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Flowers are grown, given, and received for so many holidays and occasions; Besides Valentine’s Day, there are graduations and weddings, Mother’s Day, or generally being romantic or thoughtful any day. Most flower bouquets are cut flowers, which means after a week or so, you watch your beautiful bouquet start to wither and brown.
The next time you receive flowers from a special someone, they don’t have to go to waste. Instead of dumping them unceremoniously in the garbage or compost, think again. Preserve them with a little know-how or donate them to bring cheer to others.
Making potpourri is a great way to reuse your flowers and you’ll be surprised at how easy it is. Don’t wait too long until your flowers are dry and crusty- after your flowers have bloomed and they are fully opened, but before they are wilting, is the ideal time to make them into potpourri. You just need a fixative and some essential oils of your choosing. Roses hold their color and scent particularly well, and are used often as a base for potpourri.
That sweet floral scent will be preserved, and you’ll have a keepsake from your dried flowers waiting for you in any room you choose to put it. Adding the potpourri into a small sachet for use in one of your dresser drawers will pleasantly perk up your clothes. Also add the petals into soap or candles if you make those.
Recycling Programs in Full Bloom
The next time you arrange an event with flowers, consider what will happen to your beautiful centerpieces after the guests go home. What if your extra flowers could brighten someone’s day?
The floral and event design studio TableArt, located near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, offers a unique centerpiece recycling program. Choosing their Green Heart service allows you to select where your flowers can be repurposed and delivered. The day after your event, they will gladly take the leftover flowers and deliver them to the friend, family member or organization of your choice.
If you live in Los Angeles or New York, arrange a donation of your flowers to be delivered to brighten up the spaces of local hospices or nursing homes, as inspired by the (now closed) nonprofit Flower Power Foundation.
In Raleigh, North Carolina, a caring group of volunteers operate The Flower Shuttle, where every week they visit community events, florists and grocery stores to collect flowers that are about to be thrown out. The flowers are then recycled into floral arrangements and donated to hospitals, nursing homes and Meals on Wheels.
Look around for organizations like The Flower Shuttle that may be in your community, or get in touch with a hospital or nursing home directly to see if they would be able to use your flowers. If you have flowers in your own garden at home, you know how much time, water and resources go into growing them. Make sure no flowers go to waste, when they could bring smiles instead.