Welcome to week twelve of our column entitled Pretty Petals. Each week we will introduce you to a flower that we are working with here in the studio as well as flowers that we absolutely adore. Please join us every Thursday for some floral eye-candy where you will learn about a variety of very special blooms. This week is Deb’s favourite flower – the freesia.
Its 7:30 in the morning and I am sitting here at my kitchen table blogging about freesias. In front of me is an antique Heinz ketchup bottle circa 1930, full of red freesias cut freshly from my garden. The pungent scent of these flowers has enveloped the entire room, reminding me over and over why this dainty blossom is by far my favourite of all.
The reasons why these flowers are my go-to are threefold. Firstly, and most importantly, it is the fragrance. If I could bottle it and wear it as a perfume I would. Many perfume companies have tried to make a freesia scent, but as a florist who works with freesias on a regular basis, I have a pretty keen sense of smell – and they always fall short. Did you know that the red freesia has the strongest scent of all (then yellow, white, pink and lastly, purple)?
Secondly, freesia often have wonky shaped stems, which make for a glorious design. The whimsy of a crooked stem gives a vase arrangement movement, asymmetry and informality. Because the stems are skinny, you can pack a whole lot in one little vase. The stems on a freesia are very firm and non-polluting to the water in the vase, so if you are the type of person who doesn’t change water in a vase as often as you should, these are the perfect flowers for you!
And finally, I love them for their longevity. Did you know that the more fragrant a flower is, the shorter its life span will be? And this certainly holds true with the freesia as well, EXCEPT the freesia is loaded with buds that oven up one at a time! So as the first bloom perishes after 2 or three days, the next few pop open – they are a flower that keeps on going because an average freesia has up to ten buds on a stem. Simply pull off the finished blooms to keep the flower looking fresh. I even like to cut the tiny off shoots that form half way up the stem and place them in a tiny vase on there own because they will open too!
Freesias are grown year round in greenhouses for the floral industry – often locally here in southern Ontario. They take a hiatus a few times a year for a short period of time between crops – but for the most part you can enjoy them anytime. Freesias cost around $2 for a single bloom and $3 for a double bloom.
Freesias grow from a tiny bulb – these bulbs are not winter hardy. Each spring, after all threats of frost have passed, the bulbs are ready for planting. Around October, before the ground freezes, it is time to dig them up. Storing them in a paper bag in a cool, dark and dry place is all you have to do to keep the bulbs healthy during the winter until they are ready for planting in May. If you love freesia as much as I do, then perhaps you should try growing a crop or two next summer. And if you don’t have a garden bed, they will also grow beautifully in an outdoor flower pot on the patio. Enjoy!