entertainingFood & Drinkoutdoorstudio choowe like it wild

we like it wild: farm to table

by Grace Bonney

[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.


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