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Cutting and maintaining cut flowers

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The best time to pick flowers is early in the morning
Photo: Jardin botanique de Montréal (Lise Servant)

Fresh flowers

There is nothing nicer than going into your garden and picking your own flowers for a bouquet. Before getting started you should know that the best time to pick them is early in the morning, after the sun comes up. It’s very important not to touch any plants that are still wet with dew or overnight rain – it could cause them to flop and lead to various plant diseases. Don’t hold their stems too tightly or for too long, because the heat from your hands isn’t good for them. Pick stems with flowers right before they open or with just a few blooms already open. Most plants should be prevented from setting seed, an unnecessary drain on their energy. As quickly as possible, place the flowers in a container filled with tepid water, after first cutting the base of their stems on the diagonal under water and removing almost all the leaves.

Dried flowers

If you would like to dry some of your flowers, you’ll need to strip the leaves, tie the stems in fairly loose bunches, wrap them in a paper bag or newsprint and hang them upside down in a dark, dry and very well ventilated but draft-free place. You can use this method not only for “everlastings” like ammobium, strawflowers and statice, but also for more “aqueous” flowers, i.e. ones that hold more water, like astilbe and cockscomb. You can combine various flowers from your garden with fruit and leaves to create original arrangements. You may want to turn a small corner of your garden into a cutting garden, so that you will have something to pick and bring indoors all season long. Don’t be afraid to try something unusual, too. With a good knowledge of your plants’ needs and a little imagination, you’ll be amazed at all the lovely modern arrangements you can make.

 

Based on an article by Édith Bienvenue in Quatre-Temps magazine, vol.16, no.4.

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