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.
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!
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