Guest Blog: Flower Basics from The Contessa

Guest Blogger The Contessa writes:

to 10px; WIDTH: 320px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 240px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/SdJq2igqa1I/AAAAAAAACzs/TrSnS5IqIo4/s320/056.JPG” border=”0″ />top:2px;padding-right:5px;font-family:times;”>Knowing that I was the daughter of 2 florists (or as they are now called “floral artists”), The Antiques Diva asked me for some tips on flowers. I grew up surrounded by beautiful blossoms all the time. My father also had a love for growing and had 3 large greenhouses. He was, at one time, the largest geranium grower in New York State. His designs won many awards and today, on the anniversary of his passing, I am proud to pass along some things I learned from him.

to 10px; WIDTH: 320px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 240px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/SdJq2tZ8vbI/AAAAAAAACz8/P7Ta3n5KBC8/s320/151.JPG” border=”0″ />First of all, if at all possible, grow a cutting garden. There is nothing more wonderful than being able to go out to your yard and come back with an armful of beautiful fleurs to beautify your home. I myself have a garden that has poppies, tulips, irises, lilies of the valley, rhodeodendrums, hydrangeas plus a few others. I am also blessed with a patch of wild violets – both purple and white. Whatever is in season is what you will find in my house at the time. There is nothing more wonderful smelling than a house in the spring filled with lilacs, lilies of the valley, tulips and violets. I keep a variety of vases in all sizes to fill each room with flowers. Although a lot of my garden is spring flower oriented, try to grow flowers that will bloom at different times from spring to fall so that you will always have something available.

If you don’t have room for a garden, I encourage you to support your local florist or farmers market.
to 10px; WIDTH: 320px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 240px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/SdJq2sereDI/AAAAAAAACz0/GtK8Nux2Avk/s320/068.JPG” border=”0″ />OK…Now that you have flowers, what do you do with them? Always, always, always if you haven’t cut them fresh yourself, recut the bottom of the stem before you put them in water. Prepare the water by putting a low dose aspirin (81 mgs) into the water along with a good-sized pinch of sugar. The sugar serves as food for the flower and the aspirin allows the plant to absorb water more easily.

to 10px; WIDTH: 320px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 240px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/SdJq2fCytwI/AAAAAAAACzk/IG1IJ6b1XV8/s320/028.JPG” border=”0″ />Arranging the flowers is a bit of a personal thing. No one likes the same thing all the time. One important tip….as you are arranging your flowers, make sure all leaves are above the water line. If you don’t do this, the leaves will rot quickly and make for a really foul smelling water. There is nothing I like better than a tall clear vase with about a half dozen white gladiolas. I think it is sheer elegance. I also prefer a smaller vase with white tulips. If you prefer a mix, it’s up to you. Color co-ordinate as you would your wardrobe. In other words, don’t put orange and purple flowers in the same vase. ICK! Now that doesn’t apply if you are doing a big arrangement of wild flower. Mother Nature has provided us with a beautiful palate of wild flowers that somehow always seem to go together. Here in upstate NY, you can drive along a country road and pick a variety of wild flowers from Black Eyed Susan’s to Queen Ann’s Lace.

No matter how you arrange your flowers, the trick is just to do it. No home is complete without some of nature’s beauty. Enjoy!

The Contessa – The Diva of The Day

A Note From The Antiques Diva

Have you enjoyed the photos in today’s blog? All of these beautiful pictures were taken at Holland’s famous garden Keukenhof – the world’s largest flower garden with over 7 Million flower bulbs planted annually! In 2009 Keukenhof will be open from March 19 to May 21 – and this Diva typically visits a number of times to see the blossoms in their various stages. Rumor has it that this year mid April is the best time to go to Keukenhof.

Do you feel like doing a Divalicious Craft Project? This Spring take pictures of your garden and turn those photos into cards with the help of to_Cards.jsp” target=”_blank”>Kodak Gallery’s photo tools? to 10px; WIDTH: 320px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 240px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/SdJrHERORWI/AAAAAAAAC0M/XL4VKmlNzyI/s320/Diva+and+Wine+Guy.jpg” border=”0″ />