I spent dusk yesterday barefoot and surrounded by stray petals and leaves in a small, duck-egg-blue room in Walmer Estate. Two of my childhood friends, Jessica Ellis and Emma Frost, opened their floral design studio, Supernatural, less than a month ago, and yesterday, they were in full Valentine’s swing. They invited me along to sip on a glass of icy white in between snapping them in action and soaking up a few tips, which I’m sure you will find as enlightening as I did.
Being a regular flower-buyer and admirer myself, I asked them to share their 10 top tips for buying, caring for and making blooms last longer.
1. When shopping for roses, test the firmness of the bud between your thumb and forefinger. A firmer, tighter bud means that the rose is fresher and will last longer.
2. A rose that is bruised has been manhandled. If the bruising looks like it does in the picture above, the rose has a disease called botrytis. Remove the infected petals at the base to prevent infection of the rest of the bloom.
3. Buying flowers from an outdoor flower seller or stall? If your flowers have been exposed to wind and sunshine all day, they may wilt or dry out faster.
4. Outdoor stalls also often stock plenty of blooms that last a long time, like lilies, fynbos, sunflowers and gerberas. This is because they still look fresh, long after they aren’t. Tricky!
5. Like the look of flowers that are already plump and blooming? They won’t last as long. See the gladiolus (or glads, as Jess and Em affectionately call them) above for reference.
6. Check that the stems of your flowers have not been too roughly stripped (as pictured above). Barren patches on the stem will mean your blooms won’t last as long as they should.
7. Change the water in your vase every day. Simply topping it up, as I had thought, doesn’t do the trick.
8. If you really want to give your blooms the best care possible, rinse the vase when you replace the water. Bacteria grows in the vase daily and can affect the lifespan of your bunch or posey.
9. Never let the leaves of your bunch touch the water in the vase and make sure to remove leaves that have dropped into it. Rotting leaves pollute the water.
10. Flowers only take in water from the base, so you only really need to fill your vase about one third of the way up. If the ends of your stems are submerged, you’re in business.
You can read more about Jess and Emma’s story here, but if you want the inside scoop then I can tell you that they are both wildly creative in completely different ways, a fact which is evident in the diversity of their work. Emma’s style is velveteen flamboyance with a Bohemian blur; Jessica’s is French Riviera with a side of beach bum cool. Jess is straight forward, where Em is a little ditsy. And both are very, very funny.
Watching them in action made me want to fill my apartment with flowers that have strange, seductive names. I think I’ll start today.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Contact Jess and Emma here.