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With more and more people gifting flowers, business is picking up for florists

Striking colours, alluring fragrances and tender petals - flowers find a place in everyone's heart. We just can't do without them on special occasions. Flower arrangements and bouquets are aesthetic ways in which beautiful flowers can be used to add to the ambience of your home or office or express your affection. No wonder more and more flower boutiques are dotting the town. With the habit of gifting flowers catching on, florists seem to be doing good business. So much that there are several professionally run shops these days besides the roadside ones. The business is at its peek during festivals, marriage season, Valentine's Day and Raksha Bandhan, prompting the florists to have tie-ups with others in the flower business and courier companies to deliver bouquets across the country within 24 hours. You can even order bouquets online and deliver flowers to any part of the world. "Sometimes, flowers can convey feelings that cannot be expressed through words," says Chitra Balachandran, of Arcadia, Mission Street. "It just started as a hobby, but when people liked my arrangements and wanted me to make bouquets I thought of entering the flower business full time. And for the past 11 years I have been into it." She gets the flowers from Bangalore. The flowers meant for bouquets are normally picked early in the morning before they start to bloom. "While arranging, colour combination and imagination matter a lot. We also keep in mind the customers' liking," she says. The art of flower arrangement first originated centuries ago in Greece and Rome. The flowers commonly used for arrangements are oriental lilies, pink sapphires, tulips, orchids, cypress, palm leaves, bird of paradise and asparagus. Orchids, which are long lasting and come in many colours, are the hot favourites these days. Green fillers are used to enhance the beauty of the arrangement. Of all the occasions where flowers are used the most, weddings top the list. In fact, bridal make up isn't complete without flowers. "Jasmines are still the favourite when it comes to decorating the bride's hair. Today most floral arrangements in the wedding halls are done based on themes," says Jerlin Calingarayar of Jase Beauty Clinic, Mission Street. If you want your bouquet to stay fresh for a week or more, remove the plastic sheet cover and put the flowers in a vase with water (not too much) and keep in a cool place like inside an air-conditioned room. Change the water everyday. Add a bit of sugar or a small piece of charcoal or an aspirin tablet to keep the water clear and prevent bacteria. Trim the stems on a daily basis and remove the leaves from the stems. To make an attractive bouquet, floral foam, plastic container, contrasting flowers (not more than two or three colours), cellophane, chart paper, white tape, colour ribbons and thin wire are needed. The flowers should be dipped in water for a few minutes before arranging and the stem should be cut at a slant to avoid drooping. Use your imagination and arrange them. And your gift is ready!SINDHU. C. S., KALAIARASI. K & SHEJINA SREENIVAS

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