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Creating Kitchen Garden Markers

Many people find gardening relaxing, something that is good for their soul. Countless hours may be spent, digging and planting, turning the soil and weeding. But it seems to be a special talent to get things to grow, and much more to have them thrive. Recently, the trend seemed to be bigger houses with less lawn and less garden, and certainly for many that is still true. But for many others, there is a change happening- turning our backs on mass production, and fresh fruit and vegetables being bought at big retailers. Instead we see the popularity of farmers markets increase, and the concept of ‘farm fresh’ and ‘paddock to plate’ becoming more important to a large percentage of the community.

There is a lot to be said for understanding where food comes from. As old fashioned as it sounds, I believe it is of vital importance to bring your children up in the garden and in the kitchen too. That is where they will begin to learn how to have a healthy relationship with food and understand that the food they choose sustains them and helps them thrive also.

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Image; Via Instagram

As a family, we longed for a patch of land where we could begin growing our own food,  as well as give the kids an everyday experience where they are encouraged to touch, feel and get dirty without concern. Oh, and what fun we have had since moving! 😄 So far our kitchen garden has provided literally kilos and kilos of zucchini, cucumbers, green beans, snow peas, corn cobs, cherry tomatoes, celery, chilies, rocket, and different lettuce varieties. We are also waiting on our crop of broccoli and silverbeet.

My husband certainly takes the reigns in the garden (as our resident horticulturist, I wouldn’t expect any less), but the vegie patch and the herb garden have somehow remained mine. Our herb garden has been thriving and we have had more than our fair share of mint, basil and parsley. We also have dill, lemongrass, rosemary, oregano, chives, purple basil.

Some may say it is because I am a control freak that I feel the need to label everything. My response is usually something to do with attempting to make things easier for others, you know so things can be put back in the correct spot or so that you know what is what. So after I had happily planted my seedlings I set about looking for some garden markers. Who knew anything nice was so expensive!!?? I really could not resolve the idea of just leaving the labels on or using those plastic white labels you can get from the hardware store so here are some of the ideas I found;

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Image; 5 Dollar Dinners
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Image; Pin and Paper
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Image; Best Friends for Frosting
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Image; Shrimps Salad Circus
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Image; Simple Details
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Image; Hardly Housewives
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Image; My Garden Your Garden

I found some raw wood spoons in a dollar store and took to them with my sharpies based on the above idea. I started just by roughly positioning the letters on the spoon in lead pencil. Then when I was happy, I penned them in and then added a greenery based design to each, unless it particularly called for colour.

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Whether you are happy to buy some of what you need, or you want to make do with what you have around the house, any of these options make great additions to your garden. And it goes without saying that the kids love getting in and getting their hands dirty.

Fwf x

 

 

 

 

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Style Revival- Retro

‘Sooner or later, everything old is new again.’ – Stephen King

You only have to look around to see influences of days gone by and there are many terms that are used for describing design styles from our past; ‘Vintage’, ‘Retro’, ‘Antique’, ‘Mid- Century Modern’, and ‘Art Deco’. As a quick overview; When something is referred to as Antique, this generally means it is more than 100 years old. Vintage pieces are from the 20th century, however are not 100 years old, yet. Mid Century modern is a term than was coined in the 1950’s but covers furniture that was designed in period between 1930’s- 1960’s with functionality key. Art Deco generally refers to 1920-1930’s ornate styling. For many, the terms are confusing, but for the purpose of this piece, whilst much of the furniture that features tends to be mid century modern, we are looking at retro styling broadly. How can we incorporate design ideas anywhere from 1930’s onwards into our modern homes and really harness that decor with the help of fresh flowers and plants.

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Image via Instagram, Joybird Furniture

‘Retro’ is a pretty generalised term anyhow. It can pretty much cover any outdated furniture/pieces that have come back into favour for a multitude of reasons. Retro can be as personal as you wish it to be, and as kitsch! The term alone often conjours up images of psychedelic wallpaper and drapery for me, velour furniture, and just a bold use of colour.

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Image; Nous Decor

After WW1 and WW2, people wanted ‘modern’ furniture and homes that lacked the ostentatious finishes that up until then had been standard. The style instead focused on functionality with clean lines, soft curves and the use of a variety of materials (often within one piece to create contrast). You will see a lot of wood teamed with vinyl or leather, or plastic or metal features. Many replica pieces that are found currently feature the turned wood legs that were popular within this style, although it must be noted that the style utilised any and every other material they could, unapologetically and often uncovered (i.e plastic) which had not been done up until that time.

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Image; West Elm

What I love most about this broad theme is the fearlessness when it comes to colour.  Strong, bright and earthy tones featured, and while neutral colour palettes do exist within this style, and black and white is often used in geometric contrast, typical colours used in this decorating style are; Mustard, Blue, Olive, Burnt Orange, Teal, Red and Chocolate.

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Mid Century Sofa in Orange http://uoeur.pe/uohomewares #Home #UrbanOutfittersEurope:
Image: Urban Outfitters

The easiest way to use fresh flowers and living plants in this style is by incorporating some sort of plant stand. Turned wood plant stands are incredibly popular and easily sourced at the moment, as are macrame plant hangers. Both perfect examples of retro styling.

Ferns are ideal for hanging baskets if your preference is for something pendulous. Mother in laws tongue, a popular and easy to care fleshy plant often fits well in this style. They require little water and look ‘modern’. Some ceramic vessels or glass vases will sit well in these plant stands and provide an interesting way to display cut fresh flowers too. Try Philodendron or Monsteria Leaves in a vase for simplicity OR, try using vibrant coloured macrame teamed with a vase of contrasting coloured fresh flowers- think Orange, Blue, or Mustard.

 

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Image; This Little Street featuring a Case Study pot and plant stand via Modernica
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Image: The Jungalow

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Have fun!

Fwf x

 

 

 

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Style Revival- Coastal

The Coastal look has always been a popular choice for holiday homes but the style has recently seen a rise in its popularity, making it’s way into firmly mainstream decorating as well. It is perhaps not so much a revival (as my title suggests) as a re-appropriation.

In general, Coastal decorating sets to highlight the lifestyle and luxury of beach side living.  Think soft linen furnishings, lime washed or chalk painted furniture pieces, hessian, sisal and jute, recycled glassware, driftwood, shells, candles and ALOT of distressed wood!

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Image; Sand and Sisal

 

Get the look;

If you want to add touches of this theme to your current decor, it is usually pretty simple, provided you have a fairly neutral base. By choosing your key furniture pieces in neutral tones, you can quickly and easily alter you theme to breathe fresh air into your living spaces. What do they say…. a change is as good as a holiday-  it’s never truer than with this theme; by adding some coastal elements to your home, you might just feel like you have had a short sojourn somewhere exotic.

The easiest way to change a room is by changing your soft furnishings; cushions and lamp shades for a living room for example, or Manchester for your bedroom.

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Image; Design Seeds

Colours;

Undoubtedly this style features a variety of blues tones paired with white, sometimes with greys, beige or aqua/turqoise highlights.  The result is light and airy, fresh and calm.

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Image; Better Homes and Gardens
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Image; Alexandra Rae Design via Homebunch
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Image; Better Homes and Gardens

How to Use flowers or plants;

Plants are generally pretty undervalued, but they are a favourite in my house, because there is nothing I hate more than cleaning vase water….even after 15 years of floristry (or perhaps especially so). I love this simple idea of planting succulents in a shell home. Succulents do require good drainage so consider a charcoal based potting mix.

To continue with the coastal theme it makes sense to feature tropical foliage such as Ferns, Monsteria, or Anthurium leaves alone in a vase, or with simple white or soft blue flowers; the leafy greens will make the room feel fresh and bright and will not detract from the other elements within. You could use scented Oriental lilies, Hydrangea, Gardenias, Peonies or Roses to add a softness to the room. Despite the theme being coastal, interestingly, it rarely utilises tropical flowers such as Anthuriums or Heliconias, largely because of the basic colour palette, but also as tropical flowers tend to have a more plastic-like texture, and lack the softness and luxury of the more feminine blooms that are favoured.

You could also consider simple decorating ideas such as floating flower heads in a bowl, which is easy for even the least creative person. Lilies are a great choice for this, or Frangipanis are also perfect (but are only available through the warmer months)

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Image; Indulgy
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Image: Hello Gem via Yellow 108

Accessories;

Many plain items can be upcycled to easily match this theme- think about adding rope to a basic glass vase, white washing tired wooden furniture, adding sand, shells and starfish to transparent vessels, add a piece of driftwood to your sideboard (and if you are game, create your own air plant and succulent garden in it)

As with any style, Coastal isn’t going to be for everyone, and some homes will not be easily transformed into an Oceanic Oasis. BUT if light and bright, soft and airy is for you- Coastal Chic may be just what you are looking for….

Fwf x

 

 

 

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Happy Home Spaces

Home decorating is something we all take on to varying degrees. Women are more inclined to ‘nest’- something men probably define as adding WAY TOO MANY cushions to the bed, the couch and anywhere else! But creating a home space that feels comfortable, relaxed and happy is important for your mental health. Chaotic and messy spaces breed feelings of unrest. Neat and organised, clean spaces encourage calm and order.

Now I am not suggesting that everyone can (or would want to) decorate their home in a style that would attract the likes of Home Beautiful, everyone has their own style. Your home is your sanctuary; a place where you can retreat, rest and refresh. Here are some simple tricks to create a harmonious home space.

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Florist with Flowers loves to display plants in different containers and vessels to make unique gifts via Instagram

1. Add indoor plants

Sounds fairly obvious coming from a florist but indoor plants are not only good for your health as they increase oxygen levels. but they make you happier! Plants make people happier in general. Flowering houseplants decrease our stress levels, increase creativity and increase concentration levels. Add to that, research shows that people who spend time with plants show more empathy and are kinder to others. No wonder everyone thinks florists must be nice people! 😜 We always have a great range of house plants in-store for you to check out.

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We stock a range of Ecoya products in store in a variety of intoxicating fragrances for you to choose from via Instagram

2. Add fragrance to your home

Whether you favour hippie patchouli, citrus or floral fragrances, or sweet vanilla, adding a pleasant aroma to your home makes it more inviting. It goes without saying (surely) that smelly garbage is not what we are going for, so do you best to remove unpleasant odours before adding your chosen fragrance. In some regions, it may be necessary to absorb excess moisture, as damp areas can have a distinct smell, and be aware of the smell your furry friends are adding to your space. Neutralisers, or deodourisers should be used first.

We stock a beautiful range of Ecoya products; you can speak to one of our staff on 02 9871 1666 to find out what we currently have in-store.

Oriental lilies have a fairly pungent fragrance, easily wafting through even larger spaces. Other fresh flowers with strong fragrances include; Tuberose, Gardenia, Lavender, Hyacinth, Garden roses, Freesias, Bouvardia, Daphne, Lily of the Valley and Peonies. Keeping your flowers fresher for longer means regularly changing the water, re-cutting the stems and keeping the vase out of direct sunlight or draughts.

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Image via Judy Douglass

3. Open the windows

Natural light brings a room to life. Closed spaces tend to feel claustrophobic and stuffy, dreary and depressing, so bring some of the outside in by opening window coverings and opening up the window! Bright airy places are inviting. Fresh air uplifts your mood, cleans the lungs and brings greater clarity to the brain.

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Image via Architecture Art Designs

4. Use soft lighting

Apart from being generally more energy efficient, lamps are easily able to create softer mood lighting. Using lamps can make a space feel more cosy, inviting and intimate. You can also use candlelight for a similar effect.

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The Grey Butcher bird sings a beautiful song. Image via Australian Bush Birds

5. Use sound subtlely

In our busy, modern world, it sometimes feels like we are constantly surrounded by white noise. We have learnt how to turn off our senses as a measure of self preservation, but with that, have also switched ourselves off to the pleasures that surround us. I am lucky enough to live on a property that backs on to a small rainforest, so I am blessed with the sounds of the birds, and wind blowing through the trees. Funnily enough though, when family or friends have arrived for a stay, they have asked me whether the birds annoy me? Hearing the world around me, brings me back to earth and keeps me grounded. Hearing the sounds of the waves crashing on the shore has a similar effect on me, or the rain falling on the roof. What sounds bring a feeling of calm and contentment for you? Surround yourself with these sounds or when impractical reminders of these sounds; a large seashell, or bamboo wind chimes that softly echo in the breeze.

Fwf x

Feature image via Vourtimeri

 

 

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Caring For Your Plants Over The Holidays

For anyone who is in the midst of busy school holidays or perhaps is considering a summer getaway, sometimes your indoor and outdoor plants can get overlooked.

Australian summers hit hard, so a few hot days can turn your beloved garden into a graveyard if you are ill-prepared. Many people do not know their neighbours well because we so often live busy lives so we often have to think of alternatives when we are planning a sojourn.

For anyone with a fairly established garden, it stands to reason that they will also have an existing irrigation system of some description. Irrigation systems are an effective watering method as they are often set up with a sensor, and/or timer so that the watering can be achieved without your input. This obviously takes some level of stress away when taking a lengthy break.

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Image: Irrigation Systems FL
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Image: Easy Garden Irrigation

But for those with collections of pot plants, whether indoor or outdoor, an irrigation system just wont work. First and foremost, be sure to fill any saucers, but if you are still left short, check out some of our other ideas below.

If you have the option to, call a friend. Someone dropping in every few days, or twice a week keeping an eye on your plants is probably the best way to get them through the holidays. Pot plants have a limited surface area and soil volume, so cannot retain a large quantity of water. Throw in a few hot days and the water will quickly evaporate leaving the plant dry and desperate. Some plant varieties do not respond well to being dried out, so even when you water them a few days later, they will not revive.

If you have a bath, I would suggest moving your pot plants into the bathroom which is considerably cooler, and filling the bath tub up approximately 2-4cm. The bathtub will act as a humongous saucer, and the plants will drink as they like/need. The same can be done in any large sinks throughout the house/kitchen/laundry.

Alternatively, if you do not have a bathtub or large sink available to you, you should create a water reservoir. There are numerous products on the market for you to buy, but you can easily create one for yourself from a recycled bottle.

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Image: The Gadget Flow via Pinterest

 

The basic premise of any of the ‘ready-to-use’ products on the market is that when the soil dries out around the spike it will slowly allow water to trickle down to hydrate the plant. They are generally made from a porous material such a terracotta. Some people may remember their parents burying unglazed terracotta pots in their garden and filling them with water as a rather archaic irrigation system based on the same concept.

These days concepts such as ‘The Plant Nanny’ exist; terracotta spikes that can be used with any of your recycled bottles. Simply attach either a wine or plastic bottle to the top of the spike and inset into your pot. Sure, this kind of concept won’t keep your pot plant going for weeks on end, but if you are only enjoying a week away, or can manage to wrangle friends or family to check in and refill on the weekend, you should be right.

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Image: Plant Nanny
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Image: Tree Hugger
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Image; Plant Nanny

Hope everyone had a gorgeous Christmas and is enjoying the start to 2017. For anyone venturing far from home, drive carefully; make sure you get to enjoy that holiday you so deserve.

Fwf x

Featured Image by Thomas J. Story via Sunset

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Festive Facelift- Transforming your Home for the Silly Season!

With less than two weeks to go, getting your home Christmas ready will now be in the fore front of your mind. If you are anything like me, that means getting busy with some DIY projects and I have been scouring the net for some gems for you to be inspired by.

Sure, a full floral arrangement in the centre of the table is gorgeous (and Florist with Flowers can certainly help you achieve that, you can check out our Christmas range here), but if you are wishing to do something a little different this year, you may find some interesting alternatives below.

Creating street appeal for your property is always important, not just when it is for sale. I’d cringe with embarrassment if I knew my house was the worst looking one in the street ordinarily, but more so at Christmas time. Imagine being the equivalent of the Christmas Grinch of houses when the festive season rolls around!

Decorating the outside of your house is entirely personal- some people love lights, others don’t. So for those of you looking for a different way to decorate your home, consider these ideas. They will certainly dress up the front of your home, add a touch of fun and festivity, and as an added bonus, people won’t grumble at you when you don’t get involved in street dressing.

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Image: Etsy
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Image: Naptime Decorator via Kensington Furniture
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Image: Digs Digs
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Image: 365 Greetings

Add to that the current trend of up-cycling, and you are sure to be onto a winner. These pieces are a novel way of creating large eye catching displays for your front lawn.

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Image via Pinterest
https://flic.kr/p/GuY4ZZ | Tire Snowman | I saw this tire snowman in front of a farm house in northeastern Nebraska. It was still on display well after Christmas. I thought this was such a clever idea. It is a good way to recycle old tires.:
Image: Flickr
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Images (L-R) via Etsy, Hometalk, Etsy

There really is nothing better than walking into a home to smell the sweet scents of something baking. Here, we showcase some inspirational gingerbread pieces, when the ordinary old gingerbread house just won’t do. Why not create a Christmas garland made of gorgeous gingerbread like this one by Donna Hay.

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Or if you fancy the gingerbread featuring on your table instead, you can bake the pieces for individual tree place settings.

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Or instead of a snow covered gingerbread house, why not make it a Aussie farm tractor!

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Many people say that the smell of a fresh tree IS Christmas for them; they simply cannot resist the smell, and if this is you, I have some alternatives for you! Whether you want to try something new, or perhaps do not have space for a real tree, you can still get that special smell of pine indoors with these alternatives. Why not try a fresh floral garland like these or a wreath for your door or your table?

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With a little over a week to go before Christmas, next week’s blog will be on quick Christmas decorating. We’ll have 10 decorations that can be made in 10 minutes or less!

Fwf x

 

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The Old Fashioned House Plant Revival

A friend text me the other day to let me know I was her ‘hipster friend’. Why? Because I have a Fiddle Leaf Fig plant at home. I literally laughed out loud as there is truly NOTHING hipster about me, I just like them. But she insisted that they were the ‘cool’ plant at the moment.

It got me to thinking about many house plants that have recently seen an increase in their profile and their popularity, evidenced by the sheer volume now stocked at local markets, nurseries and florist shops.

Even event work seems to be utilising many common houseplants, plants which enjoyed popularity many years ago, and that are once again enjoying being in the spotlight.

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Image via Ruffled. Wedding Stylist and Flowers: The Style Salon

If you are looking for a way to bring some nature indoors, check out some of our current favourites;

Fiddle Leaf Fig;

The Fiddle Leaf fig, Ficus Lyrata is a fig native to Western Africa, growing in tropical rainforest settings. The shape of the plant’s leaves resemble a fiddle, hence the plant name; they are generally broad in the apex with a narrow middle, and can measure up to 45cm in length, 30cm in width! There are of course some variations to this, and many leaves will be far smaller than that, with prominent veins and a leathery texture.

As an indoor house plant it is important not to over water your fig as the leaves will yellow and fall off.

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Boston Fern;

There are soooo many varieties of Boston ferns available; making them a great choice for hanging basket, pot plant, or garden plant. Nephrolepis exaltata has recently been enjoying some popularity in staging and styling events, creating bespoke hanging pieces and featured heavily through homeware/decor magazines and catalogues.

The Boston fern likes filtered natural light,  and will benefit from being turned occasionally so all the plant can enjoy the benefits of photosynthesis. The fronds will stretch outwardly toward the light so you will notice the ferns cascades getting longer and wider.

Whilst the Boston fern are the most resistant to drought, generally speaking it favours damp (but not soggy) soil. My nan has an absolutely astounding fern in her lounge room which she waters weekly, butthen leaves water in the saucer so the plant can have a bit extra to drink if it wants it. Another hot tip is to be sure to water the fern in the centre of the pot where the heart of the plant is.

The king fern which is related to the Boston, makes a great outdoor variety, either in large pots or simply planted directly in the garden. Ferns are a gorgeous way of adding spurts of colour and lush foliage to your home or garden.

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Image Bakker

Phalaenopsis;

An old favourite for sure, this orchid plant represents fantastic value for money given that the plant generally  flowers for at least 6 weeks. I have been lucky enough to enjoy 3 months of blooms, and when placed in a large pot, they are able to create a real statement display.

Phalaenopsis are an epiphyte, and thus like to absorb water vapour and nutrients from their environment. We often suggest that a bathroom is a good spot for them as the opaque glass provides a filter to the light in the room, and the humidity from the shower creates the require water vapour. Phalaenopsis need not be watered daily, generally speaking once a week throughout the warmer months is sufficient, and every 10-14 days throughout winter. Ensure the plant gets a good drink at this time, and is thoroughly drained before placing it back in your decorative pot to avoid water building up in the vessel.

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Phalaenopsis plants

Can you think of any other plants seeing an increase in their popularity and want some hot tips for caring for them. Drop us a message via our facebook page

Fwf x

Cover image: Stocksy

 

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Vertical Gardens- The Sky’s The Limit

These days, the current trend in housing sees more people enjoying apartment living; with no lawns to mow and fewer rooms to keep clean and tidy. Where they are in a house, (at least in homes around me) so often we witness the original homes being bull dozed to the ground, and monstrous mansions built in place with little or no garden or yard left. This means that if you are at all interested in gardening or producing your own food, you must get creative.

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Image: Brilliant Besser Block stackable garden, Apartment Therapy

Vertical gardens are an innovative way to optimise the space you have by building your garden UPWARDS! Essentially it is a new take on an old technique, instead of simply using a trellis, we now utilise all sorts of products to create these gardens.There are certainly specialty products available now that can make creating your vertical garden pretty straight forward and simple; a combination of wired frames and pots, but there are plenty of other options too.

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Image: Bunning, Ready to go vertical garden kit

The great thing about this resurgence in popularity of the humble vertical garden is people have started thinking about new ways to do it, and with that has come a rise in ‘upcycling’ concepts. Plastic soft drink or milk bottles can be used, along with reused wooden pallets to create unique upright structures to plant your garden within.

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Vertical Garden Using Plastic Milk Bottles.  This would be a great thing to do at school - maybe give each child a couple of seeds and see what grows?:
Image via 1001 Gardens, Coach House Crafting
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Image: ZelfMaak Ideetjes

 

Vertical gardens are a unique way to disguise unattractive areas- in our case, we recently attached a vertical garden to the outside of our pool filter box which was previously covered in a dark bamboo fencing which looked visually very heavy. These gardens can also be used to draw your attention to a particular area as is the case with green wall creations on premier hotels or office blocks, both inside and out.

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Image: Outdoor Design
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Image via Tournesol Site Works, The living wall at the Singapore Institute of Technology & Education – images courtesy of Victor Tan, Elmich

This is not a garden solution for someone who is after something low maintenance. As you are creating the garden beds upwards, they tend to be fairly shallow or small areas that are filled with soil, and therefore are unable to hold large quantities of water. This means they require regularly watering or irrigation systems, and of course need to be appropriate plants for this situation.

Vertical gardens can use almost any plant you like provided you provide them with appropriate conditions, however for the most interesting affects, consider using a combination of climbing plants, and plants that are naturally pendulous as well as plants that provide bulk.

Here are some of my suggestions to get your vertical garden, or green wall looking really interesting; sedum and other succulents, bromeliads or other air plants which require little soil, ferns, Chain of hearts, Silver Falls (below), Colius (below).

Alternatively, you can use your vertical garden to harvest your own herbs and vegetables. I suggest lettuce varieties would be useful in most homes, as well as tomatoes if you have the room for a trellis, or other support. Beans are quick to harvest so are interesting to grow if you have young ones in the house as they can quickly see progress :-)

 

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So whether you are short on space, or simply want to create an interesting display somewhere you have a blank wall, vertical gardens are a beautiful, effective way to bring your space to life, quite literally!

Fwf x

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Two generation family looking at a house for sale

Getting your house ready for Inspection

Everyone knows the saying  ‘You only have one chance to make a first impression’ and this is certainly true when putting your house on the market. I think it is fairly safe to say that most people don’t live in their homes the same way as they would present their home for sale.

Anyone with a family like me, knows that there is stuff everywhere. All. The. Time. I walk through the door and step over a pile sitting at the entrance, I slip over blocks, and I know that every parent out there knows my pain, when I say Lego and bare feet are not best friends.

I feel like we live in a constant state of a ‘work in progress’. I am always halfway through cleaning, halfway through getting things into storage- just this feeling that I have never quite got there. I suspect I am not alone in this either.

We have recently been house hunting and looking at the way homes are presented for sale is quite the art.

Sure, everyone knows that it is nice to have fresh flowers in the home, but sometimes they don’t know what to use, or where to place them for maximum effect. And, at the end of the day, a vaseful of flowers in a room with WAY TOO MUCH going on is not going to have the desired effect. We think there are four main areas to pay attention to when getting your home ready for inspection:

1. DECLUTTER

Every house has a kettle, toaster, mobile charger, coffee machine. But when it comes to selling your place, you need to emphasise the clean, clear open space by removing these items, leaving the potential buyers to visualise their own items there. This allows the eye to gaze evenly across all surfaces without interruption. Imagine just how much bench space you can see know. You get it? Same goes with the bathroom and every other room in the house. Don’t display items that only provide distraction and mess.

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BEFORE

 

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AFTER- decluttered

2. DEPERSONALISE

As silly as this sounds, you need to remove too many personal trinkets and photographs, essentially removing yourself and your family, leaving the home as a blank canvas so that potential buyers can ‘insert’ themselves. Now, I know that I said remove it all, but I don’t quite mean that, you don’t want to take it way too far the other way and make the space seem sterile. Just minimise your personal items; a couple of carefully placed photos is fine, just scale it back.

The fridge in particular can make your kitchen look messy, particularly if there is an excess of pictures, coupons, and magnets on its doors. Remove all items from your fridge doors for a clean uncluttered look.

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Keep bench tops clean and clear and remove ‘junk’ from your fridge doors. You’ll be surprised how easy it is to make an improvement.

3. DEODOUR

You’ve probably heard that baking cookies or freshly brewed coffee before a house inspection helps potential buyers imagine the space as a home but the principle covers more than just that. Open the windows and invite fresh air in! You want your home to appear fresh, clean and clear. If the space feels stuffy, it can be a real turn off. Even large spaces that feel ‘stuffy’ and stagnant can feel claustrophobic and small.

Scented candles are a great way to add fragrance to your home. But beware, fragrance should not be used simply to mask unpleasant, unwanted smells- try to clean and deodourise first before adding anything else to the mix. If you have pets, remove all pet paraphernalia, deodourise with a neutraliser and then work up from there. When you are used to living with a pet you can be unaware of the smell that comes with your furry little friend, so get someone to come over and tell you honestly how your place is smelling.

4. ACCESSORISE

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Accessorise with colours from your existing colour scheme

Fresh flowers can liven up any room. There is nothing better than bringing a little of the outside in and accenting the best features of the space. But I think it goes without saying that if you have not achieved step 1, 2 and 3, then 4 is not going to save you.

There is no sense in adding a vase of flowers to an already cluttered room. It just adds to the chaos, and that really isn’t the point is it?

Try choosing a block colour of seasonal flowers that complements the existing colour scheme. Avoid cheap mixed bunches picked up from the service station or the supermarket- it tends to look just that. Cheap. And again, really defeats the purpose of doing it in the first place.

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Image: Full Screen Photos

Make sure you keep the water clean by changing it every couple of days. Flowers should smell nice, and dirty, smelly water is a real turn off.

Put an arty book or magazine lying on the coffee table, it’s a nice detail, and do have fresh towels hanging in the bathroom and fresh tea towels in the kitchen — colour-coordinated, of course.

BUT be careful that your home does not appear too ‘staged’. It is easy to get carried away and make your life disappear from the building in an attempt to provide a blank canvas to prospects. You should certainly go to some effort in cleaning and clearing the space of distractions, but remember you also want to show prospects that this is indeed a home, somewhere they can live and be happy.

Good Luck!

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The Power of Colour – Chinese New Year 2015

As florists, we appreciate the value and power of colour. I know certain colours make me feel bright and cheery, or dark and moody: I may feel in a earthy mood and choose blooms accordingly. Many colours have special meanings for us all, or are deeply seated in tradition, and in that way, no one is more governed by meanings of colour than the Chinese.

Chinese New Year is determined by the Chinese Lunar Calendar so starts on a different day each year (and never on January 1st). In 2015, the year of the Green Wood Sheep – starts on February 19, 2015. And after all our Christmas and New Year celebrations are done and dusted, well, it really is another great excuse for a good old celebration, along with a fresh new start, isn’t it?

In Chinese New Year it is traditional to wear specific colours in the hope to attract good luck in the new year, a tradition that is popular all over the world.  2015 is the year of the wood (tree) sheep element so it is recommended to wear colours symbolic of the wood feng shui element (tree)- any/all shades of green and brown. In addition to clothing,  accessories and jewellry may also be worn. By choosing jewellry with natural crystals like jade, agate, green tourmaline and malachite, you will have an even more powerful effect. You may also wear colours of water (blue/black) and earth (earthy tones) as both elements support wood in its growth and well being. You must not however wear colours of fire (whites/greys) and metal (purple/orange and red) as these are the least favourable colours, least in line and in harmony with the governing element. Alternatively you may choose to decorate your home in auspicious colour tones to bring luck and light into your life and your home, and this is where we can help!

Is this true, though? Does it really work? And, most importantly, what is it based on? The recommendations above are based on the specific element/animal this year. However, there are colours that the Chinese consider to be particularly auspicious at any time.

image: Amazing Pictures of the Flowers

 

Yellow, corresponding with earth, considered the most beautiful and prestigious color. The Chinese saying, Yellow generates Yin and Yang, implies that yellow is the center of everything.The colour yellow is used to symbolise royalty and power of the throne. Yellow was the emperor’s colour in Imperial China as the first Emperor of China was known as the “Yellow Emperor”. Yellow often decorates royal palaces, altars and temples, and the color was used in the robes and attire of the emperors. It is also thought that the Chinese have yellow skin.

Yellow also represents freedom from worldly cares and is thus esteemed in Buddhism. Monks’ garments are yellow, as are elements of Buddhist temples. Yellow is also symbolic of heroism, as opposed to the Western association of the colour with cowardice and fear.

Some yellow flowers you may wish to decorate your house with this February: Sunflowers (as above), gerberas, roses, asiatic lilies, Concodora oriental lilies, gladioli, billy buttons, alstromeria, daisies, frangipani, and tulips. Daffodils, johnquils, Clivia and ranunculas are also available in yellow, however are available at a different time of year.

Image: Mike Chapman

Red is the Chinese national colour, and also represents success, good fortune, happiness and beauty. Red is the most popularly used colour in everyday life as well as during New Year, other holidays and special family gatherings. Traditionally a red envelope is given during holidays or special occasions like weddings and is said to bring good fortune. It is however strictly prohibited to use red for funereal purposes.

Flowers available throughout February in red tones include: roses, dahlias, gerberas, heliconias (as pictured), chrchrysanthemumslowering gum (eucalyptus), tulips, anthuriums, asiatic lilies, carnations, gladioli and celosia.

Hippiastrum and ranunuclas also grow in gorgeous red hues however are available at another time of year.

Image: flower-kid

 

Green: The colour green symbolises money: often buildings, banks and restaurants are painted green (and red) to bring success and propserity. Generally green is associated with health, prosperity, and harmony.

Naturally green flowers you could use to adorn your house: chryssies (as above), Disbud Chrysanthemums, Dendrobium orchids, Jade roses, trix carnations, Carnations, Mollaca Balm, Succulents,  hydrangea and gladioli. Cymbidium orchids, Gildarose (snowball) and heleborus are among some of the naturally green flowers that are available at other times during the year.

The colour to steer clear of throughout Chinese New Year celebrations is white. Although white symbolises purity, brightness and fulfillment, white is most traditionally used as the colour of mourning. It is a colour which is associated with death and thus is often avoided completely for other celebrations.

Florists will be brimming with fresh flowers throughout February with both Valentines Day and Chinese New Year taking place in close succession. Be sure to pre-order any specific flowers you are hoping to use throughout your home or that you require for special gifts.

See you on the other side,

Fwf x

 

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