Forage your own floral arrangements!
Thanks to Amanda McNulty ("Making It Grow"), who used it in her inspired, all-foraged arrangements for the 2010 CVSC Green Tie Luncheon, I'm kinda crushed out on purple beautyberry right now.
In a major way.
SC Small Business Chamber's networking seminar last week -- making sure to leave the bush looking balanced and still full of berries despite my little harvest.
Beautyberry is an important winter survival resource for birds.
(I really want to learn more about which wild plants and flowers are endangered or rare, so that my increasing forays into roadside greenery cutting don't inadvertently screw the pooch.)
Meanwhile, I'm really enjoying using wild, native, and "weed" plants, as well as bits from friends' yards (and my own) in floral arrangements -- not just because they save a great deal of money when it comes to an event budget's bottom line -- but also because there's some really cool stuff out there!
|Image: The Shop Tart|
I found those rad little ball-on-a-stick alliums and some lavender-colored spray flowers on the roadside near Heathwood Hall; noticed the dark pink wild roses in a mini-forest near Owens Field; took Julie's recommendation that I clip rosemary from their yard; and followed up on Tom's text message tip-off that there was a whole mess of light pink wild roses on the road shoulder near their farmhouse in Blythewood.
All I bought for these 30-odd arrangements were a few dozen roses to fancy things up a bit. ('Cause fancy is fun.)
Shani Gilchrist (a.k.a. Camille Maurice) is such a lovely hostess!
I bought a few dozen roses and some gladiolus for something hot and bright and showy, and that's where the financial outlay stopped.
I also found wild, ferny, dilly-smelling dog fennel; super-tall, graceful grasses; and these delicate little light pink accent flowers on a roadside near a feed & seed warehouse. Had a great conversation there with one of the distributors about how his wife likes to gather greenery for arrangements from the roadside, too!
Then I cut a few wide, dark green fatsia leaves from our yard; despite its unseemly name, fatsia is one of my new favorite decor tools. The SC Arts Commission's visual arts director, the amazing Harriett Green, taught me the wonders of using long-lasting, dramatic-looking fatsia leaves -- as well as spiraling, striking curling willow -- in her arrangements at 701 Center for Contemporary Art.
Oh, and a few pears that one of undefined magazine editor Cindi Boiter's friends had brought from his tree to one of her fab little country gatherings.
Pop those bad boys onto bamboo skewers, and voila!
Just watch out for drippage when it comes to those pineapples -- if they're super ripe it can get really really sticky, really really fast.
I learned that one while prepping this centerpiece for the Free Times' 2010 Best of Columbia party. My event planning colleague, the awesome Debi Schadel, was very patient with me while I figured out how to mount the pineapples without making a giant mess and toppling the whole thing. Pineapples are heavy!
perennials blog is fantastic and full of practical advice (as is his monthly Columbia City Farmer blog on The Shop Tart!) I plan to plant more perennials over time, so that my yard becomes a year-round cutting bonanza.
That's right. A bonanza!
(Thrift store containers like this vintage coffee pot thinger make nice, inexpensive vases, btw.)
I bought some roses and glads for the Seibels event, but the financial outlay was truly minimal. There are so many groovy -- and sustainable -- ways to do floral decor without breaking ye olde banke.
Again I clipped some rosemary, as well as magnolia leaves & seed pods, baby figs & fig leaves from Julie Hall's yard. (I love your yard, Julie!)
I then found these wild white hibiscus-looking flowers with groovy pods out by the water treatment plant; and I collected orange trumpet vine from a railroad right-of-way. Boom! Done.
Granted, it will consume a fair amount of your time -- many hours, often of the sweaty, suncreen-slathered variety -- to hunt these things down, harvest them, and remove their many scraggly, unappealing bits and bottom leaves which could, if submerged, not only look yucky but also poison your arrangement from below.
Each project is a welcome reminder for me that there's a *really* good reason florists charge a bundle for those pretty, perfectly processed, ready-to-go flower bunches and arrangements, and it's not just because shipping cut flowers from Ecuador is pricey.
Word up to professional florists, especially those like local star Floral & Hardy, who take a sustainable approach to growing, cutting and arranging flowers!
What do you do to be green, save money, and jack up your creativity when it comes to decor? I would love to hear about it.
Til then, happy autumn, and see you on the roadside!