How to use flowers in your home
This week I got a chance to catch up with Vicky Potter from @victorandbetty about how we can use plants and flowers in our home. I’ll be honest, it was an eye-opener! I now know how to prolong the life of my flowers, and how to give them a fighting chance when I first get them. If you want to know more then read on.
But first a little about Vicky. She has been working as a florist for over 3 years after gaining a qualification at the local college and then getting stuck in working hands on with different local floristry businesses. Being initially throw in at the deep end, as so many of us can relate to at some time in our working lives, she found herself making large arrangements for Chelmsford Ladies Day and has not looked back.
The impact of Covid through 2020/21 impacted florists with the cancellation of weddings and events, but sadly funeral arrangements have kept florist businesses busy. Even in dark times though a florist can still bring a smile to a families face, which I know Vicky will have done with this witches hat arrangement. (Asked for by the family!)
When I asked Vicky what she enjoyed most about her job she described the creativity and the fact that nothing is every really the same. These are very similar loves of mine as an Interior Designer.
Let’s get into the questions.
What are your top tips for prolonging the life of flowers?
(This is where I learnt a lot as I have been doing the opposite to most of these tips!)
1) Don’t wash your vases with washing up liquid. It leaves a residue in which stems will deteriorate quicker. Clean with a small drop of bleach, swish about (very technical I know), and then clean with a cloth.
2) Cut your stems on an angle (This is the one tip I did know) - as it helps the flowers take up the water quicker.
3) Bleach is a flowers friend. Pop a small drop in with a bunch of flowers (less than half a teaspoon, or even less!) If you are using small vase then less again.
4) Change the flower water every few days – and again remember to add a small drop of bleach.
5) Keep water topped up with fresh water as some will drink the water quickly.
6) Cut off all leaves to ensure none are touching the water. This stops bacteria getting into the water.
7) Don’t place flowers in direct sunlight.
8) If your arrangement has cream roses don’t touch the top petals as they will bruise easily.
What spring flowers work well in the home?
At this time of year Daffodils, Hyacinths and Iris’s are great to have at home, and as we come into April my favourite Peonies’ will be in bloom.
A cheap hack is to pick up a mini daffodil plant or hyacinth from your local supermarket – they are great value – and repot into old crockery, a teapot, or any decorative china that you might have to create a table arrangement. Once back open you will often find me scouring the charity shops for old crockery items which I can then repurpose use in displays.
Check out my teapot flower hack - teapot from Facebook marketplace for £3 and mini daff's for £1 from Tesco.
[Before you use your Nan’s best china please check its not a valuable antique]
I also like the simple use of a glass jar, wrapped with some ribbon and then filled with a simple bunch of stems. It’s a great gift for Mother’s Day – all ready to be popped out on display. No work involved by Mothers, which I know is very much appreciated.
Don’t forget wreath’s and displays aren’t just for Christmas, they can be used to welcome visitors to your home all year round.
Which flowers bring the best scent into a home?
Lilies, Roses, Hyacinth and Chrysanthemums (that’s not an easy word to spell !) all bring a great scent into your home. Two of my favourite Rose scents are Avalanche and David Austin
Finally, a great flower hack.
One final tip Vicky shared with me on flowers was a great hack. If you are lucky enough to have some garden foliage, mix this with a bunch of shop bough stems to create your own arrangement.
You can use Ivy with an oasis as a trailing plant, laurel (often found in borders), willow twists, bay and olive branches, and even pistache. Cut the branch as low as you can, removed the lower leaves and add to your shop bought flowers.
We finished with a quick-fire round.
Flowers or plants?
Flowers every time.
Arrangement or Bouquet?
Bouquet – I love the loose flow of putting a look together.
Natural or Dyed Flowers?
I prefer the natural. Dyed flowers are grown adding dye to the soil when the plant is growing.
Flowers or Foliage?
I love foliage.
Real or Artificial?
Real – artificial have their uses and if every mixed together just be sure that the arrangement doesn’t look odd.
A huge thanks to Vicky for giving up her time for the fourth post this Ask an Expert series. If you are looking for florist and are in the Southend (Essex) area I can highly recommend Vicky’s work. She has made several arrangements for me for friends and family birthday events as well as taking party in her annual Xmas Wreath making which in 2020, we did successfully via zoom. You can find Vicky here at @victorandbetty
If there are any topics that you’d love me to cover with an expert either drop me a comment below or fill out my contact from here.
If you’d like to read more about how you can bring nature into your home then check out this blog post – it scratches the surface on Biophilia.
If you’d like to read more posts in the Ask an Expert series you can find them here.