When you get Home from the Mart
What you need:
- several 5 gallon buckets
- pruning sheers
- a floral stripper
- rose pruning gloves, if you bought roses
- 18 gauge floral wire, for roses
As soon as you get home from the mart or store with your flowers, you must get them in water. Have several clean 5 gallon buckets and fill them with water. Take all wrappings off the flowers e. g., newspaper, cellophane, or corrugated board. This is really important, because if you leave cellophane on your flowers, some of them may go bad, before you are able to use them.
Strip all leaves that will be below the water lever with a floral stripper. If you don't, the submerged leaves will eventually rot and make your water smell nasty. But don't take off too much. You can always take off more later, after you see the exact height they will be in the vase. Snip a small bit off the ends of each stem. This will make quite a mess, so do this somewhere where it won't matter if you get cuttings and drips of water all over the floor . After you have trimmed each bunch of flowers, put them into buckets that are filled half way with water. You will have to be careful with the flower heads so that you don't damage them.
After you get all of the flowers in water, if you have roses, you will need to either use a floral stripper to remove all of the thorns, or if the thorns are large, you can push them to one side with your thumb and break them. You may want to wear rose pruning gloves. (You can get them at the 99 cent store.) They are gloves that have a thick coating of material that is mostly impervious to the prick of a thorn. When I don't wear them, as careful as I may try to be, I invariably get stuck with a thorn. It's not too bad at first, but will sting for the next few days.
If you have purchased raffia, you will want to find a place where you can hang it. Open the package, and drape it over a hook, or something. That way, it is easier to manage as you are working with it.
After you have prepared your flowers, it is imperative to keep them in a very cool place. If it is summer time, you will want to keep them in a room with the air conditioner on. Florists have coolers, but you probably will not have that luxury. In the winter, you can keep them at night in your garage. They may stay cooler there than if they were in the house, and they will be protected. My cat, Dobie, loves to stick his head down into the flower water to drink it. It's funny, but I started to realize the flowers he pushes out of the way when he nuzzles his head down for a drink, end up having a greasy residue left on them, so I have to put the flowers where he won't get into them, when I am not there. He is quite persistent, and has been known to knock over whole vases of flowers on the dining room table, just trying to get a little drink.
OK, now that you are schooled on the evils of cats drinking flower water, lets get those flowers prepared.