Using Flowers from the Garden

You might have some guests over and have forgotten or simply ran out of time to get some flowers for the house. Why not pick something from the garden and place them in a vase? 
Using flowers from the garden can be a lovely option. Roses and hydrangeas are quite often popular choices but there are also other flowers you could consider using such as gardenias and strelitzia. Have a look around your garden. ☺️
For this arrangement, I asked my neighbour for some of her pretty and sweet-scented camellia which she kindly gave. I also removed some of the leaves from the stems to better showcase the flowers. 
Besides flowers, you may like to use something a little different for your choice of container. For example empty jars, tin cans, pretty glasses, cups or even teapots, can add a nice touch.  Just cut the flower stems shorter if you have a smaller/shorter container. As a guide, the proportion of florals to container is usually 2:1 or 1:2.
Alternatively, if you have a tall vase like this one from IKEA, you can use long branches. Bear in mind when placing a heavy branch, make sure the vase is weighted enough to keep it from toppling over. 
So, next time if you need to quickly pretty up your place with some flowers, don’t forget to use flowers from the garden. Not only will you have something not run-of-the-mill, your guests might be impressed with how resourceful you are. 
Using flowers from the garden
Flower arrangement with camellias

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Autumn Colours

Autumn is such wonderful season to celebrate colours, particularly the leaves of deciduous trees. For example, in Japan celebrating autumn is a particularly major event. There are many traditional celebrations and festivities taking place throughout the country during the fall harvest season. 

However in Sydney leaves don’t get quite as vibrant as in some regions in the Northern Hemisphere. But fortunately, there are still places where we can go and catch glimpses of those beautiful reds, golds and oranges before the foliage fall from the trees. 

One such place is Mount Wilson in the Blue Mountains. Many visitors including avid photographers flock to the gardens at Mount Wilson during autumn. The best time to go is around late April to early May. Some gardens allow you to pack a picnic and enjoy the surroundings while you enjoy your lunch. Others have cafes on site where you can order light refreshments such as scones and tea. 

If you are in Sydney or planning a visit to Sydney during autumn, why not include Mount Wilson and surrounding areas in your itinerary?

Autumn colours
Autumn colours

Celebrate autumn with flower arrangements

Taking inspiration from nature, I incorporated some gold-sprayed palm leaves with leucadendron and nandina in my Japanese-inspired flower arrangement. This was on display at The Calyx, Royal Botanic Garden Sydney from 26 April – 5 May 2019.

My ikebana autumn arrangement on display at The Calyx

If you are interested in other seasonal-inspired arrangements, check out my blog post on Spring-inspired Flower Arrangements.

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Celebrating the Lunar New Year with Flowers

Celebrating the Lunar New Year with flowers is an important part of the New Year festivities. Having grown up in a family with Chinese ancestry, this meant that every year there was always lots to do in the days leading up to the Lunar New Year. This included cleaning the house, shopping for new clothes, baking cookies, getting red packets ready, and planning for the reunion dinner on New Year’s Eve. And then there were the traditions and customs to follow to bring good luck and wealth into the new year.

As an example, many Chinese like to decorate their houses with festive decor such as door couplets, Chinese knots and New Year pictures. These decorations are mainly in red and are expressions of good wishes for the future. In addition, celebrating the Lunar Near Year with flowers is important because the Chinese believe flower blossoms will bring fortune. Some flowers are particularly popular due to their good symbolism. We have:

Peonies for prosperity;

Peach blossoms for luck in romance;

Daffodils for a new beginning;

Chrysanthemums for longevity;

Gladiolus for strength and career advancement;

to name a few.

For my Lunar New Year flower arrangement this year, I’ve chosen to use the auspicious red colour as the key design element. Flowers included in this arrangement are alstroemeria, chrysanthemums, tiger lilies and gladioli.

Here’s wishing everyone who celebrate the Lunar New Year a very prosperous and healthy year ahead!

Celebrating Lunar New Year with Flowers

If you are interested in other flower arrangement ideas, check out my other post on Arranging Hydrangeas.

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Arranging Hydrangeas for Your Home

On the lookout for new ways of arranging hydrangeas for your home?  When hydrangeas are plentiful because you have them growing in your garden, why not cut some and have them in vases all around your house? 

Here are some ideas on arranging hydrangeas that you can easily try out. Firstly, you can make a group arrangement of hydrangeas in different vases. For instance I took a couple of containers,  combined the hydrangeas with garden roses, and grouped them together like a vignette. So pretty in pastel!

Arranging hydrangea ideas - with roses

Secondly, try an asymmetrical arrangement. In this example, I placed the hydrangeas a little off-centred to one side and balanced it with a philodendron leaf on the other. Personally I feel this creates a more interesting-looking arrangement due to the “off-centred focal point” of the hydrangea placement. 

Arranging Hydrangea Ideas - with Philodendron

Lastly, try unexpected combinations of flowers or even hydrangeas with fruits! Here I incorporated some home-grown nectarines with hydrangeas in a special vase by Clay Canoe. Well who says you cannot combine something a little different like fruit with flowers? 

Arrange Hydrangeas with nectarines


The colour that the hydrangea takes on depends on the acidity or alkalinity of the soil. If the soil is more acidic, that is a pH 5 or less, hydrangeas are usually blue. On the other hand, when the soil pH is more towards neutral or alkaline (ph7 or more) hydrangeas turn mauve and pink. 

Arranging Hydrangea Ideas

For other ideas for arranging flowers, check out my blog post on spring-inspired flower arrangements.

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7 Tips to Help Tulips Last Longer in a Vase

Today I’m going to share with you 7 tips on how to care for your tulips and help them last longer in a vase. For many years while I love them, I just found tulips to be a little tricky to manage due to their “droopy” nature.  However with a little practical care, you can help your tulips last as long as possible.

Here are my 7 tips to help tulips last longer in a vase:

  1. Did you know that tulips continue to grow in the vase after they have been cut? So try and choose a vase that covers at least half of the height of the tulip stems.
  2. Wash off any dirt or sand that might be caught in between the leaves and stems of the tulips.
  3. Cut the stems at a 45 degree angle with clean, sharp scissors.
  4. Tulips love water. So fill up your vase with cool, fresh water at least halfway. If possible change the water every other day. Each time you do, re-cut the stems about an inch (2 cm) or so.  
  5. Find a suitable spot for your tulips. Avoid placing them in direct sunlight, near a heat source, or drafts, to prevent them from wilting faster. Also, tulips will grow and sometimes bend towards sunlight. You can turn your vase around if you do not wish for them to bend too much in one direction.
  6. Don’t combine tulips with flowers in the Narcissus family such as daffodils and jonquils as they may shorten the lives of the tulips.
  7. If you find your tulips a little droopy, it could be that they have air bubbles in their stems. Prick a tiny hole below the flower head with a needle or safety pin so that water can rise up the stem. 

Tulips are such fascinating flowers. Really, they look their best when you learn to work with them, provide them with the best possible environment and allow them a little room to do their own thing! 🙂

7 tips to help your tulips last longer in a vase
Red tulips with anemone
Red tulips with anemones
Tips to help tulips last longer
White tulips with pink cherry blossoms
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