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How to Buy and Arrange Flowers Like an Expert

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.

          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 January 3, 2020

          The 10 Essential Habits of Positive People

          The 10 Essential Habits of Positive People

          Are you waiting for life events to turn out the way you want so that you can feel more positive about your life? Do you find yourself having pre-conditions to your sense of well-being, thinking that certain things must happen for you to be happier? Do you think there is no way that your life stresses can make you anything other than “stressed out” and that other people just don’t understand?  If your answer is “yes” to any of these questions, you might find yourself lingering in the land of negativity for too long!

          The following are some tips to keep positive no matter what comes your way. This post will help you stop looking for what psychologists call “positivity” in all the wrong places!  Here are the ten essential habits of positive people.

          1. Positive people don’t confuse quitting with letting go.

          Instead of hanging on to ideas, beliefs, and even people that are no longer healthy for them, they trust their judgement to let go of negative forces in their lives.  Especially in terms of relationships, they subscribe to The Relationship Prayer which goes:

           I will grant myself the ability to trust the healthy people in my life … 

          To set limits with, or let go of, the negative ones … 

          And to have the wisdom to know the DIFFERENCE!

           2.  Positive people don’t just have a good day – they make a good day.

          Waiting, hoping and wishing seldom have a place in the vocabulary of positive individuals. Rather, they use strong words that are pro-active and not reactive. Passivity leads to a lack of involvement, while positive people get very involved in constructing their lives. They work to make changes to feel better in tough times rather than wish their feelings away.

          3. For the positive person, the past stays in the past.

          Good and bad memories alike stay where they belong – in the past where they happened. They don’t spend much time pining for the good ol’ days because they are too busy making new memories now. The negative pulls from the past are used not for self-flagellation or unproductive regret, but rather productive regret where they use lessons learned as stepping stones towards a better future.

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          4. Show me a positive person and I can show you a grateful person.

          The most positive people are the most grateful people.  They do not focus on the potholes of their lives.  They focus on the pot of gold that awaits them every day, with new smells, sights, feelings and experiences.  They see life as a treasure chest full of wonder.

          5. Rather than being stuck in their limitations, positive people are energized by their possibilities.

          Optimistic people focus on what they can do, not what they can’t do.  They are not fooled to think that there is a perfect solution to every problem, and are confident that there are many solutions and possibilities.  They are not afraid to attempt new solutions to old problems, rather than spin their wheels expecting things to be different this time.  They refuse to be like Charlie Brown expecting that this time Lucy will not pull the football from him!

          6. Positive people do not let their fears interfere with their lives!

          Positive people have observed that those who are defined and pulled back by their fears never really truly live a full life. While proceeding with appropriate caution, they do not let fear keep them from trying new things. They realize that even failures are necessary steps for a successful life. They have confidence that they can get back up when they are knocked down by life events or their own mistakes, due to a strong belief in their personal resilience.

          7. Positive people smile a lot!

          When you feel positive on the inside it is like you are smiling from within, and these smiles are contagious. Furthermore, the more others are with positive people, the more they tend to smile too! They see the lightness in life, and have a sense of humor even when it is about themselves. Positive people have a high degree of self-respect, but refuse to take themselves too seriously!

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          8. People who are positive are great communicators.

          They realize that assertive, confident communication is the only way to connect with others in everyday life.  They avoid judgmental, angry interchanges, and do not let someone else’s blow up give them a reason to react in kind. Rather, they express themselves with tact and finesse.  They also refuse to be non-assertive and let people push them around. They refuse to own problems that belong to someone else.

          9. Positive people realize that if you live long enough, there are times for great pain and sadness.

          One of the most common misperceptions about positive people is that to be positive, you must always be happy. This can not be further from the truth. Anyone who has any depth at all is certainly not happy all the time.  Being sad, angry, disappointed are all essential emotions in life. How else would you ever develop empathy for others if you lived a life of denial and shallow emotions? Positive people do not run from the gamut of emotions, and accept that part of the healing process is to allow themselves to experience all types of feelings, not only the happy ones. A positive person always holds the hope that there is light at the end of the darkness.  

          10. Positive person are empowered people – they refuse to blame others and are not victims in life.

          Positive people seek the help and support of others who are supportive and safe.They limit interactions with those who are toxic in any manner, even if it comes to legal action and physical estrangement such as in the case of abuse. They have identified their own basic human rights, and they respect themselves too much to play the part of a victim. There is no place for holding grudges with a positive mindset. Forgiveness helps positive people become better, not bitter.

          How about you?  How many habits of positive people do you personally find in yourself?  If you lack even a few of these 10 essential habits, you might find that the expected treasure at the end of the rainbow was not all that it was cracked up to be. How could it — if you keep on bringing a negative attitude around?

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          I wish you well in keeping positive, because as we all know, there is certainly nothing positive about being negative!

          Featured photo credit: Janaína Castelo Branco via flickr.com

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