Guest Author - Connie Krochmal
Summer reveals its splendor. The songbirds wear their bright, summery frocks this time of year, and the garden puts on a colorful show.
Gardens can supply us with all the blooms we need for floral designs during the summer months. Here are a few tips to help you put those summer flowers to good use. Help those flowers to last longer by following a few basic guidelines.
Cut During the Cooler Hours of the Day
Your schedule determines when you can cut. Early morning is a great time. Thatís when the flowers are at their freshest. But you may be too busy to do it then.
Late in the evening when it is cool works just as well. At that point the blooms have lots of stored food, which will prolong their vase life.
Apart from those times, there is one period when you should avoid cutting flowers. During the hottest part of the day, the plants can become slightly wilted and dried out. They wouldnít last very well if you cut them at this stage.
Cut At the Proper Stage
Cut the stems before the blooms are completely open. For the longest vase life most flowers need to be cut before they reach their peak of bloom. Examples would include ageratum, ammobium, ladyís mantle, lavatera, and verbena.
If cut too late, it is all down hill from there. It will hardly be worth the bother of arranging if the flowers are past their peak.
Condition the Flowers
Take a bucket of warm water to the garden when you go to cut the flowers. As you cut each stem, plunge it into the water.
You might wonder why that would be necessary. If the cut stems become exposed to the air, the ends can seal over. Once this happens, the flower canít take up the water it needs, and itís vase life will be very short.
Once youíre back in the house, place the bucket with the flowers in a cool place. Ideally the stems can be left in the water overnight to condition before you begin preparing and arranging them the next day.
Letís say you have unexpected company, and need an arrangement in a hurry. You canít wait for the blooms to condition for such a long period. In that case, condition them for a short while only. But under those circumstances the stems may not last quite as long as they would under ideal conditions.
Follow these simple guidelines for beautiful, long lasting summer arrangements from the garden.