Styling with flowers and plants - in and out

Gosh, I've just realised that it's two weeks since I did a blog post.  Really sorry. It's been a mad sort of two weeks and I don't know where the time has gone.

I did however get some time on Thursday to replace flowers in my house and buy a few flowering plants to replace some of those that have finished flowering.  It's been a pretty awful August with low temperatures, grey days and rain - what's new, that's a typical English summer after all !!  My plants haven't flourished as well as I would have liked from a flowers perspective, due to the lack of sunshine.

Anyway, as you all know, I'm an ex florist and I can't live without being surrounded by flowers and plants so every room in my two-bedroom home has either a vase of flowers or a flowering plant in it.  My budget has decreased dramatically since I took voluntary redundancy from my job in the financial services last July so I have to make the most of the flowers that I buy.  I even will them to live longer!!!!

Here are my top tips for buying and arranging flowers in the home:

- I buy most of my flowers in the supermarkets (mainly Waitrose as they have the best selection) as they are cheaper than florist prices. However if you want more interesting flowers and greenery find a good local florist as well as buying from the supermarket

- Don't just buy flowers randomly. You need to plan where you are going to put them in your home and what vase you will use

- Monotones create the biggest impact i.e. flowers of one colour.  Red & white flowers in the same vase is a big No-No (blood & bandages!!). Stick to tones and hues of the same colour.  Or you can have a couple of colours like pink and orange to create a real impact as I've done with the roses in my hall (see photo below)

- Cut all stems on a diagonal and any thick woody stems should also be cut vertically up the stem for a couple of centimetres e.g. sunflowers, stocks, chrysanthemums, hydrangeas. 

- I always add the flower food sachet that comes with the flowers to the water as well as a blob of bleach (it stops water marks on the vase).  Food and bleach don't seem to harm the flowers, on the contrary my flowers seem to last for days/weeks!

- Best vases are those that have a wider base than the neck.  Flowers display better and you don't need so many of them (budget, budget, budget!!)

- Clean the stems of the flowers to remove any leaves or thorns and off-shoots, just save a few at the top.  These need nutrition so the more you remove the more the flower has the best chance of survival.  I always remove anything that will sit below water level and even some above water level.  Off-shoots can be put in small bud vases or vintage bottles as you can see in the photos below.

- If you are lucky enough to have a garden (I don't!) pick some foliage to add to the vase of flowers. This adds, texture and bulks up the flowers so you don't need so many flowers

- Top up the water in the vases regularly (some flowers drink copious amounts of water so keep a sharp eye on the level of water - sunflowers for example drink loads!). Change the water regularly especially for flowers like stocks as the water can get really smelly. Just remember, you like to shower/bath regularly and flowers do also !!

So here's what's in my house currently and a few pics of my three square feet of outside space.


And here are the latest photos of my limited outside space - three square feet and the steps down to the garden belonging to the owners of the flat underneath mine. I have tried to keep to blues, mauves and pinks but I've also included a soft orange at the bottom of the steps.  Bees love blue and mauve flowers which is why I tend to go for this colour palette

I hope these photos have inspired you to create some gorgeous displays inside and outside.  I cannot live without being surrounded by flowers (you can't take the florist out of the gal, as I always say!).

I'd love to hear about how you use flowers to style your home and also about your outside space and if limited, how you maximise it.  Do let me know as I'm always keen to hear from my readers.  I'd also love to get some feedback from you as to what topics you'd like me to cover in my blog.

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