Lelian Chew from artisanal florist The Floral Atelier debunks common myths and tells you everything you need to know about selecting and maintaining flowers
1. Find out what's in season and work with nature's timing. "Why go against nature and use a tiny peony with neither scent nor bloom, when you can have a luscious ranunculus at its prime? Be open to different flowers and work with nature's timing instead of against it."
2. You won't always get what you want. "When you order online, the flowers used in the images may also be substituted depending on their availability and season. It is crucial to select an online florist with a portfolio you trust — when flowers are substituted, the end result will still be one that you're satisfied with."
3. Never mess with flower petals. "It may cause bruising that's not immediately visible but can appear as browning or wrinkles. Always handle the stems and never the blooms."
4. Hydration is everything, even when you're just beginning to arrange the flowers. "It's a good habit to hydrate your florals as you work on your arrangement. In humid weather like Singapore, it's important to spritz the flowers daily to keep them in tip top condition." 5. Add a little snip the next time you change the water in your vase. "It's important to change the water daily. Remember to snip off the stems to ensure the flowers drink well."
6. Used to a pair of scissors? Do yourself and your flowers a favour by getting a floral trimmer. "They have sharp blades that provide a clean cut, causing little damage to the stems, hence ensuring the flowers drink well."
7. Don't sweat the small stuff, like the way flowers change their colour. "Consider using flower additives which can extend the longevity of flowers, but it's also interesting to note that there are flowers which change hues as they bloom. There's beauty in the colour transformation over their lifespan."
8. Don't try to scent the flowers yourself — spraying perfume is a big no-no. "These substances harm flowers. Flowers come with their own natural scent, ranging from subtle to very distinct. Appreciate nature — they really make the best natural perfumes!"
9. It's not just direct sunlight you have to worry about. "Avoid placing flowers in places that have little ventilation. It causes flowers to wilt easily. Avoid extreme coldness — the best place for flowers is in a cool and shaded area with plenty of circulation."
10. Keep them high and dry. "Drying flowers is a good way to preserve their beauty. To get the best colour, cut flowers just before they are fully open, tie them in bundles and hang them upside down in a dry, dark and warm location."
The Floral Atelier is located at 40 Eng Hoon Street. Tel: 8869 2830. To find out more on Lelian Chew, check out our interview with her here. You can also sign up for The Floral Atelier's Centrepiece Workshop on 13 August here.