Saturday, 24 October 2009

Thrify flowers, or the further uses of jam jars

In the absence of a camera, I cannot yet show you my new swished outfits, so thought I'd show you some pretty pictures of flowers instead. I wanted the flat to look its most gorgeous for the cameras on Wednesday, so decided to give it some new accessories in floral form. The only catch? Flowers are ridiculously expensive, considering they will live for a couple of weeks at most. So I gave myself a strict(ish) budget and set out on a mission to make £20-worth of flowers look like a million dollars...

Of course, the thriftiest way to deck your home with floral adornments is to grow your own. It's probably wise not to use wild flowers as they never live long once picked and, more importantly, you may be damaging the natural balance of a fragile ecosystem. So if, like me, you live in a flat with only window boxes to indulge your gardening dreams, how to decorate with flowers on a budget? Local florists are often cheaper and more flexible than supermarkets, allowing you to buy just a few choice stems and stick to seasonal blooms, which are less expensive and have a smaller carbon footprint, as they haven't been flown in from the tropics.

Your florist is also likely to reduce the price of flowers that have already opened, like these stunning lilies I bought in preparation for the film crew coming. Or these magnificently curly pink things I also picked up - I have no idea what they are, but love their mad, exploding petals:

Florists may even have flowers that will not last long as they are, but will be quite happy for quite a while if cut down.

Read more after the jump...
When I told my friendly local florist I was on a tight budget, she dug around amongst and found me a pretty, cottage-style bunch, which I split and put either side of the bed. Make a feature of the short stems with a casual arrangement in a jam jar:

Of course it is much more economical to decorate with plants, rather than cut flowers. What could be more glamorously reminiscent of a 1940s movie-star's boudoir than a perfectly-poised orchid?

These can be pricey, but they last for ages, will re-flower if you cut them back to one of the little branchlets (have you guessed I'm not a real gardener yet?), and, best of all, these sublime specimens are on offer in Marks and Spencer at the moment for £4.99. Quel bargain! I chose this deep raspberry to match the colour scheme in my sitting room, but there's a veritable rainbow of colours available (only in store, not online, though, sadly).

All of these beauties, plus one more jam-jar-full (seen above on the left) AND the smaller orchid in Thursday's post, came in at £21.89. What do you think, a million dollars? Maybe not quite, but near enough for me.

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