Magdalena’s Blog

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earlier this month we re-visited the fabled BEL AIR HOTEL, after arranging residential flowers for a private client in the neighborhood.

we’ve done quite a few weddings in the ‘old’ bel air hotel, with its swans and private charm, and were looking forward to revisit the grand old dame after the remodeling of 2 years…..

SO SAD….. the BEL AIR HOTEL has become a generic, corporate hotel which could be anywhere….. with a generic lobby, generic rooms and bungalows and a generic restaurant….. which makes the ‘chateau marmont’ now even more precious…..

my heart hurts whenever i see historic places erased from the Los Angeles landscape…… why oh why couldn’t they have gotten KELLY WEARSTLER to re-imagine the bel air hotel?? she is famous for her boutique hotels!! she would have known how to revamp the hotel and keep its private and unique charm.

kelly wearstler should have redone the BEL AIR HOTEL!!

photograph from her new book RHAPSODY


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as the end of summer meets fall in southern california, we love to “paint” with dinner plate dahlias!!

3rd generation japanese growers grow the best dahlias here in southern california!! varieties you get nowhere else.

although dahlias won’t last very long, these girls know how to party!!

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earlier this summer, Dark Beauty Magazine published their first annual ALTERNATIVE WEDDINGS issue and MAGDALENA’S FLOWERS is proud to be featured in this collection of  fantastic photo stories.


check out all the other wonderful ALTERNATIVE WEDDING photo stories at

Dark Beauty Fashion Magazine Alternative Weddings

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ANTHURIUMS also known as FLAMINGO FLOWERS are exotic, sophisticated flowers….. kind of an acquired taste….. once  you fall in love with these HEART-SHAPED, UNAPOLOGETIC SHOWGIRLS, there is no looking back…… amazing varieties in various SHINY COLORS ranging from pure WHITE to sweet DOLLHOUSE PINKS and PASSIONATE REDS to fresh GREENS and OBAKE (“ghost”) varieties….  coming from HAWAII  and other exotic places…..

WATCH how this BRIDAL BOUQUET is composed for a BRIDE with a hawaiian background….

Are you or do you know a bride-to-be? Be sure to check out our Weddings & Party Flowers Gallery for stunning images of what Magdalena’s can do!

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bronson canyon in hollywood/los angeles, right underneath the HOLLYWOOD SIGN is in FULL BLOOM!!

pretty enchanting….. don’t recall ever being so CHARMED by BLOOMING SAGE….. bunnies with cute white tails and pretty birds everywhere…..

even saw the WHITE, WILD BLOOMS i used for my own BRIDAL BOUQUET…… yes, me and my man eloped to the desert/nevada…. partly because we were kind of nervous and partly because it was pretty romantic…. and we’ve always been good together on adventurous road trips…. which is kind of symbolic for married life……

at bronson canyon, all the wild blooms were perfectly “arranged”….. a wild landscape on the urban edge….. i didn’t dare take a single bloom or leaf with me….. because THIS AFTERNOON, EVERYTHING WAS PERFECT “AS IS”……

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our favorites right now here at MAGDALENA’S FLOWERS are BLOOMING BRANCHES, LOCAL LILAC and CALLAS!!!!


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Watch as Miss Ziegler creates a sumptuous bouquet of lavender roses… with an unexpected accent!

Thoughtful, detailed bouquets are a Magdalena’s specialty.  We take great pride in how precise and considered each flower is to all of our arrangements, but a bouquet is about so much more than that! In this video, you’ll see how much a bride’s personal style and tastes play into this delightful composition.

Are you or do you know a bride-to-be? Be sure to check out our Weddings & Party Flowers Gallery for stunning images of what Magdalena’s can do!

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‘SECRET GARDEN’ is kind of a cliché, i know…… that’s the variety name of this beautiful rose though, that i discovered recently and is now one of our FAVORITE ROSES…….

these roses start out kind of modest, all PALE and ANTIQUE looking and then develop into something GRAND and VOLUPTUOUS……. ROSES fit for a ROMANTIC QUEEN……

on her WEDDING DAY or as a ROMANTIC SURPRISE  from her LOVER…….

it’s a rose hybridized to look like a GARDEN ROSE but unlike real garden roses, these ‘SECRET GARDEN’ ROSES have INCREDIBLE STAYING POWER.

just watch them unfurl and get MORE VOLUMINOUS by the day……. you’ll have them much longer than regular roses and they even dry in a pretty way.

let MAGDALENA’S FLOWERS arrange them with some tulle or satin ribbons and you’ll make a GRAND ROMANTIC IMPRESSION.


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we are blessed in CALIFORNIA, with the generous fragrance of our JASMINE each SPRING……

take the time to stop and smell our jasmine……


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featuring the COLLECTION of SKAIST TAYLOR for fall/winter 2012, sprinkled with scenes from Pamela’s forrest in Beverly Hills and staring the amazing THEODORA RICHARDS.

EVERY SINGLE PIECE from this collection is TO DIE FOR!!!!!

Pamela and Gela call it “autobiographical” and it really is……
MAGDALENA’S has the good fortune of counting Pamela Skaist and Gela Taylor among her clients. many images from our ESTATE AND PRIVATE RESIDENCE COLLECTION on our NEW WEBSITE are taken at their homes with their generous permission.
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SHOW YOUR LOVE!!!!          photo © by daniel jung and sequoia hartle



MAGDALENA’S FLOWERS knows how to make a grand impression.


our FAVORITE RED ROSES are called CHARLENE, the true red, shown in the rose bouquet above. or HEARTS with curly petals resembling a heart.

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flowers have never been shown this way before!!!!!!! please take a moment to stop and smell our flowers.

VALENTINE’S DAY IS COMING UP……. please be sure to place an order for someone you love!!!

and if you love MAGDALENA’S FLOWERS, please tell your friends!!!!

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if you are in LOS ANGELES check out the HEATH CERAMICS store on beverly blvd. if you haven’t done so already.

“handcrafting tile and tableware since 1948″ in sausalito and los angeles.

i  adore their VASES, their ORGANIC SHAPES and their GLAZE, so SENSUOUS and SOFT to the TOUCH.

several of their pale blue vases are at my home and apparently their tableware is indestructible in restaurants like CHEZ PANISSE.

this week, thursday 6/23/2011 ADAM SILVERMAN is presenting his new collection called COLOR BLIND  at the LA STORE.

his work is known for it’s “moonscape” glaze …… gorgeous pieces of pottery art.

for more info see

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dutch green hyrdrangea on a bathroom mantle

imported hydrangea is $$$ and worth it……. it lasts so much longer and also drys beautifully……..

curly willow sprouting young leaves

curly willow on the other hand is not expensive and a favorite stand-by for antique urns.

you can leave the branches in water for weeks and they’ll do their thing…… sprouting fresh leaves and little roots, so they can be planted as well.

look how the fresh greens bring in the outdoors!!!!!

pictures taken by carl john sandgren for at the lovely home of gela nash taylor

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this post by coco+kelly appeared a while back……. wanted to share it anyway, cause it showcases the charm of red as an accent color so well.

and because those roses were arranged by magdalena’s flowers for pamela skaist levy’s atelier, a place where fashion magic happens…..

it can be quite challenging to wear a red dress or to hang out in a room with red wallpaper…….

red as an accent color is pretty perfect on the other hand…… think red lips or red nail polish on a woman dressed in black, browns, or an amazing green or turquoise…… this is the effect of red flowers on a room…….

i personally love to have red roses or red carnations for table decorations and parties.

so feminine, so strong, so look at me, i’m here to celebrate.

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in my opinion there is no celebration without CHAMPAGNE, FLOWERS and FOOD……..

and here  are some examples of FESTIVE HOLIDAY TABLE DECORATIONS…….




here at the home of PAMELA SKAIST LEVY, co-founder of JUICY COUTURE, and one of my favorite clients.

CHINA MUMS are one of her favorite flowers….. and they look so GLAMOROUS at her house, accented with WHITE PUMPKINS for THANKSGIVING.



antique damask linens, red “freedom roses” and eclectic china are ready to celebrate thanksgiving.

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Jonathan Adler Utopia Man/woman Menorah in Holiday 2010

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what do you mean “no money, no problem”???????

you have at least one pretty vase, pitcher, cup or drinking glass, no?

sometimes “vases” from the kitchen make amazing vessels to present greens or flowers!!!!!!!!!!

and then take a little stroll through your yard, neighborhood or park…… i’m sure you can find some leaves, branches or a couple of blooms….. and voilà, you have a little floral accent in your house which will brighten your and everybody else’s spirit……

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on a moody day it’s good to have little accents around the house to cheer you up……
when i left the gym (!!) this morning i saw these hibiscus blooms (this is california!) smiling at me, and couldn’t resist to take one home with me……

this is a yellow “filled” hibiscus……. they only last for a couple of days…… what a show though…….

the skirt of the little ballet dancer goes perfectly with the puffy skirt of the hibiscus, no??

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look at these charming wallpaper suggestions from apartment therapy.

my favorites are the ones from trove which are more playful and the chinoiserie and textile papers from fromental which will certainly give a rich look……

both will be perfect to go with magdalena’s flowers……..

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SUMMER is officially here and so are summer flowers……..


of course there are orchids which are mass produced, and you can buy them at every super market.

and there are orchids from this korean grower,  grown to perfection with patience and love……..

and he comes up with new little hybrids all the time…… and to my surprise they last cut up to 2 weeks!!!!

and then…… DAHLIAS…….. such a summer party flower………. i could not resist and had to combine them with these breath taking

water lilies, peonies from oregon and lavender…….. a bowl of summer abundance…….

and then, short and compact DELPHINIUM, grown expertly by james hatano, a 3rd generation japanese american grower in his 80s…..

the last grower in palos verdes, recently featured on page one in the LA TIMES.

anyway, i cannot resist those summer beauties……… and neither should you……..


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look what i found at the los angeles downtown flower market yesterday……..

super fragrant sweet peas from california

those local sweet peas were a feast for the senses……..

breathtaking fragrance, strong shades of watercolor lavenders and vigorous strength……. nothing dainty about those sweet peas…….

i bought the whole lot in these shades off the vendor……. and that’s what i sent out for orders that day……… and people were pretty much overjoyed to see and receive such abundant, seasonal preciousness……

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right now is that precious time when the best of SPRING FLOWERS and the first of SUMMER FLOWERS meet……

dutch hydrangea and freedom roses

filled lilac from oregon and fritillaria

local parrot tulips, super fragrant hyacinths and grape hyacinths

enjoy this precious meeting of the seasons…….. the last of spring being kissed good bye by the first of summer……

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on a moody day like this, only sweet and playful flowers can cheer me up…….


in seasons past, i did not care for tulips all that much……. the imported dutch tulips tend to be weak, sometimes moldy…….
these local beauties though are STRONG and PLAYFUL at the same time……. perfect to play with the other PRETTY THINGS on my mantle……

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it is in FULL BLOOM and really GOOD QUALITY right now……

don’t miss out on this FRAGRANT shrub, in bloom only ONCE A YEAR……  

in WHITE and various shades of PURPLE  and LILAC (hence the name of the color!!) and perfect for MOTHER’S DAY

LILAC reminds people of their CHILDHOOD GARDENS on the EAST COAST, of EUROPE and SPRING ……

it also reminds me of IMPRESSIONISTIC STILL LIFES….. like this one, lilac in a glass by edouard manet….

so bring LILAC home…….. or let me bring it home for you…….


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the other day i had some “left overs” ……. left overs of CHEAP FLOWERS that is…… you might also call them FILLER FLOWERS……
what does luxurious magdalena’s flowers have to do with cheap flowers you might ask……
cheap flowers can be quite CHARMING……. in fact i have made it my mission to bring some of those cheap flowers back, arrange them quite differently and bring them into my own home and those of my esteemed clients…….
the trick is to bunch them very GENEROUSLY…….. like a lot, come on, they are cheap, no need to be stingy…..
the real CHARM OF CHEAP FLOWERS will only be revealed, if they are bunched generously, like 2 to 5 bunches of them……..

look how SWEET they can look, like picked from a WILD FIELD OF FLOWERS…….


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so you know how i recommended having easter lilies in your home for easter……. cause they’re so fragrant, elegant and seasonal……

and they will last you a good week……… if they are of good quality and WELL TAKEN CARE OF!!!!!

which means, please snip off all the spent blooms once they get wrinkly and fade …….. you don’t want  have those faded ones ruin the show of the blooms which are in their prime and those buds still about to perform …… 

also, there will be some dropping of the dusty pollen which looks like orange or brown powder  and can stain your table cloth or clothes and the bloom itself…….

so gently pull off the pollen with your hands, when the bloom first opens up, before the pollen even matures …… that way you won’t have to worry about any staining…… 

and last not least, please refill the water at least once during that week of continuous performance of your lilies…….. they will drink more than you think and if you don’t refill the water the vase might tip over from the weight of the newly developing blooms……

you can enjoy these true show girl flower performers for a good week, you have to TAKE CARE OF THE GIRLS though……..

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just make sure you have some spring flowers in the house!!!!!!!!!!

like fragrant narcissus……

or the very seasonal easter lilies…… so elegant…….. my mother had a “waterfall” of them for her bridal bouquet…….

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blooming jasmine is in the air again……. it is that time of the year…… here in Los Angeles we do have the good fortune for a couple of weeks each spring to be blessed with it’s generous and sensual fragrance perfuming the air……. you cannot avoid it…… just take a few steps out of your house, and your nose will pick up it’s fragrance pretty soon…….

most of the year an unassuming, modest vine that won’t catch your eye…… and then all of a sudden, there it is…….. a generous waterfall of tiny pink buds and white blossoms and feathery leaves………

now, it is so worth it to take that fragrance into your home…….. you won’t need much……. just break a couple of those clusters of blooms off the vine, re-cut the tiny stems again once you’re home and put them in a bud vase filled with water to place by your house altar, into a guest room to make someone feel welcome or into a powder room……

it’s just a small accent, yet it makes a huge impact on your senses…….. believe me…… and it’s only around once a year…….

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here she is, with one of her signature costumes ……. where she combines silk flowers and on point ballet dancing……. the grace, the femininity, the show……and here are my valentine’s flower showgirls (inspired by dita), that some men with good taste ordered for their ladies…….. 

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again and again i am inspired by dita von teese………. i’ve met her personally in december and was so impressed with her……. how can she be all glamorous and down to earth at the same time…… and soft spoken, accessible and smart as well……. AND she has three dachshunds and 4 cats.

for sure she is a woman to my liking. always inspired by her.  she writes “the showgirl sells magic”. and “decadence is the art of showmanship”. do those quotes remind you of my flowers?? i hope so, cause i want my flowers to be like showgirls…… sensual, classy, aware of their own beauty and generous……

which brings me to valentine’s……. my flowers will be like showgirls…… sensual and flawless……. there to be admired……. i’m not going to send out roses though….. contrary to popular belief those are NOT the flowers you want to send to your sweetheart. since the whole world is ordering them they tend to be like paper money during an inflation. poor quality, inflated prizes and no staying power.

go with show girly orchids instead. that’s what dita would recommend. and magdalena’s. they will take your and your loved one’s breath away.

see for mouthwatering examples.

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so yesterday’s flower market downtown LA was unbelievable…… i literally jumped up and down with joy……. i expected the market to be weak after thanksgiving, but by yesterday it presented itself at it’s best……. all the good (and sometimes boring) holiday stuff was there, at it’s finest……. won’t name any names, but one wholesaler in particular had outdone himself…… lucky for me i had to do a house for a holiday party, and i know i seriously overspent, but i just couldn’t help myself……. everything was just so freaking beautiful….. the materials that i’m going to name now might sound all a bit boring, but believe me, when the quality is spectacular, you know why these materials symbolize the holidays……

so, i arranged lots of outstanding quality dark red ‘liberty’ amaryllis (which i usually don’t care for) with picture perfect magnolia tips, their glossy surface and velvety brown underbelly alone reading like warmth, luxury and festiveness……

and of course lots of noble fir, cedar ( a MUST for the fragrance it lends to the house!! ) together with seeded eucalyptus and silver brunia (form south africa??) for ornamentation…… it always trips me out when i see in semi professional publications everything with a “needle” on it called “pine” regardless, if it’s fir, pine, cedar, juniper or whatever…… get your holiday greens straight people!!

and yes, also threw in there some ilex berries, which usually costs an arm and a leg, for what?? but when it’s short, and loaded with hundreds of juicy berries, it’s good………

and last not least: “bowl of cream” peonies from new zealand, AAA quality…….. ah, the luxurious, richer than thou, “you wanna see how many petals i have, here look, i got thousands of them” – quality makes up for the fortune they cost…….


ah, nothing like the holidays!!!! deck the halls people!!

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so what florals did i have in my house for this past holiday (thanxgiving, my favorite american holiday!!) and probably for a while to come??

lots of dusty miller leaves…….. those grey, soft, almost baroque and very ornamental leaves, that you just have to reach out and touch and caress, cause they are so textile, almost like fur……..

and they last and last……. one vase in my house i’ve had already for 2 weeks and counting…..

so forget the “seasonal” orange or yellow, or green and red……. boring……

go for soft leaves, soft like a favorite sweater or scarf…….. grey, soft and white like snow…….. and  ornamental like, well xmas ornaments……. we’ll add some white flowers and fragrant holiday greens later……..

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my friend loretta encouraged me to put this on my blog, even though this is not strictly related to “flowers for homes”…… it’s more “flowers for spiritual places”.

i used to go somewhat regularly to the zen center LA, a spiritual oasis founded by a japanese zen master in 1967. the place consists of 4 craftsman houses and its surrounding gardens.

i still very much enjoy doing the flowers for the various altars there……

for the zendo, the meditation hall, right next to an antique figurine of manjushri, the boddhisatva of wisdom who carries a sword, cause he cut’s through your delusions….. the 2 rooms were teachers give formal interviews, the dining hall, the buddha hall and the dharma hall…….

some spiritual places, you just soak the energy up once you’re there……

i enjoy doing my flowers there, all slow and aware…….

being grateful to the flowers which have just graced the altars the previous week and which i will put afterwards into the green recyling…… and gratefully and gracefully arranging the new flowers i have selected at the market for the various vases…..

of course i don’t do ikebana there. that is a highly regulated craft which i appreciate, but it’s not my approach there. i guess i approach doing the flowers there from a point of grace and modesty, in a way. kind of being playful in a naive way. not too much thought. just letting the flowers be.

as i wrote before,  at some spiritual places, you just soak the energy up once you’re there……

was very impressed by the vows members had put up in the zendo……

the ones that impressed me the most were

i vow to be where i am.
i vow to know the luminous heart of all beings.

the sun is mild and caressing today and people are kind.

pictures to follow soon.

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so remember the flowers i arranged earlier this week in my home…… “to embrace the moodiness of the grey day in LA”??

purple gladiolas arranged in a large, pale blue glass vase…….. the glads here in california are the last of the  season, and don’t look like the look in summer….. i still love them though……. they develop in the vase and get more showy each day…… and they very much transformed my living room…….

and today, i did what everybody should do with gladioals after having had them for a few days in a vase at their house……..

please make the effort to cut them short, take the spent blooms off and arrange them in a shorter, more rounder vase……..

they will work now in a different spot in your house …… they are not as “grand” as when they were long…… they are more intimate, more luscious, more “baroque” now…….

maybe you want to place them on a mantle, next to some precious, little finds…… or close to your vanity……. there is something more sensuous, voluptuous about them now….. and i like that you can get a second performance out of them…….

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so it’s unusually grey, windy and gloomy today in los angeles……. and i needed to do something to bringhten my mood…….. first i put a pot with brown rice and fragrant curry on the stove which is now scenting the apartment and the very next thing i needed to do was to arrange those dark purple gladiolas i had bought for my home…… and surprise……. the place is instantly transformed……. i don’t feel lonesome anymore, but in charge of my destiny……. all right, this might sound a little too grand, but i did something to very much embrace the moodiness of this day……. and so should you……

wish i could post a picture from my home with this post, but don’t have a camera yet, if you can believe it….. here is a picture from my favorite interior design book at the moment…… you know the one from 1966 which combines “modern” interior design with antiques……. enjoy……

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flowers for homes has a nice ring to it. i like it.

i should, cause i’ve been wanting to write about flowers in private spaces, flowers and interior design for a while now.

i think i can show how flowers transform personal spaces. change the mood and bring a whole room to life.

would like to share with everybody this precious find. a book my husband found at a european flea market.

it’s called “alte kunst in neuen räumen” (antiquities in modern homes) from 1966 and i find it so fresh and yes, modern.


love this room and its furnishings. would love to see a yellow flower arrangement not in the corner on the side table as suggested with the silk flowers pictured, but on the glass coffee table, off center. and yes, daffodils could be nice, although they only last for a couple of days. what about bright yellow, fluffy china mums….. which grow bigger and fluffier with each day, up to 2 weeks. maybe arranged in a turquoise ceramic bowl (possibly an antique from the 60s). would be so strong and fresh and pick up the turquoise of the antique tapestry on the wall.

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