Posted on April 30 2021
By Carleton Varney- Special to the Palm Beach Daily News
We’ve all heard about April showers that may come our way and bring the flowers that bloom in May.
And oh, how lucky I am that it’s true. I am an unabashed flower person. Over the years, I think I have designed a fabric or wallpaper that features every flower in the garden, from crocuses to daffodils, and pussy willows to forsythia.
Flowers bring a feeling of sunshine and happiness into the home, and if you are a garden person you will understand the powerful appeal of a vase or two of fresh flowers.
The spring flower that I find so bright and joyous is the nasturtium, whether the variety is bright orange, buttery yellow or even white. The nasturtium will grow profusely in all kinds of soil and gardeners up North know early spring is the time to start growing seeds in the greenhouse.
I’ve just spent a few days in the Panhandle with friends visiting what is called the forgotten Florida. We visited Apalachicola and the seaside town of Rosemary Beach. These are beautiful places — and all that sugar-white sand! Port St. Joe Beach was, for me, an undiscovered highlight of the panhandle, where the beach is welcoming and quiet. My friends, Erin and Joe Payner, have settled comfortably into their oceanfront home after Joe’s retirement from the Air Force.
And now, they are in the decorating spirit to bring a bit of flower magic into their home, perhaps with a bit of orange in the dining room, which is open to the other living spaces. Erin sparkles up the dining area with bowls of bright orange mandarins to add a wonderful jolt of color to her green, aqua-blue and white décor. I plan to send the Payner family lengths of one of my favorite wallcoverings, which features a nasturtium orange flower, to install on the walls in the adjoining kitchen. I love the leaf design of the nasturtium!
Live nasturtiums, which can grow year-round in South Florida, work well as hanging vines in the landscape. In the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, orange nasturtium vines hang from the balcony in the inner courtyard. Why not use them at a residence in Florida?
Spring is in full bloom, the April showers have come and this is a great time to think about using flowers in our homes, whether the blooms are live arrangements or more permanent additions on fabrics and wallpaper.
I have always loved nasturtiums. A bonus that many people don’t know: their flowers are actually edible! What a fun and beautiful addition to a salad or dessert!
Carlton, I love your design style. You make my visit to the Greenbrier joyful. Have you thought of designing stationary with water colors of flowers and maybe some with our name in cursive or not?best wishes to you and your family. Isabel moore