“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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Just another day at the EG.

Irma creates a vibrant summer design for an evening dinner reservation.

Irma creates a vibrant summer design for an evening dinner reservation.

“This looks like so much fun!”  “You must love what you do!” “This place is like a reality show!” That’s right, Duck Dynasty has nothing on us. Every day at the English Garden brings a buzz of activity and fun, interesting projects. Phones ringing, flowers arriving, designs being created for delivery, brides coming in to discuss flowers for the “Big Day”, customers dropping in for a quick bouquet. What seems like routine to us probably looks like a party OR circus to anyone else. Party or circus, it is always fun!

So what is an average day like at the EG? First thing in the morning, Lauren, Lacey and Marlene juggle phones, emails, and any follow-up from the previous day while Irma preps for the day’s orders. Linda keeps things humming along in her role as number cruncher and office coordinator extraordinaire. As flower shipments start arriving, things kick into high gear with Mayra processing and sorting flowers as quickly as they come in the door. Most of our flowers arrive on Tuesday and Wednesday but we receive product daily so managing the care and handling of these delicate blooms is a big job. Deliveries come from local growers and vendors but many days, like today, we will also receive shipments via FedEx, UPS and Southwest at the airport. In today’s arrivals, we had sunflowers from Amy Conrad’s local farm, hydrangea and roses from our friends at Bella Fiore, amazing dahlias from Mayesh-California, gorgeous gladiolus from Hardin’s Wholesale, and peonies from one of our favorite Dutch growers.

As orders are placed and bouquets are created, the delivery system kicks into high gear. Daily deliveries take our drivers to all corners of the Triangle and our crew of Kent, Joe, Chris, Mike and Gary put the “petals” to the metal to keep our clients happy. It’s always fun to see what the day will bring and just what sweet message will accompany a bouquet. Today’s deliveries ran the gamut from lasting love to moving remembrances-flowers for a 30th anniversary celebration in Raleigh; beautiful sunflower designs for a Cary Academy event; memorial flowers to Durham and business gifts to Chapel Hill.

While our designing divas-Irma, Lauren, Renee, Elva and Judy- and fella-Gene, work their flower magic, Lacey is busy as a bee coordinating design ideas, budgets and logistics for our beautiful brides! With a background in event and hospitality management, Lacey is a master at juggling the many components required for flawless wedding florals. Today’s calendar saw her sharing design ideas with a 2014 bride, finessing last minute details for an upcoming October fete and meeting offsite for a design mock-up with a fabulous bride and her parents at one of our favorite venues-The Renaissance.

By 5:00, the designs are out the door, the flowers are tucked away for a night in the fridge, the i’s dotted and t’s are crossed in proposals, and the shop is ready and set for another busy day. Want to see a busy day in action, drop by anytime! Our EG friends have an open invitation to the party.

 

On the double! Kent loads vibrant summer bouquets for a Cary event.

On the double! Kent loads vibrant summer bouquets for a Cary event.

Brown-eyed girl! Gorgeous sunflowers from our pal Amy Conrad of Conrad Farms.

Brown-eyed girl! Gorgeous sunflowers from our pal Amy Conrad of Conrad Farms.

Lauren roughs in a base for a Maid's bouquet for a weekend wedding

Lauren roughs in a base for a Maid’s bouquet for a weekend wedding

All in the details. Linda is a smooth operator as she reviews event details and product orders.

All in the details. Linda is a smooth operator as she reviews event details and product orders.

Straight from the Farm

If you’re raised in the South, you’re always a child of summer. Lazy strolls combing the beach for shells and sandfiddlers, seed spitting contests after devouring a melon from the garden, cheering on your favorites at the ballpark. Southern memories are often most deeply rooted in the sights, sounds and sweat of long summer days. At the florist, summer brings memories of helping Mom gather everything from zinnias to zucchini from our garden; that is until a giant black snake foiled any return trips to harvest homegrown goodies. I remember our rose garden at the old farm house we lived in and the vivid colors of my Granny B’s gerberas framing her summer patio. Bountiful flowers from some of our favorite NC growers help keep those memories “fresh picked.” We love creating beautiful bouquets from the amazing blooms abundant in Carolina’s summer gardens.

Local growers such as Amy Conrad with the Triangle’s Conrad Farms, the friendly folks at Castle Hayne Floral Growers, and the Curtis Family at Curtis Flower Farm offer amazing summer blooms such as sunflowers, Sweet William, fresh basil and rosemary, celosia, and zinnias. Independent flower growers are experiencing a resurgence in NC as a focus on sustainability and organic farming comes to the forefront. The Carolina growing season brings tulips in the spring, peonies in early summer, sunflowers through the warm months of July and August and a bounty of interesting textural foliages, berries and florals through the fall and winter.

The area’s independent flower growers have seen interest in their products move beyond weekend booths at farmer’s markets. At the English Garden, we make a concerted effort to share with our customers information about where and how our flowers are grown. Frequent visitors to the shop have come to request Thai basil and sunflowers from Amy’s garden because they appreciate the long vase life and greater quality that local cultivation brings. A few of our tulip enthusiasts count down the months to when Castle Hayne’s tulips are available each spring; one customer even asked to purchase a few of the company’s stock bulbs so she could add the striking yellow French tulip variety to her garden.

Riding the wave of the locally grown trend, NC flower farmers have seen demand for their products grow exponentially over the past few years. Outside of the normal growing season, many farms are now cultivating product throughout the year in expanded hothouse facilities. Amy Conrad added vibrant anemones and ranunculus grown in her new hothouses to an already diverse spring menu of blooms. Castle Hayne harvests jumbo snapdragons throughout the year and flawless tulips well beyond the spring months. While NC florists are still the first to snap up Castle Hayne’s gorgeous blooms, florists throughout the country are now loyal supporters of this Carolina farm proving that a domestic grower can compete with the major farms in South and Central America.

During the summer months it is not unusual for our coolers and studio to be filled to capacity with NC grown florals and foliages. We are keeping our eyes out for a NC grower of anthuriums, orchid blooms and birds of paradise, so some products still have to travel across the country or the “pond.” But when shipments of flowers arrive from Hawaii, Holland or father afield like Israel and Japan, we love pairing those exotic finds with indigenous, heirloom blooms for amazing combinations. A hint of basil tucked into a gathering of Dutch blooms lends unexpected fragrance and texture while vibrant rudbeckia takes on a tropical appeal when paired with Hawaiian blooms.

Come by the studio to handpick your own bouquet or have Irma or Lauren gather goodies from our “garden” for a custom design for you. Check out our summer and fall class schedule for design workshops focusing on local botanicals. We would love to help you create cherished summer memories. 

Delicate apple green lisianthus from Conrad Farms

Delicate apple green lisianthus from Conrad Farms

An array of textural summer finds from Conrad & Castle Hayne Farms. Sweet William, ageratum and celosia.

An array of textural summer finds from Conrad & Castle Hayne Farms. Sweet William, ageratum and celosia.

A colorful crop of Carolina grown zinnias

A colorful crop of Carolina grown zinnias

Sunshine from the field. Golden rudbeckia is the definition of happy.

Sunshine from the field. Golden rudbeckia is the definition of happy.

 

Groovy Gerberas

375674_10151626287334634_486629683_nNeed a way to brighten a rainy day? Consider a bountiful, beautiful bouquet of vibrant, colorful gerberas.

Iconic in shape and form; limitless in colors and varieties; gerberas are a wonderful addition to any floral palette. A simple vase of gerberas is a perfect, simple way to say “Thank You!” or “I’m thinking of you!” to a friend or associate. Larger scale bouquets of gerberas in either an assortment of colors or a modern, monobotanical presentation can add a dramatic statement to an office environment. And for weddings, few flowers offer the variety and price point of gerberas for today’s style conscious brides.

At almost any given time, you will find a wonderful mix of gerbera colors and varieties in the English Garden cooler. We always enjoy standard blooms in red, orange, yellow and pink, but flower growers now offer a wide variety of novelty blooms cultivated in an eclectic palette of fun and funky colors. The majority of gerberas are cultivated in California and Canada with California’s Sun Valley leading the way in volume production. In recent years, innovations by Canadian growers have taken gerbera variety to a whole new level. A few of our recent favorites from Canada and California include:

 

  

  A striking Canadian gerbera, Blue Skies, offers a vibrant purple option to the gerbera line-up.

 

 

 

 

 

  Marmolada, a fun tri-color variety from California grower Sun Valley blending red & pink petals.

 

 

 

 

 Crossroads, a vivid bloom perfect for summer with yellow petals radiating from a red and black eye  and cultivated both in the American and Canadian markets.

 

 

 

 

   Venice, a delicate pairing of creamy white petals with a rosy pink center.

 

 

 

 

 

     Bold and Big! The fabulous Power Play from Sun Valley offers a jumbo orange bloom.

 

 

 

 

Call us at 919-341-6650 to have our talented design team create a custom gerbera design for your special occasion or drop by our studio to check out what fun varieties are on hand this week.

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!