Cut Flowers: Problems
What there is to say about this, might well be written in Catherine wheels of fire— or emphasized by any known device that might make it register.
Beginners, particularly, are negligent about the matter of filling up vases—to me a sin in the category of forgetting to fill up the drinking trough of a canary.
Here then is the drill: As soon as theare arranged, the vase should be filled to the brim. If the vase is a capacious one, the water will probably not need replenishing till the next day. But shallow or over-full vases should be inspected a few hours after being arranged. After that, water should be added up to the brim each day. In cold weather, warm water may be used.
All cut flowers should be protected from draughts and kept as far as is reasonably possible from radiators and fires, especially gas and electric ones.
I find that with nearly all flowers it is best to cut them the day before they are required. If they are then put into deep bowls of water in a cool place, it enables them to absorb a good deal of water before they are exposed to handling and warm rooms.
Just after they are picked, and before they are put into water, flowers must be treated according to their needs:
Hard-wooded plants must be enabled to absorb enough water to keep alive, so peel or crush the tips of their stems, or split them for three or four inches. This applies in particular to fruit blossoms and lilac.
Soft-wooded stems, such as poppies and dahlias, may be sealed up by dipping their tips into boiling water for a few seconds. I have seen bluebells, treated this way, last a week.
Some flowers, like mignonette and stocks, foul the water quickly. So remove any leaf which touches the water, and put a lump of charcoal into the vase.
Wild flowers should be picked in bud, carefully rolled in newspaper, then revived in hot water and given a night in a cool, dark place. An alternative is to put the cut flowers in a polythene bag as soon as they are picked. In this way, they will remain fresh.