(Note: This series on Flower Arranging was originally written by Elizabeth of Elizabeth's flowers. Please note that there were two teachers in the original Finishing School lineup: myself and this author. Visit her wonderful blog for more ideas about flowers, homemade stationary, flower collages, etc. )
Although it’s not a flower, one of my favorite ways to bring “the outside in” is with ivy –it’s almost indispensable. I have a regular, common ivy plant, as well as a variegated type, and one with larger heart shaped leaves, and use them all through out my house. Since ivy cuttings can survive for months in water, I place cuttings in decorative glass bottles or small vases and place them anywhere a touch of green freshness is needed, such as in the bathroom, on my computer desk, in my studio, and even in a gloomy corner of a large bookshelf. Once a cutting develop a copious amount of roots, pot it up (and give it to a friend), toss it in the compost pile, or in the spring, they can be added to your container plantings.
Another beneficial plant (with flowers this time) is the scented geranium (see above picture). They can be somewhat difficult to find, and a little pricey, but worth every penny. There are many varieties, but the rose scented varieties are among the best. Place one on the front step, or anywhere someone can brush against it and release its wonderful scent as they pass by. The leaves can be dried and used in potpourri, or pressed and used to scent stationary.
This is kind of off today’s topic, but I also wanted to mention a few strategies to use when buying flowers from the florist, since many of us aren’t blessed with flowers in our gardens year round. The most important thing I’ve learned is this: make friends with your local florist! Florists often have to guess the needs of their customers at any given point in time, and often times they have too much of this, or that. Once your florist gets to know you, they likely will be willing to give you special deals on their extra flowers.
When buying flowers from the florist, carnations are always a smart buy. If the water is changed at least every other day, and you occasionally re-cut the bottom of their stems at an angle, they will last up to 3 weeks. Also, don’t overlook foliage. I bought some large pieces of “silver leaf” eucalyptus from my florist last winter, and it lasted well over two months – and it looked very dramatic in my entrance way.
Finally, edit your bouquets as needed. As one type of flower fades, replace them with other flowers, or remove them and place the remaining flowers in a smaller vase – it will look like you have a brand new bouquet!
Tomorrow: Fragrant Herbal Arrangements