My mad love for the ‘Chocolate Cherry’ sunflower has resulted in almost daily mini photo sessions, capturing it at every stage of development and possible angle. I’ve come to realize that if I continued posting updates as part of the Daily Botanical you’ll be stuck looking at pictures everyday for weeks. It just makes more sense to get it all out of my system now.
That should cover it. Although, I’ve got some Polaroids that are nice and I am yet to process the medium format shots….
And here we have the ‘Chocolate Cherry’ sunflower a few days ago, midway through unfurling. I’m obsessed with every stage of this sunflower. The moratorium on sunflowers is over. I’m hooked again.
I’ve been meaning to tell you about Underground Organics since back in the spring when buckets of their beautiful flowers first started showing up at my local weekly market, the Dufferin Grove Farmers Market.
Underground Organics are a trio of farmers living just outside Toronto who are organically growing annual and perennial flowers and selling them locally at farmers markets and health food stores in the region. I had all but given up on buying cut flowers since learning about how bad the industry can be for both the environment and the people who work on big cut flower farms. My gardens aren’t big and are primarily dedicated to food so having flowers to cut and enjoy in my home is a rare treat reserved for the times when my flowers are blooming abundantly. Since this spring I’ve been enjoying a new bouquet every week.
Here’s what I bought last week.
Shane and the gang grow all kinds of interesting flowers and unique varieties, many of which I have never seen before. There’s a new selection of tempting colours every week making it difficult to choose. And they’re affordable too. Most bouquets run in he $4-8 range with bouquets of really fancy blooms at about 12 bucks. You can choose a ready-made bouquet from an assortment on display or choose your own blooms and have Shane, a gifted farmer and floral arranger, assemble it and wrap it up. They even use old-school butcher paper and beautiful hemp twine — none of that clear plastic or tacky floral nonsense used to package bouquets at your run-of-the-mill corner store florist.
If you’re in the Toronto area, Underground Organics sells every week at The Trinity Bellwood Farmers Market (Tuesdays), The Dufferin Grove Farmers Market (Thursdays) and other local stores (see the site for listings). If you’d like to learn more about the flower industry check out Amy Stewart’s eye-opening book Flower Confidential. And if you know an eco-conscious flower farmer or florist in your area please add it to the comments since many of us want to buy organic flowers but don’t often know where to find it.
I took this picture back in April on that trip to San Francisco. That one where I ate all the sushi. Delicious sushi. Good god, I’m hungry right now.
And here’s where I admit that I have absolutely no idea what this is. I’m at a total loss. Anyone know?
Check out this wild front garden I came upon yesterday afternoon. On just a glance I can identify a couple of poppy varieties, calendula, bachelors buttons (aka cornflower), cosmos, and a host of attractive weeds.
I just can’t see myself dedicating the space to a wild garden of flowers, preferring to fill up that sunny front yard with vegetables, yet I very much appreciate the idea of it. I passed a lot of gorgeous gardens on this street, but this is the only one that stopped me in my tracks and begged for pictures. The irony being that this is probably the most hands off garden on the block, requiring a bit of deadheading now and again if you want to keep the blooms going throughout the summer but very little else. Any one of these plants individually might require some staking to keep those long, thin stems growing upward but as a dense mass the whole thing was held together around the edges by some sticks and string, the plants doing the work of holding each other up.
Flowers like this grow very easily, attracting lots of pollinators and continually producing blooms perfect for vases. I have developed a recent affinity for simple vases full of bachelor’s buttons (Centaurea cyanus). And with so many of each type of flower you’re not left hovering over the garden waiting to pounce on that single bud before a greedy passerby gets it.
Yeah, in hindsight a garden like this may have been a less traumatic choice for the street garden.