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Buy potted plants in bloom, use then as bouquets, then plan them out.

Buy potted plants in bloom, use them as bouquets, then plant them out For double duty from your bouquet budget, buy potted plants in bloom to stuff into a dressy container for a special occasion. When the occasion is over, you have color in the garden for many weeks more. Use temporary containers for 3 to 5 days indoors or 7 to 10 days outdoors. Then move plants into roomier quarters outdoors to develop full size and bloom. The cost of a living bouquet can be higher than for cut flowers, but you'll enjoy the living plants long after cut flowers have become compost.

Where to begin First, choose a suitable container. To get a plant count, pack the container with nursery pots the size you expect to buy. The container should be exactly as tall as the nursery pot or only slightly taller; its diameter should be such that you're not left with unfillable gaps only half a pot wide. For a large container, a combination of gallon cans filled out with 4-inch pots can work well. For the best return on your money, buy plants that have a long bloom season ahead or that always have handsome foliage. Near the coast, marguerites and felicia are a good buy; inland, they may not last a month. Some heat-tolerant choices are coreopsis, Oenothera berlandieri, penstemon, statice (Limonium perezii), and `Moonshine' yarrow, in addition to those in our photographs. Late-blooming cymbidiums and many orchids can last a month in a cool place. Foliage plants such as small-leafed ivy and silvery dusty miller help bind arrangements together.

Finishing touches Water plants thoroughly before arranging; then check for dryness every other day. To allow watering without rearranging plants, you can line a basket with plastic or foil. But to be safe, move the container to a sink or waterproof surface before watering. Dry green moss (the kind used to line hanging baskets) can cover small gaps, slightly exposed pot rims, and any bare plant bases.

PHOTO : For compact tabletop bouquets that don't interfere with conversation or passing food, tuck

PHOTO : 3- to 4-inch pots into a low basket. Check basket for height and fit before buying. This

PHOTO : one holds two each of variegated ivy and white campanula

PHOTO : For instant fullness, stuff gallon-size flowering perennials into a patio tub; later,

PHOTO : plant only half to two-thirds of them to allow room for growth. This combination is blue

PHOTO : and white Salvia farinacea

PHOTO : Quick cover-up for an unattractive container: wrap it in a circle or square of fabric; tie

PHOTO : with ribbon
COPYRIGHT 1988 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1988 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Date:Jun 1, 1988
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