2007-03-16 / Columnists

The Diary Of A Green Thumb

Commentary by Danielle McShane Rockaway Florist

Commentary by Danielle McShane Rockaway Florist

DANIELLE McSHANEDANIELLE McSHANE As spring blossoms begin to burst from the earth, the prospect of having fresh cut garden flowers inside our dwelling begins to bring a ray of sunshine into our hearts and homes. In preparation for this, we should roll back our sleeves, pull our vases from the cupboard, and make them sparkle again.

Fill the vases half way with luke warm water, and half with warm distilled white vinegar. Letting them soak overnight will help dissolve the hard water lines that may have formed from previous uses, and scrubbing them clean will be much easier. For narrow glass vases, I find that using a baby bottlebrush is an ideal way of obtaining a clean surface, without scratching the glass. I also keep a clean soft-bristled toilet brush for larger vases.

If hard stains refuse to dissipate, simply mix a pasty solution of baking soda and water, and apply to this area. Work it into the difficult stains in a circular motion. Follow this with a good rinse and set to dry.

To prevent this from reoccurring, I recommend changing the water in a vase of fresh cut flowers every two to three days. This will also help to lengthen the life of your flowers. The proper way to accomplish this is to simply remove the flowers from the vase, and rinse their stems. Wash the vase with warm sudsy water, and rinse thoroughly. Fill the vase with fresh cool water and floral preservative. Re-cut the stems on an angle, and place back in the vase. If done on a regular basis, this can almost double the life span of your fresh cut flowers. When preparing a vase for fresh cut flowers, always remember to use luke warm water the first time, and cool water for each subsequent water change.

Floral preservative is not recommended for bulb flowers such as tulips, daffodils, and hyacinth, such as the preservative tends to clog their stems, and shorten the life of these delicate blooms. Instead, to keep the water clear, and free from bacteria, I recommend a small amount of bleach added to the water. About a half teaspoon of bleach per one quart of water is ideal. For all other flowers, if floral preservative is not available, adding 1 tablespoon of lemon-up flavored soda per quart of water will surprisingly do the trick. The active ingredient in most commercial floral preservatives can be found in these beverages!

Now, as you stand by your kitchen, with the light shining through your crystal clear vases, can't you just begin to smell the flowers?

Feel free to write us at Danielles RockawayFlorist@yahoo.com, with gardening questions or tips for our readers.

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