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Blooms in Season: June

Blooms in Season | By Natalie Bowen for Sacramento Street

In June, the flower market is bursting with an array of blooms – dahlias, the last peonies of the year, garden roses are slowly coming into bloom, and so much more. This month I wanted Natalie to surprise me with the arrangement. Little did I know that she actually had a hard time selecting what to put together (you’ll hear more details below).

 

As the arrangement came together in front of my eyes it was hard for me to believe that she had had a hard time selecting each of the flowers. It felt effortless and the combination was stunning. I love the mix of white, yellow and I’m a total sucker for fig branches. Learn more about how this month’s arrangement came together through Natalie’s eyes.


Blooms in Season | By Natalie Bowen for Sacramento Street


Flowers used this month:

Fig

“Symphony” rose

White scabiosa

“African bride” Love in mist (or nigella)

Geranium leaf

Acidanthera “sword lily”

 

What inspired you this month?

Some months are easier for me than others. The market is filled with pretty flowers, but sometimes there is that special something that launches the whole creative process. This month, I didn’t see that special bloom right away. We are in between seasons and with peonies being behind us and most of the garden roses ahead of us, I felt that I didn’t know what the obvious choice was for this month. When I saw the figs, I decided to go with that choice.


Blooms in Season | By Natalie Bowen for Sacramento StreetBlooms in Season | By Natalie Bowen for Sacramento Street


I love this pretty leaf. What is it?

The leaf is a variety of geranium. I love geranium and find the scent so soothing. It grows really well in San Francisco and I feel inspired to grow some in my own garden.

 

I love the black and deep purple center two flowers. It seems unusual to find that in a flower, is that true?

Few flowers have such a deep and rich tone in them, that I am drawn to them every time I see it. I love the Love-in-Mist and while it is most commonly seen in blue, I love this black variety. It is delicate but the black touch makes it feel more substantial and strong.


Blooms in Season | By Natalie Bowen for Sacramento Street


Using figs in the arrangement is a good idea. Do you have any tips for doing that?

I would suggest that when using anything with a thick stem, such as the fig, you should always put it in the vase first. This way you can build your arrangement around the thickness of the fig stems. It really help the structure of the arrangement to have these large stems in first.


Flowers by Natalie Bowen Designs | Photos by Claire Giffen

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Blooms in Season: May

Blooms in Season | Sacramento Street

 

Every single month when Natalie comes to me with an idea for her arrangement, I’m blown away by the flowers she wants to pair together. This month she mentioned berries and beautiful bright clematis, which blew my socks off when I saw them in person. I love the way Natalie is able to design such an organic bouquet that looks stunning and effortless at the same time. Read on to see her tips on using blueberries and strawberries in your own arrangements!

 

 

Flowers used in this arrangement:
viburnum berry
chocolate cosmos
icelandic poppies
sonoma garden roses
clematis
blueberries
woodland strawberries

 

Blooms in Season | Sacramento Street

 

I’ve never seen blueberries in the Bay Area before. I know they are common in the North East, are they easy to grow in California, too?
The blueberries in this arrangement are from the garden at my studio in San Francisco. It was a complete experiment to plant them. I had a bush left over from a project I was doing, and I just put it in the ground. I have learned that blueberries love acidic soil, which my studio garden is full of, so I think this helps them do OK. My husband grew up in New England and he has fond memories of going blueberry picking in Maine as a child. I don’t think we’ll ever achieve that blueberry abundance in California, but it was fun to try.

 

I noticed that you used strawberries in the arrangement, too. How did you do that?
We grow woodland strawberries in our garden and they have long stems. These stems allow us to put them in a vase. I love them when they are green, as they actually last in the arrangement for a few days. I love including unexpected


Blooms in Season | Sacramento Street Blooms in Season | Sacramento Street

 

The size of that clematis is amazing! Where did you find it?
I was at dinner at a friends house in Berkeley and they had an amazing garden and this clematis was in it. They generously let me snip a few stems from their garden to bring home. Clematis is a very delicate vine, but it can grow very well with the right environment.

 

Why are Chocolate Cosmo’s named that?
Chocolate Cosmo’s actually smell like chocolate. It is so cool! They are actually a native of Mexico and once grew wild there. I love their deep dark color and delicate stems. But, I love their scent the most!


Blooms in Season | Sacramento Street


Both Natalie and I hope this inspires you to create something beautiful this Memorial weekend!

Flowers by Natalie Bowen Designs | Photos by Caitlin Flemming
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Blooms in Season: April

Blooms in Season - April | Natalie Bowen for Sacramento Street

I have to be honest, this time of year the flower market is billowing over with all of my favorite flowers. It truly feels like heaven when I step inside. The beautiful blooming branches that we wait so patiently for have arrived.


This month Natalie and I decided to bring you a few flowers that we adore. They each have a little trick or cool trait to them that we wanted to share with you. Read on for more details on these beauties.

 

Blooms in Season - April | Natalie Bowen for Sacramento Street
Blooms in Season - April | Natalie Bowen for Sacramento Street

Sometimes my lilac wilts. Do you have any tips to keep it alive longer?
Lilac can be so finicky. Lilac have woody stems, so one technique to open their stems to access more water is to literally pound the ends with a hammer. You can also cut up the stems, but I prefer to hammer them. Most importantly, they need a lot of water. When you buy or cut them, put them directly in deep water. Find a tall vase and fill it to the very top and refill as needed. Keep the vase out of direct sun and in a cooler space. This should really help the lifespan of lilacs.

 

Blooms in Season - April | Natalie Bowen for Sacramento Street

On the other hand, sometimes my peonies don’t open. What should I do to push them along in developing?
If your peonies are not opening up quickly enough, I have a few suggestions. If they are a very tight, hard ball, nothing other than time and patience will help you. If the ball is a little larger and the size of a very small apricot and not as hard, then there is some hope. Cut the stems (always cut all flower stems before you put them in water) at an angle, put them in warm (not hot) water, and put them in a warm space that is not in full sun. You can delicately start to peal the petals back to encourage them to open. This should really help.

Blooms in Season - April | Natalie Bowen for Sacramento Street

Dogwood is so pretty. Why does it sometimes last a long time and sometimes die so quickly?
I think that this is one mystery I have not solved. I always make sure I put my dogwood directly in water, as it is much more sensitive than any other blooming branch. Even when doing that, sometimes it lasts for weeks and sometimes for just a couple of days. I think it is sheer luck! However, I do welcome any tips from readers, if anyone has any.

Blooms in Season - April | Natalie Bowen for Sacramento Street 3Blooms in Season - April | Natalie Bowen for Sacramento Street

What is the fuzzy fruit on the green branches?
Those are almonds! I was raised in Northern California where almonds were one of the largest local agriculture crops (other than rice). California grows 80% of the worlds almonds, so you see a lot of nut orchards when you drive through the farm lands of the central valley. Almonds are one of the very first branches to bloom in the springtime, and by this point in the year they have sprouted their leaves and are showing the nuts. I think they are so cute!

 

This month’s features has me running out the door for a fresh arrangement for the house. Thank you Natalie for getting me inspired by what’s in season!

 

Flowers by Natalie Bowen Designs | Photos by Claire Giffen
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Blooms in Season: March

Blooms in Season | Sacramento Street

Spring is upon us and the flower market is currently bursting with tons of incredible flowers. When Natalie and I sat down to brainstorm this month’s arrangement we first started thinking about something with branches but then we decided that keeping it simple was the way to go. We wanted to highlight one of Natalie’s favorite flowers – tulips. She hit the flower market to find six of her favorite varieties so that we could show all of you the different types of tulips you can find. Let me tell you, I didn’t even know there were this many out there and each are stunning in their own way. Luckily Natalie is here to give us a few details about tulips.


Blooms in Season | Sacramento Street


I’ve been noticing tulips more and more. Are they in season now?

Tulips are a true Spring flower. Because of their popularity they are now available year round, but their true season is Springtime. I see the special tulips at the market from February until May.


Blooms in Season | Sacramento Street 3Blooms in Season | Sacramento Street 4


You mentioned two types of Libretto tulips. Where are they from and what makes each so special?

One is a local variety from Arcata in Northern California. The other is an import from Holland. I was struck how each had such different coloring, with the one from Holland being much more pink.


Blooms in Season | Sacramento Street 5


Sometimes my tulips stand straight up and sometimes they go in every direction. Why is that?

Tulips are always reaching for the light which gives them many opportunities to do funny things. If you have tulips in a dark room with no light, they will stand straight up. If you have them in a sunny room, they will be reaching towards the window. The best way to enjoy your tulips is to just let them do their thing and watch them move every day.


Blooms in Season | Sacramento Street 6


I have heard a rumor about tulips growing after they cut. Is this true?

Yes. While tulips reach for the light, they actually grow. If you have them in an arrangement mixed with other blooms, you will notice that after even just one day, they will stick out further than where they were originally placed. When I use tulips with other flowers, I usually cut them a bit too short to start so they will ease into the ideal placement.


Check back next month for another stunning edition of Blooms in Season!


Flowers by Natalie Bowen Designs | Photos by Caitlin Flemming

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Blooms in Season: February 2014

Blooms in Season | Natalie Bowen Designs for Sacramento Street


Since we’ve been having such a mild winter it feels like Spring has graced us early here in San Francisco, especially in the flower department. I swear the cherry blossom trees are freaking out wondering why they are blooming two months early. Usually the flower market is only foliage in February but because of this weather the flower market is bursting with a colorful bounty of flowers. That’s why we’re bringing you more of a spring-time arrangement – I’m truly in love with this one. It has me giddy for all of the flowers that are already here and arriving to put in my home. Read on to see what inspired Natalie for this arrangement.


Blooms in Season | Natalie Bowen Designs for Sacramento Street 2Blooms in Season | Natalie Bowen Designs for Sacramento Street


What made you choose these flowers?


I feel as if Spring is in the air at the flower market. We are getting some beautiful Spring blooms and the tulips are starting to really look beautiful.

 

What makes Daphne special?

 

Daphne is in my all time top three flowers, if not my very favorite. The scent is the most wonderful, soft, sweet aromatic nose with a touch of citrus. Daphne blooms for only a couple of weeks a year and is not available to be shipped or grown in greenhouses, so it is truly only available for those couple of weeks,which makes it extra unique. The plant can be finicky and is not easy to grow, which lends further to itshard to get qualities.


Blooms in Season | Natalie Bowen Designs for Sacramento StreetBlooms in Season | Natalie Bowen Designs for Sacramento Street 5


I have had trouble with Hellebores but love it. What can you tell me about them?


Hellebores is another plant that is not easy to care for, but so lovely. It is sensitive to getting enough water and can wilt easily. Whenever I see an especially pretty plant, I have to buy it and use it. I just cannot let a hardy hellebores pass me up.

 

Blooms in Season | Natalie Bowen Designs for Sacramento Street 6Are there any tips as to what flowers are best for this time of year?

 

As we move out of winter and into spring, some of the plants are still a little bare. I suggest not being afraid to use a lot of foliage, especially if you find something as beautiful as this jasmine. Since there isn’t the variety available that we find later in the Spring or Summer, I suggest finding inspiration from the best looking blooms and letting them stand out. Then, fill in with foliage or anything you can find.


Blooms in Season | Natalie Bowen Designs for Sacramento Street


A huge thank you to Natalie for bringing us a little dose of spring. If you want to check out past Bloom in Season features pop over here.


Until next month!


Flowers by Natalie Bowen Designs | Photos by Caitlin Flemming

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