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Category Archives: Inspiration

Panache Magazine Photo Shoot

Since the snow is flying today, I thought I would reminisce on one of the warmer days of last summer.

Back in August I had the pleasure of working with a creative and inspiring group of women on a whimsical photo shoot for Panache Magazine.   There is a first time for everything and I have to say that working with a horse can now be checked off the list!

Image                                     Photo Credit: Michelle Olson

Image                                                  Photo credit: Michelle Olson

Image                                               Photo credit: Michelle Olson

Image                                              Photo credit: Marcella Ryan

Image                                               Photo Credit: Marcella Ryan

Image                                               Photo Credit: Marcella Ryan

Image                                                Photo credit: Marcella Ryan

Please contact us by phone, email or through our website. We look forward to talking to you about your inspired event.

http://www.gatheringsflowerstudio.com

info@gatheringsflowerstudio.com

(902)659.2677

~ Photo Shoot Credits ~

PHOTOGRAPHER: Michelle Olsen; MODEL: Mackenzie @ Panache PEI Models; MUA: Savannah Belsher-Maclean; HAIR: Sharon Keller; WARDROBE STYLIST: Jenny Dunphy; Flower Design: Marcella Ryan / Gatherings Flower Studio

Guest Blogger ~ Amy Cox

It is with much admiration that I invited Amy Cox to contribute to the blog this week.  Her writing inspires me and every time I read her stories I want to share them with everyone I know.  I thought it fitting that her words be the last chapter on Summer 2013.

So, pour some tea and sit in your coziest chair.  Let Amy’s words of her Texas summer wash over you and prepare you for the new season ahead of us.

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The Summer Garden

Texas is a wild and vast place filled with varying climates and immense landscapes.  A unique and staggering beauty covers the state, in the Pineywoods, the rolling hill country, the West Texas desert, the Edwards Plateau, the mountainous regions, the rugged nature of Big Bend, the painted beauty of Palo Duro Canyon, the Panhandle, and the immense Prairieland, a small area of which I call home.  Within this landscape the soil varies drastically and even within the confine of twenty miles, it could be sandy and clay-filled.

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Many souls may find it impossible to believe that we are capable of growing plants and gardens in the intense heat of summer.  Of course, there have been summers of tremendously devastating drought when tall stands of trees have been lost; the loss is still evident by the dead limbs, mingling with the green, as it blooms out.  We are green to a point in early spring and summer, when a brilliant emerald carpet covers this portion of the earth and there are wildflowers blooming in the field.  On the whole, things grow even now, as we are in the thick of late summer, when the temperatures reach over one hundred degrees for weeks on end and the indoor temperatures may be eighty degrees.  Upon these days, you may go outside and immediately feel that your skin is being cooked by the sun, even if the sunlight is merely peeking through the leaf covered limbs of the trees. In a Texas summer, to simply breathe feels as if you have swallowed the sweltering air, which hits your face as you open an oven door and are surrounded by a heavy thick clinging heat.  We know we are in the wild hot days, when we observe that even the hardy weeds are wilting, shriveling and bending in the heat.  The lizards may be found hiding under the plants in the flowerbed, sheltered even more by the eaves of the house.  The anoles may be seen slipping through the mailbox on the plant porch to find cooler air.  You may witness the birds literally panting, as they search for water in the birdbaths, during the heavy heat of day.  In the summer months of severe drought, we follow strict water rations as lake and river levels fall. However, we continue on in our endeavor to keep each plant and tree alive, toting watering cans and turning on sun-baked hoses to give them a merciful drink of water.  Storms are scarce here in the summertime and the scent of rain sends the heart into wild hope, which rarely, but sometimes, comes to satisfy this thirsty yearning world in late summer.  When the rain does arrive, it comes down hard, pouring off the gutters, with the crack of thunder mingling ahead of the storm,  in cadence with lightening and the constant “suuush” of cicadas and tree frogs’ summer melody.

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For generations, hearts in my family have planted land in Texas during the burning heat of summer, sharecropping the earth, picking cotton burls under the scorching sun.  In later years, they put in large gardens to feed their families, even in the backyard of this ranch style home, where my mother and siblings grew up. I have witnessed wonders grown by God and tended to by the hands of this family.  I have learned much from the men and women~ grandparents, aunts, uncles and my own dear parents, simply by watching them; I cherish the earliest memories of life with them all, out in the green world.  My grandparents’ garden in Palestine, nestled in the Pineywoods was one of great bounty, as well as beauty.  Monet or Van Gogh might have found inspiration in it’s sheltering expanse, with it’s cool and vibrant colors.  Towering cannas, brilliant blue hydrangeas, petunias, red roses, dogwoods, clusters of grapes upon the vines, fig trees, pear trees, peach trees, watermelon, strawberry, blackberries, corn and tomatoes were a few of the stars in their garden. My favorite spot in their garden was near the front gate.  I could often be found kneeling by a raised bed, surrounded by miniature pastel roses and sitting with my dolls upon the sandstone rock, as they were dressed in their party dresses and holding tea parties for their friends.  They were quite content to gather for hours, in the fairyland where they lived, amidst all that beauty.  The fragrance of sweet rose perfume could not help but meld with the scent of the pine and the trees were always whisper-singing melodies above us.  One could not help but dream in all that loveliness. I also remember vividly their garden here in the prairieland and happily wandering amidst beans and dahlias, wisteria and irises, planted by their hard working hands in the years before they moved to the lake.  My summer memories in Texas are woven of these strong threads of growing things, standing still, in all the warmth.

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There comes a point in all this heat, when you bring the potted plants onto the sun porch, leaving just enough beauty outside for others to enjoy.  It seems kinder still to cut the blooms, even if they are so delicate that they last only a day or more.  There have been summers when anything which has an open end, becomes a vase.   Vintage bottles, milk glass, antique pitchers, old salt shakers and mason jars frequently become containers for the plethora of summer perennials, and the rare hearty annuals, which flourish in this land.  Bountiful bachelor buttons, sturdy heirloom roses, ethereal pincushion plants, hearty pink coneflowers, purple mealy sage and other growing joys have filled containers in an array of purple and pink, which have been cheerfully scattered through the house, spreading about their gentle perfume.  The flavorful herbs of oregano, sweet basil, rosemary, thyme and dill, growing by the kitchen door or in the garden, have also been picked and placed upon the jadeite green-topped sewing table, in the center of the kitchen.  At times, the herbs have been rooted in the kitchen window, to aid in savory meals and to be kept cool by the cold, indoor air.

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One may often be surprised by the things which thrive under the never ending sun, plants which are much hardier than they look, like the pale pink rock rose, old homestead roses, the gentle Blackfoot daisy, the scrumptiously scented phlox, the tiny blooms of lantana, the pinwheel petals of the pinks and the proud pentas, which cover the earth in a vast array of colors.  These gentle gems grant beauty still, even as the grass fades from brilliant green, to the color of dried straw and turns to powder under your feet. It is not futile to have one’s fingers in the earth, even when these days of endless heat come, but when you lose a plant, even when its tiny leaves are barely catching a hint of sun, you often feel as if you’ve lost a friend.  I apologized profusely to two sweet plants this week, in the flowerbed underneath my bedroom window, as I had neglected them for just a handful of days, thinking that they would be safe and sound, under the grand green shelter and shade of the beautyberry bush.  They are called “proven winners,” but I should have known that wasn’t a promise and I had not nursed these plants through the summer before.  They may catch their second wind and rise up to greet the summer sun, once again; so, I treat them gently, with little bits of hope.

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In this summer landscape, I am ever reminded that much of gardening is trial and error, it involves seeing something beautiful, envisioning it in your own sweet spot of earth, digging a tiny hole, letting the gentle dirt sift through your fingers, pouring in little beads of nourishment and then, asking a wee green thing to share its loveliness with the world, against all odds.  It seems that each time I step into the out of doors, my soul is revived and any crinkles from the busyness or trials of life, are smoothed gently away, as I breathe the air about me and gaze at the beauty of the growing things~ for I believe gardens are the perfume of joy and each plant is a miracle mingling with God’s Hands over the earth.  They add beauty to this wondrous life and keep the heart singing when the warm days come and threaten to scorch our own petals, as we live and face our own challenging times, in which to bloom.  And so, even in the days of summer, when the weeds wilt, the grass dries up, and the sun beats down, may we stop a moment and witness the wonder, the miracle of plants growing in the cracks along the sidewalks, along the roadside hills, upon the mountainsides, across the farmland and in our own backyards.  May we, in all our busyness, pause and give thanks in the heat, for the tender, miraculous blossoming drops of beauty which surround us still.

~ Amy Elizabeth Cox

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Please contact us by phone, email or through our website. We look forward to talking to you about your inspired event.

http://www.gatheringsflowerstudio.com

info@gatheringsflowerstudio.com

(902)659.2677

Flower design and photography by Marcella Ryan.

Well, Hello There Summer

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With wedding season in full swing I am still able to get out and play in the garden; or the gardens of others, as I was able to do this past week. Peonies are in full bloom and all manner of lovely little textures are bursting from every flower bed.  Old fashioned garden roses are heavy with perfume and petals and the light scent of mock orange is the sweetest scent in this whole wide world.

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Intoxicating to all the senses, summer is finally here and is dressed in the most charming of flowers.

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Please contact us by phone, email or through our website. We look forward to talking to you about your inspired event.
 http://www.gatheringsflowerstudio.com

info@gatheringsflowerstudio.com

(902)659.2677

Flower design and photography by Marcella Ryan.

Tulip Season

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This is the perfect week to pull on a pair of rubber boots and head out to some local growers.  The tulips are spectacular right now in Prince Edward Island and the fields are vibrant patchwork quilts that beckon everyone to stop, take pictures and soak in the beauty.

There is an opportunity for the whole family to pick their own tulips this weekend at Prince Edward Island’s Points East Tulip Festival. Load the kids in the car and head to Balderston’s Farm where they have teamed up with Vanco Farm to offer a You-Pick tulip field.  Sunday afternoon will feature  local Island artisans, music and food.  And the best part is that a portion of the proceeds will go to The Easter Seals.

More information on The Points East Tulip Festival can be found at  http://www.pointseastcoastaldrive.com/   

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Please contact us by phone, email or through our website. We look forward to talking to you about your inspired event.

http://www.gatheringsflowerstudio.com

info@gatheringsflowerstudio.com

(902)659.2677

Flower design and photography by Marcella Ryan.

Thank you to~

Vanco Farm http://www.vancofarms.com/vancotulips_about.asp

Balderston Farm http://www.balderstons.com/index.php

Happy Mother’s Day!

During my time doing design work in Boston, my favourite flower holiday was Mother’s Day.  The sight of people bustling about the city streets with armloads of flowers to celebrate and give thanks to mom, mother, mummy or momma.

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These days I am reminded of the first blossom that was presented to me.  A sunny dandelion of course; which was given by small, muddy fingers with such pride from an innocent, open heart that only a child has.  I took special care to place it in a vase on the kitchen table so we could admire it and see how it closed and opened as the days went by. A simple thank you was given without knowing how impactful the gesture was.  What a lesson on how all gifts should be given and received!

Mother's Day 2013

As a mother, this day brings dual meaning – to celebrate and to be celebrated.  I often think about how we mark this day with my mother and how those memories have etched themselves into my life’s path.  When I was little, Mother’s Day often found my family mingling about our local greenhouse looking for the largest hanging Fushia in hopes of  enticing humming birds to visit my mother’s backyard garden.  Some years found us carting home apples trees, various varieties of peonies, rose bushes and  fanciful passion flower vines.  All to be fussed over and pampered by my mother’s hands; as if she needed more things to tend to.  Unknowingly she sowed the seeds for the love of flowers in both of her girls and it is certainly something to be grateful for.

Mother's Day

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Gatherings would like to wish all awe inspiring moms a happy Mother’s Day!

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Please contact us by phone, email or through our website. We look forward to talking to you about your inspired event.

http://www.gatheringsflowerstudio.com

info@gatheringsflowerstudio.com

(902)659.2677

Flower design and photography by Marcella Ryan

Breaking Ground

plowing the fields

This week brought the excitement of tractors pulling plows through the fields.  It seems our Island is waking up to spring and stretching its arms in a collective sigh of relief that we made it through another winter.  But rarely is there time to sit and contemplate; there are fields to be turned over and cultivated for this years crops and flower beds, seeds and tender bulbs prepared for the final frost to whisper his last goodbye.  Every morning as we make our way to daycare, my 3 year old son says the same thing as we pass tractors ambling along the highway. “We are all waiting for the last frost.  You can’t plant flowers until the last frost, mom” And this is sage advice from my little farmhand.  And so we wait patiently but plan and prepare in the meantime.

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I have so many brides enchanted by dahlias that I thought a dahlia garden was in order.  There are so many types of dahlias from the single petalled varieties to the richly romantic dinner plate dahlias.  I can see this turning into a new obsession.  This year we are planting the pink and white verigated candy club and sultry dark timmo.

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This year we are starting a new zinnia garden as well.  I think our biggest challenge with these fun loving flowers is to keep little hands from constantly picking them.  My absolute favourite Zinnia is Envy and it may be hard to keep my own fingers from picking this green charmer when it starts to fill the garden.

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There is nothing very difficult about growing these humble flowers.  They need only the basics in terms of care.  But when they are tucked into a lavish bouquet dripping with textures such as raspberry, scented geranium, lady’s mantle and oregano, they become stunningly romantic, infinitely charming and utterly vintage.

Please contact us by phone, email or through our website.  We look forward to talking to you about your inspired event.

http://www.gatheringsflowerstudio.com

info@gatheringsflowerstudio.com

(902)659.2677

Storm Day Inspiration

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Even on this brooding storm day in March, I can find inspiration.  As the moody grey clouds hang close to the land releasing their soft snow onto the fields surrounding the farm, my thoughts are on spring and of course, flowers.

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Like so many snow flakes, gypsophilia or the more commonly known baby’s breath, is more impactful when clustered together.

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It’s easy to appreciate this flowers beauty when it stands on its own.  It makes my heart skip a beat when it is coupled with grey tones; sweetly understated and undeniably delicate.

gypsophilia

Please contact us by phone, email or through our website.  We look forward to talking to you about your inspired event.

http://www.gatheringsflowerstudio.com

info@gatheringsflowerstudio.com

(902)659.2677

Flower design by Marcella Ryan; photography by Chelsea MacRae (top 2) and Marcella Ryan (bottom 3)

Local, Seasonal, Sustainable ~ The Green Wedding

With the lush farmland that surrounds us here in Prince Edward Island and the capable, knowledgeable farmers to produce bountiful, robust blooms; the choice to “go green” when choosing wedding flowers can be an easy one.  Not only is there an abundance of varieties that can be artfully designed to suit any style, the cost and carbon footprint of locally grown flowers are low.  At Gatherings, we strive to use local product whenever possible.

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There are so many wonderful reasons to purchase flowers that are in season.  The price is at its lowest, the flowers are fresher, stronger and have more vitality, and the fragrance cannot be compared to their off season counterparts.  But, from a purely romantic point of view,  in season flowers symbolize the time of year you have chosen to wed the one you love.   At Gatherings, we love the changing seasons; saying goodbye to a tried and true favourite just in time to fall in love all over again with the new seasons offerings.

Supporting local flower growers is good for everyone.  Supporting fair pricing and money that goes back into our Island and Maritime economy is how Gatherings endeavors to be socially responsible.  There is nothing more lovely!

Please contact us by email, phone or through our website.  We look forward to talking to you about your inspired event.

http://www.gatheringsflowerstudio.com

gatheringsflowerstudio@live.ca

(902)659-2677

Photography by Marcella Ryan

Wishful Thinking

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The perfect addition to a fresh, spring bistro table or a balmy summer tea party.  I can’t stop thinking of spring and summer on one of the coldest days of the year

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Please contact us by email, phone or through our website.  We look forward to speaking to you about your inspired event.

http://www.gatheringsflowerstudio.com

gatheringsflowerstudio@live.ca

(902)659-2677

Flower design by Marcella Ryan. Photography by  Marcella Ryan (top) and  Savannah Belsher MacLean (middle and bottom)

Reminiscing on Saint Valentine’s Day

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Mint Juleps are not only for the horse racing crowd.  Vibrant red roses and fresh from the garden mint can spell nothing but love; especially when paired with this antique dessert glass. This arrangement was made this past summer when the mint was taking over a friends garden.  Of course mid February gives us very little local product to work with here in Prince Edward Island, so we reminisce about warmer days to keep the love alive.

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Please contact us by email, phone or through our website.  We look forward to speaking to you about your inspired event.

http://www.gatheringsflowerstudio.com

info@gatheringsflowerstudio.com

(902)659-2677

Flower design by Marcella Ryan, photography by Savannah Belsher MacLean.