"Spring Showers Bring Lots & Lots of Flowers"

As the saying goes, "Spring showers bring May flowers"....so of course the first wedding of our 2018 season had to involve lots of rain! But the beautiful silver lining of this wedding were all of the A-M-A-Z-I-N-G flowers!!!

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If I could have it my way, I would order more weddings in the Spring! It is literally the best time of year (in my opinion) for flowers (not so much the weather though)! The air is filled with sweet aromas and the landscapes are painted with flowering trees everywhere. Flowers including lilacs, anemones, ranunculus, sweet peas, and tulips all put on the most beautiful show, evoking a romance that is like no other. 

When Amanda and Ryan came to me with their May date, I was instantly so excited because I knew that Mother Nature would pull out all the stops! No matter how dull and dreary Winter can be here in New England, the Spring always returns and brings with it a sense of renewal and excitement for what is ahead!

With Castle Hill as our backdrop, we set out to create soft and romantic flowers that were feminine and classic. The color palette was perfect- whites and soft blush tones as our focus and hints of peach! With the bulk of the flowers being sourced within a 15 mile radius from our studio, we were able to create lush designs for Amanda and Ryan that captured this moment in time, this week in Spring, and the place that they chose to make their love official, Rhode Island!

Check out what the talented Molly Anne Photography captured from this very special day!

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A look back on our Farmer Florist Class: Perfect Peonies

Ticket sales are live for our 2018 Farmer Florist Series so I thought it would be cool to show you what our attendees experienced last year. Our first class in the series, Perfect Peonies, is a beautiful morning that excites all the senses and leaves peony lovers wanting to run and convert their backyard into a colorful peony farm like David and Anne's!!!! Here's a behind the scenes look into last June. We hope you will join us this year to learn how to grow and design with one of my favorite flowers, the peony!

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Last June, The Local Bouquet partnered with Electric Moon Peony Farm to co-teach our 2nd Annual Farmer Florist class series "Perfect Peonies". David Rockermann and Anne Kubik, owners of Electric Moon Peony Farm in Adamsville, Rhode Island, welcomed 13 attendees to show them an inside look at their local peony operation and to share their wealth of knowledge on the proper way to grow this beautiful perennial! 

On a warm Spring, Saturday morning I joined David and Anne on their 3 acre farm to give our peony-loving attendees an in-depth learning experience that included lots of hands on demonstrations and discussions on growing peonies, individual hands on design time with the rows and rows of colorful blooms as our backdrop and a whole morning of just us and the peonies. 

For me- this class has always felt like being in flower heaven and I am instantly filled with an overwhelming sense of joy and gratitude to not only experience the beauty at Electric Moon Peony Farm but to also have the opportunity to share it with others. It is truely a site to see, over thirty varieties of peonies in full bloom, bees buzzing around happily, yet a stillness that makes you want to pause and stay awhile! I always tell David and Anne each June that if I could live in their backyard I would! 

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To start off our morning, David and Anne led the group through the rows and rows of peonies, which were planted five years ago. They shared their personal story of how they became flower farmers, how they acquired this extensive collection, and even the horticultural history of the peony plants (which always fascinates me). To listen to these two speak about gardening is like listening to a fine artist describe their masterpiece. They are truely stewards of all of the gorgeous blooms that flower each year and its no wonder that hundreds of people flock to their quaint little farm each year just to get a glimpse into their world!  

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This year, David and Anne were gracious enough to give our attendees not only a full farm tour but also a live demonstration on how to plant a peony root stock, showing the science and the love that goes into getting the surrounding environment just right to help the plant thrive. They spoke about ways to identify and treat disease, how to properly water and feed this perennial and even what the best varieties are of peonies to invest in. Attendees were encouraged to ask any and all questions, giving an opportunity to learn from peony experts! 

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Half way through the class, attendees were then invited to join me for some hands on design time using a variety of peonies fresh from the field. Together we designed a hand-held bouquet using some of the same florist techniques that we use in The Local Bouquet studio.  Along with the peonies, I also sourced other locally grown flowers from surrounding farms including beautiful poppies, sweet pea, stock, and foxglove -showing our attendees just how much is grown locally here in New England and how to they too can feel joy from creating beautiful designs from the annuals and perennials in their own garden. 

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I'm probably a bit biased, but this is one of my favorite parts about our Farmer Florist class series.  I love leading the attendees through the design portion because not only does it allow me an opportunity to share my story and The Local Bouquet's mission, but it also allows me to learn about how others view design, nature, and locally grown flowers. It is so fun to see what everyone creates with the same ingredients. No two designs are EVER the same! This class was filled with all levels of designers; some avid gardeners and some beginners who were eager just to experience their very own locally grown peonies! 

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2017's class was such a success that David, Anne and I are so excited for the 2018 "Perfect Peonies" Farmer Florist Class. We want to continue to welcome the public into our worlds and share our love for peonies, horticulture and locally grown flowers. We want to present information that is useful, inspiring and challenging to motivate others to grow the very best peonies they can and to also have the confidence to design endless creations with them! 

If you have attended this class, we would love to hear from you. Leave a comment below and share this blog with your friends. Sign ups for our 2018 class are now live. For more information on this class and the other two classes we are offering this year and to sign up, click on the tab below.

Remember, now until March 1st we are gifting you with a 15% off coupon when you sign up for all three of the classes in the Farmer Florist Series. Use code HAPPYBIRTHDAY at checkout!

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Photographer: Maaike Bernstrom Photography

Farm: Electric Moon Peony Farm, Adamsville RI

A Year in Review

2017 has been such an incredible year for my little business that I wanted to spend some time reflecting on all of the moments that I am thankful for and to celebrate on how much growth we have had, because after all- its important to pat yourself on the back! These are the moments that have grown this dream of mine, have forged amazing relationships in this industry, and have given me experiences that have molded me into a better business woman.

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2017 definitely started out with a bang! In January, Team TLB was invited to celebrate the release of Southern New England Wedding Magazine's annual issue. This night was extra special for me because a bridal bouquet I had designed was chosen to be featured on the front cover of their 2017 issue. The bridal bouquet selected was the bouquet I designed for a Fall-inspired styled shoot with the talented Maaike Bernstrom and a list of other talented, local vendors. This annual magazine would be printed throughout the year and distributed across Southern New England, meaning that my locally grown and gathered bouquet would be on shelves for 12 whole months! Not only that- but our entire photo shoot would be featured within the beautiful pages of the magazine, inspiring couples tying the knot in the Fall here in New England. This was a big moment for me because up until this point I had not had my designs published in print, so heading in 2017 this was on the top of my goal list.  I would say I was successful in accomplishing that goal! 

(For more on this styled shoot, check out my blog post on Feb. 10th, 2017 "American Grown Makes Front Cover")

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The winter of 2017 was also new and exciting for The Local Bouquet because the office/studio space that I rented in the historic and charming neighborhood of Tiverton Four Corners, had been newly renovated with a completely new layout, new furniture and lots of space to not only meet our wonderful clients in but also lots of space to be creative and share my love of flowers with others. This meant our calendar was filled with floral design classes along with other creative, hands on classes that fit well with The Local Bouquet brand. Throughout the year, I welcomed in and co-taught along side some amazing companies including Sip N' Script (a calligraphy company from The Boston area), Charlie Lou (an art company based out of Little Compton, RI) and even some private floral classes made up of close friends! 

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While we spent the winter months teaching floral design classes and meeting all of our wonderful bridal clients for the 2017 season, the spring quickly came, as it always does. In April I received a nice surprise from a local community college in MA, naming me the "Sustainable Entrepreneur of the Year". This was such an honor to receive this award, a moment for me to reflect on the mission The Local Bouquet is founded on and to celebrate the growth of the American Grown flower movement and my company's sustainability in an industry that doesn't always give that option to its consumers. 

The Local Bouquet was also honored with Wedding Wire's People's Choice Award for our level of service and the quality of our product for the 2017 season.  It is always rewarding to hear what our clients think of our work and our brand. It definitely is the fuel that keeps us working so hard!

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Before wedding season started, I was invited to go to Washington, D.C. to work alongside my dear friend and design powerhouse Kelly Shore from "Petals by the Shore". Kelly invited me to be on the volunteer design team for the First Lady's Luncheon hosted by the Congressional Club. This luncheon takes place every year and honors the First Lady of the United States. Kelly was named lead designer for the 2017 luncheon along with two other designers, colleagues of mine, who were also Chapel Designers. Kelly, Margaret and Christy lead a team of 16 volunteers made up of designers, American flower farmers and people who just loved flowers. 18,000 certified American grown stems were featured in all of the designs that we created, showcasing the hard work, dedication, and love of over 20 certified American grown flower farms. 

This was such a cool experience for me and one that I will never forget because it was a once and a life time opportunity to have 18,000 stems of American grown flowers all in front of me to design with and to experience. I was able to see new American grown product that I hadn't yet worked with, I was able to shake the hands of some of the farmers who grew the product, I was able to introduce myself to influential people in my industry and I was able to grow my company's name as a proud supporter of the American grown flower movement. 

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After a whirlwind of a start to our 2017 year, it was finally time to begin designing for our couples! 2017 was filled with a mix of new and also familiar color palettes, new design installations, and a bunch of new vendors. With the help of my amazing team, I was able to create weddings that were filled with seasonal, American and locally grown flowers that evoked our couple's personal style while highlighting the chosen time of year.

My relationships with my farmers grew stronger and my contacts within the industry grew larger as we began working with new companies and wholesalers to bring the very best product to our clients. I ended our wedding season feeling very grateful and also refreshed that we had such a successful year with wonderful clients who saw the value in our product, appreciated our level of service, and supported our American grown mission. 

Here is a highlight of some of the weddings we designed this year. For more pictures and a look behind the scenes, be sure to read our "Real Weddings" blog posts where we share the story behind each of these weddings. 

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Something else that we accomplished this year that I am super proud of is the huge growth of our annual "Farmer Florist" class series. In only our second year, we more than doubled our attendance at both of our classes this summer and were able to deliver rich curriculum for everyone to enjoy, while promoting the local flower movement! This class series is like my child, a creative endeavor I had dreamed up for for a few years in my head before bringing to fruition. The two farms that I have partnered with, Electric Moon Peony Farm & Weatherlow Florals, have proven to be not only amazing teachers in this series but also dear friends of mine who believe in sharing our love of flowers and the world of design. In 2018, I am so excited to announce we will be adding a third farm/teacher to the class series which will be announced on our website in a few short weeks, so stay tuned for that. 

Here are some pictures of our workshops from this year's series, "Perfect Peonies" at Electric Moon Peony Farm and "Dahlia Dreaming" at Weatherlow Florals. (For an even closer look at both of these workshops, read our blog posts reflecting on all the fun we had.)

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After spending the Fall and holiday season teaching more design classes at new and cool venues including West Elm, Weatherlow Farms, and Pottery Barn I spent the last few weeks of 2017 savoring some quiet time with my little family! If it wasn't for the love and support my husband and my extended family gives me, I definitely wouldn't be able to balance being a mom of three and running this company! Well....I should say a mom of 4! This February we will be welcoming our fourth child. While we are unsure whether it will be a baby girl or a baby boy, one thing is for sure- our 2018 year will be even more beautiful. Babies and beautiful flowers- not sure it gets much better!

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