If there’s one thing we can be sure of this week, it’s that a considerably large number of well deserving mums the length and breadth of Britain will be on the receiving end of the glorious gift of flowers come Sunday. That’s right it’s Mothering Sunday! A far better gift than the other ill thought out coincidence of the clocks going forward and losing an hour’s sleep.
So, be that a jolly hand picked bunch of fresh daffs and tulips direct from the garden or an elaborate rose filled bouquet - knowing how to treat your cut flowers will ensure you reap as much enjoyment as possible for the longest possible amount of time. After all, flowers are the gift of slow nature’s beauty in an increasingly hectic and busy digital world so who wouldn’t want the pleasure to last?
Regardless of if your flowers arrived in or out of water the first step is to give them a long refreshing drink in a “clean” vessel. Whatever you’re using to display your flowers in, be sure to give it a good scrub beforehand with detergent to kill any lurking bacteria from the last inhabitants. Fill your chosen vessel with room temperature water, remove any leaves that will sit below the water line and using a sharp pair of scissors or secateurs cut a couple of cm diagonally off the stem and pop into the water immediately. If the cut isn’t sharp you could damage the stem and restrict the flow of water. If you have any droopy heads, try cutting a good 5cm off.
The majority of bouquets still arrive with a sachet of flower food so do use it. If not, you can add an acidic ingredient such as lemon juice of vinegar to help neutralise the alkaline in the tap water and reduce the bacteria. There’s an old wives tale about adding lemonade to flower water. My mum always did this when my dad bought her flowers on a Friday. I know I’m biased but he was a bit of a winner because when I was little he bought me a little bunch of freesia every Friday as well :) If we didn’t have any lemonade I remember us adding vinegar and and a spoonful of sugar to the vase. Bleach is also a popular add to flower water but I hate the stuff and avoid having in my home at all costs. However, if you’re more tolerant than me you could add a splash.
When it’s time to decide where to put your flowers so you can see and enjoy them every day, be mindful of drafts, avoid direct sunlight and don’t be tempted to put near the fruit bowl! Believe it or not ripe fruit gives off a natural gas that’s actually harmful to flowers. It will shorten their vase life, prevent any buds from opening and can even impact the colour of delicate petals….. not good.
Keep an eye on the water and top up regularly. If you want your flowers to last for as long as possible it’s imperative to change the water and give a fresh cut to stems every few days. Always remove wilted flowers to keep your arrangement fresh and above all else, sit back gaze awhile and enjoy. You deserve it.