I have been inspired by my mother-in-law, Penny, to bring more flowers in to my home. She has the most amazing garden, which is filled with gorgeous blooms, so there is never a time that she doesn’t have some sort of floral arrangement in most rooms of her house. My lovely friend, Sara, follows me on Instagram and left this comment on one of my photos the other day: “Do you buy fresh flowers everyday???”. This got me thinking about some of the things I do to make sure there is always at least one vase of flowers in the house, despite the fact I probably don’t buy flowers more than twice a month and I never spend more than about £8 on any bunch I buy.
I promised Sara that I would share some tips on how to fill your home with flowers without having to spend an absolute fortune and to illustrate my point I am using lots of the Instagram photos that she may have seen in my feed.
Tip one: The basics
Im sure most people know all of this but when you make a flower arrangement, to make it last as long as possible, cut the stems diagonally so they can take in as much water as possible, change the water frequently and always remove the leaves – they should never be submerged in the water. Also, don’t over-crowd your flowers, allow them the space they need to survive as long as possible.
Tip two: Never buy bouquets
I learnt a long time ago that even though beautifully arranged bouquets of flowers look very tempting and seem like the easy option, they actually never look quite as good once they are unwrapped and they are not good value for money. When you buy flowers always choose your own, even if that can be a bit daunting. Don’t worry if you have the florist loitering behind you or you’re not sure which flowers go with which, just grab a few of anything you love the look of.
Tip three: Make a few small arrangements instead of one big one
If you want a glimpse of colour and cheer in most rooms, it is far easier to achieve this for less by creating several small arrangements, rather than one large one – something my mother-in-law does so well. If you worry about not having enough vases use jam jars, kilner jars, empty spice bottles, jugs, even a mug! Group flowers together by colour, size, texture or height or a complete mix: there are no rules. However, make sure you only include in any arrangement an odd number of stems i.e. 1,2,3,5,7,9 and so on (I know 2 is not an odd number but this is the only exception to the rule). This will always look better than an even number of stems. Also, cut your flowers to different heights as this will make a more interesting lokking arrangement.
Tip four: Grow your own flowers
The best way to save money on flowers and to have a readily available supply is to grow your own. You do not need a garden for this, a small outdoor space will do, but you need to choose what you grow carefully. I have two Hydrangea plants on my balcony because I know they will give me flowers throughout summer and when you cut them, they last for ages – cut them at an angle, put them straight into cold water and if you have extra time and energy a spritz with water on the petals is a good idea as they feed through their petals. I also grow a Lavender plant, which is very hardy, easy to look after and has lovely flowers throughout summer and gives scent to the home. Plant a container of wild flowers, too, if you can, as they make the most beautiful, rustic arrangements during spring when not a lot else is in flower. Don’t be afraid to use herbs in your floral arrangements as these are really easy to grow and add an unexpected element to a posie – I use Mint, Rosemary, Sage and Thyme.
Tip five: Recycle
Keep an eye on your floral arrangements, don’t just leave them to languish. If a stem is dying take it out and throw it away leaving the rest to continue. If the head of a flower is fine but the stem has collapsed, remove the head and place in water in a bowl or tea cup – they can last for ages this way. Also, if you have a few small arrangements, when they start to fade salvage the freshest looking and bring them together to form a new arrangement that will last that bit longer.
Tip six: Plant bulbs indoors
Such an easy thing to do but adds so much colour and cheer and you have fresh flowers in your home for weeks for nothing! I did a tutorial about how to grow bulbs indoors so check it out.
So there you go, my six top tips for adding flowers to your home for a minimal amount of money. It may seem a lot of effort, but once you start getting in to flowers, it almost becomes a bit addictive and the joy of having even the smallest posie sitting next to you as you sleep, eat, watch TV or work is just wondrous.
P.S. Sara, I expect a bunch of flowers for writing this for you. Just sayin’ 😉