Tender, bleak January, with its still-short days and skies tinted with melancholy, can be the most challenging to enjoy of the great, grand year ahead. Your eyes can become starved for beauty and spring seems an age away. But Paris just might be more exquisite in winter than at any other time. One reason is the endless architectural delight found in observing the myriad shapes, sizes and styles of windows. So here, for your January travel dreaming and scheming, a selection of some of my favorites.
I’m sharing some of my favorite winter flowers from the Paris flower markets over at the Paris Perfect blog today, too.
p.s. Be sure to see the January/February issue of Victoria magazine with an antiques-shopping feature I shot in Provence last spring!
Happy New Year, my friends! Bringing some colorful blooms to you to brighten up your winter day. I’ve shared with you in past years my love for heavenly hellebores. A glorious winter-blooming woodland plant, long-loved by gardeners in the know, they have exploded in mainstream popularity over the last few years. Hardy, beautiful and such a welcome sight in mid-winter, florists have also discovered them as a luscious and romantic addition to bouquets.
Although I grow dozens of varieties on at our woodland retreat in the Pacific Northwest, these all came from the Rungis Wholesale Flower Market outside of Paris. Stopping by the market with my friend Laetitia of Floresie to purchase flowers for a bouquet for my book, Paris in Bloom, I couldn’t resist the colors and textures of these gorgeous hellebores, so they came back to my apartment in the 7th arrondissement with me, along with dozens of roses, anemones, lilacs and ranunculus.
Hellebores can be tricky as cut flowers because they don’t draw enough water up the stem to keep the blooms from wilting after 24 or 48 hours. Some florists wait to cut the blooms until the stamens have fully dropped and the seed pods have formed, giving them several more days of bouquet life. I personally think they are much more beautiful with the stamens still on, as you see in these photos.
An excellent way to prolong them as a cut flower is to float them in a beautiful bowl filled with water. Cut the stems about 1/2” from the flower base, arrange in a large vessel and carefully fill with water. Replace the water daily and these beauties will last a week or more. Their rich, jeweled colors, ruffly petals and glossy leaves are a delight as a centerpiece or on a side table or desk.
I continually marvel at their exquisite shapes and shades. They are truly one of my very favorite plants.
I hope you get a chance to grow or at least purchase some stems of hellebores this winter. You will fall in love with them as I have.
(These photographs were all shot as potential images for my book but this feature did not make it in the final version. So, now I can share with you here. Paris in Bloom releases on 14 March 2017 and can be pre-ordered here right now!)
And you can see more of my hellebore arrangments and photographs in the winter edition of Garden Design magazine. If you love gardens, I highly recommend that you subscribe to this fabulous publication. The articles go into great depth on each subject covered and are entirely ad-free.
Hello, dearest friends and bright New Year wishes to you! You are always in my thoughts and heart.
I so hope that 2017 offers windows of wonderful opportunity for each of you and that the year is filled with health, happiness and fulfillment.
My year has been eventful and full of travel and very fulfilling professional projects. I’m officially able to share with you now details about my upcoming book release, Paris in Bloom by my wonderful publisher, Abrams Books.
I wrote and photographed Paris in Bloom to transport you on a sumptuous floral tour of the city, just as if we were strolling together through the streets on a perfect spring day. An unashamedly romantic celebration of her floral charms, Paris in Bloom was inspired by my first visit to the city as a teenager with my Mum. Picnics in flower-filled parks along the Seine, up-close viewings of Impressionist paintings, observation of the Parisian art of presentation and wonder at the magnificence of the architecture all had a profound effect on my artistic journey.
In addition to hundreds of photographs taken over the last several years, inside I share my personal recommendations for the best flower markets and floral boutiques, parks and gardens. Along with a guide to locating the prettiest spring blossoms in the city, I include a field guide for identifying the most common flowers and blooming trees. You’ll even find a step-by-step lesson to create your own Parisian-style floral arrangement for your home and much more!
Much thought and care was put into making Paris in Bloom a book for you, as a Paris and flower lover, to savor again and again, one to keep on your nightstand to inspire dreams of your first, or next, visit to this glorious city.
Since many of you have been with me from the early days of this blog, I feel that it is our special project together, one that your support has inspired and encouraged me to pursue and finish.
I’m so excited that book is already available for pre-order now right HERE. I’ll have final copies in my hands very soon and will share a sneak peek of the interior with you then!
And a few weeks ago, I edited together a video of clips that I’d been shooting over the last year and am happy to now share it with you here! Take a look and let me know what you think!
2016 has been a roller coaster ride, hasn’t it? But no matter what is happening in the world, with politicians or governments or the economy, the important thing is our personal connections. I’m proud and honored to have dear friends in Russia, Korea, South Africa, India, Indonesia, Dubai, South America, Europe, Canada, Asia, the US – really all around the globe. You make my days brighter and I love hearing what’s happening in your part of the world.
I’ll be back in a few days with a special giveaway for each of you. Happy New Year to you and your loved ones!
p. s. for those of you that asked, my book Vintage Roses will be available in the US in February! Details here.