Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Not so contrary...

Mary, Mary quite contrary
How does your garden grow?
With silver bells, cockle shells 
And pretty maids in a row

As a child I hated that rhyme, in fact I still sort of dislike when adults say it to me. What are they thinking? ;) I never knew what the heck a cockle shell was or what pretty maids in a row meant.   According to Wikipedia the poem has religious and historical significance. OK, you mean it wasn't to torment girls with the name MARY?  Hmm... 

Whether or not it is a loved or disliked poem, it now rings a bit true for me. I love growing flowers and I learned the definition of a cockle shell.  Go me! I'm not as contrary as I used to be :)   I appreciate the gardening lessons learned from my maternal grandmother, Lucille R. Davis. In her words, dig a hole, fill the hole to the top with water, loosen the roots of the plant, place plant in the watered hole, cover with soil. Once all the flowers are planted, spread some good old chicken manure.  I am sure the people on the bus were thrilled when she got on with her little brown paper bag of chicken manure from Tidewater Feed & Seed. 

How did my love of planting flowers move to a love of the florist industry and faux flowers? Where did it come from?  It certainly wasn't my mother. She was busy sewing and quilting. I am not sure, but I think the ability or talent comes from my mother's paternal side of the family.  They were artsy people.  I enjoy making fresh wedding flowers and faux wreaths.  I help people to decorate their homes for Christmas-->so much fun!  And in my own home I enjoy decorating for every season; just not the getting the boxes down from the attic. I haven't found that fun at all.   

During my last two years in college I worked for my 2nd cousin once removed, Delores, she is from that side of the family I was talking about.  She owned and operated Blakemore Flowers in Harrisonburg, VA.  I loved working there, and deep down I knew I should be in the florist industry, but being the good girl that I was, I stayed in college and earned a degree that would land me a job with retirement and benefits. Over the years I did a little side floral work, off and on, but now I am in a position that I can put time into my floral business. Another day, I'll share about my first floral class that I took with my sister.  It was a hoot of a class. 

Today I am showing you three pictures of flowers I designed at the end of March for a co-worker's retirement party. She loves the beach, and what a perfect way to combine shells and flowers. 
 We used mixed and bright colored flowers.  The conch shells were placed on the tables along with other shells and votive candles.  

Conch Shell filled with gerbera daisies, mums, spider mums, aster, alstroemeria lilies and pixie carnations.

A medium sized conch shell filled with lilies, mums, spray roses, snapdragon, Carnations, status, baker fern, and variegated pittosporum.

A large conch shell filled with gerbera daisies, mums, spider mums, alstroemeria lilies, and pixie carnations.  

These conch shells have had some mileage.  They have been used in three beach themed weddings and were big hits. They make great centerpieces, and are easily paired with lanterns and buckets of shells to have that true beach feel.

I hope you will contact me if you are interested in talking about your next upcoming event or need assistance in decorating your home for fall or Christmas. I would love to hear from you.

What is your vision of the perfect centerpiece?  



  1. Welcome to blogging... Your flower arrangement is just beautiful... Thank you for stopping by One More Time Events and leaving such a sweet comment...Tammy

  2. Mary, those are so beautiful! I love that you used shells as a "vase." Perfect for a summer event or gift! Welcome to Blogland! :)

    1. Aww, thanks Susan, I appreciate the visit and the welcome. I know you are a busy girl!

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  4. Hi :) so what is a cockle shell?! :) my middle name is Mary, and I use the name "Mary, Mary Quite Contrary" for my business. I love the nursery rhyme. I think it's sweet ;)

    1. Thank you for the question Mary!

      Cockle Shells are a common shell found on a beach, usually roundish or heart shape.


Comments are always welcomed!