Archive | May, 2013

Five Easy Ways to Bring Spring Inside

29 May

Rain, Rain, Go Away!

Pink Tulips in the RainSpring is experiencing some technical difficulties here in the Pacific Northwest, it seems—our April showers have brought May showers, too! With constant rain and chilly temperatures, it can be easy to forget that it really is Spring, and things really are growing and blooming and alive!

Five Ideas for Using Flowers in your Home

Any space looks better in color, and what better way to add color than through beautiful, living flowers? Bring spring indoors with these ideas.

 Wreaths

A wreath of spring flowers on your front door is a welcome sight to guests who come to your home. It makes them feel more at home, and reminds them of sunshine and beautiful spring weather—even if they ran through the  pouring rain to get to your front door!

 Spring Garlands

Normally we think of garlands on the mantel as something we do during the holidays. Not so fast! Spring garlands can be a beautiful way to bring color into your home. A bright, lovely strand of flowers or leaves is a quick reminder that spring is here.

Potted Plants

Potted plants are another great way to bring the outdoors in. Tulips and miniature roses are two good choices, and can be transplanted outside when you are done enjoying them in the house.

Succulents

Succulent arrangements make for wonderful centerpieces or to enjoy grouped together with other arrangements. You can buy succulents already arranged at a flower shop, or you can get your hands dirty and create your own. Find books at your local library if you need ideas to get started.

 Bouquets

Traditional bouquets are always a safe and easy bet. They look good in any corner of the house, are easy to care for and are also a great gift idea. If someone you know is feeling a little down with all the rain, bringing them a bouquet of flowers in their favorite color is a sure way to cheer them right up.

There you have it, Bloomies! Use these tips and your home will be bright and happy in no time!

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May Birth Month Flower: Lily of the Valley

15 May

Delicate Lily of the Valley is Just the Thing for a May Bloomy

Happy birthday May Bloomies! May’s birth flower is the lily of the valley!Lily of the Valley

Lily of the Valley Meaning

Lily of the Valley means “return to happiness,” probably because when you start to see them in your garden, you know it’s officially spring and that winter is over.

About Lily of the Valley Flowers

Super fragrant and delicate, it’s a fleeting flower popular with spring brides (Kate Middleton had some in her bouquet).

These only come in white or pale pink (I’ve never seen them in pink). Each lily has several small white bells evenly spaced on bowing stems surrounded by dark green foliage. They love the shade and are self-proliferating; one clump quickly turns into several within just a few seasons.

… The Naiad-like Lily of the Vale,

Whom youth makes so fair and passion so pale

That light of its tremulous bells is seen

Through their pavilions of tender green…

Shelley

Lily of the Valley macro

Creating the Perfect Bouquet for Mother’s Day

8 May

Mother’s Day is Right Around the Corner!

Seriously–it’s this Sunday. Don’t despair; I am here to help you make a memorable bouquet for mom that you did all by yourself. It’s like when you were little and made her ceramic doodads that she ultimately hid in the attic. This bouquet won’t be hidden though!

Creating your Bouquet: Choosing Your Setting

Pick your Flowers

Does your mom have a favorite color or favorite type of flower? Try to incorporate the things she already loves for automatic bonus points. Get at least 10 stems. Mixed flowers are great, but you can use all one type if you prefer.

Select a Container

Do you want to use a vase? Do you want to use a container with floral foam? Or do you want to make a hand-tied arrangement so she can put it into a vase she already has (like the one from 3rd grade that’s been hiding in the attic)? Fill the container with warm water and floral food (most flowers sold at the store come with a packet).

The container you selected will determine the shape and steps of the arranging process. For this article, I am going to use a vase arrangement, with no foam. The steps for a hand tied bouquet are almost identical, except you use  a table to create it rather than a vase.Vase

Building your Bouquet

When you select your flowers,  pick out some greens for structure and stability, and to fill in any bare spots. Fern, eucalyptus, and lemon leaf (salal) are common and readily available. I recommend at least two, but preferably 3 types of greens for visual interest.

Start with your Greens

Cut them to the level of the neck of the container, crossing the stems to create a framework for the flowers. Then add 3-4 more stems of greens, varying in height. The tallest should follow the “golden rule”: 1 1/2 to 2 times the height of your vase. The greens should mimic the total shape you are looking for, similar to a cone.

Add greens

Adding in Flowers

My flower school recommended starting from the tallest stem down, but I think it’s easier to start at the bottom and go up. This makes your arrangement straighter and holds that tall flower more securely. General rule of shape is the biggest, fattest flowers at the bottom, and smaller at the top.

Building your bouquet

Creating the Shape

Measure your flowers to the vase, and trim stems at an angle. Four to five should be about the height of the neck of the vase, three to four stems staggered a little taller , and then one stem (pick the tallest, straightest flower before you start cutting!) for the very top. Think of  a dozen roses and the shape they come in.

Continue to add flowers

The Finishing Touches

Give the vase a few rotations, looking for clumps/gaps and adjust accordingly. Remember: you can always make them shorter, but once they are cut, you can’t make them any taller.

Now you have a beautiful hand-made bouquet that your mom will love, and she will appreciate the fact that YOU made it. Of course, if this all seems a bit overwhelming, you can still call me for a beautiful arrangement handmade by me!

Good Luck!Your finished product

May Day: Traditions Old and New

1 May

It’s Already May!May Day flowers

Good morning, Bloomies! It’s MAY! The year is just shooting right past us. Before we get too far into this year, I would like to pause and look at the traditions of May 1st, also known as May Day.

 Ancient Roots of May Day

May Day started with pagan roots, in the holiday called Beltane. The maypole was a focal point of the old English village rituals. People would get up at dawn to go outside and gather flowers and branches to decorate their homes. Women would braid flowers into their hair, and both men and women would decorate their bodies.

Beltane marks the return of vitality and passion.  To celebrate your own version of Beltane, gather up some plants or flowers to display in your home. Moms and daughters can braid their hair, and weave in a few blossoms.

Bringing the Tradition to Life

I remember when I was little, our neighbor would gather flowers to leave on our porch; she would ring the doorbell and run, as to remain anonymous behind the gift of spring.

This is a fun use of those flowers that you gathered on your morning walk, and I think it should be resurrected as a new fun May Day tradition. Even just a handful of the common spring bluebells or lilacs would be a welcome gift for a neighbor or a friend.

I love the May Pole, but this “ding-dong ditch” seems more fun, and takes less practice, and fewer people.

I give you this challenge: even if you give ONE person ONE flower, let’s all try and practice this new tradition today!Ding Dong