Opinion: Once you begin placing flowers on your kitchen windowsill or anywhere in your home, something special happens.Opinion: Once you begin placing flowers on your kitchen windowsill or anywhere in your home, something special happens.Read MoreThe Vancouver Sun – RSS Feed

Opinion: Once you begin placing flowers on your kitchen windowsill or anywhere in your home, something special happens.

Using different seasonal colour tones and unique stems (even from your garden!) can elevate your floral bouquets and displays. Erin Minter/Minter Country Garde

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This will be the first Christmas season in a few years when we can actually visit friends and family without COVID-19 restrictions. It has been a surreal experience that the entire world has gone through and in some countries, the pandemic is still an issue.

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The toll on our well-being and mental health has been significant, especially for those who are more isolated or alone. Without, in any way, trying to promote our local flower growers, it’s a simple fact that flowers have a special positive effect on people. They’re a connection to nature; they provide a sense of comfort; and they’re remarkably beautiful. During the last couple of years, gifting flowers has become the new ‘hug’.

We are seeing this renewed affinity to flowers playing out more and more. Flower farms have been popping up in our local communities, and young ladies, in particular, are the new outdoor growers, producing everything from garden snapdragons, peonies, sunflowers, delphiniums, zinnias and sweet peas to the ever-popular dahlias. Today, folks are shopping for fresh flowers more often at local markets and roadside stands, and either bringing them home or sharing them with friends.

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In B.C., we’re fortunate to have such a large selection of flowers available at this time of year — thanks, for the most part, to our local growers — and the prices are, as a rule, very reasonable. Long-lasting chrysanthemums offer some of the best value, and many of today’s lovely varieties are strikingly unique. From the white spider forms to my favourite, the white, green-centred Sochi daisy mum, there are some great options that can be enjoyed for weeks. The simple, large flowered, white Magnum disbuds are a traditional favourite, and there is keen interest in the small, round, colourful Momokos. Green is the new hot colour for chrysanthemums, and whether it be one of the many button varieties, like Kermit, or the green spider type Oasis, these newer varieties are making mums very trendy again.

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Go bold! Deep reds and burgundy tones are perfect for the holidays. Erin Minter/Minter Country Garde

Lilies, too, have grown in popularity, especially with so many new selections and colours. My favourites are the highly perfumed Oriental varieties. Pure white Snowball and Santander or the perfumed bicolours, pink Sorbonne, Pink Czar and Benson, last at least seven to 10 days and will fill any and every room with a magical perfume. If fragrance is an issue, the many varieties of unscented Asiatic lilies outlast almost any other type of lily and are available in white, pink, dark pink, yellow, orange and as bicolours.

Alstroemerias are some of the most elegant and long-lasting of all the cut flowers. These orchid-like blooms come in a wide range of colours from pure whites to pinks and purples, as well as many bicolours. In a vase by themselves or in combination with other flowers, they’re the epitome of class.

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Roses are certainly the prima donnas of flowers, and a local B.C. grower is growing some of the newest colours and varieties, including the Old English garden rose varieties. The most overlooked roses, however, are the multi-head spray roses that come in a wide range of colours from creamy yellow, white and pink to red and orange. They can last for weeks, and they combine nicely with most other flowers.

The other surprisingly long-lasting cut flowers are the Elegance or spray carnations that also come in an attractive array of colours. Each stem often has five or six tiny buds and blooms. Even though their flowers are small, they still exude that spicy carnation scent. They look nice by themselves or paired with many other flowers.

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White spider mums, red carnations, fragrant greens and sprigs of deciduous holly make this a terrific, long-lasting arrangement for the holidays. Erin Minter/Minter Country Garde

Even though they don’t last quite as long as others, gerbera daisies have always been much-loved cut flowers, prized for their many vibrant colours and their unique, perfectly symmetrical form. They’re especially attractive when blended in with other flowers, and I really like the slightly smaller germinis.

Local tulips have been available for some time now in a good selection of colours. Although they don’t have a long lifespan indoors, they’re especially valued at this time of year as a reminder of spring.

When you pick up a few cut flowers as a gift or for yourself, less is often more. If you accessorize them with long-lasting fresh greens, such as white pine and noble or silver fir, you enhance both the look and the fragrance. Winter berries, like rose hips, hypericum and deciduous holly, will also add a special seasonal touch to your bouquets.

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Most cut flower bouquets last longest in a vase with lots of water and with either Floralife or Miracle Grow additives to keep the water flowing up the stems. Consistent, cooler room temperatures are best for getting the longest life from your flowers.

Once you begin placing flowers on your kitchen windowsill or anywhere in your home, something special happens. They add a touch of nature to our lives, which is a very important connective experience for us all. So, when you visit friends this holiday season, share a gift of flowers — they will enrich your friends’ lives more than you might expect.

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