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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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Blooms in Season: December

Blooms in Season: December | Sacramento Street


How time flies . . . I can’t believe this is our last Blooms in Season post of the year. We’re finishing off the year with one of my favorite arrangements yet. Seriously, if I could get married again it would be in the winter and I would walk down the aisle with this bouquet. Not kidding! The mix of greenery, anemones, paper whites and ranunculus is incredible. When I first came to Natalie about collaborating on an arrangement for the Kate Spade holiday tabletop I knew I wanted something white (no surprise there!), a bit of whimsy, and something elegant for the holiday season. Natalie blew me away, which isn’t surprising. Now here’s Natalie with more details about this December’s arrangement!


Blooms in Season: December | Sacramento Street


What lead to your inspiration for this arrangement?


I love using holiday greens this time of year and redwood is a favorite of mine, as I had four redwood trees in the backyard of my childhood home. I love the tiny pinecones on their branches and think that they feel very festive without being too overpowering. I decided that a white and green, with a hint of black palate was appropriate for this time of year without feeling Christmasy.


What is behind the name “Paperwhite Narcissus”?

 

Paperwhites are part of the genus “narcissus”, which also includes the name daffodil and jonquil. While there is no proof of how they got their name, it is thought that they were named after the Greek myth Narcissus who was obsessed with his own reflection. The flowers in this family have a slightly down-turned head, as if they are looking in to a pool of water showing their own reflection, and this is how the bloom is thought to get its name.


Blooms in Season: December | Sacramento Street

 

Blooms in Season: December | Sacramento Street


You used ranunculus. Are those in season?


During the winter months when less is being grown locally, I tend to buy more imported flowers. I buy locally as much as possible, which isn’t hard in this part of California. When it is colder, I do find myself buying imported blooms that come from warmer climates.


Any hints for someone wanting to put together an easy holiday centerpiece?


If you have a Christmas Tree and trim it when putting it up, use the extra stems as a base for your arrangement. you can also take apart the end of a garland or pick up a few stems at your local grocery store or flower shop. If you chose a long lasting flower, such as the narcissus or amaryllis (they are the same family), and make sure that they are not fully open when you purchase them, you will be able to enjoy the arrangement for a couple weeks. I love a long lasting arrangement!


Blooms in Season: December | Sacramento Street

 

A huge thank you to Natalie for bringing us inspiration for holidays and for bringing us such beautiful arrangements each month. To see all of our 2013 Blooms in Season arrangements pop over here. I can’t wait to see what we come up with in 2014!


Flowers by Natalie Bowen Designs | Photos by Claire Giffen

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Blooms in Season: November

Blooms in Season by Natalie Bowen | Sacramento Street
This month when Natalie and I started brainstorming ideas we automatically thought of putting together an arrangement that would inspire all of you when you are pulling inspiration and deciding on decor for Thanksgiving. It’s a time to play with orange and yellow hues. You can mix in elements you don’t normally do – in our case wheat. We hope that this bring you inspiration and leaves you excited for a beautiful day of thanks!


Blooms in Season | Sacramento StreetBlooms in Season by Natalie Bowen | Sacramento Street
With fall in full swing, you’ve been using more branches and leaves. Do you have any tips on using them in an arrangement?

Branches are the perfect time to set the Autumn tone in an arrangement. Often heavy branches can fall out of the vase, so I find that I use tricks to get the arrangement from not falling overboard. If you criss cross the branches inside the vase, they will create a grid pattern that is perfect for holding the other stems in place. Always start with your largest stems first. 


What blooms should we be looking for this time of year?

This is a transitional time of year. I start to simplify the number of flowers I use in arrangement as there are fewer in season since we have said goodbye to the last of the late summer blooms. We start to see more imports and if you are not opposed to buying flowers that are imported then you’ll widen what is available to you.

Blooms in Season by Natalie Bowen | Sacramento StreetBlooms in Season by Natalie Bowen | Sacramento Street
What did we use in this arrangement?

This month we used - caramel antike rose, ornamental plum, flannel flower, miscanthus ‘gracillimus’, wheat, nandina buds and stunning ranunculus I couldn’t pass up. The hues are breathtaking!

 

This arrangement would be beautiful for the holidays, since Thanksgiving is around the corner this is great inspiration. Do you have any tips for creating an arrangement for such a special day?

I think that when creating an arrangement for a holiday dinner table, it is important to remember that there are a lot of other elements on the table. Don’t make the arrangement so tall or so large that it gets moved after the food and wine is set on the table. If you are serving from a buffet or plated, it is great to create a table scape that is the length of the table, as it won’t need to be moved. If you are serving family style, it is better to make larger arrangements otherwise the table will start to look messy when the serving platters are placed.


Blooms in Season by Natalie Bowen | Sacramento Street
I’m thrilled your hosting a workshop – I’ve learned so much from taking one myself! What will attendees be learning from you?

I am so excited to host this workshop with Meg from Margaret Elizabeth. I will be teaching participants how to easily decorate a holiday table and share a few floral tips. Participants will also make one arrangement to take home, while practicing these tips. It is going to be a lot of fun!


Join us for a flower arranging fete led by Natalie Bowen Designs.
Thursday, November 14th
6:30 – 8:30pm
Margaret Elizabeth Studio
1735b Union Street, San Francisco

 

Create a holiday arrangement that you’ll take home with you! Sip cocktails and enjoy 20% off all Margaret Elizabeth jewelry.

Space is limited and tickets are $50.00.

Visit www.margaretelizabeth.com for tickets.

 

A huge thank you to Natalie for bringing us inspiration for our Thanksgiving tables. I’m hoping to create something in this same color palate. Check back next month for our holiday arrangement!

 

Flowers by Natalie Bowen Designs // Photos by Caitlin Flemming

 

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