As a yacht stewardess, you are looking for an arrangement that will add interest and luxury to the yacht's interior. You also require the arrangement to look it’s best for up to a week or more. Here are some useful tips to help you not only care for your flowers but also make wise choices when it comes to selecting your ingredients:
Below are my top tips for long lasting flower and foliage choices:
1. Alstroemeria. Available all year round in a large variety of colours and has a vase life of approximately 7-14 days. It lasts well in floral foam and water
2. Ornithogalam. Available all year round in either white or orange these ave a vase life of approximately 14 days. They can also be arranged in floral foam or vases.
3. Dendrobium Orchids: Available all year round in shades of pink purple and white. They have a vase life of approximately 14 days
4. Cymbidium orchids are also available in a wide variety of colours and have a vase life or approximately 14 days. You can use the flowers individually or as a striking stem for more impact.
5. Anthurium. This tropical flower is available all year round and has a vase life of approximately 14 days. However, they do last better in water than in floral foam.
1. Aspidistra leaves are sturdy, reliable leaves that can be manipulated by splitting, rolling and pinning. They can be used in arrangements to disguise floral foam or wrapped around stems of a tied bouquet.
2. Soft ruscus has tall arching stems with dark glossy leaves. It is suitable for vase or foam arrangements and will also be fine used without water running down the centre of a table for an evening.
3. Eucalyptus leaves have the added bonus of that beautiful aromatic scent. It is a thirsty foliage though so it must have a good supply of water so the leaves do not dry out.
4. Bear grass is suitable for both vase designs and floral foam and is a very hardy grass. It is relatively flexible and can be used curled round the interior of vases to add interest.
5. Aralia leaves have a beautiful bold lobed shape. It is long lasting and works well in both vase designs and floral foam.
Foliage should be stored in clean shallow water which should be changed every 4-5 days. Keep leaves out of contact with water.
What to do when your flowers are on board:
Once you have your flowers or arrangement on board there are a few steps to consider in order to keep those blooms looking their best for longer:
Preparing your flowers:
If you buy your flowers and foliage directly from a florist they should have already been prepared correctly – or conditioned. However, if you are buying from the market you need to ‘condition’ them as soon as possible. Foliage can survive longer outside of water so always prepare your delicate flower stems first.
1. Prepare your clean bucket with tepid water and flower food, if possible, ready for your flowers.
2. Unwrap your flowers from any cellophane or paper carefully.
3. Make sure you strip foliage and thorns from the flower stem only leaving the very top foliage for décor. Foliage in the water causes bacteria to grow which could then be absorbed by the blooms.
4. Trim the bottom of the stems at a sharp angle. This will increase the surface area the flowers can drink from.
5. Immediately put the stems in the prepared water and ideally place in a cool dark spot for at least a couple of hours before you arrange them.
As with most things there are exceptions. If you have tulips or peonies that you are not using immediately you can hold back the development by keeping them wrapped in paper – not cellophane! And this will slow them from opening too quickly.
How to care for your flowers and arrangements:
Your beautiful arrangements will need your help if they are to look their best for as long as possible. Here are my top tips for getting the most of your flowers:
Flowers are graded for quality and although supermarket blooms may be a cheaper option you are paying for inferior quality and you can’t guarantee how long they have been sat in that bucket. Choosing a professional supplier you will receive flowers that have been selected fresh from the market and cared for correctly.
Making sure your arrangement has a clean water supply is so important! A thirsty flower is a dead flower! Touch the oasis foam to ensure it is moist and regularly top up with fresh water carefully. Place the arrangement on a towel to soak up any spills. Misting flowers can cause more harm than good as water on the petals can cause them to rot. The exception to this are hydrangeas. A sad hydrangea can sometimes be revived by dunking the whole head in water for a couple of minutes before being placed back into a deep bucket of water.
3. Avoid Bacterial Growth
Keeping bacteria in the vase at bay will help prolong the life of your flowers.
* Clean the vase every couple of days and re-cut the stems of the flowers each time
* Remove any leaves that may be touching the water as they will start to decay causing bacteria to grow.
* Add flower food to the water. If not available a teaspoon of gin and a dash of tonic is a good substitute! The gin will kill the bacteria and the sugar in the tonic will feed the flowers. You could also use a small drop of bleach but not too much or you will bleach the stems.
Place your flowers away from drafts and direct sunlight. This is not always practical on a Super Yacht but be aware that drafts from air-conditioning vents and hot sunshine will shorten the life of your arrangements.
Keep fresh cut flowers away from fruit. Just like bananas can ripen other fruit the ethylene gas given off can cause premature wilting. A clear indication that flowers have been affected by Ethylene gas is yellowing of leaves. Ensure you remove fading blooms and petals from the arrangements as these can also cause other flowers to fan more quickly
Having the right tools makes all the difference! Having a sharp pair of floristry scissors will cut the stems cleanly without damaging them – just mind your fingers. Also some florist pot tape, spare oasis bricks and leaf shine are also useful additions to have available.
A few words about me:
I grew up in North Yorkshire in the Yorkshire dales which is just a beautiful part of England although pretty cold! I studied Business and French at university and after a year of studies in France I decided to stay and see if I could get a job.
I now live just below Grasse with my husband, daughter and trusty florist cat! I work from a studio in my garden and provide flowers for yachts, villas, events and weddings.
My floral designs are elegant with a touch of relaxed garden style. I love to use seasonal flowers grown by suppliers local to the area.
Claire's contact details:
Dandelions & Grace
+33 (0)6 37 66 19 37