flowers for you

Last week I introduced you to three creative women in our neighbourhood and today I'm happy to tell you about another phenomenal woman hard at work in the community of Parkdale. Sarah Nixon has been getting her hands dirty in backyards and front yards throughout our neighbourhood for about three years now (prior to her move to this side of the city she toiled in the gardens of Leslieville). Her organic flower farm business known as My Luscious Backyard uses local gardens to produce the most beautiful and rare flowers Toronto has to offer and has been written up in The Globe and Mail, Treehugger and The Toronto Star.

About  ten years ago Sarah had the idea to turn her own backyard into an organic flower farm and sell the flowers for profit. As the demand for locally grown, organic flowers grew so did her need for more backyards. Sarah decided to approach her neighbours and eventually strangers and offered up a free, well tended garden in exchange for a place to harvest her flowers all pesticide and chemically free.

This summer Sarah will be cultivating seven different gardens in Parkdale. She will need that many gardens to fulfill all of the opportunities that have arisen. This year Sarah's flowers will be available in the following locations:

  • you can order a weekly or bi-weekly bouquet directly from My Luscious Backyard to your home or work. In the spring, you will get flowers like peonies, scented garden roses and foxgloves and come summer you will receive many rare or uncommon varieties of flowers that you would be hard pressed to find at a conventional florist. Weekly deliveries start at $40 a week.
  • Starting in July you will be able to buy ready-made bouquets of Sarah's flowers at select Rowe Farm locations.
  • You will also see some of Sarah's flowers popping up at Alison Westlake's store Coriander Girl in Parkdale.
  • Finally, if you have a wedding or event planned for the fall you can contact My Luscious Backyard directly and set up an appointment to speak to Sarah.

I'm hoping that one day in the not too far future that I can convince Sarah to share a few of her gardening and flower arranging tips with us on this blog. She is so passionate about what she does - I know we could learn a lot from her!


Image credits:
1- Aaron Harris
2-5 - Sarah Nixon



christmas ideas and a winner

I have to admit I feel totally behind the eight ball when it comes to Christmas decorating. I have two lovely white poinsettias in my living room and some gingerbread dough in the freezer and that is about it. As of today, I will be in full decorating mode around here (well, at least by this weekend). I've been collecting ideas over the past couple of weeks from my favorite blogs. When it comes to Christmas decorating I tend to favor the handmade and natural look over the glitz and the glamour (probably no surprise!) I love lots of fresh greenery, handmade paper crafts like snowflakes, loads of beautiful satiny and velvet ribbons, and outdoor woodsy elements like branches, pine cones and winter berries. The first thing that caught my eye was these pretty paper decorations that David Stark has made for West Elm.

While it would be easy to go and buy some of these I think it would be more fun to try my hand at making some. I especially like the paper garlands that could be used on the tree or across the mantel. I think what makes these decorations is the use of the recycled paper. I love seeing the printed words!

I'm also going to try my hand at making my own advent calendar. (I guess at this point it will mainly be for next year but at least I will have one ready to go). Two different versions have caught my eye. The first one I saw over at love nordic design (I love all the Christmas ideas on this blog!)

I think I might try something similar but using small cloth spice bags and ornaments to go inside each one. I'm still trying to figure out how to display all the bags. I'm not sure whether to go with a fabric wrapped board like this one or something different.

The other advent calendar I liked I saw just the other day over at Bodie and Fou.

This one would be much simpler to make but I think I'm leaning towards the top one. I think Henry would probably prefer opening up a small bag each day rather than sliding a ring up a branch.

As for our front door, I've ordered a lovely, foraged twig wreath from My Luscious Backyard.

I love the fact that it is slightly different than all the other wreaths you see. It's soft organic shape and simple nature will really set the tone as you enter our home.

Finally, it's time to announce the winner of the Scout & Catalogue giveaway. Congratulations Alyssa you are the owner of a lovely Navajo Print makeup bag. Bre will be in contact with you shortly. And a big thanks, to all who entered - this is the first time I have surpassed the 100+ comment mark! Incredible!

Photo credits
Image 1 and 2 - West Elm via decor8
Image 3 - The White Company via love nordic design
Image 4 - Annaleena via Bodie and Fou
Image 5 - My Luscious Backyard

a succulent collaboration

I'd have to say that succulents are right up there as one of my favorite things. There is something very enchanting about them. Whenever I'm flipping through gardening books or magazines I'm always drawn to the arid, desert like gardens that are full of cacti, bougainvillea, and yuccas. Maybe, it's because it is a garden I would never be able to have in Canada. Luckily, I can have a small version of my dream garden.

Look at this lovely planter filled with locally grown succulents from the Niagara region.

It is a collaboration between Toronto industrial artist Katherine Morley and innovative, organic gardener Sarah Nixon. When Sarah sourced these beautiful succulents from growers just South of Toronto she wanted to find planters for them that were also locally made. You see, everything Sarah does starts in her own backyard (and many others). She plants, weeds, and tends to intensively planted residential gardens throughout the neighbourhood of Parkdale in exchange for the organically grown flowers.

The flowers are then turned into stunning bouquets for brides, offices, yoga studios and private homes which she sells through her business, My Luscious Backyard. Each bouquet is unique to the growing season and is absolutely the freshest it can be often handpicked only hours before it is delivered. As a bride, you can even walk the gardens with Sarah a few days before your wedding and chose your own bouquet. Wouldn't it be nice to know that your wedding flowers were grown using organic farming principles and didn't travel for miles and miles on a jet plane to get to you? Look at this stunning bouquet Sarah made....

As you can see, Sarah believes strongly in keeping things local which is why she turned to artist, Katherine Morley for unique planters for her succulents. Katherine is a very talented industrial designer whose work has been featured in Canadian House and Home and Moco Loco. Her work ranges from ceramics to textiles to graphics to writing and performing music. She's one talented lady!

I think these three legged planters she designed for the succulents are absolutely perfect. I love the small grooves in each of the feet and the slightly irregular shape of the bowl; such a pleasure to look at!

And the best thing is, I can take this little garden inside with me when the weather starts to turn colder.