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Posted 5/20/2013 9:27pm by Kate Sparks .

For this week’s “Beyond the Mason Jar” I will be making an arrangement in a trumpet vase.  Trumpet vases are larger at the top than the bottom. The shape of the vase makes it easy to arrange the flowers in a loose, natural style. This is a fairly large arrangement suitable for a seating card table, gift table or even an altar piece.


The flowers I’ve used:

Longiflorum/Asiatic lily Royal sunset: 10 stems

Baptisia Australis: 10 stems

Aquilegea, (columbine,):  9-11 stems

 Deciduous Azalea:  3-5 stems


The supplies you’ll need                

Large trumpet vase                   

Sharp knife or clippers

Bulb flower food packet


  1. Start by stripping the bottom leaves off the lilies, columbine and baptisia.  Take most of the leaves off the azalea.
  2. Fill the vase 7/8 of the way with cold water, add the bulb flower food. 
  3. Cut lilies to desired height.  They should be two different heights to give your arrangement depth.  Place five tall lilies in the vase and allow to fan out evenly around the vase. 
  4. Cut five stems of baptisia slightly taller than the lilies and insert into the center of the vase.
  5. Cut 3 or 4 stems of  columbine slightly shorter than the baptisia and insert around the  lilies.
  6. Cut 5-6 stems of baptisia shorter than the lilies and insert between the lilies around the rim of the vase.
  7. Cut 5 or 6 stems of columbine shorter than the lilies and insert around the rim of the vase between the stems of baptisia.  The stems should be varied heights.
  8. Cut the remaining lilies to a length that is slightly taller than the vase, insert the stems in front of the taller lilies.
  9. Cut the azalea  just long enough to rest at the rim of the vase and place between the shorter lilies.  It’s ok if the stems extend out from the vase a bit.
  10. Voila, you’re done! 
  Cut lilies and allow to fan out evenly.         

 Add stems of purple baptisia to the center 

   Add Columbine to the vase                      

   Close up of yellow Columbine                  



 Place shorter stems of lilies and baptisia in front of the tall lilies. Add the azalea and your finished!
Lilies and Lavender is your source for Locally Grown Flowers in Bucks County
Posted 5/5/2013 10:50pm by Kate Sparks .

What happened to getting married in June?  My busiest month for weddings is May.  It's also when most of my annuals and summer bulbs get planted.  Spring is my very favorite season but oy what a workload!  Last week I removed landscape fabric from my fields, spread maunure, (always fun), tilled, put the landscape fabric back on, planted thousands of seedlings and put in irrigations lines.  I also delivered flowers for two weddings, harvested flowers for two farmers' markets and sold flowers at the Market at the Fareway in Chestnut Hill.  Today, Sunday, I took a nap!  Next Sunday is mother's day, enough said. I have more annuals to plant and lots of summer bulbs too.  I'm so lucky to have a great intern, Kathleen Claar, this year who has had to work by herself while I run around like a maniac trying to keep everything organized and on schedule. The weather has been wonderful too.  Sunny but not hot.  Rain just after my first planting.  What more could a flower farmer ask for?  Maybe another nap?  Beautiful summer flowers will be a great reward for all the hard work.  In the meantime I can enjoy the french tulips Kat and I harvested. I hope my brides will enjoy them too.  

Lilies and Lavender is your source for Locally Grown Flowers in Bucks County!

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Posted 4/19/2013 1:26pm by Kate Sparks .



For my second week of beyond the mason jar I’ve made a simple but very beautiful bridal bouquet. The wired nest makes it possible to use small, shorter stems of flowers.    The nest is a bright spring green which compliments the flowers nicely.  The flowers in this bouquet are available locally in Mid April.  The short season means only a few special brides will have this unique bouquet!





The flowers I’ve used: 

Green Hellebore: 8 -10 stems

Burgundy Fritillaria Meleagris: 6 -10 stems

Purple Muscari: 6 -10 stems

White ornithagalum: 6 -10 stems

White Deutzia: 3 stems


The supplies you’ll need:

Green, wired fiber nest 

floral sheers or small sharp knife

light weight green stub wire

green chenille or pipe cleaner

floral tape

natural fiber or satin ribbon

small, pearl headed corsage pins

vase for the finished bouquet


Step 1.  Strip the bottom leaves off the hellebore and deutzia.  Strip all but the top 1 or two leaves from the fritillaria. 


Step 2.   Holding the nest in your non-dominant hand insert most of the hellebore into the center of the nest.  The flowers should be visible at the top of the nest.  Have some of the stems peeking over the sides. 


Step 3.  Without putting the nest down, insert stems of fritillaria around the outside of the hellebore.  It’s not important they be evenly spaced.  This is a casual garden style bouquet. Place the stems where you think they look nice.  No worries, you can’t make a mistake. 


Step 4.  Add accents of purple muscari and white ornithagalum between the hellebore and fritillaria.  They should peek above the other flowers.  Take a good look at your bouquet and add stems of hellebore to any holes. You want the bouquet to look full but loose. 


Step 5.  Add the deutzia around the outside of the nest.  Your stems should be long enough to insert into the the bouquet and wind around the wired edge of the nest.  Be sure you are holding the end of the stem with the other flowers.  Cut a  very small piece of wire and wire the deutzia to the outside rim of the nest just at the end of the stem.  Hide the wire in the fiber of the nest.


Step 6. Once all your flowers are where you want them you can add more as needed.  Keep the bouquet nice and loose.  Remember, garden style, casual and romantic.  Not uptight.  Wrap and twist the chenille just above where you are holding the stems of flowers. You may need an assistant to do this.  Twist to secure the chenille then cut off the excess.  Cut a long length of stretchy floral tape and tape the stems to the holder of the nest.  Stretch and overlap the tape as you wind it around the stems. It isn’t necessary to tape the entire length of stems.  The tape should extend about two inches down the length of the stems.


Step 7.  Cut the stems just below the wires of the nest.  Stems which are too long look awkward.  You should be able to tilt your bouquet away from you without having the stems touch your wedding gown.  Tilting the bouquet forward will also look best in your wedding photos.


Step 8.  Affix the ribbon to the stems with a corsage pin, beginning at the base of the blossoms. Slide the pin into the stems, thrusting the point downward to keep the ribbon from moving.  Bind the ribbon around the stems tightly, keeping the fabric smooth and preventing gaps between the wrap. When you reach the bottom of the arrangement, rewrap the ribbon back up to the top of the bouquet.  Cut the ribbon and fold the end under.  Finish with two or three pearl headed pins.  Be careful to angle the pins downward so they don’t stick through the other side of your bouquet.





Lilies and Lavender is your source for Locally Grown Flowers in Bucks County! 



Posted 4/8/2013 10:35am by Kate Sparks .

This is Kate from Lilies and Lavender  with a blog for DIY brides.  I plan to make this a weekly tutorial using flowers from the farm I'll teach you how to  work with the flowers to make beautiful simple arrangements .  This should be no stress, just fun with flowers.

This week I will be using:

Green Hellebore, Purple Muscari, White ranunculus

They are all early spring flowers which are available in April and May.

I’m using a small, dark green vase I bought at a local auction.  6 vases for $3.00. Such a deal!

Make sure your vase is super clean.  A dirty vase has bacteria that will kill your flowers.  Since ranunculus are bulbs I use a special bulb flower food.  Mix the flower food with cool water. 

First I put in three white ranunculus.  Next I add a few green hellebore.   As an accent I use purple muscari.  Cut them at different lengths to give depth to your arrangement, have some curving down the side of the vase.

 Three steps and your done.  Very pretty , very simple.

 This arrangement would be great for a cocktail table since it’s fairly low.  It would also look nice on the bar or on your sweetheart table. 

I love these colors together.  If you want something brighter yellow or pink ranunculus would also work. 

Posted 2/26/2013 8:32pm by Kate Sparks .

Lilies and Lavender has a new option for DIY brides!  Beginning this spring you can now buy flowers from Lilies and Lavender and assemble your floral designs here at our studio on the farm.  I, (Kate) will be on hand to assist you with your designs. We will provide the tape, wire, clippers, pins, ribbon etc.  everything you need including vessels and vases, if you desire, to make amazing floral art with Lilies and Lavender's wonderful, farm fresh, locally grown, pesticide free flowers. The per hour fee is $100.00 and includes the use of our cooler to keep your flowers fresh until wedding day.  Bring your friends and helpers with you to the farm two to  three days before your wedding and have fun with a floral design party.  We can also deliver your flowers on wedding day, for a fee, if you don't have time to pick them up.

For a consult please call or email Kate


Posted 11/27/2012 8:09am by Kate Sparks .

I was very excited when my friend Janine called  to say Lilies and Lavender's flowers and bouquets were featured in the Knot!  Megan and Jeff’s beautiful Reading Art Works wedding is featured in the spring-summer 2013 Knot magazine with a beautiful 5-page spread. Woohoo! (In case you missed Megan + Jeff’s feature on Style Me Pretty, check it out for the whole wedding! 

The photos by Lauren Fair photography are gorgeous and I think the flowers are too. I spent three days filling 350 jars and bottles with fresh ranunculus, viburnum, lilies, hydrangea, baby's breath, godetia and whatever else was blooming in the bride's colors.  Megan, the wonderful, very artistic bride wanted a bouquet that reflected the season, in colors of coral, tangerine, buttercream and soft white. Since she came to me six months before the wedding I was able to grow lots of flowers in several shades of coral, peach and  soft yellow. Which also proved very popular with all my spring weddings.   Megan and Jeff came to the farm a week before the wedding toLilies and Lavender flowers featured in the Knot Spring/Summer 2013 make their final choice of flowers. The final selection of flowers, where I get to show off all the beauties, and point out some creative uses for more unusual specimens,  is one of my favorite parts of wedding work.  Megan loved the silvery grey cardoon leaves which I think soften the bouquet and make it unique.  Since I only had white and pink peonies I traded  another local grower a bunch of  lilies for coral peonies Voila! The result is a bouquet which is vibrant but also soft, loose and natural.  

Be sure to pick up the magazine when it comes out on the news stands. I especially love  Megan's designs for the chandeliers, which add a wonderful, soft romantic touch to the big loft space at the Reading Art Works.



Posted 11/15/2012 11:59am by Kate Sparks .

I hope everybody survived hurricane Sandy.  I'm very grateful because I only had half a roof on my house when the storm hit.  When the roofers started the week before we weren't worried about the storm.  The roof survived but Sandy decided one of my greenhouses was in the wrong location.  Unfortunately when the greenhouse landed it sorta broke into lots of pieces.  I have three other greenhouses which didn't budge.  I feel lucky I only lost one.  My insurance already sent me a check for aproximately half the amount of a new greenhouse.  Since farmtek offered me a three year interest free loan I've decided I'm getting a new greenhouse!  This one will be bigger and stronger, with cement footings.  I'll be taking photos as my son works on building the new house,so stay tuned.  The new greenhouse will be built in the same location as the old one, over existing beds of ranunculus and tulips. I'll have an extra 480 square feet so I'm busy imagining what I'll plant there in the spring.  

Posted 10/3/2012 11:13am by Kate Sparks .

My season is almost over and I'm in evaluation mode.  This season I have been really busy with wedding and event work.  So busy that I've had a problem keeping up with the everyday tasks involved with actually growing the flowers I use for designing.  Because of this I've decided I need more than interns to help with the work next season.  Specifically I'm looking for a field and greenhouse manager who has some knowledge of farming. Experience on either a produce or flower farm is desirable.  Knowledge of tractor maintenance and operation would be a plus.  I need someone strong who can work long days when it's hot and doesn't have a problem getting up early in the morning.  The ideal candidate should be able to direct interns who have very little knowledge of farming without getting exasperated. The season is from April throught the end of October. 

Please contact Kate for an interview.  I'm very busy right now so please no phone calls.

Posted 7/15/2011 2:48pm by Kate Sparks .

It's  high summer.  Mother nature has turned up the heat and turned off the faucet.  If not for the drip irrigation the fields would be bone dry.  My  Drip irrigation has been a  real life saver  because the fields and green houses are bursting with blooms!  This morning we harvested amazon dianthus, zinnias, sunflowers, gladiolas, heliopsis, butterfly bush,  rudbeckia triloba, indian summer and cherokee sunset, celosia calla lilies and oriental lilies.  All these beautiful blooms will be at the farmers' markets in Doylestown and Rittenhouse square tomorrow.  Stop by and pick up a bouquet.  Flowers are always a welcome gift or an expensive mood lifter for yourself.

Lilies and Lavender is your source for Locally Grown Flowers in Bucks County!


Posted 6/23/2011 9:59pm by Kate Sparks .

Hydrangea, especially Paniculata and Arborescens varieties are reliable and easy to grow in Bucks county.  I've been very happy with Hydrangea Paniculata Grandiflora and Hydrangea Arborescens Annabelle.  But now some new kids on the block with their showy blooms and stronger stems have pushed aside these old, reliable standards.  I absolutely love hydrangea limelight.  My pee gees are nice but the Limelights are better in almost every respect, the color, a pale lime green is spectacular, the blooms are bigger and the stems are strong enough to keep the flowers out of the mud when it rains.   Another new, stronger  Paniculata is Quick Fire.  This one blooms a month before the others and in my garden is ready to cut now.    Hydrangea Annabelle has also been improved upon with two new hybrids that I've fallen in love with.  Hydrangea Invincibelle Spirit is the first pink Annabelle Hydrangea.  What a beauty she is too.  The flowers are a lovely shade of rosy pink which just melts my heart when I look at them.  Hydrangea Incrediball really is an incredible plant. It's an Annabelle  on steroids!   The flowers are 12" inches across and produce flowers all summer on thick strong stems that don't break. All these large flowers  will be great for chuppahs, wedding arches and other, showy arrangements.
I've also invested in two  new hydrangea macrophylla  varieties.  Let's dance starlight and Let's dance moonlight.  These pink varieties bloom reliably every year on new and old wood which means I don't have to worry about losing the blooms to a late frost or an intern with an over zealous urge to prune every shrub in sight.  ( It has happened ).  I cut the first few blooms this morning.  Just five flowers made a perfect bridal bouquet.  Macrophylla Hydrangea don't grow as quickly as the Paniculata or Arborescens Hydrangeas so I will have to be patient and wait a few years before I get armloads of flowers.  In the meantime I have some very pretty Niko Blue Hydrangeas which will be ready to cut next week.  BTW, deer will eat hydrangea if they're hungry enough.  I found out the hard way last week.  Lucky for me I planted most of my hydrangea inside the deer fence.  
Dahlias will be blooming soon but that's another story.
Visit me this Saturday  at  Doylestown or Rittenhouse square farmers' market to take home some of these beautiful, new  varieties of Hydrangea flowers.