flower Grows, I Mean Goes, To Brooklyn

One of the exciting changes for Butternut Gardens this year will be a weekly trip to Brooklyn, NY to deliver directly to several studio designers, who are working with locally-grown blooms. Last year, when I participated in a Business of Flowers Workshop taught by Jennie Love and Ellen Frost of Local Color Flowers (Baltimore, MD), at Jennie Love's LoveNFresh Farm in Philadelphia, I met several floral designers from Brooklyn and Manhattan. One of these designers was Rachel Gordon of Taproot Flowers in Brooklyn. Rachel has been after me ever since to see if she could somehow work with flowers from Butternut Gardens. Rachel only works with flowers sourced locally from within a 200 mile radius. While USDA actually defines "local" as being within a 400 mile radius, Rachel and Taproot Flowers stands by her 200 mile definition. Ellen Frost is Rachel's number one role model, since over a decade ago Ellen started up Local Color Flowers using only locally-sourced flowers. Both Ellen and Rachel are extremely supportive of local farmers and local farming, and Jennie Love is a Farmer Florist extraordinaire. Thank you! 

Rachel, owing to an unwavering stance on sourcing local, has gathered together several Brooklyn designers and several farms, with hopes of making access to farm flowers more of the norm in Brooklyn. I am very happy to be a participating. Very exciting, also, is that Debra Prinzing, nationally-renowned proponent for Slow Flowers, i.e. locally grown flowers, recently did a podcast about the plans to bring Farm Flowers to Brooklyn. It aired on April 15th, and included a conversation between Debra and one of the Hudson Valley Farms - Tiny Hearts Farm- which will also do a Brooklyn flower run, a conversation between Debra and Rachel from Taproot Flowers, and also, quite nice of Debra, was inclusion of Butternut Gardens' planned foray into the Brooklyn market in the podcast's written notes, thus putting Connecticut flowers on the national flower map. 

Please listen to the Podcast, or at least read the podcast notes, since the podcast is lengthy (but interesting). You can read the notes and access the podcast here:

It is episode 189.


Lilies always popping at Butternut Gardens

Lilies and other June flowers at Butternut Gardens

Lilies and other June flowers at Butternut Gardens

Lilies are always popping at Butternut Gardens. Can't wait 'til June when all the lilies start. If you want to share in the beauty of flowers all season, why not choose one of my flower subscription services (limited to delivery in Southport, Fairfield, Westport, lower Weston). Then you could have flowers delivered right to your doorstep weekly, biweekly or monthly from Spring to Fall.

Fleur du Jour - Iris coming in May

Siberian Iris at Butternut Gardens

Siberian Iris at Butternut Gardens

I love Iris and grow three major types - Dutch Iris, bearded or German Iris, and Siberian Iris. They are gorgeous additions to the late May and early June bouquets and arrangements. Some of the bearded Iris have absolutely amazing fragrance to boot.

Good news - we are inching closer to this year's Iris. - only 85 more days based on first cut date in 2014.

Also, anyone noticing how much more daylight we have these days? Maybe hard to tell with all the snow around here. In any event, we are less than 1 month away from the first day of Spring, or vernal equinox. Kick up your heels, folks!

Fleur du Jour - Bright Yellow Zinnias in only 4 more months

I feel like all I have doing this winter is staring at spreadsheets, as I plan this upcoming season, and staring at snowflakes. Add in a bit of shoveling to make pathways for the dog, and that just about sums it all up. This is what makes it so hard to believe that in only 4 months I will likely be looking at some amazing rows of zinnias - true summer flowers. One of the hardest things for me to do is to wait to start all of the seeds.  Some seeds, including zinnias, simply do not take very long to get going. Starting seeds too early is counterproductive. There is no benefit to having a seedling waiting unnecessarily for warm enough weather to be planted outside. It is best to be patient (and finish up the paperwork while you still have time to think). Once the season starts, thinking time is all but nonexistent.

Booking 2015 Weddings with Dahlia Love

I thought I would offer up Dahlias as today's fantastic Fleur du Jour as both a way to really make us miss, I MEAN LOOK FORWARD TO, summer and as a way to say I AM NOW TAKING BOOKINGS FOR 2015 WEDDINGS.  

While many people think of Dahlias as fall flowers, which they most certainly are, Dahlias here start blooming at the tail end of June and early July. Different varieties are earlier or later by nature in showing off their remarkable blooms. Some variability also results from how early or late spring arrives and from how "on time" I am with putting the tubers in the field. Last year it was cold longer and I was later. That said, I cut the first flower on July 7. If you are planning a wedding before July, no need to worry as plenty of amazing flowers bloom before the dahlias!

For couples looking for late summer and fall weddings, Dahlias can be a lovely addition to bouquets, centerpieces and other floral designs. As a rule, I like to limit my full service weddings to one a day so as to give the best of myself and my flowers. I will add bulk flower orders for DIY brides who are making their own arrangements and will put together bouquets or other wear and carry pieces for the same day for my "Something In Between" brides if I feel I can do so with the quality I demand.  So, as we wait for dahlias together, please contact me soon if you, or someone you know, are looking for your 2015 wedding florist. Congratulations to all the BEAUTIFUL  wedding couples and their families.

More June Blooms

The bright yellow yarrow in lower right puts real zip into any bouquet. Yellow and orange red hot pokers can be seen in the center of this grouping.

The bright yellow yarrow in lower right puts real zip into any bouquet. Yellow and orange red hot pokers can be seen in the center of this grouping.

In the previous Fleur du Jour I highlighted the bright and smashing red hot pokers, which actually come in many shades from red to orange to yellow as well as mixes of the above.

Today I want to share a lovely pink and yellow combination from June, in which the yellow red hot poker and amazing yellow yarrow work beautifully with the season's pink dianthus, pink larkspur and pink Canterbury bells.

Last year I cut 295 stems of the truly striking yellow yarrow known as Coronation Gold for early summer bouquets, and saved another 125 stems for fall cuts.

By the time I take the fall cuts, the once bright yellow flower heads are a perfectly muted golden tone for the fall palette.

With first cuts of Coronation gold yarrow made on June 10th last year, we have just over 120 days (and much snowmelt) to go to 2015 blooms.

Delphiniums mean June!

Let's keep the color coming as we dream of spring and summer flowers, and give the nod for today's Fleur du Jour to our wonderful Delphinium. From soft, light blue, to royal blue, to deep, rich dark-as-night blue our many colors of Delphinium add gorgeous color to complement or strike a contrasting note with other flowers. Let's not forget that we also have access to white and lavender Delphinium as well. Last year's first Delphinium cuts were taken on June 3rd and we had beautiful blue blooms the whole month through for a total of 354 stems. What's fun about Delphinium is that every year I always get some late summer and fall blooms to clip and add to our strong late season colors.

A splash of color to a summer bouquet

A splash of color to a summer bouquet