My Favorite Gardens

Sharing five of my favorite flower gardens to visit, wonderful places to gather inspiration and be surrounded by immense beauty. The gardens are located in America, Canada, The Netherlands, and England.

Butchart Gardens
Victoria, Canada
The manicured sunken garden at Butchart Gardens is one of a kind. To be on the upper section of the garden and looking down onto the winding paths and perfectly manicured flower beds is an impressive sight. I am also a big fan of the rose gardens and recommend visiting when the roses are in bloom.
Butchart Gardens

Keukenhof Gardens
The Netherlands
Perhaps my favorite garden of all, I first visited here in 2011 at the suggestion of a friend. I had no idea what was in store, no idea I was about to view the most beautiful, large garden filled to the brim with bulb flower displays, floral arrangements, and variety displays. I’ve now visited the gardens twice and can only anticipate future visits!
Keukenhof Gardens Holland

Montecito, California
37 acres of amazing landscaping and gardens are what’s in store with a visit to Lotusland. This stunning garden is located in Montecito, California, just south of Santa Barbara.

Mount Vernon, Washington
I had no idea what to expect the first time I visited Roozengaarde and I most certainly wasn’t expecting such a glorious display of tulips. A truly pleasant surprise when I realized how many beautiful displays of tulips, daffodils, and muscari they had tucked in behind their garden walls. The tulips festival takes place each April and I highly recommend a visit.
Roozengaarde Skagit valley

David Austin Roses
Albrighton, Wolverhampton, United Kingdom
Located in the English Countryside are the beautiful gardens of David Austin Roses. The gardens are behind brick walls giving it a secret garden feel. I could barely contain my excitement as I turned each corner to discover more perfectly laid out rose gardens. We visited just before the gardens were in full bloom, I do hope to make it back there one day when the roses are in full bloom.
Beautiful Garden space seen at David Austin Rose Gardens, England

Have you been to any of the above gardens? Which are your favorites and why? Do you have gardens to suggest I and others visit? Please leave your suggestions in the comments – I’d love to hear your thoughts!

David Austin Garden Roses – 2017


David Austin Garden Roses

David Austin Garden Roses

David Austin Garden Roses Website

Garden Roses By Alexandra Farms

Romantic Antike & Princess Aiko - Alexandra Roses Via Garden Roses Direct

Romantic Antike & Princess Aiko

For my recent floral design class in Colorado I received a beautiful variety of garden roses from the fabulous Alexandra Farms.
The roses were received via Garden Roses Direct and I was very, very pleased with the packing they provided. The roses arrived in great condition and opened just right for my class. I did work with Sandy at Garden Roses Direct and she helped me figure out which day I should receive the roses so that they have time to open nicely for the class. Timing with garden roses is so important as many of them take a few days to open up fully, especially the darker colors like David Austin Tess & Darcey.

If you’ve followed me for any amount of time you’ll know that I adore David Austin Garden Roses, who doesn’t?! For my late summer inspired color palette I ordered David Austin’s Edith, Tess, Darcey, Juliet and Beatrice. From this selection of garden roses Sandy suggested I also try Candlelight, Princess Aiko & Princess Sakura, Sunset, Fiction, Romantic Antike, Caramel Antike, and Red Piano.
Seriously, the most luscious and gorgeous selection of garden roses for my lucky students!!

Here are up-close photos of these beauties:

Candlelight Garden Rose; a lovely light coloring of gold and peach and a great accent rose to some of the richer, brighter garden roses like Sunset. Opens up to a nice size and great for centerpieces.

Candlelight - Alexandra Roses Via Garden Roses Direct


Candlelight - Alexandra Roses Via Garden Roses Direct



David Austin Beatrice; she stole my heart! Rich golden blooms, super ruffly and full. She was a showstopper!

Beatrice by David Austin - Alexandra Roses Via Garden Roses Direct

David Austin Beatrice

David Austin Beatrice - Alexandra Roses Via Garden Roses Direct

David Austin – Beatrice

Beatrice by David Austin - Alexandra Roses Via Garden Roses Direct

David Austin Beatrice and Caramel Antike


David Austin Edith; sweet and pretty one. Blends nicely with Beatrice and Juliet. She has so much range in colors that she really pairs well with many other roses and offers a great coloring for autumn color palettes. Heck, see here how pretty she looks with Darcey!

Edith by David Austin Roses - Alexandra Roses Via Garden Roses Direct

David Austin – Edith

Darcey & Edith by David Austin - Alexandra Roses Via Garden Roses Direct

David Austin – Darcey & Edith


David Austin Darcey; speaking of Darcey! You can see above how nicely she pairs with Edith. A great dark Raspberry coloring on this garden rose. This is one of the darker colored David Austin Roses that needs a few extra days to open fully. My experience is that it can take 4-5 days for this one to fully bloom open and this is out of the cooler. I usually process and keep my garden roses out of the cooler until they open to that pristine & perfect bloom and then place into the cooler until I need them for the arrangements.

David Austin Darcey - Alexandra Roses Via Garden Roses Direct

David Austin – Darcey

Princess Aiko, David Austin Darcey & Edith - Alexandra Roses Via Garden Roses Direct

Princess Aiko, David Austin Darcey, and Edith


Princess Sakura & Princess Aiko; ok, let’s talk about these two princesses!! I heard about these two while at Alexandra Farm’s display booth at IFTF last two Novembers when touring the show with Joost of Florabundance.
The Farm’s owner, Joey, introduced me to these two lovely roses and I instantly gushed! They are full, luscious, peachy garden roses and they work gloriously with David Austin’s Juliet! Princess Aiko has a touch more color to it and tends towards a brighter peach and pink. Princess Sakura is a bit more subtle and lighter in colors of peach and pink.

Princess Sakura & Princess Aiko - Alexandra Roses Via Garden Roses Direct

Princess Sakura & Princess Aiko

Princess Aiko Garden Rose - Alexandra Roses Via Garden Roses Direct

Princess Aiko

Princess Aiko - Alexandra Roses Via Garden Roses Direct

Princess Aiko

Princess Sakura - Alexandra Roses Via Garden Roses Direct

Princess Sakura


David Austin Juliet; I’ve always felt this is the rose that created the peach craze that started with brides and has been a strongly desired color palette for the past 6-7 years. She seemed to appear on wedding blogs around 2009/10 and has taken a stronghold ever since, who else agrees? Not that I’m the least bit surprised – this rose is perfection. It’s the perfect and most wonderful peach flower!

David Austin Juliet - Alexandra Roses Via Garden Roses Direct

David Austin – Juliet


Romantic Antike; if you are looking for a big rose be sure to check out this one! She offers a full blossom! Gorgeous dusty pink-

Romantic Antike Garden Roses - Alexandra Roses Via Garden Roses Direct

Romantic Antike


Sunset; this rose ties together the various roses above to pull of a fabulous autumn palette – rich, bright, ruffly, big blossom. A perfect blender of colors and/or gorgeous as a stand alone rose in an arrangement. I appreciated its big blossom in our centerpieces-

Sunset Garden Roses - Alexandra Roses Via Garden Roses Direct



David Austin Tess, always one of my favorite dark red roses. When anyone asks me ‘what should I use for a burgundy garden rose’ I blurt out – DA TESS! My top picture here makes it look a bit more bright red than it actually is in person. I’m posting this one so you can see the ruffles of the petals. In person it is a darker red and more like the color shown in the second photo-

David Austin Tess - Alexandra Roses Via Garden Roses Direct

David Austin – Tess

Tess by David Austin - Alexandra Roses Via Garden Roses Direct

David Austin – Tess


Fiction, I saved one of my favorites for the end of the post! Sandy had suggested Fiction and I had not seen or heard of this one. When I saw it in person I was immediately smitten. Big blooms are surrounded by two buds — eek! Golden yellow with orange/red tips. love love love. I want this one in all my future bright summer and fall designs.

Fiction garden rose - Alexandra Roses Via Garden Roses Direct


Fiction Garden Rose - Alexandra Roses Via Garden Roses Direct



Red Piano; a brighter Red than David Austin Tess. The shape you see here is about the max of what this rose will open up to, this picture was taken after I had it for a week and this is it. I really like the rounded shape and would definitely use it in future floral designs. One of my friend’s wanted it to open more, but that wasn’t going to happen! Meanwhile, a client saw this rose being prepared for the class and she asked that it be added into her daughter’s wedding flowers – so it definitely sold itself!

Red Piano Garden Roses - Alexandra Roses Via Garden Roses Direct

Red Piano


Again, I was absolutely thrilled with all of these roses. They all offer so much with their color ranges and size of blooms. All of the roses were grown by Alexandra Farms and shipped via Garden Roses Direct. Many of the roses were David Austin Garden Roses.

Designed by Alicia Schwede of Bella Fiori and Flirty Fleurs

One of the arrangements I created with the Garden roses and various other flowers & textures.

Fleur Friday

Hello Flower Friends!
Well, I sure hope you all enjoyed the David Austin Rose week on Flirty Fleurs!
Here’s a recap of what was featured –
Monday – A Rose Study of David Austins – including vase life & information on how they open up
Tuesday – Photographs of the David Austin Workshop which I hosted a few weeks ago
Wednesday – Wedding Wednesday featuring bouquets with David Austin Roses
Thursday – A care & handling video by Leanne Kesler of Floral Design Institute
And, today I share one more picture of these beauties!

Miranda, Tess, Kate and Keira - David Austin Roses

Miranda, Tess, Kate and Keira – David Austin Roses

I really hope you all enjoyed David Austin Rose week as much as I did!
Meanwhile, I’m afraid I don’t have any links from around the www to share with you all today, I haven’t been at my computer much these past two weeks. Seriously love spring time in Washington state – everything is blooming and I’ve been out visiting farms!! Will share more of those pictures in coming weeks – and you can always get a glimpse on Instagram.
Have a great weekend and I’ll see you back here on Monday. OH .. Alison Ellis is with us on Monday with one of her great videos!!

Wedding Wednesday :: David Austin Garden Roses

Today’s wedding wednesday inspiration focuses on bouquets and arrangements with David Austin Roses. Not all roses seen in these designs are David Austin, but each design has at least one of the 12 varieties.

Stoneblossom Floral & Event Design

Stoneblossom Floral & Event Design

David Austin Garden Roses

Carey, Darcey, Tess, Kate, Edith, Beatrice, Juliet, Constance, Patience, Miranda, Keira and Charity David Austin Garden Roses

Carey, Darcey, Tess, Kate, Edith, Beatrice, Juliet, Constance, Patience, Miranda, Keira and Charity

Garden roses. The words evoke memories of a beloved grandmother’s garden, filled with soft, show-stopping roses that smelled like heaven. Nostalgia for these gorgeous, old-fashioned blooms has meant a huge surge in the popularity of garden roses in the bridal market and all signs indicate that they’re here to stay.

David Austin Roses are the epitome of the English garden rose and are highly sought after for their beauty. Twelve cut varieties are bred specifically for floral designers and are available in the North American market, in shades of red, hot pink, pink, peach, yellow, and white.

We worked with those 12 varieties in a recent Floral Design Class here in Seattle, Washington: Beatrice, Carey, Charity, Constance, Darcey, Edith, Juliet, Kate, Keira, Miranda, Patience, and Tess. Today on the blog we are featuring the David Austin Garden Roses as part of our Rose Study Series. As with all Flirty Fleurs rose studies, the roses here were processed into clean water. No hydrating solutions or flower foods were used and all flowers were kept at room temperature and not in a cooler. I did speak with Eleanor of David Austin Roses and she informed me that the guard petals should not be removed as they are tougher petals which helps the rose to open to its full cupped garden rose form and prevents the bloom from shattering. Although I did mention above that I did not use any flower food while processing the roses, Eleanor did mention that they recommend using Chrysal’s Rose Food.

Here are our notes:

Beatrice Yellow David Austin Garden Rose


Vase life: 7 days, peak at 4–5 days
A beautiful, rich golden yellow hue for this ruffly-petal garden rose. Beatrice is a slow opener with a slight scent. The bloom itself is a bit on the petite size, so keep that in mind when ordering this rose – you may want to order extra stems to ensure you’ll have enough to make a statement.


Carey Rose David Austin


Vase life: 5–6 days
A solid dark pink coloring on each petal, Carey opens into a perfect buttercup garden rose shape. Carey is smaller than her ‘sister’ Miranda and nowhere near as showy. Shows consistent color throughout a 12-stem bunch. The darkest pink of the David Austin cut varieties.


Charity David Austin Rose


Vase life: 3–4 days, peak at 3 days.
A large, lovely blush pink rose with a wide-open, green-eyed center, which adds a unique touch. I highly recommend keeping this one in the cooler until you are ready to design with her, she’s finicky and opens quickly. Charity is quite an eye-catcher and worth the work, just handle with a kind hand and take care of this one!


Constance David Austin


Vase life: 5–6 days
Constance is a good-sized rose, although shallow, that will open fully and show its center. The petals are lovely, swirly ruffles. The colors in a bunch can really range from blush pink to a brighter pink. This rose appears to be one of the favorites when I talk with other designers – they are drawn to the perfect rounded garden rose shape and sweet blush-pink coloring.


Darcey David Austin Garden Rose


Vase life: 7 days. Peak at 4–5.
One of two hot pink David Austin roses, Darcey is smaller than Kate, and a deeper magenta-crimson color. Darcey is a slow opener, but will open wide and show its center at its peak. Give this rose a few days out of the cooler to really bloom to its full size. It is a long lasting rose, just like Tess & Kate – a good two weeks out of the cooler.


Edith David Austin Garden Rose


Vase life: 5–6 days, peak at 3–4
Edith is a large bloom with complex coloring: touches of gold, peach and rose tones all in one bloom. She plays well with others because of her coloring, which can pull toward autumn tones. Significant color variation in the 12-stem bunch. Slight scent.


Juliet David Austin Garden Rose


Vase life: 5 days
Juliet is a favorite rose in bridal work for her beautiful peach tones. A beautifully cupped rose. These particular Juliets came from Alexandra Farms, which is a lighter peach. I have noticed that if I receive Juliets from Green Valley that they are a darker, warm peach.


Kate David Austin Garden Rose


Vase life: 7 days
Kate is the other hot pink David Austin. She’s a lush raspberry hot pink into magenta rose blossom that opens nicely, nearly double the size of Darcey. Kate is a long lasting bloom. I’d suggest keeping her out of the cooler so she can open into a full bloom for your design work.


Keira David Austin Garden Rose


Vase life: 4–5 days
Keira is a perfectly cupped-shape rosette whose petals blend from blush pink to cream to light pink. Significant range of colors in a 12-stem bunch of Keira: some tend to be more pink, some more blush. Not a large rose, more delicate and beautifully suited to bouquet work. A slight scent.


Miranda David Austin Garden Roses


Vase life: 5–6 days
The perfect pink garden rose, Miranda is a strong and hearty bloom, by far the strongest of the pinks. Opens to be a very large rose, nearly three inches – the largest of the David Austin cut varieties. Great, solid pink color on all petals.


Patience David Austin Garden Roses


Vase life: 3–4 days. An event rose.
A lovely, silky, creamy white color, Patience has an intoxicating scent. Patience tends to brown easily and has a delicate neck, so she requires tender handling. This particular variety should be kept in the cooler, otherwise it may open to quickly for your event. I find it best to let it sit out for a day to hydrate and open up and then I place it in the cooler to keep it at a premium stage.


Tess David Austin Garden Rose


Vase life: 7days
A rich, dark, velvety red, Tess is the answer to your red garden rose needs. A strong and hearty bloom.
Keep in mind that Tess needs a few days to really bloom open, it took 4-5 days for it to open to the stage where I felt it really showed off its full beauty. It was also a very long lasting rose – a good two weeks.


Pink David Austin Garden Roses Carey, Constance, Miranda, Keira, Charity

Carey, Constance, Miranda, Keira, Charity

L-R - Beatrice, Edith, Tess, Darcey, Kate, Patience, Juliet, Charity, Keira, Carey, Constance and Miranda

L-R – Beatrice, Edith, Tess, Darcey, Kate, Patience, Juliet, Charity, Keira, Carey, Constance and Miranda

David Austin Garden Roses
All of the David Austin Garden Roses featured here were grown by Alexandra Farms.

Tomorrow I will feature the arrangements we created with these beautiful David Austin Garden Roses during the Floral Design Class.

Fleur Friday

David Austin Garden Display at RHS Chelsea Flower Show

Happy Fleur Friday Flower Friends!
Well, here’s the last glimpse from my epic England trip ~ a parting shot of David Austin’s Display at RHS Chelsea Flower Show. I sure hope you enjoyed all the photos from England!
It was a great trip, albeit I could have used another day or two to run around and visit more shops. Isn’t that always the way? Could always use another day or two…
I am really happy with what an amazing trip it was and thankful for all the fantastic experiences.

As for next week – we are back to “normal programming” here on Flirty Fleurs! Fabulous Florist Interviews, Wedding Wednesday, the Q&A Series returns on Thursday and maybe, just maybe a book giveaway coming up .. be sure to check in for details.

Wishing you all a fantastic weekend and all of you with weddings – hope your events go smoothly!

Ohhh… one more thing before I sign off for the weekend — for those of you in Oregon or Washington! Florabundance will be in Portland next week and hosting a Flower Happy Hour. Francoise Weeks & I are planning on attending, hope to see you there! Here are the details:

florabundance in portland

I love London!

If you’ve followed this blog for the past 4 years or know me at all, you know that I love London! It’s such a fabulous city! I love that I can get around town via the Underground and it is absolutely filled with wonderful things to see for flower lovers.
Ohhh… and was this past visit filled to the brim with flower goodness!
Today I’ll give you a re-cap of what I did and saw and the following days this week I will post more in depth looks at each event.
First, I arrived into Heathrow and caught the express train into Paddington Station. First thing I see – flower stand:

Paddington Train Station in London w/ floral display

Then I was off to the next train station to meet up with my friend, Emma, who I stayed with and again I see more flowers:

Flowers at a London Train Station

Thursday morning I was up bright and early and off to the New Covent Flower Market to meet up with the one and only Paula Pryke! Love her! We perused the flower market, chatting with other flower designers and admiring the gorgeous flowers available. We had a nice time at the market and then we caught a cab over to Neill Strain’s phenomenal shop in Belgravia. Neill’s shop is so beautiful and I just love going there for a visit.
Here’s Paula & Neill in front of his shop:

Paula Pryke & Neill Strain in front of Neill's flower shop in London

Paula Pryke & Neill Strain

Neill had a special flower show as part of Chelsea Fringe happening at his shop called Passion for Peonies. He had peonies that I’ve never seen before, so many incredible varieties.

Passion for Peonies at Neill Strain's Flower shop in London.

Passion for Peonies at Neill Strain’s Flower shop

Neill, Paula and I enjoyed a fantastic brunch and chatted about the floral scene in London. They told me about visiting Chelsea In Bloom. Then Neill says – let me see if anyone has an extra ticket to Chelsea for today. (I had one ticket for Chelsea for Friday. If you ever go to Chelsea make sure to buy your tickets well in advance as they do sell out!). After our fun visit Neill drove me over to Chelsea In Bloom and told me he’d text when he finds a ticket. Chelsea In Bloom takes place at various shops around Sloane Square (the neighborhood just outside the Chelsea Flower Show). Sure was fun hunting for the shops that were participating and watching passerby’s reactions. About 90 minutes later I receive a text from Neill – he has a ticket! I was so excited, all of a sudden I was going to Chelsea a day early!!

Entrance to RHS Chelsea Flower Show

In the coming days I will be posting quite a few photos from Chelsea .. as soon as I sort through all of them!

I only spent a few hours there on Thursday as I knew I’d be there all day on Friday. After leaving the show I walked around Chelsea, Sloane Square and Pimlico Road. Wandered upon Nikki Tibbles’ Wild At Heart Shop:

Wild at Heart on Pimlico Road, London

Wild at Heart

And saw this gorgeous floral design sitting in the shop:
Flower Arrangement by Wild At Heart in London

Then I was off for more walking, wandered up through Belgravia neighborhood and ended up by Buckingham Palace. Then caught the underground back to Emma’s flat.

Friday morning came and I was off for a full day at Chelsea Flower Show! Yes, I really spent all day there and I think I saw everything. Hopefully I saw everything! Plus, I got to visit with Rona of Flowerona Blog. So great to see Rona and catch up, plus she knows all about Chelsea and could fill me in on details. Emma and her friend, Wendy, joined for the evening hours and we were the last of the group that left when the gates closed at 8pm. Off for a walk through the neighborhoods and a great dinner.
Hold tight .. you’ll be seeing plenty of Chelsea photos this week!

Saturday came and we decided to go for a drive into the north, towards Birmingham we drove. That idea turned out to be brilliant. Joe Massie was in Birmingham working on a floral installation.
Check out this piece he designed:
Joseph Massie Floral Dress 2014

Joe, Emma and I enjoyed a long visit over dinner in the small town of Wolverhampton. Good times and felt I had to pinch myself to believe I was there sitting with my friends at a random pub in Northern England.

Joseph Massie and Alicia Schwede, England 2014

Joe always makes me laugh

I can hardly believe where Emma and I ended up on Sunday. David Austin Roses. Yes, that David Austin! Located just outside Wolverhampton are the David Austin Rose Gardens. We perused the gardens, and more gardens. We had tea (cappuccino for me) and crumpets in their tea room. We studied the plants for sale. Finally selected an amazing yellow Graham Thomas Garden Rose for Emma’s garden.

Gift Shop at David Austin Roses

The entrance to the gift shop and the rose gardens at David Austin.

Talk about a perfect day, a perfect weekend and a perfect week!

Sunday evening we drove back to London. I quite enjoyed driving thru the countryside, the weather was perfect and the rolling green hills so beautiful.

Monday rolled around and we decided to take an easy day after 4 days of running around. The biggest outing was to visit Peggy Porschen’s cake shop in Belgravia. Peggy’s cakes are glorious to look at and just as good to eat!
Peggy Porschen Cakes

Tuesday came way too quickly and it was time to return home. Crazy how quickly a week can go by, of course two days are lost to the traveling to and from Seattle to London.

Oh, one more thing I saw while out strolling around London – sides of buildings covered in plants. I thought these were just spectacular!

The side of a building in London covered in plants

The side of a building in London covered in plants