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How to arrange your Valentine's flowers

| Sunday, Feb. 10, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Winter would be so blah without Valentine's Day to brighten it with cards and candy.

Flowers take it to the next level of loving thoughtfulness.

For a different look this Valentine's Day, try a little whimsy with some fresh-cut tulips — also, roses, mums, daffodils, lilies or whatever you fancy — you pick up and arrange at home.

In more temperate areas, you could even search your garden for winter-blooming flowers like Lenten rose, camellias and daphne. Budding branches, as well as stems from red-twig dogwood and curly willow, can be mixed in with flowers.

Here are self-arranging ideas from iBulb, a nonprofit association that promotes the use of bulbs indoors and outdoors; uk.ibulb.org.

Nestle some flowers. The goal is to make a double-walled vase. Select two clear glass vases (both about 8 inches tall), so that one fits within the other and leaves a gap of at least 1 to 1 12 inches. Fill the smaller vase one-third full with water and place inside larger vase. Fill the gap between the vases with candy, soaps or other small goodies. Remove the leaves and trim flower stems to 9 inches, gather together and place inside smaller vase.

Trim a jar. A plain Mason jar looks country cute with a bit of white ball-fringe, lace or rickrack glued just below the jar lip. Also try brush, beaded or tassel trim from a local fabric store or online trim retailer.

Color some water. Food coloring turns a clear vase into a colorful vessel. Matching blooms and water color deliver a passionate punch.

Steady your bouquet. Use seashells or sea glass to stabilize a short bunch of tulips - or other cut flowers. Fill vase two-thirds full with shells. Band tulips with florist tape and cut stems to 3 inches long. Place bouquet on top of shells, and carefully fill in remaining area around bouquet with shells. Gently fill the vase with water.

Say it simply. A single forced tulip, daffodil, rose or whatever your choice flower is wedged inside a wire whisk for the elegant look of a single-stemmed beauty that says “I love you.”

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