Thursday, August 26, 2010


Hyacinths make beautiful bouquets and in this case a romantic posy. The dense cluster of florets makes an impressive presence and a minimal arrangement is all these bursting stars needed.

Hyacinths are also known for their fragrance. Too bad I cannot be in close proximity with these lovely flowers as I would start sneezing and working with them at length makes my head pound. I have asked some experienced florists if it happens to them and they almost unanimously say yes.

Fragrant flowers such as hyacinths are mostly placed at the shop front and milder ones near their work station. The practicality of the placement has an added advantage, lulling passerby to stop and browse as the fragrances greets their senses miles away.

Brilliant idea.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Potted Azalea

This pot of azalea is my first flowering plant. I have always been partial to cut flowers as opposed to potted ones for their convenience. The blossom in this little pot has lasted two full months. As the flowers begin to wilt I start reading up on the care of azaleas. After the first flowering it's recommended to plant the azalea outdoors for the next season. Since I don't have a garden it will have to stay in its pot.

The leaves have grown wild and unruly in the meantime. I am real skeptical about it blooming again but on the off chance that it would, I have kept up with the trimming to keep its original dome shape. It almost has a sorry end in the trash can one day because it is so dry and brittle. I have completely forgotten to water it.

I think this pot is a late bloomer. Spring has come and gone and it's the height of summer. Nonetheless it's a thrill to be counting the new buds. As a debutant there is still much to learn about plants. I am looking forward to the wide circle of buds yet to bloom and happily thinking ablout choosing my second flowering plant.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Apricot Blossoms

Apricot blossoms

Close up

Spring arrives at the fruit farm with blossoms everywhere. It's amazing these apricot trees can thrive on such arid land. To a happy harvest!!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Spring Flowers

Pale pink roses, selected poems by Walt Whitman

Ranunculus blossoms

Salmon pink baby carnations

Fleurs de printemps.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Votive Candles

Ranunculus blossoms in votive candle glasses
I have a weakness for candles. As a result I have a collection of burnt out votive candles gathering dust on a shelf. I have ruled out scraping the residual wax with knives because of the possible scar marks on the glass. One day, I come across a how-to guide on Martha's blog on cleaning votive candles.
I cannot believe the solution is this simple. Pop the candle in the freezer for a few hours. The rationale being the wax will contract in the cold and it can then be removed without any scraping.
I am pretty sure the glass will crack under the cold temperature but I decide to try it out anyhow, so I put two candles inside the freezer. After four hours I take the frozen votive out. I then use a knife to tease the wax around the glass, all the while remaining highly skeptical of my little experiment. Then I hear a tiny pop sound. I realize that air has been sucked in, meaning a vacuum is created between the wax and the glass.
This is the moment of truth. I turn the glass upside down and give the bottom a few knocks. The wax plop out with a thud on the kitchen counter. The glass is clean and gleaming with no trail of wax whatsoever!! I stand rooted to the spot holding the frosted glass, until the numbing cold from my fingers wake me from my trance. It works!!
My freezer is crammed with a dozen candles now. This simple tip has taken care of a problem that has been irking me for a long time and I am looking forward to a variety of glass holders. Above are the two votive candles from the experiment and they make such perfect vases for solitaire blossoms.
What a great tip from Martha!!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Tiger Lilies

Tiger Lilies

I got a stem of tiger lilies at the supermarket checkout yesterday. It was really a spur of the moment thing as I was already juggling a big bag of grocery, my handbag plus dry clean. It was one amazing feat to get the flower home. I piled everything on one arm in order to free my other hand to hold it. With stone on one arm and feather on the other, I waddled lopsidedly home.

I was so proud the flower was intact when I dropped everything on the dining table. I already had a visual picture of the lilies with its long stem standing in a tall vase. I went in search of the vase all the while thinking how elegant the lilies would look. Hugging the vase, I went back to the kitchen.

I tried to ease the stem out of the plastic wrapping but it would not budge. They did a real good job making sure the flower stayed in place with mounds of tape. After futile attempts to push the stem out, scissors were called in for the job. Just when I was cutting around the tape, lo and behold the stem broke!! I stood rooted in the kitchen like an idiot holding the lilies I had protected all the way home with the lower stem dangling in the plastic wrapping.

Aghast at what had happened I consoled myself at least I had half the length left. I put the broken stem on the kitchen counter in search of another vase but I guess the stem was just too fragile. When I took the flower out, the stem broke again with only one fifth of its original length left. The stem was so short by now I could only put it in the tiniest vase.

Talk about all the effort to get the lilies home. It is a lesson well learnt, impulse buying is never a good idea.

Here is a shot of the tiger lilies with a treasured antique opera glass.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Valentine New Year

Valentine's Day happened to fall on Chinese New Year this year. It's supposed to occur every thirty eight years. As opposed to the usual bouquet of cut flowers, I received a big vase of orchids arranged with a mass twirl of silvery buds. It felt more celebratory than romantic, so I guess New Year's won out as the decoration theme this Valentine's.

I could not resist getting sweet peas when I chanced upon them and they had fondly become everyday flowers around the house. I thought I had seen the lots, but during the frequent, albeit brief sojourn on my desk, I still marvelled at their variations. I was thrilled the paler buds all bloomed from the two latest stems. To keep the older blossoms just a few days longer, the stems were cut to an inch leaving the freshest part in water.

The free flowing sweet peas were the Midas touch, adding sweetness and romance to the otherwise austere Valentine orchids.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Sweet Peas

Champagne color Sweet Peas

A perennial favorite
Sweet peas have an air of nonchalance with their crinkled petals and rowdy blossoms. Why conform when there are so many possibilities? Exactly what nature intended.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Chrysanthemums and Azaleas

Variegated Chrysanthemums

White Azaleas

This is a pot a white azaleas I got before X'mas. The buds are too numerous to count and the circle of flowers just gets wider by the day. Finding a new blossom is a joy in itself. At times when I want to empty my mind, I'd sit by the window to gaze at it.

The chrysanthemums are actually two stems of cut flowers. I like the wayward arrangement of the bouquet and the irregular form of the petals. They look like wild flowers picked up on a country side walk.
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