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Dr Lisa Cooper says flow­ers are the fresh­est way to dec­o­rate your home and you don’t have to be a florist to put an ar­range­ment to­gether. Just cut, ar­range and put them every­where, she says “Stick to a mass of one type of flower and fo­cus on the com­po­si­tion un­til you are more con­fi­dent in this area, then add a sec­ond el­e­ment,” Cooper says “Buy flow­ers that you ab­so­lutely love en masse and ar­range them in a vase one by one, con­scious of the place­ment of each.” Where pos­si­ble, buy flow­ers from farms or mar­kets (Flem­ing­ton Flower Mar­ket is her favourite). If you are buy­ing from a su­per­mar­ket, take a good look. “This seems ob­vi­ous but I think few peo­ple do. Ob­serve them closely for marks, weak petals and leaves; choose the strong­est and most vi­brant. When you get them home, re­move the ma­jor­ity of the leaves so that the wa­ter is re­plen­ish­ing the flower and not feed­ing leaves. Cut the stems and plunge im­me­di­ately into cold tap wa­ter.” Cooper says vis­it­ing lo­cal flower farms pro­vides great in­spi­ra­tion, and she loves rose farms. “In win­ter the rose is cut back to a bare stump that by early sum­mer is a heav­ing mass of un­du­lant, fra­grant colour,’’ she says Her favourite sea­sonal flow­ers are helle­bores for win­ter, lily of the val­ley in spring, gar­den roses in sum­mer and hy­drangeas in au­tumn.

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