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Bringing Home the Flower Power of Dior and I

by Garrett Fleming

Nearly three years ago, amidst skepticism and intrigue, Raf Simons became Creative Director of one of the last remaining couture houses in the world. His earlier minimalist work meant he was far from the obvious choice to take the reigns of  the opulence and grandeur that is The House of Dior. All reservations vanished with his debut collection, however, as he sent his models walking through a patina’d Parisian mansion dripping in wall-to-ceiling flowers of every variety.

The development of his work was captured and seen for the first time this year in the highly-aniticipated documentary, Dior and I. In on one of my favorite cinematic moments of the year, we see Raf cry backstage as he watches his collection blossom in front of his eyes. This moment of unabashed happiness coincides with barely-moving shots of women modeling the new collection to summarize the culmination of his labor of love. I’m not too tough to admit that it brought a tear to my eye as well. Simply put, it’s one of the most beautiful pieces of film I have ever seen.

I was so struck by the craftsmanship of these astonishing flower walls, that I’ve rounded up some tips on how to best bring each of the flowers used in Raf’s runway “Salons” to your own home. Some simple, others a bit more complex, this floral how-to truly is for gardeners of every level. I wouldn’t say I have the least bit of a green thumb, so trust that these tips are aimed at making it as easy as possible to get a taste of Raf’s aromatic vision. Enjoy and be sure to check out the film stat. I couldn’t recommend it more. —Garrett

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Salon Dior. (Photo courtesy of The House that Lars Built.)
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Your peonies may outlast you if you treat them right. They can live to be over 100 years old. Their buds require chilling for formation so they can even thrive in colder climates, and their bush’s transition from lush green to haunting purplish gold comes in the fall. Plant each bush in the fall and 3-4 feet apart so they aren’t competing for water and nutrients. They’re a magnet for ants, but don’t fear! They are helping repel bud-eating pests. (Source: The Farmer's Almanac. Photo courtesy of The P.F.W.)
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Dahlias thrive in sandy soil, come in 2-10 inch varieties and can grow to be up to 5 feet tall. They thrive on the Pacific Coast and are not suited for humid climates. When planting them, don’t cover them up with mulch or bark, leave 9-12 inches between plants, and always apply slug and snail bait so those little critters don’t get your new growth. (Source: The Farmer's Almanac. Photo courtesy of Bi-Rite Market.)
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Salon Bleu. (Photo courtesy of The House that Lars Built.)
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Delphiniums are a popular choice for cottages and come in purple, pink, white and blue varieties. Challenging to perfect, they like a summer that’s cool and are not too keen on humidity, heat, rain and wind. Plant them in the spring and go for the potted variety. They are finicky buggers and planting them from seed requires a specific expertise. As soon as the blooms open, take the cuttings inside for a tabletop arrangement - they’ll even bloom again if you transport them quickly enough. Adding sugar to their water will help them thrive. (Source: The Farmer's Almanac. Photo courtesy of Phyto Images.)
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Salon Rouge. (Photo courtesy of The House that Lars Built.)
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Aromatic and perfect for drying, Yarrow should be planted one to two feet apart in the spring. They’ll quickly spread with little to no help from you if you live in a regularly-wet climate. They’re best for wide-open areas where they can flourish and spread with ease. (Source: The Farmer's Almanac. Photo courtesy of Monrovia.)
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Celosia got its name from the the Greek word meaning “fire,” due to its brilliant, spiky appearance. Each blossom contains many seeds that will drop and keep flourishing without any further help from you. That being said, keeping them nearby other flowers’ containers means they could drop these seeds and take over their neighboring buds. They do require monthly fertilizing, but other than that, their upkeep is minimal, making them perfect for balconies and gardening beginners. (Source: Balcony Container Gardening. Photo courtesy of Chicagoland Gardening.)
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Named after England’s Queen Anne - an expert lace-maker - Queen Anne's Lace can reach up to 4 feet high. According to legend, “when pricked with a needle, a single drop of blood fell from her finger onto the lace, leaving the dark purple floret found in the flower’s center.” It’s easy to grow Queen Anne’s from a seed, but be sure to plant it in an area with adequate space to spread. No fertilizing and regular watering keep them flourishing and make them an easy starter flower to grow. But be warned, many have an allergy to the plant, so regular handling may cause skin irritation. (Source: Gardening Know How. Photo courtesy of Navigating Vita.)
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Over-watering is the frequent downfall of all orchids. Every five days in the summer and every 8-12 days in the winter should suffice. A good rule of thumb is more daylight = more watering. When keeping your orchid inside, make sure that it is in a very sunny spot. Light deprivation is the number one cause of un-bloomed orchids. The brighter green your orchid’s leaves are, the better it is. If they take on a darker shade, then they should be moved to a sunnier spot in your home. (Source: Beautiful Orchids. Photo courtesy of Fun Mozar.)

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