Decorating the table – flowers

I am not so sure when I learned to set a table or why I’ve always loved making a table look pretty. Somehow I think it has to do with both my grandmothers but then an image of my 8th grade home ec teacher comes to mind. It could even be the countless hours I watched PBS and Julia Childs. Wasn’t her table always pretty?

Today I thought I’d share just a few tips on buying flowers and show you a few bouquets I made picking from single stem selections at one of my favorite local stores. With Mother’s Day right around the corner I figured this might be a timely post.

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I love flowers and currently have several bouquets around the house along with some plants. I keep a couple of orchids as well and for May Day gave my daughter a beautiful orchid.

When choosing and orchid you want to look at the leaves.  Make sure they are green and free of spots. It’s always good to look for an orchid with blooms that have not opened. This way you can enjoy more of its beauty as the blossoms open. Understand that the flowers will die and when that part of the plant is gone your orchid in not dead. Most come with directions and all you need to do is simply water weekly and give a fertilizer made for orchids monthly. Also keeping them warm is a great idea. They like sun but not direct sun.

photo 1Tulips are another great cut flower but they don’t last to long.  When selecting tulips know that they are shipped usually with very little to know water and often are kept that way to keep them from opening up. Look at the blossom and look for bright colors and that tight.  Next check the stems and leaves. Make sure they are free of any possible mold or signs of deterioration. When you get your tulips home you want to trim off a good 1/2 inch and place in cool water. Keep our of direct sunlight and away from sources of heat.  Also pull of any leaves that will in the water. This should be done with all flowers as it keeps the water from going sour and helps keep your flowers fresh longer.



My Easter Lilies, two weeks later and still blooming

My Easter Lilies, two weeks later and still blooming

Lillies are another flower I love. Though I have to admit to a few things I am not fond of with them for fresh flowers. The smell can be overpowering and not to pleasant to some folks. They can be messy and stain fabrics with the pollen. Beyond that I love them. I hae some that flower outside in my garden and love to buy them in bouquets. Often like tulips they are shipped dry and might be sold with very little water. Again this is to keep them from blooming till you get them home, cut the bottoms and place in cool water.

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Looking for a flower that will last a long time? Alstroemeria is the flower for you. No scent but very beautiful. As long as you keep adding fresh water to the container you keep them in these cut flowers can last you two weeks or more. They come in a bunch of beautiful colors and are great in mixed bouquets.

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Wax flower is a fun way to add a little color, green and that wild flower look to your bouquet or alone to your table. In the picture above it is the pink flowers you see with the fern like greenery.  They have no scent.  In this bouquet I used Freesia, which has an amazing fruity smell.  And I used Daffodils. I’ll mention this just again, these are often shipped dry and sold with no water. Look for tight blooms that are not dried out, cut and place in cool water at home and they will liven right back up. The daffodils traveled all the way from Ireland to be at my table.

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Again using wax flowers, daffodils and this time Iris. I was pretty fond of the wax flowers while I could get them this spring. They were just so much fun and so pretty at the table.

So my quick tips on buying flowers are :

1. Don’t just look at the flowers, looks at stems and leaves to check for health of the plants you are buying.

2. Buy flowers early in the day if possible. Most stores get their deliveries in the morning with the rest of their perishable goods.

3. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when selecting flowers to get more information on how long they will last or when hey arrived.

4. If your flowers are not going home after your shopping wrap in a damp paper towel or cloth to keep them fresh.

5. Always trim the bottoms of all fresh-cut flowers and remove any leaves that would be in the water.

6. Use cool water and don’t be afraid to change it or add more

7. Have fun picking flowers and making up your own bouquets. There is no wrong or right way.


Till next time, take time to smell and enjoy the flowers!






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