By now if you follow me on Instagram you know I have a slight obsession [okay slight is FAR from what it is, but at least I got the obsession part right] with anything that blooms. I blame it on my mother. Growing up we used to have these VP family yard work days where we would throw on our sports bras and shorts and go outside to get a tan…at least that’s what our mother would promote. Instead we would spend the day mowing, moving sticks, picking off dead flowers, etc. Now I never had to mow and to this day refuse to do it, but what I always had the pleasure of doing was picking off all of the little dead flower heads on the many, many, many plants my mother had in our yard. When I say many, I mean sooooo many.
To this day it is one of my least favorite things about trying to keep up outdoors, but I cannot stand to walk by a dead bloom and just leave it.
Fast forward a bunch of years and now I have my own yard and homey spaces that I want to spruce up with my favorite and usually cheapest decor. Peonies from my mothers house [this amateur gardener named, Ellie, didn’t plant hers until a little too late…Ugh. Next year.] are my number 1 [wait a couple more months and you will find out my number 2 favorite]. She has tried many, many things with them to see when they bloom best, how to keep them the longest, and how to persuade them to open up when you need them. Pssst, I’ll let you in on a secret…Mom is brilliant and I am going to share my two favorite tips with you.
–Have a few too many blooms and need to save them?
-Have too many flowers budding/blooming all at the same time? Stocking up at the weekend farmers market or weekly trip to TJ’s? Make some room in your fridge! Stash them away in fresh water [or lay them gently down on their side without water -fresh wet paper towels on the ends of the stems- if you are waiting a little longer even and you really don’t want them to bloom] until you need to use them…you’d be amazing at how long they would last. Have an event coming up next weekend but flowers are ready now? Fridge. Want to prolong your supply for as long as possible? Fridge. Need to save some for your daughters to come and pick through? Fridge. :o)
But wait now I need them to bloom…like now?
-Sometimes we wait until the last minute to do the finishing touches for when company comes over and we need flowers to bloom…like yesterday. Give them a little warmth and you are good to go. Simply give them a fresh cut, pop them into some warm water, and wait just a bit. Beautiful blooms at your fingertips. I am amazed at how fast this works. I have arranged flowers on the counter only to come back a couple hours later and already notice the difference. I have seen small buds bloom almost overnight in our house; we have yet to turn the air on, and am amazed at how much of a difference a warm environment encourages them to open up beautifully!
The best part about using flowers in home decor is their versatility. You can literally put them anywhere and they look gorgeous. My favorites spots include: guest bathroom, entryway, and mantel…I bet you never saw that one coming! I can pull them from one room and pop them somewhere else two seconds later without having to rethink the rest of the decor. There are only so many candles you can have in a single room, ‘knick-knacks’ need more dusting, and a cluttered kitchen counter drives me bonkers! A simple arrangement can brighten up a room and make your heart happy without added effort or thought.
My favorite places to find them:
-Free, checking your yard is obviously #1. If you can, ask around! Lilacs are some of my absolute favorites and it seems like everyone has a tree or bush of some sort. Peonies are super cheap at our local farmers market and I will pick them up there if I have not been able to stock up on some from my lovely mothers home.
-Besides the farmers market: Trader Joes and Walmart. I would love to be able to go to TJ’s weekly but that is not possible. I get super jealous when everyone posts their fantastic finds on Instagram, so I substitute my local Walmart for simple styles [one bunch of the exact same thing vs. buying them already arranged in badly dyed colors]. My absolutely favorite, “I cannot believe I bought them” purchase from Walmart were my clearance faux flowers. They still have a dominant spot in my home, and I was always the girl that hated fake flowers. And I mean HATED.