Lush and Long-Lasting Arrangements by the Greenhouse IIPosted: June 14, 2011
Have you been to the Greenhouse II? I am an avad fan of their store at 5615 Patterson Avenue, at the corner of Patterson and Granite Avenue. I look forward to walking in just to see the signature living arrangements that it is renowned in the near West End for creating. I needed a house-warming gift this weekend, so I was glad to have an excuse to stop by for something fabulous.
The store is currently at the end of their Pots and Plants sale, so the pickings were a little sparse. There were only a couple of gorgeous pre-made creations when I arrived Friday afternoon, but that didn’t matter. With the help of one of their talented salespeople/designers, I selected an orchid, some creeping fig and a small fern, and she created this stunner while I waited
The Greenhouse II carries a beautiful collection of hand-thrown pots and bowls, and there is usually a great selection of orchids in-house. The store also provides the most reliable variety of tiny filler plants in town. Watching this green vignette come together, I learned a little of the Greenhouse II’s secrets for creating its lush signature look.
Like Mrs. L repeated at Flower Camp, “it’s all in the mechanics.” I have known that the designers line the pots and bowls with heavy-gauge plastic sheeting that is not trimmed until the arrangement is complete. They fill the lined containers with the special potting soil mix that is sold in unmarked white bags at the store. Several of my friends swear by this medium.
While the Greenhouse II designers will plant most of the green material directly into the soil, the key to protecting the orchids that they often include is to simply leave them in their pots and just make room for the pots in the soil. This way the orchid pot can be slipped out once a week for proper watering, which includes draining before being returned to the arrangement.
A couple of months ago, I tried my hand at making a Greenhouse II-like arrangement in my big blue and white bowl that sits at my living room window. Two of the plants are still doing alright, but I cannot keep ivy alive in my house to save my life.
After the umpteenth time of throwing dead ivy away, I have now banned it from the house.
This orchid actually looks better than it really was. Inspired by my visit to the Greenhouse II, I cleaned it up and repotted it, along with one of the other two baby orchids that didn’t look too bad. I also retained this funky fern that seems to be thriving. In place of the ivy, I inserted creeping fig that I had picked up at the Greenhouse II, along with a new just-blooming orchid.
Now my pot looks like this
Maybe not quite as professional a job as the Greenhouse II would do, but I am pleased.
If you don’t want the mess or don’t have the time, the Greenhouse II will happily fill your own containers with their plants. Do like a lot of West End ladies, and just bring in any large vessel that you have. The Greenhouse II can turn an old silver punch bowl into an amazing long-lasting, low-maintenance centerpiece. A Greenhouse II design really is a practical way to bring natural beauty into your home even if you don’t have a green thumb.
All photos by Avad Fan.