Image: Donna Griffith
Elevate your decor with these fresh floral combinations.
Stretching over 45 acres, the flower fields at La Primavera Farms in Dundas, Ont., are at the height of their stunning yearly performance. The expanses of green take turns bursting with the colour of varied blooms, including sunflowers, peonies, roses and dahlias. Some of the flowers are destined for wedding displays, some for stands at the Toronto Flower Market and local farmers’ markets, but most will sell to florists throughout the region and ultimately hundreds of homes.
“Flowers transform an interior. They’re a parade of delight that makes even regular days feel special,” says Joanne Feddes, the proud third-generation owner of La Primavera, which her grandparents started as a dairy farm in 1954 (her father ventured into flowers in 1996, and Joanne expanded upon his work when her turn came in 2003). It’s a good thing Joanne is passionate about what she does, because it is certainly a labour of love. “April through November, it’s a 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. job, and then some – there’s more work to do after supper,” she says. Filling the demand for fresh blooms from spring to fall means weekly planting, and with growth comes fertilizing and lots and lots of weeding. But perhaps the most masterful part is in the timing: To ensure the flowers are at their freshest, they must be picked and chilled at the last possible moment before being sold.
Challenging as it may be, this is work that unquestionably adds up to breathtaking splendour: Whether adorning a grand hall or a kitchen table, the blossoms Joanne grows deliver pop and delight. “Put flowers in every room,” she suggests. They take your entryway from serviceable to grand, your kitchen from humdrum to heavenly and your bedroom from utilitarian to ultra-luxe. Consider buying weekly bouquets from your local farmers’ market or start a cutting garden of your own. Think of it as digging your way to a year of ever-changing decor!
“Bright blooms declare summer is here,” says flower farmer Joanne Feddes. To grow this combination, plant ‘Hot Mix’ gomphrena, ‘Maarn’ dahlias and ‘Pink Pokers’ statice. Cut and arrange to brighten a bedroom or entryway.
Wrap 'n' roll
“To create your own farmers’ market arrangement, choose three or five show blooms and then add filler,” suggests Joanne (left), pictured with floral designer Katie Blythe. Here, ‘Plum’ sunflowers and white strawflowers are clustered with ‘Dara’ bishop’s weed.
The cool tones of blue, mauve and green look fresh on a tabletop or in the bedroom. This market bouquet combines blue scabiosa, ‘Dara’ bishop’s weed, viburnum greens and lisianthus.
Editor's tip: Delicate ‘Dara’ bishop’s weed fluffs up bouquets and adds a lacy look.
Forget them nots
Named for their colour, ‘Café au Lait’ dahlias (left), which have dinner plate-sized heads and five-foot stems, can be cut for dramatic displays. This artemisia and eucalyptus (right) will be blended with dahlias and pastel-hued roses. “Filler foliage lends texture and balances colour, so be sure to include it in your plantings,” says Joanne.
Imagine oversized bouquets of ethereal blossoms in your living or dining room. Lacecap hydrangeas (left) offer an abundance of delicate petals in a ballet-worthy palette. These mauve-toned plants (right) actually hail from the carrot family. “They’re called ‘Dara’ bishop’s weed, and they’re my favourite for fluffing bouquets and adding a lacy look,” says Joanne.
Coming up roses
“Growing roses is a great way to make sure you always have some at home,” says Joanne. Shown here: orange ‘Jump for Joy,’ mauve ‘Koko Loko’ and pink ‘Hermione’.
Editor's tip: “Everything goes with roses. Slip them into crystal bud vases and put them all over the house.”