Thoughts While Walking Back in Time

By: Jeanne Reynolds

If you find yourself in the most beautiful and charming of cities, Charleston, on a sunny spring day with the luxury of a free afternoon, the choices seem endless. Tour a historic house or visit an art gallery? Lunch and libations overlooking the water? Shopping on King Street?

All good, but to me, nothing can top a few hours strolling back in time through the gardens at Middleton Place. Here are some random thoughts from a recent visit I was fortunate to enjoy:

– Azalea beds are the only place pink, orange and red not only don’t clash but actually look amazing.

– What’s more important to enjoying the Lowcountry: no heat, no humidity or no gnats? Answer: Yes. Enjoy it while you can.

– A dogwood tree in full bloom festooned with Spanish moss looks like a decorated wedding cake.

– A single alligator attracts more excited attention than a whole field of flowers.

– The malicious destruction of beauty in an attempt to crush the hope of enemies is really sad.

– The amount of money, labor and, most of all, vision it took to create these gardens is mind-boggling — not to mention what it must take to maintain them today.

– Southern accents are generally more pleasing to the ear than those from “off.”

– Being led beside still waters really does restoreth my soul (I didn’t lie down in green pastures but I saw people who did).

– Bees will usually leave you alone if you leave them alone (at least one person lying in the green pasture didn’t think so).

– Looking closely at the intricate design of some flowers: Wow. Just wow.

– There are probably a lot of ghosts here, but I hope this incredible beauty is bringing them peace now.

When It Comes to Flower Arranging, Don’t Be a Late Bloomer

Six Tips on Making Beautiful Bouquets

By: Mary Pat Baldauf

Armed with good intention, I joined Apartment Therapy’s January Cure, a thirty-day plan to “whip your home into shape, get it clean, organized and under control.” I lasted until Day Eight, when the weekend task was to “Clean Your Kitchen and Declutter/Organize as You Go.”  It was just too much for a weekend.

One thing I did pick up during the seven days I participated in the January Cure was the weekly purchase of fresh flowers for my house. According to Apartment Therapy, “As simple as it sounds, the act of buying flowers for your apartment holds great significance and will heal your home on many levels. They are beautiful, they add life to the space, they help to humidify and cleanse the air.”

Mason Jar Arrangement

Yet with all of these are reasons to buy fresh flowers, there was no “Flower Arranging for Dummies” guide. I winged it, and through a process of trial and error, have created a few really nice arrangements. Recently, on Food 52, I saw some great tips on arranging flowers! (Where were these when I needed them?) Because they were such good tips, I thought I’d pick out a few of my favorites. For the full Food 52 article on flower arranging, click here.

  1.  Pick a color sequence of no more than three colors. It’s easy to get carried away while browsing a flower shop — but making something beautiful is easier when your flowers match each other.
  2. Big flowers stretch the farthest. If you’re on a budget — or if you’re nervous about making your own arrangement — go for a larger type of flower. They take up more space in a bouquet, so you can buy less of them — and they’re easier to work with while building a bouquet.
  3. If you’re using a round, wide-mouthed vase, make the arrangement in your hand first. Start with the flowers you’d like in the center, and start building around them, rotating the bouquet in your hand. When you’re satisfied, you can cut them all together — and just plop them in your vase!
  4. If you’re using a tall, skinny vase, think about height. Since these vases look beautiful standing against a wall, take advantage of your point of reference. Starting from the front, build your bouquet upwards, so that the tallest flowers stand up in the back. Here’s where your filler flowers come in; use them as your tall backdrop, while letting your colors pop in the front.
  5. Work on symmetry. When you’re starting arrangements, it’s easiest to make things beautiful by working in symmetry. Putting a pink flower on the left? Put another on the right. Is there a big flower towards the front? Try framing the bouquet with them.
  6. Change your water every day. If you have time, wash the vase with soap and water, and add a tiny bit of bleach to each new change of water (this will kill the bacteria). Each time you put your flowers in new water, you should give the stems a fresh cut.