Cheap tricks – fresh flowers (almost) every day

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I love fresh flowers. If I was independently wealthy, I would have a seasonal arrangement delivered to my house every week. Sadly, my bank account does not lend itself to such extravagance (at least not if my family and I want to eat regularly). However, as the winter of 2014 trudges on, with no end in sight – more snow in the forecast for later this week – fresh flowers are important, if not essential, to my sanity. Tulips are a particularly good antidote to the March doldrums as they’re bright and cheerful.

Narcissus and daffodils are also a good bet, as their bright yellow faces defy anyone to be in a bad mood.

Pots of daffs and tulips are generally available in the stores this time of year, at a fairly reasonable price – by picking the ones just on the verge of opening up, I’ll be able  to enjoy pretty blooms for almost 2 weeks.

Recently, however, I’ve discovered the half price bins in the floral section of my local grocery store. For a relatively modest cash outlay, I can have fresh flowers any time I want. And until the weather warms up and the snow piles in my backyard disappear, I want need a vase filled with flowers in my house, prominently displayed where I can see them.

 

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The selection of flowers in the half-price bins can be a bit hit and miss. At my local store, there’s lots on offer over the weekend, while during the week, the pickings can be a bit slim. Right after a long holiday weekend is often a good time, as many stores are closed on a Monday or a Friday, which means they have to rotate more of their stock than usual. In addition to figuring out the schedule in your store of choice, you also have to be prepared to spend a few minutes examining the goods. Sometimes, it’s easy to tell whether a bouquet is on its last legs or is a day or two past its prime – roses are particularly delicate and don’t tend to last very well. However, alstroemeria (resembles a miniature lily and comes in a variety of colours) and chrysanthemums (also available in a range of colours, shapes and sizes) are relatively hardy. Even though they’re fairly long-lasting, I tend to skip the carnations – they remind me of funerals and as flowers go, they aren’t very interesting.

The one disadvantage of buying from the half-price bin is that what you see is what you get. Depending on the day, the colour and/or flower choices may be somewhat limited. I consider this to be part of the challenge – it gives me a chance to try colour combinations I might not other wise consider, if I was paying full price. Sometimes, I mix and match several different inexpensive arrangements, just for fun.

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My floral arranging skills are pretty basic. Since I also like lots of colour, my arrangements would probably send Martha Stewart screaming in the hills. But who cares? The whole idea of having fresh flowers in the house is to bring everyone a bit of pleasure. I’m not sure M and his dad really pay much attention, but the flowers make me happy.

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Even if I get a bouquet home and I don’t love it or it doesn’t last very long, I don’t feel like it’s a waste of money. My recent arrangement cost me about $10.00 – less than buying a coffee at work every day. Money well spent, at least until I can get outside into my garden.

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