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Monday, April 22, 2013

How to make Floral Water



Making Floral Water
With the arrival of winter and the temporary disappearance of the garden, it is still possible to revitalize your home with floral fragrance and beauty. Of course, as anyone knows, fresh cut bouquets will certainly enhance the memory of spring; but there is also another way. For over 5000 years, distillate waters (hydrosols), the most famous being rose water (in which history records both Cleopatra and Marie Antoinette bathed) have served to soothe the souls of those who embrace them as part of their routines. These sweet fragranced waters are simple to prepare and far less expensive than if purchased online, and the benefit of making your own floral waters is that you can create a unique signature scent to suit your own tastes. There are many ways to make floral waters, but here are two of the simplest:
1) Making floral water with fresh flower petals
You will need:
Fresh flower petals;
Distilled water;
Alcohol;
Two large glass bowls;
A fine muslin cloth;
and several pretty glass bottles.
In a large glass bowl, mix the distilled water and alcohol in equal parts and set aside. Pour a cup of fresh flower petals into the second bowl; thoroughly mix the distilled water and alcohol, then pour it over the petals until they are completely covered. Set the bowl in a warm room and allow it to sit untouched for seven to ten days; this will permit the petal fragrance to completely infuse the water and alcohol. Once you have reached the end of the waiting period, use the muslin cloth to assiduously strain the floral water, and pour it into the decorative glass bottles. Store the floral water in the refrigerator in order to maintain the shelf life for eight months to a year.
2) Making floral water with essential oils
You will need:
Essential oils;
Distilled water;
Vitamin E oil;
A glass measuring cup;
and several decorative glass bottles.
Using essential oils in place of petals allows you to produce the floral water without the seven to ten day wait! All you need to do is stop by your local Edmonton health food or holistic medicine store and select the floral essential oils which speak to your soul. Of course, the various scents have many different properties, so you can choose according to how you intend to use them. Examples of the ways essential oils affect our senses in aromatherapy are: Blue cypress is for balance, Lavender for relaxation, Myrhh for meditation and prayer, Peppermint is refreshing and Rose is soothing, and there are many more. If you wish, you can experiment by mixing two or more essential oils to create an exclusive fragrance.
Once you’ve selected your favourite essential oils, take the glass measuring cup and fill it with distilled water. Thoroughly mix fifteen drops of essential oil and two drops of Vitamin E oil (a natural preservative). Then pour into the glass bottles and store in your refrigerator; every so often you will also want to agitate the floral waters in order to disperse the fragrance. Always shake well before every use as the oils will settle when sitting idle.

Making use of floral water
There are many ways to use your floral waters and you might be surprised at how easily they replace a common, chemical laden everyday household product – the air freshener. How does this work? Simply pour your floral water into a spray bottle; you will immediately notice how much more natural and refreshing it is than the ones you buy in the store, and it is also much better for your health. You can even use it as a fabric freshener, for bedding, your sofa, clothes and lingerie, or use it to add that close-your-eyes-and-sigh-with-delight scent to any room by spraying it in the air. Floral waters bring spring to your home no matter what time of year! Share the love and give a few bottles as presents to friends and family. These rich, splendid fragrances are well worth the little time out of your day it takes to make them, and they will surely bring a sense of well being and floral communion to everyone, for, as Heinrich Heine said, “Perfumes are the feelings of flowers.”  Brought to you by a Mater Florist in Edmonton.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

How To Make Your Own Terrarium

Terrariums are very popular and they are a great way to bring plant life indoors that will flourish for months on end. 



You Will Need:
  • Glass containers without lids
  • Gravel, pebbles, marbles or stones
  • Terrarium plants
  • Sterile potting mix
  • Moss (optional)
  • Decorative elements (optional)
Selecting Your Container

For your terrarium, look for a jar or container with a mouth wide enough for your hand to fit through easily. While it is possible to use something with a small opening, it is much easier to add plants if your container has a wider mouth.


 
If you are using a larger container, you will have a greater choice of types and size plants you can use as well as the option of fitting in decorative elements, such as shells, figurines or ornaments.

Selecting Your Plants 

When choosing terrarium plants, make sure they are small enough to fit in your container, preferably without touching the sides or crowding. You'll also want to buy plants that don’t mind a humid environment.

The following are very popular and have proven to be some of the best terrarium plants:
  • Artillery Fern
  • Aluminum Plant
  • Polka Dot Plant or Hypoestes
  • Peperomia
  • Button Fern
  • Creeping Fig or Ficus Primula 
  • Dracaena 
Preparing The Container

Your container will not have drainage holes in the bottom so you’ll want to create a place for extra water to go that keeps it away from your plants’ roots.

Put at least 2” layer of stones in the bottom, for more shallow containers, you can get away with 1" of stones or pebbles. 



With a large spoon or small shovel, add sterile potting mix on top of your stones or pebbles. Add as much potting mix as you can - at least a couple of inches. You will want to make sure your plants will fit into your terrarium, so you might have to hold your plants up to measure as you add soil.

At this point it’s important to think about the design of your terrarium. You probably want to put your tallest plant in back, or in the middle. You can also contour your soil so that it mounds and sinks to create depth and texture.

Planting


 Remove your plants from their pots. You may find that they are root bound, in which case you will want to tease the roots apart, even cutting some off. By cutting off some of the roots, called root pruning, you will also retard your plant’s growth, which is usually a good thing when growing plants in the confines of a terrarium. You'll also want to take off any excess soil as well.

Some plants can be separated by gently pulling them apart. If you’re not sure, look at the base of the plant; there may be several small plants grouped tightly together even though it just looks like one plant. This can come in handy if the plant looks too big once you've tried it out in your terrarium.


 Using a large spoon, or your fingers, dig a hole in the potting mix. Place your plant in the hole and gently pat the soil around it, making sure it is level and the roots are sufficiently covered.

Adding Decor


 
Once your plants are in place, you may want to create a trail of pebbles, some decorative moss, or even a little garden gnome. This is the part where you get creative, and make your terrarium unique to your taste.

Just ensure that your decorative items do not overwhelm the plants, or do not block them too much from growth or light.

Caring For Your Terrarium



Using a spray bottle or watering can, water your terrarium. You don’t want it to be soaking wet, just damp. You can also use the spray bottle to clean off any dirt that has clung to the glass sides of your container.

Never use glass cleaner on the inside of a planted terrarium, as it could make your plants sick and they may die. 

Caring for your terrarium is easy. Check every couple of weeks to see if your terrarium needs water. Feel the soil to see if it is dry and add water if it is.

Pull off any leaves that show signs of yellowing or damage and prune plants if they grow too large.

Don’t fertilize your terrarium because you don’t want to encourage growth. 

And last but not least, enjoy your terrarium! Place it any room where you need a fresh reminder of nature.