In a recent article for The Guardian, Harriet Green expressed what my assumptions were towards the world of flowers until a couple of years ago. She stated that ‘until now my chosen flower arranging method has been: buy cheap daffodils, roses or tulips from a supermarket. Hack off an inch of stem, and plonk them in a vase.’ I think we all do this sometimes, even florists, I most certainly am guilty. But she then went on to say what I have now learned to be 100% true, that a ‘scruffy bunch of flowers may be better than no flowers at all, but, with guidance, the results could be so much better’.
I wholeheartedly believe that to have gorgeous flowers in your home you do not need to be a flower obsessive, have hours of spare time or piles of money in the bank. With a little thought you can have an arrangment that will look better, last longer, and look truly beautiful; all you need to know are a few simple steps.
I’ll be coming back to this thread in later posts, because above all I’d like people to stop being scared of floristry, but for now I’ll start at the beginning.
Conditioning is the most important stage in keeping your flowers healthy, and helping them live longer.
The first thing you need to do is to strip the flower stem of nearly all it’s leafs, as well as all it’s branchs and thorns. Try not to rip them off the stem as this can encourage infection to grow which increases the health risk to you flower. Instead, cut them off neatly using a shap pair of scissors, as close to the stem as you can get (see me post on the best scissors here). This may seem like a rather barbaric act to some, but it encourages the water to flow directly to the flower head, which increase its life. You can take this opportunity to remove any straggly petals too.
Lastly you need to cut the ends of your stems off at an angle. I cannot express the importance of this stage enough, especially for flowers with woody stems like roses. If you don’t do it, and the blunt end of the stem is sitting on the bottom of your vase the flower cannot drink and will die. Cutting at a sharp angle increases the surface area of the stem preventing this problem.
At the end of the day flowers what to live, they will fight to stay alive, but conditioning them as well as you can will just give them the best chance of lasting and looking beautiful for as long as possible.