There's a flower in your vase...
Growing and enjoying seasonal flowers is a way to embrace both beauty and impermanence. I love wandering the flower fields and honing in to the timing of the bloom. In a way it's a form of communicating with the plants. Just as with harvesting our vegetables and fruits, there is an optimal time to pick flowers. I try and capture this peak expression of the natural and floral world in each bouquet.
With each bouquet we share with you we extend this peak expression of beauty, function, and olfactory come-on, inviting you too to enjoy the sweet nectar hidden inside these lovely petals.
How Long will my Bouquets last?
Most bouquets will last for a week if properly cared for. My flowers are super fresh and are picked within a day of delivery, stored in the cooler. Many people think that flowers only last a day. It’s just not true, at least it shouldn’t be if you are getting them from a reputable business. I've been growing and experimenting with flowers, conducting vase life trials for over 10 years and here's a few helpful tips that I've experimented with to extend your bouquet's vase life:
- "Keep your vases as clean as your teacups and change the water everyday."
- Strip any leaves below the water line.
- Kitchen-ingredient recipes for floral preservatives: a pinch of vinegar or vitamin C with an aspirin or dash of sugar are some of the most popular. This makes sense, considering most floral preservatives consist of a sugar, an acid, and a germicide. Though do they work and do they really matter? Maybe, though some flowers such as yarrows, cosmos, dahlias, sunflowers, mint family plants, zinnias, asters, asclepias, coneflowers, strawflowers, actually do better without any preservative.
- Fruit and flowers in the field go hand in hand and biologically speaking you can't have one without the other. In your vase, though, fruit and flowers don't mix as well. The ethylene gas released by some fruits (especially apples) can speed up the decay of even the hardiest of butterflyweed blooms and liasianthus.
- Keep your flowers away from heat sources like your TV, refrigerator, a sunny window, etc
- Pick out flowers that droop toward week's end and compost. You can move flowers into a smaller vase the amount of flowers decrease toward week's end.
- Experiment with drying your blooms - cut the stems and hang upside from a hanger out of the sun. This works especially well for stattice, strawflower, lavender, liatrus, and gomphrena.
- Flowers with hairy or rough stems tend to make the water funky a little faster than those with smooth stems. When you change the water out, rinse the stems and your vase.
- Admire the weekly phenology of both the delicate blooms and resilient petals that outlast the rest.
As with the seasons, there is a cycle to flowers post harvest. Watch a peony unfold one day and petals fall to the next. Enjoy the morning rays of sunflower sunshine in your vase and watch it rain pollen on your tablecloth toward week's end.
Flower Specific info:
- Daffodils and narcissus secrete a slimy solution when cut that is allepathic (toxic) to other flowers. Avoid trimming the stems if you have these flowers in your bouquet. The same is true for Asclepias (butterflyweed and milkweed flowers). In general, you can enjoy these flowers mixed in a bouquet if you keep them separate in their own vase overnight. The next day the secretion will stop and will not impact your other flowers.
- Flowering kale/cabbage flowers, they are a long lasting cut "flower" and they smell a bit like...well...cabbage. It is important to change the water every couple of days.
Sweet peas, dahlias, garden roses are ephemeral beauties, usually lasting 3-5 days in your bouquet depending on the variety. With roses, I like to dry petals as they fall and enjoy them in a bath or as potpourri later in the fall/winter months.
Flower (and Herb) Drying Made Easy:
Virtually any flower or herb (with the exception of cilantro) can be preserved by one method or another, however, some species render themselves better to preservation than others.
One such way to enjoy the colors and spices of the season is through drying. The following are some tips for experimenting with flower and herb drying:
- Pick flowers and herbs at the peak of perfection (generally the same time you would pick for fresh use, which is late morning, after the dew has dried but before they are subjected to the heat of the day).
- Bunch flowers and herbs with rubber bands and attach to string and hang upside down from a clothes hanger in a warm, dark place with good air circulation.
- Incorporate into bouquets, spice racks, in the bath, or under your pillow to beat the winter blues.
- Johnny's Selected Seeds has a great summary of flower drying tips on their website