Tuesday, July 25th, 2017

IN OUR GARDENS: ARRANGING CUT FLOWERS

With summer in full swing, chances are you’ve taken note of the sweet sights and smells of the many flowers in bloom right now. Whether it’s annuals, perennials or foraged blooms, we love harvesting flowers, bringing the outdoors in, and creating beautiful arrangements all season long. But how can we make those beautiful arrangements last as long as possible? Today we have grower, designer and flower expert extraordinaire Kelly Tellier from Lily Stone Gardens sharing her best tips for success.

When to Harvest

“The best time of the day to harvest flowers is early in the morning or late in the evening when it is cool outside. Every flower variety has an appropriate ‘harvest stage’. Cutting at the correct harvest stage is key to a longer vase life of your cut flowers. For example, we do a ‘wiggle’ test on zinnias. If you grab the stem between two fingers about six inches down from the bloom and give the stem a little shake — if the stem stays stiff and the bloom doesn’t sway side to side, it’s ready to cut. If the bloom wiggles, or feels a bit limp and not sturdy on the stem, it’s not ready. Another example is poppies. Poppies should be cut when the bud has a slight crack and you can just see some color inside the bud — not when the bloom is wide open. Each individual flower variety has a very specific period of time where it is in its prime for cutting purposes.”

How to Harvest

“Always use sharp snips and try cut at an angle. Place flowers directly into water. If flowers stay out of water for any length of time always re-cut before placing in the water again. Also, it is always very important to use clean snips, and clean vases. All foliage that would fall below the water line of your vase should be removed. Change your water in your vase every two days and give your flowers are fresh snip at the same time.”

Arranging & Displaying

“I love arranging garden flowers in unique vessels. Antique urns or old milk bottles anything that enhances the character of the blooms.”

Composition

“My favorite way to style or display flowers is ‘less is more’. Let the flowers speak for themselves. I love to display flowers against a white wall or white table. It makes all the colors and flower tones pop. Arrange each bloom so it’s visible and has its own space among the other flowers.  Or, get creative with these oh-so-sweet bud vases, reveal bottles and classic pitcher vases available in store and online.  I normally like to pick three to five larger focal blooms per arrangement, as well as some upright flowers (tall) and then some filler flowers. Pick colors that are complementary to one another or use shades of the same color.”

Care

“It is important to ensure your flowers are kept out of intense sunlight and change the water every two days — and at the same time, give your stems a fresh cut. As flowers fade, pull them out of the arrangement to keep the remaining beautiful as long as possible.”

Inspiration

“One of my favorite, easy to grow flowers for August are Cosmos. Cosmos can be direct seeded and grow very easily and will continue to seed themselves year after year if you let the old flowers go to seed. Cosmos look so beautiful just on their own in a vase or pair so beautifully with grasses or fall foliage for a unique non-traditional wild looking fall bouquet. I would encourage everyone to look beyond ‘just the flowers’ in their gardens and yards. Unique shrubs and greens can also really add a unique and romantic feel to arrangements. For example, spirea in the springtime is a wonderful greenery and filler to mix with spring flowers and ninebark is one of my favorite foliages for September bouquets.

Grow Your Own!

“I would highly encourage any gardening lover to grow a small cutting garden for themselves. Designate a small area of your garden that you allow yourself to snip from. Don’t be afraid to experiment with cutting different varieties. It can be extremely therapeutic — and anything home grown is just that much better and that much more special.”   

Thank you, Kelly, for sharing your expertise with us!

Kelly Tellier is the owner and operator of Lily Stone Gardens, a seasonal cut flower farm and year-round floral design shop. You can find catch up with Kelly and her team on their website or on Instagram @lilystonegardens

Saturday, April 8th, 2017

INSPIRATION: ELEGANT EASTER TABLE SETTING

Spring is the time of fresh blooms and the slow return of those sweet pink, purple and yellow hues.  It makes sense then, that these are the colours often associated with Easter decor. But since we tend to err on the side of green, we thought we’d play with a little something different this year. Here’s a little dose of inspiration for a fresh and undeniably elegant table runner or centrepiece — perfect for spring.

How’d we do it? First, we used reindeer moss to create a soft, but bold, bed of greenery. From there, we layered different varieties of tillandsias, otherwise known as ‘air plants’ along with naturally green-hued farm eggs.  The beauty of decorating with tillandsias is that they only need light, air and moisture to live.  They don’t require soil, so they can be placed just about anywhere.  These soy candles from Winnipeg’s own Soy Harvest Candle provide the perfect pop of colour to complete this table setting. Notice how they highlight the pink-streaked tillandsias?

You could also experiment with small potted succulents, ferns, twigs or low vases of fresh cut flowers.

Now that you’ve set the table, just add a simple frittata, a batch of mimosas and a few friends, and you have an elegant springtime brunch.

Happy Easter!

Words + photos by Sarah Carson @the.botanical

Monday, March 21st, 2016

MAKE THIS: EGGSHELL SUCCULENT GARDEN

DIY Succulent Egg 1

Can you feel it?

Spring is here, and the arrival of the new season is evident it seems everyone is buzzing and totally on board with spring and the promise of a not-so-far-off summer. And while we still have a little bit more waiting to do before we can get outside in the garden, diving into an inspiring indoor project is a great way to reconnect with the green stuff after a long, cold winter.

Whether you’re celebrating Spring Equinox, Easter or simply the promise of warmer days ahead, this eggshell garden is the perfect afternoon project to get your hands just a little bit dirty. What’s more is that this project is super simple, meaning you might actually have a chance to squeeze it in between spurts of spring cleaning and family get-togethers. Here’s how.

DIY Easter 2

Pick your plant friends

The options are endless here, and variety is key. Here, we used a few mini succulents and air plants, rounded out with just a couple of assorted seedlings from the greenhouse for good measure. If you’re on the ball, propagating from seed would be a great option here think cat grass or even microgreens.

Prep the eggshells

Any eggs will do, but go for farm fresh if you can swing it those speckled browns and blues just can’t be beat. Simply crack eggs in half or, to get the added effect of a whole egg, softly tap the crown of your egg with a spoon to remove just the upper portion of the shell. Either way, reserve the yolk and white for later use and rinse well. The eggs used here are wearing their original coat, but experimenting with natural dyes would certainly be a fun avenue to explore.

Plant ‘em

Carefully place your plant in the shell, using a spoon to add potting soil mixture as needed. If using air plants, of course no soil is required! (Note: These plant babies will eventually need to be repotted, but if you’re planning to keep them housed in the eggshells for a while yet, we’d recommend poking an additional hole in the bottom of the shell to allow for proper drainage.)

Choose your display

This wee little garden is adorable in an egg carton, but you could also get creative by arranging eggs in a nest of Spanish moss or in egg holders (imagine these at individual place settings for Easter dinner). Either way, these make a great last minute hostess gift as a unique alternative (or, if we’re being honest, addition) to a basket of chocolate eggs.

Here’s to spring!

Words + photos by Sarah Carson

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