Flower Styling

Flower Styling

Flower Styling

Who does not love flowers? From those smiling in the gardens to digital bouquets on social media, everyone beams with one glimpse of a flower.

As they say, “The earth laughs in its flowers”. Though every growth is special to a gardener’s heart, nothing beats the joy unfurling blooms. Whether it’s an old splashy bougainvillea blooming in your backyard, a tiny seasonal pansy showing up its lion face or the roadside grandeur of the golden shower, the joy of flowering is always special.

Though flowers are the most beautiful of nature’s creation and look attractive wherever and however they grow, here are a few planting styles that will enhance the beauty of your garden.

Go Bold in a Pot

Space is a constraint with most of us living in urban areas. Nevertheless don’t forget that a single bold and big flower arrangement can be a perfect eye stopper in any space, utilizing next-gen hydroponic techniques. A single bowl of tulips can make a statement in any living room or a big pot of Chrysanthemums can magically elevate an old rustic window. So never feel challenged to grow your favourite varieties of flowers even in the most limited space. And guess what? Don’t be disheartened if you can’t even accommodate that one extra pot. Just go ahead and spruce up an any existing perennial pot with a complimenting flower bed at the base. Trailing nasturtium or asylum under any potted plant can look as stunning as ground covers under a huge tree.

Go Grand with Repetition

Consistency or repetition always makes us comfortable. Be it in beds or planters, many of the same variety certainly looks more appealing. So if you have the liberty of space, always plant your seasonal flowers in numbers. Plant a full bed of dianthus or a row of marigold pots to create some magic in spring.

Flower Shapes

Shapes and forms are an integral part of all design forms.  Create a swirl, an arch or any interesting shape with flowers and they will undoubtedly stand out in your garden. And if you don’t believe me, do witness the spectacular show of floral art at Miracle Garden, Dubai, a world famous spot for flower lovers. The three dimensional flower formations will simply blow your mind.

Play with Colour

Planting similar hues and colours create harmony while complimentary colours exhibit excitement. Complimenting red and white anthuriums in a bowl can brighten up your coffee table conversations while several hues of pink tulips are infinitely serene.

And surprisingly, a mix of random colours may sound unusual but that’s what I call, nature’s beauty in its chaos. Plan a mixed riot of dahlias in organised beds or find inspiration in wild flowers adorning natural landscapes in the wild.

Step Setups

Step formation is one of the most spontaneous styles that play on natural height of the plants. From hollyhocks to ice flower, plant seasonals according to plant height in order to create a well organised look and visibility to all. And that’s surely one trick you can never go wrong with.

Line your Pathways

Plantation alongside pathways is very common in garden setups and adding florals can take it to the next level. From hydrangea or ixora bushes to phlox or poppies along a passage sound very inviting and lead your way along a path.

Flowers on your Entryway

Some of us who do not have the luxury of a having a garden space can still manage some floral stimulation on their entryway. A single climber falling above your main door not only creates a welcoming impression but also adds a special feature to your building elevation. Be it the exotic wisteria or the common bougainvillea, the trailing floral can surely be styled like a masterpiece. Alternately, a set of classy flower pots at the entry can also be so inviting

Hang a Flower Garden

Scarcity of floor space makes us look up to the ceilings, walls or grills. So go ahead hang up your flower dreams. Look for a boring wall, hook some baskets from your pergola or hang a few planters on the side grills to enjoy the flowers of the season.

Where there is a will there is a way and those who love flowers, ‘no’ is a word they never say. And whatever way you plan your garden, flowers are surely a messenger of joy, positivity and beauty of life.

Sip Your Blooms

Sip Your Blooms

Sip Your Blooms

Flowers in your garden are surely a visual delight, but sipping the vivid hues and the aromatic experience in floral teas is the epitome of royal enchantment. Yes you heard that right. Many of your favourite flowers growing in the garden can be enjoyed as flower teas. The mystical brews not only evoke your senses but each has a load of health benefits too.

Flower teas have an ancient history in Ayurveda as well as Traditional Chinese medicine. They have been popular for medicinal and therapeutic qualities since ages. A variety of flowers can be made into exotic blends either by steeping fresh or dry flowers with or without herbs that are technically called ‘tisane’ or by adding flowers to black or green tea. You may also pair them with herbs and spices or wear the mixologist’s hat and create your favourite drinks. And its always stylish to make floral ice cubes to add that wow factor to your party tables. No matter how you want to enjoy these floral quenchers, its always safer to collect disease and pesticide free flowers from your garden though dry flowers and dry powders are available in stores. Adding to your common list of rose, hibiscus or chamomile, here are a few more unique flower teas to sip for good health and relaxation.

Chrysanthemum

Originally from Asia and Europe, an excellent anti inflammatory flower, chrysanthemum is known for its cooling and calming effect. The infusion is known to regulate cortisol insomnia and anxiety. It’s high concentration of magnesium, potassium, calcium and vitamins strengthen the immune system. A little note of caution for those who are allergic to chrysanthemum should avoid this tea. 

Sunflower

The yellow radiant petals, the grainy seeds, the gigantic leaves, every part of the sunflower plant is edible! These beautiful rays of sunshine not only look gorgeous but are also delicious and nutty! They are usually steeped as regular herbal tea or as a blend with black tea. Sunflower tea has been used in Iranian and Chinese medicine to heal wounds, lower blood pressure and strengthen the stomach.

Marigold

The amazing golden beauty has always been a symbol of festivity and rituals in India for its endless qualities. With its peculiar aroma, marigold fills up every home with a celebrative energy and is woven into our everyday lives. Just steep a tea with petals alone or make a blend with green tea, lemon grass or mint leaves. You may add a sweet note with a dollop of honey or agave syrup and even enjoy it as ice tea. Marigolds are known to reduce inflamation, menstrual cramps, nausea, ulcers and acne. The tea is a a perfect detox drink too. 

Butterfly Pea Flower

The trending blue pea flower, coming called Aparjita in India is extremely popular in ancient medicine as well in food and festivities. Today this vibrant blue magic potion is a favorite in cocktails, teas, desserts and even cosmetic products. According to Ayurveda, it’s a great cooler and is good for people with a ‘Pitta’ constitution. It’s anti fungal and antibacterial properties make it a good idea to enjoy it as tea or drink. You may add a kick of mint and lemon to perk it up as a summer drink or even steep it in gin to say cheers.

Dandelion

Often dismissed as a garden weed that springs up anywhere and everywhere, dandelion flowers, leaves and roots  are said to have a lot of health benefits. It’s one of those plants that has been valued in both eastern and western traditional medicine. Herbal teas containing dandelion are often used to manage blood sugar, improve immune function, reduce inflammation, promote heart and liver health. The best time to sip this delicate and sweet floral tea is in the morning. The only caution here is moderation so not recommended to drink everyday.

Pomegranate Flower

For those of us who have a pomegranate tree in the garden are familiar with its gorgeous blooms. And the good news is that leaves, flowers and even fruit peel of pomegranate can be brewed into a tea. The flower tea has a tart and mildly bitter taste but surprisingly the leaves simmer a strong sweet flavour, very similar to pandan leaves! Pomegranate flower tea is the perfect drink for healthy skin and complexion and hence delays aging. It’s anti bacterial and anti viral properties makes it one more mild tea for good health. So brew a cup for yourself when you need a mood lift or add it to your mocktails and cocktails for those sparkling red hues in your glass. 

Disclaimer: Information above is not by a medical expert. If you are suffering from an illness, please consult the doctor before consumption.

Rose Through the Lens of Food

Rose Through the Lens of Food

Rose Through the Lens of Food

The rose bush outside my window was in full spring mode and I just could not resist to quickly steep my favourite rose tea. As the subtle floral flavours lingered on my lips, I wondered the eternal words by Shakespeare, “a rose by any other name would smell as sweet”.

Everyone’s delight, an expression of love, a mark of royalty, rose is one of the oldest and most loved flower known to the world. Its mesmerizing beauty has inspired artists, writers, poets, photographers, and even chefs for centuries. Once known as wild flower,  a florist’s favourite all around the globe, today it is the most popular commercial crop for its wide use in food, medicine and personal care.

A Cultural Saga from Persia

The rose has actually travelled the world from Persia to India and then towards Europe. It’s not only seen as an exotic ingredient, but a vital link between cultures and countries in many delectable manners. Rose came to the Indian soil with the Mughals. Rose flavour compliments well with Indian spices and hence enhances the flavor of biryanis, meat dishes and beverages like kahwa, thandai, lassi and sherbet.

Cultural Connect

Working in kitchens of India and UAE, it dawned on me how much different cultures share in common. From signature dishes to heart warming desserts one key ingredient that’s intertwined deeply between Indian and Middle Eastern cuisine is the beloved rose. Gulkand, the most popular preserve made from rose petals is used in popular Indian sweets like laddoo, shrikandh, phirni, rabri, modak, falooda, barfi, kulfi, gujiya and even halwa. And of course Mathura peda, kheer, moti pak and many other sweets are often garnished with rose petals.

The delicate flower delivers a distinct floral hint that is an indispensable flavour of many Arabic dishes. It adds a captivating sensory experience to desserts like umali, baklava, kanafeh, qatayef, muhalabieh and goes perfectly in chicken delicacies too.

In Arabic culture rose water around dining tables during iftaar is a ritual.

Roses on the Chef’s Table

Though all roses are considered edible, my personal favourite is the most widely used Damask (Rosa Damascena) which tops it’s preference in culinary use. Closely related variety, the Indian Rose (Rosa Indica) is more popular in India.