Throughout the spring and summer months, you’ll find Sarah Nixon, owner of My Luscious Backyard, traversing Toronto’s Roncesvalles neighbourhood, tending to the seven yards she refers to as her “urban farm.” The sunny and flourishing residential plots are planted with dense flower gardens that supply Sarah’s flower business with a constant and abundant harvest of local organic blooms. But things don’t slow down for Sarah come September.
“The fall is my favourite time for working with blooms. I love using foliage that is starting to change colour and flowers that are going to seed. There’s a poetry to autumn flowers that I love.” Here, she shares some of her tips for working with fall’s bounty.
1. Foliage first
Always start with your foliage, choosing your largest pieces first. If using a vessel with a wide top, choose branches to form a grid-like structure to keep flower stems in place.
2. Find filler
Choose several kinds of smaller flowers and place them around and between the larger flowers. Try grouping some together rather than dispersing them. Fill any remaining gaps with smaller pieces of foliage.
3. Work from all angles
Try to ensure the arrangement will look beautiful from all angles. Even if it will be against a wall, it will look stiff if it has a good side and a bad side. Allow flowers to face different directions. The backs and sides of blooms are beautiful, too!
4. Look beyond the blooms
To add interest to fall arrangements, look for interesting seed heads, coloured foliage and grasses in your garden or in forgotten corners of your neighbourhood (never parks or other peoples’ gardens).