Annual Client Appreciation Workshop

Pollen is hosting our annual Client Appreciation Workshop on Sunday, August 10th, from 11AM – 1PM.  Drink mimosas, learn about floral design, and create an arrangement to take home!

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This workshop is exclusive to past and current Pollen clients and their guests. The introductory two-hour class, taught at Pollen’s floral design new studio location, will cover:
– flower selection,
– cut flower care, and
– the basics of floral design.

Instruction will have an emphasis on working with seasonal farmers market flowers.  After some instruction and demonstration, each student will design a floral arrangement to take home. Students are encouraged to bring the vase they use most often, but please only bring vases that are under 10″ tall and with openings 5″ wide or less.  I’ll be demonstrating in a 5″ x 5″ cylinder.  These same cylinders will also be available if you don’t have a favorite vase you’d like to learn to work with.

To offer the most interactive instruction possible, the class is limited to 16 people, and therefore clients are limited to one additional guest.  Registration is $12 per person, and includes instruction, flowers, and the use of tools.

Tickets are $12 per person (just to insure those who register do attend) and can be found at: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/775338

Happy Earth Day!

What better time than Earth Day to explain our sustainable approach to floral design!  I started Pollen specifically to offer an eco-friendly floral design option to couples planning their weddings.  In both our operations and in our sourcing of materials, we operate in as eco-friendly of a way as possible.  It’s been an evolving process, finding workarounds to the traditional ways of doing things as we go.  Here are a few of the things that we are doing differently…

We avoid using floral foam.  Floral foam is a petroleum product, never biodegrades, and contains formaldehyde.  The less of it we are putting out there, the better.  Instead of using foam, we design our arrangements in water, using chicken wire and/or tape if necessary to provide some support to the arrangement.

summer locally grown wedding bouquetWe work with local flower farmers as much as possible.  In the Chicago area, for about half the year we have access to beautiful locally grown product. During the growing season, we work with these local blooms as much as possible.  This means the product doesn’t have to travel as far (less fossil fuel required), we’re supporting the local farming community, and our designs reflect the seasons!

Throughout the year, we have several partners we lean on for our sustainable approach.

Bright Endeavors

I met the folks at Bright Endeavors when Pollen and Bright Endeavors were located in the same building in Ravenswood.  Bright Endeavors is a social enterprise that makes eco-friendly candles and bath products while providing job skills training to women who are at risk for poverty.  They have a votive refill program, where I am able to bring back my votive candles again and again to be filled with soy wax.  (Pssst…They also have products appropriate for wedding favors!)

Collective Resource

Collective Resource swings by each week to pick up our compostable materials.  They transport all of our leaves, stems, and spent flowers to a commercial composting facility. And. yes, Collective Resource offers this service for home food scraps as well.  They can also help you plan a zero-waste event!

Chicago Green Wedding Alliance

Chicago Green Wedding Alliance approved vendorThis group of wedding vendors began as a grassroots effort, formed by myself and a few other like-minded business owners wanting to encourage greener weddings and make it easier for couples to find eco-friendly wedding vendors.  We’ve grown to a membership of 40+ businesses, hosting an annual wedding show as well as other educational and fun events.  This Sunday, April 27, 2014 we’re holding our second annual Wedding Recyclery, a tag sale for couples to sell and buy gently used wedding items.  More info on the Recyclery here.

What’s next as I continue to green the business?  This year, I’m trying out growing a few things right here in our own backyard at Pollen.  Also, I’m going to work harder this year to more consistently find new homes for the flowers we bring back from events.  (If you have an organization that would benefit from slightly used flowers, feel free to reach out.)  Heads up: I’ll be looking for a volunteer to rework our picked-up flowers and coordinate their delivery!

Wedding Profile: Vintage and Gardeny in Muted Shades of Blush and Grey

First and foremost, thanks to the very talented Tim Tab Studios for the gorgeous photos from Paige and Robert’s fall wedding at the Racquet Club of Chicago.  We loved working on this fall wedding for so many reasons: a super sweet couple, loose and gardeny floral design (our favorite style), and we got to work in a beautiful historic venue we had not worked at before.  When Tim Tab Studios generously provided these photos, we had even another reason to love it!  Tim and Bethany beautifully captured our flowers as well as all of the special moments of the day.  Visit the Tim Tab Studios blog post to see more of the lovely details.

The color palette of the flowers was soft, muted tones of blush, peach, ivory, grey, and champagne with pops of coral.  We got to use some of my very favorite flowers of fall: cafe au lait dahlias and coxcomb celosia.

Bride holding her bouquet of flowers in blush, grey, and ivory flowers with with cafe au lait dahlias.

Photo by Tim Tab Studios. www.timtabstudios.com

Paige’s bouquet featured amazing locally-grown cafe au lait dahlias as the focal flowers.  Astilbe, bay leaf, jasmine vine, and dusty miller loosened up the bouquet, which was tied with a gorgeous blush satin ribbon that Paige provided.

Bridesmaids' bouquets in peach, coral, grey with black and white striped ribbon. Dahlias, coxcomb, dusty miller, astilbe, and spray garden roses.

Photo by Tim Tab Studios. www.timtabstudios.com

 The bridesmaids’ bouquets were in a color palette of muted tones like the bride’s bouquet, but with pops of coral.  Black and white striped ribbon added a graphic touch, and coordinated with the bridesmaids’ black dresses.

Bridesmaid in black dress holding a bouquet in peach, blush, coral, and grey.

Photo by Tim Tab Studios. www.timtabstudios.com

Wedding centerpiece in milk glass container.

Photo by Tim Tab Studios. www.timtabstudios.com

The centerpieces played off of the historic feel of the Racquet Club.  Vintage milk glass containers displayed loose, gardeny floral arrangements of dahlias, spray roses, scrub ivy,  hypericum berries, and stock.  Check out the adorable birch table number holders!

Bride and groom kissing outdoors under windswept veil.

Photo by Tim Tab Studios. www.timtabstudios.com

Personal touches included Robert’s wheat boutonniere, which was a nod to his roots.  Congratulations, Paige and Robert! And thank you for working with us!

2013 Recap: Summer Wedding Flowers

Continuing our recap of last year by season, below are some highlights we captured of our wedding work last summer.  Summer ushers in some of my favorite local blooms such as dahlias, coxcomb, and cosmos.  Some of my favorites from the neighboring seasons are also available, such as peonies from spring and berried branches from fall.

White and green summer floral centerpiece.

Summer gardeny centerpiece with hydrangea, roses, ranunculus, and cosmos.

Summer focal floral arrangement.

Summer focal floral arrangement with hydrangea, viburnum berries, roses, and cosmos.

Summer bridal bouquet.

Summer bridal bouquet with hydrangea, ranunculus, dahlias, and roses.

Summer centerpieces at South Branch Tavern

For longer tables, a pair of arrangements down their length is more appropriate than a single centerpiece. These tables at South Branch Tavern were decorated with low and lush arrangement in white, featuring hydrangea and peonies.

Colorful summer centerpieces.

These bright and cheerful centerpieces at Uncommon Ground decorated the tables. Summer bloom such as sunflowers, hydrangea, and cornflowers provided a pop of color.

Closeup of colorful summer floral arrangement.

Closeup of summer floral centerpiece in a mason jar.

Terrarium with succulents and sunflowers.

For the head table, we created terrariums with succulents and a sunflower, which the mothers of the bride and groom kept as a memento of the wedding day.

Escort card table with vintage bottles and wheat grass.

A variety of elements comprised the tablescape for the escort card table at this wedding at Room 1520. Vintage bottles with blooms and vintage boxes with wheatgrass added a cozy touch.

Summer corsage.

Summer corsage in purple and orange with lisianthus, rosemary, and gomphrena.

Summer boutonniere with succulents, berries, and rosemary.

Summer boutonniere with succulents, berries, and rosemary.

Summer wedding bouquet in coral, yellow, and blue.

Summer wedding bouquet in coral, yellow, and blue with coxcomb, dahlias, tansy, blue thistle, and feverfew.

Compote centerpiece with summer flowers.

This summer wedding centerpiece in a vintage compote included peonies, ageratum, berries, hydrangea, and godetia.

Wedding ceremony flowers at the 19th Century Club in Oak Park.

Wedding ceremony flowers at the 19th Century Club in Oak Park.

Summer wedding ceremony floral arrangement.

Closeup of summer wedding ceremony floral arrangement.

Next up will be a recap of the wedding flowers we did in the fall of 2013.  If you missed it, also check out our previous recaps of wedding flowers from winter and spring.

2013 Recap: Spring Wedding Flowers

In this blustery winter weather, it’s refreshing to see these photos from last spring!  Spring wedding flowers offer up delightful blooms such as peonies, ranunculus, anemones, tulips, narcissus…  And I love flowering branches of all types: lilac, forsythia, cherry blossoms, crabapple, quince, and snowball viburnum, to name a few.  Admittedly, a couple of these weddings were technically in early summer, but the flowers are more characteristic of spring.

spring centerpiece for corporate event

Spring floral centerpiece for a corporate event at Venue Six10.

Spring wedding flowers at Chicago History Museum.

Escort card table arrangement at the Chicago History Museum.

Spring wedding floral centerpieces.

Tall and short spring floral centerpieces at the Chicago History Museum.

Spring flowers on a wedding cake at the Chicago History Museum.

Spring flowers on a wedding cake at the Chicago History Museum.

Spring wedding flowers at the Quadrangle Club.

Spring wedding flowers on the entry table at the Quadrangle Club (University of Chicago).

Spring wedding flowers at the Quadrangle Club.

Highboys with gold mercury glass votives and spring wedding flowers at the Quadrangle Club.

Spring wedding centerpiece flowers at the Quadrangle Club.

Spring wedding centerpiece flowers at the Quadrangle Club.

Escort card table arrangement at the Chicago History Museum.

Escort card table arrangement at the Chicago History Museum.

Low centerpieces of spring flowers at a wedding at the Chicago History Museum.

Low centerpieces at the Chicago History Museum.

Spring ceremony flowers at Loft on Lake.

Spring ceremony flowers at Loft on Lake.

Spring cake flowers at Loft on Lake.

Spring cake flowers at Loft on Lake.

Gardeny spring wedding ceremony arrangement.

Gardeny spring wedding ceremony arrangement. I loved the flowers for this intimate wedding at the Conrad Hilton.

Spring wedding centerpieces with peonies, roses, clematis, astilbe.

Spring wedding centerpiece at the Conrad Hilton.

Spring head table centerpiece.

Spring head table centerpiece at the Conrad Hilton.

Spring wedding centerpiece at Room 1520.

Spring wedding centerpiece at Room 1520.

Want to see more from 2013?  Check out our winter recap here.

Second Annual Floral Design Workshop

Update 8/6/2013: The workshop is sold out.  To get first dibs next year, “like” Pollen’s Facebook page!

We at Pollen are excited to offer for the second time our Client Appreciation Floral Design Workshop, exclusively for past and present Pollen clients!  It’s a chance for us to say “thanks” to our clients and to catch up.  This year’s workshop will be held at our new studio in Avondale on Sunday, August 18th from 11AM – 1PM.

workshop setup

Pollen clients can bring a friend, drink some mimosas, and design an arrangement with locally grown flowers.

The introductory two-hour class will cover:
– flower selection,
– cut flower care, and
– the basics of floral design.

Instruction will have an emphasis on working with seasonal farmers market flowers.  After some instruction and demonstration, each student will design a floral arrangement to take home.  Students are encouraged to bring the vase they use most often, but should only bring vases that are under 10″ tall and with openings 5″ wide or less.  I’ll be demonstrating in a 5″ x 5″ cylinder to create a low and lush table centerpiece.  These same cylinders will also be available to those who don’t have an appropriately sized vase.

To offer the most interactive instruction possible, the class is limited to 16 people, and therefore clients are limited to one additional guest.  Registration is $15 per person, and includes instruction, refreshments, flowers, and the use of tools.

Last year was a blast, and we’re excited to be able to include a few more people this year in our bigger space.  I’m so looking forward to it!  Past and present Pollen clients can get more information and register here.

Floral Design Workshop = Success!

Shears, handouts, bunches of flowersYesterday, Pollen held its first ever workshop at Pollen’s studio, located in Chicago’s Ravenswood neighborhood.  Exclusive to Pollen clients (and a sidekick), students learned the basics of floral design, with an emphasis on working with farmers market flowers.

After some instruction and demonstration (and mimosas and bloody marys), the students designed their own arrangements.  I was so impressed by how well they did!

happy students
We worked with all locally grown flowers to create a low and lush centerpiece appropriate for a dining table.  The flowers selection included dahlias, zinnias, gomphrena, viburnum berries, lisianthus, cosmos, coxcomb…  Lots of bright and beautiful summer flowers.  I set up an area for students to take photos of their arrangements (then lurked behind them and took some myself).  Check out the students’ arrangements below and on Pollen’s Facebook page, where many of the students have posted photos of their work.

zinnias asclepias viburnum

dahlias, lisianthus, coxcombzinnias, sedum, asclepias, tansyI’m seriously impressed with their work!  If you are a Pollen client and missed it, have no fear, I’ll be doing it again next year.  I had so much fun reconnecting with my clients, meeting their friends and family, and seeing their pride in their new design skills!

If you aren’t a client (or if you are, and can’t wait until the next one exclusive to clients), there will be another workshop in a few short weeks.   Sunday, September 9, 2012, I will be hosting a workshop/fundraiser to help out one of my flower friends with the costs related to his recent cancer diagnosis and treatment.  You may have met my flower friend, Les with The Flower Garden, while buying flowers at the Green City Market.  All ticket sales go toward his medical costs.  This workshop is limited to just 10 people, so sign up quickly!   Get more information about the fundraiser/workshop (open to the public) and buy tickets here: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/256572

 

Hands-On Floral Design Workshop: A Fundraiser (9/9/2012)

If you saw our floral design workshop exclusive to Pollen clients, and wished you could take it, we have good news!  Pollen and The Flower Garden are teaming up to offer a hands-on introductory floral design workshop to benefit Les, The Flower Garden’s primo peddler of petals, to help with the costs of his recent cancer treatment.

Sunday, September 9, 2012
11AM – 1PM
Pollen
3717 N. Ravenswood Ave. #237
Chicago, IL 60613

REGISTER HERE

The introductory two-hour class, taught at Pollen’s floral design studio in the Ravenswood Corridor, will cover:
– flower selection,
– cut flower care, and
– the basics of floral design.

Instruction will have an emphasis on working with late summer, locally grown flowers to create a low and lush centerpiece suitable for a dining room table.  After some instruction and demonstration, each student will design a centerpiece of flowers from The Flower Garden to take home.

We’ll work with seasonal flowers such as dahlias, lisianthus, coxcomb, zinnias, gomphrena, and billy balls.  Students are encouraged to bring their own vase, and we recommend bringing a vase roughly 5″ tall and 5″ in diameter.  Vases will also be available for purchase.

To offer the most interactive instruction possible, the class is limited to 10 people.  Registration is required, and at $100 per person includes instruction, flowers, the use of tools, and refreshments.  All ticket sales help pay for Les’ cancer treatment.

REGISTER HERE

For Past and Present Clients: Hands-On Floral Design Workshop

As a “thank you” to past and current clients, Pollen is offering a hands-on workshop in basic floral design.  This workshop is exclusive to past and current Pollen clients*, who may each bring one guest. The introductory two-hour class, taught at Pollen’s floral design studio in the Ravenswood Corridor, will cover:
– flower selection,
– cut flower care, and
– the basics of floral design.

The class will have an emphasis on designing a low and lush arrangement with seasonal farmers market flowers.  After some instruction and demonstration, each student will design a floral arrangement to take home.  Students are encouraged to bring the vase they use most often, but please only bring vases that are under 6″ tall and with openings under 5″ wide.  5″ x 5″ clear glass cylinder vases will also be available for purchase.

To offer the most interactive instruction possible, the class is limited to 15 people, and therefore clients are limited to one additional guest.  Registration is $15 per person, and includes instruction, flowers, and the use of tools.

REGISTER HERE

*Not a Pollen client, and want to take the class? You’re in luck! We’ve just added another class as a fundraiser for a flower friend. http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/256572