So… every woman loves to see a fresh floral bouquet on her table each week, right? Well OK, excluding those that have severe pollen allergies… so we’ll say almost every woman loves to see a fresh floral bouquet on her table each week. Now, we won’t address the issue of how this bouquet is supposed to arrive in your home (obviously, by way of our wildly romantic spouse or significant other); we will just suffice to say we’d all love to enjoy our flowers “while we can smell them.”
The unfortunate thing about it is, regardless of how green our thumbs are, oftentimes we are not equally as competent when it comes to choosing or caring for fresh cut flowers OR we can’t afford the bouquet we’ve envisioned gracing our table week after week… at least we think that’s the case. Well, never to fear ladies, I’m bringing you springtime in November on this blog entry as we explore the power of simplicity when choosing fresh flora. Can you believe I have fresh flora as a centerpiece in my home each week for the cost of lunch from a Philly street vendor? That’s right, less than 5 bucks will do….. stick with me, you’ll be impressing your guests and yourself in no time!
First, you’ll have to make an initial investment in a couple of florist/gardening supplies:
- Small garden pruners, or a florists knife (I prefer the pruners for novices, for safety sake)
- A medium-sized vase (at least 3.5” diameter at base, 6” diameter at opening, with about 10 – 12” of height)
Now, you’re ready to get to picking….. My personal favorites are the local farmers markets (in summer months), produce outlets (i.e. Produce Junction™), Whole Foods™, and any place likely to be getting freshly harvested blooms from local farms. Now enters the Power of ONE… don’t get mesmerized by those mixed bouquets calling out to you, and walk right by the assorted blooms ranging from $10.99 - $18.99 a bunch. You want to focus in on those simple bunches featuring just ONE flower – alstroemeria, tulips, gladiolus, spider mums, and even roses. These hidden jewels will range from $3.99 to $6.99 a bunch and will be equally impactful as a centerpiece. So take your time to find a hardy bouquet free of browning or wilting with the blooms mostly closed where applicable, pay, and be on your way.
Finally, here are a couple of tips to help your bouquet last for weeks to come:
- Hydration! Get your bouquet in water as quickly as is possible, meaning you don’t get your flowers then go grocery shopping, then go to the bank, etc. Your floral shopping should be your last stop on your way to your final destination. Be sure to thoroughly clean the vase, cut the stems on an angle, then fill the vase to about ½ to ¾ way full with lukewarm water (less water for tulips and gladiolus, a little more for roses).
- Feed Me! OK, doubtful that you’ll have a Little Shop of Horrors experience, but flower food is important to both feed your blooms and to ward off bacteria. Don’t have a packet handy? No problem, you can easily make your own – my favorite is a 50/50 mix of regular (not diet) citrus soda like 7-UP or Sprite and water. The acid will prevent bacteria growth while the sugar is food for the flowers. To prolong the life of your bouquet, simply change the water/food solution and re-snip the ends about every other day.
Creatively arrange your centerpiece and place in a location that will receive sunlight indirectly, and stays somewhat cool (i.e. not the kitchen) and voila! – a simple, yet elegant fresh floral centerpiece for the cost of a low-budget lunch!