Glorious Flowers Inside or Outside


I love flowers.  I love gardens— local, in the islands and abroad; I will seek out gardens wherever I am.  Sadly, I am only a “fair weather gardener”, that is, give me a lovely day of moderate temperature and no wind, and I am happy to be outside raking, trimming and planting.   Having flowers inside and out is one of my favorite pleasures.  Fortunately, we have access to cut flowers from markets and discount stores as well as local nurseries.

My favorite colors are on the cool side of the color wheel.  While I love all colors, I have been always drawn to pretty blues, greens, purples and lavenders.  As a child, my father would plant blue flowers for me in the shady planter under the bedroom window by the elm tree.  I loved spring, when he would plant my favorite Cineraria, a member of the Pericallis genus; there are some pinks in the family as well.

This year when the nursery had pots of Cinerarias, I decided I could keep one inside near a south window.  Oh what glory can be had for only six dollars!  I have enjoyed this potted pant every day and it has the promise of many, many more weeks of bloom.  I often buy a bunch of mixed flowers or a single variety to lift my spirits during the year, but none have brought me as much joy as my old favorite.

Adding living plants and cut flowers to your decor is one of the least expensive yet most gratifying things you can do.   Like paint, the bright blooms are instantly rewarding and much less work than paint.  Better yet, you can move them around the house wherever you need a pop of color.

Orchids are another great indoor plant that can brighten any room.  I have had some amount of success in getting mine to re-bloom, but heaven only knows how—  just  lucky, I think.  Water, light and a light feeding is all I’ve done.  There are mysteries around some of my orchids, some re-bloom; others have not.  I am being patient.  Don’t be too hard on yourself, if you have received a beautiful blooming orchid and feel like the poor plant is doomed to a short life; maybe it just needs a new room, different light or a splash of fertilizer.   Orchids have a fairly long bloom period, so they can easily perform in whatever room you want for an event, then move them again to their “happy place”.

Lucky are you, who can have cutting gardens on your property, but others should not despair.  Blooms are readily available from many sources.  Enjoy the color.  Fortunately, there is no shortage of flowers.

The Senses and Design


We are fortunate when we can enjoy a combination of positive effects on several of our senses at the same time. In the world of design, our senses of sight and touch offer pleasures, but our sense of smell is a likely third; it is oh so satisfying when flowers and greenery produce color, scent and texture all at once.

Bringing the outdoors in is a goal for most of us living in a temperate climate. While I am not a landscaper, I do know what I love to see and smell and Salvia Clevelandi, Winifred Gilman is a favorite for my eyes. I love it in the garden near an open window or door, so I can take in its lovely scent whenever a breeze comes up.

I like to make good use of plants in decor by using the real thing, whenever possible. Even dried plants can give off a pleasant fragrance in dried arrangements, or tied in a bundle and hung in a closet or shower. I like to use eucalyptus branches in these areas as well, especially hung in a shower; the steamy atmosphere helps bring their sweet, fresh scent into the surrounding areas-- for me, truly heaven sent.

Even a particularly lovely piece of furniture that needs protection from water spillage can be enhanced with a dry arrangement of local native or succulents as a centerpiece. One should never water a succulent on a table top; it should always be watered sparingly and on a surface that can be easily wiped up. Once the water has settled in the container, there is no danger of leaching moisture onto the surface of the furniture. An arrangement can sit for quite a long time, and infrequent watering will make a happy situation for both plant and table top.

Lavender is another favorite, both in the garden and in the house. These plants do well in our dry climate and are a favorite to dry and use as a sachet for drawers. Let me mention rosemary as well, which adds another sense, the sense of taste. Rosemary’s flavor adds to many savory dishes. Growing theses plants makes it easy enough to snip off small branches to bring into the house frequently, to add to an arrangement of roses or to use all by themselves. 

One of the great characteristics of these plants is their structure. They offer so many opportunities to display them creatively. They look lovely against a plain wall, or one enjoy the shadows they cast in the evenings. In addition, they bring fragrance to the room and the soul. With their color, scent, texture and taste, they have the makings of a long lasting and beautiful arrangement.