Wednesday, June 8, 2011
Flower Gardening Tips
How to Select Flowers: Whether you are cutting/picking them yourself or purchasing them,
1. Look for firm stems, healthy leaves, and plump flowers with erect petals.
2. Select buds which show the most color and are not drooping.
3. Pick or purchase flowers which are just opening so that the recipient can enjoy them for a few days. When picking/purchasing tulips, always select those with a closed head.
4. If possible, include flowers with a lovely spring fragrance.
5. When selecting from a florist, be sure that the water flowers are standing in is clear and fresh smelling, and that the container is clean.
How to Care for Cut Flowers:
--Because they require a healthy environment, be sure that your container is free from the bacteria that can clog the stem, preventing circulation of water and nutrients. Scrub or rinse containers with mild solution of chlorox bleach before or after each use. Also give your flowers clean well-ventilated air, as smoke and other pollutants will shorten their lives.
--Flowers respond to the temperature of the water they are placed into. Warm water encourages them to open/grow; and cool water slows their development, adding longevity.
--Always cut stems on an angle while under running water, exposing a larger surface. Use a sharp knife, as snipping stems with a scissors can pinch off the channels through which the water is conducted. When cutting tulips, removing all white portion of the stem will allow better fluid intake.
--Remove all foliage from stems which will be under water, as this will discourage bacteria from forming.
--Flower preservatives can prolong the life of your flowers. Most of them contain ingredients which keep the flowers' energy level high (sugar), inhibit the growth of bacteria, and lower the Ph factor, enhancing water/nutrient uptake. Follow the instructions carefully.
--Many flower arrangers have their own "tried-and-true" methods of preserving flowers. These range from bleach, sugar, crushed aspirin, pinch of salt and baking powder, soda, and copper pennies to various combinations. Some claim that using hairspray on the blooms will extend their attractive lives.
--Take care when combining daffodils in a bouquet, as they exude a sap that clogs the stems of other flowers, especially tulips, that can cause the other flowers to wilt. If you do include them, first soak them in warm water with a teaspoon of sugar for at least 12 hours to leach the harmful sap out of the stems.
--Keep flowers away from direct sunlight, drafts and heating/air conditioning vents; don't set on top of TV; don't place close to burning candles. They will enjoy being spray misted.
--Every 2 or 3 days give flower stems a fresh cut, clean out the container, and replace the water/solution to increase hydration. --Remove flowers that wilt early from an arrangement because they give off ethylene gas (used in commercial ripening) which will cause the remainder of the flowers to wilt sooner.
--Mist full strength lemon juice on gardenias to prevent them from browning.
--When using tulips in an arrangement, dip tulips which have reached the openness you desire into beaten egg whites to prevent their opening any further.Wholistic:
There ARE health benefits to working with flowers! The presence of flowers improves emotional health and helps to relieve stress. A team of researchers at Rutgers University explored the link between flowers and life satisfaction. The recently-published study showed that
1. Flowers have an immediate impact on happiness--a universal reaction;
2. Flowers have a long-term positive effect on moods;
3. Flowers make intimate connections, their presence increasing contact with family and friends. The study also concluded that flowers are a symbol for sharing, especially the sharing of space.
--When working with gardenias or stephanotis, you can prevent browning by first wetting your hands so that the oil from your skin will not touch the petals.
--If you plan to eventually dry your flowers/arrangement, look for plants that are interesting in shape, texture, or color once dried. Choose plants that will retain their shape and not fall apart or disintegrate.
--If you have no commercial preservative, make your own by placing 1 teaspoon sugar and a few drops of chlorine bleach into the water.
--To straighten bent tulips, wrap the stems tightly in damp newspaper, secure with a rubber band, and stand in lukewarm water with light directly above them for a couple of hours.
--Because tulips continue to grow even after being cut, it is best to change water and cut stems daily.