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Fresh-cut flowers work wonders to perk up a room—and your mood. Alethea Harampolis, co-author of The Flower Recipe Book, offers tips on how to make them last.
Here's how: Make sure your vase is flower-friendly by washing and rinsing it thoroughly. Fill with cold water and, if you have a packet of flower food, stir it in. Trim stems at an angle and place them in the vase—pronto. Minimize wilting by keeping blooms out of direct sunlight. Do regular spot checks to remove floating leaves and petals. Recut stems and change the water every other day.
Originally published in the May 2014 issue of Family Circle magazine.
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Pink peonies and green viburnum make a vivid color combo that sings spring.
Here's how: Trim stems to varying heights so that peonies stick out randomly amid the viburnum blossoms. Split woody stems a couple of inches up the middle with shears to allow for better water absorption. Choose a narrow-necked vessel to help support top-heavy blooms. "Remember this general rule," says stylist Christopher White. "A finished arrangement should be approximately one and a half times the height of your vase."
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Hydrangeas, with their subtle scent, make an ideal partner for lilacs, which give off a heady perfume.
Here's how: Put hydrangeas into a wide-mouth container first. The sturdy stems create a structure that helps support the other blooms. Then cut lilacs to different lengths and fill in the display.
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Gilding the Lily
Nothing could be easier or more glamorous than a lush bouquet of sweet-smelling lilies.
Here's how: Cut stems of lily buds very short and cluster together. Next add in a few sprigs of feathery astilbe. "When the lily buds finally open you get the big 'wow' factor," White says.
Expert tip: Blooms will last longer if you change the water and recut every couple days.
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Give a floral arrangement a lovely twist by pairing delicate sweet peas with scented geranium leaves.
Here's how: Bundle the sweet peas in your hand, snip stems so that some are taller than others and drop into a narrow vase filled with water. Slip a few geranium leaves around the lip of the vessel to frame the blooms.
Expert tip: Use room-temperature water to fill the vase, and add cut-flower food.
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It's a Snap
Want a foolproof bouquet? Choose blossoms that are different shapes and sizes but the same hue.
Here's how: After cutting stems, place ranunculus in a narrow-necked vase. Leave snapdragon stalks a bit longer and add into the arrangement to give height. "Don't force the flowers into a shape," says White. "Let them go their own whimsical way."
Expert tip: For a natural-looking arrangement, leave a few leggy stems with buds in the cluster.
Originally published in the May 2011 issue of Family Circle magazine.