Gathering Bouquets Between Raindrops & Simple Tips for Fresh Cut Flower Care
After two days of steady rain, I slipped outside this morning to wander around the garden between raindrops and gather fallen flowers for fresh bouquets. Poetic as drooping blossoms look when tumbling from perennial borders, I can’t imagine leaving them on the lawn to be devoured by snails. Oh no. In fact, the main reason I grow peonies is for cutting, and I’ve planted many other perennials, annuals, trees and shrubs with fresh flowers for bouquets in mind. False indigo (Baptisia australis), iris, columbine (Aquilegia), fox glove (Digitalis), old-fashioned roses and Â poppies (Papavar orientale), are some late spring favorites for the vase. I love all colors, but I am particularly fond of deep violet, blue and cerise colored blossoms. I also cut foliage for flower arrangements, including entire branches from shrubs and trees. Of course fragrance trumps almost all other considerations when it comes to fresh cut flowers, so lilac (Syringa), fragrant abelia (Abelia mosanensis), roses, lily of the valley (Convularia majalis) and of course peonies, will always be planted in excess throughout my garden…
Simple Tips for Fresh Cut Flower Care
Cut flowers when it’s cool in the garden. Morning or evening.
Use sharp, clean pruners or shears.
Carry a bucket with you while cutting and place flowers in tepid water.
Cut flowers in bud or just as they are beginning to open.
Cut stems long, but take care to remember the rules of pruning; particularly when cutting roses, lilacs & other shrubs (revisit this basic pruning post).
Strip off lower foliage and side branches as you go (anything below the waterline of the intended vase).
Sear sappy/milky stems with a flame or boiling water (poppies, hollyhocks, etc).
Hammer the bottom and strip bark from woody stems.
Arrange flowers in a clean vase, filled with tepid water.
Add a tiny bit of sugar and a few drops of bleach (hydrogen peroxide based is fine) to the vase when you arrange flowers.
Check and change the water in vases every other day.
A combination I love: Blue Siberian Iris with Physocarpus opulifolius ‘Diablo’ (read more about Physocarpus opulifolius here)
Weigela florida ‘Red Prince’ produces lovely cerise blossoms on strong branchesÂ (read more about this beautiful, tough shrub here)
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