There are plenty of lovely flowers available even in the coldest time of the year in Maine, thanks to the New England Flower Exchange. The centerpiece in the photo above was created exclusively with blooms from the flower market. Spectacular Italian ranunculus, garden roses, lisianthus, stock, astrantia, parrot tulips, veronica, queen Anne's lace, sea holly, tuberose and more. Sustainable domestic growers are part of this mix, along with a few more exotic locales.
Our studio favors seasonal and local blooms, so this list will concentrate on what is more typical this time of year. These days, even peonies are becoming available for a price during times of the year when they are out of "season." If you are planning a winter wedding in Maine, here are some great choices for you!
Amaryllis, Calla Lily, Lily-Asiatic, Lily-Oriental, Narcissus, Orchid, Rose, Stock, Hellebore, Tuberose, Astrantia, Lisianthus, Tulip, Queen Anne's Lace, Veronica, Ranunculus, Anemone, Sea Holly, Bulbs, Quince, Pussy Willow, Forsythia, Plum, Witch Hazel, Ferns, Winterberry, Holly, Magnolia, Camellia, Clematis, Cyclamen, Iris, Acacia Fernleaf and many more interesting greens.
Gathering at Henry & Marty Restaurant and The Brunswick Inn, a group of both rugged and fun loving Maine wedding professionals joined talents this week during a timeless wedding inspiration photo shoot here in Brunswick. At times, the models and photographers braced the sub zero temperatures to capture photos outdoors. It's clear that Leigh & Nadra, of Nadra Photography are passionate about doing whatever it takes to get that great photo. Models, Izzi Mickunas and Felipe Gunter matched their enthusiasm!
The collaboration had been in the works for several months and was a project that New Venture's Maine had awarded a mini- grant for marketing to Ione Floral Design during late 2017. The timeless wedding theme was choreographed between the two venues. Very much like a real wedding, the group started early in the morning at The Brunswick Inn to begin typical wedding day preparation. Kim Doll styled the bride's hair in an elegant vintage inspired updo with fresh flowers. An extraordinary bridal gown was on loan from Andreas's Bridal in Portland, along with a dashing tuxedo for the groom.
Meanwhile, Ione Floral Design was at Henry & Marty Restaurant creating tablescapes. With linens, dishes and table props from the personal collection of Kate Hodgkins and Hatch on Maine, the setting was serene in whites and grays to compliment the lush florals. Garden roses, Italian ranunculus, french tulips, tuberose, stock, queen Anne's lace, astrantia, rosemary and acacia fernleaf comprised some of the winter blooms selected for the centerpieces and bridal bouquet. With the color palette of blush, white, green and copper accented with mercury glass compotes. Hand dyed silk ribbons were specially ordered from Tono & Company to add luxury to the bridal bouquet.
The finishing touch was the arrival of a scrumptious (yes, we ate it later!) three tiered wedding cake provided by Wildflours Gluten Free Bakery. Decorated with blush cabbage roses and sprigs of rosemary, the cake fit the timeless theme perfectly. When the wedding party arrived at Henry & Marty's, the sun was still in the sky but starting to set for the day. Lighting the many candles and candelabras, the room was a glow with a warmth that illuminated artist John Bisbees' background mural. Prosecco toasts made a fitting ending to this glorious day of creative collaboration!
Ione Floral Design would like to thank the following for sharing both talents and resources to create a truly inspiring photo shoot:
Nadra Photography, Henry & Marty Restaurant & Catering, The Brunswick Inn, Andrea's Bridal, Wildflours Gluten Free Bakery, Kim Doll, Izzi Mickunas, Felipe Gunter, Kate Hodgkins, Hatch on Maine. Thank you!!!
Your wedding flowers say so much about you. Captured in photographs, they define a moment in time that endures for the ages. Choosing flowers that speak your heart is very personal. With hundreds of choices available it can feel overwhelming! So where do you begin?
Start with colors- Before you do anything else, decide which colors will be part of your wedding design. Consider pairing flowers with same colors to create an elegant tone on tone effect or make a statement with a vibrant mix of opposite colors. With your color palette now in hand, the flower adventure begins.
Select your focus flower- This often will be a flower that is a personal favorite or nostalgic. The choices are many but a few standouts include peonies, garden roses, dahlias, tulips, anemones, ranunculus, sweetpeas, sunflowers and hydrangeas. This starting point will help guide future decisions. Remain flexible at this point. Some flowers may not be available at certain times of the year. Your florist will be your best resource for alternative ideas.
Embrace Seasonal and Local- For the most variety and freshest blooms, choosing seasonal flowers is a great way to go. Taking this idea one step further and embracing flowers grown locally offers unparalleled fragrance, texture and possibilities. When you travel to a destination such as Maine for it's natural beauty, the flowers growing in that region offer the ideal compliment. The slow flower movement has nurtured flower farms across the country making it possible to find gorgeous domestic blooms most of the year.
Define your style- Elegant, Romantic, Classic, Boho, Woodsy, Eclectic, Vintage, Modern, Country, Fine Art, Whimsical and many more. Gather photos that capture this feeling. Start putting together your own personal mood board. Pinterest is amazing for capturing images and putting them together to share. Please note that sometimes inspiration photos are altered with filters for artistic expression. The flower colors in some photos are not really in nature but they look incredible! Just keep this in mind when you begin talking with your floral designer.
Find your floral designer/florist- Begin your search to find a flower soul mate with a person that resonates with you and understands your vision. There are many options. Be sure to explore the many floral designers now creating from home studios rather than traditional brick and mortar shops. This new breed of floral designers often specialize in wedding and event floral design and can provide a custom approach.
Relax and enjoy the process- Flowers are unpredictable by nature. Sometimes there is a crop failure or a late bloom. Adapting a relaxed approach that embraces the unexpected will allow your floral designer to gather the most incredible blooms for you. This flexibility is essential and will reward you with less stress and more time to enjoy the process of planning your wedding. Enjoy!
Garden Roses at The New England Flower Exchange in Chelsea, Massachusetts
With the first snow in Maine this past week-end, I was feeling the need to see flowers. Lots of flowers! Taking a road trip to Chelsea, Massachusetts, to visit The New England Flower Exchange felt like the remedy.
Waking up in the dark at 4 a.m. to arrive outside of Boston before traffic seemed like a good plan. I was surprised to be in a little traffic jam right outside of the city at 6:15! Next time, I'll leave at 3 to arrive just when the doors open at 5.
Pulling into the parking lot, I could see that I was already late! Dolly after dolly rolled down the ramp and filled the vans of local florists and floral designers. Hoping they had left a few flowers for me, I entered the building and could see they had barely made a dent. With 10 vendors selling gorgeous flowers, there were plenty for everyone.
Strolling through the heady blooms was lifting my spirit. Aromatherapy to the max! As I snapped a few pictures to bring home for inspiration for a January photo shoot, I was met by equally lovely vendors at the market. So many friendly people. One gentleman told me that he has worked the market for 37 years! I would imagine it's a wonderful job.
Returning to Maine, I am filled with ideas and feel so fortunate to live close enough to travel to this wonderful resource during the winter months when our local flower farms are enjoying a winter's rest!
That special dinner party you are planning this holiday season, company celebration or romantic wedding around the corner. All these beautiful moments are what we call Events at Ione Floral Design!
Perhaps a spectacular centerpiece is all you need. Then again, perhaps you need twenty! Every floral design is given the same attention to detail, fresh inspiration and flowers sourced just for your event.
With Thanksgiving centerpieces fresh in our mind this week, here's a few we created for our clients seeking something out of the ordinary.
My greatest pleasure as a floral designer, aside from smelling the most fragrant garden roses, is creating your wedding bouquet. It's an honor to be part of someone's wedding. To know the flowers held in your hand on your wedding day will become part of your memories. Every bride is unique. Your flowers should match your style and personality.
When you begin a conversation about your wedding with me, be prepared to tell me a little bit about yourself. I will need to know what you love in this world, besides your partner! It could be a color that you adore. Or classic movie like, "Breakfast at Tiffany's." Maybe that you ride horses or collect vintage motorcycles. Something that helps me get a little picture of you and your life. With this knowledge, the flower adventure begins.
Since most of us don't design our wedding flowers everyday, I'll let you in on the process. Once you share your personality, style, flower and color preferences with me, I'll put together some different ideas for your consideration. It's really just a conversation. No stress. Chatting back and forth until we find flowers that speak your language.
Your bouquet inspiration will be created just for you. Original. Memorable. Just like you.
We are so delighted to begin a little flower pop-up at Hatch on Maine in Brunswick. It's an opportunity for locals to pick-up cottage garden style bouquets while enjoying shopping in the store. There's even vintage vases for a special treat.
If you are missing the farmer's market flowers or running out to your garden to gather some fresh blooms, these bouquets are designed with you in mind. Treat yourself to fresh flower this winter. You never know when a pop-up flower moment might happen. Follow us on instagram #ionefloraldesign to see the next times flowers will appear!
I Love Flowers in every color, shape and size. When I'm asked to declare my favorite, I'm unable to say just one. It's the same with colors. Why would I ever want to limit my choices! To arrive at the place where color, flower and mood meet and throw a party, I usually start with a simple question. What is the feeling that we are expressing. From there, the flower choices and colors become clear.
This week I was asked to create a special bouquet for a client wishing to congratulate her friends on becoming Innkeepers, a long time dream. As she described her friend's passion for cooking, the color orange came to mind. It's the color that makes me feel warm and hungry. And it always feels like a celebration when orange is around.
Gathering seasonal blooms from the potted fuchsia and begonia still blooming here on Ione's doorstep. Adding local tiny green cabbage, seeded eucalyptus, twigs of bittersweet, sea holly and delphinium along with orange roses and parrot tulips from a slightly warmer clime, the bouquet came together.
As I waited for the door to open, I could not resist snapping a photo of the bouquet outside the door of the 1774 Inn, located in Phippsburg, The leaves felt like party confetti. Cheery pumpkin greeting guests. Now a bouquet to say congratulations to a very happy couple!
Local Maine Flower Farms have been growing exceptional blooms all season, providing inspiration and beauty for us all. As a flower farmer for many years, I know firsthand how hard the farmers works to create such lovely blooms. I want to thank you because it all starts with your gorgeous flowers!
Back in January of this year, when I first announced I would return to floral design, it was exciting to discover all the new flower farms in Maine. Back when I started Passionflower Farm in 2004, there were lots of vegetable farmers in the state but not so many flower farmers. People often told me I should grow tomatoes instead of dahlias! Politely, I would tell them that I loved flowers more that tomatoes. With the slow flower movement really getting traction in the United States, I am so happy to know there are many other flower obsessed people out there. Maine is lucky to have some amazing growers.
As the first frost has now arrived in many parts of the state, I have been told by one farm at a time, the sad news that our local growing season is coming to an end. I would like to give a shout out to some of the flower farms that have provided most of our local blooms this year. Without their exceptional flowers, our bouquets would not be the same. We have sourced our flowers from East of Eden Flower Farm, Broadturn Flower Farm and Meadow View Flower Farm over the course of the season. They all grow breathtaking flowers.
Each week feels like opening a beautiful package with the local flower offerings being revealed. There is a certain trust that comes with designing with the seasons. You never know what the weather might do or how a pest can change a flowers destiny. With all this gambling the flower farmers do on a daily basis, they still manage to make it look so effortless. As many farmers are now wrapping up the season and finishing the long list of farm chores, I just want to say Thank you!
When in Rome...enjoy all the local offerings, including local flowers pictured here at Campo de' Fiori during our recent trip to Italy. Interesting to discover Maine and Italy both have dahlias and hydrangeas in season right now.
Wherever we find ourselves, on the coast of Maine or the coast of Italy, we seek out the local treasures. On this particular day, we visited the festive farmer's market, Campo de' Fiori in Rome, Italy. This is where all the locals and travelers alike meet up in the mornings and gather fresh produce, cheese, pasta, kitchen goods and lovely flowers.
It's a lively place with vendors quickly selling the best offerings early in the morning. Sleep in too late after a night of prosecco and limoncello and you'll find only the remains of the day, discarded bits of cabbage leaves and bruised tomatoes being swept away. On my first trip to Rome, I missed out on all this fun so made sure to set the alarm!
My traveling companion, Izzi came to the market with a mission and she quickly amassed armloads of pasta and clever gifts to bring back home. The flowers were spectacular and surprised us by mirroring our current blooms back home. The Dahlias and hydrangeas were stealing the show, as they were in Maine this time of year.
Flower vendors were skillfully fashioning tiny bouquets for taking home. They were also filling little gourds and pumpkins with blooms for seasonal decorations. We learned that the slow flower movement was just getting started in Italy. The lush garden style that we enjoy so much here in America, was not really in evidence. Floral Design in Italy is currently very traditional or very modern.
If you find yourself in Rome, we highly recommend strolling the markets of Campo de' Fiori rather than rushing around trying to see every major attraction. Your senses will long remember the fragrance of the market and the visual spectacle of commerce in it's purest form. When you finish bargaining with the vendors, be sure to take a moment to sit outside, along a side street just off the market to enjoy a perfectly made caffe late. Mama Mia!
This week Ione Floral Design had the pleasure of creating event flowers for Brunswick neighbor and client, Genesis Community Fund. Since our studio is literally across the street, it has been delightful to watch the days leading up to their 25th anniversary celebration unfold.
For this event, Ione became part of the project as both floral designer and garden designer. The opportunity to bring floral and garden design together is our favorite. For the celebration, we spruced up the lovely perennial gardens that flank the office and cultivated container gardens for future decoration around the tent.
The decision to create English garden style centerpieces along with a special hand-tied bouquet for an honored guest came about naturally to reflect the values of Genesis, who support local enterprise on every level. The flowers were sourced from Broadturn Farm, local Maine flower farm and highlighted the prettiest blooms of the local season. Dahlias being the star flower of September.
On the big day, it was great fun to deliver the enormous container gardens by loading on a dolly and walking them across the street. It was the closest delivery ever! The neighborhood enjoyed watching the large tent appear over night and the twinkly lights sparkle that evening while the large crowd celebrated the good work of Genesis Community Fund. Congratulations on 25 years!
Local and seasonal floral arrangement with dahlias, hydrangeas, love in a puff, artichokes, lisianthus, ninebark, rosehips and foxglove.
There is a reason Maine is called Vacationland. For those of us who count ourselves lucky enough to live here all year, the perks are well known. If you are exploring the idea of coming to Maine for your destination wedding, I'm happy to share some secrets. September is my favorite month. I would call September the cozy month. It embraces with it's warmth and brings out our inner cat. The inclination to want to stretch towards the sun and just relax a little. Maybe take a catnap under a maple tree that is just starting to change color. Or perhaps gather with those you love in a breathtaking natural location and get married.
With high season summer tourist traffic slowing down in September, more wedding event venues become available. Same with accommodations and transportation. Many seasonal restaurants are still open until Columbus day. The year round restaurants become less crowded and more accommodating to large groups. The weather is close to ideal with warm days and cool nights. In short, all the great reasons people come to Maine in the summer continue without as many crowds.
September flowers are equally spectacular. It's a time of great abundance and variety. Both dahlias and hydrangeas come into there own during September. Local flower farms are bursting with blooms right up until the frost, often well into October. The local farmers are also enjoying the time of great bounty. In September, the M.O.F.G.A Common Ground Fair happens, along with many other agricultural fairs around the state celebrating the season. It's a great time to be in Maine. But then again, every day is a great time to be in Maine!
Planning a wedding or an event is exhilarating and filled with opportunity to express your personality. There is no better way than with flowers. A beautiful bouquet within any setting instantly brings vitality, color and spirit to a celebration. The flowers chosen speak volumes about you and your point of view. Flowers have personality just like us!
One of my greatest pleasures as a flower lady is helping to match flowers with people. When somebody calls me up on the phone from a place far away and wants to send flowers to someone they love, my first question is usually along the lines of, "Tell me about this person? What do they love to do? Do they have a favorite color or flower?" From there the process usually flows naturally to flowers that speak of that person.
It's the same with planning weddings or events. Even when a couple tell me they feel overwhelmed about all the choices or they really don't know a thing about flowers, the starting point is you. If you can define your personality as a couple, along with your style and color palette, your flower choices will emerge very organically.
Speaking of organic. Ione Floral Design sources all flowers during the growing season from local and sustainable flower farmers and gardeners in Maine. This is very important to me. Having been an organic flower farmer before starting an event floral studio, my passion for local and seasonal flowers is intense. It's kind of like once you taste something sweet as a child, you cannot imagine the world without it! (If you read the post on cake, than you know how I feel about cake!)
Another thing that can really set you free with making flower choices is embracing seasonal flowers. If you are having a June wedding, than you will definitely want to consider Peonies. September is going to be Dahlia season. These beauties will be the most stunning flower you can imagine. The winter months will include lots of bulbs grown domestically in a climate just slightly warmer than Maine in December!
This past week, I had the pleasure of making a celebratory bouquet for a British gardener living in Maine. She was enjoying a significant birthday. I arrived with the bouquet filled with dahlias, hydrangeas, sedum, lisianthus and nasturtium, all grown within miles of Ione Floral Design. Her husband met me in the dooryard and called out to his wife to come and meet me. Chatting in her garden and seeing her joy over the flowers is exactly why I am a floral designer. And a bit of a flower matchmaker!
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My romance with flowers goes back a long way. Likely the first May basket left on my door crafted out of construction paper and fashioned into a quick horn filled with lilacs, violets and tulips. This old tradition was alive and well back in Iowa as I was growing up. The person of interest would receive this sweet token of affection while the nervous admirer hid in the bushes after ringing the doorbell and dashing away.
When I grew up and started my life as an adult, I quickly gravitated to flowers. My first summer as a M.O.F.G.A. apprentice in Down East Maine ignited this enduring passion. Eventually becoming a flower farmer and raising blooms for creating wedding bouquets and selling at the local farmer's markets. Seeing first hand how completely breathtaking local and sustainable flowers feel when contrasted with conventional flowers shipped from other parts of the world. It became very clear that given the choice, the slow flowers were my true love.
These days I'm without my flower farm but I have found many kindred spirits living in Maine growing scrumptious flowers. During our Maine growing season, Ione Floral Design is committed to sourcing local flowers from flower farms and home gardeners. This season we have been delighted with the blooms from our neighbors at East of Eden Flower Farm, Broadturn Farm and Meadowview Farm. There are so many more flower farms!
The sweet gesture of flowers is still the most romantic notion. Slowing down and smelling the heady fragrance of truly fresh flowers. There is nothing that compares.
Photo Credit Christophe Zydek
Ever wonder how those photographers get those beautiful photos? I had the pleasure of watching the fun after delivering the flowers for our recent shoot. It was hard to resist snapping a few photos showing this talented group of photographers and models at work.
What had started as a simple idea grew into a joyful collaboration with talented photographers, Hank Caiazzo, Christophe Zydek and Bridget Conlogue. Our models, Gabriella Rai'anne, Izzi Mickunas and Anora Morton quickly transformed into sea nymphs as the fog rolled inland at our seaside location.
Izzi Mickunas styled the shoot. Her concept was Renaissance Goddess vibe with blues and bronzy peach colors. All the flowers were local and seasonally sourced from one of our favorite Maine flower farms, Broadturn Farm.
We all had a good time together doing what we love. The joy of true collaboration!