February 16, 2014

Flower Budget

I remember a number of years ago, a friend laughed at me when I said I had a flower budget. It was quite modest, about $10/week, but to me, it meant that having flowers, especially in the depth of winter, was as important as phone and heat. Almost like another utility. tulipsThere was a city market close to where I was living that had a great selection of cut flowers, and if you selected the right ones, they would last more than a week. But there were also times when I’d buy the most gorgeous flowers, only to have them die within days. tulips2

I still try and have fresh flowers in the house, and in the past few weeks, when we’ve had storm after storm, it’s more important to me than ever! Sometimes I pick up flowers at Trader Joe’s, where you can find bunches of fresh-cut flowers for less than $5.00. I got some primroses, which just scream spring, a few weeks ago, and as long as you keep them watered, they’ll last for weeks.primrose

Before Christmas, a friend gave me a dozen or so paper-white narcissus bulbs, and the last of the lot are blooming now.

He also just gave me a pot of miniature daffodils and it looks like they’ll bloom later this week.

I also have two huge gardenia plants, which live outside from April through November, and which I manage to keep alive during the other months. These are cuttings from a heritage plant that my mother has.

Finally, I have a cutting from a geranium that’s from Monticello, a gift from Reggie Darling. Since I am not a gardener, I didn’t realize that you had to put it in dirt to make it grow. It managed to stay alive just in water for months before someone enlightened me about using Root-tone to make it grow roots. It’s bloomed twice and continues to grow new leaves, I am happy that it’s still hanging on, waiting for warm weather.IMG_4166x

Do you have a flower budget?

30 comments:

  1. Yes, I have a flower budget, too. Right now I'm enjoying hyacinths, crocuses and an orchid. I don't think I could live without a flower budget!

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    1. Even if it's small, most people can afford a flower budget!

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  2. I do. Peruvian lilies last FOREVER but most lilies are deadly poisonous to cats and some to dogs. I keep them high up. A lot of the time I will buy about three bouquets in the grocery store, and mix them and make three small arrangements in sterling mint julep cups, with babys breath. White carnations last forever, especially if you change the water and add sugar and a drop of bleach. If I am having a party, I do one large arrangement for the buffet in my Mom's white ironstone pitcher, mostly green/white hydrangeas, pink roses and some seeded eucalyptus from Whole foods and the leftovers for a small arrangement in the bathroom in a small square vase.
    Flowers make me smile.

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    1. Are these the same as the star-gazer lilies? I know that their pollen stains badly. Your arrangements sound wonderful.

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  3. I haven't had one with the refurb for the last 6 months...I am going to try and have a herb budget because I find them underutilized so wil try and add some foliage that way.

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    1. Herbs and a visit to Columbia Road Flower Market!

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  4. Dear Meg, I don't have a flower budget, but I am going to adopt one now based on your recommendation. I often forget to buy flowers during the cooler months for our city apartment, and having a weekly budget for doing so will force me (pun intended!) to buy flowers regularly--every week. This is a capital idea! As to the geranium, I am thrilled yours is doing well, and yes planting the cutting in soil does help promote their happy existence. You will find that yours will become a force to be reckoned with once the weather turns warm and it is moved outside (they love the sun). Ours, the source of yours, is virtually unkillable, and is happy to be cut (hacked) back aggressively as it grows like crazy. Perfect for passing on cuttings to dear friends, such as yourself! Fondly, RD

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    1. Reggie... I am always so impressed with the abundance of flowers in NYC. Every corner bodega has a wide range of choices! I am looking forward to spring and re-planting the Monticello geranium!

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    2. BTW -- the Monty Geranium is very happy when pot-bound in its Peale pot. Let me know if you need a bigger one, and I'll be sure to pick you up one when I go to the Trade Secrets show in May... RD

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  5. No flower budget, but I have houseplants. African violets, an orchid, philodendrum, and some geraniums I brought in for the winter. I love the orchid and violets because they bloom all winter.

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    1. House plants are a great idea. I am hoping that at the end of next summer, the geranium will be huge and healthy and that it will over-winter successfully!

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  6. Not only do I not have a flower budget, I can't stand flowers in my house. Isn't that odd? I've always felt I have some sort of genetic flaw but looking at them and knowing they'll die and I'll have to dispose of them just tears me up. Love them in other people's houses, though.

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    1. I can understand that. I need flowers the same way you don't!

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  7. Hi Meg, I've never had a specific budget amount for various expenses, although that is probably a good idea. I love flowers in nature and outdoors, so I have been able to concentrate expendable income on books and collectibles. I think that these acquisitions give me a similar kind of lift. Of course, books, etc., stick around, while flowers are ephemeral--I'll let you decide which is more advantageous.
    --Jim

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    1. Even if it's a small budget, just the idea of having one helps make the effort of buying flowers become part of the routine.

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  8. Perhaps the friend that told you about root tone may agree with this proposed plan of action. Try to keep you cutting- which is growing into a plant alive as a source of more cuttings. Should you try this, over the years with proper trimming it may grow into a lovely specimen. Proper trimming to shape the plant as trimming does encourage new growth. However, do not go down the road of crepe myrtle murder. the unintended consequences of cutting a tree to a stump to encourage new growth is foolish. Gardeners prune to shape a tree, with a crepe myrtle however the school of Hat racking is rampant far too many destroy a shapely young tree to a disastrous eyesore in the neighborhood.

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    1. I had a geranium in my old office that I kept for a few years. It was in a lovely sunny, south-facing window, so got 6+ hours of sun a day. Perfect conditions!

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  9. I do love flowers and I do buy them here and there, but Rob is the one with a flower budget and brings them home regularly!!

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  10. love star-gazer lilies! they last a good while + geraiums + can still see my grandmother fussing with hers + a great memory + thanks meg. xxpeggybraswelldesign.com

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  11. I have a flower budget and have had it ever since college ,more than 50 years ago, It is as important to me as breathing. I am 71 and have not been outside for three weeks(snow and ice) but blooming today in my office a wonderful red amaryllis,in my kitchena pink one just starting,as well as paper whites. On the breakfast room table(to prove your primrose point) there are six in an antique knifebox that I bought at the grocery on New years eve. Oh my Meyer Lemon is blooming also,smells wonderful. A trick I often do to extend my budget is to buy pots of bulbs instead of cut bunches and then plant thom out in the garden later,,. I've natualized a big patch of Tete a Tete daffodils among my snowdrops that way..,and have many,many tulips

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  12. A flower budget, what a wonderful idea! I don't have one, per se, but I like to have flowers in the house, or something natural to cheer me up, all year. Currently, I am forcing flowering branches, and have an arrangement of cheery daffodils in an old apothecary jar in the kitchen.

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  13. At my place, the sequence of flowers starts after Thanks giving, with flat pots of paperwhites, then hyacinths, then tulips. The paperwhites & hyacinths come from the store with wooden stakes, but I take them out because I like the shaggy, erratic look of foliage running riot from too much water. For me, it's all about the scent, anyway, not the actual blossoms. I take the same approach to the tulips. When they pass their freshness date and the petals start to darken & curl, most people toss them: to me, that's just when they're starting to get interesting.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/magnaverde/12594043165/

    Then, after the tulips, there's nothing till the lilacs come in. And after that, there's nothing till November but a few dried weeds & seed pods in Autumn. Summer flowers--and gardens in general--don't do much for me. But hyacinths! Must have! Like Anon 10:27 says up above, yes, they die, but so do we, and when it comes time to take my final breath, I hope it's scented with hyacinths.

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  14. What a great idea for our winter months! I'll stop at the market tomorrow. Thanks for the tip.

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  15. I have a flower budget as well. I basically fold it into my grocery budget. I hate winter, and like you during this time, flowers become a necessity. They give me hope that one spring will actually arrive. Because of the snow, I've not been leaving the house lately, and am REALLY missing my fresh flowers.

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  16. I absolutely have a flower budget! Nothing makes me happier (especially this winter) than fresh flowers. Whole Foods and Safeway have a great selection. Go on Tuesdays and get them fresh off the truck. If it ever stops snowing, I want to splurge and go to Sieck Flowers on Chase St. BTW, if you love flowers, you should think about taking a flower arranging course at Longwood Gardens. Loads of fun and a great day trip if you tack on a tour of the gardens and a detour to Terrain.

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  17. Hmmm...a flower budget is a great idea - I think I will do this, too! Flowers in the house just make me feel good and for some reason I don't get them very often - I should! Thanks for inspiring me!

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  18. Trader Joes is the best for flowers (as well as other things) and I do the same. My budget is the same - I wont' spend more than a few dollars but the $5 investment in daisies (my favorite) or whatever feels like $100s of dollars worth of a facelift to the home!

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  19. I always have flowers in the house. Can't call it a flower budget but starting the 1st week of January I cut forsythia branches and continue that each week so after a couple of weeks they are there blooming or getting thrown out when they are finished. A forty year old hibiscus blooms most of the winter and the Amaryllis start about February 1st (after bringing them in from the garden in October I don't re pot them until Christmas so I have them in the dreary winter). All filled in with Trader Joe's plants and flowers. Spring, summer and fall are from the garden.

    A hint about pollen in lilies. Just cut the yellow stamens. I worked with wedding flowers for a time and that was important. Table cloths and wedding dresses are not nice with pollen on them.

    Also you can dip geranium or any other plant being rooted in honey (natural) and you don't have use Rootone.

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  20. Your need for flowers in the house reminds me of author May Sarton. Her lovely journals consistently mention her penchant for having something blooming in the house. John's the flower guy in this house. To economize he sometimes buys two orchid plants and puts them in a large footed glass bowl with moss to disguise the two plastic pots. They add color, look lovely, and last for months. When they stop blooming the plants go into the compost and the cost to replace them is less than keeping up with cut flowers. He also has a penchant for flowering branches. I like them as well, but we once lived in an apartment where his branches would go on the coffee table in front of the TV. Made for difficult viewing.

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