WHAT THE HELLEBORE?
Whenever I was in junior high, I started my very own flower blog & would google flowers & write mini research papers on them. As you can see, not much has changed except that I know of more resources than Wikipedia. Hellebores have fascinated me from the first moment I laid eyes on them. The variety in the color, texture & pattern of their blooms is breathtaking. It's the type of flower where you never know what you're gonna get, but in a good way. Not in a stressful "omg this bloom is traffic cone orange instead of peach" way. And they have such a long vase life so they stay gorgeous in arrangements long after everything else has left the building. Floret gives a little insight on how she lengthens hellebore's vase life during harvest in her blog post, The Hellebore Appreciate Society:
The key to telling a ripe hellebore from an unripe one is by checking the center of the flower. You’re looking for blooms that have dropped their stamens and started to produce seed pods. The more developed the seed pod, the longer the flower will hold.
Katie Toon of Woodbine Flower Farm agrees, "The most important thing is to wait. They last well in bouts & corsages without water if they have the seed pods." She also gave a little insight on planting this winter beauty.
Most people think because it's a winter blooming flower that it should be planted in winter. It really should be planted in early spring so it can establish healthy roots over the spring & summer.
She noted the importance of mimicking the plant's natural habitat by planting it under trees in the shade in well-drained soils. Katie Toon lives in Fort Worth on the sweetest farm, check her out on Instagram for floral goodies that make you drool & snapshots of her & her beau farming it up.
Hellebore are in the buttercup family which is known for being poisonous, therefore lots of folklore surrounding hellebore gets pretty dark. Many of the mythological stories surrounding helleborus including use of it in war to poison water supplies or leaders. In Elliot Newman of Hayloft Plants' blog, she mentions that her research of helleborus lead her to these couple of tidbits:
I learned that apparently the mystery illness that caused the death of Alexander the Great, could actually have been caused by an overdose of medication containing Hellebore. Also, according to Greek mythology, the daughters of the King of Argos (a Greek City) suffered from a form of madness that caused them to run naked and crying through the city streets. A medication made of Hellebore apparently cured them.
Helleborus, capable of murder & madness curing alike. I think I might like them a little more after this?
THE BIG MAMA:
About a month ago, a photographer (Heidi Elyse, I love you) reached out to me about a styled shoot. It was the first time anyone had inquired about florals from me. So, of course, I immediately responded YES YES YES. Right after Heidi reached out to me, I called my fiancé, Dakota & asked him to come down to Bryan & hold my bouquet while I made it. Sure enough, he took off work & agreed to come down here for me. A week & a half later, The Big Mama was born.
FIRST: HUGE SHOUTOUT TO my friend Amelia Merie at Yellow Thistle designs for her selfless flower advice & chicken wire egg recommendations. You're a great friend & resource to have in this industry.
How this giant happened - Flowers come in bunches, for those of you who have never ordered wholesale, so you can't just order a couple if you're only making one bouquet. This is why many florists only do full-service weddings, because it's expensive & wasteful otherwise. That being said, all I was making was one bouquet & I had to order in bunches to do it, & you better believe I wasn't about to WASTE flowers, so in the bouquet they all went.
After being delivered lots, & I mean lots of flowers & gawking at them for hours... This is what went down. Step one: I made a chicken wire egg to place the bouquet in, Step two: told Dakota to hold the chicken wire egg while I inserted flowers. Mind you, I started creating right before dinner. Like bread was literally in the oven whenever inspiration hit me. But isn't that how it usually goes? Step three: inserted lots of greens, then focal flowers & realized immediately what a huge bouquet this was going to be. Step four: explained to Dakota the difference between balance & symmetry, while he told me over & over that my sides of the bouquet didn't match. (He cracks me up.) Step five: as the bread burned in the oven, I inserted & taped & inserted & taped until this beautiful monster was born.
Long story short, my honey is a trooper who is okay with working about my inspiration time table & I made a really huge bouquet for this shoot that surprised me in a lot of ways. It was beautiful & wonderful & fleeting & I miss it sometimes.
Disclaimer: not all of my bouquets are giants, but if you want a giant, you know who to come to! Also - if you're into rambling & floral stories, don't worry. I'll be here for a while. More to come on this piece & the styled shoot & gushing about Heidi Elyse's photographic eye soon in the next post!
SNEAKY FAIRYTALE STYLED SHOOT:
Ah, the gushing begins. Heidi, thank you for reaching out to me with the kindest heart, asking me to be a part of this shoot. Literal dreams came true this day. The woman I have always wanted to be, broke through this day & hasn't rescinded since.
I had the opportunity to forage greens (thorny eleagnus, honey suckle, clematis, truncate maple, cosmos & IVY) & order flowers (ranunculus, roses, hellebores, sprays, tulips). While foraging I got to ramble on & on about species & varieties while clipping from trees that I knew way too much about. I cried when I found a chinese tallow tree that was completely turned red for fall. I hugged a thorny bush as I stole its berries. I sniffed way too many bushels of eleagnus. I had a blast. While processing flowers I had ordered, I got to employed everything I researched & learned through helping friends with floral events.
This shoot showed me that where I was at, was the right place for me. I have never felt more at home while "working."
When I got the pictures back, I literally gasped. They look like Heidi snuck into a fairy tale, took a couple pics & then snuck back out. What a good way to start your business out, in a fairy tale. Thanks, Heidi. <3
Whenever I start brainstorming for a piece, there are certain things I always come back to. Old oil pantings of florals mixed with feminine beauty. Bountiful color that evokes the most subtle emotions of joy that linger. Paintings like these. Whenever I work, I try to re-create the emotions & textures & colors painted here. To evoke subtle emotions in you, that linger.