Rachel pulled out some old family photographs of her grandmothers from the 1920s. It’s quite interesting comparing wedding flowers and changing fashions through different eras. Curiously though many of the ingredients in these pictures are quite fashionable again today in that ‘just picked from the garden’ look, using vintage blooms like hydrangeas, garden roses, peonies, ranunculus and ladies mantle cascading with trailing ivy and asparagus fern.
Image copyright A La Robe / Flowers by Orlando Flowers
I discovered this beautiful bridal image on the A La Robe website. I’m forever checking Elizabeth Soljak’s vintage-inspired designs, dreaming of an excuse or occasion to have a full-length floaty party dress commissioned.
Gorgeous fresh flower garland aside (as if that wasn’t enough!), I fell in love with this romantic hand-dyed tulle bridal dress. Anyone getting married should definitely check out this boutique in Auckland. It is quite dreamy.
Inspired by a profusion of wild flowers growing in abandoned land sections around town, Rachel and I felt compelled to celebrate these humble materials offering glimpses of beauty amidst our earth-shaken city. Nature somehow manages to thrive even in the most inhospitable and unlikely environments.
We gathered armfuls of rose-pink Queen Anne’s Lace and feathery stems of white yarrow along the coastal roadside near Lyttelton to create our giant Wild Flower Wire Heart in time for Valentine’s Day.
Once the Queen Anne’s Lace flowers are finished, the umbel kind of curls up into a bird’s nest shape (hence one of its other common names) which when combined with freshly flowering stems create contrasting form in arrangements.
The contradictory properties of these fragile, romantic wild flowers and the man-made wire structure complement each other quite effortlessly.
Come and learn how to make basic wire structures from recycled fence wire. Check out our workshop dates. Coming soon.
The Queen Anne’s Lace Girl
Inspired by the Queen Anne’s Lace and yarrow we collected, Rachel started scribbling and came up with The Carousel Girl concept. This illustration is to be the first in a series of girls who will become monthly fixtures in our Gathering Tales blog.
Feminine, romantic girls gathering a seasonal material.
February is filled with garden parties, weddings and dinners. Everyone feels like celebrating something at this time of year.
Outdoor parties are always a favourite as we can let our imagination go wild and create large natural installations which catch the eye and will last pretty indefinitely. Extra pairs of hands are needed to wheelbarrow in giant spheres and vine hearts on the day.
We gathered tomato-red geraniums which grow wild all over our hillsides to celebrate the launch of a local restaurant (below) and combined these with citrus fruits, parsley, feathery fennel and fig foliage for a Mediterranean theme.
Long-lasting red waratahs, native lemonwood berries and glossy broad leaves were arranged inside kete bags for this birthday party with a tropical twist. It’s important to consider the vase or container part of the overall design, ensuring that it complements the arrangement rather than competing for attention.
This is the front cover design that Rachel created for our cookery book, ‘Gatherings’ – not yet published. You can also see the New Zealand version featuring fejoia fruit in the place of the strawberries and raspberries in our Illustration gallery.
Have chosen a Strawberry & Chocolate Tart that we tested for our book (not the tarts below – but I couldn’t resist including this delightful image). We have so many wonderful recipes that friends and families passed onto us for this cookery book concept so keep an eye out each month for a seasonal dish of some sort.
Sweet buttery tart crust (makes 9 inch tart shell)
100g butter 1/4 cup icing sugar 1/4 tsp vanilla essence 1 cup flour
Soften butter and cream together with icing sugar and vanilla essence. Mix until smooth light consistency. Add flour and mix well. If mixture is too crumbly add a little milk and chill until firm. Roll out and line loose-bottomed tart tin.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line pastry dough in tin with baking paper and fill with baking beans. Bake for 8 minutes. Remove paper and beans. Prick the bottom of the dough with a fork and return to oven for 8-10 minutes longer or until the edges are light brown.
1 1/2 pints strawberries (washed, stemmed and dried)
1/2 cup redcurrant glaze : 3 tblsp redcurrant jelly 1 tblsp Grand Marnier
Whisk together over a medium heat until smooth.
150g plain cooking chocolate (broken into pieces) 2 tblsp butter (melted) 3 tblsp Grand Marnier 1/4 cup icing sugar 1 tblsp water
Melt chocolate in a bowl placed over simmering water. When chocolate has melted add butter and Grand Marnier. Whisk quickly and thoroughly until smooth. Add icing sugar and water continuing to whisk until smooth. Add a little more water until smooth. While the mixture is still warm pour into tart shell.
Add strawberries and finally glaze. Ready to go.