Thursday, February 17, 2011

Heart Day: Flowers

I just love flowers. They can be growing in the yard or they can be a cut bouquet popping out of pretty vase on my kitchen counter. Either way, I regularly stop to admire them and take a few photos. But bouquets (especially roses and especially this time of year) can be expensive. Therefore, I am totally O.K. with my bouquets coming directly from "big, bad" Wal-Mart. They often have quite a good selection and they are affordable enough to buy here and there throughout the year. Sometimes I even purchase them for myself if there's something special that I can't seem to pass up.

Admittedly, they may not quite up to par with fresh bouquets, say, from a street vendor in Europe. When I studied in Belgium for a semester, I remember the various buckets of flowers lined up for selection. It was a point and smile order system because although I knew a teensy bit of French, I was too timid to Actually Use It. The blooms were gorgeous and the prices were just as nice. I found myself wishing for little flower markets to suddenly appear back home. Sigh!

Enter the flower station at Wal-Mart. Totally doable. And Jeremy feels the same way, so for Valentine's Day, he can get me flowers and an actual gift, if he so desires. Which is totally fine by me.

I love bouquets with unique fillers, like this purple stuff (name, anyone?) and the tall grassy stuff. And daisies always remind me of Meg Ryan's character in You've Got Mail. "Don't you think daisies are the friendliest flower?" Yes, Kathleen Kelly, I do. You're true.

I wanted to give you a few hints on how to take care of your cut bouquets, whether they come from the yard or the store. Because you want them to last as long as they can. First of all, if they came from the store, you're gonna want to recut the stems. This makes it easier on the flowers to keep drinking as much water as they want. Also, cut the stems at an angle.

I have a pair of scissors (they're plain ole scissors but they're = plant-friendly) that I use for only plants. If you remembered my fabric scissor comment from the post about the craft room, it's similar in theory to that. Except no, not really. Fabric scissors need to cut fabric only; if they start cutting on other things, the blades will dull and they will start raveling your fabric. Plant scissors (in my house) are reserved for plant materials. These scissors will not stay clean and that's O.K. But because they're for plants only, nothing else ever gets messed up with them. Did that make all kinds of sense or did I just basically tell you that I have too many rules? Don't answer that.

If some parts of your bouquet have woody stems (like the purple filler), you can take an extra step here. Smash the end of the stem to help it absorb even more water. Super simple.

Alright, find an appropriate vase for your bouquet. Reference this post at The Art of Doing Stuff for more info. on that. She has good ideas. As for me, I have a small stash of vases I've bought or been given. You can also recycle pretty juice bottles or Mason jars for smaller bouquets. For bigger bouquets, I tend to use this one often.

It's tall and medium sized, which holds the flowers upright and allows you to keep the stems somewhat long. It'd be perfect for a dozen roses, too. (Again, reference the above post to tell you what could happen with the wrong vase. It's kind of hilarious. =) Also, the pretty scalloped edge and designs on this particular vase dress up my entire arrangement, no matter what I put in it. Word to the wise.

I always use room temperature water to fill the vase with. The flowers are already in a bit of shock after being cut and moved around and taken in and out of water. You don't want to shock them further with freezing cold or burning hot water in their new home. Be nice to your flowers and they'll be nice to you. (Did I really just say that?) Some people suggest that you actually recut the flowers underneath running water, but I hardly ever do that. Honestly, I can't tell a difference.

If the bouquet came with a little packet of plant food, by all means, use it. Stir well to dissolve. Now you're ready to arrange!

You may want to keep the bouquet in the same exact arrangement in which it first appeared to you. If it's already pleasing to your eye, well, that's the easiest thing to do! Just grasp the bouquet, snip the stems, and insert the flowers into the vase. Done.

If you want to rearrange some things, which I often do, it doesn't take much longer. I lay a big paper towel (or three) on the counter and set the flowers on top of it. Then I first put the flowers with the largest representation in the vase. In this case, the daisies. Simply a bouquet of daisies. Then I started in with the magenta gerbera daisies, white lilies, and the pink carnations, evenly spacing them out a bit. The fillers came next and I finished up with the grassy stuff. So easy.

Another tip is to recut your stems a bit every couple of days or so. Don't cut too much, though, or you'll end up with an Incredible Shrinking Arrangement. But you won't really have to worry about that if you have tulips...I find it extremely interesting that they're the only flowers that still keep growing after they're cut. The flowers change day by day. Very, very cool.

You'll also want to change your water every couple of days or so. Sometimes I go a little longer without changing it if I don't have any more plant food available.

And that's all the flowery tips I can think of right now. I surely don't claim to be a professional florist, but I am interested in it enough to pick up some things here and there. Hope these hints are helpful to you, too!


  1. I've discovered the cut flowers available at the north Kroger's stores. Maybe a little more than Wal-Mart, but I think the quality is better :-)

  2. Those flowers are gorgeous! I'm all about cheaper flowers to allow for another gift. :)

  3. Kroger's! I do need to go there. Thanks for reminding me, Doc B. I didn't think about them having flowers!

    Mindy - says the girl who got two bouquets of tulips...;)

  4. Love it! You've inspired me to buy my own flowers for myself!

  5. Hi Kristen, we ate at The Boat House in The Isle Of Palms and at Hymans Deli for lunch in Charleston. If you haven't ever eaten there you MUST try it! I can't seem to remember where else we ate for dinner. Must not have been that great if I don't remember! I love your chocolate covered strawberries with the sprinkles. I like the white chocolate one with the pink and blue sprinkles.

  6. Have you ever tried drying your flowers? I have dried most of the flowers (those that dry well) that I've received over the past 30+ years and used them in dried arrangements or on wreaths. Back in the 70's, baby's breath was very popular to decorate with, so that's probably where my love of dried flowers originated. Of course some dry better than others. The green "filler" that's in your arrangement (don't know the name of it) dries pretty. I have a small basket of it by itself and use it in other arrangements, too.

    Love your craft room! I found your blog through a comment on A Little Loveliness and since my craft room is a work-in-progress, thought I'd see how you'd organized yours. Mine is 1/2 way much stuff & so little time to organize!

  7. You have such a pretty bunch of flowers Kristen!
    I love fresh flowers in front of my eyes when sitting to work in my room. Be it rose or anything else!

    Me too avoiding rose 4 now :) Hehe

  8. Linda - thanks for visiting! I have dried a few flowers for using in potpourri but I've never reused them in arrangements. Great idea! I'll have to try that with the purple stuff. Thanks for the suggestion. =) And good luck with your craft room!

    Sasmita - thank you! Flowers definitely cheer up a room. =) I would love to plant some pretty rose bushes and then my roses would always be free!! ;)


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