There is nothing better to brighten up a room than a vase of fresh flowers. Since the florist does not make regular appearances at my door, I’ve taken to the flower aisle at the local grocery store. As a child I remember sitting at a table in the garage that my grandfather set up for my grandmother. She loved making flower arrangements. She had a box of “frogs”, flower tape, ribbon and wire, and – beautiful flowers. She would set out everything she needed and a bit later a work of art would sit on the table. I’m not certain if this was a southern thing or a Charleston thing, but she could work magic with whatever was at hand.
My grandmother’s arrangements were complicated with a variety of different flowers, greens, tall, short- all mixed together depending upon what was in season. When she had a hole to fill you would find her out in the garden with a pair of clippers and her imagination.
Where grandmom’s arrangements were complex, I opt for simple. In the summer, I tend towards sunflowers. They are happy and make me smile. I have a couple of go to vases but my favorite vase is one a bit on the modern side that works with my eclectic sense of style. In the flower aisle I look for one flower that is fresh and crisp. I then buy enough of that one flower to fill my vase. At the grocery, flowers are usually sold in a bunch of three or four so I need multiple bunches to fill my vase. The end result I want is a very full vase so I always add one bunch over what I think it will take to fill the vase.
At home, I cut the stems at an angle to three or four inches above the top of my vase and remove all the leaves that are “inside” the vase. I then add the flowers one stem at a time turning the vase as I go. I start along the outside of my vase with the shorter stems and move to the inside with the stems cut slightly taller. Then, my secret ingredient, a shot of vodka. Be careful with the vodka, it serves to extend the life of the flowers but, if you add too much, you can get a drunken flower arrangement. Finally, add clean water. My arrangements tend to last a week so long as I remember to change the water.