Chrysanthemum – The Queen of Fall Flowers – Week 9

Queen of the Fall Flowers

Burgundy daisy type chrysanthemums

Burgundy daisy type chrysanthemums with bright green centres and bright green pompom mums in a fall themed arrangement, accompanied by artichokes, sedum, ivy and dahlias. (Photo by Michael Lant - Click on image to enlarge)

The days grow a little shorter. The winds blow a little cooler. Autumn is in the air. This is my favourite time of year, when I happily pull out of storage my much-loved sweater – a bulky, cozy fisherman-knit pullover made by my mom – tweed cap and driving gloves, pop the roof down in my 1972 cherry red Triumph TR6, and go for one last, very brisk drive in the country before the end of the season.

A change of season is also my excuse to head off to the garden centre for seasonal flowers to fill my containers and beds. For fall decorating I choose grasses, kale, gourds and chrysanthemums. Because the chrysanthemum is such a popular flower choice for fall decorating, it seemed a fitting option for this blog, posted on these first days of autumn. Read More »

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The Calla Lily – Week 8

Simplicity and Beauty

Calla Lillies 1

Calla Lillies (Photo by: Michael Lant - Click on image to enlarge)

I favour minimalism. Stripped of all extraneous details there is only form, texture and hue, each of which must be meticulously executed because there is nowhere for flaws and imperfection to hide. The finished results look deceptively simple. The calla lily is the perfect flower to use when I want to create a design that is minimal and elegant. Read More »

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Something Blue – Flowers for an Intimate Wedding

The Wedding

The Bride''s Bouquet

The Bride''s Almost Finished Bouquet (Photo by Michael Lant - Click on image to enlarge)

On August 21, 2010 my sister in law Patty Lant married the love of her life, Serge LaFleur. It was an intimate family affair, held in the gorgeous gardens of Patty’s parents, Shirley and Ron Lant.

Patty’s favourite colour is blue, and when she asked me to do the wedding florals, I knew I had my work cut out for me to come up with a sophisticated look that was predominantly blue, a colour not easily found in flowers – died mums and spray painted carnations not included. Patty also loves to garden, so it was important to find flowers that looked like they might have been found in her own flower beds. After some careful research I found brilliant blue, plate sized Bodense hydrangea from Holland, locally farmed blue tip hydrangea and huge indigo blue delphiniums. I also chose Aryngium in a dark blue for added depth and texture. Patty’s favourite flowers are freesia and lilies, both of which I chose to do in a creamy white so they would stand out from the blue while at the same time making the blue pop even more. A touch of green with lily grass and ivy complimented the blue and white theme and as a final touch I included sprigs of rosemary and thyme which offered an aromatic element to the arrangements. Read More »

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Dahlia – My Favourite Flower – Week 7

Dahlia – My Favourite Flower


Dahlia (Photo by: Michael Lant - Click on image to enlarge)

“The dahlias glowed in the autumn sun. Criss-crossing back and forth between the plants, trying to avoid the spider webs dripping with dew, I admired the sheer excess and exuberance of the species. Yellow dahlias, as big as salad plates, shining like miniature sunbursts. Tiny pompom dahlias of deep maroon. Petals of magenta and maroon curling inward in a perfect geometric pattern, like those designs you make with a Spirograph. Dahlia stems, snapped in half, broken under the weight of the flowery burdens. The Mingus Toni (dahlias have fantastic names as well as fantastic colours) with magenta petals, streaked with splashes of red, exploding from an orange centre.” (source:

The perfect way to introduce this week’s flower – a gorgeous description that speaks to almost all of our five senses. Couldn’t have written it better myself! Read More »

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The Sunflower – Week 6


Sunflowers (Photo By: Michael Lant - Click on image to enlarge)

A Bit About the Sunflower

Dwarf Sunspot, Giant Primrose. Lemon Eclair, Stawberry Blonde, Red Sun, Black Oil. What do all of these descriptive references have in common? They are Sunflowers. My favourite is Teddy Bear – a novelty sunflower with a thick, furry, bright yellow head which actually reminds me of a stuffed teddy. The list of sunflower hybrids totals over 67 varieties, the best known being the Common Sunflower.

My daughter Cleo adores Sunflowers and considers them “her flowers”. She doesn’t care if they are Velvet Queen or American Giant Hybrid, as long as they are big, bright, happy and yellow.  Cleo is a talented artist who has created some wonderful and intricate drawings of the sunflower. Perhaps she was inspired by the Dutch painter Vincent Van Gogh, who immortalized this humble flora with his 1888 – 1889 series of still life oil paintings called Sunflowers (originally titled Tournesols). Read More »

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Gladiolas – Week 5


Gladiolas And Sunflowers

Gladiolas and Sunflowers (Photo By: Michael Lant - Click on image to enlarge)

Picture a bright, sunny, hot summer day. You are driving down a country highway, enjoying the freedom of the ride, the beautiful day, the expansive scenery. Up ahead you see a roadside stand with baskets of freshly picked produce and buckets of tall, elegant flowers in a mixture of bright, cheery colours. Adorable little girls dressed in calico dresses, crisp white aprons and matching bonnets wait hopefully for a customer to stop by and examine their wares. Of course you cannot resist and before you have left this pastoral scene – which seems to have jumped off the pages of a hardcover classic – you have purchased a massive armful of those statuesque flowers, commonly known as Gladiolus, for less than the cost of 2 baskets of freshly picked peaches. Read More »

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Wasn’t That a Party

Last weekend I had a wonderful opportunity to create the floral decor for a really fun event – the 25th wedding anniversary of Deb and Les, my sister and her husband. This memorable party was attended by 250 of their closest friends and relatives. In keeping with the party personalities of the 2 hosts, the drivesheds on their farm outside Clinton, Ontario were turned into a casino and dance hall. All the florals were created with the theme in mind, so they were fun, cheerful and a little kitschy.

Poker Table Setting Trio

Casino Table Setting Trio (Photo by Michael Lant - Click on image to enlarge)

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Lily – Week 4

Oriental Lilies
Oriental Lilies (Photo by Michael Lant – Click on image to enlarge)

About the Lily

I was named Elizabeth after my paternal great grandmother, Elizabeth Speirs. I recently discovered that she was quite the gardener and lover of flowers and apparently had a very green thumb, especially when it came to Lilies and Dahlias. So green was her proverbial thumb and so impassioned was she by her Lilies, that Elizabeth earned the nickname Lily and it stuck for life. Now I know why I have always loved Lilies – it’s in my DNA.

I am certainly not alone with my love for Lilies. Based on a survey I did within my own network of about 50 of my closest female contacts, the Lily is the third most favourite flower after to the Peony and the Tulip. Next to the Rose, they are the most well-liked in the UK and are ranked as the fourth favourite flower in the world. Read More »

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The Hydrangea – Week 3

Hydrangea In Glass Vase

Hydrangea In Glass Vase (Photo by Michael Lant - click on image to enlarge)

The first time I encountered Hydrangea was one Easter when I was first living away from home.  I wanted to give my parents something special and unique as a gift, which meant no Easter Lilies.  I found the perfect item at the local supermarket – a Hydrangea  plant in a brilliant, almost fake shade of blue, presented in a plastic pot enrobed in a garish purple foil wrapping.  For some time that was all I knew of this flower – sold as a potted plant, in fake blue, available only at Easter.

Since then I have met many gardeners and flower lovers who adore their hydrangeas.  My mother in law successfully grew them in Sudbury (Ontario, Canada) for years in spite of the limited growing conditions.  She still grows huge groupings of hydrangeas today in her gardens in the more temperate climate of Collingwood (Ontario, Canada).  Every year she cuts the blooms by the armful and dries them in large vases for everlasting arrangements on the dining room sideboard. A walk around my neighbourhood uncovers gardens filled with pink, white, purple and blue blooms. Even the local Starbucks grows hydrangea bushes en mass on their patio, which are laden in plate size white clusters that flourish for weeks. But my sister in law Susan Armstrong is the person in my life who is most empassioned by her hydrangeas.  So dear to her heart are they that they have a special reference: Geisha Girls. Read More »

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Daisy Daisy – Week 2

Daisy, Daisy give me your answer do.
I’m half crazy all for the love of you.


Daisies (Photography by Michael Lant - click on image to enlarge)

When someone mentions Daisy, I immediately think of a flower with long slender white petals radiating from a yellow centre. It conjures up memories of verifying the love of my grade 5 sweetheart by reciting “he loves me – he loves me not” as I tugged off each petal. I am also reminded of the daisy posies decorating childhood pretend tea parties in the hay fort custom built by my sisters and me, and the daisy chains that bejewelled the neck of my white horse Caprice. Read More »

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