A few flowers–and Canada Blooms–will cure the winter mopes

I mope a bit at this time of year, waiting for more daylight and my plant fix. But supermarket flowers help me keep sane. Sometimes $5 worth of less-than-perfect tulips plonked into my best vase and set on the kitchen island will do the trick.

kitchen tulips

Other times I splurge with a few stems from the florist, like these pink peonies cut short and jammed into a vase. They smell good, too.

peonies vase

My depression was alleviated somewhat in late January by Canada Blooms‘ media preview of this year’s show, which runs March 14  to 23 at the Direct Energy Centre and arrives none to soon for winter-weary Torontonians. For me, the highlight of the afternoon (besides the fabulous appetizers provided by the InterContinental, the host hotel) was the Bouquet Battle, wherein five local floral designers were given eight minutes and a tub of exotic and not-so flowers to make a spectacular arrangement. Sometimes they moved so fast they blurred the lens of Helen Battersby’s  camera. The always-generous and gracious Helen lent me the rest of the photos on this blog, by the way, and I sincerely thank her for them. Her colourful and informative blog, Toronto Gardens, is well worth your attention. An intense  Todd Kjargaard, below, moves like the wind as he pulls together his creation. His arrangement is shown on my landing page.

I muscled my way into the first row to watch the proceedings and guess what? I could smell the plant material. It was heaven, the fix I needed. Frankly, I didn’t care what the arrangements looked like as long as they smelled like spring.

But they were amazing –original and creative.  Nothing plonked into a vase here. Bright, almost clashing colours.  Amaryllis blooms were laid on their sides, their long-hollow stems out of the water. Who would think to do that?  It goes against the accepted ideas  of flower arranging. And how do they stay alive?  My guess is that Giancarlo Cianciotta used some kind of florists’  water receptacles set into their stems–all put together within the time limit, of course.

Giancarlo's foral design

The stems of some flowers used were incorporated into the winning arrangement, below, by Jennifer Harvey.

floral arr. w/stems

Now that’s recycling, especially when it looks this good.

These were inspiring arrangements, but so was the bouquet on the Toronto Botanical Garden‘s honey display (the TBG houses several hives and promotes the idea of urban honey gathering). The TBG had a sort of plonked arrangement, but it combined tulips, a few hyacinth, some flowering branches  and some pussy willows.

I could do this! I went home inspired.

TBG arrangment


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