The party may be over, but the flowers on every table still look fresh. Instead of throwing them in the bin or sending them home with tipsy family members, donate the whole bunch to a group of people who could use some cheering up.
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I've seen some crazy things in my time: A man peeing into a public postbox in the city in the middle of the day while pedestrians pretend not to notice; a train forced to reverse course and creep backwards into the previous station while the conductor and motorman loudly panic in front of the passengers; three Rolls Royces casually street parked with no fear of being keyed. But the craziest thing I have ever seen is fancy florists offering simple white moth orchids for $110 each.
In nature, blue is much rarer than you might think. Sure, the sky is blue when the weather's nice, and so is the ocean. But the vast majority of plants and animals are incapable of making blue pigment. Brilliantly-coloured peacocks appear blue not because their feathers are coloured that way, but because of how they reflect light. Less than 10 per cent of the world's 280,000 flowering plants produce blue flowers, which may be why they're often a symbol of the unattainable in folklore and literature.
Colouring can be relaxing and meditative, or a no-skills needed artistic expression. But it can also be a great way to learn something. Check out these books for learning about anatomy and nature while you meditate with your pencils.
You are walking home from work when you pass the loveliest hydrangeas. At $8 for two stems at the local shop they are a steal and impossible to pass up. You bring them home, plunk them in a vase with some water, and forget about them for a couple of hours. The next thing you know, the perfect little blue petals are curling in, the whole thing is drooping, and the perky flowers you bought just hours ago are rapidly dying.
If you're planning to buy flowers for Valentine's Day, you might want to order them soon. They're only going to get more expensive as February 14 nears, and this graph from shopping site Brad's Deals shows you just how much.
If you buy fresh flowers often, making them last as long as possible saves you money, and keeps your house a little cheerier that much longer. Choosing flowers that don't need as much water when they're alive is a natural way to extend their shelf life after they're cut.
The Parrot Flower Power is a sophisticated gardening gizmo designed to keep your plants, herbs and flowers alive and healthy. Boasting four different sensors and an inbuilt database of over 2000 plant species, the Flower Power is capable of delivering tailor-made advice to your garden via iPad or iPhone (an Android version is also in the pipeline.) If your green thumb is tinged with the blood of innocent plants, the Flower Power could literally be the life-saver you're looking for.
Keep the fresh cut flowers your neighbour or sweetie gave you lively for as long as possible by adding this DIY solution from the Brooklyn Botanical Garden to the water: Mix 1 teaspoon sugar, 1 teaspoon bleach, and 2 tablespoons lemon or lime juice in a quart of warm water. Having noticed that the packet of preservative that comes from some florists was indeed some sort of magical elixir of flower happiness, it's nice to have a DIY option. Additional tips from Cottage Living magazine include cutting the flower stems every few days at a 45 degree angle with a sharp knife or pair of garden shears. Scissors crush the capillaries in the stems and hinder the intake of water. Photo by PleasantPointInn. Make Cut Flowers Last Longer