Shopping for Flowers for the Deck and Garden : Shaw Flowers and Gifts

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While I have grown herbs in pots on our deck every summer for years that we used for cooking, I haven’t always put the effort into growing flowers. Actually, our outdoor space was pretty ugly for a long time after we moved in and we hardly ever went out there. That changed after we found the budget to get some decent outdoor furniture. Then the outside space became our favourite part of our home from June to October. But I still didn’t plant much in the way of flowers, leaving it at a few of the standards — some marigolds, snap dragons, petunias, or pansies and a fuchsia plant.

I do love flowers though and appreciate every blossom I get from the perennials in the garden, that have been able to survive with our very shady growing conditions. I’d just never found a convenient spot within walking distance that sold annual flowering plants at a reasonable price, so summers would slip away without them.

Then last year, I had an outdoor ladies get together (seen here) in July and when I went to find flowering plants to brighten things up, the shelves were pretty much empty and I settled with a couple of grocery-store plants that were really meant to be indoors. They did the trick for the party, but made me aware that if I wanted some pretty colour out on the deck all summer long, I had to get busy early in the season.

And busy I have gotten this year! By a chance drive-by a couple of weeks ago I found a great place for flowering plants in our neighbourhood. Of course, I’d noticed Shaw Flowers and Gifts (located at 1068 Dundas Street West, at Shaw Street, directly across from the north west corner of Trinity Bellwoods Park) before, as they have been there for a long time, however I’d never noticed that in the springtime they used their side patio to sell outdoor plants.

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So over I went and couldn’t believe the wide range of choices they had on offer. I ended up, over the span of three separate trips, getting 15 different kinds of flowers. Excessive? Perhaps. Pretty? Indeed.

The reason I ended up with such a large variety of plants was that their prices are very reasonable at $1.19 for many of small plants. In fact, while we went to Kensington Market to get our herb plants this year (shown here), I’m going to check this store first for those next year, because their herb selection looked excellent and their plants were less expensive than what we paid in the market. [Update on pricing – Spring 2015 : I went back this spring and noticed that the prices have gone up a bit to $1.25, with their starter herb seedlings now costing $2.00 each. But their prices are still good versus other places.]

So far, all the flowering plants are looking pretty good and they’ve all grown a lot over a couple of weeks. Some of them have lost the blooms they had when I bought the plants but the greenery looks healthy and I’m hoping there are more flowers yet to come on them. All in all, their low prices meant that I could afford to experiment a little with my choices and if some of them don’t work out, then I’m not out a lot. And in addition to all the flowers I bought a cherry tomato plant too, to see if they’ll grow for me.

All are planted into pots that I can move around the deck and yard, except for a couple which I put directly into the garden. They won’t all flower at the same time, so I am expecting (hoping for) a changing floral show throughout the season.

What I forgot to factor in while I was choosing ‘one of these and one of those’, was that everything would have to actually be planted once I got them home. So I’ve just spent a lot of time over the past couple of weeks, potting up plants. Yes, that was back-aching work, culminating in a day when I was forced to take it easy with an ice-pack. I’m fine now, but think that if I continue this trend next year I might invest in a raised potting bench, so I don’t have to bend down and be on my knees so much. This one looks pretty sweet, but we’ll see … I might just end up putting some plywood on Nick’s portable workbench and using that.

I’ll do a second post soon showing you what specific flowers I went with, but in the meantime, let’s get back to Shaw Flowers and Gifts …

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I spent some time talking to the proprietor of this family run shop, and his enthusiasm for plants came through in everything he said. His real passion is bonsai, and he showed me what he had inside the shop. Somehow I missed taking a shot of one bonsai plant he had in there that is over 50 years old. In addition to a beautiful selection of bonsai, jade plants and cacti, they carry a breathtaking array of orchids. Their other house plants also looked very healthy and well cared for.

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And keeping with what one would expect from a flower shop, they also sell and deliver bouquets of cut flower too.

So Shaw Flowers and Gifts gets a big ‘green’ thumbs up from me! Bring on the blooms.

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Thank you for reading. I hope your Tuesday is a good one.
xo loulou

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