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Jul 23, 201410:16 AM
Bon Vivant

Design, entertaining and good living with New Orleans Bride and Homes & Lifestyles editor Melanie Warner Spencer

Flower Power

Use blooms in your rooms to brighten the décor and the day.

In his rather dark poem, “Hamatreya,” Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote the lovely line, “Earth laughs in flowers.” After having read that sentiment, I urge you to pass a field of wildflowers or your neighbor’s rose bushes without smiling. The same concept applies to fresh flowers around the house or at your desk. Flowers are by far the cheapest and easiest way to brighten up someone’s day and a room. 
A bouquet found its way into my house on Sunday, by way of Mark who sweetly grabbed a bundle while picking up a few items at the Fresh Market. Needless to say, he scored huge romance points that day — and for under $20. That’s what I call a win-win situation. I was so delighted by the surprise; it didn’t even bother me to add the task of flower arranging to my to-do list. 
Despite not really knowing much if anything about flower arranging, I like to spilt a larger bouquet into various smaller arrangements, rather than putting all of them into one big vase. This way I can enjoy the flowers in multiple spaces. For these colorful, happy blooms, the “vases” I used were a tall white pitcher; an Ale-8-One ginger ale bottle I saved from a pack my parents gave us while we were in Kentucky, where the soda is made (Tip: If you ever find yourself in possession of a bottle or a few, I recommend putting a jigger of bourbon in it. It’s a delicious alternative to bourbon and Coke); and a plastic Saints shot glass we caught during a Carnival parade. The bouquet included yellow daisies (my favorite), pink carnations, two different kinds of purple flowers (People who know about such things, please feel free to identify them in the comments) and of course the ubiquitous filler, baby’s breath. 
Be sure to trim the bottom of the stems at an angle before placing them in the receptacle of water. This and the addition of the flower preserver that comes with the bouquet or a crushed aspirin will help them stay fresh longer. Mine usually last at least a week. If you remove the dead flowers and freshen the water daily, you can sometimes stretch that to two weeks. 
The next morning, I was greeted in the powder room by a tiny handful of daisies adorning the sink while I brushed my teeth. Next up, I had strategically placed the green soda bottle with a couple of the purple flowers next to the percolator. I never knew until that moment, that the joy I experience while making my coveted morning java could be improved upon. Finally, with a cup of hot coffee in hand, I made my way into the living room to write a few pages in my notebook. The largest of the three bouquets was a burst of color springing forth from the pitcher. The morning sun kissed each yellow, pink, purple and white blossom, petal and green leaf. 
It was indeed the Earth laughing in flowers. 

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Bon Vivant

Design, entertaining and good living with New Orleans Bride and Homes & Lifestyles editor Melanie Warner Spencer


Melanie Warner Spencer is a native Kentuckian, but says she got to New Orleans as fast as she could. For more than 16 years, Melanie has covered lifestyle, design and entertainment at various publications, serving as the design columnist at The Austin American-Statesman, a senior staff reporter at the Houston Chronicle and most recently as the editor-in-chief of Houston Brides magazine. Her work also has appeared in the Chicago Tribune, the Huffington Post and Reuters in the United States and across the globe. In her spare time, Melanie is an award-winning fine art photographer and has been honored by the Texas Press Association for her editorial photography. She also has been honored by the Press Club of New Orleans for its Excellence in Journalism Awards and is currently serving as a media member of the board of directors. Cooking and eating fabulous food and taking road trips with her spouse of 16 years, fellow writer and filmmaker Mark Patrick Spencer however, is at the top of her list of favorite pastimes. Click here to like Spencer's Facebook page and follow her on Twitter @MelanieSpencer. 


You can reach her at melanie@myneworleans.com.




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