Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Preserving Fresh Cut Flowers

This year my garden boasts a mature lilac bush that is producing such an abundance in blooms that I have begun to get innovative in my placement of them around my home; as seen in the picture above taken in my kitchen.

Cutting fresh flowers from your garden is very fulfilling and encourages your plants to produce more blooms. However, there are some handy tips and tricks to keep in mind if you decide to prune from your own garden and reap the benefits of your handiwork.

1. When to cut - Early morning is the best time to harvest flowers from your garden. The stems are filled with water and are firm to the touch. As the day progresses the flowers gradually dehydrate and become limp and weak. Cutting flowers later in the day will make for a much shorter lived bouquet.

2. Water - When harvesting flowers keep a pail of lukewarm water nearby and immediately place the cut flowers into the water. Warm water molecules travel faster than cold water molecules and therefore can be absorbed by the flowers with much more ease. *Tip - Most flowers should be placed in warm water with the exception of bulb flowers such as tulips and daffodils.

3. Cutting Tips - Never cut your flowers with household scissors. Scissors, which are not made for cutting flowers, crush the vascular system of the stem which interferes with water absorption. Always use a clean pair of shears, clippers or a sharp un-serrated knife for cutting. Cut flowers at a 45 degree angle providing a larger surface area for absorbing water. Remove all of the excess and low foliage that would be submerged in water once transferred to a vase. Excess foliage takes up water consumption and foliage submitted below water levels causes bacterial growth, rot and foul smelling water. Never remove thorns from a rose as it tends to shorten their life.

4. Prepping the vase - Here is my favorite simple recipe to make your own flower preservative. Add 1 tsp sugar, 2 tsp lemon juice and 1/2 tsp of bleach to 1 quart of lukewarm water. Ensure your vase is prepped and ready to go before making the swift transfer of your blooms from the pail you first collected them in. Always be sure to use a clean vase. Bacteria can easily multiply in a vase that has not been thoroughly washed with soap and water and can clog the water conducting tubes of the stem which causes early wilting. Take care not to overcrowd the blooms when arranging.

5. Caring for your bouquet - Frequently replenish the water level in your vase whenever needed and do a complete water change every 2-3 days for a longer lasting bouquet. Flowers that are beginning to droop may benefit from being re-cut. Discard wilted blooms immediately. Keep bouquets out of direct sunlight, away from fruit (fruit releases a gas that causes flowers to have a shorter life span) and away from drafts.

Happy Harvesting!! :)

1 comment:

zoe said...

Pretty photo! Thanks for the tips!