Let me tell you about our magical experience we had with Mayesh Wholesale by taking part in their first International Workshop which was held at Hacienda Cusin in Quito, Ecuador.  Mayesh knows how to put on a workshop; this was my second workshop with them and I am thrilled for the experiences they provide.  Although this is my second blog post on the subject (my first blog had photos taken with my Iphone) the photos in this post are the beautiful professional photos by Nicole Clarey Photography.

 

First of all, they chose a wonderful venue!  Hacienda Cusin made a wonderful and relaxing setting for the workshop.  The staff was friendly and efficient, the grounds were park-like with walled courtyards, beautiful plants and flowers and lovely paths to explore while listening to birdsong.  The food was delicious and they even lit a fire in our room in the evening and slipped a hot water bottle between the sheets!  

 

Each time I walked into the workshop space, my heart just leaped in joy and a feeling of intense excitement filled me!!  Mayesh brought in a stunning array of glorious blooms and foliage; it was a feast for the senses to see and to smell such a mass of premium blooms for our use in the workshops!  

 

Even though Quito is located along the equator, it has a mild climate because it is in the mountains and the elevation is a little over 9,000 ft.  The temperature was in the 60’s and March is their rain season so Mayesh had the workshop area under a tent.  We actually had gorgeous weather – an added bonus!

 

That first evening all of us florists were busy checking out all the beautiful flowers waiting for us for the next two days of workshops.  Needless to say our hearts were overwhelmed and delighted!!

 

The first day of workshops started out with introductions all the way around from Mayesh family and staff, the three workshop instructors (left) Veronica Cicero – Anthology Co., (center) Holly Chapel – Hope Flower Farm and (right) Sue McLeary – Passion Flower Sue and then all of us workshop attendees.  We came from all over the states and even Peru!

 

Holly’s workshop was held on the first day and had two parts;  hand’s on for learning her method using Syndicate egg & pillow to create bouquets & centerpieces and the second part was business tips for running a successful floral business.  Even though I had already done a 2-day floral intensive with Holly at Hope Flower Farm enabling me to become a Chapel Designer, it was all a very good review and don’t we always pick up a little more the second time around?

 

I was privileged to have my husband as well as business partner travel with me.  Even though he doesn’t design, he is my assistant and just like at home he was helping me in any way he could.  It was so nice for him that a couple other designers had brought their spouses and they all bonded well and had a great time together.

 

Ahhh, the magic of having all these glorious blooms at your fingertips.  We had so much fun together designing and being inspired.

 

A very special part of the workshop besides the flowers was each other!!  We made lasting friendships and still communicate with each other through the Whats App group Yvonne created to keep us all informed.  We ask floral and design advice and share our triumphs and floral joys together!

 

This was Holly’s demo bouquet she made for the workshop – it could not get any more gorgeous than this!!

 

This was Holly’s demo compote bowl arrangement for the workshop using her signature compote bowl & pillow which she created with Syndicate and has a patent for.

 

The second day we learned from Sue McLeary  who is famous for her “floral wearables” such as crowns, necklaces, floral tattoos and much more.  I was unfamiliar with her techniques so this was very stimulating and exciting for me to learn these new techniques and ideas.

Sue’s demo head-piece is on the model at upper left.  Another fun activity was being allowed to forage along the creek bed at the hacienda for foliage and and natural materials – my husband helping –  see upper right.

Sue is also known for her large scale foam free floral installations and it was super cool to learn how to make “burritos” out of floral netting stuffed with natural foraged material, then rolled and zip-tied together.

 

Here we are attaching the burritos to the arch to create a base to insert the flowers into.

 

 

WOW!  Look how beautiful it turned out and those ugly burritos are completely covered and create a sturdy base to insert the flowers into.  The more delicate blooms were placed into water tubes.  There aren’t any heavy foam cages either – it’s all light weight so that the arbor can easily support the flowers.  So amazing and what ingenious mechanics!!!

 

Love that hanging amaranthus!!!

 

 

For the large scale floral installations, we divided into two groups.  I was in the group that did this yellow floral waterfall!  It would take a bride with a large budget to be able to use this many flowers but what an amazing focal backdrop it would make!  I’m not sure I will ever have a chance to create something on this grand of scale for a client so I was grateful to get a chance to work on something of this magnitude here at the workshop!!!!

 

Acacia, garden roses, ranunculus, narcissus and orchids en masse – Oh my!!!!  What a dream!!  What magic!!!!

 

 

 

Here we are!  The whole group of us including the Mayesh employees and our workshop instructors.  What a great fun-loving talented group of people!!

The third workshop was with Veronica Cicero of Anthology Co.  It was a lesson in creating a large scale floral design in a large urn without foam.

 

All the beautiful flowers we got to use were gathered around the courtyard fountain making such a beautiful display – again what a feast for the senses!!  We also got to go out and forage the creek bank again for large branches and tall papyrus grass.

 

This was Veronica’s demo massive urn design – I just love creating these large arrangements!!!

 

Day three was reserved for visiting flower farms, an experience that all of we florists were eagerly awaiting.  Ecuador has the perfect climate and soil for growing roses and other flowers here in the Andean region.  The first farm we visited was Greenrose Ecuador where the owner gave us a first rate tour of the whole production.  We were happy to see how well the employees are cared for with transportation, child-care, medical care, protective clothing, etc.

 

Greenrose Ecuador is the first and only one of 5 farms in the world that grow the coveted “Toffee” rose.  It is not always readily available and of course that makes the price more than other rose varieties so it was pretty cool to see masses of these beautiful colored roses!!

 

The whole operation is modern and efficient and is was so interesting to see all that goes into growing and harvesting the roses and every step that happens in the process until we get them in our florist shops.

 

We could look down from a balcony and watch the grading & packing procedure.  So very interesting!!  At the end of the tour we were given Ecuadorian snacks and drinks.  They also handed out hats and swag bags to all.

 

This is a familiar sight!  As a wedding florist, we use hundreds of rose blooms and get them in packaged like this.  After we process them, it’s always a joy to watch them open up and become even more beautiful looking for our weddings!!

 

The second farm we got to visit was ValleFlor  where we found beautiful new varieties of delphinium they were hybridizing.  The also grow many other flowers and fillers at this farm.  Before our tour started they fed us a very tasty hot lunch.

 

As a florist, it is so interesting to see how the flowers are grown and where they come from.  Of course we try to use a lot of American grown flowers but there just aren’t enough American flower farms to meet the demands.

 

Piles of purple statice and blue limonium bundles look so beautiful just waiting to be taken to the cooler.

 

As a very special treat the owner of Greenrose invited us to his horse ranch for  cocktails, to see his show horses and then later for a wonderfully delicious dinner.  We were given a demonstration of what their show horses could do and also the opportunity to ride – which many of us took advantage of.  The ranch is located up in the mountains and it was a beautiful drive and location.  

 

We were shown incredible hospitality and of course the house was decorated with masses of those famous toffee roses!!!

 

This is the wonderful Mayesh family that took such good care of us and did such a good job planning the workshop!!  Thank you Mayesh for an incredible and magical experience!!!

 

 

The fourth day we were given the opportunity to explore old town Quito with a guided walking tour and lunch at one of the plaza restaurants.

 

Old town Quito is a UNESCO historic site with its colonial architecture and collection of churches, convents, palaces and plazas. The guide also gave us the history of Ecuador and explained how they came to use the dollar.  We had time to visit some of the shops and purchase some of their famous chocolate.  We felt so fortunate we had this extra day to explore and play tourist!!

 

When we arrived back at the Hacienda, the staff had prepared an outdoor barbeque for us with candlelight and of course flowers on the tables.  It goes without saying it was all delicious!!

 

It felt sad to realize that our time in Ecuador was coming to an end!  Mayesh had genuine Ecuador Alpaca wool scarves made for each of us to treasure and remember this  beautiful place and magical workshop experience.

 

The final act of the evening was a dance performed for us by Ecuadorian dancers, then farewells were made with promises to stay in touch!!  In the morning some of us that had later flights took a taxi to see the famous Otavalo open air market which on Saturday turns into the largest open air market in South America.  This was a great way to be further exposed to Ecuadorian culture.

We had a clear view most days of this volcano.  The soil is enriched by all the volcanic ash and contributes to the success of growing roses and other flowers.  It certainly is a beautiful country!!

Thank you again to Mayesh Wholesale for providing this most magical experience!!

 

Many thanks to all of our sponsors: @greenrose_ecudor, @ez.flower, @valleflorec, @accentdecorinc, @oasisfloralproducts, @syndicatesales, @agricolaelchaupi, @alexandrafarms, @bellaflorgroup, @rosaprimaroses, @valleverderoses, @decorentalec, @UPS

Vendors: @nicoleclareyphoto, @talewindvisuals, @hacienda_cusin_ecuador

Designers: @hollychappel, @passionflowersue, @anthologyco

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