Jocelyn’s wedding colours were cool neutrals, champagne and black.  She was thinking about white or neutral colours for her bridemaid’s bouquets as well, until her Mom found Dutch Mill Flower Shop.  “Mom stumbled across her website and since she and my Oma are Dutch, it was only natural that she set up a meeting with Janice for her ideas.  Janice was great.  The bridesmaids’ dresses were champagne with a black lace overlay; based on that Janice suggested and solidified the idea of a colour pop.  The deep red roses are classic – they were really sharp and really popped.  And so simple, six roses per bouquet.”
The classic red roses were echoed with the boutonnieres for the groom and groomsmen.

A Broach Bouquet

Jocelyn’s stunning bridal bouquet flowed from her love of all things vintage. “ A friend in Waterloo coordinated and had everyone we knew collecting broaches within their families.  My Maid of Honour’s Mom is very crafty and she gave me a chance to design it to see if I would like it.  A month later I saw the photos and was blown away at how perfect it was.  It’s a forever keepsake for me now.”

Tropical Flower Arrangements

Jocelyn’s Dad is Jamaican, so tropical flowers were on his want list.  It was agreed that these were to be stand out pieces. Jocelyn didn’t even see the arrangements until she got to the church and was getting married.    
“We used two huge tropical displays at the front of the church—Janice pulled them all together in the red and burgundy flowers.  I told Janice that I trusted her and gave her free reign and it paid off.  After the service we brought the tropical arrangements to the reception venue and placed one at the entryway with the guest book and the other inside by the head table and podium, repurposed.  We’re Dutch, so I appreciate things like that!”

Vintage Rustic Theme

“My theme was Vintage Rustic so we included old windows, three old ladders, mason jar candles, old black and white photos of our family’s weddings for a classic old vintage feel.  We did a lot of the decor ourselves. The overall feeling was warm and inviting.  There were interesting elements for the guests to connect with.  There was a lot of thought put into it also by my parents and my husband’s parents. The finishing touches were long stem red roses throughout.”  
“It was the best day ever; we woke up and it was the perfect fall day.  We got engaged in November and were married in October, so the planning was just under a year.” The reception was at St. George’s Hall in Waterloo.  The photographer was Megan Kreller.  

Can you remember a time your Mom did something just for you?  Sometimes we forget, since as kids we always had our hands out for one thing or another.  Okay, sometimes as grown-ups, too!  

Mothers have to be practical.  How else to get the kids dressed, fed, out the door, throw in some laundry, get to work on time, plan a 30 minute meal before car pool--you know the story.  

Moms don't stop being a mother when their children grow up.   
I recently read a blog about a new young mom who was so worried about everything.  Years passed and the worry never ended, so she finally asked her mom (who was worried about her daughter) when it would end.  The answer is, once you have children, never.  It's the Mother DNA.

The popular Facebook posting is funny.  "Give your Mom a margarita for Mother's Day.  After all, you're the reason she's drinking! "  

Seriously, though.  It's time to pamper that special lady.    

Whatever you do, don't be practical on Mothers' Day.

Don't buy your Mom something she's going to buy for herself. Like a hanging basket.  A pedicure.  A hair cut.  A frozen lasagne.

Or.  A gift certificate--unless it's amazing, such as a weekend in Paris--please don't do it.  

If you're stuck for an idea, just ask her yourself.  

How to create a stand-out gift for her personality. 

Flowers are the number one gift for Mother's Day.  Now you know why!  

Here's how to create a gift she'll always remember.  

First you're going to go shopping for the most excellent vase or creative thoughtful container that you can find.  

For inspiration, google 'vase images'.      

Now.  What's her personality?  Find a vase to match.  

Is she: 

Youthful?  A one-coloured vase brimming with spring flowers and gerbera daisies.

Quirky?   A funky vase with one single fabulously unusual flower dressed with greens.   Have you seen those vases that hang on the wall, or suction onto a window or mirror?  

Elegant?  Find a gorgeous cut crystal vase that she'll cherish and reuse.  Fill with an exotic assortment of all white flowers, or, a mixed white and green arrangement.

Artsy?  Sky's the limit.  Go with the most interesting exotic flower you see in the shop, and ask how it will look dressed up.

Warm and Welcoming (like warm apple pie)?   Old fashioned hydrangeas, peonies and freesia.

Holistic?  She will appreciate an aloe potted in an earth friendly container.  

Hostess with the most-est?   A table centrepiece. Or a gorgeous bowl that's filled with stems entwined, or, water and blooms, for example, that she can reuse as a serving dish.  Talk to us!  We'll help you with ideas.

Is she Earthy?  Clay vase with a potted plant.

DIY-er?  Crafty?  She'd love a container that you've re-purposed into a vase for her.

Memory & Keepsake Collector?  Create your own vase.  Paint it.  Glue it.  Use your imagination.  

Well, you get the idea, yes?  

Next step: bring your vase to us.  We'll fill it with the appropriate theme flowers and/or greenery.  We'll even deliver if for you on Mothers' Day, too!  We have a great selection of Mother's Day cards in the shop.  If you're opting for delivery, do NOT forget to bring us a card with the vase, or get one here.  Mothers love cards.  I repeat.  Mothers love cards.

Pampering ideas for all ages.

Chocolate locally crafted.

Dark chocolate truffles are not only an irresistible indulgence, it's another one that no one buys for them self.
It's such a treat, she'll take time to savour each one.  

We carry Esta Chocolate Truffles, Waterloo chocolatiers featuring individually wrapped Truffles. 

Let us know if you like to add some to your order.  


Sunday May 11th Deliveries

Fancy brunch or dinner out.

If it's possible to plan a time for just the two of you, that is a wow like you can't imagine.  Really, it is.  Giving your mom your undivided attention is a real gift that she won't soon forget.  

Of course a gathering of the entire brood, with all generations is also wonderful.  

Let us know if we can deliver your flowers to the restaurant to kick the wow factor even higher!
We will be doing one delivery run between 10am and 2 pm.
Some brides know exactly what they want for their wedding day and Melanie is one such bride. And everything she wanted is what she got -- and she couldn’t be more pleased, especially with how much she enjoyed the entire journey.   “I feel like I started planning the wedding when I met my husband. Don’t tell him that! But the official planning process lasted 14 months. I felt like I could have planned it in only a few months because it was so much fun to pick out everything that I loved.”
Melanie has a very distinct style- clean and crisp.  She’s drawn to neutral colours, loving classic and traditional looks.  She knew from the start that her wedding would be a total black and white theme, which allows for the details to really stand out.  She was oh so right.  Indeed, her bridesmaids’ bouquets matched her own, an unusual decision.

“Because I like things to be very symmetrical and neutral I thought it would look really great to have all of the same flowers for all of the girls. I didn’t think that the flowers needed to be different from each other to stand out.  I love how it looks in the photos to have everyone’s flowers the same, as they really stood out in front of black dresses. “

What are the odds that your mother is allergic to one of your favourite flowers?  In this case, the peony, that full, luscious beauty. “My flowers are peonies and hydrangeas, and we had to come up with another option for the peonies. Janice was the one to suggest roses to go with the hydrangeas which really gave them some depth. They look so healthy and lush.”

It’s interesting that while the flowers were front and centre of this wedding ceremony, Melanie herself never actually met her florist, Janice.  “My work hours are pretty unpredictable and I work in Toronto so my Mom went to see Janice a few times to talk about the look of the flowers and then she sent me pictures. My Mom was in the same Chamber of Commerce group with Janice a few years ago in Kitchener, so it was my Mom’s idea to contact Janice as our florist.  I’m so glad she did!” 
“I would recommend Janice in a second! I was so blown away by the size of the bouquets, the centerpieces, and the details and care she put into every arrangement. She was really easy to work with and I wish I had an event to plan with her again.”

Speaking of centrepieces—in a word, they were outstanding.  Melanie wanted the flowers to be the absolute focus and they were.  She found the extraordinarily tall glass vases at a wholesaler.  Then she left the rest up to Janice.  “I absolutely loved how they turned out. The flower arrangements were HUGE. I was so blown away when I walked into the room and saw everything put together. There were 12 centerpieces in total, which is a lot of flowers, and they suited the venue perfectly.”

“I think that planning a wedding takes a lot of trust in the vendors that are brought on board to help out. To me it is the most important day and you want it to go perfectly yet you are working with people you haven’t even met. I was so happy to have worked with Dutch Mill Flowers.”   

Janice met the challenge of the venue without even seeing it in advance.  Plus, Janice not only oversees every flower detail, she personally delivers and sets up everything day of, so nothing is left to chance.  

Wedding planning always includes the stress of finding just the right location, and Melanie had quite the search ahead of her.  “I found the venue hunt to be the most difficult part. We went from Niagara on the Lake to Toronto, to Vaughan and pretty much all over the GTA looking for the right space.

There are a lot of venues to look at but nothing modern and clean and with a parking lot for guests. In Toronto there is a lack of parking at all venues. I really wanted something neutral (of course) and this was just the place. When I went to visit The Doctor’s House I fell in love instantly. A small church on the property set in a beautiful garden, a reception room on the same property with hardwood floors, white walls and a wall of doors that opened to our own private space. Since we got married in June it was really great to be able to spend time outdoors and indoors with all of our guests. I also wanted to find a venue that made food in house.”

Melanie and her husband forwent the traditional bouquet toss and garter belt toss at their event.  “We really liked the flow of the evening -- as dinner finished it went right into dancing and never stopped. I don’t think guests miss the bouquet toss when you have an open bar!”

Since all of Melanie’s floral budget went into the bouquets and centrepieces, rather than a duplicate bouquet or corsages, there were a lot of blooms to make people happy after the ceremony and dinner.  “The morning after the wedding a few family members took some of the flowers and we filled two vans with the rest. We brought the flowers to an old age home in hopes that they would enjoy the flowers after us. If I wasn’t leaving for my honeymoon the next day I would have wanted to fill my house with all the beautiful flowers.” 

"I will always remember the beautiful flowers Janice made for us."

Gorgeous wedding photography by Bryan Capporicci who says  "I believe that photography is about people, relationships, and the moments that they share together."

There’s a little bit of magic and mystery to any wedding, isn’t there?  It certainly was the case for Tenesha and her groom, Kirk.

Before meeting her flower designer, they only knew two things.  Her colour was blue.  His flower was orchid. 

Tenesha had the usual jitters meeting Janice, at Dutch Mill Flower Shop.  Would she be too expensive?  Would her flowers wither on her big day?  How would she decide?

Luckily, Tenesha met some ladies at Sophie’s Bridal Boutique , who highly recommended Dutch Mill Flower Shop for florals.  That’s how she found her florist, Janice.   

Before the initial meeting, she had no theme per se.  “I knew what colour I wanted to use, and of course the orchids for Kirk, but how they would be used was a mystery to me.”

Then she sat down for a consultation with Janice.  “After meeting with Janice, with her outgoing personality and incredible flower knowledge, I listened to her suggestions and had so many to choose from.”

 “ I had no idea besides the colour and the flower...

but Janice showed me examples 

and from there it blossomed from an 

outstanding bridal bouquet to 

equally stunning bridesmaid’s bouquets 

and groomsmen boutonnieres.”

“Almost any suggestion Janice made to help, I welcomed.  It was true genius what she came up with, and she worked with my fiancé to make it all happen the exact way that I wanted.”

As every bridal couple knows the bouquets are just one aspect of the ceremony.  At this wedding, the table centres became stand alone pieces of art. 

“The table centre pieces were simply amazing.  

Tall elegant round vases, filled with water and two stems of submerged blue orchids. Each vase also featured submerged white LED lights attached to the bottom of the vase with beautiful clear crystals.  

The tall vase itself was placed on a beautiful prismatic mirror, with two smaller vases with floating candles placed either side, each with different shades of blue.” 

 It was magic.  

“We gave away the table centres at the end of the evening and everyone just loved them.”


 “In the end, I did not throw away my bridal bouquet because it was just too beautiful.  Happily, we did make white rose corsages for the flower girls, mothers of the bride and groom and grandmother of the bride and groom.”  Lovely.

 Wedding Photography by Katie Niemiec photography

Is there anything more romantic than red roses?  
Actually we think so.  But we also really adore roses and we do have an exquisite assortment for Valentine’s Day.   Deep ruby reds are the best sellers; hard on their heels are the sweet pinks and creamy whites.

This is the day to splurge on delivery, too.  I’d have something delivered to the school or a friend’s office, and man oh man, it’s always unforgettable.  Best $9 I’ve ever spent.

There are loads of ideas here, for your beloved, your friend, your mom, your child.
Let's begin with the Show Stopper.

Romantic Valentine's Day Package

You can have your rose and your orchids and your chocolates and candlelight too—the epitome of romance all in one package. 

Best of all, we’re delivering it to you, wherever you may be dining on Friday February 14th.  All you have to do is book your reservation and let us know where you’ll be.  Now that’s a ‘Wow’.   ( And yours to take home and enjoy for a couple more weeks.)  $50 includes taxes AND delivery.

P.S.  If you’re planning an intimate dinner at home, just be sure to have this delivered a bit earlier so your table is set and ready.   Layer with some more candles if you like and dim the lights.  Sigh. 


Red Hot Sophistication

Your flower bouquet doesn’t have to be a dozen roses.  Red tropicals are positively seductive.  

Red roses can be intermingled in your bouquet as well.   

Or keep it simple with a trio of well dressed roses in a vase.  Most women I know find a single red rose to be almost more romantic than a whole lot of them.  So add one with an unusual mix and check out that big smile.  


The elegance of orchids cannot be overstated this time of year.  In every class and style, there’s one that’s waiting for your loved one to love.  You can choose a multi-coloured bouquet of orchids for a splash of beauty.  


Go completely out of the ordinary.  Choose bright and delightful.  How long have you been married?  30 years?  Go for 30 blooms, such as this.  Stunning from any angle.

Friends & Family on Valentine's 

Friends and family I always try to remember this time of year, especially if it’s not the very best year for them. 

Need something neutral for that great gal pal, or for a man? 

The anthurium, with its heart shaped leaves and flowers , transcends the spectrum of relationships, plus if you choose a plant or hydroponic it lives forever.  Great in an office, as is the long lasting orchid bouquet. 

If I want drama, my go to is the Lobster Claw  Heliconia. It’s up there in the pricey range.   If I want pure tropical, I dress up a single bird of paradise with grasses, $20 delivered.

If you have the time, drop off a heartfelt card to be included in the delivery for that personal touch.   If you can, do this days or a week in advance so you’re not waiting in line.  Valentine’s is the busiest day for florists. 

Don't forget the children

I love how the little ones make out cards for everyone in the class.  I dislike the middle years when they have to wait to see if anyone from the school is sending them something.   In that case, I send along a ‘secret admirer’ gift.  Just drop it off or have it delivered to the front desk and ask that it be taken to the class at the same time as the others.   Something small, of course.   When your child comes home, admit immediately that it was you, in case they’re harbouring a crush on someone.  The secret admirer bit was so they wouldn’t be embarrassed by getting something from their parents.  Urgh.   

Chocolate locally crafted. 

Dark chocolate truffles are not only an irresistible indulgence, it’s another one that no one buys for themself.   It’s such a treat.   We carry Esta Chocolate Truffles, Waterloo Chocolatiers featuring individually wrapped truffles.  Let us know if you’d like to add some to your order.  Bags at $3.50 and $5.50, 
or $7.50 for a heart shaped box of heart shaped truffles.

What are we forgetting?  What are your ideas?  

Ahhhh the romance of it all...and the hope for all things perfect on that very best of days of all--the wedding day. 

Oftentimes a bride does not have a very big window in which to plan her perfect day and Jasmine was no exception. "The wedding planning started the day after our engagement and lasted exactly 9 months.  It was certainly busy in that time frame, but we were able to pull it off!"

With hundreds of wedding details to be decided, Jasmine already had some ideas in mind when it came to her bouquets, and Hydrangeas were top of her list, despite her concern for their need for lots of water. 

"Janice was very approachable and easy to work with --really helpful and providing advice as to what would work best.  She was probably one of the best vendors we dealt with for the entire wedding process. "

"When Janice asked what I loved the answer was easy. 

 Hydrangeas!  Hydrangeas are my favorite flower. I just love how round and full they are.   Just beautiful.  I really wasn't sure about what else, but Janice somehow knew what I wanted and provided a palette of options that really worked for me.  I really wanted to work with someone who was well educated on flowers; someone who would sincerely consult with us, as opposed to just trying to sell to us.

We hadn't really decided on a colour theme per se.  But since it was a day time/summer wedding we wanted to keep the colours light and fresh. I've always liked bright green, and blue so we tried to incorporate those colours in the flowers." 

"Our nieces, our flower girls, were aged 8 and 6 at the time of the wedding and both very petite. 

There were a couple of reasons to have different bouquets for them; mainly to distinguish them as the flower girls as opposed to the bridesmaids.  And we chose a smaller bouquet that was more proportionate to their size. 

Also, the flowers we chose were more playful looking than the hydrangea and rose arrangements. 

And again, it reflected my love of fresh and bright green florals, as Janice then reflected in the table centres." 

"We kept the center pieces fairly simple. Our venue was very natural looking, so we tried to keep things simple yet, elegant. Additionally, since we had hand painted birdhouses we didn't want something too big. After the reception, our MC announced that the person who was served their meal 'last' was the winner of the center piece flowers and vase."

"For the high style ceremony arrangements, we actually saw these in Janice's portfolio on her website. We really liked the look, and they were a perfect size to fit on top of the pedestals in the chapel."
"We had looked at quite a few venues in the KW area, but nothing compared to this.. The natural setting with the Grand River in the background was beautiful, yet we would still have the modern touches of a newly renovated facility."
"The corsages were also made by Janice. We had them for the bridal party and immediate family. Janice also had three options for the ladies corsages - pin, magnet or wrist-let. 
I found out about Janice because a customer of mine recommended Dutch Mill Flowers. She had partnered with Janice for her wedding. Also, another friend who works at the local University gets arrangements from Dutch Mill for events/graduation. Janice's suggestions were very helpful and we appreciate her helping with our special day." 

An Extra Note:  "Since we were giving away the centerpiece flowers with the vases, I did purchase the vases from Janice.  After the wedding, I think I had 7 vases left, and didn't really have any use for them at home. I mentioned to Janice that I could sell them back to her and she accepted. This was really helpful."

Nadia of Inspired Landscapes and Janice of Dutch Mill Flower Shop
I’ve always wondered how myriad homes are magically transformed each year for the past 12 years of the hugely successful Holiday Tour of Homes in support of HopeSpring.  It’s truly a Christmas smorgasbord, designed to delight all of your senses in every way. 

This year we zoom in on a gorgeous original farmhouse on Lexington Road in Waterloo, renovated to blend the old with new.  It’s clear from the moment you walk up the drive that no detail has been ignored in regards to curb appeal - from the exposed aggregate front entry walkway and curb lining the driveway, to the unique focal point gardens.  

Here the homeowner is the exterior designer. Nadia worked with interior designer Francis Boychuk of Lavender & Monet, and Janice Jamieson of Dutch Mill Flower Shop.  Settle in for a nostalgic and romantic viewing and meet three incredible designers.

Nadia Prioreschi, Inspired Landscapes, Exterior Designer

This is not a home to be rushed into.  There are simply too many outdoor arrangements to savour. 

Nadia Prioreschi is the Principal Designer of Inspired Landscapes and in this case she’s the homeowner as well. “My father, Mario Prioreschi, has been battling cancer for 15 years. HopeSpring has been providing support for both he and my mother, so when asked if I would consider having my home on the tour it seemed a great way to support such a worthy organization.”

I asked Nadia if she had a theme in mind. “My inspiration for the various outdoor vignettes reflected quite simply my love of older elements mixed with modern touches.  

For example, my front door tall planters had a very modern feel, from the fibreglass planters, stainless steel poles and mesh spheres, to the gem garland used as lights.”

“On the opposite side of the door, the low round GRFC concrete urns had a very old world feel, especially with lit candles in carriage lanterns.” 
"As far as the green material for all my arrangements, I love it really full and to have a lot of variety and textures, plus foliage variances; boxwood, oregonia, BC cedar and magnolia leaves are some of my favourite choices for creating a full layered effect.  On a cold wintry grey day I look out at those arrangements and it is such a strong contrast."
“In other areas, such as the side door, I tried to integrate some of the decorative elements used by interior designer, Frances Boychuk of Lavender & Monet, by using wood, fruit and burlap; these are some of the elements I borrowed from her.”

Janice Jamieson, Dutch Mill Flower Shop, Floral Design Interior

Janice Jamieson, owner of Dutch Mill Flower Shop, created the interior floral arrangements, which Nadia calls the ‘jewels of the rooms’. Janice has been involved with this fundraiser since its beginnings 12 years ago, for altruistic and personal reasons.  “When Cancer touches those close to home, it’s only natural to want to give back to others who are struggling with the disease.
Plus I just love meeting the homeowners, who are really going out of their way to be a part of this fundraiser. Some of them are my customers who have requested that I be their florist, so that’s a wonderful compliment.”

Table placements by Frances Boychuk, Monet & Lavender.
"A wonderful part of the process is working with and gleaning ideas from the other designers.  We meet with the home owner, and the interior designer determines the 'theme'.  I get more details such as colour accents, and try to design with that in mind.  It's really satisfying to allow my creativity free reign."  
This arrangement, in the kitchen, is a WOW.
Would you have guessed powder room for this?
Love the splayed out leaves on the left.

Frances Boychuk, Lavender & Monet, Interior Designer

Interior Designer, Frances Boychuk, Principal of Lavender & Monet, shone. This is her fourth home including her participation in the Cornwall Christmas Tour before relocating here. " It was a great opportunity to raise funds for HopeSpring, and to have fun.

"I generally like to design the house around the homeowner's taste and the style of the home.  Nadia's century home didn't need a lot of fussy things in it.  Rather, natural elements that can create a nostalgic atmosphere."

How does she come up with these unique offerings, such as the birch rounds on the coffee table? 

"Actually, it's not hard.  It's like putting together a wardrobe.  If you're walking around a clothing store, you pull scarves and blouses together etc.  Finally you come up with an outfit.  I do the same thing when I'm looking for ideas for people's tours.  I browse images online that have nothing to do with Christmas and then I bring it together to make it a unique look for a client.  It's really about researching and putting your fingerprint on it.  Inspiration can come from anywhere! "

Don't you love how she makes it sound so easy?  Un huh.  
ROMANCE. Bedding from Luxe-Linen Designer Linens.
" I think the more authentic you are in your house when you decorate, the more honest and appealing the designs become.  I always use what the homeowner has in their collection in terms of dinnerware, or old nostalgic items like old typewriters.  People are so happy that they have beautiful things that they didn't even realize!  I also use everyday fruit with silver platters or bowls.  That combined with fresh greens...perfection."
"Explore how far fresh greens can go in a space when decorating for the holidays.  I LOVE people could probably tell.  It drapes beautifully over things like mirrors and headboards perfectly and makes it look like the house was kissed by Christmas!"
"The Christmas Tour comes alive with candles!  Any dark corners come to life with colour and candle light.  Tubs and sinks are dark areas that need help when entertaining guests."
After soaking up such beautiful Christmas eye candy and learning from these designers I decided to try my hand at Holiday 'designing'.  There are many good reasons you will see no photos of my attempts.  

More links here for even more inspiration

The HopeSpring Holiday Tour of Homes is always the second weekend (Friday evening and Saturday) in November.  You can view their galley photos of the 2013 tour for more ideas!  The event photography for the tour was snapped by Adamski Tomasz Photography.

Nadia's home and Frances Boychuk's designs were also featured in The Record.

More about Inspired Landscapes.  Nadia and her husband/partner each had their own companies; hers in design, his in Decorative Concrete Construction.  They decided to blend their talents and it's now a one-stop-shop providing clients with a stress free landscape installation.  Their clients often book their vacation around an install so they can return to their beautiful design.  

Nadia admits with a laugh that she did buy all the linens from Luxe-Linen Designer Linens.  Honestly, can you blame her?
More about Lavender & Monet.  Interior Designer Frances Boychuk is also the President of the Association of Registered Interior Designers of Ontario, Grand Valley Chapter. (ARIDO GVC)

Frances didn't even see the other houses on the tour.  "I make it a rule not to view other people's work.  I like to be inspired in my own way, and keep focused only on what I do.  Design can be overwhelming and there are so many ways to be inspired.  I get inspired from traveling and talking to people."    

View her line of furniture and flowers at where you'll find old world elegance infusing new world style.  

Here's what Frances says about Janice's floral designs.  " She definitely has a phenomenal flair that is displayed perfectly with how she matches her materials and accessories."  

This article was written by Denise Wamsley,  Photography of exterior designs by Photography of interior florals by Dutch Mill Flower Shop.  Photography of Interior Design by Frances Boychuk, Lavender and Monet.
Who doesn't love some Christmas inspiration early on in the season?  I sure do and I also love to know what’s up and coming from the designers (whomever or wherever they may be).

I had a sneak preview at the Holiday Tour of Homes for Hopespring.  I immediately tuned into this season’s trend of all things outside coming in.  

A recent shopping trek to the wholesalers with Janice cemented the encompassing theme of all things woodland.  
Never mind the textures, oh my.  From feathers to birch bark and burlap, and driftwood, it’s all in this season. 
From high art to absolutely adorable, it’s all natural and very, very real.  

Woodland Creatures

Let’s begin with adorable.  I felt like Snow White foraging in the wintry woods, happening upon fluffy owls, feathered geese resting or in flight, soft deer, wirery foxes, squirrels, hedgehogs, and wee birds. 

Perhaps the penguins were an unusual sighting, but welcome nonetheless. You can’t help but smile, can you?

Twig lights (white LED’s) have made major elegant inroads this season, wrapped in white birch-like coverings and ranging from a foot high to six feet high.  Outstanding.  Assemble a few of these with an assortment of variously sized dwarf Christmas trees and you are sure to exact some oohs and ahhs, whether inside or out.  

Birch. Well. We’re used to the ubiquitous upright branches in outdoor arrangements or those logs discreetly arranged by the fireplace.  Not this year.  Birch bark has been elevated to a whole new art form, by using the tree bark-- from birch bark wrapped around vases or tall plant holders to birch bark Christmas trees and stars.  So lovely.  So simple.   

Birch Bark 

If it’s not actually birch bark wrapped, it’s made to look so, like these candles.

There are still very elegant wood elements as well, like these carved wood holders designed for candles to outdoor high style arrangements. 


Driftwood is making an entrance in a big way, like the new beauty queen.  Driftwood tealight arrangements.  Driftwood trees.  There’s more to driftwood than you could imagine.  Boxes.  Containers.  Vase holders. 
If it's a natural  fabric, it's in, such as these elegant burlap trees.  Pine cones are always in fashion.

Happily, we still get to enjoy the colour pop of red. 

Red berry wreathes.  

And those delectable sugar coated candy trees are still here.  

Elements of 2013 Arrangements

Arrangements this year are keeping with the natural look of real wood, birch bark, magnolia leaves, draping amaranth; the elegance balanced with those adorable woodland creatures.    

A deer, a doe.  All here this year.

This is not to say you won’t still find those regal deer.  You will.  Big this year?  Deer heads that hang on the wall, watching the proceedings, and sometimes dressed with a wreath around its neck.  Deer blankets.  Deer pillows.   But adorable seems to be the way this season. 

You can retain your regal ways; however I think you’ll find it in your heart to include at least one wee woodland creature, won’t you?  Yes you will.  You won’t be able to help yourself.

I always wondered what it would be like to go shopping for flowers, as in, a big way at the wholesalers.  Accordingly I begged a ride with Janice from  Dutch Mill Flower Shop.  She drives into the big smoke in the early hours every Monday to fill her orders.  As we pulled into the dark parking lot, she warned me:  “You’re going to be like a kid in a candy store.”

For starters, it’s cold outside at the moment and even colder inside the flower wholesaler.  Who knew?  Thankfully I was dressed for winter and happily so as we entered a gigantic refrigerator.  Rows upon rows of flowers awaited.  What a greeting.  I was no sooner lost in the foliage aisles than I almost swooned into the roses.  She was right.  I was like a kid, lost in colour drenched nirvana. 
However, I realize now that there was no fragrance to speak of.  That could be because all of my senses were overwhelmed or perhaps it was just because of the frigid temperatures.

While I wandered, Janice saddled up with cart and buckets and smartly began culling what she wanted.  I’d snap a picture and run over to her and ask, “What is this?  Or this?”  Her nonchalant answers drove me farther and farther to the outskirts of a seemingly unending supply of new and wondrous things I knew nothing about and she knew everything about.  There was simply no stumping her.

This flower wholesaler is like a massive Costco of all things living. 

 I accidentally turned into the Christmas aisle and was then truly lost, by the colours and majesty of the magnolia branches.  I always wondered where they came from and how they came to be perched in those high end showpieces, usually at corporate locations.  Now, however, they are de rigour.  They come in four foot branches, or tidier 1-2 foot bunches, even wrapped into wreathes interwoven with cedar.  But the prices?  Hoo-wee.  Still a bit out of my price range, that’s for sure.  But it’s good to lust, no? 

I lost sight of Janice filling her cart, and turning a corner stumbled upon the most magnificent hydrangea blooms.  I stood, agog, trying to figure out whether this was their true fall colour, or whether they’d been made to bloom this way, or WHAT? 

 I slowly turned around to be greeted by huge drooping Amaranth stems.  Okay.  I know their beauty by planting them for clients, but I never thought to carry them into the winter as a cut flower.  Stoopid.  See what you don’t know that you didn’t know that you didn’t know?  That’s what the Amaranth did for me. 

All it takes it a trip to the wholesalers.  I swear there’s nothing you can’t get, if you really want it and are willing to pay the price (especially off season).  I was aghast at the prices of freesia, for example.  Why should I be when it’s a late spring blooming bulb?  If I want it in November, I should expect to pay the price.

I guess that’s one of the reasons I love shopping retail at Dutch Mill.  Janice always lets me know what the best price is and why I should want certain blooms when they’re in season.  As I’ve overheard her saying to brides-to-be:  “You want Peonies?  Now? “

Not that I’ve ever questioned her inventory.  I’m always sure to fall in love with something new.  Like I could have fallen right into this bucket of eucalyptus. 

Then I went right into a swoon over these cabbages, shown in the slideshow below.  (Yes, she brought some back.)  Oh, and the viburnum berries, a deep glossy blue.  If you’re feeling trendy all you have to do is ask, really.
Stay tuned for the next update:  A sneak peek at all things Christmas.
You know, when you see a wedding and get that feeling of - I don't know exactly how to put it  - something like: this is EXACTLY what-we-want-(and-hope-for) our son or daughter or me

That's precisely how I felt when I looked at Beth's wedding photos. 

This wedding had everything right.  The lakeside ceremony, the outdoor tent complete with clothed tables.  The absolutely stunning bride alongside (how dare he!) an equally stunning groom.  Pure magic; that's what it was.  Love was in the air,   regardless of where Elton John was that night.  

It's a true Canadian right to have a lakeside ceremony as divine as this.  
"Cobble Beach is on Georgian Bay, just north of Owen Sound. When Ronnie and I first became a couple we spent a lot of time at a mutual friend's cottage in Muskoka, so we decided for that reason that we would like to get married in the area. 
We toured many resorts on Georgian Bay and in Muskoka, and we liked Cobble Beach the best!  It also was perfect because my Grandma lives in Owen Sound, and it's where my Dad grew up. It was an amazing venue!"

Such lush and romantic gorgeousness can be done within a short time frame, once you put your mind to it.  As Beth says, "We were married exactly 14 months after we got engaged. I would say I planned that entire time.  

At first, I looked at a lot of wedding websites to get ideas.  Once I bought my dress (and the girl's dresses) I knew that I wanted the flowers to have a soft and romantic feel. I wanted them to look fluffy and colourful. 

It was important to me that they coordinated well with the girl's dresses, while adding a pop of colour to the photographs."

But it was more than simply matching flowers to gowns.  The colours and romantic theme spilled over to the lake as the ceremony setting, as well as the tent for the reception.   

I first came to Janice with the feel that I wanted, and the general colours. 

She then put an amazing amount of effort into finding colours that coordinated with the dresses perfectly!  Once we found a flower that was the same shade of pink, we went from there to build the bouquets. 

I will admit that I desperately wanted peonies!!  Unfortunately they were out of season. Janice was (miraculously) able to get a small number, which was perfect for my bouquet.

I'm so happy with the way it turned out - it was my favourite part of the flowers!  The girls each had one peony, and we used garden roses to get the same romantic look."

Next up, the men and what they would wear. It was simple and perfect. 

The groomsmen wore a blush flower, which was the only way in which they coordinated with the bridesmaids. 

So the colour was by far the most important part of selecting their boutonnieres. 
"Janice had only a fabric swatch for the bridesmaid dresses, and she chose the flower based on the best match. My nephew, our ring bearer, had the same one. Both of our fathers had a white boutonniere made with the same type of flower."

Of course, though the wedding ceremony showpieces that they may be, the bouquets and boutonnieres and flower displays also became key players in the larger, overall romantic feel of the venue. 

For instance, the tall and elegant arrangements on either side of the wedding aisle were a statement in and of themselves. 

It was not by accident.  "It was my Mom's idea based on something Janice did for my brother's wedding in 2009.   Janice made large arrangements for them, which were displayed on the same pedestals as an alter. Since we had the arboretum, we decided to use them at the beginning of the aisle instead. They were later moved into the tent on either side of our head table."

The bride and bridesmaid bouquets themselves were placed on the head table in water-filled vases.

Such a simple yet elegant touch.

As any bridal planner knows, the table centres are king in that they intimately showcase the overall feel of the ceremony to the guests, with the wonderful plus that they become farewell gifts as well.

"I knew I wanted one larger centre piece on each table, but not something tall that would block the guests from each other. We used similar flowers as the bridesmaid bouquets. 

We gave a lot of the flowers to Cobble Beach to keep. 

Our family and wedding party all took centre pieces home. 

My Grandma lives in Owen Sound, so she also took a lot of flowers for her home and her friends."

But what of that stunning bridal bouquet? 

 "I didn't throw my bouquet in the traditional fashion, but did toss it directly to my best friend (and she got engaged 5 months later!). She kept my bouquet.

I would have loved to keep it after the wedding, but we left for our honeymoon immediately so I figured someone else should be able to enjoy it." 

Flowers at any wedding signify the love, joy and beauty of the occasion. During Beth and Ronnie's ceremony, their flowers being captured as they were by their photographer, it adds a sometimes forgotten element

" I loved the colours and feel of the flowers and I think they add so much to the pictures. They portray the entire feel of the day and the theme I wanted for the wedding."

Image Copyright: Trevor & Larissa