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DECOR ADVICE: Petal power

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You can't really go wrong when it comes to flowers, be it for a table setting or as a gift sent to someone via a florist

EXPERT: Margot Shaw, Founder of Flower Magazine

Q I am seeing more tablescapes on Instagram and online using small vases . What do you think of using single blooms all over the table in small vases for a dinner party? Isn’t it likely they will tip over?

A I am fond of single blooms in small vases on tables for several reasons. One, it’s a simple design and easy to implement. Two, it allows for numerous colour and variety options that work with whatever palette you’re using. Three, low flowers allow for easier conversation. If you fill the small vases with water, almost to the top, they will not topple over, unless someone is dancing on the table.

Q I just moved into a new house and am trying to find the perfect plant or flower for my reading nook, which is between the entrance and our solarium. The room doesn’t have a window, but gets some light from the solarium. We painted one wall green as an accent colour (the other walls are light grey). Any ideas for great cat-friendly plants or flowers to add to the space?

A I have found green plants such as grape ivy do well indoors in areas without a lot of natural light. Cat-friendly flowers that can thrive in that environment would be roses, daisies, strawberry begonia plants, purple hearts, spider plant, some varieties of palms and, of course, catnip.

Q Is it okay to cut flowers and branches that overhang into alleys, or is that considered flower poaching? Sometimes alley gardening is the only way you can quickly put together a bouquet.

A An interesting dilemma. Some of my prettiest arrangements consist of greenery and branches from our garden, so I have not had to resort to “poaching” from alleys and other people’s property. It depends on the homeowner, and maybe even how far their property extends into the alley. Most would not mind a gentle cutting – just ask.

Q Are there specific occasions when you’d suggest sending flowers instead of a gift, and do you have any tips for ordering from a florist you are unfamiliar with?

A I think flowers are a beautiful gesture and speak of life and beauty. When ordering from a local florist, ask if they know the recipient and ask about their floral preference.

Q Is it still appropriate to have flowers sent to an office for a special occasion, or is this considered old-fashioned?

A Flowers are always appropriate. I’d suggest something smaller and understated that could be placed on a desk – maybe something without a heavy fragrance, which some might find distracting or unpleasant. Flowers are always right.

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