So your garden is in full bloom, wouldn’t it be nice to bring a fresh bouquet into the house or to a friend? Here are some tips for cutting and prolonging your garden blooms.
When to cut: When I first started researching this topic, “when to cut” meant morning, noon or night (morning is best). But I discovered that more importantly it is when the flower is at the right stage to get the longest bloom. Different flowers are cut at different stages; for instance roses should be cut at bud stage or when the first petal or two unfurl. Snapdragons and gladiolus are best when half of the flowers on the stem are open. Daisies, zinnias, cosmos and coneflowers should be cut when the petals are fully opened but the centers are still firm and have not gone to seed. Charts and guides are available in books and on websites.
Temperature:Immediately plunge stems into cold water after cutting. Keep a clean container nearby exclusively for that purpose and carry it out to the garden with you. According to experts the cold water slows dehydration and decay prolonging the bloom. If you think about it your florist keeps their cut flowers in a cooler before and after arranging them. Giving your flowers a few hours in a cool environment before arranging them will help keep your bouquet fresher longer. The one exception to the cool rule is astilbes. They will last longer if placed in hot water first.
Keep it Clean:Bacteria will plug stems and keep them from getting water. Make sure pruners, containers, and vases are kept clean. Floral preservative, purchased from your florist will slow the growth of bacteria and algae in the water. It is important to strip the flower stems of any foliage that would be underneath the water line. One last tip; always re-cut the stems when arranging, especially store bought flowers.
Longer lasting bouquets are not just for the experts….cut and enjoy!
Terri Marks is a baby boomer wife, mother and grandmother in Madison, Wisconsin. She has a life full of colorful events and observations. Her hobbies are bird-watching, gardening and serving at her church. She publishes her own ezine at http://www.calicowoman.com