Cut price cut flowers

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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11 Responses to Cut price cut flowers

  1. Bill says:

    Hi there, piper!In the past I have used hydro-culture to grow leeks, onions, chives, & even cellerry in the fridge. They do quite well, but I always throw a copper coin in the water. I only did it to avoid frost & sun problems on the window-sill. It also helps to soak up some of the gas in the fridge. Obviously, as a feller, I have always had so little time, & believe that good land should be reserved for edible fruit & veg.My mother not only had green fingers, but was also reasonably artistic, & female, therefore having some appetite for, & successs with flowers. Her own mother was even more successful with flowers, originally a school headmistress, she loved large, green, houseplants, which were obviously useful, in a house full of gas cooking & lamps. She had no leccy in the house, & also had some phobia of the \’phone.I still yet wish that I had space for large green houseplants, they would certainly improve my health, & would assist in keeping the place clean & sweet, during my abscence of several days each week. On a bed of sand & gravel, lime & charcoal, they only need watering once/week. A handful of copper coins in the bed is also useful, as they remove the heavy metals, lead, cadmium etc.As a pacifist & eco-warrior, I have always been against "cut flowers", & find that small pot plants, on the same beds as above, are also useful, although they do need slightly more "service & maintenance". They are also more seasonal, including various hyacynths, fuscias, various small bulbs, etc. I also prefer to gift ladies small potted plants, that will, with adequate tlc, go forth, multiply, & will, in such manner, not only last forever, but also give so much "eternal pleasure". It would not only give me so much more pride & pleasure, but would equally cost even less, if I had the necessary facillities to "grow my own" for this purpose. I have in the past, where possible, chosen the floral gift, according to the birthsign of the lady recipient. I use "wikipedia" as a means of such info. I find a floral gift, tailored to the birthsign, is still the most "effective", best mannered, & safest "PC" gift, in most cases, whatever age the recipient.The gifts do not need to be given only on birthdays, or to be in full bloom at the time, but do need a small comic or romantic card, with service & maintenance instructions. They can be given at any time, for any reason.I have attempted seed trays full of herbs on my window-sills, always with adequate sand, lime & charcoal in the compost, on a "hydro-bed" of gravel chip and washing soda, with a few copper coins. Sadly, both the council lanlord, as also the home-office Para-Military object most strongly, & repeatedly destroy, or confiscate my efforts.I have also attempted various salad veg, in window boxes, on the same easy-care hydro-beds, with the same miserable results. The sooner I succeed in relocation to Freehold, or at least private rental, as remote as possible, the better. Even a tent, on a remote beach, would be an improvement.

  2. Anthony says:

    how about buying house plants which flower a lot, like busy lizzies(and there are huge varieties of them) and potted chrysanthemums, hyacinths, etc. They flower constantly, with one lot dying to be replaced by others. and they are hardy plants so that even someone like me who water my plants when i feel like it, am rewarded by my forgiving busy lizzie.

  3. Christine says:

    Bill has a good point about using potted plants rather than flowers to adorn the house. They last longer and with the right care are a really good investment. There\’s a House Plant expert by DG Hessayon that will help you with choice and care of plants – a good investment if you decide to go down that road (borrow it from your local library and see if it appeals to you). Flowers in the house can be an absolute nightmare if you have visitors or relatives who suffer with hay fever. Having grown up with an accute hay fever sufferer, I know exactly what chaos they can cause. The nicer the smell, the worse the hay fever.You can grow various sorts of everlasting flowers that can be dried and used for many years or you can ask for dried flower arrangements as gifts. You can then store, dust, put out and used in rotation. Or you can buy varieties of flowers and branches from places like garden centres which can be mixed and matched in different arrangements round the house, put away and bought out again when you fancy. These are much longer lasting than bought bunches of flowers. They are a bit more expensive to begin with but don\’t have to be watered, cared for and composted. Oh and they don\’t give people hay fever.But if none of the frugal ways I\’ve suggested appeal to you, don\’t forget to have sweet peas in your selection of flowers for the house. These can run up a tripod of canes, look brilliant in the garden and the more you cut, the more you get. You can usually get a tray of them at a cheap enough rate to put round the tripod if you don\’t have greenhouse space to bring them on. They look lovely with asparagus fern in a vase. On the other hand you could take a country walk around the hedge rows and pick a variety of wild items to make arrangements. The nicest one I ever saw used docks that had grown seed heads, ornamental grasses, odd ears of various sorts of corn and one or two dried flowers. Buttercups, poppies and dandelions don\’t last indoors I have found though despite their vibrant colours but verges and hedge rows can be a good source of basic items like interesting twigs.

  4. Christine says:

    PS you can get sachets of chemicals to help your flowers to last longer but they are dreadful expensive things.

  5. Bill says:

    Hi there, Christine!Sweet Peas were my mothers favourite, next to Lillys o\’ t\’ Valleys. Both the Lillys, as also Sweet Peas do well in window boxes & large shallow pots indoors. My brother has no luck with them, on the very same outdoor patch where my mother succeeded for almost half a century, he does not dig out and feed in the same fashion. I have also done well with both in hanging baskets, even with a few radish & spring onions scattered among them.Large shallow pots, with clean fresh home-made compost, are good on large tables, with an inverse wigwam of sticks, draped with a sisal net. I do the same with hanging baskets indoors. Obviously the pots always do better stood in/on a "hydro-" tray, in my career I oft found myself keeping extremely anti-social hours, oft away for 10 -12 days, even more.Have you tried Cactus to beat the hay-fever?I am no expert, but cactus are live green plants, therefore are fantasic air recycling/fresheners, & need almost no tlc., a great advantage for me, but sadly I have never found any of the several varieties too decorative. I doubt if they cause hay-fever.Buttercups, dandelions, & poppies all do extremely well in baskets, pots & window boxes, also nettles & thistles, even heather clover & lavender. All can be consumed in the kitchen, although dandelions, thistles & nettles can run out of control in such good compost/conditions. Thick, bushy dandelions (lion\’s teeth), can be chopped & consumed as a form of lettuce, thier roots can be washed, peeled & grated, no more than a teaspoonful on top of any salat, extreme iron rich & good for the liver. Thistle & nettle roots are extremely similar, & extreme tasty.A good handfull of fresh picked mini daisy heads on top of spud soup is very good for the digestion.

  6. piper says:

    Good idea about the potted plants, although I still love a vase full of different flowers. Luckily we haven\’t had anybody round who seems to suffer from hayfever. I didn\’t know that about cacti, Bill! The cutting plot has gone so mad that now we are struggling to keep up with it. There are flowers everywhere!

  7. FATMAN says:

    My wife loves flowers in the house even though she suffers from hay-fever… I keep telling her but she just brings in more…Some nice information on how to keep them looking nice..Have a great weekFATMAN X

  8. Bill says:

    Hi again, piper!That pic looks fantastic, but I still believe that pots, window boxes, inside or out, even hanging baskets, can look almost as good. Then, you have the advantage of The Femine Hand.There are so many varieties of cacti, you should check them for pollen/hay-fever with an expert, before buying.If your flower plot is so good, why not take a simple, small, lightweight, ex-RAF two-man bivvy into a small clearing in the plot, & camp there for a few short weeks to really enjoy the full value of real live floral beauty, first hand. I used to dream of sleeping in a rose bed, in full bloom, just an inflatable double mattress, a lightwieght weather-proof double bivvy bag, citrus milk-shake, or bannana puree in cold cocoa, a large enough thermos, with a pair of ice cubes to keep it cool, & the Lady of my dreams. What a way to enjoy the setting of the sun, as also the dawn chorus?A breakfast of melon & fresh strawberries, in minted creme chantilly, are you convinced yet?Sadly, I still need to purchase, or otherwise "appropiate", that damned elusive Rose Bed.

  9. maji says:

    Women are savvier at handling their finances than men, a new set of figures suggests.Women Find Saving \’Easy\’In research carried out by Engage Mutual Assurance, about two out of three females (67 per cent) are reported to find it "relatively easy" to keep up a routine of saving money. Meanwhile, 70 per cent of ladies are able to budget well, in comparison to 68 per cent of males. The results come despite women being indicated to earn 30 per cent less money than men.

  10. Issi says:

    To prevent roses from drooping, pierce through the green base of the petal heads with a needle or pin. Don\’t know why it works, but it does!

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