Home grown cut flowers

with Brownie

One of the most delightful parts of having a garden is to be able to grow colourful and fragrant flowers, then picking and displaying them inside to brighten up your home.
So, if you’ve gone to the effort of growing special flowers, you want to be able to make sure that once they’re picked and in a vase, they last and look their best.
These hints will help you to get the best from your blooms.
Picking your flowers
Always pick flowers in the cool of the early morning. Make sure you have a half-filled bucket of cool water at the ready. Snip the stems longer than you need and put them straight into the water. Keep the bucket and flowers out of the direct sunlight until you take them inside.
Arranging your flowers
Work out the vase you’ll need and half fill it with water before you start. With a sharp pair of snips, cleanly cut the stems under the water in the bucket to the right length for the vase. Strip off any leaves that are going to be under the water level in the vase. Into the vase water you can add a teaspoon each of sugar and bleach to help feed the flowers and kill bacteria in the water.
Reviving your flowers
Every other day, take the flowers out, put them in some water in the sink, cut off a small section of the stem whilst under the water, then put them straight back into the vase with some fresh water.
Specific flowers
Roses are delicate and must be cut in the cool morning. Remove the thorns to make them easy to handle.
Flowers with sticky sap, like poinsettias, dahlias, frangipani and poppies, need the very end of the cut stem plunged into boiling water for a few minutes or quickly burnt with a flame, to cauterise the cut and seal the sap flow.
Daffodils, hyacinths and belladonna lilies need the sap squeezed out of the base of the stems – just use your fingers.
Poppies only need a few centimetres of water in the vase, otherwise the stems will rot.
Stock and wallflowers will foul the water quickly, so the vase water needs changing daily.
Chrysanthemum leaves die quickly so strip nearly all of them off before arranging.
Hibiscus flowers only last a day. So pick them in the morning, store them in the fridge (with the stems in water) before arranging them later in the day if you need them on display before guests arrive.
Orchids are the longest lasting flowers. They don’t need much care, just their dead flowers snipped off as they age.
Camellias respond better to dunking the whole bunch in water daily to help them stay hydrated.
Bulbs with flower spikes such as gladioli are best to pick when the lowest flower opens and the other buds are developed. They will gradually open for a longer display.
Dutch iris is picked when the bud looks something like a sharpened pencil.
Daffodils, jonquils and tulips exude a sap into the water which other cut flowers can find toxic, so keep them in separate vases to other flowers.
Woody stemmed flowers such as protea, grevillea, wattle, flowering gums, lilly pilly, tea tree and bottlebrush will absorb a lot of water especially in their first few days of being cut. So top up their water regularly.
The joy in growing flowers can easily be multiplied by the pleasure of having them surrounding you in the home as well as blooming in the garden.