One of the simplest ways to brighten a home is also one of the easiest — add some fresh blooms. Whether a room's design is getting a little stale, or things could be a little tidier, a bouquet of fresh flowers offers a happy place for your gaze to land and linger.
Bringing those happy moments to their clients in the Inland Northwest is the goal of Anthesis Company, a floral design firm started by sisters Lina and Viktoria Ulyanchuk just over a year ago. While the two happily offer flowers for weddings and other occasions, floral subscriptions are one of their favorite parts of the business.
Both sisters trained in visual communication design at Eastern Washington University and they incorporate that training into their contemporary floral design. "The placement of blooms and textures of flowers are key," Viktoria says. Rather than the more common "polka dot" arrangement of blossoms all around a bouquet,
"We place our blooms in ribbons. You'll see a color flowing throughout the design," Viktoria says. While floral arrangements can sometimes carry the whiff of a formal, bygone era, the Ulyanchuks emphasize curvy modern designs that can be adapted to a particular home's style. Or customers can leave it up to the sisters to design something unique for each Monday delivery. Whenever possible, blooms are sourced locally from a 23 farm flower market.
"The blooms just look better and blend easier with the environment," Viktoria notes. Flower arrangements are done in pots, rather than vases, using chicken wire as a support. The wire mesh allows the blooms' stems to be immersed in water, helping them last longer. And the pot and mesh can be used again for creating your own display.
Beth Mort of Snapdragon Flower Farm also offers flower subscriptions, in addition to selling wholesale to local florists, and, beginning in mid-June, operating a flower farmstand at her Tower Mountain location — all out of her quarter-acre cutting garden.
"The great thing about getting to know your local flower growers is you start training your eye to see the common flowers, and the flowers that aren't bred to travel around the world," she notes. If a flower arrangement subscription service doesn't quite fit your budget, "You can grow a super unique tiny, cut flower garden and have things you won't find in a grocery," Mort says.
What to include in your cutting garden? Mort, who was trained in plant and mushroom taxonomy, says she enjoys working with flowers in the carrot family, which include Queen Anne's lace and chocolate lace. "They're really lacy and have an airy quality foliage." Other fun, easy-growing blooms for a cutting garden include cosmos, foxglove, rudbeckia and of course, her business namesake, snapdragons. "The more you cut, the more they bloom," she says. In addition, Mort has a small business helping people grow more food and flowers on whatever ground they have available. "If they try and it failed, I tell people to put your science glasses on and try to find out why. Don't be so hard on yourself! We really can grow things!"
A CUTTING GARDEN
By choosing varieties that mature in 65-75 days, there's still time to plant for at least one round of blooms this year, and you'll have a head start for next year. When starting plants from seeds, remember they need to remain moist during germination.
Cosmos and Zinnia
These are easy to direct seed and bloom continuously. A side benefit is that they attract pollinators to your garden.
As your population of this favorite perennial flower gets established, they will cross-pollinate and you can end up with really stunning varieties that you didn't start out with. While easy to start from seed, local nurseries also offer many varieties.
These beautifully colored, papery, parchment-y flowers are almost unreal. Enjoy in the summer, or hang blooms upside down to dry for use throughout the winter.
Available in many varieties ranging in color from the orangest orange to almost white, calendula is quick to flower, edible and even has some medicinal qualities.
A delicious edible flower related to watercress, with the same delicate spiciness. Trailing varieties, available in many colors, are good for pots and have a great vase life when cut.
Amazing varieties of these tough little guys are available for direct seeding: plant a row of these or scatter seed wherever you like. Once established, snapdragons kind of take care of themselves; they're a good reseeder without being invasive and can naturalize in your garden.
— Beth Mort, Snapdragon Flower Farm