Ponderosa & Thyme Master Class


Pipe Shop ||  October 20, 2017 || Vancouver B.C.

 


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Last month I attended a Master Class workshop with Katie Davis of Ponderosa and Thyme. We gathered in the Pipe Shop in North Vancouver for an all day intensive on centrepieces and large floral installations.  I'm sure many others have come away, as I did, with an experience that was not only about flowers, but also about myself.  Seeing Katie's process through a flower meditation was inspiring, and made me think more about my own creative process as a means to connect with the emotional and physical aspect of floral design.

The Pipe Shop at the Shipyards in North Vancouver was a spectacular venue.  Situated right on the waterfront, it has enormous windows, exposed wooden beams and concrete floors. Definitely a great wedding location!

It was lovely to get to know the person behind the social media account, as Katie is one of my favourite designers.  Not only is she an artist but very personable, full of information, generosity and advice.          

 

Workshop:  @ponderosa_and_thyme #ponderosaworkshop

Venue:  @pipeshop_venue

Planning and Styling:  @jevents.planning.design

Photography:  @david_dufeal

Videography:  @hongphotography

Workshop Staff:  @kayefleur @studio_floretta


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All photos by Flowers and Company

Hummingbird Cake, A Taste of Summer


Hummingbird Cake


 

Summer seems like the perfect time to indulge in a sweet slice of cake. And Hummingbird Cake is one of my favourite summertime cakes to bake. This recipe comes from Jamie Oliver's Comfort Food cookbook, and it definitely is that indeed!  It is an easy cake to make, and the best part for me-apart from eating it, was decorating the top with fresh flowers and the pecan brittle.   So if you are looking for a sweet treat, try making the Hummingbird Cake.


 

Ingredients

  • 250 ml olive oil, plus extra for greasing 
  • 350 g self-raising flour 
  • 1 level teaspoon ground cinnamon 
  • 350 g golden caster sugar 
  • 4 medium very ripe bananas 
  • 1 x 425 g tin of pineapple chunks 
  • 2 large free-range eggs 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
  • 50 g pecans 
  • ICING 
  • 400 g icing sugar 
  • 150 g unsalted butter , (at room temperature) 
  • 200 g cream cheese 
  • 2 limes 
  • BRITTLE 
  • 100 g caster sugar 
  • 50 g pecans 

Method

 

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C (350 F).   Grease and line two 23cm round cake tins.
Sift the flour and cinnamon into a mixing bowl, then add the sugar and a large pinch of sea salt.
Peel the bananas and mash them up with a fork in another bowl. Drain and finely chop the pineapple and add to the bananas with the oil, eggs and vanilla extract. Mix until combined, then fold into the dry mixture until smooth.
Finely chop the pecans and gently fold in, then divide the batter evenly between your prepared tins. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until risen, golden and the sponges spring back when touched lightly in the centre.
Run a knife around the edge of the tins, then leave to cool for 10 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.
Meanwhile, to make the icing, sift the icing sugar into a free-standing electric mixer, add the butter and beat until pale and creamy.
Add the cream cheese, finely grate in the zest of 1 lime and add a squeeze of juice, then beat until just smooth – it’s really important not to over-mix it. Keep in the fridge until needed.
To make a brittle topping, place the caster sugar and a splash of water in a non-stick frying pan on a medium heat. Shake flat and don’t stir it, just swirl the pan occasionally until dissolved and lightly golden.
Add the pecans and a pinch of salt, spoon around to coat, and when nicely golden, pour onto a sheet of oiled greaseproof paper to set.
Once cool, grind up into smaller pieces (you’ll need about half to top the cake – save the rest for sprinkling over ice cream).
To assemble the cake, place one sponge on a cake stand or plate and spread with half the icing. Top with the other sponge, spread over the rest of the icing, then grate over the zest of the remaining lime.
Scatter over the brittle dust and decorate with a few edible flowers, such as violas, nasturtiums or fresh flowers if you feel inclined.



If you choose to use fresh flowers on your cake, remove them before serving, and make a floating flower arrangement in a low round bowl.  An effortless and pretty way to style your table while serving up this delicious cake!  


 

"Summer afternoon-summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language."  - Henry James

All images by Flowers and Company

Source: www.flowersandcompany.com

Brighter Days


This winter has been particularly long for us on the west coast, and many people are looking forward to brighter days.  Even as I write this post, it's raining outside, and the forecast calls for several days of rain for the coast.  

So, I'm dreaming of Spring, which seems to be just a hint away.  


Pussy Willow

 

Picking pussy willow is most certainly one of the most enduring of spring rites.  When drier weather brings you outside on a February day for a walk in the woods, and you come upon a budding pussy willow tree, it's hard to resist the desire to pluck off a few of the riveted branches of the furry catkins.  As an ode to springs' earliest harbinger, we bring them home and put them in waiting empty vessels.  

 

Fritillaria and Narcissus 

 

Looking around the garden I'm checking for the first spring shoots to appear.  Last spring I planted a few pots of frittilaria.  Frittilaria have such a pretty chequered pattern, and I love the way the flower dangles from its blade-like foliage.  I don't expect to see anything for awhile, perhaps by March or April, but I am curious to see if they have survived!

 
Bridal Crown

Bridal Crown

 
Mixed spring planter

Mixed spring planter

Fritillaria

Fritillaria

Bridal Crown is a type of daffodil with a double flower and creamy white petals.  It is incredibly sweetly scented and makes a beautiful cut flower.  In the flower shop, we pair bridal crown with other plants in spring containers.  As the bridal crown opens and spreads its fragrance, the feeling of spring is brought indoors.  

 

Tulips

 

Tulips arrive at the flower auction in early January and are now available at the flower shop.  Undoubtedly the tulip is one of the most recognized and best loved of all spring flowers.  People love them not only for their many colour varieties and their easy elegance, but also because they are so simple and uncomplicated to arrange. The tulip pictured here is a variety called White Liberstar.  Don't you just love its lily-shaped bloom!    

 

Sweet Peas

Last week we had greenhouse grown sweet peas in the shop for the first time this year.  One of the sure signs that spring is just around the corner is when the sweet peas can be safely sown in the ground come March or April.  Sweet peas have the reputation of being difficult to grow from seed, but luckily we can also get them as small plants later in the spring.  Either way, they are an exquisite flower for their pretty ruffled blossoms and lovely fragrance.   

Tip:  When cutting sweet peas for flower arrangements, pick blooms which have at least two unopened flowers at the top.  

 

Snow Drops

 

Snow drops are one of the first bulbs to bloom in spring.  A delicate, drooping  bell shaped flower, snow drops grow well in moist well-drained soil.  They  do especially well under trees or shrubs or in shady locations of the garden.  You can use snowdrops as a cut flower.  The only disadvantage is that they are very short and look better in a small vase all on their own.  

 
 
 

"Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts.  There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature - the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter."  - Rachel Carson, Silent Spring

all images by Flowers and Company

Three Easter Centerpieces

Signs of spring are popping up everywhere, and Easter is just around the corner.  What better way to welcome spring to your home than to adorn your table with a garden inspired centerpiece.  Using a few of our favourite vessels, the softest colours of the season, the garden's prettiest blooms and a few sweet birds and eggs, we've put together a few centerpieces to inspire you. 


The first one, done in a classic urn, is tabletop ready.  A mix of soft yellow ranunculus and tulips with white chrysanthemums and lysimachia are set against green viburnum and grey lambs ear.  


For the next design, we started with a white ceramic trough.  We planted a springy pairing of white hyacinths and yellow violas, and then tucked in some moss.  Three white taper candles finish off the look and will illuminate the centerpiece beautifully.  


The last centerpiece begins with a scalloped edge grey stone container.  Inspired by the soft lavender colour of the hyacinths and the stone grey of the container, we filled it with green skimmia.  Next we added white tulips, pink heather, eucalyptus and nestled in a few speckled blue eggs to complete the look.     



 

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All images by Flowers and Company

And the Greatest of These is Love

The days are getting notably longer and lighter. The trees are beginning to swell with new buds.  The promise of all things new again; fresh and starting over.  And love, as the saying goes, is in the air.  Spring, with its hopeful promise seems a fitting season for love.  We have all felt this hope of love and renewal in the springs of our lives.  And, being a florist in the week before we celebrate Valentines Day I thought I would share a few images of spring, along with some thoughts and a few of my favourite quotes on love.

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Genuine love takes time to grow.  Love is a long road of learning the art of mutual sacrifice and submission to the ones you love.  


 
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Some of the greatest roadblocks to giving and receiving love are the barriers that we have built up out of selfishness, pride, fear of being hurt.


 

Love cleans the slate.  Love for one another has the power to overcome anything, anyone, anytime, anywhere; but it means learning to forgive.  


 
 

"Love is what carries you, for it is always there, even in the dark, or most in the dark, but shinning out at times like gold stitches in a piece of embroidery.”
~Wendell Berry”


Happy Valentines day everyone! 


 

The Five Minute Flower Arrangement

Pressed for time and company is arriving soon?  Here is an inexpensive and quick flower arrangement that takes five minutes or less to make.

 

What You Will Need:

-5 stems hydrangea; store bought or cut from your own garden

-5-7 stems geranium leaf or other summer garden greens like ladies mantle, laurel or hosta leaves

-large water proof ceramic bowl

-sharp knife or garden clippers

 

Method

Gather your flowers and greens

Fill bowl with water

 

 

 

Cut the geranium leaves and place them in the bowl so that the leaves rest on the rim.

 

 

Next, cut the hydrangea blooms and place in bowl.  Add more greens if necessary to fill any gaps

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There you have it; you're done!  Easy, simple and great way to add summer to your table. 

all images by Flowers and Company

all images by Flowers and Company

"A flowerless room is a soulless room, to my way of thinking; but even a solitary little vase of a living flower may redeem it." 

Vita Sackville-West

 

Rose Water DIY

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Rose water is simple to make and has many benefits for summer sensitive skin.  Not only is it effective at revitalizing and cooling the skin, it also acts a natural antiseptic and anti-inflammatory agent and has anti-bacterial properties as well.  Personally I love the way rose water smells and I like keeping some on hand in the refrigerator to use as a refreshing spray for my face when out in the garden. 

Today I will show you how easy it is to make your own rose water in just a few simple steps.

 

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What you Need to make Rose Water

Three ingredients:  fresh, (preferably) organically grown roses or your own chemically untreated roses from the garden, a large pot and distilled water.

There are a few ways to make rose water. The simplest way is this basic method which I choose to use. You can make purer rose water by collecting only the steam from roses.  While the basic method is less pure, it is still very effective and takes a lot less time. 

Method

Start by collecting the petals from your roses by removing the bulbs and stems.  If you are using roses purchased from your florist, rinse the petals in cool water first to be sure to get rid of any  possible chemicals. 

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Place about 1 to 1-1/2 packed cups of rose petals in a large pot and fill with distilled water.  Use just enough water to cover the petals.  If you use too much water the results will be too diluted. Bring to a boil, stirring a few times. Cover with a tight lid and let simmer. 

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Turn off the heat and let the rose water cool completely; drain the liquid into a jar or spritzer bottle.  Store in a cool place, or in the refrigerator. Rose water will keep for 7 days at room temperature or about  a month in the refrigerator. Give your skin a spritz whenever you need a light and refreshing little pick me up.

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Taking It A Step Further

~Add a few drops of essential rose oil to your rose water for an even more intensified blend.

~Add 4-5 drops of jojoba oil or a 1/4 tsp. glycerin to help skin retain moisture.

or

~Add  to your bath to provide a soothing aroma

~Spray over your bed sheets for a lovely scent

 

all images by Flowers and Company

all images by Flowers and Company

Edible Flowers in Cake Decoration

On Flowers, Cakes, and Summer Celebrations

 

Canada Day July 1, 2015

Summer is my favourite season.  Open windows and doors, summer flower gardens, picking fresh fruit, and baking pies and cakes to savour summers' many occasions with family and friends are just some of the reasons why I love this time of year.  

Indeed, summer, flowers, and cake decorating just go together as we find ourselves gathering to celebrate weddings, anniversaries and family get-togethers. Often I'm asked to give advice as to what types of flowers are suitable to use to decorate a cake.  

Flowers always add a beautiful finishing touch to any cake, and can be used in a few different ways.  As a delicate edible garnish sprinkled on top of a cake to a more elaborate cake topped with a larger, non-edible flower arrangement.

 

 

For inspiration today, and because it is Canada Day, I've made Jamie Oliver's hummingbird cake.  The cake itself is sweet and spongy, with lime and cream cheese icing spread between the layers and on top.  I also made salted, carmelized pecans to sprinkle on the top, which I then garnished with tiny violets from the garden.  The result was a cake that was both sweet and zesty, floral and creamy.  The perfect balance of complimenting flavours. 

 

Flowers on Cakes

Not all flowers are suitable for cake decoration.  Some are in fact toxic to consume while others may contain pesticides.  Always check before using any flower if you are unsure... and when in doubt, it's better to be safe than sorry! 

In general, edible flowers include roses, gardenias, pansies, violets, lavender, nasturtium, fuchsia, gladiolus, hibiscus, hollyhock, impatiens, jasmine, lemon verbena, lilac, marigold, mint, dandelion and sunflower.  Only the petal parts of these flowers are edible. 

Non-edible flowers can also be used on cakes, and of course, remove any non-edible flowers and foliage before serving your cake. 

Tips

Always thoroughly wash and dry flowers before using on the cake.

Larger flower arrangements are best done in flower holders which can be bought where cake decorating supplies are sold. 

Plastic tubes of water may be inserted into your cake and have the advantage of keeping flowers from wilting.  Edible flowers may be picked and then stored in the refrigerator to keep from wilting before use.

Pre-made edible candied flowers, which can either be homemade or store bought, are another great way to incorporate flowers on any type of cake.

 

Enjoy the lovely summer weather this weekend.  If you don't mind the heat in the kitchen, try baking a cake to celebrate summer, flowers in your garden, and the sunny occasions of your life.

 

all images by Flowers and Company

all images by Flowers and Company

 

     "The flood of summer light had begun to ebb. 

The air had grown mellow, the shadows were long

upon the smooth, dense turf."

 

  ~ Henry James

w h i t e

White flowers are always so beautiful and lend elegance and sophistication to any event.  Whether for a simple summertime dinner party with friends or for a full scale wedding, white flowers combine effortlessly to any atmosphere. 

Here they are arranged in simple white glazed pottery from the Pottery Barn.  This design was created for an all-white birthday party using white hydrangea and globe allium with textured greens such as spirea, false Solomon's  seal , ferns and myrtle. 

 

For a table setting, low square vases filled with white flowers also make an understated yet sophisticated choice.

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 To achieve this look I took a small square vase and added white lavender sprigs, a white hydrangea, lisianthus, stock, sweet peas and lambs ear. 

 

White flowers foraged from the garden

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The garden can also be a source of inspiration for white flower arrangements.  Right now all the garden roses are in full bloom.  I picked a few stems this morning along with white lavender, astilbe, and dried hydrangea blooms. 

 

The possibilities, as the saying goes... are endless.

 

all images by Flowers and Company

all images by Flowers and Company

                          

                                       "Flowers are the music of the ground

                                                                       From earth's lips spoken without sound." 

                                                                                                                               Edwin Curran