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How to Buy and Arrange Flowers Like an Expert

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How to Buy and Arrange Flowers Like an Expert

Cut flower displays can brighten any home or workplace, and the type of display created can evoke a message: A small display of multi-coloured local flowers in a rustic container can give a homey feel, whereas some tall, majestic stems in an contemporary style glass vase can be a show of confidence and elegance in the office reception. Whatever style you want to create, there are some important tips to remember when buying cut flowers that will ensure your displays stay looking their best for as long as possible.

Bouquet

    Buying Your Flowers:

    Cut flowers can be purchased in a multitude of places, such as gas stations, grocery stores, roadside stalls as well as the usual florist shops. Take into consideration the length of time the flowers have taken from being cut to being on display; although some of the cheapest may be found in grocery stores or have the convenience of being sold at gas stations, if these are sold in pre-prepared bouquets there is more probability that these flowers were cut and prepared a while ago and that they will not be at their freshest.

    Buy in season.

    Flowers that are in season are likely to be the freshest. Out-of-season varieties may have been imported from elsewhere and the journey time between being cut, transported and displayed will be longer. In-season choices tend also to be cheaper, being more in abundance, and without the import costs.

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    Examine the flowers.

    Look at the stems. If the stems are unbroken and have clean, healthy looking ends with a strong colour, they are still at their peak, but if the ends look faded, slimy or mushy, then they are not healthy specimens. Bacteria in the water can damage the stems, and will travel up them, weakening and damaging the leaves and heads of the flowers and inhibiting the ability to take up water.

    Stems

      Look at the water in the container.

      Is it fresh and clear in appearance? If the water is murky and smells stagnant, it is full of bacteria which attack and starve the flowers of nutrients and promote their decay. Leaves submerged or floating in the water will also encourage bacterial growth.

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      Check the leaves.

      Leaves should have a strong colour and should not drooping from the stems. Any discolouration—such as turning brown or yellow, or becoming speckled—may indicate infection, and leaves with holes or bits missing may have succumbed to attack from insects. A pest infestation will weaken the flowers and speed up their decline as well as affecting their appearance.

      Check the flower heads.

      The petals should have a defined colour and be soft, but also dry and firm to touch. Avoid buying if the petals are moist, fading in colour, turning brown or dropping off. Choose flowers with buds that are just about to open; they will unfurl and flower in the vase, and will continue to look their best for longer, compared to a bunch that is already in full bloom.

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      Flower heads

        Arranging Your Flowers.

        Water And Feed.

        First, fill the vase with cool or lukewarm water with added flower food. Most foods contain an anti-bacterial agent, but otherwise a small amount of bleach, lemon juice or vinegar can be added and will create a slight increase in acidity, which will inhibit bacterial growth.

        Cutting The Stems.

        If possible avoid using scissors to cut the stems. Often these are not sharp enough, and the action of the blades can crush the stems. Ideally use pruning shears or a floral knife. Cut at a 45 degree angle to maximise the openings to allow water absorption. Remove any leaves that will fall below the waterline.

        Searing The Stems.

        Searing the ends of the stems will force the air out of the stems, seal the cut, and preserve mositure. Place about 10% of the end of the stems in boiling hot water for about 30 seconds for soft stems or until the water becomes lukewarm for tougher stems. Be careful to protect the heads of the flowers from the steam by wrapping them loosely in brown paper. When ready, cut the ends again before arranging.

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        Display.

        For the display, consider the type of presentation you would like to create. Do you want something dramatic, or something cheerful and colourful? A bouquet that promotes calm, or a dazzling display of riotous colour? The two main aspects of flower arranging are colour and shape.

        Arranging flowers

          Colour.

          For most displays, stick to between one to three hues, unless you are intending on a wild, carefree display. For more visual impact with a sense of order, arrange different flowers of the same colour together. To create a good back drop that will enhance the colours, add foliage to the display: vibrant or deep green will enhance the tones of the flowers.

          Shape.

          The best way to create shape is to use a criss-cross grid in the vase, which maintains the shape and structure of the display. Add foliage first, and then the flowers. For large-stemmed flowers, put one per square, and for small dedicate flowers, a bunch in each will ensure a well-filled arrangement. A simple but impacting display uses a narrow-necked vase or container with a single stemmed flower.

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          Stability.

          To maintain the structure of the display, use clear rubber bands to hold groups of stems together. The best place to position is these is at a point on the stems where they enter the water. This will prevent them being easily visible.

          Finally, these tips will help you create a good visual arrangement, but there are no rights and wrongs, so choose what you want from your bouquet, and let your own style be reflected in your display.

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          Jennifer Smith

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          Last Updated on December 2, 2021

          The Importance of Making a Camping Checklist

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          The Importance of Making a Camping Checklist

          Camping can be hard work, but it’s the preparation that’s even harder. There are usually a lot of things to do in order to make sure that you and your family or friends have the perfect camping experience. But sometimes you might get to your destination and discover that you have left out one or more crucial things.

          There is no dispute that preparation and organization for a camping trip can be quite overwhelming, but if it is done right, you would see at the end of the day, that it was worth the stress. This is why it is important to ensure optimum planning and execution. For this to be possible, it is advised that in addition to a to-do-list, you should have a camping checklist to remind you of every important detail.

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          Why You Should Have a Camping Checklist

          Creating a camping checklist makes for a happy and always ready camper. It also prevents mishaps.  A proper camping checklist should include every essential thing you would need for your camping activities, organized into various categories such as shelter, clothing, kitchen, food, personal items, first aid kit, informational items, etc. These categories should be organized by importance. However, it is important that you should not list more than you can handle or more than is necessary for your outdoor adventure.

          Camping checklists vary depending on the kind of camping and outdoor activities involved. You should not go on the internet and compile a list of just any camping checklist. Of course, you can research camping checklists, but you have to put into consideration the kind of camping you are doing. It could be backpacking, camping with kids, canoe camping, social camping, etc. You have to be specific and take note of those things that are specifically important to your trip, and those things which are generally needed in all camping trips no matter the kind of camping being embarked on.

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          Here are some tips to help you prepare for your next camping trip.

          1. First off, you must have found the perfect campground that best suits your outdoor adventure. If you haven’t, then you should. Sites like Reserve America can help you find and reserve a campsite.
          2. Find or create a good camping checklist that would best suit your kind of camping adventure.
          3. Make sure the whole family is involved in making out the camping check list or downloading a proper checklist that reflects the families need and ticking off the boxes of already accomplished tasks.
          4. You should make out or download a proper checklist months ahead of your trip to make room for adjustments and to avoid too much excitement and the addition of unnecessary things.
          5. Checkout Camping Hacks that would make for a more fun camping experience and prepare you for different situations.

          Now on to the checklist!

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          Here is how your checklist should look

          1. CAMPSITE GEAR

          • Tent, poles, stakes
          • Tent footprint (ground cover for under your tent)
          • Extra tarp or canopy
          • Sleeping bag for each camper
          • Sleeping pad for each camper
          • Repair kit for pads, mattress, tent, tarp
          • Pillows
          • Extra blankets
          • Chairs
          • Headlamps or flashlights ( with extra batteries)
          • Lantern
          • Lantern fuel or batteries

          2.  KITCHEN

          • Stove
          • Fuel for stove
          • Matches or lighter
          • Pot
          • French press or portable coffee maker
          • Corkscrew
          • Roasting sticks for marshmallows, hot dogs
          • Food-storage containers
          • Trash bags
          • Cooler
          • Ice
          • Water bottles
          • Plates, bowls, forks, spoons, knives
          • Cups, mugs
          • Paring knife, spatula, cooking spoon
          • Cutting board
          • Foil
          • soap
          • Sponge, dishcloth, dishtowel
          • Paper towels
          • Extra bin for washing dishes

          3. CLOTHES

          • Clothes for daytime
          • Sleepwear
          • Swimsuits
          • Rainwear
          • Shoes: hiking/walking shoes, easy-on shoes, water shoes
          • Extra layers for warmth
          • Gloves
          • Hats

          4. PERSONAL ITEMS

          • Sunscreen
          • Insect repellent
          • First-aid kit
          • Prescription medications
          • Toothbrush, toiletries
          • Soap

          5. OTHER ITEMS

          • Camera
          • Campsite reservation confirmation, phone number
          • Maps, area information

          This list is not completely exhaustive. To make things easier, you can check specialized camping sites like RealSimpleRainyAdventures, and LoveTheOutdoors that have downloadable camping checklists that you can download on your phone or gadget and check as you go.

          Featured photo credit: Scott Goodwill via unsplash.com

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