Posted on March 14, 2016

Sustainable - and crafty - Spring décor

The old rhyme about April showers yielding May flowers gets a head start on the balmy West Coast, and there are plenty of inexpensive options for freshening up your home.

Sustainable ideas
Upcycling isn’t just for students or urban hipsters seeking a cool retro vibe. You can do it, too! Make good use of items that might otherwise find their way to the landfill. Many artisans do this on an impromptu basis, decorating old Mason jars and wine bottles with ribbons to serve as rustic vases for cut flowers or dried arrangements. Smaller containers can be decked out to serve as penholders and pigeon holes for notes, receipts, and to-do lists. Here are some ideas on how to fill your home … and lay the foundation for a year’s worth of gifts.

A variety of unique items can be found at yard sales, thrift stores, or by contacting the Vancouver Heritage Foundation, which sells architectural salvage in support of its programs.

If you’ve run out of materials, Urban Source is home to a variety of quirky craft supplies, from medicine bottles to postcards and paper scraps. However, if you’re not crafty, visit a home for artisans like Bird on a Wire on Main Street. It is one of several shops featuring the creations of local craftspeople, not to mention Beedie Development Group’s artists’ studios at 1000 Parker Street in Vancouver, open on the first Saturday of each month.

Green thumbs
Statistics Canada reports that 59% of B.C. households grow fruits, herbs, vegetables or flowers for their own use. In addition to being a fun hobby, gardening – even on your condo balcony – is a way to bring the outdoors in, and brighten up your space. A planter on your balcony can also provide a slice of edible landscaping that can soften a building’s hard exterior.

Potted herbs are available at grocers and gardening shops each spring, and often year-round due to the suitability for windowsills and ledges. Aside from giving them access to water and light, homeowners don’t need to put much effort into keeping these useful plants.

Those with greater ambitious and try their hands at nasturtiums, peppers, and tomatoes, often sold as bedding plants. However, with enough space, your balcony may allow you to plant seeds from local suppliers such as West Coast Seeds, the Vancouver Seed Bank or Stellar Seeds, a Kootenay purveyor providing many rare and unusual heritage strains.

Cut flowers
A bouquet of flowers is close to home in Metro Vancouver, with an array of blossoms grown by floriculturists in the Fraser Valley, many of them family-run operations with roots running to the Netherlands. Several growers supply vendors in Vancouver who offer a variety of locally-grown blooms to decorate your kitchen table.

If you are looking for a day trip to explore ‘your backyard,’ drive to Chilliwack where Quik’s Farm offers freesia, snapdragons and chrysanthemums, while Onos Greenhouses in Agassiz offer tulips and hyacinths.

The Abbotsford Tulip Festival offers a u-pick option for those who, as the song says, like to tip-toe through the tulips.