Planting Fields Arboretum State Historic Park, Oyster Bay, New York

I like every season for different reasons. One of my favorite things about spring and summer is the abundance of gorgeous gardens. I’ve been stopping to smell the roses…and the lilacs and lilies and hyacinths and hydrangeas. This past Mother’s Day was spent at Planting Fields Arboretum in Oyster Bay, New York which is on Long Island. After that, we stopped at a nursery to buy flowers. Outside on a sunny day absorbing vivid colors and sweet scents? Lovely!

Bright Blooms and Poem for Peace

Morning walks are my meditation; sweet scents my solace.

A year ago, we were frozen in place. When the pandemic shut our world down, my family asked, “How long will this last?” “Surely, a few weeks.” “Surely, not past July 4th.” As the months dragged on, and everyday was the same as the last, several walks a day was our way to break the monotony. And guess what, hon? Senses heightened. Flowers were more vivid than ever. Garden scents filled the air. Songbirds were distinguishable. And the antics of our sweet furry angels, Lucy and Midnight, entertained us. I’m still walking, discovering wonders everyday. And everyday, those wonders bring me bits of peace.

Click here to learn more about Maya Angelou.

Spring Bouquets

Who doesn’t love a bouquet?

We were at an event where every table had a different bouquet and, of course, I had to absorb the colors and combinations. The two arrangements below are nestled in DIY Woodsy Centerpieces. Bendable twigs, vines and branches are wrapped around glass vases. The branches-wrapped-vases sit on thick slabs of wood. Simple. Woodsy. Pretty.

“Is the spring coming?” he said. “What is it like?”…
“It is the sun shining on the rain and the rain falling on the sunshine…”
Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

Dale Chihuly in Denver, Fifty Shades of Grey

Dale Chihuly, Perennial Fiori, Blown Glass, 2014
Perennial Fiori, Dale Chihuly, Blown Glass, 2014

Many shades of grey exist between black and white.

In my last post, Glass in the Garden, vibrant colors resemble Monet’s Impressionistic paintings. Here, black, white and grey stand in stark contrast to grass, leaves, bees and a wall of water.

Aside from contrasting colors, I am taken with the dichotomy between straight and curved lines borrowed from nature and mirrored in glass and stone at the Denver Botanic Gardens

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As stems reach for the sun, bees drink up the shine.

Nicholas Kadzungura,Chapungu Sculpture Park, Zimbabwe, Africa.
So Proud of My Children, Nicholas Kadzungura,Chapungu Sculpture Park, Zimbabwe, Africa.

This African mother may walk tall and straight , but the curve of her face, tilt of her head, and bouquet in her hand form a circle of devotion around her children.

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I’m passionate about children and reading, so it’s no wonder why this sculpture spoke to me.

The Boy and a Frog, Elsie Ward Hering, stone 1898
The Boy and a Frog, Elsie Ward Hering, Stone 1898

I am always amazed at how material such as stone can be chiseled to look like a person. This sculpture’s curves harmonize with the brick path and bushes.

Surprise! Instead of spires, around a corner were huge, wavy glass blooms. I wasn’t expecting these white flowers. Their clear “petals” blend with the falling water yet, at the same time, they wave upward and outward in an unnatural way. I do like the way they are both opaque and translucent.

Dale Chihuly, Perennial Fiori, Blown Glass, 2014
Persian Towers, Dale Chihuly, Blown Glass, 2014

Dale Chihuly,

“I want people to be overwhelmed with light and color in a way they have never experienced. ” (quote by Chihuly)

Hon, what do you think of the black and white glass?

DIY Floral Arrangement

DIY Floral Arrangement
DIY Floral Arrangement

I love flowers and so does a friend who just celebrated her birthday.

When it comes to flowers, I usually just trim stems and place flowers in a vase.  But I got in the mood to dress up a pretty, ceramic bowl. This easy DIY Floral Arrangement is a perfect birthday, holiday or hostess gift as well as a centerpiece idea.

Happy creating (and Happy Holidays), hon!

Oasis floral foam.
Oasis floral foam.

Carnations and daisies.
Carnations and daisies.

 

 

 

 

 

Oasis cut to fit in small bowl.
Oasis cut to fit in  bowl.

Pretty in Peach!
Pretty in Peach!

 

 

 

 

 

Birthday bouquet.
Birthday bouquet.

Supplies:

1.  Vessel–this could be a bowl, vase, mug, glass or anything else you want to give as a gift.

2.  Floral Foam (Oasis)–can be purchased at a gardening center or craft store.

3.  Flowers–they must have sturdy enough stems to withstand being pushed into the foam.  I chose smaller flowers to complement the size of the bowl.

4.  Tape–the gardening center didn’t have floral tape so I used Scotch Tape.

5.  Pruning Shears or Scissors.

Steps:

1.  Cut floral foam to fit vessel.

2.  Sit foam in vessel and tape in place so it won’t shift.

3.  Trim flower stems to desired lengths.

4.  Insert flowers in foam, carefully, starting in the center and working your way out.

5.  Water flowers by pouring water in space between foam and vessel wall.  The foam will absorb a lot of water.  Holding flowers in place, pour off excess water.

Related Post:  DIY Clean-Lines Centerpiece

Please let me know if you have any floral arranging tips. I’d love to hear from you!

Mischievous-looking gnomes caught my eye at the garden center.
Mischievous-looking mini gnomes caught my eye at the garden center.

 

 

 

DIY Clean-Lines Centerpiece

DIY Centerpiece
DIY Clean-Lines Centerpiece

Last month, Hubby and I hosted a big family event.  Hon, you know what I love about a party besides celebrating happy occasions with friends and family?  The theme!  I love coordinating colors and carrying the theme through the details. It fires up my imagination.

Since the theme of the party was Broadway shows, the Manhattan skyline became a design element on the favors, large scale decorations and the centerpieces. I created the vessels and then handed them off to florist Kristen Carlberg*, who brought my vision of happy, bright, colorful bouquets to life.  I must give a shout out to my good friend, Ina Wallman*.  Not only does she have an exquisite eye for design, she helped me focus my many ideas into one cohesive plan.

Each table was set with cream tablecloths and fuchsia napkins.  Round tables featured one larger (6 inches by 6 inches) centerpiece while larger oval tables featured three smaller (5 inches by 5 inches) centerpieces, lined up in a row.

*If you are interested in getting in touch with florist, Kristen Carlberg or interior designer, Ina Wallman, please leave a comment or email me at bmoreenergy@gmail.con and we’ll exchange contact info.

Happy decorating, hon!

Supplies:

–Unfinished wooden boxes. I bought mine at G & G Distributors, a wholesale floral and craft store and website.

–White paint.  I used leftover water-based wall paint, semi-gloss.

–Paintbrushes or foam brushes.

–Drop cloth.

–Decorations to wrap around the boxes.

–Varnish, optional. (I didn’t varnish the boxes, but wish I did.  Water-based paint tends to run when water touches it.)

–Glass inserts for flowers and water. The florist supplied these.  She measured the insides of the boxes ahead of time so she’d know what sizes to get.  The unfinished wooden boxes came with thin, plastic liners.  If I was using floral green foam, then the plastic liners might have sufficed, but they wouldn’t hold cut flowers in water.

Steps:

–Gather supplies, including wrap-around stickers or whatever you are using for decorating the boxes.  Hubby has a talent for graphic design so he worked up a Manhattan skyline and ordered the custom-designed stickers an online site.  Or a paper design (not on paper that’s too thin) that coordinates with your theme can be used.  Paper designs can be secured around the perimeter of the boxes using craft glue.

–Measure designs by wrapping them around boxes and cutting them to fit.  They’ll be ready to apply once the boxes are painted and dry.

–Paint boxes and dry thoroughly.

–Apply designs.

–Varnish, optional.

–Add glass inserts and flowers.

–Set your tables and enjoy!

1. Unfinished wooden boxes were painted white with leftover wall paint.
Unfinished wooden boxes were painted with leftover water-based, semi gloss wall paint.

2. Custom-designed stickers were wrapped around each fully-dried, painted box.
Custom-designed stickers were wrapped around each fully-dried, painted box.

Boxes decorated with wrap-around stickers.
Boxes decorated with wrap-around stickers.

Three 5" x 5" boxes were lined up on oval tables. One 6" x 6" box was set in the center of round tables.
Three 5″ x 5″ boxes were lined up on oval tables. One 6″ x 6″ box was set in the center of round tables.

The florist measured the insides of the boxes, so she could pick up the correct sized glass inserts.
The florist measured the insides of the boxes, so she could pick up the correct sized glass inserts.

I love the contrast of the colorful flowers against the white box.
I love the contrast of the colorful flowers against the clean lines of the white box.

Bright, pretty, happy!
Bright, pretty, happy!

Summer Blooms

I love the way the Swallowtail's wings curve ever so slightly towards the Cone Flower.
I love the way the Swallowtail’s wings curve ever so slightly towards the Cone Flower.

Happy First Day of Summer!

I’ve used up all my “Bmore Energy” throwing a huge party.  Last weekend, we welcomed guests from as far as Colorado, New Mexico and Nashville to help us celebrate a family milestone.  It was beautiful!  It was wonderful!  I’m exhausted!

Planning a weekend of festivities for over 200 guests took all of my time, so my blog simmered on the back burner.  My house is in clean-up mode and my energy needs to be recharged.  Tomorrow’s plans?  A hike to clear my mind.  After that?  DIY decorating blog posts.

In the meantime, here are some photos to welcome summer.  I took them at Ringwood Manor State Park.

When I say I have "Hot Pink Hope," I'm thinking of this Zinnia's color!
When I say I have “Hot Pink Hope,” I’m thinking of this Zinnia’s color!

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Two Swallowtails flitted around the flowers.  I was so excited to capture both feeding at once.
Two Swallowtails feed at the same time. The angle of their wings seem to form one continuous line.  Exquisite!

 

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Teen Daughter and fellow photographer.  We were snap happy in the gorgeous gardens.
Teen Daughter and fellow photographer. We were snap happy in the gorgeous gardens.

Happy Summer, hon!