Pickling Paperwhites

Armed with a few narcissus bulbs and a bottle of gin, researchers at Cornell University's Flower Bulb Research Program proved a few years ago that adding alcohol (ethanol) to the water will stunt the growth of stems but not the blooms of paperwhites. Stems will be approximately one third shorter, preventing them from getting heavy and flopping over. Here's the technique: Plant bulbs in a pot of stones or gravel. Add water to a level that just reaches the bottom of the bulbs (don't drown them -- they'll rot). After about a week, when the stem reaches a height of 2 inches, pour off the water and replace it with a mixture of hard liquor and water, adding 1 part liquor to 7 parts water. This wil

Ariana Smeraldo of Lily Lodge

This is my latest in our series of short interviews with local floral designers. In this edition, I spoke with Ariana Smeraldo of Lily Lodge at 644 North Robertson Blvd. HPGC: How did you become interested in the flowers and creating flower arrangements? After many years in the fashion industry, and sending many failed arrangements to various celebrities, editors and writers, I noticed a gap in the market. HPGC: What was your first foray in the flower business? A Stella McCartney party at the Chateau Marmont, I had no idea what I was doing. HPGC: What is your signature style - if there is one how would you describe? Wild, yet contained, but not contrived. I design arrangements to mimic the

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