Do you love the charm of a simple vase of cut flowers on your table?
Here are some tips we’ve used at our household, many taught to me by my mother and grandmother gleaned through years of doing.
This dreamy painting epitomizes how I feel about slipping outside for a moment with a knife and vase. Mothers need to do that, you know. The quiet, the warmth, the introspection, the gentle breeze, the birds who feel invaded~ it is a precious time to worship the Creator and all His many benefits.
Mercie Cutting Flowers, Edmund Tarbell
There is an exuberance and homespun beauty in having flowers at the table or next to a stack of books being read that somehow makes it feel more like home.
“I’d rather have roses on my table than diamonds on my neck.” ~Emma Goldman
Simple Tips To Fabulous Cut Flowers
Rule 1: Cut your flowers in the cool of the day, morning or evening. Use a sharp knife and cut at an angle.
Rule 2: Remove any leaves on the stem that will be in water. Foliage covered with water will rot, cause discolored water, and stem blockage. Bacteria-blocked stems are unable to supply needed water to the living flower, and they will deteriorate more rapidly.
Rule 3: Take a container of lukewarm water (not much warmer than body temp – 95° to 110°F) along to the garden. Immediately after cutting, place the stems in the water.
Rule 4: Always use tepid water in your vases. Cold water has a higher oxygen content, which can cause air bubbles to form in the stems of your flowers, blocking their water uptake. Spring bulbs such as tulips and daffodils are the exception to this rule as they prefer to be placed in cold water.
For a very special event, when you return inside, you can place the container and flowers in a refrigerator set at 35° to 40°F for 3 to 12 hours. Cooling permits the plant to take up more water than it releases and helps hold flower freshness. These tips come from the Iowa State Fair Flower Exhibit publication.
Hydrangeas will occasionally droop quickly in the vase and dipping the stems in alum (or boiling water) can do wonders to revive them. Here is the secret of alum.
Natural Ways to Preserve Cut Flowers
1. White vinegar and sugar~Combine 1 tsp. of white granulated sugar with 2 TBSP. of white vinegar and one quart of water. Cut flowers love it.
2. Hydrogen peroxide~Some florists add a capful or two of hydrogen peroxide to the water to keep cut flowers looking fresher longer.
Placing an aspirin or penny in the water is not effective as a floral preservative according to the Iowa publication mentioned above.
Martha Stewart’s Flower-Arranging Secrets:
I don’t own a frog, but have used the tape idea in a short, wide bowl, and it worked beautifully.
After I got my little Nikon COOLPIX S8100 for this blog, I took so many images. Here are some of our favorite bouquets from past gardens that have been kept fresh by these preservation methods:
Apricot ‘Drift’ roses glow with morning sunlight in a vase that my mother found at a Portland Days steam engine festival~
Elderberry berries, honeysuckle ‘Mandarin’, and hydrangea in an old chipped $8 Wedgwood pitcher~
Lily of the valley and white anemone ‘Snowdrift’ in yard sale (2/$3) pressed-glass cream pitcher~
Mixed bouquet keeping George W. company. It consists of columbine, Japanese iris, ninebark shrub flower pods (red), zebra grass, poor man’s pepper, speedwell, roses, all quickly tucked into a 3″ antique pitcher found at a garage sale for a buck~
White roses with Russian sage at our friend’s daughter’s graduation celebration~
Jackmanii clematis, Veronica, and bugleweed in an old Milk of Magnesia bottle~
David Austin rose, ‘Wisley’ in an old Wilton Armateal pewter mug ($8 for a pair) ~
Tulips, daffodils, and grape hyacinth from this spring in front of a lovely shawl given to me by my dear friend, Anita~
David Austin climbing rose ‘Fourth of July’ as an encouraging gift with red granite stones in Ball jar. Sometimes the simplest are the prettiest~
Even if all you have in your yard are dandelions, they should be perfectly beautiful in light of the statement God made in the garden: that it was ‘very good’! Oh, the joy to receive them from a child 🙂
Take time to smell the flowers today, then bring them inside!
“And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us:
and establish thou the work of our hands upon us;
yea, the work of our hands establish thou it.”
~ Psalm 90:17
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Thanks for reading!