In this class, we started by watching a video from the ’80s on Conditioning. Jane had some stuff to add that I’ve worked into the tips I took away from it:
- Recut stems on an angle / Strip lower leaves to avoid decay under water.
- Put flowers into water in a cool dark place for several hours. This video said to use warm water (100-110 degrees F) because it has less oxygen and can freely absorb water and nutrients better because warmth dissolves trapped air. Jane says warm water can also speed up the flowering process, so using cool water can help flowers last longer. So if you wanted something to open up right away, warm water would be the way to go. And let the water cool before you put it into a fridge, if that’s what you’re using for the cool dark place.
- pH level of water should be 3.5-4.5 – water flows through vascular system better at this level.
- Use only NON-METAL containers. Cleanliness is next to godliness. Wash all buckets, containers, and cutting tools with bleach solution.
- Use a floral preservative like Floralife to reduce flower senescence. Preservatives contain Sugar (carbs for nourishment,) Acidifier (to lower pH level,) and Biocide (inhibits growth of bacteria.)
- Daffodils should be stored in a separate container because it’s sap is toxic to other flowers. Once you cut them, and put them into water for a while, the stem will harden off and not seep the toxin anymore.
- Tulips are funny ones. To get them ‘straightened out,’ wrap them in wet paper and place them in a deep container to keep them from bending. Also bear in mind tulips keep growing after they’re cut.
- Woody stems – slit the stem across the center for maximum water uptake. DON’T mash the stems!
- Lilies – pollen can stain so pull off the anthers. This also adds to their vase life.
- Euphorbia and Poppies ooze a milky sap when cut. Singe them with a flame or super hot water to prevent the ooze factor.
- Iris – to get them to partially open you can peel them open a bit and blow on them! This was the best part of the video, because it was just funny watching a guy from the ’80s blowing on Irises.
- Orchids – tropical – keep in warm temps not below 45 degrees F and out of sunlight.
- Gerbera need head support and are prone to stem blockage.
- Jane says the best time to cut Garden Flowers is the morning or evening. Ideally, water them at night and pick them first thing in the morning. Give them a shot of hot water, then put them in cooler water and let them rest for 4-6 hours in a cool dark place. THANKS JANE!
Jane then walked us through a few different arrangements before we did ours. I really loved the Botanical design, which represents nature through the life cycle or study of a plant. The design uses one kind of bulb flower in all of its phases, and the bulb on it’s own is included. Cute!
Then the Landscape Design, which is a panoramic view of a man made garden area. It’s a larger design and includes trees, bushes, flowers and ground cover. Also you can use a little water element if you want! This “would be perfect if you were having a bunch of gardeners over for a dinner party,” says Jane.
Today’s lesson was a Vegetative Arrangement, which is meant to be a design that presents plants as they grow in nature or the garden. Flowers and foliage are selected according to seasonal compatibility – so you wouldn’t see a sunflower in with a daffodil because they wouldn’t be blooming at the same time in the garden. This ‘slice of garden’ should show interest from all sides and bear in mind Color, Fragrance, Texture and Pattern.
I decided to do the Radial Design rather than the Parallel Design. We used 1 block of Oasis cut to fit the container, then pinned some moss on using greening pins but leaving the center exposed. Our materials were 1 Quince Branch (or Red Stemmed Dogwood – limited supply,) 3 Daffodils, 5 Tulips, 3 Iris, 1 pot of Tete a Tete Daffodils, and lots of different foliage to choose from like Bupleurum, Ivy, Fern, and 3 Galax leaves. The Galax is shiny shiny shiny and draws your eye.
This design was definitely harder for me than the Roundy Moundy. I struggled with the Quince Branch, was not happy with it, and then Jane came around and gave me some Red Stemmed Dogwood which worked better with my orangey tulips. I took the following pictures once I got home:
I just want to pinch it’s cheeks and say, “My how you’ve grown!”