How to Revive Cut Flowers

I originally published this tip in October 2012. It continues to garner multiple views each week. I’m sharing it again in case you missed it.

Hat-Pin Trick

gerbera daisy with pin

Hat-Pin Trick

Cut flowers, especially those with hollowed stems, often droop after a short time in water. Why? Because the stem is no longer siphoning water.

Simply insert a pin or needle all the way through the stem of a drooping flower, about one-inch below the bloom. Carefully remove the pin and return your flowers to a vase of water. Within an hour or two, your flowers should be standing tall. I’ve used this trick successfully over the years with Gerbera daisies, roses and tulips.

Gerber Daisies hat pin trick

Gerbera Daisies Revived: The yellow flowers perked up; but the orange ones did not.

Rubber-band Recovery

If for some reason the hat-pin trick fails, here is plan B. Gather the flowers into a loose bunch and slide a rubber-band over the stems and up to the neck of the flowers. Wrap a second band around the bottom of the stems. Return to the vase, and enjoy your perky arrangement.

cut flowers rubber-band recovery

Rubber-band Recovery in Action

Edit your Collection

I don’t know about you, but I like to get as much “life” from my cut flowers as possible. Most mixed bouquet flowers have varying shelf-lives. Some blooms fade within a few days while others can last up to a week, maybe longer. Instead of dumping the entire bouquet, I change the water and return the flowers that still have life. As those fade, I’ll cut the healthy flowers down by a few inches and display them in a smaller vase. If I have nice greens, I’ll see what’s blooming in the garden and I’ll mix the two together. I make a game out of it to see how long the flowers will last.

Do you have any tips or tricks you’ve used to preserve the life of your cut flowers? Please share in the comments, below.

In a Vase on Monday

Cathy at Rambling in the Garden  posts a photo of a vase of flowers each Monday.  She includes flowers from her garden, a prop of some sort, and a variety of vessels.  Fun, right?

I think it’s a lovely tradition. I  found her blog via another Cathy at Words and Herbs.  If you love flowers and the art of arranging, these blogs are a treat.

Gathering flowers in to posies or bouquets is a time-honored tradition. Nothing brightens a home like fresh flowers.  The first year I grew cosmos, I had elegant blooms for months.  I enjoyed arranging them in a variety of ways, finding it creative and relaxing.

Today’s flowers in a vase includes Daffodils and Mexican Bush Sage with a few fronds of fern.   Starting with four empty Tamarind jars, I arranged them in a square.  I held the jars together with a piece of lace, a gift from my dear friend and fellow blogger, Boomdee.  A strip of washi tape over the lace added texture.

Here is the result.

flowers in a vase on monday

Flowers in a vase on Monday

Daffodils

Daffodils

Mexican Bush Sage

Mexican Bush Sage (soft as velvet)

tamarind jars

Tamarind jars gathered together with lace and washi tape

You’re welcome to join in, with a link back to the original blogger.

Cathy Lyon-Green writes: “I had not intended to write a blog, but was talking to a friend about how, now I had more time, I wanted amongst other things to keep a better record of the garden and nurture its spiritual aspects, as well as writing poetry more often. She suggested I do it online as a blog, and Rambling in the Garden was born.”

Cathy of Words and Herbs writes: “I’m an English trainer originally from the UK, but now living (and gardening!) in Bavaria. Two of my greatest passions are plants and books, which is what I write about here. I also love cooking delicious vegetarian food, a feature here too, and like to live in tune with the seasons.”

I hope you’ll join in one Monday, too.

Crafty Watering Can Brings Flowers to Life

Several months ago I attended a weekend scrap-booking retreat and fell in love with the Silhouette Cameo™. In fact, one of the designs, featured today over at Boomdeeadda, uses the Silhouette. Check out the clever lantern designed by Despina Boettcher.

Over the years I’ve admired all the various die cut systems, but never jumped in. Where would I store them all? Then along came the Silhouette. Simply attach the Cameo to your computer via a USB port and download (or create) designs. The watering can design below was only 99 cents. Most of the designs are under two dollars. If you’re a designer, you can make your own creations and even sell them to other users. So darn cool!

This weekend, while hiding indoors from the current heat wave, I had fun making this paper watering can.  The design, by the clever husband-and-wife team at SnapDragon Snippets was a great way to combine my love of crafting and gardening.  Since it was my first attempt, I used paper leftover from another project to see how it turned out.  I love it!

paper watering can

Paper Watering Can designed by SnapDragon Snippets

Since none of my real watering cans look this good, I decided to age my paper one for an authentic flare. I used a water-based dye ink called ‘garden green’ and brushed on a coat of gold and copper leaf flakes, originally used on a Craft It Forward project earlier this year.

Distressed paper watering can

Distressed watering can

Then I waved my magic wand to make it waterproof (or for the less gullible I added a small jar inside).

Garden flower bouquet

Garden flower bouquet

In an effort to beat the heat, I raced around the garden early this morning snipping hydrangeas, anemones and for height, a few snips of flowering basil. (Since the flowers take away from the flavor, I could snip to my heart’s content).

pink hydrangeas and anemones

Anemones, hydrangeas and basil

It’s easy to forget how relaxing it is to pursue a creative hobby. Cutting and arranging flowers is soothing too. Note to self (and anyone else reading this): remember to make time for your favorite creative endeavors.

Searching for inspiration? Here are a few:

Hydrangeas in Artistic Glass

My friend invited me to the Los Altos Art and Wine Show last month and we both came home with the same bubble glass vase.  Isn’t it pretty?

glass vase with hydrangeas

I’ve misplaced the artist’s card. Won’t you please stand up?

It sat on my kitchen counter for a while, but it’s now found a ‘permanent’ home in our bedroom.  I use the parenthetical because I’m forever changing things around. It’s kind of a hobby of mine.  When my sister and I were growing up, we liked nothing better than to rearrange the furniture.  We had fun with the ‘reveal’ as the home and garden shows like to call it when our mom arrived home from work.  She always seemed please.

I digress.  The talented Donna Pierre painted one of our bedroom walls with a sea-blue plaster and glaze, a finish we now refer to as ‘the mermaid.’ We added a hammered metal mirror and table to the room and the vase was the perfect accent to complete the look.

Then, lo and behold, the pink hydrangeas started to turn, weathered to a soft grey-lavender patina.  What timing.  They are magnificent flowers, blooms I admired for years. They are far too big for apartment dwelling, but work well now that I have a house with dirt to call my own.

hydrangea closeup

Dusty lavender hues

I still have to pinch myself all these years later, grateful to have a beautiful home and surrounding soil to fill with roots and flowering goodness. I think about that whenever I see these dusty blooms.

Do you have a favorite bloom?

Lindy on the table

Lindy-Lu approves

There’s No Place Like It

Flowers in a cup

Flowers in a cup
‘Kiss me I’m a Scrapbooker’

What a fun weekend!  A group of us stayed at a local hotel and worked on crafts and photo albums the entire time. We did lots of eating, laughing, and impromptu dancing as well.  Michelle Obama’s not the only one doing the ‘Sprinkler.’

I finished one of my craft-it-forward projects, and got a start on a second one. I came away with lots of great ideas, one of the perks of spending a weekend with so many creative souls.

One of the women at my table gave each of us a St. Patrick’s Day cup. March crept up on me and now Saint Patty’s day is just a week away. I bought the silliest of impulse purchases at the craft store before I left: a small shamrock kit, promising a sprouted plant within the week.  We’ll see.

I walked in the door around 5 today, to the smell of homemade carrot soup and decadent brownies. A lovely bouquet of flowers were waiting on the counter.
DSC_0010

My youngest son wanted to plant the shamrock seeds with me, something we often did together when he was younger. It was fun, proof that you have to go away once in a while to be missed. That little pot of seeds already brought me luck, whether it grows or not. 

If I had to summarize the perfect time away it would be this: feeling lucky to get away, and even luckier to come back home.

Will you be wearing green next Sunday?

Hardenbergia Violacea

Hardenbergia

Hardenbergia

Through the wonder of encoded DNA, the Hardenbergia always knows it’s time to bloom. Don’t you just love nature?

It’s a lush vine most of the year, with glossy green leaves. The vines twist like rope, braiding themselves around the trellis. It’s easy to forget it’s there. Then year after year, when February rolls around, tiny purple clusters begin to form. It’s subtle at first, with just the hint of lavender. Within a week, it’s like time-lapse photography. Brilliant purple flowers cluster at the tips of the vines, putting on a show that last two weeks.

Then, as quickly as they appear, it’s over. I find myself searching for the last few clusters here and there, until they really are gone.

The vine, pictured below, grows against the fence outside my laundry room.  If you’re going to do laundry, I can’t think of better company.

Hardenbergia Vine

Hardenbergia Vine

Hardenbergia, Member of the Pea Family

Hardenbergia, Member of the Pea Family

Daffodils, Pomegranates and Wordsworth

DSC_0039I was feeling a little blue yesterday, so what better way to bring cheer than flowers. Yellow flowers really brighten a room, especially in the middle of January.  Further, nothing says “spring is coming!” like daffodils.

The small potted bulbs were an impulse purchase, but I bought them without remorse. (Okay I’m a bit remorseful that I left a Weight Watchers meeting and bought dark chocolate-covered pomegranate seeds, but it was the daffodils I went in for.)  I lost weight so why wouldn’t I celebrate with a bit of heart-healthy dark chocolate?

I digress.

Daffodils (narcissus) originated in Spain and Portugal, though it was Holland that perfected the bulb trade.  According to American Meadows  “over nine billion flower bulbs are produced each year in Holland, and about 7 billion of them are exported, for an export value of three-quarters of a billion dollars. According to the Netherlands Flower Bulb Information Center, the USA is the biggest importer of Dutch bulbs.”

I guess I’m not the only flower-lover making impulse purchases! William Wordsworth says it best:

And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

daffodilsDaffodils, by William Wordsworth

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed–and gazed–but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.