Behind the Scenes

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Moving forward, please visit for the latest floral creations and inspirations.

Photo by Matt Hakola

xo- Petalena 

We’ve got loads of pretty flower photos to go through from this and last weekends’ wedding but I wanted to do a quick post of this centerpiece design we did for a wonderful couple who were married at the Boston Public Library last weekend.

Vintage Elegance. Petalena, 2011.

More soon, we promise!

Photos and Flowers by Petalena.

We found the most beautiful lavender clematis for my friend Katherine’s wedding a few weeks ago at the flower market which we incorporated into the table centerpieces for the reception. But, not all flowers make the cut due to small spots or imperfections. This means lovely leftovers  like this little beauty which graced my mantle for close to a week before it passed by:

Lavender Clematis with Ivory Peony. Petalena, 2010.


After our wedding last weekend, I went up to visit my parents in Maine. I love visiting them in the spring, my mother’s wonderful garden is always about three weeks behind Boston so she has tulips and daffodils still growing long after my own have passed. She made this arrangement for me which until yesterday was residing on my bedside table. I just think it is so lovely.

Bedside tulips from my mom's garden. Petalena, 2010.

Beautiful without being overdone. Simple and sort of tumble-y with the trailing Bleeding Heart flowers and foliage joined with the tulips.

The red and white tulips in this arrangement might be my newest floral obsession – Carnival de Nice. I just adore them – they start off with very tight little small buds in the garden, growing to this wonderful full form (below) with layers upon layers of petite little petals.

Carnival de Nice Tulip. Petalena, 2010.

Once they open, they look look this.  Don’t they look like someone took a red paintbrush to them?


Today is such a lovely and gloriously sunny windy day, I can hardly believe it is part of the same weekend as yesterday with the crazy downpours and gray weather! Saturday’s wedding was at the Museum of Science Pavilion. Has anyone ever seen this space? It’s right at the mouth of the Charles, very low to it, with the most wonderful views. Gorgeous, even on a chilly May day.

The Tent at the Museum of Science. Petalena, 2010.

Here’s a little behind -the-scenes shot (above) while we were getting everything prepped.  Apryl and I both loved the lanterns in the tent (which the museum keeps up for the entire season).

Now onto the flowers:

Apryl working on the place card table design. Petalena, 2010.

Our bride and her wonderful mother wanted a color palette of tonal pinks with some touches of white and spring green. This really is the perfect season for this palette since there are unique green and white parrot tulips available as well as pink tulips in almost any hue a girl could ask for, and peonies of course too!

Table Arrangement at the Museum of Science. Petalena, 2010.

We added some trailing branches of white spirea and green hellebore to the table arrangements which gave the style a looser more garden-y look.  It was also great to incorporate these blooms since they can be sourced locally at this time of year and more unique because of their seasonality.

Lush Cake Flowers. Petalena, 2010.

Decorating the cake is always my department which is fun in a quiet, meditative way but challenging too. It seems like I am always, always, always on site at around 4pm absolutely starving whilst decorating some lovely buttercream confection! But I do love the hush that comes over me as I work on the cake, all the background commotion fades and I just focus. For this cake, I used lots of garden roses, a few peonies, and some lovely phalenopsis orchids to create this floral ‘waterfall’ affect.

Table Arrangement at the Museum of Science. Petalena, 2010.

Waiting for the Bride's Bouquet. Petalena, 2010.

For the bride and groom’s sweetheart table, we did a scattering of petals, garden roses and orchids. Simple, lush, and pretty. We like to do this whenever we have extra flowers since it can dress up the table a bit until the bride arrives and places her bouquet in the vase.

Table Detail. Petalena, 2010.

I love the interplay of colors and textures in this photo. The green and white do so much to freshen and brighten, and the pinks are so lovely.

And lastly, here’s the view from the pavilion – a little gray, but I think it might have cleared up a bit by the time cocktail hour began!

View to the Charles, Museum of Science. Petalena, 2010.

A special thanks to Leigh-Ann French at the Museum of Science and the entire staff there.

Cake by Cake For Occasions

Photos and design by Petalena.

Spring Tulips and Green Ranunculas

Spring Tulips & Green Ranunculas

We’re getting ready for a bridal show tomorrow morning, preparing some spring blooms for our lovely colleague Sue Sambrano of Elegant Venues! We’ll have some lovely tall flowering quince branches (more photos shortly!) and I did these table arrangements this morning as well. They will grace my dining room table until morning.

Spring Greens & Pinks

And I made nice little petite arrangement for myself too with some other more mauve hued parrot tulips and astrantia, a unique little star-like flower:

Tulips, Astrantia, and Green Ranunculas

Parrot tulips, green ranuculas, and astrantia

I love the pale fresh colors of spring!

Design by Petalena

We’re still resting our minds, hands, and feet after this weekend’s wedding with a fantastical woodland theme. The bride had a vision for flowers and design that would evoke stepping into the forest – lots of mosses, ferns, and orchids. We have soooo many photos from this wedding that I’m still going through them and struggling to pick our faves. Since I need a few more days, here is one lovely shot of the small posy bouquets we did for the six bridesmaids:


Bridesmaids' Posy Bouquets of Fantastical Orchids

It was so completely lovely. More soon….

Photo & Design by Petalena

Just a few photos from a wedding this fall where we used a new iron arch we purchased over the summer. Clients often ask us about recommendations on where to rent an arch or chuppah and aside from a few places, there just aren’t a lot of good options in Boston. So, when we found this one at a high-end garden store, we jumped it on it! Now it’s great because we can offer it to our clients who appreciate having another option.


Detail of flower "cuff" on wedding arch

We used several varieties of roses here for the flower ‘cuffs’ and some insanely beautiful hydrangea that one of our favorite vendors at the flower market hooked us with from Holland.

Wedding Arch with Urns

Wedding Arch with Urns

Here you can see the full arch which we draped in a soft blush fabric. I just adored the urns we did for this wedding too – antique black with lots of different roses in tonal pink and antique colors.

Detail of Ceremony Urn Arrangement

Detail of Ceremony Urn Arrangement

I just think these colors are so sublime. They are colors, but so quiet and subtle, it’s just so beautiful and classical while still being a bit unusual with the taupe roses and incredible hydrangea.

Flower Cuffs for Wedding Arch in transport

Flower Cuffs for Wedding Arch in transport

And lastly, just a kooky little behind-the-scenes shot of me hanging out in the back of the van before we head off!

Julie with flowers and other sundries in the Petalena van

Julie with flowers (and other sundries) in the Petalena van

Happy fall! Stay tuned for next week’s wedding – it’s going to be just gorgeous. Lots of seasonal flowers and branches of persimmons and pomegranates in a European market-place style. Ceremony and reception will all be at the Lyman Estate in Waltham, one of the most beautiful venues (at least we think!) in the Boston area. We’ve very excited!

Design & Photos by Petalena

Apryl & I are bit obsessed right now with teeny tiny phalenopsis orchids – they are divinely small but spectacular in bouquets. And on their own, they are such a precious treat:

Mini Phalenopsis Orchid in Urn

Mini Phalenopsis Orchid in Urn

We’re doing something similar to this for one of our fall brides but we’ll be painting the urns an antique bronze for deeper palette and adding small bits of manzanita to hold flower stem up.

Lady's Slipper Orchids and Mini Phals in the Studio Window

Lady's Slipper Orchids and Mini Phals in the Studio Window

And here, another one of my ‘studio still lifes’ of dramatic lady’s slipper orchids and the miniature phalenopsis orchids in one of our studio windows. Lovely, lovely.


It’s been far too long since we’ve blogged. What can I say? The wedding season has been sooo busy – we’ve been doing so much designing with lovely flowers we’ve just not had the time to sit down and write about it! Tonight I am making amends, I promise.

Here’s a sneak peak of flowers for a wedding tomorrow at Marina Bay in Quincy. I CAN’T believe this darn hurricane Danny is coming – but we’re going with the flow. All will be gorgeous even if there are 30 mile an hour winds and rain!

Table Design with Garden Roses, Dahlias, & Orchids

Table Design with Garden Roses, Dahlias, & Orchids

This the peak season of dahlias and garden roses – both are a bit fragile but with a gentle touch, they are so worth doing for a wedding!

Another Table Design with a 'Cafe au Lait' Dahlia at the center

Another Table Design with a 'Cafe au Lait' Dahlia at the center

Apryl & I are just mildly obsessed with ‘Cafe au Lait’ dahlias – they vary – but their colors tend to be milky pinks, warm creams, just lovely.

Table Arrangement in the foreground, Apryl in the background

Table Arrangement in the foreground, Apryl in the background

And the bridal bouquet – softly tonal with ivories and small touches of blush and peach, I could just stare at these beautiful flowers all day. Especially the ‘Fair Bianca’ ivory garden roses. They are tiny, with so many petals and a soft old-fashioned rose fragrance. I think these are a new favorite for us.

Bridal Bouquet in ivories and blush

Bridal Bouquet in ivories and blush

Blush Tonal Bridal Bouquet

Blush Tonal Bridal Bouquet

I could just eat these flowers, they are so lovely! The ‘Fair Bianca’ roses are at the center. Such loveliness is almost unbearable.

More photos post-wedding, post-hurricane, so stay tuned!

Photos & Design by Petalena

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