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A few simple considerations will help get the best from your home grown cut flowers (as well as bought ones) and prolong the vase life.
Cut flowers: cutting and conditioning
The flowers, foliage, stems and seed pods of a range annuals, perennials, bulbs, as well woody plants, can be used for flower arranging See cut flower growing and selection for more information.
Precaution: It is best to use gloves when picking and handling cut flowers. All parts of some flowers, such as monkshood (Aconitum), are poisonous; others can cause skin irritation. See the poisonous plants page for details
Floral Designer and British Flower Ambassador Jonathan Moseley shows you how to make your cut flowers last longer. He shares some top tips around preparing, positioning and aftercare, which should make any bouquet last and bring you joy for a long time.
Conditioning is preparing the cut flowers to prolong their longevity in displays and ensure they look their best. Condition the cut stems by following these five simple steps:
A home-made preservative is unlikely to be as effective as a proprietary one but is simple and cheap to make.
To make a one litre of the solution
Stir the water thoroughly before adding the flowers.
Problems to look out for;
The Cutting Garden by Sarah Raven (Frances Lincoln Ltd. 1996, 0-7112-1047-0)
The New Flower Arranger by Fiona Barnett (Lorenz Books 1995, ISBN: 1859670806)
Allan M. Armitage's Specialty Cut Flowers by Allan Armitage (Timber Press 1993, ISBN 0-88192-225-0.1)
Postharvest Handling and Storage of Cut Flowers, Florists Greens and Potted Plants by Joanna Nowak and Ryszard M Rudnicki (Timber Press 1990, ISBN 0-412-37350-5)
Introduction to Floriculture edited by Roy A Larson (Academic Press 1992, ISBN 0-12-437651-7)
These books are made available through the RHS Lindley Library.
Floral Design Institute
Flower and Plants Association
Flower mutations: proliferation
Cut flowers: growing and selection
National Association of Flower Arrangement Societies
Non-flowering woody plants
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