Cen­tre of at­ten­tion

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - HOMES -

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.


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