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The Designer’s Guide to Blooming Your Café

March 29, 2017
Blooming Your Cafe | A Better Florist

How many times have you visited a café this week? At least once a day, maybe? After all, cafés have become essential locations for on-the-go professionals. A good coffee shop is a workplace, a meeting place, an escape from the daily grind and a quick stop for a pick-me-up. This is why, apart from quality coffee, the vibe of the place is an important concern. Café owners make sure their shops are classy without being intimidating. Lush and cosy settings can draw people in, which is why entrepreneurs incorporate fresh cut flowers into their décor for a touch of style.

Flower Power

Flowers are pretty, but also functional. Aesthetically, they add a splash of color to an otherwise drab space. In terms of ambience, flowers add warmth and create a cosy atmosphere. They bring life and brightness to a space. In fact, a study on the home ecology of flowers found several emotional benefits to having flowers in your environment. They provide an energy boost, chase the blues away and make people more compassionate.

Now you know why certain coffee shops make you feel extra perky and energised after your coffee run. As it turns out, it’s not just the caffeine.

Choosing Flowers for Your Café

The conditions of a place can contribute to the lifespan of cut flowers, such as the temperature, humidity and amount of sunlight. Upscale and restaurant-type cafés can benefit from romantic and aromatic flowers like roses, carnations, dahlias and lilies. These (usually) indoor establishments are much kinder to more delicate varieties of flowers due to the temperature and humidity. Just like us, flowers love air-conditioning too.

For outdoor and open space cafés, go for the hardy variety of blossoms. The heat and humidity in outdoor settings can make flowers wilt faster. Long-lasting flowers include zinnias, carnations and orchids. Wildflowers in mason jars also fit the casual and laid-back ambience of hip shops and industrial-type concept cafés.

Flowers can be an afterthought for most café owners, but details are very important. A cosy vibe and “Instagrammable” space can make your place a hit with social media-savvy customers and yes, I’m talking about those people who take photos of their food. Pretty blooms can instantly score you a free promotion.

Lengthening the Life of Cut Flowers

Sadly, if you’ve ever received a bouquet of flowers, you know just how quickly those blooms can wilt away. To see how long your roses will last, India Sturgis tested roses from various florists and found that at most you have about a week of perk and perfume from your blooms.

To help extend their life, here are a few standard tips to lengthening the life of cut flowers:

  1. Remove any dirt or rotting leaves from the stems of the flowers to avoid any bacterial growth.
  2. Place the flowers in a clean container filled with distilled water. Remember to replace the water daily.
  3. Make sure the leaves don’t touch the water in the vessel because this would promote rotting.

Usually, florists include packets of preservatives or flower food which you can mix into the water to keep your flowers hydrated and prevent the growth of bacteria. Make sure that you check the instructions on the packet for the ideal amount of water you’d need. With a plant food solution, rather than replacing the water daily, you can opt to change it when the water gets cloudy.

Alternatively, you can always DIY your very own preservative solution. Some common household items you can use as flower preservatives are soda, hair spray, apple cider vinegar, aspirin, bleach, copper coins, sugar and vodka. So maybe save that last shot of vodka for your flowers rather than your liver.

If you follow care instructions carefully, some flowers could last as long as two weeks. Still, cafés need to replenish flowers every week or so for optimum freshness. Fortunately, you can now easily sign up for a floral subscription with your online florist. This way you actually get curated and in season flowers for the freshest possible quality of blooms, fuss free! At A Better Florist, you can get your flowers whenever, wherever and however you like them. For more details, reach out to [email protected].

Flower Guide

Blooming your house – Made easier with Floral Subscription

March 8, 2017
Blooming your house – Made easier with Floral Subscription

Interior design doesn’t have to be boring. A great way to make a home more warm and inviting is to incorporate a bit of greenery into the design. Fresh flowers and succulents not only help brighten up a space, they also help filter the air. So they’re pleasing to both the eyes and the lungs.

Maintaining gardens and potted plants are the traditional ways of incorporating flora in the home. However, the rise of the apartment complex and condo-living provides little in the way of space. Most city dwellers do not have a backyard, let alone a garden. This is why designers and architects are bringing the outdoors indoors to make a space breathe and make it less claustrophobic. It also helps to remind dwellers of the natural world in an increasingly tech-saturated and artificial environment.

The good news is, the proliferation of online florists in Singapore have made blooming your house even easier through catering to all your floral needs.

Which rooms should you bloom?

Any room can be bloomed but, as with everything, you need to practice the art of restraint.

The kitchen is a natural choice for incorporating plants and florals. If you like to cook, you can maintain a little vertical garden for herbs and spices to add some fresh ingredients to your dishes. Fresh cut flowers can also go into your kitchen counter and dining table to encourage a healthy appetite among your fellow inhabitants.

The living room is also a prime location for flowers and succulents. Since we entertain guests in this area, flowers can be a great accessory to complement the overall aesthetic of your home. White lilies are classic choices for shared spaces. They’re elegant and sophisticated without being intimidating. They also go well with any interior. Aromatic flowers like lavender and jasmine can be incorporated to perfume your living room. Meanwhile, daisies and sunflowers are perfect for bright interiors, especially during summer, for a lively and welcoming vibe. Sunflowers also work well in kitchens for a sunny disposition—mornings, afternoons and evenings.

Bathrooms are tricky because they don’t have a lot of light and are usually high in humidity. As such, orchids and aloe vera are the usual suspects for this area. They’re hardy and actually don’t need a lot of sun to thrive. Aloe vera also has a lot of uses, including treatment of minor burns and acts as moisturiser, so it also has practical use beyond the aesthetic aspect.

Taking care of your blooms

The adjectives delicate and fragile are associated with flowers for a good reason. Once they’ve been picked, the life span of their beauty starts counting down. Potted plants need to be watered regularly, but fresh cut flowers in vases need a bit more care and maintenance. Here are a few tips to lengthen the lives of your blooms:

  1. To make sure your flowers don’t wilt quickly, place them in a clean container with distilled water and a bit of bleach to prevent the growth of bacteria.
  2. Before placing them inside a vessel, it is also advisable to take out any rotting leaves and dirt clinging to the stems. Make sure the leaves or any petals do not touch the water inside the vase, otherwise this will promote rotting and bacterial growth.
  3. Replace the liquid with a clean bleach and water solution every day.

Get a floral subscription

For those without an eye for style nor the patience for flower selection, you can always acquire a floral subscription. This way, you not only get your regular batch of blooms to decorate your home, you’d also be getting the bespoke service of a flower curator. You can give your florist the necessary information they need to tailor the kinds of flowers you’d receive on a regular basis.

Floral subscription is a personalised service to help provide you with seasonal flora fit for your home. More than that, they can arrive at your doorstep perfectly arranged by a professional florist. Those additional personal touches and service ultimately saves you the time and effort in blooming your home.

Flower Guide

Crafting with Dry Flowers – A Guide to Drying and Pressing

March 1, 2017
Crafting with Dry Flowers

Flowers have always been used to symbolize beauty and fragility. Implicit in this association is its ephemeral nature, especially when they’ve been plucked from the garden. Yet it is possible to extend the life of fresh cut flowers, all you need is a little know how and some crafty skills. Before those pretty flowers start to wilt, begin the process of preservation through drying methods. Here are a few of the proven and simplest ways to dry flowers to add a new lease on their life.

Pressing

You’ve probably done this one at some point in your life. Maybe a special someone send you a bouquet roses and you wanted to preserve this token of affection for sentimental reason. Or maybe you bright idea of making flower-infused bath bombs off those flowers you bought from an online florist in Singapore. Whether that worked out or not, keep these three steps in mind for pressing flowers using books in case you need to preserve some blossoms.

  1. Open a book and Place a piece of paper about halfway or one-third of the way inside a thick book (preferably hardbound for added weight).
  2. Place the flowers carefully on the piece of paper then place another paper on top of that before closing the book.
  3. Place the book on an even surface and add weights (could be other books or any heavy object) on top of that for added pressure.

After four weeks, you should have perfectly pressed flowers ready for your crafts. Just make sure that the flower is completely dry before pressing in order to avoid soaking the pages and possible decomposition.

Hanging

Another simple and fuss free way of drying flowers is through hanging. This is the preferred method for drying a bunch of flowers as any dry and covered space will do. Here are the steps for drying flowers through hanging.

  1. Prepare the cut flowers or freshly plucked blooms for hanging by clipping the stems to similar lengths, taking out the leaves and other dirt that can cause rotting.
  2. Tie similar flowers securely in a bunch with a rope or rubber band.
  3. Hang them upside down about 6 inches from the ceiling in a warm, airy and dry place.

Again, this would normally take 4 weeks to completely dry them out. If you’re harvesting flowers straight from the garden, make sure you choose the ones which have just fully bloomed because they have the least amount of damage and thus will incur less damage through the process of drying.

Via microwave

This one’s a bit unconventional, but fairly easy. Not everyone has the time or space to dry out flowers, but almost everyone has a microwave at home. So for those pressed on time or simply don’t have the patience to wait for weeks before working on a project, then try out the microwave method of drying flowers.

  1. Cut the flowers close to the bud, taking out stray leaves and dirt in the process.
  2. Take a microwave-safe container, fill it with about an inch of desiccant (silica gel, cat litter, borax or cornmeal). Lay out the flowers on top, making sure they are spaced evenly so each bud gets equal amount of heat, and then bury the flowers under the desiccant.
  3. Place a cup of water inside the microwave with the container. This would absorb some of the radiation and prevent burning the flowers.
  4. Depending on the thickness of the buds, you can set the microwave heat accordingly. It is advisable to start with a low setting, heat for 2 minutes and then check. For bigger blooms with thicker petals, WikiHow estimates 8 minutes of medium to high setting.
  5. Once you are satisfied with the crispness and dryness, take the container out and let it cool for one day. Important: Do not poke the desiccant with your bare hands while checking in order to avoid burns. Use a toothpick instead.

Once you have perfectly dry flowers, you can let your creative juices flow. The proliferation of the DIY culture gives you plenty of resources to make your own works of art. You can even spend quality time with your partner working with your hands while you make repurpose those flowers. Here are a few suggestions.

Personalised cards or bookmarks

You can use those pressed flowers to create personalised cards or bookmarks. Her Creative Spirit shows you how it’s done with some PVC glue and tissue. Or if you’re a bit of an artist yourself, you can take a cue from Meredith Wing and use those dried blooms as part of pretty illustrations. They don’t even have to be pressed. The hang-dried flowers can work just as perfectly for added texture and volume.

Framed art

Paintings can be costly. So why not make an art wall of those dried flowers to decorate the wall of your apartment? Instead of having them turn to dust in a box of nostalgic memorabilia, create a pressed flowers framed art instead. This way, you can actually show tangible appreciation of the gift given to you by your loved one.

Therapeutic candles

Take the life of your flowers full circle by repurposing them as DIY aromatherapy candles. Fittingly, the saying “smelling the flowers” allude to leisure and appreciation, the very same purpose of scented candles. Any aromatic flowers will do. The popular ones though are jasmine, chamomile and ylang-ylang, but feel free to add a rose or two in the mix. Check out the full instructions at Home Guides.