August 29, 2011

The Power of Flowers

When I lived in San Francisco, I used to buy a bouquet flowers from the little florist in my office building every Friday. It was usually a sad little bunch, on sale because it was the end of the week, and it was better to sell it for 50% off instead of letting it die in the store. The blooms usually only lasted for a few days, but I loved having fresh flowers around our apartment.

After we moved to Chicago, I didn't have a real florist in such close proximity. (Well, maybe I did, but I just wasn't looking for one.) Plus, that 50% discount in San Francisco had been very motivating, and living on a student budget made purchasing flowers at full price less appealing. Even after I started working again, I had just gotten out of the habit of having flowers around.

But recently, I ran across this great article about flower arranging from the NY Times magazine and decided that I needed to start having flowers around again. All the prearranged bouquets I had ever purchased always looked a little sad. This article addressed what you can do with a cheap bunch of flowers with just a little trimming and arranging. I pulled out the article and put it in a little heap with some magazines, thinking that it would come in handy at some point.

A few weeks after reading this article, I was strolling through Whole Foods' floral section one day and saw a some gorgeous hydrangeas and peonies. I decided to give flower arranging a shot with these luscious looking buds. So, I bought the flowers and a few greens to get started.

I took everything home and started trimming wildly. Whenever I would bring home flowers before, I would hack all the stems off at one point on the stem and stuff them into the nearest vase. It was very efficient, but produced somewhat iffy results. Plus, I noticed that almost all the vases I have are meant for tall, traditional arrangements, but I like tighter, denser bouquets that sit a lower to the table. So this time, I tried to have a nice little bunch of flowers grouped low to the vase. I have to say that I like the results.

It was definitely a lot of fun trying to arrange the stems, and turned what was normally a five-minute activity into a half-hour long adventure. (The last 10 minutes of that half-hour were cleanup from the insane number of stems and leaves littering my counter, but it was part of the whole experience, I suppose.)

I ended up replicating this arrangement a few times because I liked it so much, and then peonies went out of season. (A very sad time in my summer.) I tried a different arrangement again a few weeks later with some spider mums and these weird purply prickly things.

I haven't gotten as many flowers recently because of a project that has eaten up my whole dining room table, but I plan on trying again soon. I'm pretty sure I won't have another gap like the one I had before after my SF-Chi move. That's too long to wait for something this pretty to show up on my dining table again.

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