An impressionist garden in the Tuscan hills

 
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I’ve just come back from a short stay in Tuscany where I visited the beautiful ‘Podere Puscina Flowers’ owned by 3 sisters.

A family run business in the very heart of Tuscany where Teresa, Mara and Laura grow their own local flowers respecting the biodiversity and nature.

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I was greeted by Kira, their friendly dog and an incredible landscape. Walking through the fields was like being part of an impressionist painting. The colours of flowers, the bright blue sky, the magical wood at the end of the valley, together with the golden wheat fields were truly inspirational.

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There were many amazing varieties of flowers such as: romantic English garden roses, corn flower, lavender, veronica, false goat’s beard, love-in-amist, scbious, alchemilla …

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Cotinus

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Cosmea simple and double 

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Sanguisorba, amni, love-in-a-mist, strawberry scabious

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Acquilegia

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Scabious

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The one that captured my attention the most was the poppy. I’ve never seen so many different colours and varieties.

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I really enjoyed my wonderful stay at Puscina an enchanted place where 3 families live and work in harmony with nature.

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6 floral installations at the Milan design week

 
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Every April Milan opens its doors to the design week and events of “Fuorisalone”.

For me the Fuorisalone has became an absolute must. In this edition two elements that immediately caught my attention were: flowers and the combination between modern and antique.

As soon as I arrived I went straight  to see the Danish brand “Hay” which was hosted at Palazzo Clerici. The Nordic style was perfectly integrated in the magnificent neoclassical rooms decorated with marble and golden stuccos. The floral arrangements added a cosy atmosphere to the grandeur of the palace.

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Moving on I stopped at the baroque Palazzo Litta, that held the installation  “Temple in the forest” designed by the London studio of Asif Kahn.

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Next I was taken by surprise by the pop up store that Raw had created especially for the Fuorisalone. The new collection of floral fabric born from the collaboration of the amercan brand John Derian and the English  Designer Guild, had a very romantic feel.  Intense pink flowers styled by “Flo” were surrounded by candles to set the scene.

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Arriving in Piazza Duomo I went to see Tiffany’s shop windows. For this occasion Tiffany had asked 5 artists to create a special installation in a silver greenhouse. When I stepped inside I was immediately enchanted by a spectacular curtain of flowers displayed before me.

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In the afternoon there were 2 palaces to visit.

In Palazzo Serbelloni’s courtyard there was the “Swarosky palace”. Upon entering I marveled at the effect of the glittering dancing lights everywhere.

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On the first floor of Palazzo Serbelloni I was blown away by the incredible and stunning floral arrangements created by Christian Tortu for  the Danish brand Gubi. The choice of colours, flowers and natural elements from the vegetable world were perfectly matched with the awesome rooms and furniture.

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To end this amazing day I visited the installation created for Louis Vitton at Palazzo Bocconi. Just inside the courtyard was the incredible Hexacube House “Bubble house” designed by the Greek designer Goerge Candilllis in 1970. Stepping inside the palace, at the top of a majestic staircase I was welcomed by a cascade of 10.000 paper flowers.

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Did you have any chance to visit the Fuori salone? Let me know what surprised you most!

 

4 reasons to choose carnations

 
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Today I would like to write about carnation, a flower that is very often underestimated without being able to stand up for itself. These opinions come from the past when the floral arrangements were very basic or because here in Italy the custom is to use them on sad occasions.

But I think the time has arrived to open up the doors to this special flower which has a lot to offer.  Let me give you at least 4 reasons to change your mind about carnations

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First of all nowadays there is an incredible variety of colours which always leave me speechless. Since the start of my career I’ve discovered numerous carnation varieties.

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The second reason is that carnations keep you company for quite a long time, nearly a week or more. A tip they don’t like much water in the vase and the stems are quite fragile.

Thirdly carnations can be found throughout the year and they are fairly cheap. For these reasons they are ideal to complement any floral arrangements.

Ph Paolo Castagnedi

Ph Paolo Castagnedi

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And finally they have a wonderful delicate scent and are very soft to touch. A bunch of white carnations  looks like whipped cream. Their consistency and the movement of the petals remind me of sumptuous velvet.

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Don’t forget that in flower language they mean pure love.

Ph Paolo Castagnedi

Ph Paolo Castagnedi

Have you ever thought about giving them or  decorating  your home with them?

 
 

4 pink combinations for your Christmas table

 
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Last week on a grey cloudy morning I met  Manuela Piccoli to create an unusual and inspirational Christmas corner. As soon as I arrived Manuela took me to her deposit full of antiques, a real treat for my eyes. It was like opening a door and take a glimpse into the past.

I discovered an amazing 18th  century dresser where I created a magical winter wonderland. I used branches of rosehip, silver and green cypress, pine, moss, a magnificent Hellebore and masses of glowing candles. To make the atmosphere even cozier I  added a green velvet armchair and a pink  one, a crystal chandelier and  two white wrought iron lanterns.

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A sunlit corner filled with plants was a perfect location for the Christmas table. I wanted to create  a romantic and vintage look. So we used an embroidered white tablecloth, mismatched wrought iron with soft white  wollen white blankets. 19th century  Sheffield dinner  plates from 900, fine bone china dishes, antique silver French cutlery, Liberty green glasses and small 50’s style bowls adorned the table.

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For the flowers I chose the different shades of intense pink. This tone is perfect for its versatility and meaning. A few days back I read an article about pink which signifies  kindness, romanticism and gratitude.  I daresay “perfect” for this festive period.  Use this palette to surprise your guests this year!

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The flowers were: Ranunculus, Carnation, Cymbiudim, different types of berries from light pink to dark violet.

Here are 4 possible combinations with pink:

  • Pink/violet: violet Anemones and blue Hyacinth
  • Pink/red: intese red roses "Red Naomi" and pillar box Ilex
  • Pink/Bordeaux: bordeaux Ranunculus, Anemones, Carnation and Skimmia
  • Pink/silver: silver berries

Don’t forget to add seasonal greenery!

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Hope you are getting into the Christmas spirit.

Best wishes!

See you in January!

Send me some photos of your seasonal decorations!

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Intensive floral workshop with an autumn twist

 
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There was a unique vibe during my last intensive floral work-shop in October.

The special ingredients that made these two days so incredible were: an amazing group of curious and focused women: Natascia, Alessia, Nadia, Giorgia, Caterina, Silvia and Elena. Each one with her own dreams, passions, but above all very determined to share this experience.

The wonderfully welcoming Relais Corte Guastalla location set amongst the Custoza vineyard was the perfect backdrop for our week-end.

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I chose the vibrant autumn palette of : the bordeaux chrysanthemum, the chocolate of the Cosmos, the ruby red of the hydrangea  and the more delicate tones of pastel pink of the perfumed O’Hara roses.

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At the beginning of the course I gave a small  floral patterned notebook to each partecipant. Here they could note down any tips that they’d picked up during the week-end.

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This was my fourth  intensive floral workshop and I must say it was a really magical experience for us all.  Here are some special words from Natascia from Parma:”Wood of Ceylon, powerful, crisp, exciting, magical, special  and unique. This was how Tania welcomed us on the  first morning. The morning light shimmering through the windows of the villa, candles flickering, a folded apron on the table, and a unique patterned  notebook. A small branch of red apples laid out to remind us that nature is a work of art, and all our flowers displayed magnificently on the mantelpiece.

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A special thanks to Elena, who captured those two days beautifully with her camera.

 

HYGGE AND FLOWERS

 
 

The Danish untranslatable word “Hygge” is the latest trend at the moment. What does it mean exactly? The meaning is more or less: “how to create a cosy and pleasant atmosphere, enjoying life with our loved ones.” Recently we were in Copenaghen and we felt this way of living everywhere. Upon our arrival we were impressed by the lack of noise and this calmness stayed with us all day long. A very relaxing and liveable city with an intense light and nature was very strongly present everywhere.

It was so inspiring for me. I could dedicate myself to the discovery of the Danish design (which I’ll be seeing again next week during the Milan design week).

What impressed me most? The constant presence of flowers and plants. Flowers and plants everywhere: in vases, hanging from the ceiling, on tables and even decorating the plates. Everywhere you go from the small bar to the design store the attention to details is amazing.

 

A beautiful historic palace was the setting for the Danish design company of Hay House. We stepped into a world of hygge design and from the tall impressive windows we had an incredible view over the busy square.

Next stop was the Royal Copenaghen store, one of the world’s oldest companies, established in 1775. Easter was the main theme with moss, trees, flowers, bulbs and fine china eggs in every corner.

Moving on we arrived in a quaint, little street home of the romantic and eclectic shop Stillleben.

From there we headed for lunch to a nice restaurant with an incredible inner greenhouse.

In the afternoon although the elements were against us, we popped over to The little mermaid on the sea. We stopped off at a coffee shop along the way to warm ourselves and to try a delicious Danish pastry.

 

Don’t miss my post next week about the Design Week in Milan.

A special thanks to Pauline  of PetitePassaport for her very useful guide of Copenaghen.