Meet Our Secret Weapon: Brian!

Meet Our Secret Weapon: Brian!

Ever look at pictures of our work and wonder how we got that full-sized tree into the Veritas ballroom, or that forty foot magnolia swag up in the Mount Ida Barn, or the lit saplings on the ceiling of the Wintergreen Mountain Inn? The answer is simple. It’s Brian. Not only does he manage the garden, making sure our tulips, dahlias, and peonies are as happy as they can be, but he is also the mastermind behind many of our more challenging (and impressive) installations!

If you have ever seen (or been married under) an arbor or chuppah decorated by Blue Ridge Floral, the odds are good that it was built and/or installed by Brian. The same goes for the aforementioned trees that transform a ballroom into a woodsy wonderland, or gorgeous chandeliers draped in garland and dangling lanterns, or our tall, branching centerpieces adorned with orchids and globe lanterns. Brian does it all. His years of experience as a builder means that he has the tools and the knowledge to realize whatever wild ideas Amy has envisioned. Here are some of my favorite examples of the wonders Brian works!

Brian-Blue Ridge Floral Design

Full-sized tree at Veritas

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Veritas-Table-Top

Veritas-Wedding-Arbor-Flowers

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Behind the Scenes: Ashleigh & Phil’s Beer-Themed Wedding at Rodes Farm

Behind the Scenes: Ashleigh & Phil’s Beer-Themed Wedding at Rodes Farm

I had so much fun working on Phil & Ashleigh’s Beer-themed wedding at beautiful Rodes Farm this weekend. They are both serious lovers of craft beer and crafted a super fun wedding around it, complete with a chocolate stout wedding cake! Here are some fun photos from the prep and set up.

They brought us an enormous and impressive collection of growlers and beer bottles to use as vases. All I could think about was that they must have had the most fun and delicious wedding planning process ever! We used this eclectic mix of bottles for aisle decorations.

Beer bottle vases Beer bottle aisle decorations

Wedding-Rodes-Farm

They wanted the flowers to feature lots of wheat along with light pinks and purples for a romantic, natural look. We highlighted the last of the cafe au lait dahlias in the bouquets, along with lush garden roses, lisianthus, lavender freesias, and seeded eucalyptus for the bouquets.

Rodes-Farm-Centerpieces Rodes-Farm-Roses-Dahlias

For the table arrangements, we used their incredible collection of growlers from breweries all over Virginia and filled them with cafe au lait dahlias, wheat, pink snow berries, scabiosa seedpods, lavender freesias, lisianthus, and pom pom feverfew. The growlers looked amazing grouped together with vases of wheat and smaller flower arrangements for each table.

Flowers-in-Growlers

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A few other fun touches to complete the beer theme included beer cap place cards, custom made beer glasses and coasters, and sweet little handmade signs. They also beers brewed special for them by friends at nearby breweries, an awesome sounding menu from Blue Ridge Pizza Co. and the SouthFork food truck, and the most delicious sounding chocolate stout cake made by the folks at Favorite Cakes. Thanks to the lovely ladies at Barb Wired Events, and the team from Blue Ridge Pizza Co. set up was a breeze. Many congratulations to Ashleigh & Phil and thanks for planning such a fun and unique wedding. Cheers!

Rodes-Farm-Barbed-Wire-Events

Behind the Scenes: Meaghan & Michael at Pippin Hill

Behind the Scenes: Meaghan & Michael at Pippin Hill

Just wanted to share some behind the scenes photos of Meaghan & Micheal’s wedding that I worked on recently at Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards. They lucked out with a beautifully grey day that brought out all the gorgeous fall colors and the blue of the mountains, and really made the flowers pop! Here’s a little window into some of our preparations and set up for their big day.

Rocky in front of doors

There are a million and one things that we do to be ready for a wedding, and one of the reasons why I love my job is that on any given day I could be painting, working in the garden, harvesting from the fields, woods, or wherever we find some fresh and beautiful foliage, arranging in the studio, or setting up at an event. This is why I carry at least two sets of clothes, and rubber boots with me at all times because I never know what we’ll be up to:)

For this wedding my first job was to get our vintage doors ready to be their arbor at the ceremony site. After all this rainy, muddy weather, they were in serious need of a fresh coat of paint. My assistant Rocky kept me company while I spruced them up!

Next I headed out to the garden to harvest some beautiful additions to their flowers. Their colors were whites and greens with a few lavenders and purples tucked in. While I was out harvesting heaps of adorable pom pom dahlias, anise, and lavender blooms, I found this perfect spider web, coated in dew. Rocky also came along for the harvest.

Dahlia harvest Anise harvest Lavender harvest Spider web in the garden Rocky in the garden

We worked in the studio to prepare the centerpieces and bouquets. Here is look at their beautiful bouquets with lots of lush garden roses and cafe au lait dahlias, with pops of lavender freesias for the bridesmaids.

Bouquets with roses, dahlias, and freesias Closeup of bouquets

When the big day came we brought four van loads of flowers, lanterns, arrangements, and the freshly painted doors. Once we’re at a site, it is go time, so we started right in with the arbor. The two doors get staked and connected across the top and we wire a foam garland to keep the flowers fresh and happy for the afternoon. And then Amy works her magic filling the garland with antique green hydrangeas, seeded eucalyptus, wild foliage, and brilliant red maple branches, and garden roses. It was really stunning, and half of the tasting room at Pippin came over to check it out while we worked!

Close up of doorway arbor Close up of doorway arbor Doorway arbor

To complete the ceremony site we hung sweet little aisle markers filled with lavender, anise, and dahlias from the garden, and placed the two big beautiful urns on wine barrels at the beginning of the aisle.

Aisle marker with lavender, dahlias, and anise Ceremony flowers on wine barrel Ceremony site at Pippin Hill

Inside the barn, we set the head table with a fresh garland of greens and flowers, with globe lanterns and votive candles sprinkled throughout. The other tables got large mercury glass centerpieces or sets of three arrangements in assorted mercury glass, with floating candles and votives. Each place setting got a fresh sprig of rosemary with their menu card. And last but not least, Margaret decorated the cake with ranunculus, lavender, and jasmine vine. Such a treat to work on such a stunning event. Congratulations Meaghan & Michael- you’re off to a beautiful start!

Head table with swag, flowers, and lanterns Head table flowers and magnolia swag Three part centerpiece

Centerpiece Cake decorated with dahlias, lavender, ranunculus, jasmine vine, and freesias

 

Dahlia Rainbow for the Martha Jefferson Foundation

Dahlia Rainbow for the Martha Jefferson Foundation

Welcome to our first ever blog post! Hello, I’m Nina, a grower and designer at Blue Ridge Floral Design here in the beautiful mountains of Virginia.  I’m going to be sharing some of my musings and photos from the garden and the studio, and from some of the gorgeous weddings and events we get to design. I hope you’ll enjoy this little glimpse inside the workings here at Blue Ridge Floral Design.

September is prime dahlia season in Virginia and what better way to show them off in all their glory than a rainbow?

Dahlia bouquetDahlia BouquestDahlia Bouquet

Amy created a stunning rainbow of dahlias for the place card table welcoming folks to last week’s Martha Jefferson Foundation Capstone Society event at King Family Vineyards. She started with beautiful gladiolas from our friends at Blue Heron Farm as the backdrop, along with roses, calla lilies, and stock, berries, and greenery.  Then she filled out the rainbow with dahlias of all shapes, sizes, and colors. From deep purples and magentas to vibrant reds, warm oranges, all the way to brilliant yellows and creamy whites, dahlias brought to life this jaw-dropping rainbow.

Dahlias are our biggest crop on the farm and one of the most fun and versatile flowers for design work. They are so lush and romantic, so fresh and colorful, and so abundant. We grow over 20 different varieties from dinner plate cafe au laits as big as my head to tiny little pink pom poms the size of a quarter.

Here are some glamour shots of a few of our favorites in the garden:

Cafe Au Lait DahliaDahliaMaarn Dahlia

As you can imagine, the dahlia patch is the most beautiful place on the farm for most of the summer. It’s hard to capture the beauty of a full bed of dahlias bursting with blooms, but I don’t think I’ll ever stop trying!

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Like many cut flowers, the more you cut dahlias the more they bloom. It can be a bit of a scramble to stay on top of harvesting these super productive beauties, but we can’t get enough in our design work!

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Dahlia Harvest