Cheap and cheerful. You don't have to look far to find an instant pick me up. Anya Brighouse shares some clever tips with plants, pots and flowers to add a little flair and fragrance to your home.
1. Living wreath using succulents
To make a wreath, cut a strip of chicken wire mesh and then line it with moss, then with soil, then with more moss. Roll up the soil and moss filled wire mesh to form a sausage shape. Trim off the ends of the wreath with sharp cutters and bring both ends together to form a circle. Secure the wreath ends florist's wire or clear fishing line. Use a screwdriver to poke holes through the moss for cuttings. Work around the wreath adding a mixture of cuttings for colour and form. Water well and the cuttings will take root. It looks fabulous on an outdoor table with the sun-umbrella.
Herbs are another cheap and cheerful way to 'add organic' wherever you may need it. The herbs we used came from my local greengrocer; they are always cheap at Kings Plant Barn, as are the terracotta pots you could put them in. I put a big mass of them on them on the table and run my hands through them before guests arrive and the scents are marvellous. Cook with them too.
3. Simple is beautiful
Simple is always best. Try and keep flowers 'en masse' - all the same. That way they are not fighting each other!
4. Even simpler...
I love heliconias and birds of paradise. They are simple, exotic and sculptural. I also love twisted bamboo with a simple tropical leaf. They need to be in large simple containers: big old bottles, clay jugs or the like.
5. Steal from your garden
We often overlook our own gardens. Just because things don't look very interesting on a bush, it doesn't mean they can't be beautiful in a vase. Fragrant honeysuckle, daphne and lavenders.
6. Potted beauty
I love the tropical feel and deep reds of bromeliads and a variety of other colours. They last a long time.
7. Pity you can't eat them
Ornamental cabbages may seem a strange idea, but they really are unusually beautiful. You can use them both as a kind of cut flower or plant them in the garden.
8. Underwater beauty
The trick to keeping flowers underwater is to change the water as often as possible. I have used white Singapore orchids under water in tall vases as centrepieces for an event and they looked amazing.
9. Kids and flowers
I chose Primroses because they just can't be beaten. We used old peach tins that we painted and pierced holes in the bottom. We used Resene Clowning Around (purple), Resene Yabbadabbadoo (aqua) and Resene Tickled Pink.
10. A bit of a cheat
Fabric flowers are a last resort for me. The beauty of fresh flowers comes from their fragile, transient, 'organicness'! And, of course their scent. However fabric flowers have improved lately, but keep the arrangement simple and dust them.
Any time Singapore orchids in all their gorgeous tropical colours. Anthuriums because they last such a long time and are so sculptural and dramatic. Phalaenopsis - cannot be beaten.
Don't be afraid of foliage - a vase full of simple leaves and branches makes a statement. Ruskus gorgeous colour and lasts for months. Magnolia but not in Autumn when the growth is new. Camellia especially when flowering. Large tropical leaves like Monstera Red coenus ( dogwood) holds its gorgeous colour. Willow golden, twisted, whatever you can get.
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