Buckets of ideas

There’s nothing more cheery than gazing upon a bouquet of flowers, especially if those blooms are home-grown. When the garden is in full swing during the height of summer, the abundance of colour means that amounts can easily be spared for a galvanised bucket, jug or vase. Skim off a handful a week and you’ll never even notice their absence from the earth. Although spring cut flower beauties like hyacinths and tulips may be slumbering, there is an abundance of choice for summer arrangements. Will you opt for a classic posy of scented rose, lavender and honeysuckle, or a flamboyant combination of dahlias, zinnias and ornamental grasses? Let your imagination run free.

Lasting for longer
So, what are the secrets to giving your vase superior shelf-life? Well, it’s important to have both healthy flowers and containers. Ensure your vase is scrupulously clean – give it a good scrub and, if it’s really dirty, a blast of boiling water or treatment with sterilising tablets. Changing the blooms’ water daily is ideal, yet if you’ve not time for this then adding flower food will help as most brands also prevent bacterial build up. Cut your flowers first thing in the morning when fully pumped with water, remove the lower leaves and plunge up to their necks in water for 24 hours. This ‘conditioning’ will extend their life by days. And, if possible, cut them when the flowers are just opening – don’t wait till they’re fully out.