Archive for August, 2009

Flower School at YWCA

On August 12, flower editor Margot Shaw and her mentor Sybil Sylvester taught a floral workshop at the Birmingham YWCA. Women were taught how to make topiaries from European hand-ties of white carnations, and everyone enjoyed seeing the beautiful arrangements created. Click on the thumbnails below to see larger images of our fun workshop with some wonderful women.

Margot often tells people to not be afraid of flower arranging, even though it can be intimidating at first. As she said at the YWCA workshop, “God has already made flowers beautiful. You really can’t mess it up!”

Everything we used for the workshop was donated, and we would like to thank everyone who made it possible.

Davis Wholesale Florist
Hall’s Birmingham Wholesale Florist
Leaf & Petal
Smith’s Variety
Photography by
Arden Ward


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Bizarrely Beautiful

Melissa found this exceedingly intriguing table and I decided I had to pass it along to you. I’ll be honest, at first glance this table seemed a little too mod and quirky for my taste. It wasn’t until I took a closer look that I discovered what Melissa found to be so “ingenious” about this piece of furniture from Rêddish. Can you figure it out?

Cross Stitch Table

Take a closer look…

Close Up

Those roses are cross-stitched!

Think about the work that had to go into making this table a reality. First of all, who knew there were drill bits so tiny as to create holes only large enough to allow one single thread? Secondly, consider having to place all those holes “just so” to ensure the finished product comes out as desired. And last but not least, imagine doing the cross-stitching itself! For a short moment, Melissa and I took a trip down memory lane and reminisced about those plastic sewing cards we enjoyed as children. This rose-laced table evokes the same sense of fun—only with a definitely unexpected, certainly more grownup twist.

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Bud of the Day

“Give me odorous at sunrise a garden of beautiful flowers where I can walk undisturbed.”  –Walt Whitman

Courtesy of Barnsley Gardens

Courtesy of Barnsley Gardens

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Melissa’s Favorite Flower

As far back as I can remember, tulips have been my favorite flowers.


Courtesy of Barnsley Gardens

Everything about them is intriguing and beautiful—the tightly closed buds that bob on bowed stems; how they spring seemingly on cue from the thawing earth where they’ve been resting all winter long; the wave-like pattern a bank of tulips creates, undulating as one towards the sun; and, even as they wilt, the still-lovely shapes that form as their stems give way to gravity and their petals curl back like opened arms. Mike Dash, in his book Tulipomania, shares this quote:

“The tulip, the French horticulturalist Monstereul wrote, was supreme among flowers in the same way that humans were lords of the animals, diamonds eclipsed all other precious stones, and the sun ruled the stars.”

Since I began to work at flower magazine, I’ve met other varieties—Parrot, French, fringed—that have awed me anew at this simple flower’s beguiling appearance and solidified my love.

I agree with the Persian poets, and others, that the red tulip symbolizes love, deep and passionate, eternal. One look down into a fiery red tulip with its brilliant ring of yellow-gold surrounding a bottomless black center and you can see why the Dutch went mad for this flower.

Frenchman Sir John Chardin, in his “Travels in Persia” written in the 17th century, said it most poetically: “When a young man presents one to his mistress, he wants her to understand by the general color of the flower that he is on fire with her beauty, and by the black base of it that his heart is burnt to a coal.”

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Mystery Fall Photo Shoot!

We love every aspect of putting together our magazine, but there is always an extra buzz of excitement around the office the day of a photo shoot. After all of our brainstorming, planning, and excruciating dissection of details, to see our ideas put into action is nothing short of exhilarating. Our photo shoot a few weeks ago was no different, and even the oppressive heat could not dampen our high spirits (although it was certainly effective at dampening our brows). To avoid the hot haze that settles daily over the South this time of year, extremely dedicated members of the flower team gathered together at dawn and started preparing for the shoot. The long hours paid off and we cannot wait to share the finished product with you in our Fall 2009 issue. What was this photo shoot for, you ask? Well, you’ll have to wait and see, but we can tell you that it’s something different than we’ve ever done before. We don’t want to spoil the surprise by giving you any truly revealing shots of the great images we captured that day, but while the summer sun beats down on you at 95 degrees with 57% humidity (or is that just Birmingham?)…here’s a sneek peak at the rich autumn colors and gorgeous fall flowers to come.


Teaser Three

Teaser Trois

Yeah, we threw you off with that last one, didn’t we?

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flower Find: Heather Bailey

Among her many talents as a crafter, quilter, and inventor, Heather Bailey has created eye-catching (I’d even go so far as to say, eye-arresting) fabric collections, all featuring original designs. Pop Garden™ and Freshcuts™ include most of her floral patterns and they are as bright and intriguing as their names imply.

A few that definitely made me stop and stare include Painted Mum in the olive and gold, though it comes in other colors as well. The Peonies pattern is wonderfully fluid and the color selections are so vibrant. It almost seems to grow off the fabric!

My favorite, Rose Bouquet (on the cream background), evokes Heather’s flair for the vintage mixed up with her love of color.

Judging from her blog, Heather is constantly dreaming up new projects. A line of scrapbook and paper crafts, sewing patterns…all with her signature style.

While I’m not that handy when it comes to sewing and the like, I may have to learn for fabrics like these. They just make me smile.

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Women in Photography International Competition 2009

I have just had the honor of judging the “Flower” division of the 2009 Women in Photography International Competition. What a difficult yet inspiring mission! Flowers, so exquisite in nature, were rendered even lovelier in art.

"Reverence Des Dahlias"- 1st Place

"Reverence Des Dahlias"- 1st Place

The first place winner, SM Berry’s “Reverence Des Dahlias,” is an almost surreal portrait of these amazing blooms contrasted against ancient looking church-like buttresses. The flowers almost seem like architectural elements themselves. What a lovely foundation for any structure!

To see the 25 Honorable Mentions, take a look at this site, click on Berry’s name, then click the gallery for “Flowers.”

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