Floral artisans from the U.S. and Canada discovered fresh new ways to create deeply romantic, elegant wedding arrangements — with help from Hitomi Gilliam AIFD, Francoise Weeks, Holly Chapple and Susan McLeary — at Florabundance Inspirational Design Days. David Austin Roses was a sponsor of the January event, which featured three days of practical, hands-on workshops led by the visionary floral designers.

With Holly Chapple they explored the sensual impact of fragrance, texture and lush organic design. Francoise Weeks and Susan McLeary shared techniques for creating fabulous high-fashion floral purses and jewelry. Hitomi Gilliam taught best practices for large, structural pieces and how to weave beautiful blooms into dramatic floral screens, arbors and hanging event decor.

Florabundance Inspirational Design Days is the four-year-old brainchild of Joost Bongaerts, visionary owner of Florabundance, a premier wholesale supplier of cut flowers and plants located in Carpinteria, CA. “I realized there weren’t many opportunities like it and there was a lot of need,” Bongaerts said. Several dozen designers head to his company’s event each year in search of ideas to keep their work fresh and relevant.

“The floral industry is changing, People need to know what’s new, what’s different, so they can appeal to today’s customer,” said Bongaerts. “It’s my belief that you can’t get enough education in this industry. Educating customers is part of our marketing plan. It’s good for our business too.”

At David Austin Roses, we couldn’t agree more. That’s why we’re a proud sponsor of Florabundance Inspirational Design Days; and our partners at Alexandra Farms, donated more than 1,000 stems of our roses for participants to employ in their creations. Here’s a small sample of the stunning results.

designers complete their garden-style vase arrangements

ABOVE (clockwise from top): Designers work on romantic vase arrangements.  |  Eleanor Clevenger of David Austin roses explains the unique characteristics of their luxury cut wedding roses . |  Designer, blogger and social media maven Alicia Schwede of FlirtyFleurs creates an arrangement for David Austin Roses featuring Miranda, Carey, Patience, Constance, Juliet and Kate.  Joost Bongaerts welcomes attendees to Florabundance Inspirational Design Days 2016.

Ideas for a New Age

Holly Chapple demonstration

ABOVE (clockwise from right): Holly Heider Chapple creates a lush, organic vase arrangement while explaining the thinking behind her signature look.  |  Susan Foy of The Wedding Designer created this interpretation.  BJ Dyer of Bouquets puts Holly’s concepts to work, The classically-trained, award-winning designer said florists need to focus on understanding what appeals to the next generation.

2 bouquets

ABOVE (left to right): Constance and Beatrice are accented by white astilbe, draping pepperberry, ferns, branches and other foliage in an asymmetrical design by Rebecca Raymond of Sunnybrooks Flora.  Professional model Cari Funkhouser poses with a bouquet by Karen Lorenzen of De Bloem.

ABOVE Patience and Beatrice stand out in wedding bouquets created by (clockwise from left): Irene Seaman, Academy Florist  Holly Chapple, Holly Heider Chapple Flowers, Ltd.   Shauna Grobowski, Passionate Blooms Floral Design.

Fashion Twists that Surprise and Delight

Francoise Weeks demo

ABOVE (clockwise from top left): Francoise Weeks explains her technique.  Darcey tops a floral purse created by Francoise for her presentation.  Model Cari Funkhouser holds a design by Yoshigo O’Connor of Floral Fete.  Tess is the focal point of a floral necklace by Olivia Rivas of Papillon Floral Design.

Structural Design

Hitomi DEMO

ABOVE (clockwise from top left): Hitomi Gilliam explains how to build large event decor pieces in which the physical construction is an essential part of the overall design.   Juliet, Constance, white anthurium and lightly woven grasses make the thick branch at the center of this organic, overhead arrangement seem surprisingly light.Carey,   Constance and Kate are featured with pink hydrangea in a screen made of delicately woven branches and vines.

BELOW: Two close-ups of Juliet from beneath the overhead arrangement.  |  Light flowing through the open center of the woven screen illustrates the integration of structure and design.

Roses in overhead structure
Rose screen

Photography by Amanda Dumouchelle