Christmas Floraspirations

I prepared this post to be published before yesterday’s unfathomable tragedy.  As we all mourn for the innocence lost and made even more painful by its occurrence during this season of hope and light, we know that we cannot let evil stop our preparations for the coming of Jesus.  With unbound sympathy for the parents and families of the victims in Newtown, Connecticut, I pray that these Christmas decorations and traditions will comfort and remind us how much we need the grace and comfort of Jesus Christ not just during this incongruous holiday season but all the year long.

     The annual Christmas decorations are finally up, and all but a box or two has been returned to the attic.  Now it’s time to find and arrange the flowers and greenery that will hopefully take us past Christmas Day.  My Three Chopt Garden Club has been my source of floral inspiration (hence “Floraspiration”).  These designs that a small group of us created for the Kent-Valentine House, as well as the elegant green and white arrangements created by some talented ladies for our Club’s annual Christmas party, have inspired me to try some new looks this year.

(Drooling over this mirror-top. It’s a perfect idea for my dining room.)

     Are you feeling inspired to get arranging yet?

All photos by Avad Fan on iPhone.


Looking for Holiday Greens in Richmond?

Find beautiful arrangements plus unique greenery for your own creations at

Holiday Gifts & Greens Market "Inspired by Nature"

     The ladies of The Boxwood Garden Club create fabulous wreaths and table arrangements for you to purchase at the Holiday Gifts & Greens Market at Grace Baptist Church in Windsor Farms.  The key to scoring something wonderful for your holiday home is to get there when the doors open. The outstanding designs sell out very quickly.

     I bought these two topiaries last year and put them in the large metal cachepots.  Though the boxwood and magnolias were live and green when purchased, I have let them dry throughout the year, and they still look beautiful to me.

Holiday topiaries at the fireplace78

     A lot of the arrangements that you will find at the sale look similar to these greenery arrangements gracing the pages of Pinterest.

In addition to arrangements and a small selection of curated vendors selling Christmas presents, you can also purchase fresh and often hard-to-find greenery to create your own holiday designs.

     Put December 7, 2012 on your smartphone calendar and be at Grace Baptist Church in Windsor Farms by 10 a.m.  This is one shopping event that you really will not want to miss.

Tablescapes from the 2012 Children’s Hospital Foundation Ball

Through the Eyes of a Child

     Under the leadership of Cameron Cummings and Martha Bowden, the talented Junior Board of Richmond’s Children’s Hospital Foundation once again transformed The Country Club of Virginia into a fantasy world.  Take a look at these pictures that I snapped yesterday afternoon before the evening’s festivities got underway.  Hope you can appreciate all of the little details that the Tables, Flowers and Decorations committees included to make “Through the Eyes of a Child” come to life in each of the rooms of the Westhampton Clubhouse.

Royal Palace set in the Main Ballroom

The crown is filled with red roses.

Which patrons ended up in the throne chairs?

The hanging lanterns were lit before the Ball began.

Underwater World in the Big Tent

The shimmery blue table toppers covered by fishing net highlight these elaborate coral creations.

Members of the Tables committee fashioned coral branches from tree twigs.

Fairy Land in Ollie’s Bar

The lucky diners in this room found the sweetest nosegays at their plates.

Such a darling fairy house.

Do you see the butterflies?

Where the Wild Things Are in Ollie’s Dining Room

The moss crowns are straight out of this favorite children’s book.

Truly a wild room

A Boy’s Treehouse in the Westhampton Room

Aren’t those stump vases fabulous?

How many little boy trinkets can you spot?

Look at that rope bridge in this amazing room.

Candy Land and Sweet Treats in the Windsor Room

A confectioner’s delight

that must have thrilled the dentists, too.

The Nutcracker Ballet in the West Ballroom

See the snakes on the plates referencing the snake charmer in the ballet?

Love the Children’s Hospital Foundation nutcrackers made locally here in Richmond.

This amazing tree was created from corrugated box.

The window inserts were painted by Junior Board members under the guidance of local artist, Liz Kellinger.

The Carousel in the West Porch

Meadow flowers reflected in the mirrored candelabra

This curved room feels like a carousel come to life.

     Like the Bal du Bois, the Children’s Hospital Foundation Ball is always one of the social highlights of the year in Richmond.  This seated dinner for 700 followed by hours of dancing raises important capital funds to help improve the lives of children who come from near and far.  As a former member of the Board, I am so fortunate to be invited back annually to help with the flowers that enhance each year’s unique theme.

     Cheers to another fabulous Ball!

All photos by Avad Fan from my iPhone.

Fine Arts & Flowers at the Virginia Museum of Fine Art

Get there this weekend.

     You will not regret one moment spent viewing the floral interpretations of 75 works of art in the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts‘s permanent collection.  This spectacular event created by members of the Garden Club of Virginia in conjunction with the Museum provides an amazing opportunity to view the works and floral design in such a unique way.  Some of my favorite designs, which I found on the VMFA’s Facebook page, include

Ritual crown with floral design by Elizabeth Burgess,

Renoir’s “The Artist’s Son” with floral design by Liz Savage Goffigon, Traci Jones and Susan Henderson,

“Chi-wara Headress” with floral design by Jean Fender and Vivian Gulden,

Arman’s “Torso” with floral design by Caroline Parrish,

Carpeaux’s “Neopolitan Fisher Boy” with floral design by Darlene Halvorsen, Ann Brown and Barrett Tharrington,

Hassam’s “Isle of Shoals” with floral design by Doris Morris and Lesley Dobson, and

Pollack’s “Number 15” with floral design by Kathy Klein.

     In anticipation of the dreary weather forecast this weekend, a visit to Fine Arts & Flowers provides the perfect family opportunity to enjoy nature indoors.  Its almost scavenger-like format will have you visiting galleries and artwork that you may not have ever seen or at least not in a long time.  I am already anticipating the next Fine Arts & Flowers in two years.

Floraspirations – Eli’s Garden

     One of my favorite vendors at St. Stephen’s Saturday morning Farmer’s Market is Eli’s Greens.  They drive in from Cumberland County, Virginia almost every week with the prettiest combination of flowers.  The bright colors of zinnia and celosia season just make me happy, even in this record-breaking heat.

What are those fuchsia feather-duster flowers? I keep forgetting to ask.

     Hope you are managing to stay cool and happy!

All photos by Avad Fan.

Floraspiration, Week 21: In the Pink with Hydrangeas

     Despite my good intentions, I never did spread any aluminum sulfate or potassium around my hydrangeas to lower the soil’s pH and make them bloom blue this year.

Instead, I have got a mass of big deep pink standards and lighter lilac-ish lacecap blossoms that are a joy to behold.  With their lime green stalks, they look ready for a Lilly Pulitzer photo shoot.

     These lush shrubs were purchased at a grocery store years ago to grace the tables of a Christening lunch.  They sat for several years in their pots amongst my mother’s coastal beds before I rescued and planted them along this northeast facing wall.  Now they are thriving despite the constant threat of gluttonous deer, and I have an amazing source of delights for our home and friends.

     Who needs blue when you can be in the pink?

All photos by Avad Fan

Floraspiration, Week 20: Bal du Bois Fleurs

     These pictures hardly due justice to the stunning flowers from Friday night’s 2012 Bal du Bois at The Country Club of Virginia.  As always the floral designs took my breath away, but I do think that this was my favorite Bal yet.  I apologize for the terrible pictures via my iPhone sans flash, but I think that you can still get a bit of the flavor from this memorable affair.

Each of the Sponsors’ bouquets was composed of pink peonies and mini fushia calla lilies.

After the “Figure”, a Sponsor’s shoes take a rest at her table.

Nothing was overlooked, not even the tent poles which were decorated with peonies, stargazer lilies, roses and orchids.

Main ballroom cocktail tables each had their own pagoda decked out in orchids with peony accents.

     Despite the poor quality of the photos, you should be able to get a glimpse of how gorgeously glamorous this Bal was. The overall beautifully conceived design absolutely contributed to the marvelous atmosphere present throughout the evening despite the threatening weather.  The Junior Board of Sheltering Arms Physical Rehabilitation Hospital truly created a magical night that the Sponsors will never forget.

All photos by Avad Fan.