Bouquet Garni

I’m not talking about herbs today, but about beautiful things that lift up your soul. This sounds quite hifalutin, but I think it’s important to surround yourself with beauty, whether that’s posters that bring back memories, paintings that talked to you and that you were lucky enough to be able to afford, or just something you picked up on a walk, or along the beach (and I’m not talking about your life partner). On a cautionary note; a visit to the museum is not a good way to get started on a collection, unless you’re a robber. Of course one of the most cost efficient ways of acquiring beauty is by buying flowers or plants. Buy good quality, take good care of them and even cut flowers can give you joy for a few weeks.

After saying this, you won’t find it surprising that one of the things Eddie and I really missed during the lock-down were flowers. In fact we were so desperate for something green that we went and collected assorted big leaves and just used those in vases. It did the trick, but was really no replacement for flowers.
You can spend a fortune on flowers, but you can also buy some simple things which will give you much pleasure without leaving you bankrupt. I went to the flower wholesale shop on Jalan Tun H.S Lee and picked up a big bunch of lilies, a bunch of cheap roses and some green bushy stuff for filler. I honestly thought that at RM24 a bundle, the roses would be dead within a day. Oh me of little faith!

I actually got four floral arrangements out of the stuff I bought. I wouldn’t say that they are marvellous, I’m not exactly an expert florist, but they’re not bad, right?
Eddie is the expert when it comes flowers, so I followed his advice and stripped most of the leaves off the bottom of the stalks, cut the bottom on the bias and made sure they were all properly in the water. But I had to keep some of the leaves at the top because I like that more natural look.

This is my little bouquet on my work table, where I am currently sitting and typing. I light a candle pretty much at any time of the day, the cat sits here at my feet and when I get stuck with work, I contemplate the flowers. Or I get myself a gin and tonic. If it’s after 5pm, that is.

Here is the leftover green stuff. I love this vase, but it’s really porous, so I’m using the glass half of our Boston shaker inside, just to keep the stalks fresh. These plants are great, because you can also just let them dry up and they will still be very decorative. At least that’s what Eddie says. I haven’t tried it yet.

Then there are all the orchids Eddie keeps buying. They really are the best value for money. We buy a load and for some reason, they last for months in our flat. The ones you see below are three months old.


One week later and the flowers are by now dead. Except for one. This single white rose has been holding on, so I’ve honoured her tenacity and included her in the new bouquet. Here she sits, bravely holding on and I find her fading beauty quite attractive despite the slight stoop and the frayed edges.

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