Friday, March 29, 2013

Spring Flowers

After a very long and cold winter, it finally feels like spring is here in DC. Although spring officially arrived on March 20th, temperatures have been unseasonably cold. To welcome spring, I was going to show the early bulbs in our garden. But, alas, many have yet to bloom.

However, while in Europe a few weeks ago, I did come across really lovely floral arrangements. Some had unusual and interesting combinations of flowers and foliage. Others were simply but thoughtfully arranged. And many were readily available for purchase almost everywhere: flower boutiques, open-air markets and, even gas stations!

Welcome back, spring!!
Inside the 17th century town hall in historic Delft, Netherlands, I fell in love with this beautiful arrangement of pink amaryllis flowers, yellow tulips, craspedia pom poms, contorted filbert branches and wispy foliage of some sort (?).
 Look at these gorgeous pink ranunculus flowers for sale at a gas station. The quality is just superb. Something you won't find in gas stations here in DC!
 At the flower market in Delft, I followed this local customer (in the chic black coat) from stall to stall. She knew all the vendors, and who had the best selections.
 Above and below: two bouquets in hot color combinations. Does anyone know what these large red flowers are (below)?
 Aren't these cool color bouquets divine? I love the bit of wildness from the purple alliums.
 What a great idea to display little potted flowers in a wooden crate. Very charming! Totally copying that idea :)
 There were many flats of annuals and flowering perennials, including pristine hellebores, for sale at the Thursday open-air flower market in Delft. BTW, if you do not already have hellebores in your shade garden, go out and plant a bunch! I will share more on Delft and the Netherlands in a future post.
 At the very chic L'Atelier en Herbe located in front of Flamant on the Grand Sablon in Brussels, Belgium, you will find beautiful creations from florist Jean-Charles Harze.
Outside L'Atelier en Herbe was this display of magnolia branches and peony tulips.
And also window boxes with dramatic red and orange tulips.
 At the Paris flea markets, I couldn't stop admiring and smelling these hyacinths bulbs displayed in vintage oversized glass jars. So simple and in such a nonchalant fashion.
 From the mysterious anemones to the exquisite painted armoire to the grand scaled console table, I loved everything in Thibault Nossereau's shop.
And here are lilacs and hyacinths displayed with large tropical foliage outside a shop at the Paris flea markets.

104 comments:

  1. Jumping at the chance to help since I derive so much inspiration from your blog: those large red flowers are some sort of Protea :). I believe they are from South Africa?

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    1. Thank you so much, Jocele! And, thank you for reading my blog. Cheers, Loi

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  2. heaven, felt a little stress leave my body while reading this post. A reminder of what is hopefully around the corner...spring...and what's not at our corner gas station, sigh

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  3. Hey...I think if I was in Delft...I would be following you around. We have the same bottle/vases (in Paris) at Roger's Gardens here in California..small world...I need to do a post about that place here. Flowers make the world go round! :)

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  4. Hello Loi, There are impressive displays of flowers. I have no skill at arranging, so it is a task I happily leave to others more talented. I liked the austere arrangement with the creepy hand, but my favorite details here were those old French glass jars!

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  5. Hi Loi! Yes, the red spider flower is called protea and it is so impressive!You choose the most beautiful and variously stylized flower combinations to show us. It was such a pleasure for the eyes.Real flowers from the simplest to the most exotic could be never be replaced by similar beauty's items.I think...
    Happy warm days !
    Cheers , Olympia

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  6. Morning Loi, from windy cold Wales! I am a flower freak, especially tulips so this is my fave time of year, they are in abundance everywhere :-). I too particularly like the use of the wooden box as a display for tiny pots. I don't know what the red blooms are called but I see them in a lot of displays these days. Enjoy your spring, everything coming to life.

    Thanks for stopping at Ramshorn yesterday, Meg and Vin were so excited to see your name as I have told them about you, how stylish you are!
    Have a great Easter.
    Much love.
    Di
    xxxxx

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    1. Di, enjoyed my visit at Ramshorn. Look forward to following Meg and Vin. Can't wait to see more - Loi

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  7. What a wonderful injection of colour you bring to my screen this Good Friday morn Mr Loi.

    Indeed the red flower is a one of the myriad of ancient south african protea. I did mange to grow a beautiful Grevillea (also from the Proteaceae family) here for quite a few years until one particular bad winter finished it off.

    Those lotus bowls at L'Atelier en Herbe are absolutely lovely, I hope you bought one for me.

    Have a great weekend.

    Paul

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    1. I think Protea are from South Africa, but Grevillea are I think native to Australia...... they are always grown in native gardens here in Melbourne Australia.

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    2. Thanks, Paul and Kate! I'll have to hunt down both Protea and Grevillea here in DC. Want to try new plants this garden season.

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  8. Such vibrant flowers and colours Loi. I enjoy shopping in flower markets too. It must have have been fun shopping in Delft. They have so many beautiful flowers. The hyacinths in those oversized jars are so clever and beautiful. Then that hand on your last pictures must have been so tired from all that digging and gardening. No blooms for us yet here. Probably take another month for us. Enjoy the long weekend. Happy Easter!

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  9. Wow, all really beautiful. I especially love the hyacinths in the glass jars and how they're planted in and uneven layer of soil at the bottom of the jar. They appear to be specimens delicately extracted from the edge of a woodland creek. Really a genius presentation. This post was just the treatment I needed for my spring cold.

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  10. You are making me so jealous! I want to go to the Paris Flea Markets :) And are those ranuncleus real?!! how totally gorgeous! I don't think I've ever seen any real ones around here. I have some faux ranuncleus that look pretty real but never had real. I will have to see if my local florist can order me some for a photo shoot sometime.

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    1. Hi, Jill - Do try ranunculus. I've never grown them in the garden, but as cut flowers they last so long. Really worth the splurge. Loi

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  11. Thanks for a taste of spring, Loi! The L'Atelier en Herbe exterior looks striking with the red / orange tulips and the dark trim on the building. My other favorites are the display inside L'Atelier en Herbe you've shown and the hyacinth in glass jars. Your camera must be overflowing with photos! So much to see...

    -Deborah

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  12. Loi, all these are just stunning, but my fave is the hyacinths in the bottles.

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  13. I just love the scent of hyacinths. Beautiful photos, Loi. I'll be grabbing a hyacinth this weekend, to be sure!

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  14. I love visiting the flower markets in Europe. It still leaves me wondering why we don't see similar displays here in the United States. They have such original combinations of flowers and like you pointed out, you can buy great flowers anywhere, even a gas station.

    What a beautiful post. Happy Easter Loi to you and your family!
    Susan

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  15. Good Morning Loi!
    How pretty! Tulips are bountiful this time of year in our grocery stores. Perfect timing for Easter. My fave pic of yours is the shot of the flowers in Thibault Nossereau's shop. It is a perfect balance of color.
    Have a fantab weekend and hopefully the sun visits for a while here on the east.
    XO

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  16. Loi, you have inspired me to put bulbs in decorative jars. I love open flower markets and wish I knew of some in New Jersey. Beautiful post.

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  17. I don't know what those wonderful red flowers are...but they look like the ceramic flowers applied to vases over at Anthropologie ! (I WANT one of those vases!) Gorgeous images and so many new spring things to think about. Thank goodness, it is the season, at last....

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    1. Hi, Libby - I just learned they are protea, thanks to several readers. Loi

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  18. Good heavens, you have made my morning, Loi! I had to summon my husband over to scroll down with me to view this breath of spring air you have shared!

    My next destination is The Netherlands. The style of the old hall is what I have going on in my dining room and I just finished painting a dark colored armoire in gray and gold, with some antiquing! Thanks to you, I am defining my style even more!

    We also enjoyed going to your older posts to see your WHITE garden and we are just thrilled. White will be the color I used this year with my old gray urns, and our boxwood hedges will compliment the texture.

    Thank you Loi for always showing us such grand beauty! Aren't the Dutch such masters at flowers?

    Big hugs, Anita

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    1. Indeed they are! I especially love Dutch still life paintings of flowers. Incredibly realistic, and some are even prettier than fresh bouquets. Thank you, Anita!!

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  19. i love ranunculus! so beautiful! i can't wait for things to start blooming.... we inherited some mature peonies with this house and i was thrilled when they bloomed last spring. i am looking forward to that again. now that the snow is done?!?!? maybe! i hope!

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  20. Those are the most deliciously lovely arrangements. Those huge red spider mum looking flowers are amazing! I sure hope the weather stops yo yo-ing and settles into sun and warmer temps soon. We all desperately need it! Hope you have a lovely weekend.. big dinner at your house? So glad you take these trips so that you can share your beautiful photos and journey with us!
    xoxoNancy
    Powellbrowerhome.com

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  21. Loi thank you as always for brightening this soon to be spring morn.
    I may actually bundle up and go for a walk later...the walls have closed in!
    xoxo
    Karena
    Art by Karena

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  22. Thanks for sharing! I grew up in Holland and sure miss to be able to run to the gas station for fresh flowers! I can almost smell the flower shops and stalls when I read your posts!

    Enjoy your weekend!

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    1. Thank you, Inga! I'm delighted to hear from you. Hope you are well, and will have time to return to blogging. Loi

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  23. Hi, Loi - Really lovely arrangements — one has the sense that the Dutch incorporate flowers into their lives more than we do. In fact your posting prompts me to buy a bouquet for my living room!

    The background of the second photo is straight out of a Vermeer painting!

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  24. Hi Loi....thanks for sharing such beautiful images from your trip....I'm going to buy flowers today for Easter and these were a great inspiration.

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  25. Beautiful! I can even smell the fragrance of these flowers through your pictures :) We do not have this luxury of having flowers at gas station or on the road side stalls. I remember seeing all those fields of Tulips in Holland, miles of color there is nothing like that.

    Best wishes

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  26. This time of year as the tulips and other flowers come to life, it just makes my heart happy. Thanks for the lovely flowers and your lovely blog.

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  27. Good morning Loi, the red spider flower is called protea! the flower market in Los Angeles is brimming with flowers, the smell of poppies + hyacinths always remind me of spring. I am going to use the idea for small plants just as you do. Happy Easter dear friend. xxpeggybraswelldesign.com

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    1. Thank you, Peggy! I'm looking forward to hunting down protea now that I know the name. Loi

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  28. Thank you for the beautiful inspiration. I especially love the hyacinths in the glass vase.

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  29. I would love to take a photography lesson from you Loi...your photos are so beautiful! The crusty pot paired with the anemones is to die for!

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  30. Loi,
    The flower arrangements are to die for! Thank you so much for the inspiration!
    Happy Easter!!
    xx
    Greet

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  31. Loi!

    This is a wonderful post! I love the hyacinths in the glass jars, what a good idea. And the large red flowers are protea and they are from South Africa. They are great cut flowers and last forever in an arrangement.

    Have a happy Easter weekend!

    Liz

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  32. That huge and dramatic wrought iron table had me at first glance.
    Happy Easter.
    Mary

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  33. Yes, thank god for spring! The first thing we always do when we stay in Paris is stop to get flowers for the week at one of the amazing local florist shops. Only one month till we're there again!

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  34. Wow, what's not to love? All the different color combos, the headiness of the scents-a sure cure for the winter blues! Gorgeous. I agree with Steve, the hyacinths are amazing in those bottles. And those ranunculus! Like heaps of ruffled ballet tutus made of voile. So pretty.

    We are having a crazy warm spell-Easter should be 70 degrees here in central OR!
    My anemones and hyacinths and lilacs are starting, but it will be weeks before they bloom.
    Looks like I will have another growing season in this house-but that's OK. I bought some lily bulbs
    ( chartruese, and a white with a lemon striped throat)and , yes, pink ranunculus :)

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  35. The images are magnificent! The COLORS.... The CONTAINERS....The ARRANGEMENTS.... and MORE!!!
    Loi Thank You, Thank You....You make the world more beautiful! You one our eyes to fabulous visions!
    Happy Easter and Happy Spring dear Friend.....it will be warmer very soon....

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  36. Hello Loi,

    So many beautiful flower compositions, all so wonderful that I can't choose a favourite! Wishing you and Tom a relaxing and happy Easter! Spring is here for us!

    Ivan

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  37. What beautiful flowers in every beautiful photo, Loi! I absolutely loved getting to see these so much -- made my day! I'll be back to see them again.....

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  38. Hi Loi, What a gorgeous post! The red tulips in the window boxes....so fresh and charming! I agree.....I'm stealing the peonies in the wooden crate idea too! Thank you for such inspiration and beauty!
    xo
    Holly

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  39. Thanks for introducing me to protea. They look a little like artichoke flowers. Berta

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  40. wonderful flowers! flowers brighten up the life every time.

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  41. A beautiful post Loi. I first discovered protea in Vancouver at a flower market last year - they are so alien!

    I am a slave to flowers and buy them for myself at least twice a month. This morning David came home with orange tulips and I don't care that they don't match my decor. haha. What I do regret is living in a place with too little floral variety. I can hardly find forsythia or hyacinth here in spring - two favorites.

    I loved Delft. My best friend from my school days in France was from Delft and we went there twice during my stay - so I can't wait to see your photos!

    I love atypical flower arrangements also - have you seen the amazing book by Ngoc Minh Ngo - "Bringing Nature Home"? There are such lovely arrangements. I am trying my hand at more unusual flower arrangements every time I see good stuff at the grocery store. I wish we had a good florist closer to home. Can you imagine living near a flower market??!!! Insane.

    xo Terri

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    1. Hi, Terri - Thanks! Will have to put that book on my list. Tom and I thought Delft was very charming, and would love to visit again. Maybe next spring when the tulips and other spring bulbs are in bloom. L

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  42. Loi-
    Is there anything more beautiful and happy than a floral arrangement? These are just stunning. Perfect for Easter too.
    Thank you for sharing with us. You always bring so much to the table.
    Happy Friday.
    Teresa
    xoxo

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  43. Obviously you hit the right note with all of us. Lovely post, makes one feel like spring is truly coming after such a snowy winter. I am heading to London in May on a garden tour and your post made me all the more anxious for the trip. Thanks so much.

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    1. Hi, Anon - Thank you! Have a wonderful trip. Hope you'll visit Great Dixter, Sissinghurst, Hidcote and Kew....just some of my favorites. Loi

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  44. Wow! Such gorgeous flowers! Beautiful post! Hugs from Cali! xx The Golden Girls

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  45. I was so excited to see the protea flower. I see someone told you what it is. Its a very important flower here in South Africa.

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    1. Thank you, Mbini. I must be the only one that didn't know the name :( Cheers to you in South Africa :)

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  46. Oh those colors!! So gorgeous! Loving the arrangements, stunning and not fussy. White flowers are a favorite in my garden and will definitely plant hellebores, they are so fresh and will brighten up those shady areas :)

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  47. Thank you for such a beautiful introduction to spring!

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  48. Such beautiful pictures of exquisite flowers in unusual settings. The red spiky flower is a Pincushion, part of the protea family. We have a many varieties growing in the mountains amongst the fynbos. Visit the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens website to see some of them in a beautiful natural setting. You will probably see some in them in the SA display at Chelsea Flower Show. Thanks for always presenting such beautiful work!

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    1. Thank you, Noreen! I appreciate the information. I've never heard of Kirstenbosch....will check out. Cheers, Loi

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  49. To say I LOVE!!! this post would be a total understatement! Nothing makes me happier than flowers. Sometimes I go to the nurseries just to see the rows and rows of blooms. I don't always purchase them, but I just like to be among the flowers. What a beautiful post Loi!
    Happy Easter weekend to YOU and Tom,
    xo Kathysue

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  50. So many gorgeous arrangements, Loi and how wonderful it must have been to see them all in person. The arrangement in the town hall makes me excited for real Spring (when our weather gets warm) and the ranunculus in the gas station are insane...so wish I could find those at ours...We bought huge white hydrangeas for Easter and I'm always happy with fresh flowers around. Happy weekend and welcome home!

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  51. So excited for. spring and flowers are such a big part!
    Those pink ranunculus WOW!!
    Can't wait to see that amazing garden of yours in full bloom!
    Happy Spring!
    Karolyn

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  52. You make my weekend, it's wonderful to see all these flowers in a verry cold Belgium.

    Happy Easter
    Jérôme

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  53. Hi Loi,
    I'm longing for spring as well-it's been cool here and I'm ready for some warmth and color in the garden. My wisteria vines are beginning to bloom here so i know it's close. Those bulbs in the glass jars are fantastic, simple yet elegant. Totally copying that lol! Your photos are lovely thanks for sharing.
    Have a great weekend XO
    Sarah

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  54. oh my loi, what a visual treat, as we too shiver in chicago! absolutely stunning!

    if you were to lead a shopping tour in england, i would be the first signee!

    have a lovely weekend
    debra

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  55. Happy Easter, Loi!!!

    These pictures are like food for my soul! I am in such strong need of having flowers around me and I am like a child waiting for Christmas when it comes to waiting on my daffodils and tulips to bloom. Patience!!!

    Thank you for filling me up today....this will help carry me until my surroundings come back to life!
    xoxo Elizabeth

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  56. Loi,

    Lovely photo's as always...Flowers "WOW" us and make us smile. So fresh and new ....too bad we can't smell them too. Hope all is well there...Happy Springtime...Happy Easter!

    Take Care xo

    Bette

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  57. Thank you, dear friend, for this much needed dose of glorious SPRING!
    Everything is so gorgeous...I can almost smell them all through the screen...
    I hope things are warming up in DC...cherry blossoms opening yet?
    Your kind words are so appreciated, thank you so much, dear Loi!
    A splendid Easter to you and all of your loved ones!! Enjoy!!
    Sending a big hug,
    - Irina

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  58. Loi, So FABULOUS!!! Looks like someone else has already told you about the Protea. They are readily available even in our grocery stores in the US. They last a long time, too.
    Wishing both of you a very happy Easter.
    Colleen

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  59. oh the colors, loi! can't wait for spring to get its bloom on!

    happy weekend to you, friend.

    michele

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  60. So lovely Loi! Love the beautiful and unexpected combinations...and at a gas station no less?! Looking forward to seeing what is coming up in your beautiful garden!
    Have a wonder Easter!
    Monica

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  61. Such gorgeous arrangements Loi and thank you for sharing this burst of color. As the snow starts to recede here we have a few flowers about an inch tall so they have a long ways to go. Fun to see how life carries on even under the snow.

    I wish you and yours a very Happy Easter!
    XXX
    Debra~

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  62. Loi,
    I guess you missed the snow last week here? We had 4 inches at my house- how smart were you to be traveling! I really wish more Americans would believe flowers are an essential part of living! I would be over the moon if I could buy flowers at a gas station- thanks for sharing these wonderful photos.
    ~R

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  63. You take great pics, Loi - always an inspiration. "Oh to be in England now that spring is here," but it's still a long way from us - even Hilton Head, Savannah, and Florida were chilly. England, however, looked so lovely.

    Have a happy day.
    b

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  64. Che meravigliose composizioni,quelle pratoline poi!.....
    Tanti auguri di buona Pasqua!
    Ciao Loi:)
    Luci@

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  65. LOI! YOU CAME! My dear, thank YOU for being the first one to encourage me to think about putting my comments back. It usually takes "experimenting" a bit to find out what you can't live without. The correspondence and presence of all of us, connecting, is what writing, decorating and creating is really all about.

    I hope you, Tom and Mocha have had a great Easter! We had a lovely walk this morning around the lake, tea in the car from our thermos, and watching the sunrise with some poetry!

    Much love to you dear Loi! Anita

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  66. Loi, I've so missed catching all your lusciousness. Happy Easter to you !! I've decided to dabble and open a small internet business of my own so it's been heads down - tails up here in my beautiful sliver of Oz. Just letting you know I have rearranged my lounge room, all I'm waiting on is your delicious book to be sitting on my coffee table. Now you know how OCD I am, so if you could make sure the cover is white, silver and grey (with just a touch of old gold and / or pale blue, if you wish !!) that would be much appreciated. I'm going to keep pushing until you decide to go into print. I'll be your first buyer. Much love and gratitude to you for simply making the world so much more beautiful ... Felicity xox

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  67. Hi again, as usual I just looked at the pretty pictures before reading !!! The red flowers do look like a variety of Proteas as they are widely grwon commercially here in Australia. It also looks a little like a Warratah which is the floral emblem for New South Wales .... Felicity
    http://www.anbg.gov.au/emblems/nsw.emblem.html

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  68. Absolutely breathtaking Loi.
    You are a fabulous photographer.
    Thank you for bringing the beauty home to us.
    The Europeans are so talented with flowers.
    Thank you for the well wishes for my son too!!

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  69. What a lovely breath of spring! Thank you for the beautiful photos, Loi.
    I simply love those white ceramic flower frogs. They are stunning.
    You discovered so many inspiring ideas that I want to try: the wooden crate with flower pots; the very tall glass jars with bulbs; and the color combination in one of the photos - coral/orange flowers next to the dusty turquoise of tulip leaves! So rich!
    Suzanne

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  70. Hello Loi,
    What a wonderful hint of spring.
    From the simplest tulips to the more exotic flower arrangements - all beautiful
    Hope you are well and you have a lovely week,
    Liz x

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  71. Olá Loi,
    belíssimas flores, esta é uma das estações mais linda e alegre.
    Tenha uma ótima semana.

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  72. Hello Loi,

    Just got back from a brilliant tour of your last three posts! I know you said it was a work vacation, but your gorgeous photos capture the essence of a wonderful whirlwind escape! From the lush flower markets of Holland to the serene beauty of the English countryside and everything in between, you have managed to transport us to magical places via your artistic and cultivated talent of observation and documentation.

    Thanks for the mini holiday!

    Poppy

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  73. Wow Loi! I am in the best mood after visiting today! It's kinda grey here in Seattle and this was JUST what I needed. I just returned from a trip to the grocery store and brought home a fresh bouquet of flowers for my counter. It will be awhile before I can garden. I'll be pinning a few of these! Thanks for sharing!

    xxleslie

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  74. What a needed treat! Can you believe it has sleeted here the last two days?! I'm resorting to an indoor spring of potted vines and herbs. I would love to troll the flower markets in England... one day!

    xo,
    Keri

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  75. Loi! You have a such a great eye and sense of composition for photos whether its flowers or houses or accents.

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  76. Loi, your posts are always so beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing with us.

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  77. I cannot grow protea in my gardening zone and they are difficult to find here unless you order them in advance. They look beautiful with green coffee bean berries, birds of paradise, anthurium and green orchids...or alone in a small crystal bowl. They look so beautiful next to the parrot tulips shown above too! I never met a flower I didn't like. I have been scratching at the windows all Winter. I cannot WAIT to work in the gardens! This is the year we build the potager. As soon as the soil thaws the work begins. So excited! My lilac standards should be in any day now! Yippeee!
    Thank you for the lovely, inspirational photos. I'm going to look to see if you have photos of your own garden on your blog.

    xo

    Andie

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  78. Flower heaven.....spring makes winter worth it.....almost:)

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  79. Thanks for the floral inspiration! I love how different and creative they are in Europe. Those hyacinths in the glass jars are killing me! haha. Happy Spring!
    ~Delores

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  80. I am loving your flowers today! I'm a little slow in making the blog rounds since deciding to spend less time on the computer, but so glad I popped in today. I needed these happy flowers to perk me up on a dreary, drizzly day. I'm ready for springtime and sunshine!

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  81. It is incredible how one has to travel to appreciate what may or may not be in our own backyard. It is true, the flowers and the food in Europe are always top knotch and so very fresh~
    pve

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  82. OH LOI! I am holding your bouquet of spring-sunshine wishes close to my heart. It is cold here and gray (love the gray part) but we are itching to get outside to get the boxwoods cleaned up. But for us here in Minneapolis, the fun won't start for another month, at least!

    Many hugs dear friend! Anita

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  83. LOVELY pictures!

    Take care,
    Titti

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  84. Pincushions - you can get them at Potomac - orange and yellow usually but red at times..want some?
    Ellen

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    1. Hi, Ellen! I want to see them. Can we go together? I'll email you soon. Thanks! L

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  85. The most wonderful "Spring-Flower-Symphony" - composed perfectly by you! Uplifting and enchanting during these grey days where Spring is still hiding....
    xxxk

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  86. AMAZING POST:) and your blog Is always so inspiring.

    I wonder If you would like to du a Guest post exchange??? you can write about anything you like on my blog...It would be fun:)

    Have a wonderful day

    LOVE Maria from inredningsvis.se

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Many thanks for your visit! If you have a question, please leave a comment and I will do my best to answer. Loi