Two iconic hotels – two cool styles

Last week I stayed overnight at the Bel-Aire Hotel and attended functions at the Beverly Hills Hotel. Wow, amazing flowers and botany. The two hotels couldn’t be any more different. Both iconic but both defining different ‘atmospheres’ and tones.

The Bel-Aire was quiet and serene (see photo of real swans floating on pond at front desk). It had a very exclusive vibe and when you walk over the old covered bridge to the lobby you can smell the scent of real wood fire burning. Nice. The landscaping is so beautiful.Although this hotel had just undergone a 3-4 year remodel you can see that they respected the traditional flora and fauna that existed and made minimal changes. You can see by the size of the California Sycamore and the ferns in a few of the pics that these guys have been around for a long, long time.

The Beverly Hills Hotel did not disappoint. Very different from the Bel-Aire but equally interesting. The energy when you walked up the red carpet into the lobby was vibrant and very cool. You almost feel famous just because you’re there! Almost;)

All floral statements were very grand, opulent and showy unlike the understated vibe of the Bel-Aire. The flowers were amazing. I can’t imagine how many people and how much time go into these arrangements.

The photos aren’t great but I did my best trying not to take too long snapping the shots so I didn’t look like the corny tourist!

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2 design classes in 1 post!

It has been a crazy week since I have posted. So, here are some pics of two design classes in 1!

My month-long class is over but my journey really has just begun. I have learnt a lot about what I’m not interested in doing in the floral world and a lot about what I am interested in doing. Here a few of my observations in point form to try and keep it really simple:

– reduce waste when arranging, use left over greens to provide structure and ‘base’ to arrangements, share scraps with others, one piece you were going to throw out could be their treasure!

buy LOCAL! if at all possible, buy local, in season flowers to support your community, and reduce your carbon footprint

-research, research and more research! I have gained so much knowledge from other people’s blogs, websites and articles, so many bright and intelligent ideas and people out there!

– let it flow! it’s so easy to get nervous or uptight when you have a pile of beautiful flowers in front of you and pressure to perform, sounds funny but it’s true, I’ve learnt to let it go, and when I do good things happen:)

– be conscious about the products you use when arranging – I had no idea that floral foam was unhealthy for humans to work with and that floral foam is non-composting which means it goes into landfills – what a shame –  it is an amazing product for designing but I’m taking every step possible to try to arrange without it and find healthy, greener alternatives

That’s it. So much for point form on the above take-aways. I tried. I’m just a bit long-winded at times! Have a wonderful Sunday.

(from left to right) Triangle design, vase design and sunflower topiary

Table arrangement – not the flowers or greens I would use but helpful to learn how to make one!

Tropical design

My favorite – a hand tied design I did after class, no floral foam used!

First day of flower school!

I’ve been so excited to attend Michael Gaffney’s Floral Design school and have waited for almost 4 months! Today I attended my first class. Michael is an amazing instructor with very fun and exciting teaching style. I learned how to tie a European hand bouquet, properly assemble a dozen roses (American style) and how to create an English/Dutch design bouquet.

Here is the link to Michael’s website. He has done so much in his career. Really interesting background. Check out this link! Also you can see his book called Design Star at The book has amazing pictures!

European Hand Tied Bouquet

English Bouquet

Classic Dozen Roses