Seven Deadly Sins Of Flower Arranging


You’ve made a trip to your local florist, bought a bunch of stems of flowers and taken them home to arrange them. Stepping back from your creation, you look at it and think, why can’t I get it to look like the photo off of Pinterest? Well, here are a few pointers of what to avoid that will help you select, create and enjoy flowers in your home.

Choosing Too Many Colours

When choosing flowers for an arrangement, it’s best to select from a limited colour palette. Pick flowers with colours that are complementary to each other, or are close in tone. Too many colours, or colours that don’t blend well together usually end up making your arrangement look inharmonious.


Mismatched Flower Shapes

Flowers, as you know, come in all shapes and sizes. If you select flowers according to familiarity, preference, or sentiment, think about how those flowers will actually look together in a vase. Play with balancing out tall with round, full with slender, and ruffled with straight. With that in mind, if for example, you’ve chosen to work with roses, use the same colour roses in your arrangement, not two of one colour and one of another.

Wrong Container

Choosing a vessel for your flower arrangement is just as important as your flower selection. A vase that is either too tall, or wide for the arrangement looks just as bad as one that is too small or narrow. If your vase is wildly colourful, or uniquely shaped, those attributes are harder to work with and often don’t lend themselves to a pleasing overall outcome. Remember, the bigger the vase, the more flowers you need to fill it.

Playing it too Safe

All one colour and type of flower can be attractive. If, however, you tend to default to choosing the same flowers over and over again because it’s easy, try and challenge yourself to experiment. Go with what’s in season, try a different style or add things from your own garden!


Improper Flower Care

Some basic flower care while making your arrangement, and during the time it’s in your home, can go a long way to improving the overall look of your flowers. When you’re ready to arrange your flowers, fill your vase with ordinary tap water, Forget about the pennies, the soda, sugar or what ever else you’ve heard. Plain water with a few drops of bleach is all you need. Cut your flower stems before they go in the container. Forgetting to trim your flowers before they go in the vase can shorten the vase life of your flowers. Clean the water if it looks dirty. Dirty water means decomposition of the flower stems and bad smells! Lastly, keep your flowers out of direct sunlight, away from heat registers, and fireplaces. Flowers will definitely last longer if kept cool and away from any source of heat.

Keeping A Flower Arrangement Beyond Its Time

This one is pretty self explanatory. When your flowers are gone, throw them in the compost bin. Arrangements that are dead or dying are not attractive, and no atmosphere is enhanced by flowers that have seen better days.

Thinking All Flowers Are Equal

All flowers have value and add beauty to our surrounding, yes. But not all flowers are equal. Some flowers are inexpensive and long lasting. Others are more expensive and only last a few days. Some flowers are bred for petal count, others for colour or scent. That is partly the joy of flowers. Because they are temporal their value is great and need to be enjoyed for their brief beauty.


“Arranging a bowl of flowers in the morning can give a sense of quiet in a crowded day-like writing a poem or saying a prayer.” Anne Morrow

All images by Flowers and Company

Eloped! Keanna and Beau

It has been a very long time since I sat down and actually wrote a blog post. It’s been a busy year for our little flower shop, with an unexpected relocation and renovation earlier this year. With everything back to normal now, its time to talk about what has unexpectedly become a very popular request for us this summer. And that is the increased demand for elopement bouquets.

Keanna and Beau eloped at White Rock Beach. As the tide came in and their shoes came off, a playful water fight ensued. With the biggest smiles, this free spirited couple made their wedding day as natural and spontaneous as they are themselves.

Keanna and Beau eloped at White Rock Beach. As the tide came in and their shoes came off, a playful water fight ensued. With the biggest smiles, this free spirited couple made their wedding day as natural and spontaneous as they are themselves.


While many brides and grooms will still take the traditional route, many are bucking tradition and saving themselves a whole lot of money and stress. With the high cost of weddings and housing in the Lower Mainland, it’s easy to understand the popularity of elopements.

Keanna’s bohemian style bouquet included blooms of peonies, roses, lilac, and viburnum.

Keanna’s bohemian style bouquet included blooms of peonies, roses, lilac, and viburnum.

And, if you think eloping means running off to a chapel in Las Vegas, think again. Millennials are changing all that. With the ability to research travel destinations on the internet, and a growth in online elopement services, planning an elopement is easier than ever.

The dress, a thrift store find bought one week before her wedding, was the perfect fit for this beautiful bride.

The dress, a thrift store find bought one week before her wedding, was the perfect fit for this beautiful bride.

The opportunity to save tens of thousands of dollars on their wedding day is a very appealing alternative. Even when you factor in the cost of travelling to a destination, it still costs far less than a traditional wedding. And it is a way of combining a wedding and honeymoon all in one package.


With the popularity of social media, and many couples posting elopement photos, I think this is a trend we haven’t seen the end of yet.



Photography: Cait Kennedy Photography

Instagram @caitkennedyphoto

Facebook @caitkennedyphotography


Officiant: Jodi Spargur

Florist: Flowers and Company

Instagram @flowersandcompany_


‘And so together, they built a life they loved’

Ponderosa & Thyme Master Class

Pipe Shop ||  October 20, 2017 || Vancouver B.C.



Last month I attended a Master Class workshop with Katie Davis of Ponderosa and Thyme. We gathered in the Pipe Shop in North Vancouver for an all day intensive on centrepieces and large floral installations.  I'm sure many others have come away, as I did, with an experience that was not only about flowers, but also about myself.  Seeing Katie's process through a flower meditation was inspiring, and made me think more about my own creative process as a means to connect with the emotional and physical aspect of floral design.

The Pipe Shop at the Shipyards in North Vancouver was a spectacular venue.  Situated right on the waterfront, it has enormous windows, exposed wooden beams and concrete floors. Definitely a great wedding location!

It was lovely to get to know the person behind the social media account, as Katie is one of my favourite designers.  Not only is she an artist but very personable, full of information, generosity and advice.          


Workshop:  @ponderosa_and_thyme #ponderosaworkshop

Venue:  @pipeshop_venue

Planning and Styling:

Photography:  @david_dufeal

Videography:  @hongphotography

Workshop Staff:  @kayefleur @studio_floretta


All photos by Flowers and Company

Hummingbird Cake, A Taste of Summer

Hummingbird Cake


Summer seems like the perfect time to indulge in a sweet slice of cake. And Hummingbird Cake is one of my favourite summertime cakes to bake. This recipe comes from Jamie Oliver's Comfort Food cookbook, and it definitely is that indeed!  It is an easy cake to make, and the best part for me-apart from eating it, was decorating the top with fresh flowers and the pecan brittle.   So if you are looking for a sweet treat, try making the Hummingbird Cake.



  • 250 ml olive oil, plus extra for greasing 
  • 350 g self-raising flour 
  • 1 level teaspoon ground cinnamon 
  • 350 g golden caster sugar 
  • 4 medium very ripe bananas 
  • 1 x 425 g tin of pineapple chunks 
  • 2 large free-range eggs 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
  • 50 g pecans 
  • ICING 
  • 400 g icing sugar 
  • 150 g unsalted butter , (at room temperature) 
  • 200 g cream cheese 
  • 2 limes 
  • 100 g caster sugar 
  • 50 g pecans 



Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C (350 F).   Grease and line two 23cm round cake tins.
Sift the flour and cinnamon into a mixing bowl, then add the sugar and a large pinch of sea salt.
Peel the bananas and mash them up with a fork in another bowl. Drain and finely chop the pineapple and add to the bananas with the oil, eggs and vanilla extract. Mix until combined, then fold into the dry mixture until smooth.
Finely chop the pecans and gently fold in, then divide the batter evenly between your prepared tins. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until risen, golden and the sponges spring back when touched lightly in the centre.
Run a knife around the edge of the tins, then leave to cool for 10 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.
Meanwhile, to make the icing, sift the icing sugar into a free-standing electric mixer, add the butter and beat until pale and creamy.
Add the cream cheese, finely grate in the zest of 1 lime and add a squeeze of juice, then beat until just smooth – it’s really important not to over-mix it. Keep in the fridge until needed.
To make a brittle topping, place the caster sugar and a splash of water in a non-stick frying pan on a medium heat. Shake flat and don’t stir it, just swirl the pan occasionally until dissolved and lightly golden.
Add the pecans and a pinch of salt, spoon around to coat, and when nicely golden, pour onto a sheet of oiled greaseproof paper to set.
Once cool, grind up into smaller pieces (you’ll need about half to top the cake – save the rest for sprinkling over ice cream).
To assemble the cake, place one sponge on a cake stand or plate and spread with half the icing. Top with the other sponge, spread over the rest of the icing, then grate over the zest of the remaining lime.
Scatter over the brittle dust and decorate with a few edible flowers, such as violas, nasturtiums or fresh flowers if you feel inclined.

If you choose to use fresh flowers on your cake, remove them before serving, and make a floating flower arrangement in a low round bowl.  An effortless and pretty way to style your table while serving up this delicious cake!  


"Summer afternoon-summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language."  - Henry James

All images by Flowers and Company


Brighter Days

This winter has been particularly long for us on the west coast, and many people are looking forward to brighter days.  Even as I write this post, it's raining outside, and the forecast calls for several days of rain for the coast.  

So, I'm dreaming of Spring, which seems to be just a hint away.  

Pussy Willow


Picking pussy willow is most certainly one of the most enduring of spring rites.  When drier weather brings you outside on a February day for a walk in the woods, and you come upon a budding pussy willow tree, it's hard to resist the desire to pluck off a few of the riveted branches of the furry catkins.  As an ode to springs' earliest harbinger, we bring them home and put them in waiting empty vessels.  


Fritillaria and Narcissus 


Looking around the garden I'm checking for the first spring shoots to appear.  Last spring I planted a few pots of frittilaria.  Frittilaria have such a pretty chequered pattern, and I love the way the flower dangles from its blade-like foliage.  I don't expect to see anything for awhile, perhaps by March or April, but I am curious to see if they have survived!

Bridal Crown

Bridal Crown

Mixed spring planter

Mixed spring planter



Bridal Crown is a type of daffodil with a double flower and creamy white petals.  It is incredibly sweetly scented and makes a beautiful cut flower.  In the flower shop, we pair bridal crown with other plants in spring containers.  As the bridal crown opens and spreads its fragrance, the feeling of spring is brought indoors.  




Tulips arrive at the flower auction in early January and are now available at the flower shop.  Undoubtedly the tulip is one of the most recognized and best loved of all spring flowers.  People love them not only for their many colour varieties and their easy elegance, but also because they are so simple and uncomplicated to arrange. The tulip pictured here is a variety called White Liberstar.  Don't you just love its lily-shaped bloom!    


Sweet Peas

Last week we had greenhouse grown sweet peas in the shop for the first time this year.  One of the sure signs that spring is just around the corner is when the sweet peas can be safely sown in the ground come March or April.  Sweet peas have the reputation of being difficult to grow from seed, but luckily we can also get them as small plants later in the spring.  Either way, they are an exquisite flower for their pretty ruffled blossoms and lovely fragrance.   

Tip:  When cutting sweet peas for flower arrangements, pick blooms which have at least two unopened flowers at the top.  


Snow Drops


Snow drops are one of the first bulbs to bloom in spring.  A delicate, drooping  bell shaped flower, snow drops grow well in moist well-drained soil.  They  do especially well under trees or shrubs or in shady locations of the garden.  You can use snowdrops as a cut flower.  The only disadvantage is that they are very short and look better in a small vase all on their own.  


"Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts.  There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature - the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter."  - Rachel Carson, Silent Spring

all images by Flowers and Company

Three Easter Centerpieces

Signs of spring are popping up everywhere, and Easter is just around the corner.  What better way to welcome spring to your home than to adorn your table with a garden inspired centerpiece.  Using a few of our favourite vessels, the softest colours of the season, the garden's prettiest blooms and a few sweet birds and eggs, we've put together a few centerpieces to inspire you. 

The first one, done in a classic urn, is tabletop ready.  A mix of soft yellow ranunculus and tulips with white chrysanthemums and lysimachia are set against green viburnum and grey lambs ear.  

For the next design, we started with a white ceramic trough.  We planted a springy pairing of white hyacinths and yellow violas, and then tucked in some moss.  Three white taper candles finish off the look and will illuminate the centerpiece beautifully.  

The last centerpiece begins with a scalloped edge grey stone container.  Inspired by the soft lavender colour of the hyacinths and the stone grey of the container, we filled it with green skimmia.  Next we added white tulips, pink heather, eucalyptus and nestled in a few speckled blue eggs to complete the look.     


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All images by Flowers and Company

And the Greatest of These is Love

The days are getting notably longer and lighter. The trees are beginning to swell with new buds.  The promise of all things new again; fresh and starting over.  And love, as the saying goes, is in the air.  Spring, with its hopeful promise seems a fitting season for love.  We have all felt this hope of love and renewal in the springs of our lives.  And, being a florist in the week before we celebrate Valentines Day I thought I would share a few images of spring, along with some thoughts and a few of my favourite quotes on love.


Genuine love takes time to grow.  Love is a long road of learning the art of mutual sacrifice and submission to the ones you love.  


Some of the greatest roadblocks to giving and receiving love are the barriers that we have built up out of selfishness, pride, fear of being hurt.


Love cleans the slate.  Love for one another has the power to overcome anything, anyone, anytime, anywhere; but it means learning to forgive.  


"Love is what carries you, for it is always there, even in the dark, or most in the dark, but shinning out at times like gold stitches in a piece of embroidery.”
~Wendell Berry”

Happy Valentines day everyone! 


The Five Minute Flower Arrangement

Pressed for time and company is arriving soon?  Here is an inexpensive and quick flower arrangement that takes five minutes or less to make.


What You Will Need:

-5 stems hydrangea; store bought or cut from your own garden

-5-7 stems geranium leaf or other summer garden greens like ladies mantle, laurel or hosta leaves

-large water proof ceramic bowl

-sharp knife or garden clippers



Gather your flowers and greens

Fill bowl with water




Cut the geranium leaves and place them in the bowl so that the leaves rest on the rim.



Next, cut the hydrangea blooms and place in bowl.  Add more greens if necessary to fill any gaps

IMG_2121 (2).JPG

There you have it; you're done!  Easy, simple and great way to add summer to your table. 

all images by Flowers and Company

all images by Flowers and Company

"A flowerless room is a soulless room, to my way of thinking; but even a solitary little vase of a living flower may redeem it." 

Vita Sackville-West


Rose Water DIY



Rose water is simple to make and has many benefits for summer sensitive skin.  Not only is it effective at revitalizing and cooling the skin, it also acts a natural antiseptic and anti-inflammatory agent and has anti-bacterial properties as well.  Personally I love the way rose water smells and I like keeping some on hand in the refrigerator to use as a refreshing spray for my face when out in the garden. 

Today I will show you how easy it is to make your own rose water in just a few simple steps.




What you Need to make Rose Water

Three ingredients:  fresh, (preferably) organically grown roses or your own chemically untreated roses from the garden, a large pot and distilled water.

There are a few ways to make rose water. The simplest way is this basic method which I choose to use. You can make purer rose water by collecting only the steam from roses.  While the basic method is less pure, it is still very effective and takes a lot less time. 


Start by collecting the petals from your roses by removing the bulbs and stems.  If you are using roses purchased from your florist, rinse the petals in cool water first to be sure to get rid of any  possible chemicals. 



Place about 1 to 1-1/2 packed cups of rose petals in a large pot and fill with distilled water.  Use just enough water to cover the petals.  If you use too much water the results will be too diluted. Bring to a boil, stirring a few times. Cover with a tight lid and let simmer. 



Turn off the heat and let the rose water cool completely; drain the liquid into a jar or spritzer bottle.  Store in a cool place, or in the refrigerator. Rose water will keep for 7 days at room temperature or about  a month in the refrigerator. Give your skin a spritz whenever you need a light and refreshing little pick me up.



Taking It A Step Further

~Add a few drops of essential rose oil to your rose water for an even more intensified blend.

~Add 4-5 drops of jojoba oil or a 1/4 tsp. glycerin to help skin retain moisture.


~Add  to your bath to provide a soothing aroma

~Spray over your bed sheets for a lovely scent


all images by Flowers and Company

all images by Flowers and Company

Edible Flowers in Cake Decoration

On Flowers, Cakes, and Summer Celebrations


Canada Day July 1, 2015

Summer is my favourite season.  Open windows and doors, summer flower gardens, picking fresh fruit, and baking pies and cakes to savour summers' many occasions with family and friends are just some of the reasons why I love this time of year.  

Indeed, summer, flowers, and cake decorating just go together as we find ourselves gathering to celebrate weddings, anniversaries and family get-togethers. Often I'm asked to give advice as to what types of flowers are suitable to use to decorate a cake.  

Flowers always add a beautiful finishing touch to any cake, and can be used in a few different ways.  As a delicate edible garnish sprinkled on top of a cake to a more elaborate cake topped with a larger, non-edible flower arrangement.



For inspiration today, and because it is Canada Day, I've made Jamie Oliver's hummingbird cake.  The cake itself is sweet and spongy, with lime and cream cheese icing spread between the layers and on top.  I also made salted, carmelized pecans to sprinkle on the top, which I then garnished with tiny violets from the garden.  The result was a cake that was both sweet and zesty, floral and creamy.  The perfect balance of complimenting flavours. 


Flowers on Cakes

Not all flowers are suitable for cake decoration.  Some are in fact toxic to consume while others may contain pesticides.  Always check before using any flower if you are unsure... and when in doubt, it's better to be safe than sorry! 

In general, edible flowers include roses, gardenias, pansies, violets, lavender, nasturtium, fuchsia, gladiolus, hibiscus, hollyhock, impatiens, jasmine, lemon verbena, lilac, marigold, mint, dandelion and sunflower.  Only the petal parts of these flowers are edible. 

Non-edible flowers can also be used on cakes, and of course, remove any non-edible flowers and foliage before serving your cake. 


Always thoroughly wash and dry flowers before using on the cake.

Larger flower arrangements are best done in flower holders which can be bought where cake decorating supplies are sold. 

Plastic tubes of water may be inserted into your cake and have the advantage of keeping flowers from wilting.  Edible flowers may be picked and then stored in the refrigerator to keep from wilting before use.

Pre-made edible candied flowers, which can either be homemade or store bought, are another great way to incorporate flowers on any type of cake.


Enjoy the lovely summer weather this weekend.  If you don't mind the heat in the kitchen, try baking a cake to celebrate summer, flowers in your garden, and the sunny occasions of your life.


all images by Flowers and Company

all images by Flowers and Company


     "The flood of summer light had begun to ebb. 

The air had grown mellow, the shadows were long

upon the smooth, dense turf."


  ~ Henry James

w h i t e

White flowers are always so beautiful and lend elegance and sophistication to any event.  Whether for a simple summertime dinner party with friends or for a full scale wedding, white flowers combine effortlessly to any atmosphere. 

Here they are arranged in simple white glazed pottery from the Pottery Barn.  This design was created for an all-white birthday party using white hydrangea and globe allium with textured greens such as spirea, false Solomon's  seal , ferns and myrtle. 


For a table setting, low square vases filled with white flowers also make an understated yet sophisticated choice.


 To achieve this look I took a small square vase and added white lavender sprigs, a white hydrangea, lisianthus, stock, sweet peas and lambs ear. 


White flowers foraged from the garden


The garden can also be a source of inspiration for white flower arrangements.  Right now all the garden roses are in full bloom.  I picked a few stems this morning along with white lavender, astilbe, and dried hydrangea blooms. 


The possibilities, as the saying goes... are endless.


all images by Flowers and Company

all images by Flowers and Company


                                       "Flowers are the music of the ground

                                                                       From earth's lips spoken without sound." 

                                                                                                                               Edwin Curran