How to keep the bloom in your holidaysFlowers are one of...

ON THE HOME FRONT

December 06, 1992|By Elizabeth Large | Elizabeth Large,Staff Writer

How to keep the bloom in your holidays

Flowers are one of the joys of the holiday season, so we asked local florists to give us some tips on making the most of them. Here's what they suggested:

Jon E. Stephens, floral designer, Radebaugh's: "It sounds simple, but so many people forget it: When your flowers arrive, check the water immediately, and add warm water."

Ron Paust, manager and designer, Flowers by Chris: "For flowers or greens in a clear vase, add a drop of bleach to retard algae that turn the water green. Although you should change the water every day, most people don't."

Martha Meredith, co-owner, the Flower Basket: "If you buy an arrangement for a party early in December, get one with plenty of Christmas greens. When its fresh-cut flowers fade, you can replace them for just a few dollars. The greens will stay fresh through the month if you water them and perhaps put the arrangement in a cool place at night."

Sharon Gordon, head designer, Flora et Fauna: "As opposed to having many traditional arrangements for a holiday party, decorate all over the house with loose cut stems in an assortment of containers. Follow through a theme from one centerpiece arrangement: repeat a color theme, perhaps, or a type of flower."

And several florists warned against putting flowers in hot spots, mentioning on top of television sets specifically.

Metropolitan Home has banned sunflowers from its pages because they've been so overused. Senior editor Arlene Hirst isn't sure why the big, bold flowers are so popular right now, but she thinks it may be because there's such a love of bright colors and "sunflowers capture that need."

The sunflower was a popular motif of the Aesthetic movement from around 1870, and was often used in American majolica. Nowadays you'll find the flowers on much more than just ceramics. They show up in such diverse places as the pages of an Ethan Allen catalog and on a canvas chair in Watson's Garden Center.

Now the sunflower has come to Baltimore in a big way in conjunction with the Baltimore Museum of Art's "Picture Perfect" exhibition. Because the show includes a Van Gogh (although not the Van Gogh), the BMA gift shop is featuring a sunflower extravaganza. You can get real sunflower seeds and a child's gardening kit featuring sunflowers, candlesticks, frames, birdhouses, pillows, tiles and teapots, T-shirts and topiaries, aprons, mugs, pins and much more. Call (410) 396-7100.

There are no statistics on how many people in Baltimore are drinking espresso and cappuccino these days, but judging from the number of coffeehouses that have suddenly sprung up, it must be a lot of us. Which means that the Krups Espresso Mini could be the perfect holiday gift for someone close to you. True, at $69 it's not inexpensive. But if you consider that you pay up to $3 for a cup of cappuccino, it would take only 23 trips to a coffee bar to make it a worthwhile purchase, especially if your friend or relative or significant other makes coffee for you.

The Espresso Mini brews four cups (12 ounces) of rich, dark espresso. And it has a patented Perfect Froth attachment that forces just the right amount of steam and air into milk to make the perfect cup of cappuccino.

You'll find the Krups Espresso Mini at the Hecht Co. and other area stores for around $70.

It's a big country someone's got to arrange the furniture When home furnishing stores offer design services, you assume they are there to sell you their own merchandise. But starting in February, Ikea in White Marsh will have a certified interior designer in the store to answer any sort of decorating questions you may have. If, for instance, you don't want to buy furniture, but you do need help in rearranging the furniture you already own, the designer will do it for you. You bring in your floor plan and photographs, and he or she will take it from there. The designer will even visit your home if necessary.

There is some inducement to "buy Ikea": The service costs $50, which will be refunded if you purchase $1,000 worth of Ikea furnishings. But if you don't buy anything, $50 isn't much of a charge these days for someone who will recommend contractors and select paint colors, function as your personal shopper, help you find accent pieces, rearrange and regroup your furniture or redecorate your whole house.

For more information call (410) 931-5400 after the holidays.

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