Only ten minutes ago, somebody came into our shop — a young man with a strong American accent, who clocked me as being British, and asked whether we do the preservation of flowers. What he was looking for was to have the bridal bouquet of his upcoming wedding mummified, so to speak, and preserved for all eternity. What a lovely idea and needless to say the Japanese (who else?!) are doing this sort of thing for some time already.
Well, we at Confetti are not there yet. Maybe in the future we will do this as well, but in order to sell fresh cut flowers every florist must know how to prolong the life of the flowers in his care. In fact, my partner, time and again, has expressed her surprise to see some professional florists caring so little for their flowers. And yet this should be a matter of interest not just for the florist! The flowers you buy and carry home should and can last longer than just the next day.
It’s not merely a matter of fresh water. Once cut from the soil a flower needs nourishment and care. Unfortunately, roses must be dethorned, for the florist who is arranging and tying bouquets, roses can be painfully prickly customers. (An uncle of mine was once caught trying to smuggle through customs a cactus hidden under the shirt where it was poking the bare skin. The officer who spotted him found his gait a bit strange and called my uncle back when he was already leaving with a sigh of relief. I kid you not! The aficionados of cacti are quite a peculiar race. I still don’t understand what was so special about this botanical porcupine. It must have been rare or endangered. My uncle had a collection of some sixteen hundred succulents, or so I was told.)
But let’s get back to flowers: if you can do without dethorning them, your fresh cut roses will live longer. More important though, is what you are going to feed them. Every time you change the water you ought to cut off a little from the stem at the bottom before putting the flowers back into a mix of fresh water, a few drops of bleach, of vinegar and some sugar. And if possible – at least over night, when nobody is looking at the flowers anyway – find some space in your fridge or under the cold draft from your air conditioning.
Give it a try! You won’t be disappointed.