If someone gives you a bunch of gerberas - lovely! But instead of putting the whole lot in one big vase, why not simply put one stem in a bottle. A bottle is the perfect vessel for a single stem as the long, narrow neck perfectly supports the stem. Use a number of bottles, say four to five blue glass water bottles, and display them in a row on the mantelpiece. Use the same colour gerbera for a strong look, or different coloured gerberas for a softer look.
An old mineral water bottle will do, and even an imported water bottle adds a bit of extra something, as foreign language and old fashioned graphics on the label always look fabulous. We've also used antique milk bottles from the Sydney Antique Centre, and other old bottles that we found at the markets.
Orchids are extremely exotic flowers and have a longer shelf life than most other cut flowers - they should last about two to three weeks if looked after properly. However, they are very expensive and often just one stem will cost as much as a whole bunch of cut flowers.
Things to consider:
- Pick garden flowers early in the morning so that they won't be subjected to the heat of the day.
- Put arrangements in a cool, draught-free place away from direct sunlight and regularly top up with fresh water.
- Strip any leaves on stems that will be below the water line.
- White flowers reflect the light so are perfect for dark corners.
- With bought flowers, plunge the stems in a bucket of lukewarm water in a cool room for two hours as soon as you get home.
- Cut the stem before placing it in the water and re-cut every couple of days.