1 February 2011

Favorite Things - Monday, January 31

Today's favorite thing ties in with one of my New Year's Resolutions. And, I admit up front that this is not a New Year's Resolution that involves discipline or fortitude, so much as it does delight and frivolity.

Fresh flowers. This year I resolved to always have fresh flowers somewhere within my home. I always thought of them as a treat. Something that I would use to dress a table for company or accept as a peace offering when my husband screwed up. But why confine it to those rare occassions. After all, I don't have company every week, and lucky for me my husband does not screw up all that often.

This year, I decided the $5 a week that it takes to add that little splash of colour and freshness to my home should just be a natural part of my household budget. No really, I did say $5. I don't believe that a bouquet needs to be elaborate. I don't need fresh long stemmed roses, and strange add-ins like Bird of Paradise. I get the same enjoyment from a daisy that I do from an orchid.

It needs only to be simple. One type of bloom in various shades of the same colour in a simple vase can be quite glorious in their own right. For instance I have to admit that until recently I absolutely loathed the lowly carnation. I always saw it as a cheap filler flower, the odd-man-out add-in in a grocery store bouqet. Stuck in beside roses and lilies it looks uncomfortable and out-of-place. Group them together however, and let them be the star of the show, and they shine. A tightly cowded ball of feathery ruffles floating above the rim of a squat vase. Tuck them down low so no stems show. Add in some sweet daisies along the edge for a little variety and texture if you wish, but it is not necessary.

Still, you think, $5 is not going to get you a tightly crowded ball of chrysanthemums. Not at first. You might need to spend $10 the first week. But the truth is, the $5 grocery store bouquets have a surprisingly long life. I buy the ones that go on sale. Not quite fresh enough to sell at full price, but not yet ready for the compost bin either. If you are good to them and allow them fresh water every couple days, you could see them last for up to three weeks. I'm not kidding. Here it is the end of January, and some daises that I bought for New Year's Eve dinner are still gracing my table.

Each week I pluck out the flowers that have wilted and faded and mix in the new blooms from my latest $5 investment. When I look over the sleeves of flowers at the grocery store I look for flowers that are similar in bloom and in the same colour family. You can be more adventurous of course, but just keep in mind that you will be adding to your already existing mix. Also look for flowers that have a good long lifespan. Hydrangea is a great option, and you only need one or two and then a few filler flowers. Chrysanthemum, daisies, freesia, any type of greenery, berries, these are all good bets. Ask the floral experts if you need help choosing.

The result: since December 30 I have had a vase of flowers constantly residing on my kitchen table, and the cost has been no more than $30. Now, how's that for bringing a little daily joy to one's budget constant life.

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