the com­fort of things FLOW­ERS IN THE HOUSE

There are cer­tain things in your home that are like old friends: they al­ways cheer you up. This month we feel the love for a vase of blooms “The days of elab­o­rate dis­plays us­ing blocks of oa­sis are over”

The Simple Things - - NEST | HOW WE LIVE - Words: CLARE GOGERTY

Of all the treats you can give your­self, im­pul­sively buy­ing a bunch of flow­ers is one of the best*. First, there’s the joy of stand­ing by the flower stall um­ming and ah­hing. Should it be a bunch of tightly furled ra­nun­cu­lus with their lay­ers of crin­kled petals? Maybe a clutch of pe­onies in bud, about to burst into spec­tac­u­lar bloom? But then there’s the al­lure of half a dozen roses, hard to beat for scent and stay­ing power…

Once you have made your choice, there’s the ad­di­tional plea­sure of it be­ing wrapped by the florist in a cone of brown pa­per, and then car­ry­ing it home, care­fully in­hal­ing the scent and peek­ing at the blooms as you go. Back in the kitchen, stems neatly cut at an an­gle, any fo­liage likely to rot re­moved, comes de­ci­sion time: which ves­sel will best show off the blooms? For­tu­nately, there are many vase op­tions (see next page). Hav­ing a few to hand will make find­ing the right one for your bunch rel­a­tively straight­for­ward, pro­vid­ing you keep the stems in pro­por­tion to the con­tainer (roughly two thirds of the stem above the vase rim).

Then comes the fun bit: ar­rang­ing the flow­ers. The se­cret is to keep it sim­ple. The days of elab­o­rate dis­plays in­volv­ing blocks of oa­sis, frothy bunches of gyp­sophila and mul­ti­ple blooms are over. Try to re­sist the urge to get fancy, and stick to one va­ri­ety or colour with a few sub­tle fo­liage or grass ad­di­tions. Greens and cream look lovely to­gether, for ex­am­ple, and are easy to co-or­di­nate.

If you have a mixed bunch, you will need a wide vase in which it can sit com­fort­ably. Start with fo­liage and twigs, then add more del­i­cate flow­ers af­ter­wards. Bet­ter still, see what you can pick in your gar­den or on a coun­try walk ( pro­vid­ing the plants aren’t rare) and bring those home. A gen­er­ous straight glass vase filled with cow pars­ley looks beau­ti­ful and wild, which is about as good as flower-ar­rang­ing gets.

* Un­less you’re El­ton John, who fa­mously spent £293,000 on flow­ers over 20 months: an ex­trav­a­gance that un­sur­pris­ingly con­tributed to­wards his fi­nan­cial dif­fi­cul­ties in 2000.

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