Tips To Arrange Flower

Everybody likes flowers, remarkable ability to brighten up a room or the outside of your house is second to none. When it comes to arranging flowers you might be happy with just bunching a number of different types together in a vase and leaving it at that, but you could have a much more impressive display. All that you need is a touch of imagination and creative thinking. Arranging flowers isn’t a difficult task, try out the tips below for some impressive results.

Form of Arrangement

You may be surprised to discover that there are a number of different standard forms of flower arrangement, these are:

Vertical arrangement: As the name suggests these are tall, slender arrangements. If you’ve got a number of long focal flowers you wish to show off utilize this arrangement.Make use of a tall container to put your flowers in, it only needs to be wide enough to use only a small number of surrounding flowers.

Horizontal arrangement: broad and low arrangement, good for a large table design.A traditional horizontal arrangement is symmetrical in form and the placement of flowers. The width needs to be two times the height.The container needs to be shallow and broad, the focal flower(s) in the middle and line flowers inserted almost horizontally.

Triangular arrangement: quite possibly the most common kind of arrangement.The line flowers are first positioned to form a triangle, the triangle ought to always be taller than it is wide.

Oval arrangement: a great arrangement for a formal setting or a living room.The oval arrangement is quite straightforward and ideal for showcasing 1-3 large or medium sized flowers. Choose a short and wide container for this kind of arrangement.Use the line flowers to create the height and shape of the arrangement and place the focal flowers at the centre and fill the gaps with smaller blooms.The arrangement is not intended to be looked at from three hundred sixty degrees.

Minimal arrangement: this kind of flower arrangement usually consists of only a few flowers in a smallish container. Minimal flower arrangements are able to look elegant and understated. Selecting the vase for a minimal arrangement is a lot more important than it is for other types – pick something small but stylish.

Hogarth’s Curve: challenging “S” shape which usually demands some skill to get right. Fundamentally the Lazy “S” is a minimal flower arrangement based on the “S” curve. The line flowers make the S shape (much easier if branches are used) and other flowers fill the centre.

Crescent arrangement: the crescent flower arrangement is somewhat more difficult when compared to some of the other arrangements though works excellent as a small table decoration. An asymmetrical arrangement the crescent needs to be well balanced, not only aesthetically nut also physically so it does not fall over. It is probable that you will also require a number of leaves or branches to form the crescent. In order to keep the arrangement secure it is best to use a wide, low container/vase.

Pick a Colouring Scheme

Would you like a dark, calming green/lilac/blue arrangement or a more lively red/orange/yellow one? Colours are possibly the most important factor when selecting your flowers.Understanding basic colour theory can be very helpful here – there are numerous guides on the net. Some common blends include: Analogous colours – these are colours which are adjacent to one another on the colour wheel like orange, yellow and green; or you could try complementary colours – colours from opposite sides of the colour wheel; or triads – 3 colours equally space around the colour wheel. Another alternative of course is to apply a less academic method and just decide on colours that you simply find appealing.Keep in mind colours can often express a number of feelings like love, sympathy, friendship, happiness etc. Choose the right colours for the sentiments you are trying to convey.

Selecting Appropriate Flowers

With so many types this can seem like a overwhelming task initially however we are able to break them down into three different types:

Line flowers – taller flowers which determine the shape, height and width of the arrangement, they usually have flowers or buds along their stem.Common line flowers are snapdragons, gladiolus, curly willow, delphinium, tuberose and bells-of-Ireland.

Mass flowers – big round flowers on a single stem, they are the main focal point of the arrangement.Typical mass flowers (also called focal flowers) include daisies, magnolias, roses, daffodils, carnations, tulips, sunflowers, iris and lilies.Mass flowers are sold in bunches, you should place these in the middle of your arrangement.

Filler flowers – filler flowers consist of stems with plenty of little blooms and leaves, these fill the gaps and give a visible link between the line and focal flowers.Good examples of these are: ferns, aster, baby’s breath, feverfew, Queen Anne’s lace, heather, eucalyptus.

When selecting the flowers also think about the following factors:

Seasonal flowers – blooms that are in season are usually much better value compared to flowers which aren’t owing to the simple fact that flower growers have got so many of them

Flower meanings – Floriography (language of flowers) – just as with colours, since Victorian times a number of flowers have had certain meanings/symbolism.

Forget the rules – there are a great number of guides and articles written on mixing colours and flowers and along with them many rules. If the rules state that they should never go together but you feel they should, put them together – you are probably right.

Arranging the Flowers

Don’t forget, line flowers initially then mass/focal flowers and lastly filler flowers.As you position the flowers try and allocate each flower its own space within the arrangement while maintaining a balance of colour throughout.

Preferably use floral foam within your vase, it can make it far less difficult to position and support the flowers. Remember to soak the floral foam in water and food.

Position a flower at a time. Cut short the size of any stems as necessary. All the flowers need to face in an outward direction at an acceptable angle. Use a sharp knife to cut the bottom of the stems.

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All About Flower

“All the flowers would have very extra special powers” This is a quote from Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. Flowers have been a symbol of peace and love throughout the ages. From the “Flower Power” movement of the 1960’s, when activist and young pacifist Jane Rose Kasmir was photographed planting a flower on the bayonets of guards at the Pentagon during a protest against the Vietnam War on October 21, 1967. A Moment in time that would go on in American culture and heritage to reflect a moment of peace in a time of war, symbolizing a new type of passive resistance, coined by Ginsberg’s 1965 essay titled How to Make a March/Spectacle. During the late 1800’s a woman rejecting a suitor might send him yellow roses. During world war one a man leaving for a battle overseas might give his girlfriend forget-me-nots. Most people remember that red roses mean “I love you,” but floriography itself has been largely forgotten, a Victorian practice where particular types of flowers meant different things.

In some cases flowers may have a more grim representation such as calla lilies at a funeral. Recently evidence of flowers dating back to the prehistoric period have been discovered through ‘Flower Fossils’. Archaeologists uncovered skeletons of a man, two women and an infant buried together in soil containing pollen of flowers in a cave in Iraq. This association of flowers with the cave dwelling Neanderthals of the Pleistocene epoch is indicative of the role of flowers in burial rituals. Analysis of the sediment pollen concentrated in batches, implied that possible bunches of flowers had been placed on the grave. Closer examination of the flower pollen enabled scientists to identify many flowers that were present, all of which had some therapeutic properties.

That’s right, before we had the local drugstore pharmacy with it’s many colorful cough syrups to aid our aliments we relied on flowers. Flowers like calendula for aches and pains or hyssop for a sore throat. Today you might be able to find Ecanechia at your local pharmacy. Although most of the immunity boosting qualities of this flower comes form it’s roots, it is a healing flower all the same. For the most part healing flowers are a thing of the past. That is of course if you are excluding one of today’s most controversial flowers, the cannabis or marijuana flower. This highly debated flower is said to aid in a number of ailments such as chronic pain, depression and stomach upset, just to name a few. Although some states have legalized cannabis for medical use, it’s distributors and the patients that have come to rely on it’s healing properties are under the constant scrutiny of not only our federal government but the state elected officials whom continue to argue the validity of this flowers power.

Some flowers are just plan good to eat. Take the Squash flower. This bright and brilliant flower carries a buttery flavor of summer. Simply saute lightly and sprinkle a little salt and there you have it. A delicious snack that’s also beautiful. And you you have never had dried blueberries and dark chocolate with fresh and fragrant lavender, then you just don’t know what you’re missing. Dandelions which are commonly referred to as weeds are sweetest with a honey like flavor when they are picked young. Next time you make a salad or rice pilaf try adding some dandelion flowers and greens.

Creating an eye catching edible flower garden is rewarding to all the senses. Flowers as an edible addition, bring lively flavors, colors, and textures to salads, soups, casseroles, and other dishes. Eating flowers is not as exotic as it may sound. The use of flowers as food dates back to the Stone Age with archaeological evidence that early man ate such flowers as roses. You may not want to eat flowers if you have asthma, allergies, or hay fever. You’ll want to be sure to only eat flowers that have been grown organically so they have no pesticide residue. I find that it is best to collect flowers in the cooler part of the day like in the early morning after the dew has evaporated, or late afternoon. Some common edible, annual flowers that are easy to grow as well as tasty, include a number of herbs and vegetables that have edible flowers in addition to other edible parts. Calendula/pot marigold (Calendula officinalis) comes in yellow, gold, or orange flowers with a tangy, peppery taste. Nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus) has flowers in shades of white to red, with a watercress and peppery flavor. These flowers are also used for their ability to help protect other plants in your garden from pests. Tuberous begonias (Begonia x tuberhybrida) have white, pink, yellow, red, orange or multicolor flowers with a citrus flavor. Radish (Raphanus sativus) has yellow, spicy-hot flowers very similar to the yellow flowers of bolted mustard greens. If you love the bitterness of arugula then I suggest you try the flowers that pop out at the end of the growing season. These white and brown flowers are a beautiful addition to salads. one of my favorite uses is sprinkled with fresh parsley over roasted mushrooms. Flowers of perennials and herbs offer a broad range of flavors too. Chives (Allium schoenoprasum) have white, lavender, or purple flowers with a strong onion flavor perfect for floating on soups. Red clover (Trifolium pretense) has sweet-tasting, pink or red flowers.

Violets (Viola odorata) have violet, pink, and white flowers with a sweet to slightly sour flavor which in my opinion makes them a perfect candidate for candying. Here’s how:

In a bowl, beat two egg whites with a wire whisk just until frothy. Place sugar in another bowl. Taking one violet at a time, pick it up by the stem and dip into egg whites, covering all surfaces. Gently dip into the sugar, again being sure all of the petals, top and bottom, are covered. Place on waxed paper-lined baking sheets; snip off stems. Using a toothpick, open petals to original shape. Sprinkle sugar on any uncoated areas. Dry in a 200° oven for 30-40 minutes or until sugar crystallizes. Gently remove violets to wire racks with a spatula. I like to use an ultra thin fish spatula for this. Sprinkle again with sugar if violets appear syrupy. Cool. Store in airtight containers with waxed paper between layers.

Even trees and shrubs produce edible flowers. In the spring as weather starts to get warmer I love to open my bedroom window and fill my room with the sweet smell of orange blossoms. This citrus honey smell can be captured by throwing some fresh flower buds in a jar of sugar. The longer the flowers sit in the sugar the better flavor you will get. Apple trees have these cute little white and/or pink flowers with a floral to slightly sour taste. While plum trees have somewhat similar pink to white flowers but with a mild flavor, like flower nectar. A personal favorite of mine is Honeysuckle (Lonicera spp.) which features white, yellow, pink, or red flowers with a honey-like flavor. I have only ever seen them red. When I was younger we lived in Arizona for a time. This is where I first discovered these sweet treats. Although I generally wasn’t allowed sweets, these little hidden ruby treasures were a sweet secret worth keeping.

Unfortunately there are some common flowering plants that you should avoid eating like hydrangeas. Although hydrangeas are not edible they are still quite amazing. Hydrangeas have a unique quality. Their beautiful colors are determined directly by the soil you plant them in. That’s right the more acidic the soil is deeper blue your hydrangea will be. Now a true white hydrangea will always remain white. For the most part hydrangeas do not thrive in pots. These bushy flowers have a root system that will usually out grow out of a pot in just one summer. However I have herd that if you put your potted hydrangeas over dirt area the roots will just grow right out of the drainage holes in the bottom of the pot and straight down into the earth. The first year that the hydrangea is growing in the pot, normal watering is required, as you would any potted plant. But the second year, the roots should begin growing out the drainage holes and into the ground. Don’t move the pot, the better the plant becomes rooted into the ground, the less it needs supplemental watering. If you must move the plant or give it away, just cut the roots off right under the pot, and the hydrangea should transplant very well.

A dramatic front yard flowerbed provides a constant stream of color. Look for flowers that are bright and fragrant. Including vivid hues, like asters, spray mums, alstromeria and Monte casino asters, for example will help attract birds and butterflies and other pollinators to your garden. Add plants that offer vertical growth, such as sun flowers. Remember the rule of three, always try to group three of one plant at a time for visual consistency. Planting one flower in a variety of colors can make quite the visual impact. However if you are a fan of a more minimalistic and clean look, just by simply putting large groups of a similar flower or similar bloom color can offer not only breath taking view but also a more fuss-free garden solution.

Some of us have some more difficult challenges when it comes to space for our gardens. However even if you live in a high rise condominium with little more than a balcony you can still enjoy a potted flower garden. The first step is selecting the right plant for the right pot. This will make all the difference in your container garden. I Look for plants suited to the area the container will be located. For example does the space have full sun or is it under a tree, or in the shade of another building. A porous pot, like clay, allows water to evaporate, and is better suited to a drought-tolerant plant like succulents or ecanechia. Plastic containers obviously retain more water. So in turn they are better suited to flowers that require consistent moister like cardinals. Invasive plants are best planted alone where they can be controlled or as I like to say “free to take over”. Select plants that will share a pot by keeping heights varied to allow each plant a chance at sunlight. Also if your grouping potted flowers choose flowers that will thrive in similar conditions. You can make a dramatic statement, with a container with a single type of plant. Floral shops commonly have blooming azaleas, mums, gloxinias and cyclamen that give a beautiful and brilliant burst of color. You can pot these plants in a variety of containers. Set pots in baskets or a vase to cover the plastic containers they come in. Most floral shop flowers are considered ‘temporary’ because all of their energy has been focused on one big showy bloom. What a waste. Garden annuals, such as geraniums, petunias and begonias provide continuous blooms throughout summer. Remove wilted flowers promptly to encourage reblooming. When garden annuals are planted in a container as a single plant or in a group of the same plant they provide a mass of color. I find that grouping pots together of single plants gives depth, variety and interest. I also enjoy using containers that have an array of colors and shapes. However I have seen in my neighborhood a front porch container garden with different types of green and white flowers all in shiny glazed white pots. The pots are all different sizes as are the plants. I think the over all look is clean and chic. Another smart move is to plan a container garden that will transition from season to season. For instance, start a container garden in late fall by layering bulbs with varied bloom times such as tulip, daffodil and crocus. Nestle a container-friendly perennial in the center like, sunset hyssop or try adding a trailing variety to the edge. Perennial canna, day lily and hibiscus all do well in mixed containers. As the shoots from bulbs emerge in spring you could even add annuals between the shoots. For interest that spills into fall add plants like daylilies. I really like daylilies because they are rugged, adaptable, vigorous perennials that endure in a garden for many years with little or no care. Daylilies adapt to a wide range of soil and light conditions. They establish quickly, grow vigorously, and survive winters with little or no injury.

Flowering Bulbs are an easy way to add splashes of tropical color to your garden. You can get flower bulbs from tall stately Gladiolus to highly fragrant Oriental Lillies. Plant them as a border or in containers. Once they are grown you can even cut a few and create a beautiful and fragrant bouquet for the home or office. Bulbs require little garden space which is one of the reasons they are so great for the urban gardener. Bulbs can be planted in annual or perennial flower beds, among shrubs, under trees, and in practically every area of the landscape. They will even thrive in a pot. With careful scheduling, you could have flowering bulbs in bloom in the earliest parts of spring, and they will last until the first freeze in the late fall. I have found that the best bulbs come from reputable businesses, so I would check your local nursery. You want to be sure to make your selections at local sources as soon as the bulbs are offered for sale. I usually start looking after new years. Select large, firm, plump bulbs or roots. Do not purchase any that are bruised, blemished, or soft. During their dormant season, tulip, narcissus, and most other bulbs with a protective covering of dry scales can be stored for several weeks prior to planting, if necessary. However more fleshy bulbs and roots like lilies need to be planted immediately after purchase.

All this talk of flowers makes me want to get some for the garden right now. Planting flowers in the heat of summer seemed like a good way to end up with a bunch of dead flowers. Until I can across ‘summer flowers’. Flowers that thrive in the warmer summer months. Aster is a loved garden plant. It possess outstanding flower heads and the variety blooms, coming in an abundance of colors. Another fun verity I tend to find here in California is the prehistoric looking Bird of Paradise. Bird of Paradise is known by the individual bloom, resembling a vividly colored flying bird; it is used in landscaping quite frequently in my neighborhood. It is a tall brightly colored eye catcher. Gerbera flower is a dream for almost any gardener. This hearty flower is valued by its bright multiple colorings. This ornamental sunflower would be a welcome addition in any garden as it is the fifth most used cut flower in the world.

I absolutely love fresh cut flowers in the house. They can brighten up a room and perfume the air. Now when I am choosing cut flowers I tend to look for something that will last in jar of water. As you may or may not know cut flowers can be very pricy. I can not tell you how many of my girlfriends have broke the bank getting the flowers they wanted for their weddings. When it comes to a cost conscience flower that will stand the test of time, newly discovered (to me) the Alstroemeria, or Lily of Peru is my new personal favorite. These flowers have an exotic look. Beautifully spotted and marked perennials alstroemeria, are lily-like flowers with deep, thick roots. They grow two to three feet tall on strong, branched stems. Each trumpet-shaped flower is an inch or two in diameter. Flowers come in pink, rose, purple, yellow, cream, orange, and white and are spotted or streaked with contrasting colors. At my local farmers market these flowers are found in the three dollar bucket. With little more than sugar water these flowers have lasted for over a week in my house. But when it comes to fragrance I am a sucker for aster lilies. Although they are generally a little price than Peruvian cousins these aromatic beauties don’t cost near as much as they look like they do. I like to buy them closed so that they will bloom at home. These gorgeous flowers will generally live for about a week. However if we are talking longevity, fragrance and price I have found nothing better than lavender. I love these versatile flowers. They look just as magnificent fresh and alive as they do dry. They have a sort of clean floral smell which is why I suppose you’ll find lavender in soaps, deodorants and potpourri. I also enjoy lavender in some foods as well as teas. I can usually find them at the farmers market come June. Once a year I like to get a fresh bunch for potpourri and use last years dried out ones in cooking. Or put some in an old sock and tuck it away with winter cloths and blanket to keep everything smelling fresh While it is being stored.

Not all flowers for the house need be cut. There are a variety of excellent indoor flowers. My personal favorite is my bromilliad. The hot pink and lavender flower makes it look like it was plucked right out of the fantasy jungles of the Avatar movie. This flower collects it’s water in sort of cup at the center of the plant. The first time it flowers you should get only one flower shooting form the center. When the flower dies you simply cut the whole thing back and another tube like spiral of green will be birthed out for the bottom. Then you will have two blooms and so on. Another common house flower is the African violet. These soft, puffy, little vibrant flowers are a deep violet color. African violets are easy to grow for the beginning gardener, yet offer a wide range of cultivars to satisfy the serious grower. African violets adapt well to typical growing conditions found in the home. Because of their small stature, they also adapt well to limited space gardens such as those in apartments with just a few windowsills. My mother kills most house plants. She typically will look for something that is hearty and low maintenance. The one flower I remember her not killing as a child was a peace lily. This waxy looking flower was a survivor in our household. With that said I just sort of assume if my mom could manage to keep this flower alive for years than anyone could do it. If you want something a littler more challenging I have always loved orchids. I have found that these flowers thrive in the bathroom. They love the steam form your shower. These flowers need special food, soil, pots and much more so I would not suggest these plant for the novice flower gardener, but hey we all got to start somewhere huh. I can say I had no experience when I bought my first orchid in 1998 but everything I learned I learned along the way.

It doesn’t matter if they are in your house or in the yard, in a pot with soil or in mason jar with river rocks and water. Flowers have been a central part of our humanity throughout the ages. A symbol of love, a symbol of peace flowers have played an integral part in our lives and our history. That is why we would like to take a moment to remind you to stop and smell the roses.

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Benefit Of Flowers

Modern life can cause stress. It’s a fact that many people deal with on a daily basis: work deadlines, parenting struggles and relationship challenges are all in a days work. On the bright side, there is a relatively low-cost and all natural way of handling and combating stress. Flowers have been proven to relieve stress, plus beautify your home or office at the same time. Flowers are not only stress-busters, they evoke feelings of compassion, enthusiasm and energy – giving you a reason to start your day off right. Read on to learn more about how color affects mood and how strategically placed flowers can give you that extra boost when you need it most.

Color is everything!
Although we may not recognize it, we are affected by colors everyday. It is a fact that specific hues and shades of colors stimulate certain emotions – the same goes for flowers. Selecting a color of flowers is important based on your personality. Whether you are the type of person who needs to relax to relieve anxiety or would rather bring to mind feelings of cheerfulness to rid yourself of worries, you need to choose the color of your flowers according:

Red
A warm color that is all about energy and vitality. It can also be used for indicating anger and danger. Since red is the most emotionally intense color, using all red flowers may not be a good idea, depending on whether or not you like the color red. Red flowers can also have positive meanings when used in moderation – love, enthusiasm and exhilaration, all which are perfect for people who need that extra lift of energy sometimes. Red is also perfect for stirring up excitement, especially at night time.

Where to place red flowers: Since red is the color for stirring up excitement, than placing red in a living room or dining room can draw people together and stimulate conversations. In an entryway, red flowers create a strong first impression of your home. Red is usually considered too strong for bedrooms, so use flowers in a dark, intimate setting where the flowers will appear more rich and elegant. The best way to combat stress with red flowers is to place them where you can view them by lamplight to help you feel relaxed and at ease.

Orange
A warm color like red, orange represents energy, warmth, balance and vibrancy. Flowers such as roses, tulips and daisies are perfect for emulating spring-like geniality and childlike playfulness. Orange is also a great color for increasing energy levels. Orange flowers are used for bringing out all the emotions you need when starting off your day!

Where to place orange flowers: The warmness of orange flowers can be beneficial in a kitchen or exercise room. Placing flowers in your kitchen can help you boost feelings of compassion and enthusiasm, while giving you the liveliness needed to get though the day. Also, placing orange flowers in your fitness room can provide motivation for these groggy days, since exercise is also a great way to relieve stress.

Yellow
Associated with sunshine and summer, the color yellow communicates happiness. In chromotherapy, yellow is believed to stimulate nerves and purify the body. Yellow flowers such as tulips, lilies and roses are used to characterize new opportunity and growth. Using yellow flowers in a mixed bouquet can help you achieve feelings of cheerfulness, but be careful not to over do it, for the color yellow is also known to provoke frustration.

Where to place yellow flowers: Yellow flowers are perfect for kitchens, dining rooms and bathrooms, where this happy shade is energizing and uplifting. Placing yellow flowers in hallways, entryways and small spaces can make your house feel more open and airy. Using yellow flowers to get rid of stress is most effective in congested, tight areas where yellow flowers will make your home feel more welcoming.

Blue
The color of serene, blissful relaxation. The color blue is proven to lower blood pressure and slow respiration and heart rate. Blue is the perfect color for encouraging relaxation and tranquility. Even though blue may be great for resting, hardly any flowers grow naturally blue. Look for flowers such as an iris or rose, that can come in hues of the color blue. ”

Where to place blue flowers: To promote relaxation, place blue flowers in bedrooms, bathrooms or dens. Blue flowers are perfect for resting the mind and soothing frustrations after a hard day at work. Lighter shades such as periwinkle, are known to provide calmness, while deeper shades can remind some people of sadness. Stick to softer shades of blue to provide you with comfort.

Purple
The color of richness, sophistication and creativity. Depending on how deep the shade, purple can bring about many emotions, such as motivation, fame, power and courage. Lighter shades of purple have a restful quality about them and are good for assuring a good nights sleep.

Where to place purple flowers: Purple flowers often provide the same restful quality of blue, without the chance of feeling “too blue.” Purple flowers are beneficial in bedrooms and bathrooms, where they can promote unwinding, but they also have enough warmth to instil comfort and togetherness. Flowers in any hue of lavender are just right for a luxury evening of letting go of your troubles.

White
Although white is a neutral, it can have the same emotional impact as any other color. White usually symbolizes purity, cleanliness and innocence. White flowers can bring an airy lightness to any room and can help bring about emotions of spaciousness. If you have an area of your home or office that is crammed and cluttered, placing white flowers there can help beautify the space and provide a much needed break for you from the mess.

Where to place white flowers: Placing white flowers in areas where you generally tend to relax, such as bathrooms or bedrooms, can provide a tranquil and calming air about your space. White flowers have the power to provide a powerful comforting effect on the mind because of it’s “plain” look. Also, placing white flowers such as roses and iris’ in tight spaces can help bring a breath of fresh air into your living area.

Fresh cut flowers in your home can chase away moments of fear, worry, sadness and anxiety. People who regularly live around flowers are found to have less negativity in their thinking and are more active as a result of heightened productivity and energy. Flowers can also be used as a means of connecting and creating new bonds with others, making you less stressed about relationships. Welcome flowers into your life and experience the positive impact on your emotional well being!

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Tips To Make Your Flower Last Longer

Picking Your Own Flowers – If you are picking your own flowers it is best to do this in the morning or the late evening. Sugar reserves in the stems are at their highest in the mornings or evenings. Ideally the best time is early morning when flower stems are filled with water after the cool night air. You should never pick flowers in the middle of the day when the sun is at it’s hottest.

The heat of the sun lowers the water content in the stems and the flowers will not last nearly as long. If it has been raining and the flowers are wet, shake them gently to remove the excess water. Too much water will often damage flowers – especially delicately petalled flowers.

When to Pick Flowers – Most flowers should be picked when they are in bud or half open. You will then have the pleasure of seeing them slowly open up. The colour of the petals should be starting to show. If picked too tightly in bud, they may never open. This is especially true of tulips and roses. The green pointed sepals around the base of the rose should be starting to turn downwards. Irises and daffodils should be half opened. Gladioli should be picked when the bottom three or four florets are open and the top florets are still in bud. Carnations, dahlias, marigolds, hydrangeas, camellias, gerberas and chrysanthemums should be picked when they are fully opened.

Fill a plastic bucket a third to half way with warm water. Warm water should be used as flowers take up warm water more readily than cold. Its preferable to add preservative to the water. (The use of preservatives is fully explained further on). Flowers only drink through the ends of the stems and not through the sides of the stems, and for this reason buckets should not be filled right up to the top with water, as foliage left on stems below the water line will rot and pollute the water. This will cause bacteria and the flowers will die more quickly. The foliage of marigolds, chrysanthemums, stock and daisies send off a particularly strong odour when left standing under water over a period of time.

Take the bucket of water into the garden with you. Use a sharp pair of secateurs and cut the flower stems on an angle – a slanted cut allows a better intake of water. Remove all foliage from the lower portion of the stems which would stand under the water line. Place the flowers immediately in the water.

Never overcrowd flowers. Allow enough air to circulate between each flower. Too many flowers crowded together in a bucket may cause the petals to become squashed and bruised. Place the bucket in a cool dark place and allow the flowers to have a long drink before being arranged. When picking short-stemmed flowers, use a smaller container.

Conditioning Flowers and Foliage – Allow flowers to have a good drink for four to five hours, preferably overnight before arranging. This step is called conditioning. It allows the stems to fill up with water and the flowers will become crisp. These flowers will last twice as long as those that have not been conditioned properly.

Bought Flowers – Bought flowers should be placed in warm water as soon as possible. Remove the wrapping paper, as paper can bruise the flowers and cellophane can cause them to sweat. When cut flowers have been left out of water for any length of time, cells start to form over the cut ends of the stems, which will prevent the stems taking up water readily. To remove this sealed portion, snip off about 2.5cm (1″) from the stem ends and then place in water preferably with preservative added, and allow the flowers to have a long drink before arranging.

You may be given flowers when you are away from home. It may well be several hours before you are able to place them in water. The best way to keep flowers fresh is to place them in a strong plastic bag with some water in the bottom. Secure the bag with a rubber band. Another method is to wrap flowers in damp newspaper. If travelling by car, place the flowers in the coolest spot. As soon as you get home, recut the ends of the stems, place them in water and allow them to condition overnight before arranging.

Preservatives – A flower preservative helps destroy bacteria in the water. Flower preservatives are available in garden centres or supermarkets. Another alternative is to use a capful of household bleach in the water. If a preservative is not used, the water needs to be changed and the stems cut on an angle daily. If a preservative is used, the stems do not require recutting and water needs changing only about twice a week. Flowers like freesias, spray carnations and liliums have lots of buds. By using a preservative in the water, it helps develop the buds to open.

Special Treatment – Special treatment should be given to certain flowers to give them the longest life possible. Flowers with woody stems do not take up water readily. Woody-stemmed flowers include lilac, hydrangea, and rhododendrons. To help break down the thick fibres, you can split the ends of the stems upwards for about 5 cm. (2″) After this treatment, place the stems in a container filled with warm water and give the flowers a long drink before arranging.

Flowers with Milky Stems – Poppies, poinsettias and dahlias have a milky liquid flowing through their stems. To seal this liquid in and make the flowers last, the ends of the stems should be held over a flame like a candle, gas jet or cigarette lighter. Hold the end of the stem over the flame for about thirty seconds until the end of the stem turns black. The flowers should be held on an angle to protect the delicate petals. Another method is to dip the stems in boiling water for about thirty seconds. Hold the flower heads away on an angle and protect the petals from steam by holding newspaper around the flowers. Place stems immediately in warm water and give flowers a long drink before arranging. If stems need to be recut later on when arranging flowers, you will need to repeat the above steps. To avoid this you could cut the stems to different lengths before sealing the ends of the stems.

Bulb Flowers – Certain flowers grow from a bulb. These include tulips, daffodils, jonquils, narcissus, irises and hyacinths. These flowers often have a white portion at the ends of the stems. Cut this white portion off before conditioning as only the green part of the stem can take up water. Daffodils, jonquils and narcissus have a thick sap which oozes from the end of the stems when they are cut. Wipe it off before placing the stems in water. Keep these flowers separate from other flowers when they are being conditioned as the sap can affect other flowers. The thick sap can clog the ends of stems and prevent the uptake of water. Stand the stems in about 7.5 cm. (3″) of water and allow to stand at least six hours before arranging. Bulb flowers prefer shallow water. If daffodils, jonquils and narcissus are placed in deep water, the thick stems can become water logged and the stems shrivel up and the petals go papery.

Wilted Flowers – Wilted flowers can often be revived by standing the stems in fairly hot water right up to the flower heads. After the water has cooled, allow the flowers to stand in the water for a few hours before arranging. Roses can often be perked up by floating the whole stem, head and all, in warm water for half an hour.

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