Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Cutting Garden Flowers Brings the Outside Indoors

Calendula, Godetia and Bachelor Buttons in the Higgledy garden.

Planning a cutting garden or just want to bring the outdoors inside? Crabapple LandscapExperts say there are plenty of benefits from bringing freshly cut garden flowers indoors. 

Flowers from the yard:  
1. save money 
2. are very fresh
3. last a long time
4. are homey
5. can be selected for a color scheme 

Getting Started
  • Disinfect a deep bucket with detergent or a bleach solution (1 part bleach : 9 parts water)  
  • Fill with warm (not hot, not cold) water and 
  • Add a cut flower preservative. 
  • Commercial "Cut Flower Food" provides: 
    1. elaborated sugars that are normally supplied in the growing plant by the leaves and
    2. a disinfectant to reduce the growth of bacteria that clogs the vascular (water-conducting) tissues
Rosie Lerner and Michael Dana of the Perdue Department of Horticulture offer three recipes for make-your-own preservative solutions that will prolong the life of the flowering branches in Forcing Branches for Winter Color

Homemade Flower Life
2 C lemon-lime soda (with sugar)
2 C Fresh Water
½ teaspoon Chlorine Bleach

  • Use disinfected, sharpened bypass pruners or a clean, sharp knife to harvest garden flowers 
  • Know what stage of growth to pick
a.    Zinnias full grown
b.    Sunflowers just opened to prevent petal damage
c.    Roses in loose buds
d.    Black eyed Susans and purple coneflowers fully opened
e.    Salvia in bud to flower
f.     Hydrangeas and Hellebores older, mature flowers prevents wilting
g.    Fennel, plug up the tubular stem w a wet cotton ball
h.    Early Spring- forced woody branches (forsythia)
i.    Tulips
j      Holiday evergreens

  • Immediately plunge the flowers into the bucket of water and floral life  
  • Re-cut each stem UNDERWATER on an angle to increase the surface area and ensure that it won’t sit flat on the bottom of the vase. Trim off any buds or twigs that will be submerged under water so they won’t rot 
  • Split or score the bottom inch or two of each stem if woody (like Hydrangeas) to expose the conductive tissues (cambium layer) and encourage maximum water uptake and plunge them into the waiting vase
  • Some plants with soft stems and heavy flower heads like Gerber daisies or tulips will droop, so wrap the bunch in newspaper and stand them in deep water overnight
  • Arrange them in a decorative vase, positioning with:
a.    Floral frog
b.    Chicken-wire mesh
c.    Pebbles at bottom of vase
d.    Oasis Floral Foam
e.    Needlepoint holder
f.     Criss-crossed tape over mouth of tall vase
  • Enjoy them in your home, but out of direct sunlight                                                                                                 

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