Bunches of beautiful ranunculus. The delicate, cabbage-like blossoms remind me of mini-peonies. Their little alien stems have a mind of their own, though…
A little known fact about me is that I had a brief stint in floral design, back in the day. I’m sure you all can agree with me when I say that there’s just something about flowers. As a child, I imagined that working in a florists’ shop would be the most relaxing and pleasant job ever, and I was right (for the most part). Usually flowers accompany celebratory occasions: weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, but occasionally you are greeted with: “My girlfriend’s barn caught on fire, and her horse died. She’s pretty upset.” True story. Unfortunately, we did not have an equine specific condolence card for the poor gal but I threw together a bouquet that I hoped would cheer her up a bit.
I’ve never been the person with the green thumb, but I’ve always loved having flowers in my home. Like most artistic endeavors, working with flowers turned out to be a difficult way of making a living, but I so enjoyed it. Over the years, I tried to retain all the little tricks I learned in the business; what season is best for each flower, how to cut them so they last longer, and how to artfully arrange them in any type of vase. I learned not to be afraid of mixing nontraditional flowers and greenery together. Yes, that actual stalk of kale looks beautiful with those roses. Mix strange colors together, it will work itself out. Gathering flowers for a bouquet is intuitive, if anything. Everyone will have their own way of doing things, and what constitutes a “good” bouquet is entirely subjective. When in doubt, throw in some fresh herbs (mint is my favorite) to liven things up. Learn to choose wisely: flowers like stock and alstroemeria are inexpensive, last an incredibly long time, and are a great way to bolster any arrangement. If you want something full and beautiful, but don’t want to break the bank, throw several bunches of alstroemeria together. They’ll last for at least a week, if not longer.
One of the best “insider” tips I’ve ever received was from a woman at Pike’s Place Market in Seattle. In preparation for my friend’s wedding, we dashed to the flower section of the market in the search for any blue-toned flowers we could find to bolster the pew markers and centerpieces. When she learned of our attempts to jerry-rig wedding flowers, she told us that mixing a bit of crushed ibuprofen in the water would boost any flower’s staying power. Refrigeration also helps tremendously. Then again, I am also the sort of person that keeps their bread in the fridge, so there’s that…
Get out their and enjoy all the spring blossoms everyone! It doesn’t have to be a special occasion, just another day to treat yourself.