"What a pretty bouquet," the check-out lady said. "Are you having a party?"
No, just brightening the house, I answered. Flowers always have a way of creating a little magic. As I walked out of the grocery, I held the flowers, the paper wrapper crinkling against my coat, feeling happy and festive, as if I were on my way to a wedding or other happy occasion.
It's true--wintertime flowers are an indulgence. But so are Pringles, Reeses Cups, and sugared donuts. This winter, I gave up that unholy (but adored) trio and bought flowers. My treat is seeing hydrangeas in February.
As I arrange the flowers, a peaceable feeling comes over me. Each petal adds color, gaiety, and
hope--a reminder that winter is just one season away from spring.
When the coral roses wilted, I removed them (you can save the petals for potpourri) and made a smaller arrangement.
My mother can get more mileage out of a bouquet than anyone I know, and I asked her to share a little wisdom.
- Keep a small trash can in the garage. Add water. When you return from the grocery, set the flowers into the can. They'll receive a good, long drink while you go about your chores.
- Mother fills a plastic tub with water and cuts stems while they are submerged.Otherwise, she swears that little air bubbles can form in the stems, leading to early withering.
- Change the water in the vase every day--and rinse the vase.
- Pluck withering blossoms fearlessly and find a smaller vase for the still-fresh flowers.