Centre of attention
WHEN friends and family gather around the table during the holiday season, lingering over a delectable meal and good conversation, it’s the best of times. Set the scene with a mix of favourite dishes, a tablecloth or runner and an eye-catching centrepiece that conveys the spirit of the season. Nothing says Christmas like a poinsettia or decorations in red and green, but don’t feel limited to a traditional theme or colour palette. If your tabletop could use some flair, spice it up with a tablescape that channels your inner gardener or love of the outdoors. Tatiana Penner, designer and owner of Oak & Lily, a flower shop on Corydon Avenue, says there are three different criteria most people look for when they are choosing a flower arrangement for their dinner table. Attractiveness is important, but so too is fragrance (or lack of) and especially longevity.
A popular trend this season at local florist shops is to combine traditional flowers such as amaryllis, roses, and carnations with more unique and exotic flowers such as protea and leucadendron. In one arrangement, Penner combines amaryllis, ruffled Hearts garden roses and white Casablanca lilies with seasonal elements such as stems of bright red ilex berries, alpine huck, and skimmia with its clusters of berries and glossy green leaves. Looking for something reminiscent of the summer garden? Consider Both Penner and Pritchard say it is key to add fresh water daily to your flower or foliage arrangement. To maintain your display in premium condition for when company calls, don’t place in direct sunlight and if possible, store in a cool room, as heat accelerates the bloom cycle. While floral preservative is designed to prolong the life of flowers, Pritchard cautions against its use unless it is used exactly as directed on the packet. If the ratio of preservative to water is not correct, says Pritchard, more harm than good is done. Of course we know what the ultimate outcome is for cut flowers, no matter how beautiful. Consider a potted orchid, always elegant no matter the occasion. Everspring Orchids, located in West St. Paul at 2868 Pipeline Rd., is a premium source for orchid lovers, and is closed only on Christmas Day. Customers can select from a range of orchid plants, even arrangements that combine two or more orchids. Ariel Lin, owner and orchid aficionado, says that while orchids come in a wide range of colours, classic white is the most popular choice at this time of year. For the longest lasting flowers (up to three months) and greatest ease of care, choose a phalaenopsis orchid. Other species are available, some with fragrance, such as cymbidium. Orchids prefer a consistent temperature. Lin recommends avoiding cold or warm drafts. “Never keep orchids near a bowl of fruit,” says Lin. “The ethylene gas emitted from fruit can cause a premature dropping of the orchid buds.” Live Christmas trees also release ethylene over time. Lin recommends watering in the morning, about every seven to 10 days, taking care to not overwater.