Local supermarkets are a terrific source of fresh flowers. Roses are often sold by the dozen in their display cases. To be assured of freshness, look for petals that are still buds, furled in a graceful urn shape. Gently squeeze the rose petals above the calyx; they should have a sense of firmness, and not feel too smooshy. Check to be sure the petal edges do not have a curled or brown tinge. If the roses are fully blown open, limp, or if the rose buds have the look of a pointy bullet, buy your flowers somewhere else. The fully open flowers will only last a day or two before dropping their petals, the limp buds will promptly droop and die, and the tight, pointy buds will never open correctly. Remember: look for a firm urn-shaped bud.
When you arrive home with your roses, recut the bottom of the stems at an angle. This technique keeps the stem from adhering to the bottom of the vase and forming a seal that might keep water from wicking up the stem. All purchased flowers benefit from being re-cut at an angle. To give your roses even longer life, fill a bowl with water before you cut the stem and cut about an inch off under water. This keeps an air bubble from forming in the stem, further insuring a rose with long life.
The roses in the arrangement above were bought at my local grocery store. They were cut and arranged in floral oasis on Sunday afternoon. I took the picture above this morning (Thursday) the roses are still lovely after five days in a 70 degree home.
Creating a Christmas or winter arrangement is easy. Fill a vase or container with water or oasis, add a mass of fir greens and insert your roses or other flowers. Remember different levels of height add interest to the arrangement. You don’t want all the flowers at the same level as if they are numbers on a clock, place a few high, a few low, and some in between. A few catkins or other “wild” looking, frondy pieces of foliage or twigs give a look of the natural to the arrangement and are a resting place for the eye. Most of all have fun and enjoy your creation and the beautiful flowers.
Catkins and twigs in the photograph above are from a Harry Lauder’s Walking Stick bush.