Spring blossoms to fight the winter blahs

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Spring blossoms to fight the winter blahs

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Plum blossoms in a glass vase can create a classy look for inside the home. By Kim Sang-seon

Temperatures are still lingering around the freezing mark, but even in winter, buying flowers can bring bright colors and spring fragrances into your living room. Of course, spring blossoms look beautiful on their own, but with a little bit of effort they can become interior decorations that can transform any space.

Chae Song-ah, a florist at Xystum, a flower shop at The Plaza Hotel, recommends checking to see which colors are in fashion each season; the Pantone Color Institute, for example, has named Radiant Orchid its color of 2014, while the softness of Placid Blue, the brilliant yellow of Freesia and the warmth of Celosia Orange were chosen as some of the top hues for women’s spring fashion. “Matching calm colors like beige or gray with the flowers will produce an elegant and classy interior,” said Chae.

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How to use branches as interior decorations

Branches or sprays covered in buds tend to show the vitality of spring, while the plum blossom is the type of flower most related to the early part of the season. Their arrival, when the weather is still cool, is one of the first signals of spring each year. The fragrance of plum blossoms is especially pure and delicate, helping any home look and smell fresh.

According to Chae, there are two ways to style plum blossom branches. The first is by using the whole spray without snipping it. The beauty of the plum blossom is in the “line” - how it hangs from the tree. To show this line, you should arrange the branches in a large glass vase. The vase should be transparent so that it shows off the loveliness of the line of the plum blossom branch, in the style made famous by traditional Oriental paintings.

A vase with a narrow neck is better for holding the sprays in place so that they don’t move and look chaotic. The water line where the spray is submerged should create an oblique line to highlight the beauty of the sprays.

If you buy a bundle of plum blossoms from a flower market, the branches are usually tied together, but it’s better to separate and arrange them to best show off their liveliness. If you want white flowers to stand out among the plum blossom sprays, you can mix in some white spring orchids.

If you are a little more dextrous, you can try making a wreath out of the plum blossom branches. Wreaths are usually made in circular shapes but can look quite elegant if you arrange the sprays in a rectangular style.

To make a wreath, start with a thick spray and start adding smaller branches on top, like in a grid. Whole sprays from a flower market should be cut into smaller bits to make a wreath. Use floral wire (or any strong, bendable wire) next to tie the sprays together.

It’s important that you don’t tie the sprays together at once, but instead just tie two at a time. The wreath will have more volume this way.

When tying the sprays together, make sure they are firmly bound because the branches will lose water over time, resulting in shrinkage. When placing the plum blossoms on top, don’t arrange them all in one direction - alternate them so everything is evenly placed.

When it’s completed, you can hang the wreath on a wall or even use it as a photo frame. You can also place it on a table with candles inside to create a romantic atmosphere.

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From top to bottom: A rectangular wreath made with plum blossoms; a bouquet of hyacinths and ranunculus in a white urn; daffodils look best in a long vase or an empty soda bottle; potted plants can also be great decorations when grown in containers or even small picnic baskets. By Kim Sang-seon

Bouquets: The trend of spring

The easiest way to create the atmosphere of spring is to use cut flowers. Although we often see florists mixing different kinds of flowers together to make bouquets, Chae recommends sticking with one type of flower, or two at the most, saying the result looks fresher. She also recommends plants such as hyacinths, daffodils, anemones and ranunculus to make your home look more spring-like.

Making hand-tied bouquets with hyacinths and ranunculus creates a “lovelier spring atmosphere at home,” says Chae. To make hand-tied bouquets of hyacinths and ranunculus, purchase these at a local flower market.

For color selection, light purple is recommended, which is close to Pantone’s “radiant orchid.” Hyacinths have a bulb, like tulips, and many leaves. It’s best to remove the unnecessary leaves as you gather the flowers together in one hand. Hold the stems evenly so that they don’t get tangled, then add baby pink ranunculus between the hyacinths.

While remembering that the bottom section will be trimmed, tie the flowers together with raffia ribbon. If you don’t have access to raffia ribbon, use paper string. Try not to use wire because spring flower stalks are soft, and wire can hurt them. After tying the flowers into a bouquet, put them in a white or glass vase.

Cut flowers are a good way of adding this spring’s other trendy colors, like Freesia and Celosia Orange, to your home. Yellow daffodils are the color of freesia, and they definitely create a spring atmosphere. It’s best to change the vase water every two days for daffodils, adding clean, cool water each time. Before putting the daffodils into the vase, snip off a little bit of the ends while they’re underwater, because it helps the flowers last longer.

If you want to brighten your room with Celosia Orange, go with orange ranunculus flowers. Ranunculus look best when a single stalk is put alone in a long vase with a narrow neck. It’s also great to use empty soda bottles or wine bottles as ranunculus vases.

Beauty that lasts: potted plants

The drawback of decorating your home with cut flowers is that they don’t last long. The poet Kim Young-rang called peonies “the radiantly mournful spring.” The beauty of flowers is brief.

But there’s a way to maintain that beauty a little longer: spare the roots.

Purchase potted plants that still have their roots attached. Flowers growing in pots create an unusual yet classy look for your home.

According to Chae, the best way to use flowers from a nursery for decorations is to combine as many different colored flowers as possible in containers of the same hue. Although you may want to use bright colors for the containers - to get that spring look - Chae says it’s best to go with tranquil tones like beige or gray to allow the flowers to stand out.

You can also use small picnic baskets to give the potted flowers a new look.

BY KIM KYUNG-JIN [sharon@joongang.co.kr]

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