Have a lovely weekend!

DSC_3737

Thanks so much for following me along on this English flower farm adventure! Here are all the posts:

Summer in the English Countryside

A Floral Row Boat Garland

Garden Idea: Plant a Meadow!

Visit an English Country Fair

Tour the Flower Farm

A few more here!

Next week I have some fall posts to share as well as some photos from Gotland, where I’ve been spending October. Have a beautiful weekend!

Eating Outdoors + Getting to Know My Food

england outdoor feasts

One of the reasons I was so excited about living on farms this past summer, was to be closer to my food. It was amazing to feed and take care of the animals in France that we ended up eating. In England, the family I lived with held a roast for one of their lambs and I loved seeing the process and prep. Some people get weirded out by it, it was strange for me at first to feed the chickens every day and then see their little bodies in the freezer, but it was also so encouraging to know exactly where my food was coming from and to get closer to that process. The next best thing is being able to eat out of doors. I try to eat outdoors as much as I can, even in the fall and winter. Here are a few pics from our lovely outdoor feasts this summer in England. Below, a neighbors barn, transformed into a party scene for the evening.

england bbq

Life in a Caravan

DSC_5047

While on my English flower farm adventure, I had the chance to live in a caravan for 6 weeks! Eeek! It was so fun and so cozy. I think I’d like to try it again sometime, or perhaps a tent somewhere by the sea for a summer. The caravan had a tiny little bed and a little sofa that could convert to a bed. It had windows and a skylight, and little bookshelves and storage.The kitchen and bathroom were in the house, so it felt a bit like camping which was fun. I filled it with flowers and taped up photos and things on the walls to make it feel personal. I loved being so close to the elements at night and listening to the wind, the rain, and the animals. My friend, Jenn, from Seattle came to join me for a couple days (pictured below) and she squeezed in the caravan with me. We stayed up late talking and giggling and it felt like summer camp! So much fun! The caravan was set across from a rowing pond. When you opened the door, you could see the pond and row boat, the flower fields, and the sweeping English countryside. There was a little bridge with an archway of weeping willow, the bridge led to a little island in the middle of the pond, where I would go for my nightly yoga/Ballet Beautiful. It was simply a dream! I’ve been living from a backpack and a tote bag, so the minimal living suited me perfectly. I found I wanted for nothing!

caravan frolic!

Have you ever lived in a caravan or a tent? What was it like for you?

Photos: Chelsea Fuss. Taken at Manor Farm Cottage Flowers in Somerset, England.

10 Ways to Make Your Cut Flowers Last Longer

DSC_5750

When people find out I am a floral designer and one-time flower shop owner, they often ask how they can make their flowers last longer at home. Today, I am sharing the florist’s secrets to getting flowers to stay fresh longer! Once flowers are cut, they are already dead, so the key is in prolonging their freshness as long as possible! Here’s how:

1. A big part of long-lasting cut flowers is in the selection. When shopping for fresh flowers or harvesting them, look for vibrant green, firm, leaves and bright, sturdy blossoms. Don’t choose stems with rotten leaves or soft stems or blossoms that are all the way blown open.

2. If you are harvesting flowers straight from a garden, clip them early in the morning or in the evening when they are the most hydrated. Never harvest in the blaring sunshine or the middle of a hot day!

3. Once you’ve cut your flowers or purchased them from a market, stick them straight into water. Then, re-cut the stems at an angle. Cutting on an angle gives the flower a larger surface in which to take in water.

4. After re-cutting, let your flowers sit in water for a few hours before working with them. Flowers should be as hydrated as possible before you start arranging.

5. Use clean clippers, a clean vase, and clean water. You can also toss a little flower food in, or a tiny drop of bleach. The key is to keep bacteria to a minimum.

DSC_36456. Remove leaves under the water line. There should be no foliage or blossoms in the water because this increases bacteria.

7. Refresh the water daily. Stick the vase under the faucet, and let the water run through until it’s fresh again.

8. Keep your arrangement out of bright sunlight, away from heaters and air conditioners. Flowers last longest in a cool, dark place.

9. If you like to have fresh flowers in your home every week, but are working on a budget, consider using greens! Greens like boxwood, myrtle, and pittosporum will last for a couple of weeks at least. Use these as a base, and then just switch out the flowers!

10. Take out any dead blossoms or leaves as your arrangement ages. This will help keep the others fresher for longer. The death process speeds up when flowers are exposed to other rotten plants or fruit, which give off an ethylene gas.

And, last but not least. I actually think dead flowers are pretty. Call me crazy, but the romance of flowers is in their fleeting nature. I think peony petals falling all over my table of books in my living room is incredibly charming. I adore violets, which were forced from the cut flower industry because they only live for three days. Consider the fleeting nature to be part of the beauty and enjoy it!

Any questions? Leave in the comments! Happy flower arranging!

Photo: Chelsea Fuss. Flowers: Manor Farm Cottage Flowers. Taken in Somerset, England.