Monday, December 7, 2009
Guest Blogger - Preston Bailey
In the 1970's I walked in to a home of two interior designers and I was captivated by an explosion of beautiful gladiolus in a glass vase. This one arrangement started the journey: my love of flowers. Since then I have always made an effort to have flowers in my home and in doing so have learned the dos and don'ts. Here I will share them with you.
The most important way to give off a feeling of what your home is about is to have welcoming flowers in the entrance. These could be a beautiful blossom or a cluster of flowers.
Each room in the home should make a flower statement. In a contemporary environment it is desirable to use the same kind of flowers. In a more traditional setting, you might mix a variety of flowers and play up the colors from the environment.
As you walk into your living room it is good to have flowers create intimacy, like on a coffee table or in a sitting area. When placing an arrangement on a coffee table, make sure it is not too overpowering and that it isn't so high that it prevents you from seeing across the sofa.
There are two rooms in which scented flowers are ideal. One is the bathroom and the other is the bedroom, beside your bed as you sleep at night, so that the first thing you smell when you awake is the wonderful scent of flowers.
The rule of thumb for choosing a vase is that the flowers should account for 60 percent of the height of the arrangement and the vase should account for 40 percent.
Some flowers last longer than others. Lilies and any kind of roses, once treated properly, have long lives. Spring flowers which include any blossoms, dogwoods, and lilacs, are tricky house flowers.
To maximize the life of your flowers:
1. Always make sure to buy freshly cut flowers. Most flowers only last 3 or 4 days after they bloom so buying fresh is important for the longevity of flowers.
2. Maximize water intake. If you plan to venture into blossoms I strongly recommend smashing the bottom of the branches with a hammer at the base to aid water absorption. When removing thorns from roses, make an angle cut to allow the rose to drink water.
3. Change the water daily. When there is an arrangement in water, leaves should never touch the water - they will give the water a bad smell.
4. Keep the water at room temperature. The cooler the temperature in the room surrounding the flower, the longer they will last.
5. Avoid direct sunlight. Most cut flowers need no sunlight.
One of my favorite ways to keep flowers in my house cost-effectively is to buy flowering plants.
They typically last 1 - 3 weeks, and the beauty is that if you get them in bulb form, you can watch them bloom and grow. Many bulbs don't need intense light, so indoor lighting is fine.
Narcissus (paperwhites), amaryllis, and hyacinths make great home-flowering plants. Most flowering plants will require water every other day. If the leaves start turning yellow, you are overwatering. If not, you are doing the right thing.
The best home investment is the orchid. Orchids are the most durable plants because they grow in extreme situations. If you hold on to the plant itself, it will bloom again. Some orchids bloom every 6 months, some every year.
Flowers are about life and joy. For maximum impact and beauty, pay attention to the seasonal ones. Here are some seasonal suggestions:
Winter: amaryllis, poinsettias, narcissues, potted flowers
Spring: branches, daffofils, tulips, peonies
Summer: sunflowers, lilies, roses, stocks
Fall: hydrangeas (they dry beautifully)
When sending flowers to a home, think about the person and his or her style, and convey that to the florist. When in doubt, it is much better to send a simple arrangement and to always send flowers with the lognest possible life.
I recommend sending flowers half open, not yet bloomed, but not bulbs, so that the recipient gets an appreciation for their beauty upon receiving them.
When buying for yourself you can buy completely tight bulbs.
It is always nicer to send flowers in a vase because the recipient can enjoy them right away rather than requiring them to perform work when the flowers arrive. (end of Preston's post...)
All of the images (except for the vase of gladiolus) are of Preston's home that he shares with his partner Theo Bleckmann. All of the furnishings and fabrics were done by Preston's long time close friend Vincent Wolfe (I'm sure you recognized the VW easel used for the flat screen television).
You can read a really great interview with Preston Bailey at New York Social Diary, from whence these images came from.