Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Grow A Green Thumb

Day two of our celebration of all things green. What with the whole push for "going green" I thought about simply giving a green tip each day of this week. I decided that was way too predictable and therefore not creative enough for our readers. Instead, we will visit everything from money to fashion - all with a focus on green.

Today is compliments of my mother, the retired florist, ... flowers and green plants. I was lucky enough to have grown up in a home where fresh flowers filled every room. The downside... I took it all for granted and consequently know nothing about foliage of any sort. I consulted with her on the phone, picking her brain for fun facts my readers might like to know. Here you go...

  • Green foliage plants actually serve more of a purpose than simply making your home more beautiful. They actually serve to purify the air in your house and help eliminate odors. She recommended two sites for more information on the Top 10 plants for your home and other fun facts. The sites are Care2/greenliving and houseplants/care.blogspot.com.
  • When cutting roses to put in a vase, always fill your kitchen sink and cut them while the tips are submerged in water. While many people strip roses of all their thorns, my mother advises against it. First, according to her, it is part of what makes a rose beautiful and second, you run the risk of nicking the stem. Roses, unlike, other flowers, drink from the outside and removing the thorns means possibly nicking the outer stem and disturbing the flow of water.
  • Daffodils are not compatible with any other flowers. There is something about their makeup that poisons the water, therefore killing other flowers in the arrangement. They are best in a vase by themselves.
  • Tulips. Have you ever noticed how tulips, when in an arrangement, with other flowers continue to grow? It doesn't take long before they are out of sync with the rest of the arrangement. Fix this by disrupting the flow of water to the flower. Simply make a small vertical nick in one side of the tulip's stem.
  • Keep arrangements looking good by changing the water every day or two. Water should be room temperature. Some people add an aspirin, 7Up, or a penny - all in an effort to keep flowers looking good longer. My mom wouldn't commit to which of any of these tricks really worked. Maybe some of you have an opinion or another trick.
  • If an arrangement is well done, you should be able to pluck one or two flowers from it as they die and still have the arrangement looking balanced. Something to aspire to for any of us who want to develop this skill.
  • We missed the boat on making our own green carnations for St. Patrick's Day, but you could try this trick for Mother's Day (maybe a pale pink or blue carnation). Simply cut the stem and stick it in a potent cup of the food dye color of your choice. You have to do this about 18 hours before you intend to use it, as that is how long it will take for the flower to absorb the colored water.

If you are like me and much of this escapes you... try this fun little idea. My mom came to visit after Jack was born and was a huge help in taking care of the other two boys. A week after she returned home, my son's and I mailed her a big box filled with bright colored tissue paper flowers. On the outside of box we wrote, "Thanks a BUNCH for all your help!" The boys had fun helping me make them and I knew they'd still be alive when they arrived.

Signing off until tomorrow...

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