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The Doís & Doníts of Flower Arranging

The hearts of flower lovers beat faster in the summer when our gardens are abundant with blossoms.

Itís time to get out there and treat yourself, while the flowers are in their natural peak blooming seasons.

Following, therefore, is a simple guide to the doís and doníts of flower arranging.

Do condition the flowers by cutting the stems diagonally under water. This prevents air bubbles from forming that can block water from being drawn up into the stems. The diagonal cut allows a wider surface from which flowers can drink.

Arrangement Kiers

Do remove the foliage from stems, which will be under water. This will discourage life- shortening bacteria from forming due to decaying foliage in the vase water. Add the right amount of floral preservative to the vase water (see instructions on preservative packages)

Do decide where you will place your flower arrangement before you make it so that you can determine if the finished piece should be tall or wide or round or full.

Donít use tall arrangements for dinner table centrepieces. Pretty as your creation might be, your guests wonít be able to see each other across the table.

Do select a container that is appropriate for your decor and/or the theme of the arrangement. Consider the material the container is made of: brass, silver, glass, pottery, plastic; the shape, round, tall and slim, short and stout; and the style: sleek and modern, ornate and nostalgic, tailored and conservative, or free form and artistic.

Donít worry about old rules of proportion, where one third of arrangement was occupied by the vase, two-thirds by the flowers  If you like that style, go right ahead 

and use it. But also consider arrangements contained entirely inside the vase (this only works if the vase is glass!), or others where the above-mentioned proportion are inverted.

Do make sure that container has appropriate water-holding capacity in relation to the quantity and size of the flowers. For example, if you squeeze a gladioli into a bud vase, youíll find yourself replenishing the water every hour.

Donít put so many flowers in the vase that it is impossible for air to freely circulate inside the container. Lack of oxygen is another reason why harmful bacteria forms in vase water.

Do use tall vases for arrangements that incorporate line flowers, such as gladioli, Liatris, Delphinium, snapdragons and bells of Ireland.

Do use vases with a belly (such as urns or ginger jars) for mass and filler flowers. Mass flowers include lilies, tulips, daffodils, roses, carnations, sunflowers, and chrysanthemums. Filler flowers are defined as statice, babyís breath, waxflower and Queen Anneís lace.

Donít combine flowers which donít naturally blend well. Consider their morphology, texture, and colour. For example: bold, angular, shiny tropical flowers such as birds of paradise donít combine well with softer, delicate, ruffled flowers such as sweet peas.

Bartels Yellow Arrangement

Do change the vase water every two to three days. While youíre at it, recut the flowers stems. Both actions will considerably extend the lifespan of the blossoms.

Donít set flowers in a drafty or too warm place, such as in an open, sunny window or on top of the TV. The drafts and heat will cause the water to evaporate from both the vase and the flowers, leaving you with a wilted bouquet.

Source: Netherlands Flowerbulb Information Centre

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