Thursday, May 19, 2011

Green Design of a Different Kind

Thank you everyone for your wonderful comments about my first attempt at doing portrait work.  That boost of confidence may just have me hanging out my shingle to try it again sometime!

This week has proven to be another crazy one, with last minute story assignments and still getting over the whole kidney stone thing, which I hope is now in the past and not to be repeated anytime soon!  I still have captions to do for one story, and I turned in another story yesterday, so tomorrow I plan to sneak off and visit with my bloggy friend Connie from Hartwood Roses for a little flower therapy!

Remember me telling you a little over a week ago about the fabulous floral presentation my friend Doug Vogel did for my garden club...well I'm finally getting around to re-posting the gorgeous ideas for green floral design that he shared with us.  Blogger ate my first post!

The club I belong to is a relatively small club, so our meetings are low key and very informal.  Normally, we host the meetings at our homes and invite a guest speaker, but because I knew Doug would need some room to spread out, we held the meeting at the State House in Historic St. Mary's City.  It's a beautiful building, built to replicate the original state house when St. Mary's City was the capital of Maryland back in the early 1600s.  Someone did a lovely post on their blog about Historic St. Mary's City, and you can see more by clicking here.

Because the state house was built to resemble a structure from the 17th century, there isn't much if any artificial light, so some of these pictures are not great, but I hope they will convey what a wonderful program Doug did for us that evening.

When I approached Doug about doing the presentation, he immediately thought that something on "green" floral design might be of interest to the group, and I was excited to see what he had come up with for the show.

Doug is known for being able to do all sorts of wonderful floral arrangements to suit any tastes, but his specialty lies in creating one of a kind floral displays that reinterpret nature and its beauty in unique and striking ways.

His first demonstration embodied everything I love about his work, simplicity, natural elements, and beautiful flowers!  He started with curly willow branches and fashioned them in to a sort of bird's nest, saving the bottom of the branches to create a base to put into a cylindrical glass vase filled with beach glass!  He emphasized how using recycled and natural items such as things we can find in our own yards makes for interesting and earth friendly designs that don't lack in impact but instead make a statement.

After creating the curly willow sculpture as his base, he then began tucking brightly colored French tulips in the most vibrant shades of red and yellow into the branches, giving the whole arrangement a free form look.  I apologize for the horrible lighting, Doug had 2 spot light trees shining on the table so that he could work, which was good for him but bad for taking pictures I'm afraid!  Hopefully you can get an idea of how simple and truly elegant this type of arrangement can be though!

What you can't see from my photos is how he tucked a grouping of tulips into the very center of the curly willow for even more color and drama.  Of course he was working quickly to try and keep the presentations short, so he explained that if he were doing this for a client, he might also use twine or raffia to weave more tulips around the edge of the bird's nest/basket for even more color.

The next arrangement Doug created was a beautiful sculptural design constructed from pussy willow branches.  Based on a design he learned from other designers who had visited France, he used the branches of pussy willow, which he cut last January from his yard, to fashion a free form sculpture that was a piece of art in and of itself.

He then placed the sculpture atop a tall glass trumpet vase that he had filled with more branches, and he had tied "moss" ribbon around the outside of the vase to dress it up a little and give it some texture.  He also included some "faux" rocks into the vase for added weight and stability.  I say faux rocks because they look just like rocks but are actually made from recycled plastic water cool is that?!

Doug then used some airy greens to drape around the pussy willow sculpture to add some color.

As a finishing touch, he used a grouping of fragrant blush colored peonies at the top.  Doug also suggested using a variety of flowers for all of the creations he showed us to suit the color scheme of a wedding or for whatever event you might be planning.


The whole time Doug was working on these I kept thinking...geez I wish I had an event to plan so that I could use some of his amazing ideas...or better yet, just call him and have him make me some arrangements!

Isn't that so pretty?  One of the women in our club is planning her daughter's wedding, and you could see the wheels turning as Doug presented each of his designs!

The last design Doug did was another sculptural piece that utilized branches...I think these may have been red dogwood branches?   For this arrangement, he used a large conical shaped mass of branches with lots of open space in the center.

It's hard to see in this photo, but after placing the twig structure into a low vase, he then tucked beach grasses and tall flowers into the center for a nature inspired arrangement.

Here you can see the iris which he picked from his yard and beautiful deep blue delphinium which paired nicely with the violet blue of the iris.  Because of the beach feel he was after with this arrangement, he also suggested tucking starfish or other shells into the open work of the twigs.  That would be perfect for a beach themed wedding, don't you think?

I feel very fortunate that we were able to have Doug come speak to our group, and everyone loved his presentation and his beautiful arrangements...especially me, who got to bring home the flowers!  Thank you Doug for being the perfect guest speaker!  And if you would be interested in having Doug do work for you, you can find him at Studio Three Flowers in La Plata or you can contact him directly via his website by clicking HERE!  He also has a blog!

Tomorrow, I'll be announcing my latest Giveaway...I'll give you a hint involves Flowers!


  1. WOW Kat, I love all these interesting ideas and want to get out into my yard and look at everything with fresh eyes. I especially love the pussy willow/peony arrangement - that is true art with flowers. I'm so inspired and wish, too, that I had some kind of event coming up to incorporate something like this into! Thanks so much for sharing :)
    Have a wonderful weekend and hope you are much better.

  2. Look at those gorgeous arrangements. Thanks for sharing this, Kat.

  3. Kat, What a talented friend you have!! Ivan at "Twigs" is Wichita's answer to Doug. He, too, can "throw things together" and make a stunning arrangement. Doug does beautiful work--I love the curly willow he used. Have a lovely and peaceful (if there is such a thing) weekend. Mickie :)

  4. Kat, This is a talented floral artist! What great and creative use of organics and flowers. I would have loved to hear his talk!

    I have been visiting you last few posts! Life has gotten in the way lately! OH MY GOODNESS! What gorgeous work you do! I am so impressed. You are a true artist. And I am so inspired by the beauty you create!
    xo Yvonne

  5. Wow! Those were amazing! He is one talented guy. LOVE the vines and flowers tucked in them. Will have to try some of that. Thank you!

  6. that was so unique your so creative.. wow... a few material you build a wonderful output.. wow..
    Website design New York

  7. How lucky you are Kat to have someone so talented in your circle of friends, I'm in love with that first curly willow and tulip arrangement. Thanks for sharing.

  8. Kat, I finally posted that fabulous Painted Fire Hydrant that you captured..., it's on this weekend's Coastal Mix.

    I'm loving how Doug uses the branches -stunning!!

  9. Doug is so creative and his designs are stunning! My favorite is the willow nest with the tulips. That sounds so much fun to belong to a garden club. ~Lili

  10. So different from the
    run of the mill; love
    his work! Wish I was
    tagging along to Connie's!
    Have fun!
    xx Suzanne

  11. Those are gorgeous and so creative! I have never seen arrangements like those. He would be amazing at a wedding!! I hope that you were able to meet up with Connie today.
    Have a wonderful weekend and I hope to catch up soon!

  12. Beautiful!!......oh, to do a wedding in that style...

  13. Ooh...I love the curly willow nest! Very free form look and a natural feel!

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