Saturday 3 December 2016

Top tips for festive displays from leading Irish florist Joeanna Caffrey

Published 25/11/2016 | 10:57

Joeanna Caffrey at her florists at Avoca Rathcoole.
Joeanna Caffrey at her florists at Avoca Rathcoole.

Christmas is the one time of the year when we fill our home with flowers so Mistletoe asked leading florist, Joeanna Caffrey, famous for her wedding and occasion flowers, to share some festive tips.

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Joeanna, left her marketing management career to follow her dream of working with flowers,  and trained in London. She describes her aesthetic as contemporary, but she will always try and bring the outside in. Joeanna recently opened a second space at Avoca Kilmacanogoue, Co. Wicklow, joining her existing store at Avoca Rathcoole.

When to buy?

It depends on what you’re buying. If you’re buying an arrangement with greenery and berries, and the room it will be in is cool, then ten days before. If it’s warm, then a week before. With flowers I suggest buying them just a couple of days before Christmas if you want them to last to New Year as well.

Looking after them

Keep the water clean and change it every two or three days Also, cut the end of the stems diagonally every two to three days, taking off half an inch to an inch. With hard stems, like berries, split them up the middle, and the same with hydrangeas, which love water.

Feeding them

Always use flower food and if you don’t have any, put a small amount of sugar in, which works just as well. Bear in mind, it does help them develop quicker however.

Cleaning vases

A small bit of bleach mixed with some water is very good to take off flower grime and a toilet style brush is great for cleaning big vases. Putting the tiniest bit of bleach into the water – but only the smallest amount – will keep the water cleaner for longer.

Displaying them

I love mix and match, especially if you mix old china – little teacups and teapots are beautiful to use for flowers. If you want a more contemporary look, you could go for a similar style of vase but maybe in different sizes, all glass or silver, in cubes or fishbowls the length of a table.

Gifting

I’d recommend a berry plant, such as an ilex because everybody loves berries and berry plants just need a bit of watering and not a lot of care. Poinsettias are great and they’re readily available. I don’t stock them in abundance but I do stock them in different colours – pale pink and cream – that you don’t often see. They do not like the cold so don’t put them outside.

See joeannacaffrey.ie for more information.

Mistletoe Magazine is free with Friday's Irish Independent and Herald

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