Women in Bloom….

“You are here and warm 
But I could look away and you’d be gone 
Cause we live in a time 
When meaning falls in splinters from our lives 
And that’s why I’ve travelled far 
Cause I come so together where you are 

And all of the things that I said that I wanted 
Come rushing by in my head when I’m with you 
14 joys and a will to be merry 
And all of the things that we say are very 
Sentimental gentle wind 
Blowing through my life again 
Sentimental lady 
Gentle one “-Sentimental Lady by Bob Welch, A 70′s One-Hit Wonder!

The lyrics from the great 70′s hit, Sentimental Lady, were written to be the perfect love song. Bob Welch, the writer and singer, gave it a lilting rhythm and a chorus you can’t help but hum along to.  It’s a song with a catchy hook that could easily be chalked up to a one-hit wonder. But if you listen closely to the lyrics you find a meaning that transcends simple pick-up lines and a disco beat. When you think of the words applied to the friends and family who inspire you and touch your life, this little ditty possesses a real poetry. It’s the evolution of those friendships, the rich beautiful patina that those relationships gain with time, in which we find our truest, strongest selves. To quote Mr. Welch, we are able to “come so together where you are.” I don’t know if there has ever been anything truer written about the people who inspire us and the power of those friendships.   

That song has been on my mind a lot this month as the world celebrated Women’s History Month. (I’m a sentimental kind of girl anyway). March brought more than crazy weather; it ushered in Viv’s first experience with “girl drama” at school. I thought it was ironic that in a month celebrating the accomplishments of women, I was trying to mend my daughter’s broken heart with stories of the real meaning of friendship. It’s hard for her to know at ten years of age when thoughts are of the latest toy, the cutest dress, the silliest boy, that with time none of that matters and your “gal pals” become your real source of power, your “Tara”, your strength.

So, while Hillary has campaigned, celebrities have marched on the UN, naked women have stormed the Louvre, and aspiring actresses have cried and laughed their way through yet another production of The Vagina Monologues, the English Garden ladies and I have talked with Viv about the women who really make the world go ’round. The moms, wives, partners, single ladies, friends, teachers, co-workers, running buddies, artists, gurus, entrepreneurs, volunteers who quietly and without any need for attention make the world, our world, a better place.

As March bids adieu and Women’s History Month comes to a close, the EG girls would like to give a “shout out” with that little 70′s ditty to the ladies who touch our lives. The women we are sentimental about. You are our friends, our family, our constant inspiration, our pick-me-up on a down day, our reason to race to the finish line, our hand-holders, our secret keepers, our dreamcatchers, our shoulders to cry on, our pillars of strength. You are our heroes and we celebrate you- with a little floral flourish, of course. Thanks for being part of our history. And remember, whether you need a daisy for your hair, a bouquet for your walk down the aisle, or a sunflower to brighten your day, we are here for you and are always your greatest fans!

With love and admiration, 

Your English Garden “Soul Sisters”-Cydney, Lacey, Lauren, Renee, Irma, Mariela, Nikki, Valerie, Amanda H., Amanda B., Pam M., Elva, Judy, Pam H., AnnMarie, and the amazing Viv!

The Women Who Inspire Us (as told in the language of flowers) 

Lavender-Virtue. Lora Davis Stocker is the George Washington of little sisters. She cannot tell a lie. She lives her life with an honesty that so often seems absent from our quick time, soundbite world. She'll tell you when you look radiant and level with you when your jeans are more than a little tight. She's addicted to old movies, crazy about Robert Wagner and attends African dance class once a month. In her art as she is in her life, Lora is virtuous and true and authentic in a way that touches all those who know her.

Lavender-Virtue. Lora Davis Stocker is the George Washington of little sisters. She cannot tell a lie. She lives her life with an honesty that so often seems absent from our quick time, soundbite world. She’ll tell you when you look radiant and level with you when your jeans are more than a little tight. She’s addicted to old movies, crazy about Robert Wagner and attends African dance class once a month. In her art as she is in her life, Lora is virtuous and true and authentic in a way that touches all those who know her.

The Gladiola-Strength of Character. Jo & Jan Faircloth. Brilliant, funny, "gun-totin'" (literally). This dynamic duo, these wonder twins define sisterly love. Jo's endless devotion to her sister as Jan battles cancer. Jan's unyielding fight to kick cancer's a**. We dare you to show us a greater display of character and strength.

The Gladiola-Strength of Character. Jo & Jan Faircloth. Brilliant, funny, “gun-totin’” (literally). This dynamic duo, these wonder twins define sisterly love. Jo’s endless devotion to her sister as Jan battles cancer. Jan’s unyielding fight to kick cancer’s a**. We dare you to show us a greater display of character and strength.

Iris-Inspiration. Pat Wilkins has inspired class after class of Junior League recruits with her great gifts of leadership, kindness and selflessness. Pat's vibrant personality lights up a room and her organizational skills light up fundraisers across the Triangle ensuring the  success of events like A Shopping Spree, The Inaugural Ball & Band Together. Raleigh would not be the same without Pat's leadership. Running for Mayor soon, we hope!

Iris-Inspiration. Pat Wilkins has inspired class after class of Junior League recruits with her great gifts of leadership, kindness and selflessness. Pat’s vibrant personality lights up a room and her organizational skills light up fundraisers across the Triangle ensuring the success of events like A Shopping Spree, The Inaugural Ball & Band Together. Raleigh would not be the same without Pat’s leadership. Running for Mayor soon, we hope!

Edelweiss-Courage. Clara Cloaninger Guy-Entrepreneur, mom/chef/designer/trendsetter who shows Martha Stewart how to do it. Clara doesn't let a little thing like cancer stop her. She runs harder & faster & farther showing her little girls true Girl Power. For Clara, C means nothing but Courage.

Edelweiss-Courage. Clara Cloaninger Guy-Entrepreneur, mom/chef/designer/trendsetter who shows Martha Stewart how to do it. Clara doesn’t let a little thing like cancer stop her. She runs harder & faster & farther showing her little girls true Girl Power. For Clara, C means nothing but Courage.

Star of Bethlehem-Hope. There are news breakers and news makers. Pam Saulsby is both. One of the Triangle's most trusted TV personalities, Pam's delivery of even the most unsettling news is done with a signature style that's a bit Oprah and bit Walter Cronkite. When she comes into our living rooms, we know she is our friend and she is going to do more than just give us the facts. She is going to give us hope. And if you think her magical voice is great on the news, you should hear her on stage belting out a tune.

Star of Bethlehem-Hope. There are news breakers and news makers. Pam Saulsby is both. One of the Triangle’s most trusted TV personalities, Pam’s delivery of even the most unsettling news is done with a signature style that’s a bit Oprah and a bit Walter Cronkite. When she comes into our living rooms, we know she is our friend and she is going to do more than just give us the facts. She is going to give us hope. And if you think her magical voice is great on the news, you should hear her on stage belting out a tune.

Basil-Good Wishes. We had to incorporate something floral & food inspired when talking about Katrina Ryan. The Triangle's Cake Boss!, Katrina creates amazing treats for her clients filling their celebrations with good wishes & happiness. She brings these same gifts to the lives of her friends and colleagues. A mentor, a friend, an inspiration. Being Katrina's friend is one sweet treat.

Basil-Good Wishes. We had to incorporate something floral & food inspired when talking about Katrina Ryan. The Triangle’s Cake Boss!, Katrina creates amazing treats for her clients filling their celebrations with good wishes & happiness. She brings these same gifts to the lives of her friends and colleagues. A mentor, a friend, an inspiration. Knowing Katrina is one sweet treat.

Myrtle-Emblem of Marriage, Love. Jenna Parks Olender is in the wedding business. As co-editor of one of the region's best and brightest mags, Southern Bride & Groom, Jenna has her finger on the pulse of what brides want. That Jenna is in the "love" business comes as no surprise to those who know her. The unabashed way in which she shows love for her family, friends & life makes her more than a little quotable on the subject. Jenna's amazing & that news fit to print!

Myrtle-Emblem of Marriage, Love. Jenna Parks Olender is in the wedding business. As co-editor of one of the region’s best and brightest mags, Southern Bride & Groom, Jenna has her finger on the pulse of what brides want. That Jenna is in the “love” business comes as no surprise to those who know her. The unabashed way in which she shows love for her family, friends & life makes her more than a little quotable on the subject. Jenna’s amazing & that news fit to print!

 

Wisteria-Steadfastness. In our fast paced world, friends come and go, but not Josette Smith. Follow her on Facebook and you will quickly observe that her friends today are friends of a lifetime. She is loyal, true and steadfast. She speaks her mind personally, professionally AND politically for sure, but she does it with a grace and humor and honesty that is the hallmark of a true friend. No buddy of Josette's will ever walk through a party with toilet paper on their shoe.

Wisteria-Steadfastness. In our fast paced world, friends come and go, but not Josette Smith. Follow her on Facebook and you will quickly observe that her friends today are friends of a lifetime. She is loyal, true and steadfast. She speaks her mind personally, professionally AND politically for sure, but she does it with a grace and humor and honesty that is the hallmark of a true friend. No buddy of Josette’s will ever walk through a party with toilet paper on their shoe.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Delphinium-Boldness. Now, Judy will probably go tisk, tisk when she sees this, but she will just have to deal with it. Bold, beautiful, brainy-Judy is a triple threat and more. A talented floral designer, loving mother & wife, loyal friend, she entertains with her witty blog and her engaging repartee. She can talk politics as easily as party planning and she greets life with a boldness we envy & applaud.

Delphinium-Boldness. Now, Judy will probably go tisk, tisk when she sees this, but she will just have to deal with it. Bold, beautiful, brainy-Judy is a triple threat and more. A talented floral designer, loving mother & wife, loyal friend, she entertains with her witty blog and her engaging repartee. She can talk politics as easily as party planning and she greets life with a boldness we envy & applaud.

 

 

 

Daffodil-Regard. First, let us say that Beth Hemphill IS a Wonder Woman. She didn't send us a picture & we had to include her. Regard equals attention & care and that is just what Beth brings to her role as a mother to her brilliant daughters, her work and her friendships. Every conversation starts with "How are you?" and ends with "Take Care of Yourself." Beth is one of the most wonderful people we know and you should see what she can do with a lasso. Send us a picture Beth!

Daffodil-Regard. First, let us say that Beth Hemphill IS a Wonder Woman. She didn’t send us a picture but that won’t keep us from including her on this list. “Regard” equals attention & care and that is Beth’s hallmark- as a mother to her brilliant daughters, as a trusted cornerstone of a thriving company and as a caring, constant friend. Every conversation starts with “How are you?” and ends with “Take Care of Yourself.” Beth is one of the most wonderful people we know and we are pretty sure she’s wicked with a lasso. Send us a picture Beth!

Morning Glory-Affection. Spend 10 seconds around Kim Thomasson and you will wonder how anyone could possibly love life and family more. She possesses an affection for her children, husband and family that is contagious.  Kim works to preserve NC's farming tradition while ensuring her children have the opportunity to pursue their dreams in life. Grounded, confident, a woman of faith & purpose, we can't help but feel affection for this incredible lady.

Morning Glory-Affection. Spend 10 seconds around Kim Thomasson and you will wonder how anyone could possibly love life and family more. She possesses an affection for her children, husband and family that is contagious. Kim works to preserve NC’s farming tradition while ensuring her children have the opportunity to pursue their dreams in life. Grounded, confident, a woman of faith & purpose, we can’t help but feel affection for this incredible lady.

Holly-Domestic Happiness. If you've ever visited Anna Reed at home, you know the definition of a happy, inviting home. Gracious, stylish, loaded with charisma, Anna embraces her role as  mother with a zeal Betty Crocker couldn't match. While juggling graduate studies, she balances her duties as a mom to two young children and as a busy volunteer with an aplomb only a Southern Gal could possess.

Holly-Domestic Happiness. If you’ve ever visited Anna Reed at home, you know the definition of a happy, inviting home. Gracious, stylish, loaded with charisma, Anna embraces her roles of mother & homemaker with a zeal Betty Crocker couldn’t match. While juggling graduate studies, she balances her duties as a mom to two young children and as a busy volunteer with an aplomb only a Southern Gal could possess.

Geranium-Comfort. Denise Doll is a pet's best friend. Blessed with an innate sense of how to care for animals,  Denise has built a thriving business by treating her four legged clients like top dogs. She might be a pet whisperer but the comfort she brings to others especially in times of loss speaks volumes to her character.

Geranium-Comfort. Denise Doll is a pet’s best friend. Blessed with an innate sense of how to care for animals, Denise has built a thriving business by treating her four legged clients like top dogs. She might be a pet whisperer but the comfort she brings to others especially in times of loss speaks volumes to her character.

Apple Blossom-Promise. Amelia Harms might be the next Diane Von Furstenberg or the next Kate Spade. She is a clothing & textiles designer with immeasurable talent & promise. But it is the selfless way in which she shares her talent with others & her community through that will make her a cover story. Remember to send us samples Amelia when you are in the pages of Vogue.

Apple Blossom-Promise. Amelia Harms might be the next Diane Von Furstenberg or the next Kate Spade. She is a clothing & textiles designer with immeasurable talent & promise. But it is the selfless way in which she shares her talent with others & her community that will make her a cover story. Remember to send us samples Amelia when you are in the pages of Vogue.

Ranunculus-Radiance. Brittany Ruch-Interior Design Maven & one uber cool chic. Her  radiance & zest for life are transformative and she brings these traits  to her work helping her clients (who quickly become friends) turn houses into warm, welcoming homes.

Ranunculus-Radiance. Brittany Ruch-Interior Design Maven & one uber cool chic. Her radiance & zest for life are transformative and she brings these traits to her work helping her clients (who quickly become friends) turn houses into warm, welcoming homes. Blonde or ginger, Brittany is our go-to when we want to feel happy and vibrant and radiant.

Freesia-Spirited. Patty Robinson is as groovy & cool as any woman could dream of being. Whether styling events for Wake Tech or cookin' up tasty trouble in her kitchen, Patty is a force, a spirit, to be reckoned with, especially when partnering with her adorable "mini-me."

Freesia-Spirited. Patty Robinson is as groovy & cool as any woman could dream of being. Whether styling events for Wake Tech or cookin’ up tasty trouble in her kitchen, Patty is a force, a spirit, to be reckoned with, especially when partnering with her adorable “mini-me.”

Gardenia-Joy. The One Who Keeps Us In Stitches-Margareth Galardi. Mom, volunteer, domestic goddess, friend-Margareth's outlook on life is one of pure joy and endless laughter & happiness.

Gardenia-Joy. The One Who Keeps Us In Stitches-Margareth Galardi. Mom, volunteer, domestic goddess, friend-Margareth’s outlook on life is one of pure joy and endless laughter & happiness. She’s the first to come to your rescue and the last to leave when the dishes need to be done after a party. Loyal, true, trusted. Women like Margareth come along once in a lifetime. We are glad she came along in ours.

Daisy-Hope & Innocence. My Glorious Ray of Sunshine Vivienne. I'm so looking forward to seeing the woman you become and watching you make history.

Daisy-Hope & Innocence. The Glorious Ray of Sunshine- Vivienne. We are SO looking forward to seeing the woman you become and watching you make history whether it’s as an artist, a civil rights crusader, the Prime Minister of Japan. Whatever you do, you will be amazing! May your heart continue to be filled with hope and innocence and joy. And always remember that yesterday, today, and tomorrow your Mommy loves you ever after.

 

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

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The arrival of December ushers in a flurry of things-shopping ’til you drop, capturing the perfect picture of your little star at the school pageant, dodging flirty co-workers hanging out under the office mistletoe. For those in the florist business, the month brings a bounty of wintery wonder and marks one of the most specific changes in design. Celebratory rainbow colors, inviting autumnal hues, cutesy pinks and purples are all pushed aside for a generous serving of holiday greens, reds and whites. Though not fully capitalizing on the color wheel, this wintery palette features fabulous textural and varietal diversity. Beyond the iconic poinsettia, the winter floral palette features varieties such as paperwhites, thistle, amaryllis, tulips, hydrangea, holiday cactus, dianthus, and eucalyptus just to name a few. Paired with seasonal flourishes of cedar, Fraser fir, pine cones and berry varieties like ilex and pepper berry, the florals of winter tell a magical story. Drop by the English Garden studio to check out the unexpected bounty of winter. Our talented design team can help you create the perfect bouquet for a seasonal gift, family dinner, or holiday party.

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“Falling” in love again

Crisp cool days, gorgeous sunsets capping off days of crystal clear blue skies, the horizon teasing with a rainbow of crimson, amber and siena leaves.

Fall is here and at The English Garden we couldn’t be happier. Sure, we loved summer with its vibrant palettes of pinks and corals and purples. But enough already, we are ready for pumpkin time!

We kicked off fall with back to back classes celebrating glorious fall colors and textures. In our Sunset inspired class, budding designers created a lush pave of sun-drenched orange, persimmon, yellow and amber florals. Playful hints of vegetative elements-wheat, chili peppers and bittersweet-contrasted with inviting blooms from fall’s gardens-chrysanthemums, celosia, roses, and dianthus. That perennial staple of the homecoming game, the yellow football mum, took center stage in this bouquet with sophisticated aplomb.

With our tables dressed, the EG design divas turned to exterior pursuits with a textural, unique door swag. Gourds, de-petaled sunflowers, dianthus, willow, millet, preserved beech, and cattails merged delightfully in this design by Renee. A lovely alternative to a traditional wreath, the door swag design offered students an opportunity to gain a true appreciation for the intricate interplay of autumn materials-subtle in color, rich in texture.

Our fun and informative class series isn’t the only place fall makes a splash at the EG. Our cooler is heartily stocked with blooms of roses, tulips, hydrangea, gerberas, chrysanthemums, dahlias and lilies awash in fall color while our “goodies” shop is ablaze with vibrant crotons, bronzed and gilded mums, and orchids in shades of plum and cabarnet.

Until the leaves fully turn, come get your color fix at The English Garden. We guarantee you will find something to “fall” in love with.

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Breast Cancer Awareness | The Stockroom, Raleigh, NC

The English Garden full-heartedly supports breast cancer research! We are so happy to celebrate this with you in Breast Cancer Awareness Month! Take a look at what people in the community are doing to show their support. The English Garden made all of the arrangements!

A special thanks to Megan Gillikin from A Southern Soiree for putting this event together!

 

Alice in Wonderland

Elva from The English Garden has been working hard on this Alice in Wonderland arrangement!  Pay attention to the miniscule sized details that she took into consideration when preparing this tiny little world!  I am in love with the Mad Hatter hat, but my favorite has to be the mushrooms!

This scene was made for a future photo shoot that the English Garden is doing pro-bono.  They are truly a wonderful crowd who strive for the best in customer satisfaction.  I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to show case some amazing work of wedding business in the triangle area.

–Nikki

Photo courtesy of Fancy This Photography !!

Portofino | Clayton, NC

I can not tell you any more how much I love my job!  It’s just…amazing!  They do so much!  This weekend they prepared for multiple weddings, one of which was an English Garden employees sister.

Although I could not be at all the weddings to help set up, I was able to set up the Portofino.  The Portofino is a luxury home complex that specializes in “gracious country living.”  Needless to say, the venue was outright gorgeous!

Here’s a look at what the English Garden does!  Take a look at the detail!  Everything floral, it is quite amazing.  The English Garden has a great team that does all of this, I have been so blessed to have worked with every one of them!

Congratulations Sara Whitney! No rain could ruin your day.

–Nikki

Special thanks to Fancy This Photography !!

The Sutherland | Wake Forest, NC

The English Garden is a florist set up in Raleigh, NC that focuses on event decor and has just recently started their take on everyday delivery of flowers.  Working with all of the employees of the English Garden has certainly placed a stamp on my little heart, I have learned so much!  The employees are really the best in customer service and detail!

Below is an event that the English Garden catered to.  Pay attention to the detail of the flowers, especially under the reception tent!  There are buku’s of vases that each flower bouquet is humbled in, they are all different and unique.  It gives such a great vibe to the entire set up!

A big thank you to The Sutherland !! This is the venue of desire for the Saturday wedding!  It is a quaint place located in the heart of Wake Forest, NC.

Photo courtesy of Fancy This Photography !!

The English Garden Staff: A Flourishing Family

Here at the English Garden Florist of Raleigh, we value many things in life. Elegant flowers, upholding traditions, and great customer service are a few of these things. Each and every day, we strive to provide our customers with the freshest, most beautiful floral creations available. This could not be done without the preparation, diligence, and creativity of our floral team, which we believe is the best team on the East Coast. It is with the skilled talent and tedious work of our staff that we craft memorable floral creations such as the ones seen on our many social media outlets and in our North Raleigh shop.

Julie Kass, also known as our “Prized Jewel,” is the office manager and one of our fantastic bridal consultants. Although she has only been in the floral business for a short time, she has quickly caught on to the “ins” and “outs” of the business. Her engaging personality, professionalism, and likability appeal to our customer’s needs.

 

Lauren Thomasson, a recent graduate from the Horticulture Department at North Carolina State University, is one of our top designers and craftsmen. She takes on projects with enthusiasm and a fresh perspective; we have been lucky to have this budding talent in our company for over four years.

Lacey Hardee, also known as “Jill of All Trades,” is one of our bridal consultants and media specialists. She brings spunk to office life, constantly making staff and customers smile and giggle with joy. Lacey is relatively new to the flower industry, but has been invested in the wedding business for several years.

Irma Mayo, one of our very talented designers has been working in the floral industry for nearly eleven years. Her passion and creativity shine through her blossoming creations. Her calm nature and kindheartedness keep the shop in balance while preparing for wedding and busy delivery days.

Marlene Fontaine, our “Garden Cougar,” is our organizing guru. She covers a lot of ground throughout the day and there is nothing she won’t do to assist her fellow coworkers. Her humor and pleasant manner greatly contribute to the English Garden. Marlene also coordinates EG’s philanthropic efforts and community involvement with civic groups like the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce and the Junior League of Raleigh.

Whether you are a bride-to-be or a customer looking for a floral indulgence, the flourishing English Garden family is ready and willing to accommodate your needs. We look forward to many more years with our fantastic staff!

An Eloquent Review from an Elegant Bride

The English Garden was delighted to receive this raving review from Kathryn, one of our favorite brides:

“My bouquet was STUNNING!  It was literally jaw-dropping when I saw it and exactly what I envisioned!  The bridesmaid’s bouquets, boutonnieres, hydrangeas, and center pieces were PERFECT!  It was honestly everything Abby [Kathryn’s made of honor] and I envisioned and so much more!  It blew me away while I was walking down the aisle and when I was looking around Cobblestone Hall while dancing with my dad and seeing everything for the first time.  All the hard work paid off…it was really happening, and I owe so much of that to your beautiful flower arrangements and amazing talent.”

The stunning couple, Kathryn and Andrew were married in May of 2012. Accompanied by their closest family and friends, the couple celebrated their “Southern Intimate Affair” at Cobblestone Hall. The venue and the bride were decorated amid Oncidium orchids with dusty miller foliage and craspedia. The bride and groom were truly a sight; it was a pleasure to create Kathryn’s vision.

If you’d like to view Kathryn’s full review, please visit: http://www.weddingwire.com/reviews/the-english-garden-raleigh/ccd5afef7b1bdfbd.html

 

Photos provided by Craig Carpenter at http://www.lusterstudios.com/

Budding Talent: A Look Inside the English Garden Design Classes

Looking for something fun and exciting to do this summer? Look no further than The English Garden Florist of Raleigh! Our crafty designers have been hard at work teaching our summer classes to a group of budding talents. Through a Livingsocial promotional offer, the English Garden is hosting a range of floral design classes that will quench your artistic thirst.

Last month, tulips returned for an enjoyable “Double Dutch!” spring class. Care, handling and simple design techniques for beautiful tulips was taught. Our “Mother May I” class pushed the envelope with color and texture combinations, creating a fun garden design that was sure to please. This week, our “Be My Sunshine” design class brightened the rainy day with a spunky sunflower and carnation arrangement. This potted creation was finished off with a fresh lemon accent and french braided ribbon. 

 

How would you like to be a part of these crafty classes? Design classes will be hosted at the English Garden Florist of Raleigh through December of this year. If interested in joining our budding talents, please call us at 1(919)341-6650 or email classes@englishgardenraleigh.com.