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So, you’ve just received a beautiful bouquet of cut flowers delivered to your door, or at work. Maybe it’s your birthday, or it’s a stunning bouquet of roses from your Valentine. Wow! What a special surprise, or maybe it was expected.

So what now? How do you show them off and care for them? In this article I will share with you how to care for  your  fresh flowers, and what tips and tricks to use to extend their life for more enjoyment.

Most people hunt around for any kind of vase, fill it with water, and place the bouquet in the vase. This is a common mistake. Firstly, the container needs to be an appropriate size and shape for the bouquet. A long stem bouquet will need a tall, upright vase, whereas a short stem posy will best suit a squat, wide mouthed vase. If you’re short on vases I can help with vase hire or sales. My collection is vast! (It’s one of my weaknesses).

The water level is important too. Only ¾ fill the vase, as more will be added in the coming days. Every bouquet is supplied with a sachet of flower food. Dissolve ½ the sachet into the water and stir well. Save the rest for later. This flower food is especially made to feed the flowers and fight any build-up of bacteria from the stems. It’s kind of like a fertilizer for flowers. Top up with fresh water in the days ahead.

Most bouquets from a reputable florist will have the leaves stripped from the stems. Any leaves below water level will cause bacteria to grow and build up, which shortens the life of cut flowers straight away. Remove any leaves/foliage before putting your bouquet in water.

We’re almost there…. Lastly, turn your bouquet upside down. Why? Have a close look at the ends of the stems. They should be white/greenish inside. This indicates they have been recently cut, which is vital for the health of your flowers. A fresh cut allows for water to quickly uptake through the stem and into the flower head, extending the life of the flowers. This should be done every 2-3 days. Using secateurs or a sharp knife, cut stem ends on an angle about 3 cm from the end. Cutting on an angle creates a larger surface area for water uptake than a straight cut.

Now you’re ready to vase up your bouquet. You may decide to remove the wrapping, or leave it on. I would suggest in summer it’s best to remove it to allow the flowers to breath and air. If you’ve received an arrangement in a base/box, you will only need to carefully water every 2 days, as the flowers are drinking from an oasis base.

Now for the fun part….where to place your beautiful flowers. A tall, long stem arrangement will make an impact in any entrance, foyer, or hallway. This is where the elements of design come into it. As I mentioned in my last blog, the arrangement needs to be in scale with the surface it sits on, and the space around it. Consider the size of the table/sideboard and room. Does the arrangement look as if it belongs, or is it out of place? Play around with the area you are in, try different spots until you get the combination right.

Be aware that some everyday things in and around the home/office can shorten the life of your flowers, e.g. keep flowers away from fruit and vegetables, as they emit a gas called ethylene. Also keep them out of sunlight, and away from exhaust fumes, as all of these will damage cut flowers and shorten their life. That’s why it’s important not to buy flowers from fruit shops, servos or roadside stalls. When you buy flowers from a reputable florist/floral designer, you know you are getting fresh flowers that have been conditioned properly with the right care and attention.

As a floral designer, I offer additional services that go beyond just creating bouquets and arrangements. One of these services is staging and styling. Are you selling your home? Or are you hosting an important dinner/event? I can help with both of these.

If you are having an open home inspection in the future, and want  to  add  that  splash  of  pizazz,  I  can  work  with  you to decorate your home with fresh bouquets and arrangements. It’s amazing how a few strategically placed arrangements can light up a room and transform it from the mundane into a stylish, modern space. Using fresh flowers to enhance the presentation and warmth of the home will create a good first impression, add to the impact, and create a pleasurable memory.

Another service I am offering is the gift that keeps on giving. A Pick of the Bunch gift voucher offers a choice of regular arrangements delivered to the recipient for either 2, 3, or 4 consecutive weeks. Contact Wendy on 0401 317 011.