I fancy myself as a bit of an amateur florist and nothing makes me happier than a house that’s overflowing with flowers, but the price of fresh blooms in Singapore is, quite frankly, eye-watering, so I’ve had to get a bit creative to feed my habit. Here are my top tips to get the abundant look (think PS Cafe’s amazing displays!) without splashing too much cash:
1. Know where to shop
The mecca for fresh flowers in Singapore is on Thomson Road at Far East Orchid (part of Far East Flora, and right next door). Nope, not the garden centre, but Fresh FlowersCentre (or The Cold Room as my kids call it) where those in the know pick up flowers in bulk. Bag yourself a trolley and be prepared to be wowed by what’s on offer, from imported tulips in every colour, to peonies, roses, hydrangeas and much, much more. The side benefit is that on a hot day (um, every day?), walking inside the chiller is deeply, deeply wonderful. A real treat and you’ll never be short of willing little volunteers to accompany you!
2. Shop local
While I go gaga over the European flowers, I know that paying $40 for a bunch of peonies that will quite likely wilt quickly in our soaring temperatures is madness (or at the very least an indulgence), so I force my gaze away from my darling anemones and trot quick-sharp over to the tropical flora section, which at the Fresh Flower Centre is kept outside the main chilled area. You can pick up heliconias, birds of paradise, anthurium (if you like them – they’re on my most detested list personally), oncidium and much, much more for around $10 a bunch or a couple of bucks a stem. A relative bargain! You can also grab sunflowers in this section when they’re around.
3. Think big
Tropical flowers also tend to be, well, big, so in the Fresh Flower Centre, head to their vase section and pick up a really tall glass vase. Making one big arrangement rather than a few small ones and popping it somewhere central in your home will make more of an impact.
4. Foliage is your friend
Once you’ve picked your florals, it’s time to choose your leafy greens — get creative and mix up shades and types, choosing some of the enormous varieties that abound in the tropics. I like to mix variegated leaves with shiny dark green ones, and leafy stems with pointy vertical shooters. The world’s your oyster!
5. Get sneaky
My biggest tip is that you don’t need to replace all your flowers each week. I’ve saved probably literally hundreds of dollars by using the same lucky bamboo (Draceana canderiana if we’re being fancy) as the middle of my arrangements for about 6 months now to give some bulk, and then surrounding it with blooms and leaves. Get the straight variety, keep it as one connected unit and change the water regularly and it will last and last.
Fresh Flowers by Far East Orchid, 557 Thomson Road, Singapore 298181, (+65) 6251 5151, www.fareastorchid.com