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we like it wild: san francisco flower & garden show

by StudioChoo

We were so very excited when the ladies from Star Apple Edible Gardens invited us to participate in their Modern Homestead display this week at the San Francisco Flower & Garden Show. This exhibit is a great example of how you can incorporate edibles and homesteading gear seamlessly into your landscape without sacrificing looks. Stefani and Leslie interpreted the show’s “Life in a California Garden” theme by creating a 5,000-square-foot display complete with “house” and chicken coop, eco-friendly furniture designs, hexagon beehive, floral designs by us and some really awesome gardening ideas.

We’ll be at the show on Saturday to check out the fabulous chef seminars (including Alice Waters!), jam-making and edible-gardening demonstrations and tons of new gardening products and ideas. This is the perfect rainy-weekend activity for you lucky Bay Area folks! We’ve also included instructions for putting together our simple freesia box arrangement and lots of great gardening links! –Studio Choo

CLICK HERE for the rest of the post after the jump!

We created a series of large arrangements in our collection of old dynamite boxes as the floral centerpiece of the show. Two of these boxes featured local freesia and ranunculus in waves of color that echoed the sea of green in the garden made with rows of lettuce and herbs. This project is a super easy way to create a large statement-making piece for an event, and you don’t need any “arranging” skills!


  • large box (could be clean and modern or a bit worn with some character)
  • collection of bottles with narrow openings to fill the box
  • lots of flowers of the same type in a color gradation that is pleasing to you


1. Fill bottles with water and dry them.

2. Pack your box with the bottles resting tightly against each other.

3. If you want the tops of the bottles to show, you may need to elevate them by placing a smaller box inside and resting a sheet of cardboard cut to size on top.

4. Determine how you want the color gradation set up. The gradation effect will be more noticeable if the heads of the flowers are close together.

5. Snip a small amount off the bottom of the stem and place in the bottle. Repeat until all the bottles are filled!

Our grouping of arrangements included the two gradations, gorgeous white and pink crabapple, two jumbo arrangements in an orange and dark purple palette and an herb/succulent box with drapey honeysuckle vines. The boxes sat on a beautiful 20-foot table with matching benches made from recycled roof beams by BA Design Lab. This was our kind of “picnic table” — heavy-duty, built to last and big enough to fit lots of friends. We know for a fact that it was as sturdy as they come — we helped carry it out of the truck! BA Design Lab worked primarily with steel and local hardwoods and also created some fun, yellow stools that went nicely with all the citrus in the garden.

The house and chicken coop were designed by Modern Cabana and really completed the “homey” feel of the installation. The ladies designed a kitchen garden right outside the door for easy clipping at meal time. We seriously wanted to live in this display.

The exhibit also included all sorts of wonderful ideas from Sunset magazine’s Johanna Silver, including these potato towers, a pretty and utilitarian tea garden and urban gardening tips. We also really liked this beautiful hexagonal alternative to the traditional square beehive. The creator, Randy Sue, wanted a hive more in harmony with the natural shape of hives in the wild. We wouldn’t mind having any of these things incorporated into our landscape!

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  • I wish I could be there–thanks for the pictures. I love the beauty, creativity and practicality of it all. And the flowers in a dynamite box idea is, well, dynamite!

  • Beautiful photos, thank you for sharing. I was bummed to miss the show this year but this post was almost as good as being there in person.

    I love your crate arrangements! I will have to keep my eye out for something similar. What are the flowers with the chartreuse middles?

    I’ll be doing Johanna Silver’s potato tower in my garden this year. Functional and good lookin’.

  • “Wow. Damn this Canadian hellhole I live in!”

    Seriously! Why do I live at 8000 ft? Beautiful all around.

  • Love Love Love. Am looking to start a small vegetable garden this year, but still want it to look pleasing…not that I am just growing food in the side yard. Would love more tips about incorporating all my dreams (veggies, fruits, flowers, foliage) into a cohesive plan. Also, what are the succulents that are in the 14th picture after the jump?

  • I can smell the flowers–absolutely fabulous! A true work of art… Johanna Silver from SUNSET is the BEST. Love those Potato towers!

  • I am so jealous! This really puts the Chicago Flower and Garden Show to shame (that being said it wouldn’t take much).

  • Ooooo! I was there yesterday, and LOVED your flower arrangements!! Fun to see them on here today!

    (sorry to say, though i was left wishing Star Apple Edible Gardens had done more with their 600 sq feet of space… they’re the whole reason i went to the show! happy to see edibles make a few inspiring appearances in the more smaller garden displays inside, though!)

  • I am also wondering what the flowers are with the chartreuse center? They are just stunning!!

    This post makes me want a yard! Time to get creative with my little balcony! Does anyone know a good resource for finding out what kinds of flowers/plants are safe to have with kitties who may nibble on them?

  • “Wow. Damn this Canadian hellhole I live in!”????????

    You mustn’t live on the Westcoast! It is spectacular here – love the potato towers – will be starting some tomorrow!

  • Love love love the “Dangerous- High Explosives” wooden box with the messy, gorgeous arrangement. Wouldn’t a courtyard full of these be divine?

  • Love this post! The flowers + bottles + crates are stunning. This would be perfect for a nonprofit wine pairing dinner I am helping with. We have plenty of wine crates . . . but where would you suggest getting the bottles? Or a similar type of bottle?

    Thanks for any help!

  • Wow, I actually had a booth at the show and had to go visit that tent every morning to start my day off right! I loved your flower arrangements on that beautiful table, I actually came home and found a box to do the arrangement in when I have my first spring BBQ :) thank you for the inspiration!