Me, myself and I

I felt it was time to post a re-introduction for those of you who don’t know much about me. I started TARA MCHUGH FLORA 7 years ago when I was pregnant with my second child. I had been a stay at home mom for years and was really needing a creative outlet. So I asked myself that age old question, what makes me really happy? The answer was, obviously flowers. So there I was glued to my computer trying to learn everything I could about flower arranging. I signed up for the only floral class I could find in Victoria and was seriously disappointed to come home with a triangle shaped arrangement in floral foam and a perfectly round bridal bouquet all in red roses! It was not what I had hoped for. So I was left to learn from Google and You Tube and good old fashioned trial and error. Back then there weren’t oodles of workshops as there seems to be these days! However, a few years ago I was lucky enough to attend Floret Flower Farms very first workshop with New York florist Amy Merrick. At that workshop I experienced what it was like to design with a bounty of locally grown ingredients. I was exposed to the real movement that was happening among flower lovers. The movement to start caring about where your flowers come from. In the early days, not only was I learning everything to know about flowers, but I was also learning about running a business. Including everything that goes along with it, bookkeeping, marketing, and social media, all the while breastfeeding and catering to a three year old!... read more
Victoria Summer Wedding – Villa Marco Polo Inn

Victoria Summer Wedding – Villa Marco Polo Inn

Last summer I was honoured to be the florist for a beautiful small wedding at the Villa Marco Polo Inn. As I often tell people, when the subject of wedding venues comes up, this venue is at the top of my list. I love the character and charm of this old home and it’s gorgeous outdoor garden space. The entire inn can be booked for friends and family which is extremely convenient for out of town visitors. The bride and her bridesmaids can also get ready at the venue on the day of the wedding. What a nice place to sip champagne and relax while getting your hair and make up done. For this wedding the bride requested a purple color scheme and also wanted trailing ribbon, which I adore. The local dahlias stole the show as usual. This wedding weekend just happened to fall on one of the few August days we had rain here on Vancouver Island. But as you can see from the photos it didn’t put a damper on a thing.  I actually love how charming the umbrellas look in these photos by Jesse Holland Photo. The bridesmaids wore soft flowing purple gowns, and the flowers a mixture of dahlias, stocks, eucalyptus and lavender phlox complimented them beautifully. Renting tents turned out to be a wise idea to protect the guests and food from the drizzling rain.                                            (photo: Spark and Whimsy) As both the bride and groom were big Harry Potter fans they had... read more
Copper Wedding Inspiration

Copper Wedding Inspiration

The following is my first wedding shoot here in Victoria where I personally hand picked all the talented vendors to help bring my vision to life. My inspiration was copper, as we have all seen hundreds of weddings with silver and gold and I was craving something different. Copper will work beautifully for any fall or winter wedding. But let’s not underestimate it for spring, after all this shoot took place in the spring, hence all the beautiful ranunculus!! Enjoy. Photographer –  Kelly Brown Flowers and art direction – Tara McHugh Flora Venue –  Victoria Golf Club Models – Coultish Agency Stationary – Tuktu Paper Co. Cake – Ruth and Dean Bride’s dress – Blush Bridal Boutique Groom’s attire – Hughes Clothing Makeup  – Melanie Baird Makeup Artistry Hair – Conscious Hair Rings – Emma Glover... read more
Summer Dahlia Centerpiece

Summer Dahlia Centerpiece

Summer is in full swing and that means my favorite summer flower, the dahlia, is back! I love local dahlias because they come in numerous shapes, sizes, and incredible colors. The cafe au lait dahlia in particular has been very well loved over the last few years in the wedding world. What’s not to LOVE about this flower though! The sheer size of it is impressive, not to mention the beautiful color variations from blush to peach on one single flower, Arrangement recipe: cafe au lait and other pink dahlias, cosmos, sweet peas, ornamental oregano, zinnias, maple... read more
Succulent Terrarium

Succulent Terrarium

It has been years since I have made a terrarium and I forgot how much fun it can be! It is like landscaping in miniature. Succulents, moss, stones, interesting pieces of driftwood and twigs all make for beautiful terrarium ingredients. They are a more modern alternative to having a typical houseplant. It adds that touch of green to your space but in a more unexpected... read more
Wedding Trends for 2015

Wedding Trends for 2015

Today’s blog post is about wedding trends for 2015. I recently asked Women of Weddings member Anne Pollock of Party Mood to share some of her thoughts on this year’s trends. Party Mood creates swoon worthy weddings and events with unique ideas, styling expertise, experienced planning, and coordination on the day of the wedding or event.  They also offer a great source for interesting décor rentals which can be viewed on their site  at www.partymood.com. What colors and combinations are we seeing more of this year? We are seeing 3 color palettes – sherbets, carnival, and burgundy reds Sherbet colors include soft pastels, blush, pale blue, pale yellow, light greens Bright “Carnival” Colors are reds, oranges, yellows, pinks, green, and marsala (burgundy) Marsala is Pantone’s color of the year. It is a muted burgundy, classic, easy to mix with both the soft and the bright colors, plus neutrals. Can you tell us some new “experience” trends that brides and grooms can incorporate into their wedding day?   This year we will see the further emergence of -Wedding Piñatas -Kissing Menu Cards: singing, dancing, storytelling, answering questions, demonstrating a kiss, marriage advice, or a sentimental toast. -“Ring for a Kiss” using a cowbell -“Donate To a Cause” for a kiss -Selfie stations -Temporary tattoos -Go Pros, selfie sticks, drones -Flatbed trailers as a food zone As for décor and accent metals what new exciting things can we expect to see more of in the next couple of years? Copper is the biggest trend coming in right now, followed by muted bronze.  We’ll continue to see rose gold as brides love this... read more
Seasonal Flower Alliance

Seasonal Flower Alliance

The seasonal flower alliance was started by Erin of Floret Flower Farm. It is all about playing with flowers that are local and in season. In past years she has had people and fans post links of their seasonal arrangements to her blog. But this year all you have to do it post your flowers on Instagram with the hashtag #SeasonalFlowerAlliance. Search the hashtag and you will see local flowers from all over the world, it’s super fun for us flower lovers!! My arrangement consists of clematis, cerinthe, weigela, rhododendron, and bleeding heart. Everything is from my garden except the cerinthe which is from a... read more
Garden Tea Party Wedding at Villa Marco Polo Inn

Garden Tea Party Wedding at Villa Marco Polo Inn

Jody Nay of Wallpaper Photography had a great vision for her garden tea party wedding at Victoria’s Villa Marco Polo Inn last summer. I had never met Jody before and soon after our first meeting I knew she would be a fun bride to work with. I love meeting people who have an equal passion for weddings, and all things beautiful. She knew she wanted air plants, succulents, wrist corsages, flower crowns and a garland for the aisle. She originally wanted to wear a wrist corsage herself, but in the end I convinced her to let me make her a small bouquet using a protea. And I am so glad she went for it because it looked amazing with her soft pink Vera Wang dress. Photography – Georgie Wilson Photography (view link for more amazing photos of this wedding) Venue – Villa Marco Polo Inn Flowers – Tara McHugh Flora China rental – Victoria Vintage China... read more
DIY Spring Flower Arrangement For Under $10.00

DIY Spring Flower Arrangement For Under $10.00

It is lilac season!! It doesn’t last long so NOW is the time to make this bouquet. I have mixed $10.00 worth of grocery store flowers that are readily available in spring with some fresh garden lilacs and hosta leaves. What you will need for this arrangement is the following: – one bunch of purple tulips (any shade will work) – one bunch of white alstroemeria (I love when the freckles coordinate with the palette) – 3 to 5 stems of lilacs (depending on how many blooms are on each branch) – 2 hosta leaves (the bright green variegated ones from my garden really pop) After you have chosen a vase, start by placing all the lilacs in first. Next add the hosta leaves. Then two or three alstroemeria stems. There are usually five in a bunch so you will have some left over. Or at the end feel free to add more and make a larger arrangement. And finally the tulips. Here I used a very deep purple parrot tulip which sometimes can cost slightly more than regular tulips but totally worth the splurge! When they open they are magnificent! I find it most effective to clump the tulips in twos and threes instead of as singles which you may be more inclined to do. As soon as I finished this arrangement, I remembered I have a gorgeous purple footed glass vase from my grandmother. I don’t have any purple in my house but I have started to use this vase every spring. I will forever think of my grandmother every spring as I fill it with aromatic... read more
Flower Friday – Ranunculus

Flower Friday – Ranunculus

Do you feel like you have been seeing a lot more ranunculus these days? They are giving garden roses a run for their money if you ask me. The size of some of the ranunculus we are seeing from Japan and Italy are incredible! They come in a whole rainbow of beautiful colors. When buying a bunch of ranunculus the exciting thing to me, is that sometimes there is a lot of color variation within the one bunch. And this is what makes a floral arrangement more interesting. So many other flowers come as a solid color, and it is much more restricting design wise. They have a very long vase life and actually get more beautiful as they age. They just keep opening and their ruffled petals are like the finest tissue paper. They are a costly flower compared to more standard grocery store flowers many people are used to seeing. But so worth every dollar!! (all photos by Spark and Whimsy Photography) I haven’t experimented much with growing them yet but this may be my year! If you have any tips about growing ranunculus in your backyard please share in the comments below. We would all love to learn... read more