flowers and plants, and trees, oh my!

I’m not a floral designer and I wouldn’t exactly say I have a green thumb, but I love the beauty that plants and flowers bring to a space whether it’s the kitchen, living room, or even the bathroom.  You don’t have to spend a lot of money to have a house full of blooms.  I gather mine from my local grocery store, the Farmer’s Market, Home Depot, my backyard, and in one instance, the Internet.

Back in the day when I was afraid that plants were too much trouble and that I would probably kill them, I had the ubiquitous artificial ficus and ivy plants (aka dust collectors.) At some point I decided that I wanted to try the real thing. I realized that living plants add immeasurably to a home.  They look amazing, occasionally are fragrant, and add personality and life to any room…something that can’t be achieved with faux plants.

If you’re timid about trying to grow plants and trees, start by buying some inexpensive flowers.  Here are just a few ideas…

Just three yellow tulips in a hand thrown vase can add color to a small table…FullSizeRender-229

Sweet peas from the Santa Barbara Farmer’s Market  can perfume an entire room…IMG_1179

Peonies give a jolt of color to my otherwise neutral bedroom while some papyrus cut from the yard lend some height to a bench vignette…IMG_1211

A large leaf from the garden works just as well…FullSizeRender-123

Orange ranunculus are sure to brighten any day…The Little Glass House

Sunnies are always welcome in my kitchen and they last a long time!IMG_5548

By far one of my favorite flowers that I buy just about every week at my Vons grocery store are hydrangeas.  You get a lot of bang for your buck with these big luscious pom poms.  I often hear that they don’t last long and begin to wilt soon after getting them home.  Here’s the secret.  I strip off most of the leaves (as they drink up a lot of water) then cut them under boiling water at an angle.  I immediately put them in  warm water.  Mine usually last at least a week if not longer!FullSizeRender-271

Fresh cut flowers are great, but sometimes you want something a bit more permanent. Here in California, orchids are easy to come by and so inexpensive compared to what I used to pay on the East Coast. For between $10 and $15 at the Farmer’s Market, I can buy a gorgeous orchid that will bloom for 3 months or more. So yes, I love orchids….white of course!  The orchid man told me the secret is not to overwater them. Once every two weeks should be sufficient.  This gorgeous arrangement is my one splurge.  I take my container into one of my favorite local shops, Botanik, and Molly, the owner, assembles me a gorgeous display which I can enjoy for months to come. IMG_1190

This little cutie is from the farmer’s market…DSC06278

Tillandsias or air plants are another easy care option and can go almost anywhere! See link for my earlier story about them…IMG_0688

I love a tillandsia xerographica in a gorgeous pot (like this one from Kristen Cramer)IMG_1185

Maidenhair ferns can be a bit tricky but I love their lacy leaves so much that it is worth replacing them every now and again.  What’s worked for me is growing this little guy next to the kitchen sink so I can always see when it needs water.  They don’t like to dry out!IMG_0999

But my favorite plant in our Little Glass House is my fiddle leaf fig tree.  I actually have two.  When I was searching for one a few years ago, they were hard to come by and so expensive!  I would feel just awful if I spent all that money and it died a month later!  So I sourced one on the internet for a few dollars….of course it was only a few inches tall when it arrived,  but it was really two little trees.  I separated them and stuck them each in a pot next to a bright window and didn’t dare move them except to turn them now and again.  I’m happy to say that 3 years later they are both still alive and have grown into actual little trees!The Little Glass House

So go ahead and give it a try.  Bring some fresh flowers, a tree, or some tillandsias home.  You’ll be surprised how this simple gesture can add life and soul to your abode.IMG_1893



2 thoughts on “flowers and plants, and trees, oh my!

  1. Beautiful post, Elizabeth! I love that your home is filled with flowers and I totally agree, plants bring life to any space. My favorites are hydrangeas and the maidenhair fern, but I had no idea about that warm water trick to make them last longer. Thanks for sharing!



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