Flowers & friendshipPublished on June 22, 2017

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  • Dining room painting by Nina Cherney from Galerie St-Laurent + Hill
    Photo by: Mark Holleron

  • The pink callas in the tablescape compliment a Valerie Butters painting from Koyman Galleries in the kitchen; a Lorraine Ocean rug from Wayfair adds just the right pop of colour to the family room
    Photo by: Mark Holleron

  • Michelle (standing) and Laura work in harmony to keep Laura‚Äôs home in bloom all year round
    Photo by: Mark Holleron

  • he kitchen shows off a hot pink display of peonies and hydrangea in glassware from Rebel Petal.
    Photo by: Mark Holleron


  • Photo by: Mark Holleron

Flowers have been used throughout history to acknowledge and honour the joys, sorrows, celebrations and closest bonds of life. A warm relationship between florist and client, like that of Michelle VandenBosch and Laura Carline, ensures that each arrangement is perfectly personalized to its intended recipient.

Michelle VandenBosch’s Rebel Petal, provides a break from tradition and a breath of fresh-smelling air. Shared with her business and life partner Gary, and located in historic Manotick, the shop is covered from floor to ceiling with vibrantly-coloured floral arrangements and affordable gift items, hand picked by Michelle in her travels. Flowers are chosen from local and word-wide vendors to guarantee the freshest and most beautiful offerings.

Although Michelle has an obvious adoration of blooms, it is the customers who bring her the most joy, “Watching the delight spread across someone’s face when they see what has been made for them, is the very best part of what I do. My goal is to always exceed their expectations. We don’t have a single client we don’t love working with.” 

Laura Carline is one of Michelle’s treasured clients, and after years of floral celebrations, a good friend as well. For over a decade Laura has called upon Michelle to set the scene for dinner parties, holidays and festivities of every kind. “I provide her with simple details like the occasion, menu and number of guests. She incorporates my collections of dishes and vessels into her vision and transforms each space into a piece of art.”

Before creating designs for a client’s home, Michelle always contemplates their personal style. “Flowers should be chosen to reflect personality. Laura and her husband are kind, fun and generous. My goal is to surround them with flowers that complement these traits. Although Laura’s home is traditional, her style is young, playful and whimsical and she loves to use colour.”

When selecting flowers for a room, Michelle suggests looking to a prize piece of décor, such as paint, furniture carpet or a special bowl, for inspiration. Blossoms of the correct shape and shade can be used to pull colour from this chosen feature, amplifying the impact of a room’s favoured focal point.

Stunning hot pink chairs and beautiful artwork displayed in Laura’s dining room are ideal muses for a spectacular tablescape. As lively conversation is a must on Laura’s menu, low vases and objects are dotted down the table ensuring that no guest is out of view.

The kitchen’s warm neutral palette and large island sets a seasonal stage for yellowy fall tones, bright-red holiday bouquets, the pastel ranunculus of Easter and summer’s bright bursts of pink peonies, roses and hydrangea. In the adjacent sunroom decorated in soft blues, well-placed orchids and tropical flowers complement both interior décor and a tranquil exterior setting that includes an outdoor swimming pool.

When asked why flowers are such a desired and beloved way to decorate a home, Michelle sighs happily, “Flowers are a decadent luxury item and can change the entire feel of a room. Bringing them inside provides a connection to nature, brightens the mood and can get a house breathing again. Having fresh blooms around us is literally floral therapy.”

A Big Bunch of Rebel Petal Tips

• If possible,  avoid sending on  Valentine’s  Day.  The cost is ‚Ä®too high and the  quality often low.
• Orchids are  extremely hardy  and thrive on  neglect.
• Keep arrangements in a cool area of your  home, away from  direct sunlight.
• For the greatest impact, send flowers  on a rainy Monday just to let someone know you are thinking ‚Ä®of them.
• Avoid sending highly-scented flowers, especially to hospitals.
• Always bring your host flowers that are ready to display.
• Don’t forget that men love flowers too.
• Place flowers in unexpected places like washrooms and on kitchen islands. 
• Rose petals freeze beautifully and look  lovely lining the walkway to a winter   party.
• Bring the outdoors in by choosing  flower colours to complement the view from your windows.


Chloe E. Girvan

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