Summer Cutting Garden - inspired by the Floret Flower Farm Dahlia workshop

Blush still seems to be the queen of bridal palettes for 2017.  Blush means lots of flower lovelies like flouncy garden roses and the eternal diva, Dahlia 'Cafe au Lait'.  Beautiful neutrals make for gorgeous photos and compliment so many looks and themes.  Its all good.  I'm not complaining. But... If a bride comes to me and says "I'm getting married late summer and I'd like you to help me chose a color palette that sings of the season's golden light and warm evenings. Choose colors that will set your heart aflutter when you are designing with them." Well, I am ready for that amazing bride!

Gretchen O'Neil, fellow team member, lighting candles.  Table design by Becca Blue and floral installation by Sue McLeary.

Gretchen O'Neil, fellow team member, lighting candles.  Table design by Becca Blue and floral installation by Sue McLeary.

Last summer (2016) a huge dream of mine came true -- to go back to Floret Flower Farm and help with a workshop as a member of the now famous (in certain circles) Team Floret.  I went in August when the fields were bursting with Dahlias, Zinnias, Rudbeckia and so many other gorgeous blooms.  For the last day we filled bucket after bucket with sunset colors and our final dinner was awash in warm summer hues.

Now, as winter starts to loosen its grip and spring seems like a very welcome light at the end of the tunnel, its time to think about summer blooms and that dream bride I spoke of.  I'm planning on planting many of those same blooms that I enjoyed in August, because I absolutely love this range of colors.  Warm apricot, peach sherbet, butter yellow, amber, honey and touches of cherry and claret.  

Collage of some of my favorite blooms in this color palette. Many I am hoping to grow myself this summer.

Collage of some of my favorite blooms in this color palette. Many I am hoping to grow myself this summer.

Starting top row, left corner: Rudbeckia 'Sahara', Dahlia 'Labyrinth', Zinnia 'Giant Salmon', Scabies 'Fata Morgana' Middle row: Dahlia 'Crichton Honey', Nasturtium 'Gleam Salmon', Phlox 'Cherry Caramel', Chocolate Queen Anne's Lace, Bottom Row: Zinnia 'Zinderella Peach', Amaranth 'Coral Fountain', Apricot Mix Strawflower, Rose 'Caramel Antike'.

Erin Benzakein's demo compote arrangement from the final dinner.

Erin Benzakein's demo compote arrangement from the final dinner.

These colors could be amped up with the addition of more wine tones or softened with the addition of ivory.  I love the depth and warmth, the way the colors whisper back and forth and mingle. To me it evokes that magical light at the end of the summer when the days merge into evening so seamlessly that you hardly notice.

Photo by Chris Benzakein of the two large-scale urns wed created for the final dinner.

Photo by Chris Benzakein of the two large-scale urns wed created for the final dinner.

I have seeds for some of these and I am keeping my fingers crossed that my dahlia tubers from last year are going to make it. Others will be grown by local farmers, thank goodness. It seems fitting to add, as I dream big about my cutting garden, that starting seeds and digging dahlias is...well, it's hard work.  It takes a kind of time and sustained attention that is completely different from design work.  I never love my local flower farmers more than when I try and grow flowers myself.

Many of these seed varieties are still available in the Floret shop. Go see here.  And, Erin's new book  Floret Farm's Cut Flower Garden is coming out!!! Pre-order it now because it will fly off the shelves.  I can't wait to get my muddy paws on it.