we like it wild: farm to table

[today i’m thrilled to welcome jill and alethea of studio choo to the d*s team. they’ll be joining us every thursday for a weekly garden/floral column called “we like it wild”. sarah‘s beautiful weeder’s digest posts will continue as special monthly feature to work with her busy schedule. i’m so thrilled to have all three girls as part of the team!]

The San Francisco Bay Area is jam-packed with fantastic flower and gardening sources, a vibrant community of designers, and simple beauty from the coastline into the forest. We love just being in the garden and feel so lucky to work with flowers everyday. We also frequently take our studio on the road for inspiration-seeking field trips to local farms and nurseries, design shops, and even just roadsides, and we’ll share the results here with you every week. As devoted d*s readers we realize we have some big boots to fill joining the team alongside Sarah’s floral column, but we hope you’ll enjoy spending a little time with us on Thursdays.

We thought we’d start off with a little peek into our weekend. Despite the fact that we’re smack dab in the middle of the summer months, the sun has been scarce in our neck of the woods recently. We won’t rehash Mark Twain’s famous hyperbole about San Francisco summers, but we will say it has felt apt lately. This past Sunday we decided to trek a few miles south to the Menlo Park farmer’s market to inject some seasonal warmth into our otherwise gray weekend.

CLICK HERE for the full “we like it wild” post (and instructions for creating their farm to table floral/fruit arrangement) after the jump!

Although we didn’t quite have a plan we knew we needed something tasty for lunch, flowers and some vitamin D, so we let the market be our guide. One look at the sweet graphics on a cardboard strawberry tray and our inspiration for the day quickly materialized. We made a short list and set off to gather the ingredients for our afternoon: strawberry plants and dahlias for a centerpiece, rhubarb for a pie, and a mix-and-match bag of heirloom tomatoes with names like Early Girl and Lemon Boy for a sunny caprese salad. And we would need some Prosecco and strawberry nectar to make mimosas, naturally.


We started making our bright berry arrangement by lining the cardboard tray with four short cups. Then we separated our dahlias into four groups (including some leaves and buds) and set aside a few extra flowers to add into the arrangement at the end. Using our separated groups, we created small clustered bouquets in hand by lining up the heads and adding leaves and buds to the outside. We trimmed the bouquets down (about an inch longer than the height of the container) and used a small rubber band to hold each one together. The short, dense bunches were then set into the cups at a slight angle to create a layered look and hide the edge of the container and the cups inside. Then we took a flower break to make the pie.


Next, we removed our three strawberry plants from their containers and brushed away enough dirt to fit the plants in amongst the cups in our centerpiece. We chose plants that had a few flowers and baby berries to add in some texture. Each plant’s root mass was placed in a small bag for easy removal and to keep the mess to a minimum. We positioned the vines and foliage to provide a leafy cover for any remaining glimpses of the cups below. To finish off the arrangement we filled in the gaps with white veronica and the remaining dahlias, and stuck in a few fat strawberries leftover from the pie for fun.


We love mixing live plants into our arrangements because there are so many inexpensive options- and the best part… after the party is over the plants can head into the garden for the next time we need some summer sweetness. Now excuse us, we have a pie to eat.



I love the vibrant colours of the wild flowers and the pie sure looks delicious!


Suc GORG color to enliven an otherwise gray weekend (though I tend to like dull, gray weather!). Lovely.

Alice Q. Foodie

be-yootiful! I love the idea of coming out of the project with BOTH a pie and a flower arrangement. Must share this one ;-)


Love the blog! Read it everday!
I hope you don’t mind, we featured your City Guides today on our website at sweeticedtea.wordpress.com and directed our readers to take a look at your City Guides for all our favorite Southern cities.

Keep up the good work! :)


These photos are stunning — and inspiring! I LOVE the floral/fruit arrangement. Thank you for sharing!


oh this is so lovely! combining two loves of mine, dahlias and strawberries! great work!



sarah’s voice and column is absolutely fantastic- i’m happy that we’re able to post her work whenever possible. she’s got a pretty busy schedule these days so i just wanted to give her room to write when she had the time, and felt inspired. i look forward to publishing her next weeder’s digest column asap :)



I live across the street from the Menlo Park farmers market, so this post makes me smile. I love it.


i’m so excited about all of these talented florists and their columns. thanks, grace!


Gorgeous! I love Studio Choo– I’ve been a follower of the small stump/ studio choo blog for a while and am always inspired! So happy about the weekly column!


How exciting! National dahlia week is coming up here in Mexico and I do believe that this post has just convinced me to put some money aside for some beautiful dahlias! Not that it matters but I approve whole heartedly of we like it wild.


Love the arrangement! The extra strawberries really make it for me! My one criticism would be shame on you for describing delicious pie, tomato salads and mimosas without sharing the recipes!!! I’m drooling over here!


I love the reds and magentas throughout the flowers and pie! Thanks for sharing!


kudos to grace for recruiting these amazing ladies. i want to live in every photo they’ve ever posted. choo love!


yes i second that geek+nerd! recipes please! that pie looks scrumptious!!


I love the pictures – it makes it so much easier to follow and be inspired by – thank you.