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If you’re like me, building even just one bouquet can take on the upwards of a half an hour, trying to piece together flowers that complement one another, constantly adding and subtracting for just the right look. However, after recently taking a local cut flower workshop, I realize it actually is possibly to build several bouquets, even enough to take to market, within a much more reasonable time. In fact, treating your bouquets like any other end-product, there is a clear and simple recipe for constructing the most beautiful market arrangements without stumbling over aesthetics as each new flower is added to the bundle. Try this “recipe” to start building your best bouquets yet!

All bouquets should have the following ingredients. It’s important to note that these ingredients should be added to the bouquet in the sequential order as well.


Focal flowers are the largest, most eye-catching flowers in the bouquet. Choose just one focal, adding in one stem for a small bouquet or two stems for a large bouquet. Some popular focals include sunflowers, zinnias, dahlias, and ranunculus.


Spikes should be added just after the focals. Spikes get their name simply from the actual shape of the flowers. Spike flowers are often quite colorful, adding a vertical dimension to the bouquet and attracting onlookers. Experiment with snapdragons, stock, lupine, or foxgloves to add this necessary element to your bouquets. Three stems often suffice; however, larger bouquets might have five spike stems inside.


Disks are flowers that are similar to focal flowers but are often smaller in size and take on a nice rounded shape. Disks are essentially bouquet bulk builders, filling in empty space and increasing the lushness of the bouquet. Common disks include perennial rudbeckia, asters, crested cockscomb, and cosmos. Try 3-5 disk stems for your bouquet.


All bouquets have filler–the green foliage that adds life and texture to the bouquet. Fillers can also act as a border for the bouquet, offering more of a color “pop” with the accented green. Traditional fillers include amaranth, basil, raspberry, or apple mint, just to name a few! Here you’ll need about 3-5 stems to complete your bouquet.


Adding flowers that have an airy-like quality are attractive with the added element of movement and lightness. Bachelor buttons, Chinese forget-me-nots, scabiosa, some grasses, and even poppy pods are an excellent place to start! Adding this final element to your bouquet will certainly boost your market appeal. Just 2-3 stems per bouquet should do the trick!

Prepare yourself by laying each of the flower types into its own pile in sequential order from focals through air elements. Just like an assembly line, starting with your focal, add the allotted number of stems to your bouquet until to the end, gently turning the bouquet as your move down the line. Try not to get too caught up in what it looks like during the process as this will slow your productivity! Enjoy the surprise of the beauty of this recipe will naturally create. Tie off the stems with a rubber band, chop the ends of the stems, and package in a nice floral sleeve. With this process, you’ll never spend more than an hour on your entire market share of bouquets!

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The Best Farm Animals to Keep In the City

If you’ve ever visited the countryside, you know the joy of having animals on the farm that you can take care of. In the city, you’ll never see a cow except for on a milk carton and the same applies to other farm animals. The obvious reason for this is that larger breeds of farm animals need a specific environment to live in; so the city’s pollution and noise are a big no-no. Luckily, you can keep a few kinds of farm animals at your city home. While it does depend on your area’s jurisdiction, these animals pose the least problems.


I’ve already written about the basics of how you can raise chickens from chicks and then move them into a coop. Chickens are also very quiet (not talking about roosters!) so you won’t get in trouble with the neighbors either. Not only will you be raising home-bred chickens that taste better, you’ll also get fresh eggs at home. You can choose to sell these products to your neighbors or consume them yourself. Moreover, they also provide high-quality manure that works well as fertilizer or an addition to compost. You can choose from a variety of breeds, based on whether you’re raising them for the eggs or meat.


For city dwellers, quail are the best farm animal to keep if you have minimal space. Though they mature a little slowly, you will find that they’re much more fun to keep than chickens. When 24 weeks old, quail begin to lay eggs so if you want to grow some chicks, you’ll require an incubator. While the bird itself tastes delicious, their eggs are too; you can raise a fine amount selling quail eggs.


If you can handle their sometimes-aggressive attitude and loud quacking, I recommend that you raise ducks. Now, most people don’t consider duck meat and eggs to be a delicacy, but they are expensive from their ordinary chicken-based counterparts.

Therefore, whether you have a taste for duck eggs, want to make some extra money on the side, or simply think ducks are adorable; you have your answer. You’ll find that a few rare species can even lay almost as many eggs as a chicken, which would be a score. You’ll need more space for these ducks, not to mention a small pool, but other than that you’ll be fine.

Pygmy Goats

Enough about the birds, you want a herd, don’t you? Pygmy goats aren’t just your ordinary petting zoo animal, but they make great urban farm companions as well. Although they don’t serve as a large source of meat and milk, you can’t underestimate certain breeds like Nigerian Dwarfs.

If you’re interested in drinking fresh organic milk, you’ll be happy to know that they can produce up to a liter of milk every day, as long as you feed them good quality produce. However, if you are not interested in keeping them for their meat, there is always the option of having them as pets that produce manure that is rich in nitrogen.

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