By Peyton Roberts
When I first moved to Guam, one of the simple pleasures I missed was being able to buy fresh flowers at the grocery store. Sure, there are florists in town, many of whom put some lovely bouquets together. But I missed having a rainbow selection of daisies and roses and hydrangeas and lilies to add a little life and energy to our dinner table for just a few extra bucks. Unfortunately, these traditional flowers didn’t look all that fresh at the stores I went to here. The ones I bought didn’t stay pretty very long, and I always felt like I paid way too much.
The ironic thing, of course, is that Guam is covered in beautiful, tropical flowers all year long. And better still, since it’s a jungle out there, everything just keeps on growing. I quickly discovered that the plants and flowers surrounding my very own house could combine to make a, dare I say, stunning arrangement. Playing around with the different varieties in my neighborhood, I came to learn which plants make a quick appearance (like hibiscus flowers) versus those that stay fresh and colorful for a full week (like these fantastic red flowers that are on bushes everywhere… I have no idea what they are called, but they last forever!).
I also learned which of the herbs from our herb jungle do double duty in both enduring once clipped and adding a lovely aroma to our countertops. Branches of oregano and dill are fabulous bouquet greenery with the added bonus of making our kitchen smell like Italy! And there’s no need to hesitate in taking as many clippings as we please. The more we prune, the faster and fuller everything tends to grow, thanks of course to the jungle factor.
Well deserving of its own spotlight is plumeria, which I would like to highlight as God’s gift to the tropics. Not only does it grow neatly packaged in small bouquet-like arrangements (all the display work is done!), it smells amazing, stays fresh for days, and has a modern crispness about it that looks great in any space.
A colorful, homemade bouquet is a great addition to your Mother’s Day celebration. It also makes an easy (and free!) hostess gift for any dinner invitation. A little burst of island beauty, straight from nature, arranged with love…. the perfect addition to any meal, and no recipe needed!
Flower Arranging Tips
- When preparing stems, remove any leaves that will fall below the waterline in the vase. This creates more room for stems and will make your bouquet last longer.
- Arrange flowers in odd numbers.It’s somehow more visually pleasing.
- Refresh the water in your flower’s vase at least every other day.
Peyton Roberts is a military spouse who moved to Guam from the States in July 2010. She started her blog, Peyt’s Island, as a way to keep friends and family informed about what island life is like. Over time, that space transformed into a forum for writing about her experiences discovering Guam’s beauty, and more recently its flavors. Peyton loves all Guam adventures, whether land or sea, and has a passion for sharing ideas about incorporating local produce into regular family cooking. At the Fresh Factor, Peyton shares recipes, interviews, and information about all things fresh on Guam.