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”
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.