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  • Writer's pictureKate

Activity of the day: Arrange flowers, grasses, seedheads and leaves

What’s not to like about having bunches of flowers which have come from your local area in the house? Unless you have hayfever, of course…

This is a great way to learn to identify common plants if you're out and about- just google a description of the plant and you'll usually be able to find out what it is and if it's OK to pick it. It's also a great activity for children out on a walk- and something you'll actually be happy for them to bring into the house to display!

Gathering flowers, grasses and leaf stems from your garden, allotment or local area can be an eco-friendly alternative to buying flowers from a shop, where they will often have been transported long distances- in some cases all the way from Africa or South America- and grown using lots of fertilizer, pesticides and water. And it's free.

Even better, giving flowers you’ve gathered yourself as a gift makes the present even more thoughtful and you can choose plants which you think the recipient will particularly like.

To make sure your plant gathering is good for the environment rather than causing problems, never pick wild flowers growing out of the ground unless you’re certain what they are and that picking them isn’t going to cause damage– leave woodland flowers such as bluebells and primroses and hedgerow flowers alone unless you know they are common and OK to pick. When picking flowers from bushes or trees make sure you leave some to fruit for the insects and birds – and of course, never pick plants from somebody else’ garden without permission!

Once you’ve picked flowers, grasses or leaves, you can put them in purpose-made vases, jam jars, cups or any other container you can find. Large flowers that have broken off with little stem (like big roses or peonies) look lovely in a bowl of water or a big mug.

If the things you’ve picked are quite juicy plants, they will wilt quickly – put water in their container with a teaspoon full of sugar and keep it topped up. Change the water if it starts to look green or goes smelly.

If you’d like the plants to dry and last for longer- for example with grass seed head stems or many herbs and “dry” feeling flowers, don’t pack them into the container too tightly and don’t put any water in- then they’ll dry out without rotting and you can either keep them as a dried display, use the herbs in cooking or make them into other artworks or craft projects.

Once flowers have wilted or got dusty and faded, they’re completely eco-friendly to dispose of- simply put into your compost bin or brown bin (assuming you’re in Derby) for them to be made into more soil, to grow more flowers!

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