Camellia Crazy

Mar 27, 2015

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I went a little camellia and magnolia crazy this winter. The magnolia is no surprise; but the camellia... I hadn't been in California at this time of year in a while, and forgot how insanely amazing these beauties are. The real winter rose. Camellia plants like to explode with blooms; the bushes/trees- whatever you want to call them- were covered in pink, white, stripes, deep fuchsia/red. It's incredible. 






Lately I have been working on so much restaurant/hotel stuff that I haven't had enough time to work with flowers. (At the moment, I am helping with my family's business- organizing, restructuring, remodeling etceteraaaaaaAHHHHH). AH for real. It's intense, and while I miss working with flowers, I am also really excited about the changes that are coming for the hotel and restaurant. !!!!! And I'm adding to my GIRLBOSSness and learning some hardcore lessons in business and life.

It's a bit ( hmm, very) stressful because it's a steep learning curve and a million other things I won't go into (mortgages & operating agreements?! no thanks). Since I haven't been able to work with flowers lately, I have been enjoying daily twilight walks, during which I drool over all the crazy Los Angeles plant life. Succulents are blooming like I've never before noticed; the rain followed by sudden heat has made the wisteria go bonkers....eucalyptus trees and their fuzzy bright blooms, passion vine. It's all too much, and I am scheming and planning the first garden I will plant in my adult life (how is it even possible that I haven't yet done that?!). Not working with flowers gives me space to think about why I like them so much (& long for them). For me, they are healing (slippery slope, here I aaaaaam, riding the avalanche). They're so real and unreal and they make me feel connected to the present and at the same time in tune with some magical otherness. (I think they do it to us all, even if you're not aware of it). They mark the seasons and if you pay attention to them even just a little, they can add smell and shape your memories and periods in your life. In my dreams, I create an epic, large, wild garden where I host events that are all about flowers and food, and where people come to play with flowers and chill.
When I was in Boston, I met one of the head gardeners of the Isabella Stewart Gardener Museum, Taylor Johnston. She is so inspiring. Warm soul. After a degree in horticulture, some time working at flowers farms and botanical gardens, she got a Master's in Philosophy, and then went back to working as a gardener. I love her perspective and thoughts on gardening, plants and flowers, and I wish I could really describe it here for you. Formalism and informalism, communicating the ethereal, the special and the extraordinary; perfectionism; sustainability vs. artful choices. What an inspiring visit.
Just layin' it out on the table.
aaaand that concludes my Friday-night-fried-brain philosophy session.




African Violets and Blue

Mar 1, 2015

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A few rainy Sunday's ago, the light was perfect for photographing these violets. They have been so hardy and have lasted forever (at least a month, plus however long they were in bloom before I bought them). I've always loved them, but even more so now. Everything in Los Angeles continues to bloom and blow me away- a flower punch smack in the face. Right now the jasmine is insane- flowering everywhere, and stanking up all the neighborhood blocks. I love it. One small snip makes your entire room smell. I may be slightly exaggerating but I can't remember. 







East Meets West Workshop Photos!

Feb 9, 2015

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After a long week of sourcing materials- crazy drives, hardcore adventuring, and yes, highly necessary In-N-Out lunch breaks- Brittany and I had an amazing time teaching the workshop. It was, hopefully, the first of many. I am actually very obsessed with the materials and colors. They're so Los Angeles, and I can't even believe I ever thought I'd possibly not be inspired here. What an INSANE thing to think. INSANE. 




We held the workshop at Sophie's beautiful studio. The walls are covered with her father, John Okulick's art. 








This was one of my favorite pieces from the workshop. Isn't it incredible!?



Look at these ranunculus:


Neon orange. My new favorite:


Brittany and my demonstration arrangement: 



avocados!






A Floral Workshop February 7th!

Feb 1, 2015

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Brittany Asch (BRRCH) and I will be teaching a floral workshop in Venice Beach at Sophie Monet's  amazing art studio this coming Saturday, February 7th. You can buy tickets here: http://shop.brrch.com/product/los-angeles-flower-workshop-february-7th-2015 . I am veeeeery excited. I've been obsessed with the flowering magnolia that we've been getting here in Los Angeles, and you bet we're going to have it. And some striped ranunculus from New York. And roses. Because they're still blooming in LA.







Back in LA, Tumbleweeds & Buenos Aires Inspired

Jan 26, 2015

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Back in Los Angeles and things are way greener than when I left. It's a little magical. This wild cucumber vine is growing all over the hills. It smells so fresh and a little sweet. And this drawing. It appeared in my apartment-- it's one of the many random things that my dad has dropped off without notice. Once a week or so I receive a food or plant related item, usually. Sometimes it's a cookie, or a bunch of Eucalyptus, or a left over octopus ceviche in a styrofoam cup; sometimes an economy or business related newspaper article, entirely crumpled, and maybe it has chocolate stains all over it. Like many things in his car. And there are many things in his car. This drawing looks a bit like my mom and it's my muse right now. 








This tumbleweed is inspired by the hills of Los Angeles, since they are something amazing this time of year. 




Summer Gardenia's in December

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I went to Argentina & Uruguay to visit my family for the holidays, and it was amazing. I will get into stories and thoughts about Buenos Aires soon enough, but until then, a collection of Gardenia photographs, since they are sold all over the streets of Buenos Aires, $1.50 per bunch. They smell amazing, and as they age they smell even better. One bundle and your room will smell like a Gardenia greenhouse for days.








Hollyflora Market & Courtyard

Dec 7, 2014

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I've never really worked in flowers in LA until this last week. The landscape is sooooo different from New York; a completely different vibe and aesthetic, and getting used to it is weird. New York has that lushness and greenness that really inspires me; there's an abundance that I love. LA is very dry at the moment. While it's lacking in that lush abundance, it has some really amazing plants- like the camellia's I showed you last, and the garden roses that you find here and there. Wild castor on the side of the road, giant graphic leaves whose names I don't know; agave's, spikey plants, and daturas. Of course the bougainvillea is what dreams are made of. But, the feeling is very different. The hikes here are bone dry, and all brown and crunchy because of the drought. I've been in such a different landscape for the last three years, and now all of a sudden, there's a completely different backdrop and environment, and it'll be interesting to see how that affects what I make.

It's rained a few times since I've been here and it's so insane to see how quickly plants and trees sprout new green with the first drop of water. My dad tells me it's because all the plants are like "water! life! Gotta grow and flower, and spread our seed now, in 4 days since it just rained and we have no idea when the next rain will come." Duuuuh?! I didn't quiiiite know that-- I'm no plant expert, though hopefully one day I will be!

One highlight of the last couple weeks here has been meeting the ladies of Hollyflora, Becky and Holly. I've been stalking their work over the last year or so; they've been doing this flower thing for a long time- real deal florists with an amazing aesthetic. And they are soooooooo AWESOME. !!!

I wrote about them and their newly opened shop for Gardenista last week. Below are some photos from my visit; you can see more here.

On another note. This website has some really amazing mixes to listen to. Very California, somehow.



 







This bleeding heart vine. I had never heard about it until now. LOOK UP IMAGES OF THIS AMAZING THING. 




Autumn Two Ways

Nov 29, 2014

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New England and California autumns are quite different. Branchy, leafless rose hips in Connecticut and rose bushes in full bloom in Los Angeles.


 








A few things: 
People don't change unless they want to; don't waste your energy. I've learned this lesson a million times. 
That car up there- the baby pink mustang- has a license plate that says "TULIPS." Yes.
Los Angeles is 80 degrees in November.
Camellia's are the most.
So is making lists of what you want your life to look like.
If you put vetiver essential oil on hair, your locks will smell so good for days and you'll feel a little bit like a gold dust woman witch.






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