Pink Barbie-inspired trees? Frankie Flowers talks hot holiday decor trends

Bradford-raised horticulture expert Frank Ferragine to speak at Seasons Christmas and Fall Cottage Life shows in Mississauga this weekend

Give Frank Ferragine a microphone and watch the conversation sprout. 

Ferragine, the Bradford-raised horticulture expert often known by his Frankie Flowers moniker, appears daily on Breakfast Television, and is also a regular on other Citytv programs including CityNews and Cityline.

But on Nov. 10 to 12, he’ll be bringing a wealth of holiday decorating knowledge to speaking engagements at the Seasons Christmas and Fall Cottage Life shows at the International Centre in Mississauga.

“I like people. I always have,” he said. “I love sharing a passion and maybe motivating people to get out and do something they’ve never tried. I learn. No season’s ever the same. Sometimes the questions asked … make me think in a new direction. Gardening is about being constantly challenged; I kill plants, too.”

While he is often considered one of Canada’s leading gardening experts, Ferragine’s family business, Bradford Greenhouses Garden Gallery, has become one of Ontario’s top places for Christmas and holiday-themed decor.

“We’ve been doing Christmas big and strong for a long time,” he said. 

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Frank Ferragine will talk holiday decorating trends at the Seasons Christmas Show this weekend. | Supplied photo

At the Seasons show, he will talk about indoor and outdoor Christmas tree trends for 2023, as well as other holiday decorating ideas.

“It’s always interesting to see whether the big trends of the year actually translate to Christmas,” Ferragine said. “This year, Barbie was a big movie, so there’s actually a lot of pink trees that you’re seeing, which is quite fun. A lot of bright colours are happening, too. The other trend you’re going to see is that money is a little bit tighter; people are doing more reclaimed and reused, even using things from around their property — so, more of an eco-trend, as well.”

To save some cash, collect greens, dried hydrangeas and stems of cedar or pine for decorative outdoor urns, he said.

If pink isn’t really your style, or you worry about how it will mesh with what you’ve already got around the house, stick to tradition.

“A really easy way to decorate (is) just plain old red and green,” Ferragine said. “You’re never going to go wrong and that’s still a trend you’re never going to see go away.”

During Cottage Life, Ferragine will share tips for protecting perennials from extreme cold and deterring pests like rabbits, mice and bugs from gardens and cottages this winter.

Fall is also the right time to plant garlic and flowering bulbs like daffodils and tulips.

“We still have lots of time until the ground frost sets in,” Ferragine said. “Go around your property and clean up any diseased leaves. If you have clean leaves, you can actually use those to insulate perennials or mulch them on top of your lawn. Right now is the time to protect your investment — your garden.”

So, what’s the most frequently asked question he receives at these events?

Many people want information about lawns and growing their own food, but they also “hate squirrels,” Ferragine said jokingly.

“The amount of people upset at squirrels, it’s so funny,” he said.

Ferragine will be speaking, too, at the upcoming Innisfil Garden Club annual general meeting Nov. 19.

“It’s way more personal,” he said. “I can really focus in on things in that area. We can talk about what’s happening in their backyard. (At a big show) you’re having a broader discussion. I’m always about supporting local. I’ve lived in the Bradford area all my life. I love to hang out with people who know me for who I am and can kind of pick on me with lots of love and affection.”

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