Sunday, November 4, 2012

The lady’s love is showing

It’s not often that someone can be a witness to art. Well, perhaps it happens more than I think but not to me. Today it did. Today marvelous stuff happened right before my eyes. I was a witness to creativity and grace. Said another way, creative grace. I watched Carolyn Parker transform ‘floral material’ into serene works of art. I watched as her creative mind worked gently and effortlessly to reveal her heart for roses. She shared some mechanics of flower arranging, but more importantly, she shared her gift with confidence in our gifts, living out her belief that her purpose is to infuse us with the confidence and passion to create our own art – with roses. I will always be grateful that I was a witness to her gift. She has changed my life.

Buckets of flowers were harvested from Carol Green's vast garden for Carolyn to use.

Containers to fill up with charming roses.

Carolyn used the little dish in the center of the top row for all sorts of single-petaled roses of which she is particularly fond and various buds that she described as surprises for the recipient of such a bouquet..
This was Carolyn's first trip to Florida and her delight for roses that were new to her just bubbled over.
She bubbled especially over Griffith Buck roses that are in abundance In Carol's garden. This is 'Distant Drums'.
The vase is a prized possession of Cydney Wade. Carolyn thought this lovely glass piece would be perfect for the unique colors of 'Distant Drums'.
And it seems I could not stop clicking the shutter, especially after trying the 'P' setting on my camera. Voila! Creativity was already happening.
Carolyn was thrilled with more of Griffith Buck's roses.
And the 'P' setting has suddenly made reds available to me. I wish I could tell you what it does. Being a techno-ditz when it comes to cameras, I'm just ecstatic that I stumbled onto it.
Oh, my, I share Carolyn's enthusiasm for these roses that are so beautiful and so healthy (mostly) in Florida.
I feel like I must say that it was the camera that was doing this. I was just holding it up in the air, and I'm just beside myself with joy. Life changing? Absolutely! About ten minutes after Carolyn stopped talking.
Carolyn was quite taken with 'Belinda's Dream'.
She's a healthy and extremely floriferous rose in the south and especially Florida.
Carolyn believes in quantity when it comes to roses in vases. Of course, we agree with her, don't we?
Carolyn is a lover of Old Garden Roses, and listening to her recite the beautiful attributes of these Tea roses made me swell with pride as though my own under-appreciated child were finally receiving the recognition she deserved.
It's hard to convey to you how I felt while she was making this arrangement. Carolyn's tender touch with these delicate roses filled me with nothing short of joy. She even extolled the Tea rose's leaves. They really are beautiful.
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And though this particular vase with its wide opening proved itself to be a challenge, Carolyn deftly worked her way through to an exceptional finish.
David Austin roses in another challenging vase. Carolyn assured us that we could stop at almost any point in this arrangement, and it would be fine from minimalist to abundant flower quantities. 
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David Austin is becoming a more prominent partner in my garden. I hope I do him justice.

Can seven flower arrangements really change a life? My mind and my heart are racing, so I think they can. I think they have set me on an unexpected path. I think they have inspired me on so many levels and in so many directions to dream bigger and to step out more confidently yet more tenderly toward my art. Life-changing is what teachers do. Carolyn Parker is a graceful and refined artist and teacher who had my number today.


My special thanks go to Carol Green for making her longtime inspiration a reality in my life and in the lives of the Marion County Rose Society members who attended. We are all beneficiaries of her drive and passion to bring Carolyn Parker to Ocala for us. Thank you to all of the officers and members who worked so hard on the 2012 Festival of Roses. May we stay inspired and be inspiring to others.


  1. Oh Sherry ~ This was absolutely wonderful, the arrangements by Carolyn, the roses and foliage from Carol's gardens, and your photography.

    Thank you for sharing this inspiring experience.


    1. FlowerLady, it really was a wonderful weekend filled with all the good stuff. I'm so glad you enjoyed it through my blog. Photos definitely have a way of personalizing things, don't they?

  2. Those are beautiful. Imagine getting those arrangements as a gift. I have a mental block about flower arranging. I can't bring myself to cut enough flowers to make a nice lush arrangement. Maybe if I had more roses I wouldn't mind cutting them as much. Well, obviously the solution is for me to get more roses :)

    1. Amber, I feel the same about cutting roses, and you have hit on the key - plant more roses! Ones that bloom a lot!

  3. Sherry, what a stunning display of roses. Carolyn certainly did them justice. She is gifted in so many ways. I know this was a magnificent weekend for all who attended. Thanks again for sharing your love of roses with us.... I'm inspired!

  4. Chris, you would have loved it!! We were floating on air, I think, and still are. Thanks so much for your kind words.

  5. I can see why you would be totally inspired...absolutely beautiful! I think I see a bigger future in roses for YOU! Glad to hear you enjoyed the festival.

    1. Susan, I really do wish I had room for Belinda's Dream and maybe a few of those Buck Roses. I'm already adding four Austins and four others I bought at the Festival. It never ends.

  6. Sherry, do you have Carolyn's book "R is for Rose"? It was this book that I can blame for helping to light the flame under my burning love for roses. Carolyn's photos of Climbing Rouletii in her garden will make you weak in the knees!

    Regarding your camera ... the P setting gives you access to and control of your camera's White Balance, which is the process the camera uses to compensate for different types of light (sunlight, shade, fluorescent, etc.) The key to getting red is to play with your white balance and take different shots (even if the setting isn't actually the light you're in at the time), to avoid photographing red roses in bright, direct sunlight, and just keep practicing. I have yet to photograph 'Black Ice' and get the correct color ... but I'm still trying.

    1. Hey, Connie. Yes, I do have "R is for Rose", and Carolyn signed it for me today. I can see why it was such a great influence on you. It's such a beautiful, well written book. I will definitely be checking out the manual and watching the tutorial DVD I bought. I guess I should have already done that, shouldn't I?

  7. I'm quite taken with Belinda's Dream as well! Spectacular!

    1. Kimberly, I absolutely agree with you.

  8. Lucky you, Sherry ! To meet Carolyn and learn from her must have been a wonderful experience. She remains my first source of inspiration for such a long time.

    1. Isabelle, she is a sweetheart. I hope one day soon you get to meet her, too.

  9. After viewing your photos, my heart and mind is racing! Beautiful is an understatement! I am a porcelain painter who TRIES to capture the beauty of a rose. How difficult it is. Oh, I am breathing as if I just finished a 5K race! Lovely, lovely! Thanks for sharing, I am so glad to have found your blog!

    1. Chinaweaver, I would love to see your rose paintings, and I'm thrilled that you are out of breath at my photos. The beauty of a rose can be so hard to capture. There's just nothing to compare with the personal experience. I'm glad you found my blog. Welcome!

  10. So much beauty in one place ... Great shots, Sherry !!! I am in love with Belinda's Dream ... Thank you so much for sharing !!!

    1. Dani, the more I look at these photos the more impressed I am with these roses. Some of them had been in vases overnight, and some of them are STILL in vases at my house. Carolyn's selections were wonderful. I hope Belinda's Dream is available for you in Greece. I do appreciate your compliments.

  11. I had to bookmark this...they are just so fabulous.


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