Monday, 17 March 2014

Fill your house with fresh flowers for less!

Fresh flowers instantly brighten up a room and create a more cheerful environment. I always feel that a room looks more pulled-together, loved and complete with a vase of flowers. No air freshener can beat the real scent of flowers in a room.

The downside of this indulgence is that a bunch of flowers generally only lasts a week at the most, and having to replace them can prove costly. During times when money is tighter, luxuries like this can be the first to go, despite it being these little luxuries that tend to lift your mood. Here are my tips for filling your house with flowers, for less. 

Go for the cheaper varieties

Don't be put off buying the cheaper varieties of flowers, thinking they are inferior in quality! Cheaper bunches of flowers tend to be the ones in season, and available locally. They will therefore cost the shop less to buy wholesale than shipping in more exotic flowers from abroad. According to Play It With Flowers, carnations and chrysanthemums are two of the longest-lasting flowers, and among the cheapest! Flowers like Gypsophila (better known as Baby's Breath) are often used by florists to "bulk up" expensive bouquets due to their shape and low cost. I actually think that a bunch of Baby's Breath is beautiful on its own- and it costs next to nothing! 
Baby's Breath in my study
Make your flowers last longer

Preparing your flowers in the right way before you put them in a vase can make a dramatic difference to how long they will last. Some people just open the wrapping and put the flowers straight in water- however, they tend to wilt quickly if you do this. Instead, take the flowers out the wrapping and remove elastic bands. Separate the stalks, and remove any leaves from the bottom half. If you submerge leaves in water, they will rot and produce bacteria which shortens the life of the flower. Cut about a centimetre off the bottom of the stalk at an angle- this provides a greater absorption area, so the flower can take in water. Lastly, make sure your vase is extremely clean and bacteria-free. Fill it with water and add flower food- if you have none, a spoonful of sugar will do a similar job. Now arrange your flowers the way you want them, and they should last a bit longer! 

Pick your own

If times are really hard, and you just can't stretch to buying flowers, there is always the option of picking your own. Be careful here though- it is illegal to pick any cultivated flower from a local park, for example, and there are certain endangered wildflowers which are protected too. Read through this guide from the Guardian for more information about this. However, if you do your research and know which wildflowers are common enough to pick, go for it! Alternatively, head out into your own garden and do a little cultivating. These cheerful daffodils are from my garden, and they are so plentiful at this time of year that I can replenish them as much as I need to. 

Daffodils from my garden add a pop of colour

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