Last week I was invited to Grosse Pointe, Michigan, as a speaker for the Garden Club of Michigan’s flower show “Into the Woods.” The show was held at the Little Club and visitors viewed beautiful Lake Sinclair along with a splendid array of horticulture specimens and cutting-edge floral designs.

“Into the Woods” inspired the title “Branching Out” for my program and I planned six floral designs inspired by things you might find “in the woods.”

The program was held in Grosse Point Memorial Church, and I was hosted by the delightful and talented Bliss Clark. Cress Meier was my congenial assistant and the program video and these wonderful photographs are by Lisa Vreede.

The first design was an asymmetrical mass with variegated weigelia branches, pink snow berry, and hanging pepper berry. Dark red astilbe gave vertical interest, and the color inspiration came from the subtle coloring of Mayra garden. The peach/pink rose is edged in orange tones so orange dahlia completed the design.

“Branching Out” inspired a horizontal structure of pale mitsumata branches attached to an ivory wooden board. Bunches of wheat, dried white statice, and bunny tails accented the structure and café au lait dahia, white ranunculus, and fall blooming clematis vine were placed into raffia covered tubes.

A vertical branch structure was created with birch poles and crossing branches cemented into a square vase. Cascading greens and flowers flowed from a vine orb and flowers in colors of the sky were the base for a garland of dried cara blossom pods from

I always like to include a parallel design in a program to remind the audience of the choice of single radial or multiple parallel binding points. This low bowl holds fibrefloral from It’s an eco-friendly, substitute for floral foam. Groups of birch branches and orange and white flowers were placed and accents of pods and gourds add fall interest at the base.

Because branching out can sometimes be a contemporary look. Harry Lauder’s waking stick branches were painted bright green and green anthurim leaves were painted with yellow acrylic paint on just one half. Yellow ranunculus and dark orange roses added contrast to a show of dramatic yellow gloriosa.

For the grand finale, we “branched out” with a branch structure in a tall brown vase. Tall nandina branches, milk weed pods, hydrangea, grevillea, roses, and some huge orange dahlia for focal flowers filled the vase.

The beautiful flowers were from Mayesh Detroit with help from Leif Lorenz and the completed design were auctioned by the spirited Richard Thomas. Many thanks to Garden Club of Michigan for a most inspired trip to Detroit.