Tuesday, October 20, 2009

PWP Update!: Winners Announced!

It's here! They have announced the winners of the Philadelphia Wedding Project! Congratulations to Caitlin and Rodney! They have an extraordinary story to tell. Both in the Army, they first met in March 2006, having both recently arrived at their unit, the 9th Engineer Battalion.

This lucky couple will have their wedding photographed by the six talented photographers we love and admire: Pete Malone, Joy Moody, Jenn Childress, Geoff Horowitz, Ryan Estes and Sofia Negron.

Check out the winning story as it unfolds! You can track their progress, since Philly Mag has picked up the project as a sponsor there will be blogs, twitters and updates to follow!

MODA goes to Market

Getting up bright an early (like 5 a.m.) Team MODA headed down to Aalsmeer to meet up with our buyer Tony to check out the Dutch Auction. Armas took the city on again as the driver of our rental car, and we were off. The vast set up was a bit much to absorb - there is so much to take in! Check out the little slide show I put together on the right, its just a taste of what we saw. It was like Willie Wonka Factory of the floral industry. The amount of automation and synchronization is astounding. I am sure the boys will ad some comments soon!

We were in and out all before dawn, first we hit the auction, then traveled across the huge facility (in the car) back to where the packing happens at Tony's place. All of the products get sorted, packed/boxed and routed to the different buyers' locations by trolleys automatically via a bridge, gets packed, and is on our way to us! All before the sun was up!

Then we were off to Wateringen, Nederland to the appointment Moniek had set us up with, the mother ship was calling us home. Now, as many of you know, the Blue Magic Vanda has been MODA's signature flower way before we began showcasing it two years ago. Much like the Green Trick (which by using so much we brought such significant awareness to the local US market that importers were scrambling with the new demand) the Blue Vanda has been used in increasing numbers since we showcased hundreds of them last year at the Philadelphia International Flower Show (see slideshow to the right!)
We heart Vandas.

...so back to our adventure. Armas zoomed across the European motorways and we arrive well before noon. The owner Steef was just as welcoming and as talented as Moniek. His passion for the Vanda rivaled Bailey's neck and neck. His commitment to perfection, attention to detail was inspiring and refreshing. Steef has found his passion, it was clear to see how he and Moniek have become friends. Below are a few pictures of our trip to the greenhouse, the place was huge, the colors so intense - there are more in the slide show to the right!

And these special babies are a few years off but you will delight in them as soon as we can get our hands on them. Still to be named, still to be tested...white Vandas!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Monday with MODA and Moniek

Bailey surprised Armas and I with a treat over the weekend, he said "We're off to see the Wizard!" Bailey had emailed Moniek Vanden Berghe, a Belgian designer whom we hold in high esteem explaining that MODA botanica was in town to check out Hortifair, and had inquired if it would be okay for us to check out her shop. She regretted to inform us that she no longer kept a shop (now a gallery) but would love to have us join her at a workshop she was teaching in Antwerp. Not only were we her personal invited guests, but she invited us to have lunch with her afterward!

We are generally not big fans of the dried, but this may have the tides turning. We made a few things as members of the class...

After soaking up her delightful teaching, techniques and tips we were off to lunch and to cruise the market. Where we found all the things we love, as well as all the things we can not have thanks to our big brother: USDA.

But the fun was not over there! She took us on an insiders tour to the design firm where she makes and designs custom containers, vases and floral incidentals. Heaven! We had such a great day. Moniek was an absolute delight, so warm and down to earth. She is an artist that truly loves what she does - an it radiates from her. Thank You Moniek! After spending the day together she made a few calls for us, arranged a private tour at the grower who produces our #1 flower: The VANDA.
We bid her 'tot ziens' by the little farm with chickens that Bailey could not resist.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Not to toot my own horn...

Many of you know about my little urban farm tucked away in Center City Philadelphia. My dear friend Michael Persico tooks some pictures of me and my garden (and bees and chickens) earlier this summer, and I am honored to have been featured in Keystone Edge.

In case you wonder what I do on my free time, here the article.

"Niewe bloemen" from Hortifair!

It was surprising to the three of us that the most noteworthy flowers we saw at Hortifair were from rather common genera, that we usually ignore. We only occasionally use Roses, Carnations, Gerberas, and Alstroemaria, but some of the most exciting advancements in breeding have been in these areas. We do believe there are no bad flowers, only poor designs, but with these new items on the market, we might just change our tune on some otherwise "common" blooms.

Hortifair Last Call

There is a ton to see at Hortifair, so we swung by for a few demos and to see if we missed anything one more time.
There seemed to be two main sections: Horti Grow & Trade and Horti Tech. Grow & Trade is where we found most of the new and exciting floral varieties and products that we have mentioned in previous posts. Tucked away in the floral section was a demo area where designers were brought in to showcase their unique talents and to boast the superior quality of "Oasis" forms and products (the sponsor of the showcase arena.) Once they finish the arrangements, they are placed on display for everyone to check out up close - most were inspiring, some not so much.

Seeing the new varieties is breathtaking, especially when an everyday Alstroemeria or rose is 6'tall. Some areas were just from growers promoting their specialty items such as these roses (yes they are that tall) or the Gerbs Armas was checking out...The displays are just as great as the flowers. It was like a mini PHS Flower Show!

But that is just a small section of the show - there were rows and rows of heavy machinery & software to help manage the systems that were fascinating. In between they had the quality test areas where we saw some pretty cool favorites as well. The booths looked like this:

If Freesia always looked like Gardenias, I could really get behind it!
Here are a few things that caught my eye.

This one might be my favorite, it's a mum. The ball variety ~Judith

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Amsterdam Dag Twee

The boys humored me and posed for a few pics as we checked out the town:

The floating flower market had some interesting local treats, like their bread and butter of designs - hand tied bouquets:

On a personal note, here is where I am planning on living (that sleek modern one in the middle)...

...and here is what I am going to put in my garden once I settle in:

And alas, another example of an appropriate use of a cable tie - if its going to show it needs to coordinate and be purposeful...again, the Dutch excel!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Hortifair Day One!

Here are a couple of pics of our first, oh so jet lagged, day at Hortifair. I'm really into some Anthurium leaves, and Judy is all about her flower-festooned walker!

There were some great demonstrations, and we found LOTS of great new books for the library that we just can't find at home. Come and check them out when we get home.


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Dutch do it best.

Do you know who does really does European floral design (besides us of course) is Europeans! It seems like everyone is throwing around the "E" word willy nilly these days. While even English Garden, with it's mounds of pretty, precious, peonies and posies, might technically fall under the umbrella of European, what we're talking about is the experimental, architectural, imaginative, cutting edge design few others are offering in the US.

Now, you'll never catch us ripping off designs out of a book or magazine, but we freely admit to gathering inspiration and techniques from our international counterparts. The highest concentration of these innovators happens to occur in Holland and Belgium, and many of them will happen to also be in Amsterdam this week as well for Hortifair.

I was just here in May for Queensday, and Armas and Judith have also experienced Amsterdam. We're excited to be taking our first overseas business trip together. What better city, and what a perfect time of year.

We will be exploring the newest Dutch flower varieties, visiting with other designers, and scouting out new products for use and sale in our Center City studio. Keep posted for reports all week.

But first, one more cup of canal-side coffee to help shake this jet lag!


Wedded in the Right Direction.

Don't you hate it when you go away, only to find that people are talking about you? I don't!

We have just arrived in Amsterdam for a week of research, rest, and relaxation, and it turns out we're being talked about back home. Daily Candy has just put out their fall 2009 wedding guide featuring us and some other fabulous wedding purveyors. Check it out!

The post features a great photo from photographer Michael Persico of the recent wedding of Melissa and Jonathan. More on them when we return.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Where in the world?

Many of our clients are curious about the truly international web of growers, brokers, and wholesalers that we use to source our floral materials. It's commonplace around MODA to have the opportunity to introduce a client to a new flower that they didn't even know existed.

We will the opportunity to attend the Hortifair flower and trade show next week in Amsterdam. I have had the opportunity to visit Holland on many occasions to visit with growers and see the new floral trends, often while they're still in the field. Expect lots of posts and photos!

One of our most useful assets is the Flower Market in NYC. While we have great sources and importers that deliver right to our door on 13th St., there are a handful of premium blossoms and accessories that we can only find in New York. Products from Holland, Thailand, Costa Rica, Vietnam, Kenya, and Ecuador just to name a few come and go through the New York market. It's a fraction of what it used to be, but a vibrant section of 28th still traffics in some of the living treasures we love using.

Armas and I, along with the incomparable Jennifer Cohan of Savory PR were in NYC a couple of weeks ago for a studio photo shoot with a national wedding magazine (more on that later.) We took a spin around the market, and Jennifer made us pose for a few photos. Kids in a candy shop...

Progressive Cocktails!

We are excited to be collaborating with our friends over at bahdeebahdu and Milner + Carr Conservation on a Design Philadelphia event. Their All in Good Taste progressive cocktail party will offer a chance to see some of the exciting art, design and conservation work going on in our beloved Philadelphia. The fun starts at Milner + Carr at 6, on Thursday, October 8. And there will be cocktails... mmmm cocktails.

Updated photos courtesy of Laura Eaton.