Sunday, July 30, 2017

Le Dîner en Blanc
Seattle ⚜ July 27, 2017

Taken directly from DEB's website - At the last minute, the secret location is revealed to thousands of friends who have all been patiently waiting to learn where “Dîner en Blanc” will take place. Thousands of people, dressed all in white, and conducting themselves with the greatest decorum, elegance, and etiquette, all meet for a mass “chic picnic” in a public space.

Over the course of the evening, guests experience the beauty and value of their city's public spaces by participating in the unexpected. Beyond the spectacle and elegance of the dinner itself, guests are brought together from diverse backgrounds by good taste and a love of beauty. Le Dîner en Blanc recalls the elegance and glamor of high French society, and guests engage one another, knowing that they are taking part in a truly magical event. There are no disruptions: no car traffic, no pedestrian traffic—only amazed and astonished looks from passersby observing the scene before them. And participants, like spectators, wonder whether it's all not a dream…

It wasn't a dream for Colleen, Cara, Abby or myself. Being the organizers we are, we set out to make the planning of this event nothing but fun and stress free! I took on assembling the tables, chairs, linens, wine and glasses - making them portable by hand truck, of course. Abby, the master chef that she is, prepared the most elegant dinner conveniently packed in their picnic basket (which took one for the team by being painted white by Cara). Colleen created the most gorgeous florals which I am still enjoying today!

Accompanied by our table leader, Kristin, 
we traveled by charter bus to our secret location.

Without wasting any time, we set up our table and chairs,
and waited for our entire row to be set up before taking our seats. 

Beautiful Myrtle Edwards Park on the shores of the Puget Sound


The Beginning
Once everyone is set up, the table captain waves her napkin and all join in,
indicating the beginning of dinner and the occupation of the public space. 

Le Dîner
In one of the most beautiful settings in the city, Myrtle Edwards Park, accompanied by close friends, we enjoyed a beautifully prepared meal by Abby!

The most magical time of the night was the
lighting of the sparklers!

The Park was alive with music, laughter and so much fun!

Clean Up
Guests make sure they leave the park clean, leaving nothing behind!
Including the beautiful florals which are gracing my buffet!

An incredible memory - truly magnificent!

This was the first year Le Dîner en Blanc was held in Seattle and I certainly hope it is the start of many more!

Until next time, la chasse au bonheur

Saturday, July 29, 2017

top topiaries

Most who know me, understand I crave structure and order, and prefer symmetry over the organic, go-with-the-flow style of design. My passion for hedges is epic, just one look at my front yard with its Wax Privet hedge framed by a lower Variegated Boxwood hedge is only outdone by the tall Schipka Laurel hedge in the backyard.

I prefer the simplicity of an all green garden. However, this look can be pretty understated (boring to some I suppose), so I look for ways to add texture and interest - this search is what brought me years ago to shaped boxwood and all things topiary.

A topiary is a sculpture made from a tree or shrub. The shapes vary from simple geometric like the topiary ball to more elaborate sculptures in shapes of animals and mythical creatures.

Adding smaller versions of these sweet potted plants to the house is super easy as just about any garden, nursery or grocery store sells them. Due to their petite size, they are easy to add into your tablescapes, on kitchen counters, window sills, just about anywhere!

Grouping various topiaries together creates a
simple, yet impactful statement.
Lavender makes a beautiful summertime topiary

My love for all things English took me to the traditional boxwood plant for my outdoor containers. I prefer them shaped into big round balls, but the spiral or cone shape are fun too! Just about any close growing, tight, small leaf shrub can make a great topiary. Cedar, Cyprus and Holly work well, as do my two personal favorites Rosemary and French Lavender.

Simple, yet so captivating - I love how
there's no place to hide for this design.
Repetition is the key to keeping this interesting.
Rosemary makes for a beautiful, and wild topiary!
Lovely Lavender planted in a French terra-cotta urn. 

I get such a kick seeing what talented artists can do, and while I don't have the space to create these marvelous shapes, I love the idea that there are folks in our world that take the time to create these living pieces of joy out of green! How clever we can be!

The above topiaries, while so cool, aren't that practical for in-city lots :)! Here are a few smaller installations of shaped topiaries. 

Love this Tee Pee Tree
Most topiaries are designed out of trees or shrubs, but you can also use a wire shape and grow a plant to fill in that shape, trimming as it fills in. This allows you to create fun animal shapes. You can also plant these frames with succulents like hens-and-chickens. 

The elaborate designs shown earlier require a skilled gardener, but shaping your smaller backyard plants into a round, sphere or conical shape can be done relatively easily. You will need -

A pair of long handled shears,  a pair of topiary shears (pictured below) and a template for your shape. Hand trimming is always best. Start by rough shaping the design with the long handled shears....reference this link for more details on designing your own topiary. 

I hope you enjoyed this post. Until next time,

la chasse au bonheur