Archive for June, 2009

Highlands in Bloom

The idyllic mountain town of Highlands, North Carolina, draws countless visitors seeking a quiet getaway, breathtaking vistas, or heart-pumping outdoor activities. During the week of July 7th, 2009, flower lovers will have another reason to trek to this destination spot. The 11th annual Mountains in Bloom Garden Festival celebrates a diverse collection of gardens lovingly tended by both full and part-time residents of this mountain community.

Mountains in Bloom

I was lucky enough to get a sneak peek of a few of these locations earlier this year, before spring had fully arrived, and even then they were impressive. From formal designs to rambling hillsides, the gardens range in ages and styles, as one would expect, and the homeowners have a vested and dedicated interest in “flowering” their part of the mountain.

MIB chairAlongside weekend tours of these green oases, the 2009 Festival includes a competitive Flower Show, Home and Garden Shop, and entertaining and informative weekday lectures by Highlands’ own Margie Shambaugh, landscape designer Chip Callaway, and interior designer Lady Henrietta Spencer-Churchill. Rounding out the week of festivities, the “Mountain Moments” Flower Show, showcasing a photography division for the first time this year, welcomes competitors in horticulture and floral design. Entrants will surely find ample inspiration in the natural and artistic themed floral design categories, and there’s even a chance for children to get involved, using an old hiking boot as a container!

The 2009 Mountains in Bloom Garden Festival benefits the Bascom, a cultural arts center whose thoughtfully constructed new home is destined to draw even more to Highlands. After years spent in shared space, the Bascom can now stretch its legs and host even more visual arts workshops, exhibits, and lectures and provide a beautiful backdrop for events like weddings and receptions. A covered bridge entrance leads to carefully designed buildings that utilized reclaimed barn wood and vintage timbers while achieving the high standards of museum quality construction.

Meet the Lecturers:



In addition to his landscape work, Chip Callaway is equally well known for his garden restoration, which include projects for Wake Forest University and various historical foundations and private individuals. His work has appeared in magazines such as Garden & Gun, Southern Accents, andSouthern Living. Though most of his time is spent working in the Carolinas and Virginia, Callaway has taken on projects in Palm Beach, Nantucket, and England.



Lady Henrietta Spencer-Churchill, the eldest daughter of the 11th Duke of Marlborough, began her own design company, Woodstock Designs, in 1981 and takes commissions worldwide. She also teaches at the New York School of Interior Design and other schools in London. Her books center on topics of Classic style and details and Georgian style, including one written about her ancestral home, Blenheim Palace.

Visit to secure your tickets and check out for peek at the new campus.


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Our Summer 2009 Issue Is Here!

If you aren’t a subscriber, keep an eye out for our gorgeous New Orleans issue:

Summer 2009

It’s worth a peek if we do say so ourselves.

And if going out to your local newsstand in this heat is just too much to bear thinking about, we also recommend you subscribe to our magazine. What could be better than having a fresh flower delivered directly to you?

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Abby’s Favorite Flower

Interning at flower magazine this past spring, I never thought I’d be offered the dream job I now have. As flower’s new Executive Assistant, I have some big shoes to fill. I’ve learned so much about the magazine, the day-to-day tasks in the office, and most importantly the kindness and sincerity that surrounds flower. I truly feel so blessed to work with such wonderful people who spend all day focusing on God’s sprinkles on the cupcake of life—flowers.

Before working for flower, I was 100% flower illiterate. Learning more and more about flowers every day opens me up to an entire world of floral possibilities. Assisting Margot at the Birmingham YWCA Flower Sale for Mother’s Day was such a treat for me, as Margot enlisted my efforts as her floral arranging assistant. Having previously known nothing about floral arranging, learning how to put together an arrangement was surprisingly easy and so much fun!

As far as my favorite flower, I think I would have to say daffodil.


Courtesy of Barnsley Gardens

I love that blooming daffodils are the first sign of spring, and I love that they are often the lone rangers sprouting up above an empty garden. Another reason for liking daffodils, I must admit, has to do with a favorite childhood movie, Willy Wonka &The Chocolate Factory. There is a certain scene in the movie where Willy Wonka takes the golden-ticket-winning children to his candyland backyard garden. Willy Wonka picks a candy daffodil, drinks out of it like a teacup, and then takes a crunchy bite out of the yellow “flower.” Ever since, I’ve wanted a candy daffodil, too! Although I’ve never found a candy daffodil, it still takes the #1 spot for favorite flower.

via coffeeworks

via coffeeworks

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Here, There, and Everywhere…

Though we’re based in Birmingham, Alabama, I travel frequently to spread the word about flower magazine. After all, flowers are everywhere, and now, our distribution is catching up.

Meanwhile, my travels in the last year and a half have ranged from London for the Chelsea Flower Show and Newport, Rhode Island, for their Flower Show to the Richard Avery Conference Center at the Fish Farming Center in Greensboro, Alabama, where I spoke to a lovely group of avid flowerers.

My other peregrinations in the past year have included a weekend in Charlotte, North Carolina (The Queen City) for the Southern Retail Florist Association Convention and a trip to the idyllic Mackinac Island in early September to speak at the Carleton Varney Antique and Design Fall Festival (If you’ve never been to this magical island, run don’t walk to and secure your place—preferably September 18 to 22 for Mr. Varney’s 20th Annual Antique and Design weekend).

A two-day jaunt to San Antonio where I stayed with a former college roommate included speaking to her Garden Club of America group, touring the splendid Botanical Garden, and ducking into a gem of a museum, The McNay, on my way to the airport.

During a whirlwind trip to New Orleans, native Angèle Parlange whisked me to some of the most fun and floral spots in town. Nashville entertained with its perennially excellent Antiques and Garden Show, and then it was on to Lynchburg, Virginia, to speak to two fabulous groups of garden clubbers, where all was abuzz in preparation for the Historic Garden Week.

Most recently, a sublime visit to Pensacola, Florida, found me speaking again to a wonderful assembly of flower lovers and meeting Shannon Pallin, a René van Rems-trained floral designer, who was responsible for starting a Pensacola Art in Bloom. It takes a village of volunteers to implement an event of this magnitude, but it also takes one person with a vision. BRAVO Shannon!

Who knows where flower travel will take me next?
Stay tuned…

Until then, flower to the people!

SDG (I am so blessed to have this job),

Margot Shaw

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