How to Care for Store-Bought Flowers

279e85c130e429061dcd39b07152c774Who doesn’t like receiving a big beautiful bouquet full of freshly-cut flowers? Those flowers won’t stay fresh for long if you don’t know how to take care of them, however. Here are a few tips on how to do just that.

The first step is to transfer the flowers to a vase filled with fresh water. Keep the water level high even if your flowers came in floral foam. Temperatures can vary, but The Savvy Homemaker recommends a water temperature of about 100°F to 110°F.

Add some floral preservative to the water. Some bouquets such as those from M&S Flowers come with a small packet of flower food, although you can make your own batch by mixing some sugar, lemon juice, and a little bleach into the water. Teleflora suggests that an aspirin tablet can also be used in a pinch.

You should also re-cut the flowers’ stems every few days. Tie them together just above the vase’s edge so you don’t have to rearrange them later. You can also follow Garden Guides and trim the stems underwater so as to prevent air bubbles from forming in the stems.

Cut the stems at a 45° angle about an inch from the bottom. The angular cut ensures that your flowers can absorb as much water as they can. Be very careful when cutting the stems. To avoid crushing or mashing them, use a sharp cutter or a pair of scissors. Cut off any foliage that falls below the waterline.

Once your flowers are in a vase, check them daily. If you replace the water completely, clean the container as well. Remove the leaves and stem parts to limit the growth of harmful bacteria. Don’t forget to add some floral preservative to the new batch of water.

Finally, display your flowers in a cool spot. Temperatures between 65°F and 72°F work well for most flowers. Don’t put them in direct sunlight or near a heat source like televisions or radiators. You might also want to move them to a cooler location every night to make them stay fresh and vibrant longer.

To your garden success!
Casey – the Garden Lass

You Can Lead a Rose to Water

… but rose perfume is still gonna stink.

This morning’s watering trip to the rose garden was a lovely surprise, and reinforced my belief that watering properly is a Good Thing. Here ya go (to the right).  A picture is worth a thousand whiffs. When it comes to rose perfume, I’ll settle for the snapshot.

rose blooms at weird times in weird weather, smell weird

Lovely results of watering the heck out of the rose bush in front. Unfortunately, they probably  smell just like roses.

I’ve been giving the two rose bushes by the house a morning soak for over a month now. As a result the rose bush to the north is going nuts, putting out all sorts of new growth, running great stickery stems up the side of the house. It’s really looking pretty durn good.

A Rose by Any Other Scent Would Smell Just Fine

I do wish they’d breed a scentless rose, or one that smells like juniper or mint, or chocolate! Somehow I doubt that’s going to happen. But who knows. The sum total of what I know about roses is:

  • they’re pretty,
  • they flower at weird times,
  • they’ve got thorns,
  • they catch on my sleeves, and
  • perfume made from roses smells NOTHING like roses do in person.

My Take on Rose Perfume is that it’s Awful

At the risk of seeming un-American – a nod to the American Beauty – rose perfumes stink. You can’t get me in the same room with rose perfume or cologne or “attar,” whatever the heck that is. Putting me in the same room with rose scented stuff is not quite as bad as putting me in the same room with an open cantaloupe, but close. To me, rose perfume is the olfactory equivalent to fingernails on chalkboards.

Bottom Line – the Confessional

Ok, I confess. I’m one of those people who overreact to quite a few scents and tastes. Aside from the innocent bud under discussion, my eyes water and throat closes up if I get near chrysanthemums, marigolds, some poppies, tomato leaves (and guess what I started to grow FIRST in my brand new garden), peaches, apricots, rhubarb, hollyhock, and some forms of salt cedar.  Turns out I’m not the only one.  Check out this article on perfume allergies and sensitivities at

Oddly, I have no problem with garlic, onions, even peppers.

I should probably skip gardening and settle for an impact-free bubble. But gardening is so much fun!




Demise of an Orchid – a horticultural tragedy in three acts

cymbidium and how to repot

Not my cymbidium. This is what I wish my cymbidium had looked like.

Now posting firmly to the list of Plants I Won’t Try to Grow Again: Cymbidium. Bleh. A whole three months into this gardening venture and already I’m developing firm (and probably misinformed) opinions about what I don’t like to take care of.

Act One, Scene One

This was a gorgeous stem of flowers hovering above graceful arched leaves, growing slowly and with stately resolve toward the side of its original too-small pot. It would faintly sigh, a most ladylike lament, as if it would not dream of complaining, but “this pot does cramp my toes, and I’d be ever so grateful…”

Act One, Scene Two

So I did my best. I watched the videos about how to repot a cymbidium, such as this one:

If I could have brought my repotting station anywhere near the computer, I would have watched while I was working. Instead I’d get as far as I could then rest the poor thing gently on its side while I ran to consult the video gurus once again.

Act One, Scene Three

Slice – separate – sort out roots, hack off roots, reposition in moist extremely well cultivated stuff – wait a week for it to settle down, then resume normal care.  Yep, did that.

Someone forgot to tell MY cymbidium that it is supposed to enjoy this transplanting, hacking, resting, separating, potting stuff. It acted miserable for the first two days of being told no food, no water – you’re supposed to be resting!

“Like hell,” it muttered, turned toes-up and fainted. Thus begins Act Two of the Shakespearean tragedy, “Demise of an Orchid.”

(INTERMISSION – Champagne & Tea in the Lobby)

Act Two, Scene One

So I played along. I coddled and begged, pleaded and fed, adjusted ambient light, location, background music, scents and sounds — to no avail. Maybe it didn’t like the color of the new terra cotta pot.

Act Two, Scene Two

We played out this lament, Cymbidium and I, for the better part of two months. It’d get better. I’d ask how it felt. Swan song, limp leaf, blackened stem, gentle on-deathbed-feebly-reaching-for-ceiling sigh. “Leave me to my agony,” soft cough. “I see a light… so bright, so warm, so welcoming…”

Act Three, Scene One

So about an hour ago I dumped it and its histrionics out into Bunny Buffet Land. No more drama queen plants. From here on out, the only drama queens allowed in this household are our cats, Chatterbox and Growler – and they wouldn’t dream of being potted.

 <-> The End <->