Yesterday, after a near mishap involving dead flowers and a glass vase, I started thinking about stylish/sustainable, cheap and safe ways to display bouquets at home.

Here’s what happened: I let a tall, square-shaped vase full of carnations sit out for too long. They weren’t exactly in full-on decay mode but it was high time to dump the water, toss the flowers, and refill the vase with new blooms. The minute I took the vase — sitting on an entryway table — over to my kitchen sink to dump the old H2O, the smell hit me. I’ve smelt lots of dead-flower-water before but this was like nothing I’d experienced before. My eyes immediately began to water, I gagged, and well, I briefly lost use of fine motor skills. The rancid stench was so bad (are carnations known for this?) I nearly dropped the heavy glass vase to the kitchen floor. Luckily, I regained my grip on the vase and was able to dump the offending water down the drain without yakking (close call, though).

Calamity averted, I thought about how dangerous glass vases can be for clumsy folks with sensitive noses. In fact, a good friend recently spent more than a couple of hours getting more than a couple of stitches in her foot after a flower arranging incident. I’ve featured a few green, non-glass vase options in the past but they erred on the pricey side. What about an eco-friendly vase that’s dirt cheap and easy to handle?

The Jill-able Fill Me Up Vase fits the bill perfectly. These reusable, flat-pack vases are made from recycled plastic and come in six cool designs (I’m digging the Damask). You just unfold, fill with water, insert flowers, and enjoy. They’re a great easy-to-store, kid- and klutz-safe alternative to clunky glass vases and add a particularly nice touch to patios and other outdoor living spaces where glass is a liability. And guess what? They cost $8 apiece — often less than the flowers themselves and way cheaper than a trip to the ER to remove shards of glass from one's foot after dead-flower-water-recoiling. 

Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.