The long, cold winter that has brought record low temperatures and snowfall to many parts of the country is finally winding down. Soon the landscape will turn green and flowers will start blooming. Before you know it, it’ll be time to take a cue from Mother Nature and redecorate your home.
But you don’t have to wait for spring, or spend a small fortune on new furniture or an interior designer to make a dramatic change. You can do it with flowers. They come in all shapes, sizes and colors, and can be used to create any number of decorating effects.
“You can use flowers as a window treatment by lining up a row of simple vases on the window sill and filling them with your favorite flowers. In the kitchen, fill a vase with spaghetti, and add flowers for a fresh look. They can be used in the bathroom as air fresheners, or even as artwork hung from the walls. The possibilities are endless,” says Will Carlson of flowerpossibilities.com, a Web site run by the Flower Promotion Organization.
Here are a few ideas for using flowers to decorate some of the most used rooms in your house, beginning with a project that works well anywhere you want to add a little color.
Materials: One narrow necked bud vase, bottle or jar, a single flower of your choice, approximately five stems of bear grass or other linear foliage, one to three stems of greenery for the rim of the bud vase , floral preservative, floral clippers.
Step 1: Fill the container with water containing floral preservative.
Step 2: Cut the flower stem to about twice the height of the vase. Strip the flower’s stem so that none of the leaves will be covered by water. Place the flower in the bud vase.
Step 3: To give added support and beauty, add stems of linear bear grass or other linear foliage. Cut the foliage so that they are just slightly taller than the flower.
Step 4: To give the bud vase an elegant, balanced look, insert greenery at the rim of the bud vase.
Basil and oregano aren’t the only spices that can liven up your kitchen. Here’s an arrangement that’s sure to catch people’s attention every time they walk into the room:
Materials: Recycled spice jar, Recycled pasta sauce jar, Uncooked spaghetti, floral preservative, Gerbera daisy and roses.
Step 1: Mix floral preservative and water in recycled spice jar.
Step 2: Place spice jar inside recycled pasta sauce jar.
Step 3: Insert spaghetti between pasta sauce jar and spice jar.
Step 4: Insert flower stems into spice jar and arrange to please!
Flowers also make great centerpieces for the entryway, dining room or a breakfast nook. After the long, cold winter, a fresh armload of flowers, the textural branches of a tree and all of nature’s bountiful gifts are sure to spread cheer.
Arts & Crafts Style Table Décor
Materials: Three clear glass hurricane vases, one bunch hot pink Gerberas, nine yellow roses, one bunch natural branches, nine total stems. (Collect them from the backyard — Beech, Birch, Pussy Willow, Forsythia are great options. In the spring, look for flowering branches), three dinner plates or chargers, fresh evergreen branches, extra enhancements (flower petals and figurines).
Step 1: Fill hurricanes with water and flower preservative. Cut 18 stems of Gerberas approximately 12 inches long. Stems should be cut with ends flat so they rest evenly in container (six per hurricane vase). Cut roses eight inches long. Strip all foliage from the flower stems.
Step 2: Cut ends of nine branches six inches long (three for each hurricane vase). Lean vertically to criss-cross inside the hurricane vase, forming a natural flower holder.
Step 3: Juxtapose three roses at an angle between branches in each hurricane vase.
Step 4: Cut three to six branch tips 14-16 inches long (one-two per hurricane vase). Lay six 12 inch Gerbera stems along side the center branch (per hurricane vase). Insert in center of each container. Insert remaining laterals around the center insert. Add water and enjoy.
Step 5: (Optional) For an added touch, slide a favorite dinner plate or decorative charger under each hurricane vase. Enhance plates with floral petals and decorative figurines.
If you don’t want to go all out and make a centerpiece, a single flower is all it takes to add a little spice to any nook or cranny in your home. Whether you select a lily, a single rose, one Gerbera daisy, or even a big fat chrysanthemum, just one is enough to liven up your indoor landscape.
Just make sure it’s fresh! The flowers’ blooms or buds should not be bruised or browning. The foliage should be green without yellowing leaves; and the water the flower is sold in should smell clean. If it smells bad, chances are the flowers are old.
Buy flowers when they are closed or just partially open. Many flower varieties, such as lilies are multi-bloomed, that is, the flower has several blooms on its one stem. Try to select a single stem with one bloom open and the others closed. That way, you will be able to watch the additional blossoms open and enjoy the flower longer.