Flowers have been one of the small luxuries I have missed the most during lockdown. Picking up a cheery bunch of flowers from the supermarket or my favourite florist just hasn’t been possible so I turned to the blossom tree outside my house. I've been taking the odd cutting and it really helped to cheer the place up.
It also got me thinking that you might be missing fresh flowers too so I asked Maria from At Last Floristry to give us some tips on how to make the most of flowers and blossom foraged from our gardens and outdoor spaces where this is allowed. Keep reading to find out what she had to say!
Having fresh blooms around has helped me to bring joy into my home during lockdown. I’m not lucky enough to have a garden with homegrown beauties but I’m lucky to live somewhere very green with lots of spots to forage.
Please note that foraging is a complex area and you can’t just nip out and chop down any flowers you see! Cultivated flowers in council maintained areas are a definite no go but pinching the odd stem from hedgerows is alright but please don’t uproot entire plants! Wild Food UK is a good place to start if you want to familiarise yourself with the dos and don't of foraging.
I have some wonderful friends who have delivered lilac cuttings from their gardens to me so with a mixture of foraged greenery and garden cuttings I have been able to play around with flowers at a time when options are very limited.
For those of you who can get your hands on garden flowers and blossom here my tips to help you make the most of them.
1. Always cut blooms early in the morning, this is the best time as they’ll be fully hydrated. Always cut the stem as long as you can and at an angle, this gives you room to re-cut the stems after a few days. You'll see why in a minute.
2. Use very sharp scissors/secateurs and pop the stems straight into a bucket of tepid water. Leave them in this water for an hour or two before cutting to the lengths you want for your vase.
3. It's better to cut from the part of the plant that is most exposed to the sunlight, these blooms will last longest. Use your judgement when selecting which blooms to cut as you don't want to leave it bare on one side!
4. If you are cutting roses, tulips or peonies (just coming into season and I can’t wait to have them in abundance again!), choose the buds that are just about to open rather than any that are already fully open and already at their best. They will open up once in water and you’ll get to enjoy them for longer! This works with Lilac too, but make sure the flowers have started opening a little already.
5. Flowers with woody stems such as lilac, blossom and even roses you'll need to do a little extra work to encourage them to drink up as much water as possible. The best way to do this is to either split the stem roughly 2cm from the bottom or strip away the brown outer part of the stem. Use a sharp knife for this but be careful! and only strip away the part that will be immersed in water. Both tricks help them to take in more water and they will last longer.
6. Flowers love fresh clean water. Always strip the stems of any leaves or foliage that will be immersed in water. Leaves below the water line cause a build-up of bacteria and that will affect the lifespan of your blooms.
7. I’d recommend changing the water every other day and re-trimming the stems. This helps them to absorb water keeping them fresher for longer. Flower ‘food’ is great to use if you have it but the most important thing is to keep the water clean and the flowers 'drinking'. A tiny drop of bleach will do if you haven't got flower food.
8. Avoid placing fresh flowers in direct sunlight or anywhere too warm.
There is nothing better than bringing the outdoors in, especially right now when there is a riot of colour outside and we could all do with cheering up. If you decide to get creative we'd love to see what you come up with! Tag @atalastflristry and @tailormadelivingstore
I hope you enjoyed this guest post from At Last Floristry and that you find it useful. Let me know if you decide to make your own arrangement!