Slow Flowers Summit – Flower Wall Demo
Hello, hello! Today I want to show you a super cool new way to build a flower wall. We built this beaut as a communal building experience for this year’s Slow Flowers Summit attendees. If you haven’t heard about it, read about it here. Need I tell you that its foam free? No, I do not. Of course it is!
We’ve used this flower wall technique in the past for Seattle’s 2016 Art Fair; where it wowed outside during a hot, sunny August day in Seattle (hot and sunny DO happen in Seattle, we just don’t tell you about them). The point is, it holds up in heat, is pretty easy to construct, and is more sustainable than a van full of foam. This particular construction is strong enough to be stacked into an enormous wall. You can see such enormous wall stacking and construction of this in video from last year’s ART FAIR if you click here!
PS, if you are here looking for FLOWER WALL PRICING AND SPECIFIC INGREDIENTS, we are giving that away to folks who want to be part of our email flower posse. There’s a link at the bottom.
But back to our flower wall demo. About a month ago, I had the privilege to speak at Seattle’s first Slow Flowers Summit. Have you ever had a communal experience where you are surrounded by inspiring people and all you can think is “YASSSS, These are my people.” And suddenly it’s all you can do to NOT throw your arms around complete stranger and babble like you’ve been friends since you were 13? Like you ARE 13?!
This was one of those times. My talk was about Reinvention. But we also were asked to demo this wall. Really THE wall. We got the royal treatment as the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market, SUOT farms and Alaskan Peonies donated buckets of flowers. Ehem, did I mention that we got the first cut of Alaskan Peonies, which were then airplaned (is that a verb? … is now.) with their human caretakers. These peonies were larger than my face, and my brother says my face is large.
For Flower walls, we use two methods. This one is the “moss and cage” or the “moss sandwich”. Our other go-to wall is a bioboard wall. We demo that soon. Stay tuned for a DIY video on how we made the Queen Bee’s backdrop, which is equally excellent but is useful in a totally different way. Here’s a breakdown of why you would use each wall..
Now that you get the basics, lets get your materials together! For this moss and cage wall, you will need:
- (3) Lumber 2in x 2in x 8ft
- Drill and bit
- A roll of chicken wire
- Zip ties
- (2) 4 x 6ft display grids, we got ours from Grand and Benedicts but you can find them at any retail display fixture store. If you are in a city, you probably have one.
- (5) bags of moss
- Wire cutters
- Saw (human powered or otherwise)
- Flowers, flowers and more flowers!
- 2 saw horses or a table. This is easier to build horizontally
Step 1: Wrap the Grid
Cover one side of each grid with chicken wire.
To get an idea of how this will look, try imagining the structure like a sandwich. The “condiments” (chicken wire) will be on the inside of the bread (the grid) to hold in the meat (the moss). For us, two long pieces of chicken wire was just the right amount to cover one side.
Starting with one piece of chicken wire, secure it to the grid with bind wire. Make sure you weave around the perimeter and throughout the middle. This keeps it from slipping or bulging. To save some bind wire, I cut a couple 3″ pieces and did little twist ties in random spots.
Step 2: Measure and Cut the Spacers
We are going to use the 2X2s as spacers, this ensures your thickness is uniform. We are going to pack in the moss but the spacers ensure that if there is a thin/ or dryer spot, the face won’t warp. It’s also critical if you are making a wall that is larger than your grid size (like in that video).
Measure the length and width of your grid. Cut your 2X2s to size. Remember to cut your short ends to account for the width of the longer pieces. We will want the shorties to fit inside the long pieces. All spacers should be attached Under the perimeter of your grid.
Step 3: Drill the Spacers and Zip Tie to the Grid
Choose a drill bit that gives enough room for one zip tie to slide through.
Next, drill a hole about two inches from the end and then continue to drill a hole every 4″ or so.
Once they’ve been drilled, attach the wood spacers to the grid by securing a zip tie through every other hole.
Step 4: Repeat on Other Grid
Cover the other grid with chicken wire as you did in Step 1. You won’t need spacers on this one, just the chicken wire. This will be the top piece of ‘bread’ to our sandwich.
Step 5: Moss It Up and Close the Sandwich
We’ll be adding moss to the grid with the spacers, so you may need to switch your setup now.
Grab your 5 bags of moss and get to town! Don’t spread this sparingly; pack as much moss in as you’ve got. Its very important that this is thick. You want your stems to be lodged in the moss and hydrated. Too loose and your stems may stay but they won’t get as much hydration.
Once every area feels full and even, lay the other grid on top of the moss. Grab more zip ties and connect the spacers to the top grid. Try adding one on one side then adding one on the opposite side for an even and super tight grid. Ensure your zip ties are rotated to the outside of the spacer- so your top grid can be cinched down right on top of the spacer.
Step 6: Water and Flower Prep
You’re almost done! Have someone help you move this outside or somewhere you don’t mind getting a lot of water on the floor. “Is it heavy,” you ask? Yes.
Take your hose and drench the whole thing so that every area is dripping water onto the floor. Do it a few more times. You’ll want to give the moss a chance to really absorb as much water as possible. You can also pre-soak your moss before adding to the grid. That way you have full moss absorption but it is messier. We went for the less messy option this time.
Prep your flowers, cutting the stems to about 3″-4″ long.
Step 7: Make it a FLOWER Wall!
Add in those darn flowers and foliage and consider yourself a Flower Wall Extraordinaire! The moss should keep it moist for a full day and probably longer, but I would test it in your neck of the woods to be sure.
Although not necessary, you may want to build a boarder around it as we did with leftover bio-board and some wrapping paper.
Some additional notes:
- Timing: You can make this in advance but I would add a bit of flower glue to each stem to be sure it doesn’t dislodge in transport. I typically add greens in the shop and add all the flowers in on site.
- We’ve done this wall 3 times and I am ALWAYS impressed with how long the flowers last. They typically look great the next day and most of the flowers still look great days later. I include some images of what the flowers look like after two days squished in my hot van after the summit. You will be amazed. I am still conservative in adding flowers too far in advance but . I would urge you to test a patch in your area.
- Super thirsty flowers may not be a good idea for this wall type- though you can always tube your flowers and that works well. Particular species that I don’t use in this wall are Hydrangea, raspberry foliage, sweet pea, or any other herbaceous, soft stemmed flower or foliage.
- How much does this cost? Simply put, lots. Sign up for our Flower posse and we’ll go over that. If you’ve liked this information, you’ll like what you get as a part of our inner circle.
THE FLOWER POSSE!
I think you’re going to love this wall.
Thanks for reading!
How to Make a Glorious Springtime Bouquet
“Don’t make things ugly.” This is really the only rule we have at Lola Creative, unless we’re going for ugly-pretty or ugly-scary/cool. But when it comes to bouquets for weddings, pretty-pretty is the minimum. What we really try for is more like, “HOLY HANDFUL OF DRIPPING EARTHLY MAGNIFICENCE!” – or something of that nature.
My first bouquets were barely pushing pretty-pretty. Mainly because I learned from the You Tube. My roses weren’t fully open, flower diversity was so-so, and the shape looked like my bouquet had been squeezed through my sweater sleeve. This changed while on a business trip to New York. I snuck out of my then ‘real’ job to take an intro bouquet class at the New York Botanical Garden. I learned a couple of simple tricks to get a full bouquet that looks like each flower could just continue on growing. We’ll go over that at our GARDENESQUE BOUQUET WORKSHOP. Register here.
But today we’ll just breeze over some terms for different types of flowers and how they are working in this bouquet, inspired by St. Patty’s Day.
And here are the yummy, American and Lower Left Canadian flowers.
Base: These are flowers we start out with, I typically start with three. Their main purpose is to support the other flowers ON TOP OF THEM and be a barrier for flowers around them that want to squeeze into the center. So don’t get too attached to them because you aren’t going to see very much of them. They are back up dancers. Now you could use them also as secondary, but I did not.
Focal: This is the one or two flowers to drool over and often the most expensive. We don’t want too many. These are typically near the middle and typically one is smack on top of my base flower so it has maximum room to stretch out and be fantastic.
Secondary: These are flowers to add color and build your bouquet out. They go all over the dang place. I typically choose one or two types.
Sprouties: These are flowers that are smaller and hover over the other flowers giving it some movement and lightness. For gardeney bouquets I use a lot of these and place them throughout. The stems need to be longer than your base and focal flowers. Sprouties can be flowers, pods, or small, delicate foliage.
Foliage: Here I use a few foliage to get a good garden variety. the rigidity and loveliness varies. For example, the box, which goes a bit unnoticed is rigid and will help keep flowers from squishing in and can help in supporting big floppy flowers. The delicate geranium is used a bit more like a feature because of its graceful arch.
Drapey bits: Not shown in the image above is drapey bits like the pieris, Placed near the outer ring or along the outside, they will make the profile of your bouquet look fab, add grace, and an elegant drippy quality.
Special bits: These are the pieces that I add last, after most everything is secured and I’ve had a chance to inspect the bouquet in a full length mirror. I then decide where these go to bring focus and character to where it needs it.
And THAT, flower friends, is the anatomy of a gardenesque bouquet. sign_up. for our bouquet workshop on March 28th to put all this good stuff to use and play with some of the lushest flowers and foliage our local farmers have to offer.
Kate and Joseph’s Wedding!
The top five reasons why we loved working with Kate and Joseph on their joy filled wedding?
Number 5- You know how much we love working with Pravda Studios.
Number 4- You know how much we love sticks…. and logs… and rocks. There are so many situations and arrangements in life that can be improved with a stick.
Number 3- You know how much we love our Seattle University community and the luminous St. Ignatius Chapel
Number 2- Clearly Joseph understands the joy and power that comes from sporting Party Socks as shown in Kim Hayes’ photo collage capturing the event.
And finally- Number 1- This is actually the first time I, personally, have experienced an exuberant, purely joy-filled bride on her wedding day. No sign of stress, no nerves, just bursting happiness and excitement. I hope Kate will write a letter for every other bride on how it is done. With all the tradition and timeline, it’s hard to remember that weddings are the ultimate party. These two, and their families knew that.
So thank you Kate and Joseph for the inspiring presentation on how to rock your wedding.
We’ve taken notes!
These arrangements featured succulents, driftwood bowls, dusty miller, green and white rose, hosta leaves, green trick balls, and scabiosa buds.
Table numbers were applied to stained driftwood bits.
Delicate “cloud” vases held bits of hydrangea, bellflower, hydrangea, and peony.
Thanks to the newlyweds!
Bridal Brain- Part Two- Alliums and Jackie Robinson
If you’ve been following my blog, then you know we are taking a little brain break. And since the brain is taking a siesta, might as well let some emotion take over….
Like this speech from Jackie Robinson titled “Free Minds and Hearts at Work”
At the beginning of the World Series of 1947, I experienced a completely new emotion, when the National Anthem was played. This time, I thought, it is being played for me, as much as for anyone else. This is organized major league baseball, and I am standing here with all the others; and everything that takes place includes me.
About a year later, I went to Atlanta, Georgia, to play in an exhibition game. On the field, for the first time in Atlanta, there were Negroes and whites. Other Negroes, besides me. And I thought: What I have always believed has come to be.
And what is it that I have always believed? First, that imperfections are human. But that wherever human beings were given room to breathe and time to think, those imperfections would disappear, no matter how slowly. I do not believe that we have found or even approached perfection. That is not necessarily in the scheme of human events. Handicaps, stumbling blocks, prejudices—all of these are imperfect. Yet, they have to be reckoned with because they are in the scheme of human events.
Whatever obstacles I found made me fight all the harder. But it would have been impossible for me to fight at all, except that I was sustained by the personal and deep-rooted belief that my fight had a chance. It had a chance because it took place in a free society. Not once was I forced to face and fight an immovable object. Not once was the situation so cast-iron rigid that I had no chance at all. Free minds and human hearts were at work all around me; and so there was the probability of improvement. I look at my children now, and know that I must still prepare them to meet obstacles and prejudices.
But I can tell them, too, that they will never face some of these prejudices because other people have gone before them. And to myself I can say that, because progress is unalterable, many of today’s dogmas will have vanished by the time they grow into adults. I can say to my children: There is a chance for you. No guarantee, but a chance.
And this chance has come to be, because there is nothing static with free people. There is no Middle Ages logic so strong that it can stop the human tide from flowing forward. I do not believe that every person, in every walk of life, can succeed in spite of any handicap. That would be perfection. But I do believe—and with every fiber in me—that what I was able to attain came to be because we put behind us (no matter how slowly) the dogmas of the past: to discover the truth of today; and perhaps find the greatness of tomorrow.
I believe in the human race. I believe in the warm heart. I believe in man’s integrity. I believe in the goodness of a free society. And I believe that the society can remain good only as long as we are willing to fight for it—and to fight against whatever imperfections may exist.
My fight was against the barriers that kept Negroes out of baseball. This was the area where I found imperfection, and where I was best able to fight. And I fought because I knew it was not doomed to be a losing fight. It couldn’t be a losing fight—not when it took place in a free society.
And; in the largest sense, I believe that what I did was done for me—that it was my faith in God that sustained me in my fight. And that what was done for me must and will be done for others.
I smell something. It may simply be that months of mucous filled pathways are finally opening up (thanks to Seattle’s 3 days of downright fine weather). Or it may be that flowers just smell pretty dang good this time of year. Better than other times.
And that got me thinking… I know just how important smell is for giving latent memories a kick back into the here and now. So why then, as a floral designer, am I not taking total advantage of the ultimate long-term marketing plan?! Of course, I hope that in fifteen years some frazzled mom will be driving her tween to a Beiber-of-the-day concert, and get a whiff of a floral scent that reminds her of her wedding day. This then leads to a happy mom remembering how much she loves her husband, and how much she loves her twerp with the weird hair in the back seat. Happy lady leads to the kid getting an extra 20 bucks which leads to happy kid and leads to hubby getting an extra smooch which leads to happy hubby and so on and so on. The world is a better place because I had some smelly strategy. AND she remembers how gorgeous and yummy smelling her flowers were which reminds her to check out what Lola Event Floral & Design is up to these days….. Probably they’ll have their own TV show by then, or running creative process workshops in the south of France… or Tanzania.
Maybe not that far. But still, our sense of smell is really pretty amazing and gets studied all the time. Did you know that smell is the first sense to mature, and the emotional/memory to smell connection is stronger when we are younger and sticks around the longest? So when you are 109, a Pieris bush might still dredge up memories of your first kiss in elementary school underneath a pieris shrub. AND unlike sight and touch, which have to be processed in order for our brains to understand, our smelling equipment has a direct connection to our brain. In fact, it turns out that the junk that handles smell hangs out inside of the junk that makes emotions and stores emotional memories inside our noggins. Check out this New York Times post for more: “The Nose, An Emotional Time Machine” by Natalie Angier.
Anywho, here are some pics of my favorite smelly, memory making flowers and the lovely arrangements that got to host them.
Cherry blossoms! The smell literally can smell up a whole room. This arrangement was for my sister’s wedding on our family’s farm. Check it out if you haven’t seen it. It includes fringe tulips, agonis, cherry blossoms (or are they pear?), and artichoke foliage.
Peonies! So delicate, so expensive, so quick to bite it, but so worth it. This gorgeous spring bouquet is what I would choose if I were getting married in the spring. It’s one of those arrangements you make and then stand back and say out loud… “Emily, you have done good in the world.” Maybe not out loud. Other flowers include ranunculus, quicksand roses, white majolica roses, hellebores, pieris, and anemone.
Rosemary! One of my all time faves. It really goes with anything you put in a vase, or anything you put in your mouth. Unless you are putting the vase in your mouth in which case you should worry about other things besides what else to put in there.
Pieris! Definitely one of my memory triggers. I love this smell. Actually, so much that last year I already wrote about it in the Cutting Garden Post. Click here for more on that.