The Flower Wall Installation

The Flower Wall Side ViewCarousel Flora Design Flower Wall

We’ve just designed a wire version of a Flower Wall with our friend Giulio Sturla and his wonderful restaurant Roots in mind.  More about him in a moment.

Inspired by stylist Pia Jane Bjkerk’s visual collection of dried flora and  images of elegant ancient herbarium that we love,  our Carousel Flower Wall displays gathered flowering herbs hung from tiny loops within a delicate black wire structure.

These wire structures are made to order and can display flowers, foliage or herbs to suit a specific space in your home or garden.  You can change the arrangement of materials as and when you feel like it, as seasons come and go.  Contact us to discuss further.

Back to Giulio.  A passionate forager, Giulio was trained at Mugaritz, the 2 Michelin-starred restaurant in the Spanish Basque Region but now luckily for us, is creating thoughtful and beautifully-styled degustation menus right on our doorstep here in Lyttelton.

He has spent the last year sourcing local suppliers for ingredients to introduce to his ever-changing seasonal recipes as well as  fine-tuning his extensive wine list.

Always keen to share his expertise and knowledge, Giulio is currently running a series of culinary workshops, for adults and children.  Check out his schedule and book in early to ensure you get a spot.

Keep checking into our blog as Giulio will be sharing some recipes with us that I know you’ll love.

Preparations begin for The Culverden Fete

Sally with dried gumphoto copy 2photoJust over a month to go until The Fete at Culverden. Put Thursday 31 October in your diary and prepare for a wonderful day out in the country;  tickets are on sale through the website. I especially love the idea of the picnic lunch package on offer.

At Carousel Rachel and I are at the planning stage.  Trying to estimate just how much material needs to be gathered, which materials will last best and dry beautifully, how many wreaths we need to make, how many different designs we should plan and how the stall should look.

We’ll be launching our brand new range of Carousel Girl stationery and beautiful cotton tea towels that we’ve designed at the fete which we’re thrilled about.

Over the coming weeks we’ll be giving you a sneak preview of the Carousel products on offer at the fete so keep checking out the blog for updates and photos, and if you want to preorder anything just drop us an email.

Step One.  Gathering muhlenbeckia for the wreath bases.  A lovely spring morning spent weaving vine bases;  the muhlenbeckia is perfectly ripe and pliable so production gets underway. photo 3 photo 5 photo

Wild Parsley Pesto & Crispy Baked Crackers

Rachel gathering wild parsley resizeI am curious about the growing conditions that wild parsley seems to favour.  Not my shady garden alas, but as I wander along sun-exposed sandy coastal tracks I see flat-leafed parsley growing profusely, as high as a foot in some places.

Rachel has given me this recipe for pesto that she loves,  so next time I’m out walking I’ll gather a bunch and try it out.  She says it’s easy – just mix all the ingredients together and keep in the fridge once you’ve made it.  Really healthy spread to serve with freshly baked bread, or as a sauce for pasta.

1 cup finely chopped flat-leafed parsley
3 cloves crushed garlic
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Salt & ground black pepper
1 tsp grated lemon zest

Thin with olive oil

099Photographer Peter Bay

Rachel’s parsley pesto would taste amazing spread on these baked crackers too – which keep fresh for ages stored in an airtight container.  Thank you Andrea for sharing this recipe with me.

150g flour any kind (buckwheat is wonderful)
150g rolled oats  100g sunflower seeds  50g linseed seeds  50g sesame seeds

2tblsp olive oil
2 tsp salt
500ml water

Mix all the ingredients together to make a wettish dough.  Spread mixture between 3 baking trays, each lined with baking paper. Bake at 170 degrees for 35 minutes.  10 minutes into the cooking time, cut into slices with a sharp knife (if you want neat crackers), otherwise just break into pieces after they are cooked and cooled.

Birds and their nests

Rev Birds Nest & eggs

Spring Nest resize

Bird’s Nest Wall Art created by Carousel Flora Design

spring nest with flax

Natural Installation using woven Cabbage Tree Leaves created by Carousel Flora Design

Observing the birds in her garden and their nest-making rituals, Rachel has created her very own range of ‘nests’.  The muhlenbeckia design was originally conceived as a basket, but once we hung it on the wall to photograph,  we loved the way its wild structure threw shadows onto the wall accentuating its fragility and  three-dimensional qualities.  So on the wall it stayed.

The natural installation was created for practical reasons;  to use those fallen cabbage tree leaves that otherwise just look messy strewn around the garden.

I recently read about how we can help birds gather material for their nests.  Crazy as it sounds, I looked into this a little more.  If we want to encourage bird life into our gardens then we need to make the environment a little more enticing.  Hanging a basket or container on a hook outside and placing any suitable materials into it (grasses, straw, twigs, feathers) will keep the birds revisiting regularly in search of new construction materials.Birds Nest at Teenas

photo 4
Trial fantail colour
Tiri the fantail, an illustrative character featured in Gatherings Rachel Thornton

Presentation is everything

photo 5 Mixed Spring Flowers in Foreign Newspaper Tied with Thin Strip of Flax

photo 1

Freesias Tied with a Thin Strip Flax
photo 2Grape Hyacinths Tied with Flax

Gather some spring flowers to give to a friend.  Rather than wrapping stems in paper,  try using whatever natural materials are around you.  Flax performs rather effectively as a strong and pliable natural string and newspaper secured with raffia or twisted vine looks a little more organic than brightly-coloured cellophane.  Dried hydrangea florets (yes I am crazy about these!) combined with bronze yarrow  or sun-scorched eucalyptus stems make charming vintage bouquets to decorate wrapped gifts too.

Today I wove the tiniest muhlenbeckia circlet and tied it to a friend’s present which took no time at all but looked quite lovely.

Make a Twig Vase Project

Twig Vase with spring blossom resizeTwig Vase created by Carousel Flora Design

Rescue some twigs from your garden and make this natural, rustic container that will give the effect of branches of blossom growing within the structure.  No need for oasis, just pop a small glass container inside this ‘vase’ using a piece of scrunched up chicken wire to stabilize any heavier branches.

September Make A Twig Vase

An exquisite backdrop

photo copy 2A dear friend living in Bondi sent me this image she snapped at one of her favourite cafes there.  It occurs to me it’s not the flowers that produce the wow factor in this case  (although I love the simplicity of the arrangement), it’s the beautifully-distressed and worn concrete wall that steals the show.  Check out Porch if you ever take a trip to Sydney.  The interior looks stunning and apparently the coffee is great!