When trying to think of what my first featured blog post should be for the relaunch, I thought of spring and of the South, then I thought of my friend Ruthie Weil. She has a way with flowers and for a couple years now, we have been talking about walking around our city of Atlanta to find and clip some pretty buds to bring home. So I gave Ruthie a call and with my camera in hand, and a pair of shears in hers, off we went...
The one rule we followed was never cutting anything from someone's yard and whatever Ruthie did cut, was very minimal. 2 or 3 snips per spot, max. All the flowers and greenery we found were growing along the side of the road, in abandoned lots, fields and parking lots. And truth be told, we had no shortage of great finds. Our first discovery as we began a walk in the Highlands area of Atlanta was this wisteria growing along a parking lot fence and as dogwood is in full bloom right now, it would just be so wrong not to clip a few. These flowers are so beautiful- and it reminds me I should be clipping my own dogwood at home as just one stem takes on a whole different character.
Finding a camellia shrub or tree is pretty much like striking it rich. These flowers are so lovely and stunning on their own. The well established tree we found was situated along a deserted fence in East Atlanta and was full of flowers- many just past their prime but upon closer inspection, a few still in perfect form. A hydrangea is a bit of gold too, so Ruthie clipped one, smiling wide. And sometimes you encounter pretty flowers but have no idea what they are. That's fun too... just don't forget to clip some greenery along the way too. In our case, the camellia tree had plenty of leafy branches to choose from as well as a honeysuckle shrub we spotted in midtown.
Near the end of our walk, Ruthie gasped as she spied some cherry blossoms across the street. She ran over with her shears to retrieve a few. These won't be blooming for much longer so this was an especially good find. It's best while foraging to not worry so much about what goes with what, just clip what you love and see what works back at home. You'd be surprised how much goes together rather seamlessly when you try.
After a two hour stroll around the city, Ruthie and I headed back to her house where the real fun could begin. I let Ruthie to do her thing, mixing and matching stems in vases that she then placed throughout her home. And when some stems didn't work so well in an arrangement, she placed them in a singular bud vase. (like the camellia in a Honeycomb Studio apothecary bottle) You can never go wrong with this approach.
Wild arrangements are the most fun as you just let the stems and flowers do the talking. I like to watch Ruthie work as she just gets in her zone and creates the loveliest arrangements, letting the flowers dictate where they want to fall. This one is wild and free and pretty as can be. My one big takeaway from our urban adventure was to always carry a pair of shears in my car. There's just no reason to not have fresh flowers on the table. Thank you Ruthie- such a beautiful, inspiring day.