If you’re looking for flowers, don’t pick them from your neighbour’s garden. Unless you have permission, your neighbour will chase you down the street with a broom. The same goes for public parks – those beautifully manicured lawns and colourful patches of flora ain’t cheap, and you didn’t pay to put ’em in so just back away. And we get why you might go to these lengths, because beautiful arrangements can cost an arm and a leg, and so many convenience and grocery store bouquets are just not that pretty. So, we picked the brain of some experts. Toronto Flower Market founder Natasa Kajganic and her colleague Natalie Petozzi know a lot about blooms of all kinds, and they’ve given us the scoop on the best bets for $15 or less. So, here’s what you need if you’re looking for…
Kajganic and Petozzi recommend tag teaming these purchases with a friend if you can. You can really get a variety if there’s two people picking and you’re both in it to share the wealth. “Grab a few stems of individual gerberas, and mix with purple iris, orange zinnias, pink daisies, red celosia and some pink and yellow snapdragons,” they tell us. “And throw in some white or purple statice for filler.”
“If you want a scented bouquet, but don’t want to spend $25 on only peonies, we suggest looking at purchasing one peony bloom (they open to be quite large!),” and mixing it with stock (which aren’t as pricey & smell delicious),” says Kajganic. “And add filler, such as spray roses, dahlia, listantus and/or freesia. These aren’t scented, but give you a beautiful arrangement to stick your nose into for a lovely fragrance.”
“If you are someone that likes keeping it simple and keeping to one flower variety, our personal favourite is the lily,” says the Toronto Flower Market duo. “You can purchase scented and unscented, [but] just double check which is which before you buy. The best part of only getting a couple bouquets of lilies is that you don’t hurt your wallet, and you get abundance as they slowly burst one by one and fill your vase beautifully over time.” While purchasing the flowers might be your only concern, they also stress the importance of a good arrangement. “Just remember that when going for the minimal look of a single flower, either go with one stem in a vase or the complete opposite – many, many, many stems.
“Sometimes you see things at the market and aren’t quite sure what to do with the variety,” we’re told. “But you are intrigued by their uniqueness, so always ask the vendor for tips! Sometimes the pairing of just a couple things is enough to make a statement.” Kajganic and Petozzi recommend amaranthus, because it “is a beautiful, weeping cut-stemmed flower that looks more like a branch from a tree.” To go with your amaranthus, they recommend sunflowers. Another unusual-looking flower is the Spider chrysanthemum, which is a variety that’s “sparse with skinny petals that explode from the centre.” They recommend embracing the non-traditional if you’re going there, and to partner with other interestingly shaped flowers like allium, the calla lily and some type of filler.
Woo, that’s a lot of flowers. But with a bit of savvy, you can have gorgeous arrangements and not go broke getting them. Check out a local market (if you’re in Toronto, the next Toronto Flower Market is Saturday, June 13) for some or all of these options, and you’ll have beauty all around you all spring and summer.