Maybe our fascination with sheet mulching started on a visit to the infamous Max Gill's flower garden in San Fransisco last March. "It's a mess!" he insisted. Indeed it was covered with cardboard, yet still the most exquisite clematis - vanilla scented! - bloomed, along with a smattering of hellebores here and there. Akebia, ecchevaria...I'm digressing, but lets take a quick look:
Anyway! The cardboard was for weed control; a weed barrier if you will that saves your back hours of work when it's time to plant. This stuck in my mind.
In February we have a big southern tier hellebore trip planned. Our goal is to accumulate a large selection of rare hellebores to serve two purposes; First to be used as specimens in our Hail to the Hellebore class the first week of March (we'll teach about them and then cut them up like the greedy florists we are), and Second to begin to establish a hellebore garden upstate for future cuttings.
Our hellebore garden will happen in a large patch of pine trees. Sheet mulching this area now helps us prepare for an early April planting and will keep the weeds (and massive stretches of poison ivy) from coming up. Who wants to weed poison ivy? Not I, and judging by her recent work ethic, not Nea.
There is lots of information on the internet about sheet mulching - and different ways to do it - we did this:
1. Lay down overlapping cardboard to frame out the area of the garden. It's important to really overlap them generously so that weeds can't find their way through. A nice way to use all those cut flower boxes from our studios...
2. Moisten the cardboard with water to help adhere it to the ground.
3. Cover the cardboard with this layer of seed-free top soil 3 inches thick. This took about 2 tons of top soil which we shoveled into the back of my pickup and then back out of my pickup to wheelbarrows. Next time we might find someone with a dump-truck.
4. Cover the soil with a layer of sawdust (from the Saipua soap dish mill).
5. Top it with a thin layer of mulch.
Voila! Let the worms get to work. In April we'll dig down to the cardboard, cut and X through it and plant the hellebores.
We've spent two days deep in the woods of upstate New York foraging some material for this Sunday's wreath making class. Nea led the way in her neon 'please don't shoot me' hunter vest.
Wild rose hips are so prickly but we had to have them.
Piles and piles and piles!
See you Sunday!
Saturday, May 12th, 2012
ROSES 101: Little Flower School at Garden Valley Ranch
10am - 4pm
Garden Valley Ranch in Petaluma, California grows some of the finest heirloom roses in the country (without pesticides!) and supplies our studios each spring and summer with the most fragrant and unusual specimens. In this day-long class, we’ll tour the rose fields with Garden Valley staff and learn about their rose growing techniques. After lunch we’ll discuss the basics of flower arranging and use our rose clippings together with a smattering of other California grown stems to create lush rambling centerpieces.
Possibly our most exciting class yet...we encourage you to browse the roses grown at Garden Valley and hope to see you there in May!
All materials, clippers, lunch and sunscreen provided.
Jules! Please get in touch with us and let us know which class you'd like to take!
We'll be posting some more classes over the next few weeks (including some dates Northern California!). Sign up for our mailing list to get info on all upcoming classes.
N & S
A few changes to note; we've made it easier to register for classes online - see our new bigcartel site for registration. We're hoping to make some of our favorite tools (think clippers, vases) available on here as well.
Also, we're working furiously to get together details for a very exciting northern California class; a weekend warrior style bridal workshop; a possible list of Paris dates (!) and a Pacific Northwest summer tour.
And, we have a new improved mailing list situation located over there -->;
If you'd like to receive emails about new classes please sign on up!
LASTLY, we're giving away one spot to one lucky winner!
The winner will be selected at random. One comment is all you need to enter.
We'll announce the prizewinner on Monday, December 5th!
Thanks always for your support and enthusiasm for flowers!
WREATH MAKING 101
Sunday, December 18th, 2011Between 1 - 4 pm
We’ll be using a variety of pine, cypress, cedar along with a smorg of pinecones, rosehips, pomegranates, feathers, and dried doo-dads to fashion natural looking winter wreaths all afternoon in the Saipua Studio. Make something tailored and neat or loose and wild. Wire frames or grapevine frames provided along with all supplies needed.
This class is taught one-on-one in an open door timeframe; please pre-register and come by during the timeframe of noon-4pm.
The Saipua Studio is located at 147 Van Dyke Street in the Red Hook Section of Brooklyn.
Coral, Sand and Citrus; A color study with Ranunculus and Winter FruitsSaturday, January 28th, 2012
$275 SOLD OUT
By January the really exceptional locally grown ranunculus are rolling into our studios from upstate New York, New Jersey, and a few hyper specimens from Japan. In this entry level class, we'll talk at length about strategies of color blending. Through the use of gradient techniques, we'll blend soft and bold colors; employing stems of ranunculus, poppies, tangerines and kumquats, sweet peas, hyacinth, parrot tulips, etc.
This class will meet at the Saipua Studio; 147 Van Dyke Street in Red Hook Brooklyn.
Granted it's warm palette, but still rather cool in our studio so dress with layers!
All materials and refreshments provided.
1:00 - 4:00pm
In this class we continue our exploration of this striking specimen; reveared throughout history as one of the most precious and exotic cut flowers. The Orchidaceae family has over 20,000 known species; we'll bring together a large handful the most unusual plants and cut stems the flower trade has to offer, including some phalaenopsis, paphiopedilum (commonly known as lady slippers), Oncidium, cymbidium, dendrobium, etc. In recent years, the orchid has been relegated to tight, rather restricting styles of arrangements. In this class we'll focus on using them to build more natural, textural and unstructured centerpieces. This is a basics class, open to all skill levels. Students will create lavish centerpieces, and take home their own orchid plants to care for.
This class meets at the Nicolette Camille Studio located at 50-52 Dobbin Street in the Greenpoint section of Brooklyn. All materials and a snack are provided. Clippers will be provided and are a gift to take with you.
Ode to the Anemone
Tuesday, February 21st
New York Botanic Garden
Midtown Education center
The anemone is the unusual black-centered gem among winter flora. Grown indoors in greenhouses from October through April, it is highly coveted by floral designers for its jewel-toned hues and lengthy vase life. Learn how to combine a variety of anemones with myriad other winter blooms (amaryllis, juniper, ranunculus, citrus, and more) to create rich, opulent arrangements while understanding basic floral techniques and the art of building a layered, garden-inspired centerpiece. Clippers will be provided and yours to keep.
Hail to the Hellebore!
Sunday, March 4th, 2012
Nicolette and Sarah will be spending the last week of February collecting some of the finest hellebore plants down south. We'll be cutting from these fine plants (before we plant them!) and adding fritillaria, white cherry, ranunculus, spirea and other seasonal material.
Come join this class and learn all the basics of flower arranging using these fine early spring flowers.
This class will be held at the Saipua Studio; 147 Van Dyke Street in the Red Hook Section of Brooklyn.
All supplies and a snack provided. Clippers will be provided as a gift to take home along with the arrangement you create.
Color Workshop: Rose and Rust
In this class we'll investigate the nuances of pink; from the saturated berry hues of celosia and cockscomb to the palest heirloom rose. Students will learn how to layer and combine color with flowers to create an ombre effect. Does pink have a better foil than the rich amber and sienna tones of October? We think not! Featured in this class will be the last of the Califonia heirloom roses, pepperberry, autumn fruits, asian pear, sedum, carnations and maybe, just maybe, we'll have some tree peonies too! Open to all levels.
Sunday, October 16th
Autumn, our favorite season for flowers.
When leaves color, field flowers are going great guns and we finally get to play with fruit on the branch, berries, pods and wild grasses. October beckons a range of color palettes from muddy blues and turquoise to opulent plum and warm ochre tones. We'll be bringing in the last of the dahlias in their dinner-plate sized glory, porcelain vine, persimmons, olive, rosehips, amaranth, celosia, pear, and painted fern. Combing fruit, foliage and flower we'll create grand sprawling arrangements using a flower frog in shallow footed urn. This class is open to all levels.
The class will take place in the Nicolette's studio at 50-52 Dobbin St, in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.
Nicolette did a flower story in the July issue of Real Simple. The gorgeous photos are by the extraordinary Martyn Thompson. There are some really lovely photos* and lots of arranging tips. You can check out the article here or be sure to grab one at the newsstand!
Hope you are surviving the heat!
*this mostly green arrangement is my favorite. there are endless possibilities with all green arrangements. have you ever made an arrangement with all greens?
Happy Fourth of July weekend!
We'll be taking a short break from classes while we get through our busy wedding season.
But do not fret! We are scheming, brainstorming & organizing new class ideas and exciting travel/surprise guests/spaces/vases. SO MUCH!
We may even have a couple pop up classes this summer......