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Flowers

Pick Your Own Flower Fields

July 27, 2016

If you live in the city like me, chances are you get fresh flowers at a farmers’ market, florist, grocery store kiosk, maybe your backyard or balcony (if you have one) or a delivery service. In Germany, and I believe also in some other EU countries, you can take a short drive out to the countryside and you’ll spot “Selbstschneiden” Flower Fields or Pick Your Own. I love these fields!

Pick Your Own Flower Fields

Pick Your Own is based on a sorta honor system – the field has no one visible to buy the flowers from, rather there is a little stand with a list of how much a flower costs (like a Sunflower may be between .25 -.80 per stem) or you can buy in bunches by cutting your flowers, tying them and inserting into 3 various holes on a board at the stand – each hole is labeled with the price for that bundle.

Pick Your Own Flower Fields

The stand has small vegetable knives with the ends cut off, small scissors and a donation box with a lock. Also string for binding and a big basket or bin on the ground so you can clean the stems of excess leaves before you go.

It’s such a pleasure that I’ve indulged in since moving to Germany. There are so many of these fields in my region, some are as close as 15 minutes by car, that I’ve lost cost. The typical flowers are gladioli, sunflowers (large and small) and dahlias in all colors. You can also find daisies, poppies and much more depending on how creative the person planting the field is. Some have only 3 varieties of flowers or only sunflowers, others have dozens and go all out – you can tell flowers are their passion! The fields typically look like this. Here is the one that we enjoyed just a few days ago.

Pick Your Own Flower Fields

It’s such a beautiful and relaxing afternoon to take an hour or two and just spend them roaming the fields to pick flowers. My little boy and I had a snack of blueberries and read storybooks while my husband was off cutting sunflowers. Then, as I cut, he took our son to see the cows across the street so I was able to relax and enjoy myself. I’ve been bringing my son to these fields since he was 6 months old and today, he loves to walk through them and sniff as many flowers as he can.

From those fields above, here are my flowers at home below.

Pick Your Own Flower Fields

I didn’t bother to invest much thought into how I would arrange them, my goal was simple – to make the arrangement look straight from the field and un-styled. I really like taking a casual approach to flower arranging. When I wrote a book about flowers and flower styling when I was pregnant, I intentionally left the more complicated arrangements to my co-author who is great at mastering both looks, though casual is also her preferred approach.

I choose to place these flowers in a Nordic-inspired vase – the Omaggio vase with the mother of pearl stripes is by Danish brand @Kahler. I love the subtle stripes and the slightly off white color because it doesn’t fight with the flower textures or colors, but also wanted something non-transparent to hide the stems – I wanted the focus to be on the bright colors.

Pick Your Own Flower Fields

Pick Your Own Flower Fields

Do you have flower fields where you can go to cut your own? Do we have this concept in America yet? There are even companies that specialize in setting you up in Germany so you can own your own. I find this a terrific business concept. When I left the states in 2009, I don’t recall it. Corn, blueberries, strawberries, etc. are common but I don’t ever remember driving by a field without anyone watching you where you can just pick flowers and donate the amount you estimate they should cost. I think it’s a really beautiful system!

Hope you have a happy day!

Holly x






Flowers

DIY White Party Flower Arrangement

June 20, 2016

Hello and happy Monday everyone! My garden is in full bloom and also all of the meadows. Everywhere I go, there are flowers growing – foraging made easy! As a flower lover there is no way I could skip an arrangement with roses and peonies. Inspired by the outdoors, I wanted to create a fresh arrangement, and add flowers that represent my surroundings this time of the year. My friend is hosting a summer “white” party and this white bouquet is my contribution to her party! White flowers are the perfect gift for a summer white party from my point of view. If you are hosting one, you can make smaller arrangements and place them down the center of an old wooden table. Wouldn’t that be gorgeous?

DIY White Party Flower Arrangement

“It was June, and the world smelled of roses. The sunshine was like powdered gold over the grassy hillside.” ― Maud Hart Lovelace, Betsy-Tacy and TibClick To Tweet

White roses are one of my favorite flowers of all time – they are elegant and light up every arrangement. They look good if they are in a vase alone and they look gorgeous in a bouquet with other flowers. I am so happy it is June and I can chose from all the different varieties! For my arrangement for you today, I collected gorgeous white roses, added white peonies and went foraging in the meadow to achieve the airy look that I was going for.

Flowers used for the arrangement:

* white roses
* white peonies
* wild chervil
* yarrow
* bedstraw

Because the arrangement contained wild foraged flowers I decided to go for a more formal look and made the arrangement round and simple. I learned that cold weather gives some roses a slight touch of pink, some nights are still pretty cold where I live, this is why I also picked white yarrow that was slightly turning into pink. After I cut all flowers to one length, I arranged the bouquet in my hands, turning the slowly growing bouquet, adding the flowers one after another.

DIY White Party Flower Arrangement

Having them in my hands instead of a vase helped me to ensure that the bouquet was not getting too big. The roses and peonies added enough white to the arrangement, so I tried to break it up a little with yarrow, wild chervil and bedstraw.

DIY White Party Flower Arrangement

After the bouquet was finished, I cut the stems to one final length, tied it all up and placed into my vase. Here is the finished arrangement below. This could be a beautiful wedding floral bouquet too, couldn’t it? Or on the table at a reception?

DIY White Party Flower Arrangement

The roses and the peonies are so soft, feminine and fragrant while the wild flowers looked like white lace. All in all a perfect combination for a summer white party.

This is my final column on decor8, I’ve enjoyed so much being here and sharing my floral ideas with all of you. Have a wonderful summer and make sure to keep up with me over on my blog and on Instagram, I’d love that. All the best, Anastasia.

(Photos, styling, text: Anastasia Benk0)






Flowers

DIY: Garden Wisteria + Iris Summer Bouquet

May 19, 2016

Hello dear readers, I’m back with a new flower column for you to enjoy this month. I currently live in Germany, but I grew up in the Ukraine and one of my most cherished memories goes back to summer months spent with my wonderful grandma at our ‘dacha’, a small Russian summer house. This was our seasonal second home where we grew our own fruit, vegetables and flowers! I was outdoors the entire time helping my beloved granny plant new strawberries or potatoes. Luckily, my grandma loved flowers as much as I did and so together we planted peonies, daisies and my favorite, irises. In fact, I think it was her who instilled a passion for flowers in me.

DIY: Garden Wisteria + Iris Summer Bouquet

Anastasia Benko for decor8

There was no better feeling than to go home with a bucket full of strawberries or a bouquet of peonies. When my mother and I moved to Germany, my granny visited and brought a few rhizomes from our dacha. She also planted peonies. With this background you might better understand my love of flowers an why I am really looking forward to share this special arrangement with you today fresh from the garden. Continue Reading…






Flowers

How To Style a Cherry Blossom Spring Bouquet

April 19, 2016

I am so excited to share this arrangement with you because slowly flowers are starting to bloom here and spring is slowly coming! I am working already on the flower bed in my garden which is the reason why I’m so excited for warmer months… But I will stop indulging right here as we have the VERY BEST that spring has to offer for you today: cherry blossoms!

How To Style a Cherry Blossom Spring Bouquet

Anastasia Benko for decor8

Flower bouquets are the perfect finishing touch of any interior setting, don’t you think? Of course I can drop by the local florist and buy the most beautiful arrangement – but I find it more rewarding to make one of my own. It adds personal touch to interiors, just like I did with a personal favorite image that I took in Paris of a merry-go-round as you’ll see below. I love adding personal touches to my home, don’t you? And with flowers, you are the artist! Continue Reading…






DIY, Flowers

DIY: Romantic + Classy Flower Arrangement In White

March 23, 2016

Hello dear decor8 readers, it’s Anastasia here again, with a fresh flower column! Traveling is a big passion of mine and two weeks ago I was lucky enough to make a trip to the Baltic Sea. Often I get asked where inspiration finds me. It’s exactly trips like this these that make me go home fully energized, with a vision that needs to be shared.

DIY: Romantic + Classy Flower Arrangement In White

Anastasia Benko for decor8

At the Baltic Sea, I was expecting a windy, stormy and dramatic coast. My other expectation included sunny but crisp cold days, beginning with a white frost. Let me tell you, none of it happened! It was all an illusion because when we arrived the sun disappeared and a hazy curtain covered the scenery.At first, it was disappointing since I like to wander around all day, discovering details so I can bring back an enormous selection of photographs. None of this became reality as most photos turned out to be quite boring, without any contrast. I took a few snaps, but then I decided to put the camera aside and to just enjoy my weekend off. However, I did notice one thing that took me by surprise: the natural light is different in northern Germany versus where I’m from… Despite the hazy weather, my surroundings were illuminated with a certain brightness, regardless of whether I was indoors or out. Having experienced this kind of light, I had to bring home this feeling and wanted to create a translucent, crystal-clear and pure flower arrangement for all of you today. Continue Reading…






DIY, Flowers

DIY: Wreaths With Eucalyptus and Ruscus-Leafed Bamboo

March 5, 2016

Hello dear decor8 readers! My name is Anastasia Benko and I am a stylist, artist and vintage shop owner based in Germany. Holly’s blog has always been a constant source of inspiration to me and I am honored to be part of the amazing team of decor8 now! In my monthly flower column for decor8 I will create seasonally appropriate floral arrangements that will hopefully inspire you to bring the outdoors into your home too!

DIY: Wreaths With Eucalyptus and Ruscus-Leafed Bamboo

Before I share my first arrangement with you, I’d like to tell you a little more about my philosophy. For my arrangements I love to use what my surroundings offer. For me, a house doesn’t feel like a home without flowers and plants! This is also the reason why you always find natural elements in my home, I never come home empty handed from my walks in the nearby forest. I love to challenge myself and try to stick to the changing seasons to reflect the nature of the season. Of course there are occasions where only a lush flower arrangement makes sense but I also think that branches can make a huge impression and almost look like beautifully arranged sculptures.

DIY: Wreaths With Eucalyptus and Ruscus-Leafed Bamboo

After several years of working with flowers and plants I realized that no matter what time of the year, I am always drawn to wreaths. Wreaths have the most perfect form for me, a circle that is connecting one end with another – it’s beautiful but yet complex. This time I wanted to make 2 super-sized wings out of eucalyptus that can be arranged in two different ways: an open half wreath and a more wreath-like, round installation. These are my mood boards I created for the stylings: Continue Reading…






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