This time of year isn’t the prettiest in Alaska. Snow is waiting to melt, everything is brown and dusty, and there’s a certain stale odor in the air. But there is LIGHT – so much daylight.
Erin of Blomma Designs, photographer Anne Marie Moran and I decided to take advantage of our ever-increasing sunlight last weekend.I brought my sister, Farra, along too. We all met at Erin’s studio to create modern floral wreaths. It was the perfect respite from Alaska breakup season.
I thought we should share this crafting experience with a step-by-step tutorial. The luscious photos are by the talented and delightful Anne Marie of Anne Marie Moran Photography.
Flower combinations and colors constantly amaze me. This weekend I had two weddings that couldn’t have been more different. Both were rustic. Both brides happened to be named Lisa.
The first Lisa is having a country western style wedding with dusty rose, pale pink, ivory and tan themes. I was thrilled when Rebecca of LaBoum Events asked me to make these flowers. She wanted an arrangement inside a birdcage. Uh…yes! That’s so cool!
I picked wild moss from a nearby forest to line the cage and filled it with eucalyptus of all kinds, dusty rose carnations, roses, feathers, stock, mums and limonium.
Last winter I did flowers for a couple in Alyeska. When I delivered them to the bride’s suite she introduced me to her maid of honor and said she would be getting married next summer.
Fast forward to today when I delivered flowers to bride Lena’s suite and I was greeted by last winter’s bride. The tabled turned and she was now the maid of honor. I love how small this town is.
Lena and Ivan’s colors were navy, coral, cream and orange. A perfect palette for the amazing autumn weather we’re having.
This bouquet made me giddy! The most perfect little orange spray roses looked like miniature garden roses. Combined with peach carnations, cream roses, solidago, scabiosa pods, salmon hypericum berries, billy balls and seeded eucalyptus — this bouquet was just what the bride ordered.
I love last-minute gigs. There’s a certain thrill about making people happy when they haven’t had a lot of time to plan. This was the case with Kate and Joe. Their good friend, Alyse had met me earlier this summer at a downtown Anchorage street fair where I was making flower crowns and she decided as a gift to the bride and groom she would purchase flowers for their Eklutna Lake wedding.
It was going to be a true Alaska wedding. The party wore XTRATUFs, the groomsmen donned Pendleton plaid with Patagonia puffy vests and the bride wore a yellow dress. Bride Kate wanted a wildflower, colorful bouquet and some corsages and boutonnieres.
It was a lot of fun working on this small wedding. For focal flowers I used small sunflowers and protea (also called pincushion). Surrounding these were purple mini asters, button mums and peach mini carnations. It was delightful.
My son was thrilled when I had some leftover flowers. He made his own arrangement to give to my friend Laura.
Some things I never get tired of. Foraging for wedding arrangements has to be at the top of the list. For Rebekah and Jason, it was important that a part of their state be incorporated into their wedding theme of teal, green and purple.
For the flowers they chose peach and fuchsia roses and purple Japanese asters as their palette to which I added wild yarrow, grass and ferns.
Finished off with a teal satin ribbon and presto – a lovely Alaska bouquet.
Every wedding I make flowers for has a different style and Dianne and Matthew’s Wasilla wedding is one of the most unique this year.
Dianne wanted jewel tones of amethyst and peridot. She adores orchids, which I learned can be limited in color and style in Alaska. I packed her bouquet with fuchsia orchid, purple lisianthus, white roses, baby’s breath, trailing amaranthus, traipsing plumosa fern, sword fern and Italian ruscus.
A few months ago I received an e-mail from a bride in Kentucky who was planning a destination wedding in Alaska. She had found me in Alaska Bride & Groom Magazine and thought my style would be appropriate for her and her fiancé, Cam’s, wedding in Cooper Landing.
Sarah and Cam wanted a rustic, wild wedding to reflect their Kentucky roots. They gave me free reign to select wild flowers and greens to incorporate with garden roses and lavender button mums.
I harvested spruce, alder, alder cones, yarrow, clover, grass, and even a four-leaf clover for their special arrangements. Gathering wildflowers is one of my favorite activities. I headed out to my secret wild garden south of Anchorage to find everything I needed, including a special ingredient, which I’ll mention later. This is my happy place and it brought me so much joy to return there for the first time this summer.
This week I was graced with a new challenge: corner arrangements for an archway. I’ve made garlands before but not structured corner pieces. I decided to structure them with alder branches, Italian ruscus and seeded eucalyptus then layered in white wax flower, button mums, salal, white hypericum and finally, gorgeous, aromatic garden roses the color of butter.
When my husband and I got married in July 2007 purchasing peonies wasn’t an option. They were out of season. But I remember gardens all over Anchorage with gorgeous peonies in July and August. I ended up using someone’s garden peonies for my own bouquet.
It wasn’t until August 2013 when I was leafing through an Alaska Airlines Magazine that I learned how unique Alaska peonies really are.
Peony farms have since sprouted up all over the state from Nenana to Homer to Wasilla and have cornered the global peony market from mid to late summer.
I recently had the opportunity to take a tour of Alaska Blooms Peony Farm and learn about these special flowers from owner Rachel Christy.
My son and I embarked on a rainy Sunday outside the city of Wasilla to a cabin where thousands of peony buds were growing in the front lot.