Over the years, I’ve spent a lot of time working with flowers. As some of you may know, in a ‘previous’ life I worked exclusively with pressed and dried flowers. I’ve also trained with Constance Spry (many years ago!) so I’ve picked up all sorts of tricks of the trade for fresh flowers, so I thought I’d share a few of them with you…
- Florists use the juvenile foliage of eucalyptus which is more rounded and attractive than that found on mature plants. Grow your eucalyptus as a coppiced plant, pruning hard each year to encourage a constant supply of immature stems for cutting.
- Although they may come into flower at the same time, never be tempted to mix tulips in a vase with daffodils. Narcissus species exude a substance that prevents your tulips (and other cut flowers) from taking up water.
- It’s important to cut sweet peas regularly to encourage more blooms. Cut the flowers just as the lowest bloom is opening and put them in water immediately for a longer vase life.
- To avoid problematic pollen stains on clothes and furniture, try gently removing the stamens from lilies as they open. When cutting lily stems from the garden it’s important to leave a third of the stem intact in order to feed the bulb for the following year.
- When growing gladiolus specifically for cutting, plant them in rows in the vegetable patch. This makes them much easier to harvest.
- When growing roses as cut flowers, be ruthless and remove any poorly placed flower buds that are unlikely to make good cut flowers to direct energy into the best blooms.
- Avoid standing carnation arrangements in direct light as they will quickly fade.
- Sunflowers are best cut with sharp secateurs early in the morning or late in the evening while temperatures are cool.
- Gladiolus flowers will generally all reach maturity at about the same time, but if you want to prolong the cutting season then try to stagger planting at two-week intervals so that they mature at different times.