By Helena Zachariassen, Home & Lifestyle Editor
Being the daughter of a flower growing father and grandfather, I grew up surrounded by flowers. Flowers are the easiest, most inexpensive and most beautiful way to change the entire look and feel of a room in an instant. I always encourage my clients to bring in fresh flowers on a regular basis to enhance the joy factor at home, smell the freshness or simply get a smile on their faces.
Already in the ancient wisdom of feng shui, a Chinese philosophy of creating harmonious living spaces enhancing the balance of energy flows, there are numerous powerful ways to use flowers. My 3 favourites being:
- Using flowers to attract and keep love. Have deep red flowers on the right side of your bed, ie. roses, to activate powerful and passionate emotions. Alternatively place pink peonies with buds in a vase if you’re looking to flirt and activate a new relationship.
- Happy kitchen vibes. Orange and yellow represent the colours of the sun and promote happiness and health if placed in the kitchen. Using sun flowers, daisies or yellow roses might just create an increased feeling of joy and also stimulate the appetite.
- Flowers in the office spark prosperity. Identify the far left corner of your office (at home or work) and place a vase with purple flowers in that area. Purple symbolises royalty and attracts prosperity. You can also keep the flowers in the far left corner of your desk.
Looking further into the magical world of flowers, I recently had the absolute pleasure of talking to Clare Howard, a Zurich based florist, founder and owner of BLOEM, and ask her for her best tips to elevate our homes. Enjoy the read and don’t miss the exclusive opportunity she’s offering further below.
#1: Clare, you’re an amazing florist focusing on fresh seasonal flowers. Which flowers would you recommend to highly elevate the look of a home?
A tough question, there are so many beautiful flowers out there and at the same time flowers are such a personal choice. I like to mix it up and have one larger bouquet and some smaller vases dotted around the apartment with just a few flowers. Although I personally favour mixed bouquets – which is also the signature BLOEM style – a mono bouquet can look equally as elegant.
At BLOEM we only work with seasonal flowers. Follow the seasons is my advice. Not only will your flowers be fresher and hold longer, seasonal flowers also limit the environmental impact as they won’t have to be flown in from other continents. A few of my summer favourites are delphinium, nigella, campanula, achillea and allium.
#2: Where and how can I display flowers in the best way in my home?
To be honest there is no wrong or right when it comes to this. I like flowers to make a statement. To me they are part of the interior and add to the design element in the home. I tend to have them on the kitchen table. This is usually a pretty central place in the home and where they can be enjoyed to their fullest. But that’s not to say they can’t be enjoyed elsewhere. It’s been scientifically proven that flowers have a positive effect on our moods, as well as improving our memory and increasing creativity and productivity. So on that note flowers in the office are not a bad shout either!
3# What are your best flower maintenance tips? Some flowers always look good a few days and then they die or look sloppy.
There are a couple of key tips that are guaranteed to keep your flowers looking happier for longer.
- Use a clean vase. Bacteria build up in dirty vases and do not go away just because the vase dries out. As soon as you add water again, the vase will once again be full of bacteria and your new bouquet will be subjected to the bacteria from the last bouquet.
- Change the water frequently; ideally every 2-3 days. Unfortunately, flowers are highly susceptible to bacteria that builds up as the stems sit in water. If you’re ever wondering why your flowers smell rotten, it’s the bacteria in the water and means you need to change it asap.
- Fill the vase with only 1/3 water. This is enough if you follow step 2. In summer you can add a little more due to the warmer temperatures. The reason for this measure is to ensure no leaves are touching or go below the water line. Wet leaves will decay quickly and spread bacteria in the vase like wildfire. Once one flower starts to wilt, the others soon follow suit – it’s like a domino effect.
- Cut 1-2 cm off each stem every time you refresh the water. Bacteria builds up around the bottom of the stems. By cutting them, you won’t be infecting the fresh water with existing bacteria and your flowers will continue to look and feel fresh.
- Keep your blooms away from direct sunlight and heat. Placing them in a sunny spot might seem nice but it will speed up the maturing process. The same goes for heat appliances. Do not place you flowers above or next to the radiator or anything else emitting heat – your flowers will just dry out. Flowers also don’t like it too breezy, the best spot is in fact a cool spot, away from direct (sun)light.
- Do not arrange or place your flowers next to ripening fruits or vegetables (especially bananas and apples). Ripening fruit gives off an odorless invisible gas called ethylene. This gas is harmless to humans, but rather deadly to flowers and their petals will start to drop very quickly.
- Where possible always use flower food. It extends the vase life of flowers by more than 60% compared to water alone. Those little packets contain sugar, acid, and bleach. Sugar gives nutrients to the flowers, acid maintains the pH level of the water, and bleach reduces the amount of bacteria and fungi in the water. The average sachet will contain the right dosage for 1 litre of water. So, if you are spreading your flowers over multiple vases, make sure not to overdose them.
- Use a sharp knife or flower shears to cut your flowers. If you use dull, old scissors to trim your flowers, you are often crushing, and thus damaging the cells at the end of the stem. Damaged cells cannot absorb water as effectively as healthy cells. Also always cut the stems at an angle to ensure a more efficient uptake of water.
#4 Which flowers are the most long lasting?
Chrysanthemums, carnations, alstroemerias, freesias, hypericum, eryngium and limonium just to name a few. They can all last up to 2 weeks or more. Unfortunately, some flowers just aren’t destined to last long, as pretty as they are e.g. anemones and iris flowers.
#5 How would you go about choosing flower colours to suit the interior so it doesn’t become too much or too little?
To create a beautiful bouquet, especially a mixed one, I would say it’s less about the colours and more about the combination of texture, shape and size of the flowers used in the arrangement. These elements and principles are similar to those used in interior design.
To me, colour is too subjective as it’s very personal, which I why I tend to hold back on pushing too much of an opinion (unless I am curating a design for a client from scratch based on a certain theme or experience).
Texture, shape and size on the other hand are less subjective and can really impact the way an arrangement turns out. The art and skill here is finding the balance between these three elements to create a well-balanced design that allows each flower to shine in its own right, whilst also complimenting the arrangement as a whole. Unfortunately, I don’t have a magic set of rules that you can apply. It simply takes practice, practice and more practice and is a topic we cover in our flower arranging workshops.
#6 What about dried flowers, yes or total no go?
Yes, but not exclusively. Dried flowers are very versatile due to the fact that they are long-lasting. You can move them around your home or put them away for another day if you get bored of them. They also serve as the perfect decoration for a toilet or bathroom, where it would otherwise be too humid for fresh flowers.
Have you downloaded our free ebook – 21 Hidden Gems of Switzerland ? If you haven’t read it yet, be sure to download while planning your Swiss Summer Getaway.
Are you enjoying our content? We’d love to hear your thoughts.
To read posts from May, click here