February 13, 2010

Designing a Flower Color Palette, Part II

Posted in Wedding Design tagged , , , , at 11:50 pm by Elizabeth Nixon

I talked about the challenges of designing a cohesive flower color palette here, when you’re no professional florist, but did I mention my mom is going to be growing all of the flowers herself? Yep, there’s a twist in the plot for ya. You see, most florists in the Napa/Sonoma/Lake county wine region charge an arm and a leg to do-up some bouquets and 20ish centerpieces. We’re talking at minimum $5K. Not something we’d be super stoked about with our $15k budget.

So when Mama Paisley said she’d be happy to grow all of the flowers herself, I leaped with joy.

First up, she knew how enamored I was with lavender fields, like this one here, at a winery in Lake County:

Miss Paisley and Professor Paisley in front of beautimous lavender

Please excuse my home-bleached hair. Don’t ever do that, by the way. 😉

I originally wanted my wedding at this lovely site. I even stooped to my all-time journalistic low by suggesting I could help get the owner some coverage if he’d cut me a deal. You see, he wanted $15K just to rent the site. Um, yeah. He’s completely delusional, because not even fancy-schmancy Napa wineries charge that much for site fees. I’m sorry, I love my hometown, but it IS Lake County, which I affectionately call Poor Man’s Tahoe. Yeah, it’s got pretty scenery and the cleanest air in the state, but it also has a substantial hick/lowlife population, and drug-infested mobile home parks positioned cheek by jowl along the north shore of Clear Lake, where this lovely vineyard happens to reside.

Enough about the grim realities of Lake County. On to the lavender field solution. We knew the Grosso lavender would grow well at my grandma’s, because like this vineyard, her house is also on the lakeshore. Mama Paisley and Papa Paisley spent a day nursery-hopping until they’d collected dozens of lavender Grosso plants. Ch-ch-check it:

Lavender nursery at my parents' house

Yeah, those are old oil barrels supporting the plants. What? My dad owns a farm equipment repair business. I never claimed we were straight from the streets, yo! Um yeah, no. We’re country folk.

These lavender plants will be placed in rows on terraces, where the guests’ chairs will also be lined up. You can see one side of the bare terraces as they appear now in this photo my brother snapped:

Fortunately, my mom knows what she’s doing. She’s asking me what I want, based on the fact I’m a master gardener in the UCCE program. But she’s the one who really knows flowers through and through, stemming from knowledge gleaned from years operating a flower growing business. Mama Paisley instilled a love of gardening in me from a very young age, even granting my wish for “a bit of earth” just like Mary craved in the children’s book, The Secret Garden.

Young Miss Paisley in her first garden

So, once we decided on a color palette of complimentary hues of whites, roses, peaches and hints of yellow, it was time to make a list of what to grow. It basically took one e-mail exchange and Mama P and I had our garden planned:

Spring bloomers that might hang in there until June; stock, snapdragons and Queen Anne’s lace as fillers. Peonies, roses, gardenias (some bought). Scabiosa, stephanotis, sweet pea, herbs, leucadendron, veronica and dogwood blossoms. Green Tule reeds on the lakeshore we’ll bend around in glass cylinders to show through, and the rest will be in birch vases I made out of bark:

Birch vase and flowers trial by Miss Paisley

Am I flower-obsessed enough, you think?

Even at 12,000 elevation in the Teton wilderness, Professor Paisley can’t escape my flower obsession!

He puts up with my need to weave flower wreaths on every alpine trail we hit. Gotta love a guy who’ll put up with that!

Are you going the do-it-yourself route for your bouquets and centerpieces? What’s your strategy?

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