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Seasonal Tip

Your Own Fresh Cut Flowers
June 21, 2009

An arrangement of fresh flowers brightens any room. Imagine your satisfaction and sense of accomplishment if the flowers on display were the very same ones that you cultivated in your own garden! It is a great feeling to bring a bit of the garden indoors.

It is very easy to occasionally snip blossoms and stems from your existing landscape. However, if you would like to have a constant supply of fresh cuts, it is a good idea to actually grow a garden specifically for cutting.

Consider your garden placement carefully. Cutting gardens are usually kept out-of-sight. They are created for utility, not aesthetics.

Many flowers are suitable for a cutting garden, especially longer stemmed annuals and perennials. Cutting actually encourages these plants to produce more blooms.

Popular cutting garden choices include:
Yarrow, Salvia, Zinnia, Coneflowers, Lilies, Roses, Monkshood, Delphinium, Sunflowers, Dahlias, Liatris, Baby's Breath, Statice, and Sea Lavender. Colorful foliage and grasses are also essential for texture and filler.

Harvest stems early in the morning or in the evening. The stems contain more water and will last much longer than those that are cut during the hotter daytime hours.

It is best to cut most blooms when they are just beginning to open, or still have buds. Daisy-types should be cut when they have fully opened.

After cutting, immediately place the stems into a bucket of luke-warm water you've brought with you into the garden. Cut on a diagonal to expose a larger stem surface for more water absorption. Remove any leaves that fall below the water line to prevent rotting.

When you are ready to use your flowers, fill a vase with cool water and add a preservative. Floral preservatives can be purchased at a local flower shop, or mix 50% water with 50% lemon-lime soda. The sugar and citric acid serve the same purpose as a store-bought product.

Create your arrangement by adding a little filler foliage for structure. Add your taller cuts first and move to smaller. For optimal duration, keep your flowers away from air conditioners/heaters and out of direct sunlight.

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