Blooms on a Budget

By  July 13, 2009

With the rising cost of family necessities from gas to groceries, decorative flowers are usually not a priority on the weekly budget. Follows these tips and you can have beautiful fresh bouquets in your home all year long. ~Lynn Jawitz

Spring Bouquet

Plan Ahead
Analyze the calendar to see when the most lush floral displays are needed—holidays, birthdays, Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day and special family events. If you save for a few weeks ahead of a special occasion, you can splurge for the big day. Buy flowers that are in season–tulips in the spring, peonies in June, sunflowers in August. Just remember that when you buy a peony in December, you’ve just paid his airfare from New Zealand!

Choose floral suppliers carefully
Finding the best suppliers may be an exercise of trial and error at the beginning, but once the network is in place, the process will run smoothly. Focus on the quality and longevity of the cut flowers bought. Consider buying a healthy flowering plant from a nursery or supermarket. Research local bridal florists on websites such as theknot.com, to find designers that arrange party and event flowers from their own homes. Contact them occasionally and remind them to call when they have excess flowers after an event. They will be happy to be able to sell these flowers which have been already “paid for”. At “traditional” florists, be sure to buy flowers in bulk, without paying for arranging and a vase (take care to learn proper care and hydration techniques).

Inquire if local floral wholesalers will sell directly to the public. As a rule, though, avoid Internet floral sellers unless there is no possible other access to flowers. Learn what to look for in choosing flowers, go to the market and look, examine and buy with discrimination. Check out the hours at your local independent flower shop—if they are closed on Sunday, shop very late on Saturday, just as the florist wants to clean out the refrigerator for Monday.

Take good care of the flowers
Proper floral care will extend the life of the flowers dramatically. Place them in clean water right away (which needs to be changed to maintain clarity), use flower preservative packets or a drop of bleach in the water, with no leaves under the water line and keep away from fruit, heat, direct sunlight and drafts. Avoid extreme cold and never place flowers on top of televisions or other electronic equipment that generate heat. If good care is taken, their longevity can be doubled.

With just a little thoughtful, sensible planning and preparation, flowers can fit into a family budget year round!

*Lynn Jawitz is an elite floral designer at Florisan LLC in New York. For more information visit http://www.florisanllc.com/.

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