In this essay, columnist Linda Carducci reflects on her time at Hope Flower Farm, home of renowned florist and floral educator Holly Heider Chapple. Hope Flower Farm sits on 25 acres in Waterford, a quaint town in Western Loudoun County. Hope Farm, as it is known around town, is a playground for floral design and teaching, Hope Flower Farm promises a relaxing, educational environment for designers and non-designers alike. Farm-to-table dinners, styled shoots and workshops, Hope Farm is destination for all creatives.
Holly, Sydney, and Jack the Cat greeted me when I arrived at Hope Flower Farm in Waterford, Virginia. What a pleasure to watch Holly and Sydney pull the elements together: colors, side pieces, candles, and greens were arranged to the best advantage on the mantle.
The work table was set up in front of the fireplace, framing the work area. A grapevine wreath, more grapevine, clippers, floral adhesive (glue), wire and various greens, moss, succulents, and other possible additions to the anticipated finished product were laid out on the work table. The colors of the greens and other additions were not the bright holly greens of a Christmas wreath; instead they were more muted, more to the blues. Accent flowers were white and any ribbons muted in color.
The first order of business is to make the grapevine wreath, the frame for final creation.
Start with a loop, over-under, around, creating tension. Weave your own wreath if you have the grapevine available. The grapevine should not be stiff. However, you can purchase a prepared wreath, adding to it for desired fullness. Remember in winter there won’t be much available in the garden, so you will need to use evergreen foliage.
Arborvitae, Camilla (preppy, clean look), Cryptomeria (grows fast, a little unusual) provide the living material for the wreath, bringing the outside into your home. The the armature is the foundation for the wreath. Tuck the greenery into the armature. Use glue or wire, if needed, but with a tight and full wreath, you should be able to avoid using glue or wire.
Each wreath will be different. You can put greenery all the way around, or in an asymmetrical pattern leaving part of the wreath exposed. Your wreathe should reflect your personal preferences, so don’t be afraid to experiment with the design. Do avoid too much of a Christmas look. In this case, Holly chose to create an asymmetrical pattern.
She uses Cryptomeria, a stiffer filler, wired beneath the other greens to add fullness. The evergreen will last for weeks without water and will hold its color. The same with eucalyptus of which there are two types. The seeded eucalyptus sports berries while the Silver Dollar eucalyptus is bigger and looser. The difference in color adds variety and texture to the wreath.
Again, use wire or (floral adhesive) glue for fragile stems. Use Camilia for a clean, green leaf keeping in mind that there is always green in the garden, even in the dead of winter. Add mosses to make it more contemporary and use some binding wire to attach them.
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Article by Linda Carducci
Photos by Alex Mangione
Edited by Jessica Monte