Although I do my best to save as much money as possible in the different areas of my life now, especially as cash has been tight this year, I still have some weak spots. One of them is for cut flowers. As soon as I walk into a supermarket and see the beautiful bouquets on display – usually near the front of the store – my resolve to stick to my shopping list weakens and I find myself drooling over the pretty blooms.
I do limit myself to buying cheap bunches and try to purchase things that last a couple of weeks, like cheery chrysanthemums, but it still adds up. And thinking about it now, cut flowers seem like a particularly frivolous purchase really, considering that all they do is die off. But while I’ll cheerfully do without other things, like new clothes, I don’t want to do without flowers around our home. They look so beautiful around the place and they never fail to cheer me up. I’ve tried using dried flowers but somehow it’s not the same as having fresh ones.
So this year to save money, DJ came up with a great solution. He decided to build us a cut flower growing plot in the back garden, specifically for filling up the vases in the house. I like to keep a vase in the lounge, a small one in our bedroom and occasionally a tiny one in the bathroom when we have visitors round, although I try to make one bunch of flowers from the supermarket cater for all three.
I was a bit dubious at first. DJ admits to being a vegetable grower first and foremost and not really seeing ‘the point’ of flowers as, unlike veg, like don’t do anything but look pretty. But he got a book by Gardener’s World presenter Sarah Raven out of the library about how to plan your plot and really did his research. Now the plot is coming into its own and he has made some beautiful displays already using the salvias, calendulas, rubekias and bishop’s flowers. The flowers are chosen for their ‘cut and come again’ qualities, so the more you cut them, the more they keep going. And I’m already impressed.
I’m curious to see how long the flowers will last once they’re cut and in a vase, though. The thing with supermarket chrysanthemums and carnations is that they seem to last for ages. Often I’ll cut flowers or herbs from the garden to make up a homemade arrangement but find they’ll only last a few days. However, apparently there are a number of tricks and techniques to keep cut flowers going for longer:
– Cut your flowers and then leave them in a darkened room in water to recover before using them.
– Burn the ends of the flower stems which exude sap with a lighted match.
– Trim the foliage below the water line to prevent it rotting.
– Change the water in the vase regularly to keep them fresh.
– Put sugar in the water to feed the flowers.
– Use lukewarm water for flowers and cold water only for bulbs.
– Try putting a drop of bleach into the water or a penny to prevent bacterial nasties from growing in it.
– Never put daffodils in a vase with anything else as the other flowers will die off because they produce a toxic compound.
– Keep your flowers away from direct sunlight and don’t leave them in a draught.
Got any tips for keeping cut flowers fresh? Have you come across some good cut flower bargains or a particular variety which is long lasting? Leave a message and let me know.
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