Discover Flower inspiration in French themes. J visits with flower friend and Frenchman Jean Yves to learn more about Flower lifestyle in France, and enjoy a flower cocktail of French origin! Included: a scent-sational Versailles topiary; homemade potpourri; flowers in pavé and etegeré formations.
Episode #507 Fleur de la Vie (Flower of Life)
Today on Life In Bloom, we’re finding inspiration in French themes, including a scent-sational topiary, creating homemade potpourri, enjoying a French cocktail, and flowers in pavé and étageré formations.”
“I must have flowers, always, and always.” — Claude Monet
Considering the significant artistic achievements of the French in so many areas – such as painting, architecture, formal gardens, wine, and cuisine, it is not surprising to find an French influence in floristry and flower arranging. There are some often-used techniques with flowers that have their origins in France. And while perfumes did not originate in France, Louis the XV (fifteenth’s) embrace of them in the 18th century established the country as a leading purveyor of scent – often derived from flowers. Flowers are also famously the subjects of many French artists including Monet’s Water Lilies and Van Gogh’s Sunflowers.
An étagère or shelf was originally, a French set of hanging or standing open shelves for the display of collections of objects or ornaments. The étagère became a popular form of furniture in the nineteenth century. The shelves of the étagère provided extra space for the display of the accumulation of knickknacks – the British took to the form, which subsequently became typical in Victorian home decor. Today many types of furniture are referred to as etageres. I’m going to show you my floral take on the Etegere, which includes three distinct forms can be enjoyed separately or in one grand statement.”
J creates a Vertical Arrangement- and then a Horizontal Arrangement- discussing how those forms evoke different types of emotions- and then creates a more rounded arrangement- that will serve as the transition – from the Vertical to the Horizontal- and thus becomes the Flower Etagere!
here’s a couple of images for reference that I came across in my research…
Featured Flower: Lilac
Here is additional information about the Lilac- that found during my research…
- Syringa vulgaris, the lilac or common lilac, is a species of flowering plant in the olive family.
- Grown for its scented flowers in spring, this large shrub or small tree is widely cultivated and has been naturalized in parts of Europe and North America
- As an ornamental plant – Lilacs are popular in gardens and parks, due to their attractive, sweet-smelling flowers
- The common lilac reaches 8 to 12 feet high and 6 to 10 feet wide, with dark green leaves, and flowers in purple, lavender, pink, and white
- Lilacs bloom in late spring and early summer depending on geography.
- Between 1876 and 1927, the nurseryman Victor Lemoine of France introduced over 153 named cultivars, many of which are considered classics and still in commerce today.
- Lemoine’s “French lilacs” extended the limited color range to include deeper, more saturated hues, and they also introduced double-flowered “sports”, with the stamens replaced by extra petals.
- the term French lilac has come to mean all cultivars of the common lilac that have double flowers, regardless of their origin.
Flowers: Raison d´Etre with my flower friend and Frenchman Jean-Yves Münch
I’m proud to introduce you to my wonderful flower friend Jean-Yves Münch – as a French man – I want to know all about his personal and cultural feelings about flowers and share his amazing career as a sound guy with you- here on Life in Bloom. I want to share some of his amazing sound stories… and also ask him about how the French (and European) Culture differs from ours- when it comes to flowers!
Jean-Yves has been a part of my Video career- since 2006- when I started creating a Web-based TV Show- for ‘sliver casting’ (broadcasting niche content to a sliver of the population)… he was on the Very Production we did way back then… it’s nearly been 20 years… I know Jean-Yves enjoys working with me and my crew- and I think he also enjoys the opportunity we provide of flowers- for our crew following the filming schedule. hehehe!
I think it’s especially interesting to hear about how other people that grew up in different parts of the world- experienced flowers for the first time- or what their unique and individual memories of flowers may be… especially when it’s based in the City of Lights! Jean-Yves also helps me understand- (and better yet pronounce) the French saying
“Raison d´etre and I even share a story about my flower friend and famous White House Florist- Laura Dowling- and her flower advice to “Celebrate Beauty and Live Fully in the Present”… it’s a wonderful tradition with the french and flowers!
I even ask my friend Jean-Yves to arrange flowers with me- to see how he does it… and I have to admit- he’s very good at it… I love taking the time to arrange flowers with my friends – it seems that is when the very special and interesting stories and observations come about… Flowers do have the power!
Flowers Bouquets for our Arranging are furnished by : The Elite Flower- and The Elite Bouquets
Here are some of my favorite bits of advice from some of my favorite French flower designers…
- Nothing is Forbidden
- Do the opposite of the current trend
- Look to seasonal combinations
- Color or Flower Collection you have – will influence the arrangement
I created a special French-Inspired Bouquet of Roses- and other flowers in Compote for our Kitchen- and Jean-Yves Visit- it was a treat- and I was inspired by my friend
Laura Dowling- who really embodies the French Style- I love a overwhelming fullness of this bouquet- and the beautiful Garden Roses- and french wildflowers!
French Compote Arrangement : Garden Roses furnished by GardenRosesDirect.com
Create your own Potpourri
Flowers: All are from J’s Flower Garden – Korean Viburnum, Hydrangea, Lavender, Lilac, Crabapple Blossoms, Bleeding Hearts, Holland America Lilies
Lavender Essential Oil and Organic Lavender Buds from Anthony’s Organics
J shows how simple it can be to create your own French style Potpourri- from your own garden flowers!
Potpourri is (pronounced poh‐pooh‐ree) and literally translates to “rotten pot” in French. The earliest use of potpourri in English was to describe a type of stew.
The word is now more commonly accepted as describing a collection of dried flower petals, leaves, herbs, and spices used to scent the air.
Potpourri – as we know it today – more or less – became extremely popular in 17th century France. Flowers that abundantly bloomed during the spring and summer were collected in ceramic vessel and mixed with salt. The salt acted as a drying agent. This combination was then layered in autumn with seasonal spices like orange peel and cinnamon stick.
The word is also used to refer to the vessel which was used to create potpourri. A decorative ceramic vessel with a perforated cover was originally used to hold a wet blend of spices, flowers and herbs. This blend would over time emit a fragrance through the vessel’s vents, thus perfuming the surroundings.
Of course, today, the term potpourri is also used to refer to an interesting or miscellaneous mixture of things or objects etc. Let me show you how easy it is to create your own “French Inspired” rotten pot of Flowers- or Potpourri… hehehe!
More information about potpourri is provided in this link-
Bloom 365 Idea/Tip/Trick – Free of Debris
Here’s my Bloom 365 Tip – helping you to enjoy flowers every day of the year…
From Bloom 365 (#120)
Never allow flowers or foliage to sit under water in a vase, or a bucket for that matter. Remove all leaves that fall below the water line – whether they are loose or attached to a stem.
J creates a Pavé style arrangement.
here is more information about the Pavé style of flower arranging… I found during my research…
Today I’m going to create an arrangement in a Pavé style. A pavé floral arrangement can come in many shapes, however the word pavé describes the proximity of the flowers to one another. The word Pavé has its origins in France. It is the French word for “paved.” Imagine a walkway paved in cobblestones. The stones are fairly small, but set so closely to one another that they form a solid surface. You may have also heard the term pavé as it relates to jewelry. It refers to gems that are set very close to one another so that there is very little metal showing, as if the piece has been “paved” with gems. In floral arranging, a pavé arrangement, is one where stems are cut fairly short and the flower heads placed very closely together. I like the association with both Jewelry and French – the term pavé lends an arrangement an upscale vibe. The overall look is clean, tailored, luxurious, and sophisticated lending itself well to elegant occasions. Let me show you how it’s done.”
Flowers for this arrangement are furnished by:
Splendor Proteaa – Pink Mink, Safari Sunset, Succulents FernTrust Inc. – Monstera, Foxtail Fern
GardenRosesDirect.com - Princess Aiko, Westminster Abbey Holland America Flowers – Ranunculus
Galleria Farms – Hydrangea Kennecott Brothers Wholesale – Astrantia, Callas, Scabiosa
French Cocktail with GUEST Jean-Yves Münch #flowercocktailhour
The Sidecar Cocktail History
This sweet, luminous cocktail was born in Paris, but named because of an American. (Ahhh, international cooperation at its finest!) An American army captain was said to roll up to Harry’s Bar in his friend’s motorcycle sidecar (bless the Roaring ‘20s) and request a drink to warm up before dinner. Since it was a bit of a faux pas to have straight liquor so early in the evening, the bartender went ahead and mixed the cognac with some other ingredients. And thus, the beloved Sidecar was born.
• 1 oz. cognac • 1 oz. Cointreau
• 1 oz. lemon juice • Sugar
Directions: Pour the cognac, cointreau, and lemon juice into a shaker with ice, and shake for 15 seconds. Strain the cocktail into a glass and sprinkle sugar around the edges. (The original Sidecar didn’t have a sugared rim until the 1930s, but here’s to mixing the old with the new!)
Flowers for the Versailles Topiary were furnished by the following :
Peony: Kennicott Brothers
Lilacs: Craig Z
Stock: Joseph & Sons
Spray Rose variety Sweet Flow: Eufloria Flowers
Agonis: Mellano & Company
Etrusko Chrysanthemum: DeliFlor
This project has its inspiration from the topiaries in the gardens of the Palace of Versailles in France. It’s a topiary form which reflects the topiaries of the famous formal gardens. The topiary trees at Versailles were the first to be planted in large containers or boxes, so that during the colder season, the fruit trees could be easily moved to the Orangerie, and then placed back in the gardens during seasonable weather. Today I’m making what I call a triple topiary to enjoy in my own little palace garden…
Flowers from YOU: Viewer Feedback
Let’s take a look in our Flower Fan mail inbox- and see what’s blooming today…
Today I have arrangements to share with you from viewer Judy Middleswort in Florida…
J Schwanke’s LIFE IN BLOOM Viewer featured : Judy Middleswort
This first vase arrangement is loaded with Garden Flowers- include PeeGee Hydrangea, Zinnias, Rudbeckia, and Crocosmia Flower Pods… I love this French Inspired crock of flowers- that has a wonderful collar of Ivy…and accent of Beauty Berry- ooo la la… And Finally this collection of Three Flower Vases- featuring Tulips and andromeda…
Thanks Judy! I LOVE to see pictures of your flower arrangements – we call them “Schwankes” after a viewer’s nickname. Send them to email@example.com – the letter j at the letter u- bloom.com and watch for more Schwankes on upcoming shows”
I hope you’ve enjoyed our floral take on all things French and learned some fun flower arranging techniques for your next project. Vive la Fleur! For Life In Bloom, I’m J Schwanke.