Showcase beautiful spring and summer blooms in your home.
Celebrate spring and summer with 8 beautiful floral arrangements to inspire colourful displays all season long.
Pull back the curtains and open up the windows - spring is here! And there is no better way to celebrate a fresh new season than with its beautiful bounty. Whether you're lacking a green thumb or are a florist at heart, creating fabulous floral arrangements is easier than you think. We’ve rounded up eight fresh arrangements to inspire colourful displays using delightful spring and summer blooms.
After a long grey winter, even the tiniest bursts of colour are more than welcome around the home. Old-fashioned garden shrubslike lilac and bridalwreath spirea add a touch of nostalgia to this sweet entryway vignette. Tip: When creating a grouping of different posies, use a variety of eclectic vessels and play with the height and volume of each arrangement.
Spring is a season of vivid colours, with its blooms of bright yellows, pinks and blues. For the sake of variety, try a different approach: A quiet collection of greens, whites and a peek of pale purple is like a breath of fresh air.
Add some foliage power to your spring tablewith burgundy-leaved beauties (heuchera and begonia) accented with arching sprays of bleeding hearts and the tiny blooms of forget-me-nots. Tip: Forgo a large centerpiece in favour of mini-posies scattered along the length of the table.
A simple milk glass vessel shows off a voluptuous single-hued bouquet. When arranging a variety of flowers in similar shades, play with tone, texture, shape and size. Here, the display features the beauty of bigleaf hydrangea with tendrils of summer blooms and foliage, including blackberry sprigs and Blue Pirouette clematis, winding through the blooms and offering a wonderfully untamed feel.
This painterly arrangement is composed of serious summer stunners – including ‘Juliet’ long-stemmed David Austin roses and dinner plate-sized ‘Café Au Lait’ dahlias – in the prettiest shades of blush and white.
When hosting overnight visitors, deck out the guest room with a bouquet of vibrant friendly flowers – eye-catching fuchsia blooms, such as dahlias, calla lilies and unfurled fern fronds, will do the trick.
Summer is high time for flowers, since options at the market are seemingly endless. Don’t limit yourself – go lush and grand. Anchor oriental lilies, hydrangeas, love-lies-bleeding and variegated hosta in an urn, and then mix in a few apple tree boughs. A few apples scattered around the base of the urn evoke an abundant summer harvest.
Create a whimsical welcome suited to both formal and casual entryways. Mingle greens – quirky Foxtail lilies, Boston fern fronds, Lime Rickey smooth hydrangea and heuchera – with sherbet-coloured blooms – old cabbage roses and ‘Juliet’ long-stemmed David Austin roses – in a shallow fluted vessel.
Your guests will love these healthy and delicious brownies.
Delicious and nutritious beets are the secret ingredient in these dark chocolate brownies.
1 Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter an 8" square baking pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.
2 Stir together the flour and cinnamon in a small bowl and set aside.
3 Using an electric mixer, beat the melted butter with the brown sugar in a large bowl. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating constantly; add the chocolate chips and vanilla extract and beat just until blended.
4 Add the flour and cinnamon mixture and beat until the batter is smooth and glossy, about 1 minute. Add the beets and stir through until the mixture is thoroughly blended.
5 Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan. Bake on the middle rack of the oven until a knife inserted in the centre of the pan comes out clean, about 30 minutes.
6 Cool completely before turning out the brownies and cutting them into
squares to serve.
Prep & cook time: 1 hour
Makes: 16 squares
Image: Maya Visnyei
Boasting a heart shape and a delightful blend of chocolate and fruit, these mini cakes are begging to be made and enjoyed this Valentine's Day.
We love the pairing of chocolate and fruit, so when this combination of sweet chocolate and slightly tart cranberry came together in the form of these adorable two-bite cakes, we knew it was a dessert bound to set hearts aflutter.
1 For the cranberry swirl, bring the cranberries, water and sugar to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the cranberries pop and the mixture thickens to resemble jam, about 15 minutes. Let cool completely. In a bowl, beat together the cranberry mixture, cream cheese and flour until smooth; set aside.
2 For the mini-chocolate cakes, preheat the oven to 350F. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the chocolate and butter until smooth. Let cool for 10 minutes. Whisk in the sugar and vanilla, followed by the eggs, one at a time, until combined. Stir in the flour, cocoa powder and salt. Scrape 1/3 cup of the batter into each of eight greased 3"-wide mini-heart-shaped pans. Drop small spoonfuls of the cranberry mixture in the batter, gently swirling it with a skewer. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean. Let cool completely before drizzling with melted chocolate.
Image: Donna Griffith / Styling: Morgan Lindsay
Thanks to a designer’s masterful eye, this modest modern kitchen serves as a lesson in making the most of the space you have.
If not precisely planned, a tiny kitchen can lead to chaos of all sorts: appliances dominating countertops, overstuffed cabinets that barely shut, even cookware stashed in the oven. The trouble with this Toronto couple’s 235-square-foot cooking quarters came down to its awkward U-shaped layout, which divided the kitchen into two distinct zones: a prep area and an eating nook.
To maximize the kitchen’s storage capacity, Veronica traded in awkwardly positioned uppers for glossy white and oak-look cabinetry that extends to the ceiling. “The original cupboards left all this untouched space above them, so it was important to reclaim that and take advantage of the 10-foot-high ceiling,” she says. The homeowners now use the extra storage to stow away off-season items and other specialty kitchenware.
The pre-reno space featured a pantry that protruded into the nearby hallway. “It resembled a front hall closet and felt very removed from the kitchen,” says Veronica. So the designer got creative. To better incorporate a new pantry into the room, she had custom floor-to-ceiling cabinetry installed in the same spot and then had matching fake doors added to the bump-out wall directly beside it. The clever addition looks like a large unit that was always part of the kitchen.
Though 24-inch-deep cabinets constitute the majority of this kitchen’s storage, Veronica chose to recess the doors above one countertop to add depth and function, ensuring the prep surface is accessible. Incorporating whitewashed-wood-look doors also lends warmth to the predominately white space. “All-white kitchens can come off as cold,” she says. “Introducing wooden elements is one of the best and easiest ways to increase interest.”
Instead of limiting counter space to the kitchen’s cooking zone, the designer had sleek quartz countertops installed along an entire wall, extending into the eat-in area. “This design choice reinforces the idea that it’s one integrated space,” she says. The shallow countertop underneath the TV also acts as a sideboard thanks to the built-in cupboards below, where the homeowners store everything from formal dishware to electronics.
The kitchen’s eating nook is one of the most well-loved spots in the home. It’s where the couple sips coffee every morning and retreats after a long day. Keeping this in mind, the designer didn’t want to be constrained by choosing only compact furniture. She instead used large cushioned dining chairs that “encourage the homeowners to stay longer,” she says. The round aged-elm dining table balances the look and is easy to navigate around.
The original U-shaped kitchen layout impeded traffic flow and separated the cooking hub from the eat-in area. The new linear layout boasts a modern free-standing island equipped with an undermount sink, which allows the couple to move around and entertain guests with ease while cooking.
While outfitting the small space, Veronica was careful to create cohesion. The existing maple flooring was swapped out for the same stained oak that’s carried throughout the rest of the main floor. The new accent cabinetry mimics the look of the dining table. Even the cabinetry hardware mirrors the chandelier’s black framework. These repeated decorative details ultimately tie the room together.
"I wanted there to be huge visual impact when you entered the kitchen, but I also didn't want to compromise the view to the backyard garden," says the designer of her decision to add the stick-like chandelier to the eat-in area. "It was important for the light fixture to bring something unexpected to the space," she adds. "A drum shade, for instance, would have fallen flat. It would've been too predictable."