Here are a few bits of information that will add to your success with summer flowers. Some, like Dahlias, must be cut when about three quarters in full bloom. Once they are removed from the plant they just about stop opening any further. And yet, it is best to cut your Poppies in the bud stage. For best results, plunge the stem end into boiling water for a few seconds to stop the sap from running out. This is a plant that will be in its full glory in just a few days if handled properly. Of course, this is not a long lasting bloom – 4 or 5–days at best.
I just love the stately Gladiolus, I like to cut this one when the bottom floret is fully open and the second bud is about half way there. I do not know why, but we find that if we snip off a couple of inches from the top of the stem, it will open a whole lot better and nearly all of the florets will bloom.
Lilies, too, should be cut while the buds are still not open. I like to cut mine when the lowest bud on the branch is just showing color. Put this one in very warm water and it is very important to give it plant food. To make your lilies last a whole lot longer, remove the anthers, those little brown things in the center of the flower, as quickly as you can. When they ripen, turn dusty, and release the pollen, the flower will be fertilized and will not last as long as it might.
Many writers say that Marigolds like to be cut early in the morning. I disagree. I do not think that any flower should be cut in the morning. Personally, I believe that late afternoon is the best time to go out into the garden to cut your flowers. Remember, in the morning the flowers have spent the night using up the nutrients that they took in from their roots and that the sun converted into their use. But cutting in the evening, those flowers are full of nutrients and will not be as badly shocked when removed from the plant.
Back to Marigolds and Zinnias, too, they have a lot of leaves and as we have discussed in the past it is best to remove all leaves that would be in the water. They are breeding places for bacteria and mold and other pests. But, because of the way the leaves are on these two plants, it is imperative to getthoselower leaves removed.
Now we come to my all-time favorite flower, the Queen of the Border, the Delphinium. Unless you grow them in your own garden, you will never see the true beauty of this magnificent flower. Those that we buy are generally 30 inches or so tall, and have about a two inch diameter. Puny – that is what I call them. The garden varieties, especially the Pacific Giants can reach 5 or 6 feet and have a diameter of 6 or 7 inches. They like warm water and if they start to wilt, hang them upside down and fill the stem with warm water. They’ll come back.
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