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Pick the Best Buds
There’s more to buying flowers than snatching up the nearest bodega bouquet. Join Kevin Sharkey, design expert and flower whisperer, on a visit to New York City’s extraordinary flower markets. Watch him select blooms for a story in Martha Stewart Living’s May 2014 issue, and get his tips for making the most of your own flower-shopping excursions.
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"Think ahead about color and quantity to avoid sensory overload. The Dutch Flower Line, shown here, is massive, but it's arranged by color, which makes it manageable with a plan. You want a sketch, not a list, so you can remain open to what's fresh and beautiful that day."
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Bright Timing“Go first thing in the morning, if possible, but keep in mind that many flowers will change shape and color over a day or more. Do your research before you go -- hyacinths, for instance, will stay tight and closed if you buy them too immature.”Photography: Mike Krautter
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“My all-time favorite flower is a carnation, but time of year makes a huge difference. In early spring, I love forsythia and tulips; in late spring, peonies get my vote. Flowers are like produce -- always better in season. Case in point: the ranunculus shown here.”
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“Greenery can take your arrangement to the next level. Geranium leaves and staghorn ferns are two of my go-tos.”
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Sniff Out the Best
“Shopping for flowers is not just a visual exercise. The scent of your bouquet is as important as the look, so don't be shy. What a luxury to find something that’s both fragrant and pretty!”
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“Strategize when buying flowers for an event. In a perfect world, you’d buy them two days ahead -- one to soak up the water and condition, and one to settle into their arrangement. You can make any tweaks day-of, but jumping on the prep work will help them look their best.”
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Front and Center
“Put flowers where you can enjoy them. The dining room might seem like an obvious choice, but if you never eat there, what’s the point? You’d be better off displaying them on your bedside table or bureau. I like to put a single flower by my bathroom sink. It’s a cheerful pick-me-up that I’m guaranteed to see daily.”
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"Developing your own taste will take time, and what you think you love now will likely evolve. Don't let choice become prohibitive! Go for what pleases you, and you won't go wrong."
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