Archive for the ‘Inspirational entry’ Category

Monday, October 7th, 2019 | Leave A Comment

Bringing Yucatecan Flavor to Longwood Gardens




We recently led three classes at the famous Longwood Gardens in Kennet Square, Pennsylvania.

Longwood Gardens, one of the most wonderful gardens in the world, was the former home of Pierre S. DuPont, part of the wealthy DuPont business family. They have a world-class water garden and the largest green wall in North America among other magnificent attractions.  I encourage everyone to come and explore this magical place.



Matthew Ross, Director of Continuing Education at Longwood, approached me to develop some classes based on my love of the Yucatán Penninsula of Mexico and the influence it has had on my work in Beverly Hills.




The first class, Yes, Yu-ca-tán

We told the story of Henequen or Sisal fiber in the Yucatán.


Known locally as green gold, it fueled the economic growth of the 19th century making the city of Mérida, for a short time, home to more millionaires than any place in the world.



Students selected their own colorful hand-woven sisal tortilleros, or tortilla warmers, from Mérida to use as an armature.




Colored braided sisal twines and raw henequen fiber were materials to make flowers and woven braided loops to add to the floral bouquets.



The class was enthusiastic creating Yucatecan flavored hand-tied bouquets.




The second class,  Tropical Tiles

We created tropical planters using the local “Pasta tiles” also known as encaustic tiles.

This is a type of concrete tile that has been made in the Yucatán for hundreds of years.



We assembled planters from the pasta tiles for students to select from.



Then we created tropical planters using an assortment of exotic orchids, bromeliads, and succulents.



We shared tips on how to attach the Tillandsias or air plants so they appear to be growing in nature.  We discussed how the orchids and, the bromeliad plants can be styled to have a natural effect.  Then students let their creativity flow.



It was so interesting to see all the different variations created by the students.




The Third class   “Get on the A-List”

the focus of this class was on special events and larger arrangements.

First, I shared images of the party and film work that I have done in Los Angeles.

Then we created suspended pieces and tall centerpieces using Accent Decor’s amazing containers.



We demonstrated how to use unwoven sisal rope fibers sculpted over a PVC pipe canopy frame.

Here we are creating decorative caps from Tillandsia xerographica, Sabal palmetto palm, and dried water lilies.



All the years I have grown water lilies, I never knew you could dry them in Silica gel. Thank you to all the horticultural interns who dried these beauties for the class. Look at the color from this dried flower. Amazing!



Then,  we worked on the components of making a long table decoration.

We discussed the importance of event lighting and how metallic finishes capture the light in an evening party setting. These round metal sphere forms from Accent Decor were painted gold.



These Exotic Sunanda Vandas,  this variety is called Lava, were used in bud vases to meander down the table.



photo Longwood Gardens

These gorgeous and fragrant Miyabi Garden Roses, in the foreground, were developed by the breeder, Keiji Kunieda in Japan at Rose Farm Keiji and are now being grown at Alexandra Farms, in Bogotá, Colombia.  Alexandra farms also supplied the David Austin roses, Darcy, Juliet, and Tess,



Using Accent Decor vases, we showed how using a simple votive candle becomes a beautiful element to the design.



Then each of the students made a floral napkin ring that can be used as a cocktail ring favor for party guests.



The students enjoyed this fun cocktail ring idea.



Here we are adding the final touches to the tall centerpieces.


I was so happy to share my experiences this weekend and wanted to thanks all the wonderful students.



The following Monday before Longwood Gardens opened, Matthew Ross introduced me to Tim Jennings, Senior Gardener responsible for Longwood’s outdoor Waterlily Display.



They invited me to have a “Bucket List Experience”, to wade in the Victoria Water lily ponds.

There are 2 known species for these water platters, not referred to as lily pads, and only a few hybrids, one being the famous Victoria ‘Longwood Hybrid’




Beyond the gigantic scale and amazing beauty, there are so many interesting things about this plant.


For one, the flowers open for the first time at dusk. The flower is female, white, and strongly fragrant like pineapple. The second night, the same flower opens pink and is male. This plant is one that I hope to grow in my pond in Mexico someday.


The waterlily collection was a religious experience for me.

Make a point to visit remarkable Longwood Gardens.


Monday, July 4th, 2016 | Leave A Comment

Roselily at Sino Dutch Lily Days

We had a wonderful time presenting Van den Bos’s beautiful bulb flowers in China. Tricia Tang Van de Borg and Henri Van der Borg were terrific hosts and made me fall in love with China. The event took place at the new bulb center in Lingyuan, north of Beijing.


It is a beautiful green agricultural area where cut flowers are becoming a much more important crop.



President Qian’s of Beijing Sino Floriculture, organized the event Jimmy from Sinoflor and their crew coordinated and oversaw decoration of the event space  with giant lily pillar structures featuring 150,000 stems of various varieties of lilies. It was very inspiring.



The structure is similar to chain link fencing with small water bottles wired in the spaces.  This creates a beautiful lily covered pillar that flares out at the top, some of these were 35′ tall.



There was a floral fashion runway presentation that was televised on national TV.  I presented a collection for Van den Bos flower bulbs.



I created from left to right,  a arm bouquet with a midilino hat, a floral crown with a floral handbag, a bolero hat with a floral and wire cape, a fabric spiral Roselily bouquet and a triple composite Roselily bouquet.



I didn’t even know I was getting a male model, but it worked perfectly with this matador look and I think he really enjoyed showing it.




Felicia from Van  den Bos, also her first time in China, modeled the calla crown after the show. Being a tall, blonde, blue eyed beauty, she attracted a lot of attention with the Chinese and was posing with the growers for photos.



I was lucky to meet talented floral designers, Kathy Ong – AIFD  from Indonesia and Regine Motmans,  Artist Director of Fleuramour, from Belgium and Chinese Designer,Zhang Chao, not pictured.



Here is a clip from the fashion show, which started off with fireworks, singing, two dance groups, confetti bomb and balloon release, it was quite a spectacular event.



Thursday, April 28th, 2016 | Leave A Comment

May 14, 2016 ‘Los Colores’, The Virginia Robinson Gardens Garden Walk

One week from this Saturday, May 14, 2016  –  ‘Los Colores’ .

We are happy to announce we have been asked, for yet another year, to decorate the VIP concierge lunch tables for the Robinson Garden’s Garden Walk



The theme this year is ‘Los Colores’, a Spanish Childrens song about how the world is made of many colors.

While visiting a dear friend in Akumal, Mexico this spring, I was inspired by her beautifully embroidered table runner of many colors.




I thought that this might be fun to use for the Garden Walk.

I photographed the individual flowers and when I returned, I enlarged them.




With the help of co-chairs Patty Elias and Marian Power, we enlisted the help of the lovely ladies of Robinson Gardens to help with the construction.




Patty graciously hosted the three work days and treated us to wonderful lunches.




We are so appreciative of all the support to make a really special installation.




Now that the flowers are assembled, we will be installing them over the long seating tables  in a hanging installation styled with a nod to glass artist , Dale Chihuly.

We are excited for you to see the table when it is finished.

There are still tickets available, which can be purchased on line.

Please come Saturday May 14, to visit the private gardens that are on display, for that day only, and the Robinson Gardens Estate and well as all the special  floral tributes to ‘Los Colores.’

Tickets available at   click on link.



Friday, December 26th, 2014 | Leave A Comment

Inspiration: Christmas 2014 – KOI TO THE WORLD



We want to thank our friends and clients for an amazing year.


We still have blogs to write from events this year, but we thought it would be fun to share a peek at what can inspire us personally.


Every year, after we complete all our clients holiday decor and parties, we create a  unique decor for ourselves for our home’s fireplace mantle.

Ricky has had many years experience as a Visual Director and he starts the creative process with a yearly theme. many times with a fun play on words. This year is,  ‘Koi To the World’.


As some of you may know, we have a beautiful Koi pond in front of our studio.


It is a joy and wonder to watch the beautiful patterns and color combinations of the fish.



Being in Los Angeles, the water lilies bloom 10 months of the year and their exotic beauty and fragrance is a focal point of the garden.

Watching the Koi is a very relaxing, meditative and stress reducing activity.

So, it is not just a play on words, but also a sentiment of a wishing everyone some stress relief and to enjoy the beauty around us.


You may ask how does that become a Christmas trim? I thought it might be fun to show you the process.


While I was taking photography lessons, one project was to photograph a single subject every week for a year. i chose the pond.


As the weeks went by, I would experiment on trying to make the pond appear completely different  without Photoshop manipulation..

This one using a long exposure to appear impressionistic.



Then the following week using reflection to appear surreal.

The pond has continued to be inspiring to us and this year is was for Christmas.




While working on a client’s Christmas tree, with a ‘Olde time circus theme’, we festooned garlands of animal cracker cookies and hand-decorated ornaments.



We printed photos of old posters and ornaments on metallic finished paper. Then we added details with glitter glue.

As we were making them,  I  thought this could be good for our Koi theme.



Next we decided, rather than hand draw or copy images from the internet,  we would take photos of our own fish.



Some of the Koi’s patterns were perfect for this project.




We then cut and pasted them out of the photos on to a blank background.



Then we used our regular computer printer to printed hundreds of  them on gold paper.



After cutting each one out, we chose which details to accentuate using glitter glue.

While doing this, we had to come up with something to attach them to.

I thought we could always do a garland, but it might be fun to make a frame around the mirror above the fireplace to create a Koi Pond.

While flipping through the stacks of magazines arriving daily i saw these mosaic candle holders.  I really liked the iridescent glass that reminded me of fish scales.



From this, we decided to make a frame with a fish scale finish and frost the mirror with Ice crystals for a frozen pond effect.

So instead of buying a frame, we made one out of an inexpensive cardboard tube form home depot. We cut the tubes in half lengthwise. These are more commonly used as a form for pouring concrete.



To the left, you can see the frame after we cut it and painted it white.

After everyone went home from the studio that evening,  we cut out hundreds of pieces from an old plastic tarp in the shape of scales and painted each one.

After the scales were painted we glued them to the frame and glazed them with a luminescent violet-blue gold glaze.

The following afternoon, we went to work creating a exciting installation to our already eclectically decorated living room.

I hope you enjoy the time-lapse version.

So much faster like this.


We added a garland of fresh Norfolk Island pine garland with little warm white lights and white snowflake lights around the frame. We then painted the side windows in a pattern found on a Japanese screen.



In the center we added a wreath of fresh Norfolk Island pine which allowed the koi to jump out of the frozen water.


We wish you a wonderful 2015 with much health, happiness, and creative energy.

All the Best! Brad and Ricky


Thursday, July 3rd, 2014 | Leave A Comment

Robinson Gardens Annual Garden walk, ‘Pathways to Paradise’.

We are so happy to share our project  for the Robinson Gardens Annual Garden walk, ‘Pathways to Paradise’. We collaborated with world famous designer,  Hutton Wilkinson of Tony Duquette Studio


Hutton selected the loggia, an outdoor covered patio, with a view of the famous King palm garden.


My favorite piece of furniture is Hutton’s coral colored reproduction of an 18th century, Chinese root chair originally in the Randolph Hearst collection. The silk chenille leopard cushions are the perfect finishing touch for this over-the-top, more-is-more  piece.


Our custom-made temple birdcages were a direct inspiration from the gardens at Dawnridge, Tony Duquette’s Beverly Hills studio.  We fabricated the cages with faux bronze finials and glass bead trim. For the show, we embellished the cages with garlands of fresh orange Mokara orchid garlands and Tillandsia trim.


The canaries were so happy singing and eating from my grandmother’s seed filled Limoges tea cups and saucers.


We created a succulent garland on this beautiful wood carved gilded Buddha sculpture. The table and chairs were antique carved ‘Blackwood’ from India painted white.


We combined the  most beautiful coral peonies, purple Aeoniums. Tillandsia Xerophytum, Mood Moss and string of pearls succulents arranged  in Tony Duquette’s iconic  giant clam shells.


Hutton’s newly designed line of china in Lapis Lazuli were so beautiful. Purple Rothschild’s orchids formed live floral chargers for a finishing touch.


A Tony Duquette signed custom-made malachite rug  formed the base for this table setting.  A collection of coral branches, billy balls, succulents and orchid stems filled this vintage mother of pearl mosaic bowl.

We are thankful for the talent and the creative eye of  Susan Bordelon for the beautiful photography.

Tony Duquette

Robinson Gardens

Susan Bordelon Photography




Thursday, May 8th, 2014 | Leave A Comment

Robinson Garden Garden Tour 2014

We are very excited about next weeks project.  We are exhibiting for the Virginia Robinson Gardens Walk titled this year, ‘Pathway to Paradise’. We feel, it is exactly that.



























Robinson Gardens Estate is a unique historic home, a cultural jewel that transports the visitor back to the birthplace of Beverly Hills. Built in 1911, it was once the residence of retail giants Virginia and Harry Robinson (of the Robinson department stores) and now occupies an illustrious place in history as the first luxury estate built in Beverly Hills. Located behind the iconic Beverly Hills Hotel, the beautiful six-acre property contains a breathtaking display garden, mansion and pool pavilion.
































As always, the Robinson Main House will be decorated by prominent florists and interior designers.

Every room is given a transformation involving color, style, and a bit of whimsy via floral arrangements and decor.




























We feel so fortunate to be paired with the Grand Marshall, Hutton Wilkinson. He collaborated with the great American design icon, Tony Duquette, for decades. He has redesigned signature residences, and designed custom interiors, home furnishings, table top accessories, and one-of-a-kind fine jewelry for celebrities, other designers, and a veritable who’s who of worldwide clientele.





































After an inspiring tour of Dawnridge and delicious lunch, we collaborated on a design to delight visitors to the gardens.

We will transform the covered patio into the Aviary Loggia complete with all the details that you have come to expect from this fantastic designer.






























































Here we are presenting our design to board member, Adrienne Horwitch at a beautiful breakfast reception.

This is the only day of the year the house is open to the public to raise funds for the preservation of this wonderful home and gardens. There are still some tickets available, so please join us and see what our collaborative  imagination has created.



Hutton Wilkinson

Tony Duquette

Robinson Gardens




Tuesday, March 26th, 2013 | Leave A Comment

Sakura Season is Cherry Blossom Season

Sakura is Japanese for Cherry blossom. The trees bloom only a few short days in the spring.

Everyone gets very excited.


Fortunately this year, the official start of the season, was tied for the earliest year on record.


This is the entry to the beautiful Happo-En.


This view is over looking cascading cherry blossoms  to the huge Koi pond at Happo-En in Tokyo.



Even bonsai were in full bloom.



Everything is decorated with the Cherry blossom motif, even Starbucks.



These beautiful hand decorated candies featured spring blossoms.



Even cherry blossom flavored Sake with real cherry blossoms floating inside.

It’s the most beautiful shade of Pink.



One of the favorite times to view the blooming trees is at night when they are lit with the night sky as a back drop.


It is no wonder that after a long winter , to see such beauty make everyone so happy.


I love this walk on the way to the hotel.



Here in front of Tokyo Tower is the lovely restaurant, Tofuya-Ukai, an exclusive restaurant featuring dishes with house made tofu.

Guests have individual private dining rooms each with a view of the beautiful garden.


We want to thank all our wonderful friends in Tokyo for introducing us to so many new things this visit.








Thursday, November 22nd, 2012 | Leave A Comment

Thank You!

We want to take this time to thank our wonderful clients and friends for commissioning us to create Imaginative Florals for your most special events.


We wish you and your families a wonderful Thanksgiving and look forward to many more celebrations in the future.

Instead of an event, we decided to post some Thanksgiving tables from the past.






Thursday, May 10th, 2012 | 2 Comments

Sherman Oaks Nursery School Flower Arranging Party

Last night we met a wonderful group of young mothers from the Sherman Oaks Nursery School.

Anne Zimmerman, one of my brides, contacted me and asked if we would like to do a flower arranging seminar for the school fund raiser.

We created beautiful flowers for her wedding 7 years ago at the Beverly Hills Hotel.

We showed the ladies how to do a few easy, quick, and stylish centerpieces for entertaining at home and baby showers.

Then we showed how to make a simple flower arrangement .

We also made fresh herb and succulent planters.

We saw lots of creativity and imagination.

It was a fun Mom’s night out with appetizers, wine, flowers, plants and dessert.

We would like to wish all our Mothers a very Happy Mother’s Day.

Love you Mom!



Sherman Oaks Nursery School


Thursday, April 5th, 2012 | 1 Comment

Inspiration: Kimonos

While we were in Kyoto, considered the cultural epicenter of Japan, we visited Kumagaiji, M collection, the business of  Mrs. Masami Kumagi.

She and her daughter were attendees at our wedding seminar last year.  This family’s business opened its doors in 1879.
It was so nice to reconnect with them and see their wedding shop and kimono designs.
First, they graciously showed us, a Shiromuku kimono worn at a traditional Shinto wedding ceremony.

This example is decorated with a design of cranes, who mate for life and are symbols of longevity.

Before joining her family and friends for the reception, the bride would exchange the white outer-kimono for an elaborate and brightly-colored one.

This is an elaborate and traditional Wedding Kimono.

The patterns that adorn kimono are very significant, for it is through choice of color and, most importantly, decorative motifs that the wearer’s gender, age, status, wealth, and taste are articulated.

The cloth used to make a kimono is traditionally all one piece of fabric, that is hand-stitched together.

Historically, kimono worn by women, particularly the young, are the most richly decorated. It is generally this style that are collected by museums. Such kimono were the designer clothes of their day.

Then they showed us some of their original designs from a recent collection which I thought were very modern, young and stylish.  A great way to be contemporary and traditional at the same time.


This kimono reminds me of  something that English designer Paul Smith might come up with .

The choice of obi, ( fabric belts) and accessories, such as combs and pins worn in the hair, are also important. Historically only the elite regularly wore luxurious kimono; the majority of people would only have donned silk garments on special occasions and were sometimes forbidden to do so all together.

We also visited a shop specializing in hair ornaments.

These incredible hair ornaments were hundreds of dollars some made with semi-precious stones.


With high speed travel, and internet communications, the world is getting quickly homogenized. Everywhere you go you see the same tennis shoes, designer bags and fast food. I think as time goes on, we will culturally share more and more in common. It is my hope we will also value what makes us different and unique.