Going Out

FlowerNite: a fun event for DIYers — and anyone who loves plants

Are you the kind of person who walks into a flower shop and inhales deeply, letting the sweet smells permeate your every pore? If you really relish fresh flowers and recognize the joy they can bring, adding colour and life to any room, then you’ll probably love a new experience happening in Ottawa.

Flowernite, which was launched earlier this year, offers flower arranging evening classes in restaurants across this city. It’s a simple concept, grown from the seeds of a flower business and plenty of passion.

Bloomex is an online florist, based in Ottawa. It receives orders, prepares bouquets, and ships them all over the city and surrounding area, but has no storefront. Some of the florists who work there felt they wanted to get out into the community more; Flowernite is answer.

FlowerNite brings floral experts and flower fans together at local eateries

Being one of those people who relishes fresh flowers, I decided to check it out at the Wellington Eatery in Hintonburg. The 10 of us introduce ourselves and settle down to get to grips with a startlingly large and complex-looking arrangement.

Megan Brazeau is our instructor. She’s outgoing and looks like she’s having a whole lot of fun. “I love teaching people,” she says with an infectious smile, “and I love interacting with people and flowers. At every event it’s great to see how engaged people become and how much they love what they are doing.”

We are a table of women (there are sometimes male guests, just not on this night). Aged between early 20s and late 40s, we listen attentively while Brazeau shares her knowledge and offers tips. Trish Mines and Samantha Ingleson are sisters who heard about Flowernite on Facebook. Mines is the crafty one, says her sister, but Ingelson, who has driven all the way from Brockville for the evening, has produced a beautiful arrangement. “We hardly see one another,” says Ingleson, “so thought this would be a good way to spend some time doing something together. And it has been!”

Participants are given all the materials needed to put together intricate bouquets

We start with a block of soaked florist’s foam set inside a heavy, deep bowl that’s ours to keep. Brazeau shows us what the end product is supposed to look like. “Don’t worry,” she says with confidence “all your arrangements will look like the demo!”

It’s surprisingly complicated to build a structured arrangement without leaving gaping holes. We use sunflowers, leather leaf fern, roses, alstromeria, lilies, stock, curly willow, and carnations. Step-by-step, Brazeau walks us through the process, showing us how to clip the stems (using leftover pieces to plug gaps and structure the arrangement).

By the end of the evening, we’ve left a table covered with flower odds and ends and scattered scissors. And each of us has completed an accomplished arrangement to take home. Surprisingly, an hour and a half has flown by and nobody has checked social media – no beeps, no rings, no fumbling for the phone. It’s been an evening of cheerful respite from the digital cacophony of daily life, at once creative, soothing and fulfilling.

On the evening writer Hattie Klotz attended the group was female, but men like FlowerNite too!

Tips for creating a successful arrangement:

  • Soak your flower foam until it sinks to the bottom of a bucket – about 10 minutes.
  • Try to cut your stems at different heights so that you can see all the flowers when you look at the arrangement from the front.
  • Use odd numbers of stems – 3 is usually good
  • Cut the stems cleanly so that they flowers can absorb water and live longer
  • Use left over greenery to fill gaps
  • Vary the textures of the flowers you choose

    This arrangement shows

Flowernite offers weekly events in restaurants around Ottawa. And they’re also happy to do in-home workshops for parties and weddings. Currently offering introductory pricing, Flowernite is great value and good, clean fun for friends. It’s great for gifts — both for the crafty and the not-so crafty. Add a glass of wine and your evening is made.

For more information and introductory pricing, visit www.flowernite.ca