Wednesday, January 4, 2012

spring all year.

I love having fresh flowers in my apartment all year long.  While winter, low light, and my very steamy radiator (a blessing and a curse) wreak havoc on even the heartiest of bouquets, it's still so nice to come in, take off your boots, and count the open blooms.

During their annual 20/20 Home Cure, my good friends at Apartment Therapy (if you don't know, now you know) suggest picking up a fresh bunch every 10 days or so, it is so good for beating the winter blues.  I usually start by cleaning my entire apartment, opening all of the windows (even in the winter) and finishing the day with a fresh vase of flowers on my desk or coffee table.  This week's beauties are on my desk- I needed a little motivation for all of the time I'll be spending here this week :) 

Extending the Life of your Fresh Flowers

• Fresh flowers of your choice
• Vase or vessel of your choice
• Dish soap
• Bleach and/or white vinegar
• White granulated sugar
• Good sharp clippers or a sharp knife
• Garden gloves


1. Before you get started, make sure your vase or vessel is super clean, to avoid any bacteria that might seep into the water. Soak your vase with dish soap and hot water, then use white vinegar or a bit of bleach to wipe out the insides.
2. Add a teaspoon or two of sugar and a couple of teaspoons of bleach to your vase, then add tepid water (unless you are using bulb flowers, like hyacinths or tulips, which need cold water). The sugar's carbohydrates feed the stems, and the bleach helps keep the water bacteria-free.
3. Remove any foliage from the stem so that no leaves will be submerged in the water. Leaves in the water will break down and cause bacteria to form.
4. Trim the end of each stem at a 45-degree angle and submerge immediately in water. (Leaving the stems out of water after they're cut allows air pockets to form which can later block the path of water into the stem.) Some florists recommend cutting the stems underwater, but this is rather unwieldy, and I'm not sure it really makes much of a difference.
5. If you're adding branches to your arrangement, use your sharp knife to strip the bark from the end of the branch. This exposes the capillaries of the branch to the water, allowing it to soak up as much as possible.
6. When you're arranging, try not to jam too many flowers into the vase. Overcrowded stems will wilt more quickly and release more bacteria into the water.
7. Keep your floral arrangements out of direct sunlight if possible, and always pluck out any wilted stems to keep the rest of the flowers looking fresh.
8. Change the water in your bouquet and give the stems a fresh angled cut at least every other day.

Time to pluck a few leaves,