By MELINDA MYERS
Treat that someone special in your life to a floral Valentine. You will have them smiling within seconds and feeling happier throughout the week ahead.
Ensure your gift of cut flowers will look its best and provide many days of enjoyment with proper selection and care. You will also enjoy a bit of floral relief when taking time to select the freshest flowers possible.
A whiff of the water will let you know if the flowers are fresh and have been properly tended. Look for upright and perky flowers with lots of firm buds that are just starting to open. Your Valentine will enjoy watching the buds burst into fully open flowers.
Avoid cut flowers with drooping, discolored leaves and slimy stems. These will not last as long or look as good as those with firm green leaves and stiff stems.
Ask the florist for a packet of floral preservative to keep the bouquet looking its best for as long as possible. Make sure the florist wraps your flowers to protect the blooms from extreme temperatures and jostling during the ride home.
Recut the stems on a 45-degree angle to increase the amount of stem exposed and able to absorb water. Arrange your blossoms in a clean vase filled with fresh water and floral preservative.
Keep the vase filled with fresh water to prevent flowers from drying up and wilting. Change the water every few days to further extend their life. Remove the flowers, recut the stems and add fresh water and floral preservative. Eliminate any faded flowers and keep adjusting your arrangement, using the longer lasting flowers and greens that remain attractive.
Share these tips whenever giving a bouquet of flowers. With proper care, you will help the recipient enjoy your gift for as long as possible.
Even when you and your Valentine do everything right the stems of fresh roses may bend just below the blossom. Fortunately, there is an easy cure. Remove the roses from their vase. Recut the stems and submerge the whole rose, stem, leaves, flowers and all in a sink or tub of warm water. Leave the roses submerged for 30 minutes.
Use that time to clean and refill the vase with fresh water and a bit of floral preservative. Recut the stems on a slant, underwater if possible, and place the revived roses back in the vase. You will have perky, fresh roses to enjoy for a week or more.
Don’t worry if your budget doesn’t allow for a bouquet of roses. Many less expensive, but equally beautiful cut flowers are available. Even a single rose in a bud vase or large bloom floating in a shallow bowl can generate a smile and enjoyment.
So this Valentine’s Day, take a break to visit your local florist and pick up a fresh bouquet or heart-shaped plant for your favorite Valentine. And if you cannot visit a floral shop in-person, check reviews before ordering flowers online. Customer and recipient testimonials can help you select the best florist for the occasion.
(Melinda Myers has written more than 20 gardening books, including Small Space Gardening. She hosts The Great Courses “How to Grow Anything” DVD series and the nationally-syndicated Melinda’s Garden Moment TV & radio program. Myers is also a columnist and contributing editor for Birds & Blooms magazine. Her website is www.MelindaMyers.com.)