Thanks for the Confidence Building, Garden Club!

This garden club blog is not only about matters directly pertaining to our Carroll Club activities, but a space for our members to talk about things of interest to them. So, I–Sue, am going to talk about the first wedding in my immediate family and show some pictures about the prep and the day.

Like a kid who tries to avoid answering a teacher’s question by slumping down in his seat and covering his face with a book, I used to shrink from volunteering for anything having to do with flower arrangements or hostess table displays. I don’t have a great 3D sense of design the way some of our more artistic members do. However, the great thing about garden clubs is that we have opportunity to improve through our workshops, programs, volunteer activities and hobnobbing with our gardening compatriots to learn at their shoulder.  So, I will give credit where credit is due.

My son’s fiance asked if I would decorate the tables for the rehearsal dinner. My immediate reaction was panic (auugh! a tablescape!) I hadn’t done that. To complicate matters, everything would have to be transported to Florida. The venue was a reserved room in a deli with odd sized tables and it would be held January 1. There as no guarantee that some other party might be in the other half of this narrow room. I would have to provide any tablecloths, etc. and I would need to come up with a theme that didn’t compete with the reception’s look.

Things I learned from garden club:

  1. You can get special display containers
  2. There is such a thing as a water filled vial to hold stems in place
  3. You can purchase moss to cover mechanics
  4. Floral foam can be your friend
  5. Garden club friends show you great places in PA to shop for plants (Thank you, Brenda!)
  6. Terrariums keep ferns looking good
  7. Be consistent, repeat color, textures
  8. Don’t be afraid to experiment
  9. Make use of programs we’ve had like “Language of Flowers”.
  10. Scour the Antiques Mall and second hand shops for useful items

As a result, I came up with my first large tablescape display using fabrics, all sorts of tea, votive, pillar and floating candles and candleholders, naturalistic-rustic displays of ferns, ivies and mosses in handmade wooden boxes and mossed containers, ceramics and amber glass to hold either flowers or candles. Here’s how I was playing with ideas at home. Note the rolled burlap (5 yds) on the left, which I would shorten for the smaller tables. Each table would be different plants in the center, but have similarity in votives and colors.

Playing with raw materials at home

One surprising thing in Florida–there is a true dearth of cut flowers at market. We have a much larger selection in our grocery store in Westminster’s Safeway than is available in Publix. Florists want to make the displays and will organize against cut flower vendors as “taking away their business”. Also, said the nursery assistant, “In Florida, you can put annuals in the ground and they’ll grow for 8 or more months. Why do we need cut flowers? It’s just not that popular.” I did manage to find a small selection of all cream/white flowers at the grocery–3 packages for $12, so carnations, babies breath, roses, daisies and mums were purchased. Some went into ceramic bottles, others in amber glass and the rest in vials inserted into the flower centerpieces. This would give the Romantic aspect to the theme as well as the warm amber glass lit by candles. The color theme was creamy white/brown and green. And, my design revolved around language of flowers, ancient symbols and the psychology of color, which was in my toast to the couple. There were tears and great happiness over the effort, so I count it as Successful.

Here are a couple pictures of my Very First Event Design.

And here is the outcome– a wedding on January 2nd. My son and new daughter in law, Sarah –

or Mrs. Christensen, now.