If rising temps have you itching to fill your home with fluffy, vibrant florals, you’re not alone. I made an afternoon pilgrimage to a lovely little floral shop at Avenue Rd. & the 401 and managed to pull together a bundle of my three favourite blooms: ranunculus, peonies and anemones.
Small custom arrangement by The Weekend Florist
A $45 floral bill has a way of making you want to ensure your blooms last forever, so I called up Andrea Russell from The Weekend Florist for her top tips for decorating with fresh flowers and keeping them happy for as long as possible. Fair warning: you’ll want to rush out and buy some fluffy new friends immediately after reading.
Adding fresh blooms to your home ups your decorating game. It is a simple thing that you can do that makes it look like you have everything together! It adds a pop of color, freshness, and intrigue to what would otherwise be a blank space. My favorite places to display flowers are on my front mantel, coffee table, dining table (low centre pieces for dinner parties), and on the dresser in my bedroom – pretty much everywhere. – Andrea Russell, The Weekend Florist
Andrea’s Floral Cheat Sheet
1. Get Local:
Look for a local florist in your neighborhood and get to know them. They are very open to providing advice and giving knowledge on both fresh cut flowers and plants, and will usually sell you single stems along with hand tied bouquets. Andrea’s pick: Toronto Flower Market for local florists & farmers selling the freshest blooms.
2. Follow your heart:
When it comes to the best flowers to get, follow your heart! Choose blooms that you are attracted to. Find a colour palette that you admire and don’t be afraid to get a variety of textures! Andrea’s spring picks? Ranunculus, tulips & narcissus.
I love how soft and cloud-like ranunculus can be. They look great in a vase all on their own because their stems will often be sloped and angled in unique ways – not one is the same. They make a statement without being too over the top. Recently, I have been drawn to locally grown tulips and narcissus for spring time arrangements, as it is these flowers that seem to celebrate the season in the best possible way. Even in a vase, they will tilt and shift direction so they are facing the sun – it is a fascinating dance to watch.
3. Go for the Green:
Remember to include greenery in your purchase – adding some in helps to ensure your arrangement feels fresh and organic. In fact, sometimes greenery or branches alone are enough to make a statement.
4. Take a cue from Mother Nature:
Pair flowers like how you would find them in a garden and use the natural shape of the flower and stem to help guide your design. One tip would be to not have too many on the same level.
5. Keep your blooms happy:
Always trim your flowers before placing them in the vessel you are using. You should change the water once a day, as flowers like fresh (not too hot, not too cold) water. If you are being really good – you can trim the stems each time you change the water. Keep your fresh cut flowers in a cool area in your home where they are not exposed to direct sunlight.
Watching The Weekend Florist blossom (ha!) has been a bit of an obsession of mine. Andrea always seems to be elbow-deep in the most gorgeous flowers and arranges them in the kind of fresh, wild way that makes my heart sing. It’s also incredibly special to see someone following their passion and having so much success at it.
During the day, you’ll find her shaping young minds as a teacher but outside of her “real life”, as she calls it, you’ll find her building her small, west-end Toronto floral business known as The Weekend Florist. At this time, it mostly caters towards clients who are looking for fresh blooms to grace their front mantle, bedside table, or dining table. Many of her clients sign up for her monthly floral delivery subscription, but she’ll also do small-scale weddings and events.
If you’re curious how someone gets started as a florist, you’re not alone. Andrea’s transition into this new passion-turned-career has been fascinating for me. In her own words, this was her journey:
“About 3 years ago, I was on a journey to give back to myself. I wanted to do something just for me, by myself. I decided on taking an introductory floral workshop at a local Toronto floral studio (Coriander Girl). It seemed like the perfect fit for what I was looking for – an opportunity to experience something new, be on my own, and step outside of my comfort zone.
I fell head over heels in love. Afterwards, I approached Tellie (now owner of Hunt & Gather) to see if there were any internship possibilities. I told her I would sweep floors as long as it gave me a chance to be around flowers and watch designers at work. To my surprise, she called within a few weeks saying they needed someone to help out. I was hooked. Since that moment, my passion has grown into a small business. I regularly work as a freelancer for local florists, and have had the opportunity to take courses by Saipua (Brooklyn, NY) and Hunt & Gather (Toronto, ON).”
If you’d like to meet Andrea and pick up some gorgeous blooms for Mom, you’re in luck. The Weekend Florist is having her first pop-up shop this Friday, May 12 at Lululemon inside Sherway Gardens Mall!
You can visit from 6:00 – 9:00PM on Friday night – I’ll be making the trip! There will be hand tied bouquets selling for $20.00 and small pre-made arrangements for $30.00-35.00. While you’re there, you can add to your flower gift for mom by treating her to a new sports bag or pair of Lululemon pants.