Flower Magazine

SEP-OCT 2018

Browse "flower" to learn techniques from established and up-and-coming designers, be inspired by the floral decor of weddings, galas, and flower and garden shows, and infuse your lifestyle with chic floral fashion and home decor.

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80 | S E P T E M B E R / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 8 LEFT: Mandy puts the finishing touches on an arrangement with her signature style, characterized by airiness, long lines, and a sense of movement. ABOVE: Willowy, bee-friendly cosmos waiting to be arranged OPPOSITE: Laden with bounty from their land is a table found at one of Mandy's favorite community resources, Neat Pieces Antiques. isn't going to love. Bright or muted, all colors find people who love them the most—different strokes for different folks," says Mandy, who earned her degree in horticulture from the University of Georgia and honed her design skills at the famed McEvoy Ranch in California while developing an eye for uncommon hues. She explains that the bouquets they bring to market are a blend of what they've planted in their fields and cuttings from the surrounding woods and land scape. "My taste skews toward the extremes and edges of beauty," she says. "I love oddities or forgotten varieties and want to try them all, so we've always got something new to play with each season." Garden roses, for example, have required exper i mentation. Growing up in the South, Mandy's early experience with roses was less than ideal. She first perceived them to be high maintenance and hard to grow organically. Then she discovered varieties reclaimed from old Southern homesteads and from the Texas based Antique Rose Emporium—purveyor of cultivars developed by English rose breeder David Austin—and her outlook changed. Today the O'Sheas grow about 50 old style varieties, such as 'Abraham Darby,' 'Graham Thomas,' 'Quietness,' 'Heritage,' and 'Ballerina,' which thrive on organic care. While familiar flowers like peonies and ranunculus are popular, other blossoms are less known to the public but beloved by Mandy. "One flower that I've fallen in love with over the last few years is campanula," she says. "I rarely see it used, maybe because wholesalers find few growers offering it. I'm thrilled that it is in season during our prime wedding month of May. Cosmos and nicotiana, too. I just can't get enough of these old fashioned flowers." Some of the plantings are nurtured like infants, with Mandy and Steve waking at intervals during the night to check on them when tempera tures drop dramatically or a rough storm rages. The survivors ultimately make it to the O'Sheas' new light filled, solar powered design studio, which Steve built by hand. A child of the Northern California suburbs with a background in biology and renewable fuels, Steve modestly says he didn't pick up a tool until he turned 30. But he wasn't afraid to get his hands dirty (or calloused) and wanted to, as he puts it, "do something good in this world." Over time he acquired the skills he now uses spearheading the farm's construction

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