Meet The Winner Of Die Groenste Vingers Season 2

Meet The Winner Of Die Groenste Vingers Season 2

Stefan Smuts, winner of Die Groenste Vingers Season 2, has loved working with flowers since he was a kid, helping his grandmother with floral decorations for functions.  At the age of sixteen, he created all the flower arrangements for a wedding, by himself.  This led to Stefan starting his own floral and decor business named ‘Black Tulip Floral & Décor Styling’. Stefan’s inspiration was definitely influenced by our own South African/African nature and he describes his style as ‘fine art’ combined with elegance and drama. Stefan loves using our country’s natural elements, products, textures and colours. Dry elements and grasses are his favourite materials to work with. 

My team recently sat down with Stefan, winner of Die Groenste Vingers Season 2, and asked him 10 questions, to learn a bit more about him.

Stefan Smuts – Winner of Die Groenste Vingers Season 2

Did You Have A Game Plan When You Were Chosen To Compete In Die Groenste Vingers?

I did not have a strategy at the beginning. I did not know what would be expected or which challenges awaited, so it was my plan to trust in myself and simply give it my best. I did however, soon realize what my strategy should be after the first challenge. It was to ignore personal taste and style and to adhere to what the judges expected with every challenge. I think this helped me to the end.

What Was The Most Challenging Part Of This Competition?

There were two. The first was to create a floral piece using a painting as inspiration. It was a difficult colour palette and not my style at all. My other challenge was creating a floral dress to be worn by a model. As a man, I did not have the designing and fitting experience, and started feeling the pressure. Ironically, I won both these challenges and learnt that I can actually work and perform when under pressure.

What Was The Biggest Mistake You Made In One Of The Challenges And How Did You Improvise?

I totally misinterpreted one of the mini creations and the time allowed for it. My choice of flowers did not suit the design, my style was wrong. I tried improvising by using flower stalks to hide the flower foam because I had too few flowers, but could not finish on time. I am still thankful that it was not a knock-out round.

What Advice Would You Give Future Contenders Of Die Groenste Vingers?

  • Most importantly, just enjoy it. It is after all what we love doing.
  • Listen intently to what is expected of you.
  • Do not underestimate yourself.
  • Focus on your own instinct and work. Do not look around you.

Which Judge Scared You The Most?

Myself. I am very critical about my work and it takes a lot to impress me.  Time constraints were challenging as there was no time to overthink and to be hard on yourself. I was not intimidated by Leon or Frans, but was in fact very excited to meet them. To receive compliments as well as criticism from them was an honour.

Which Flower Is The Most Difficult To Arrange With?

Hydrangeas are very difficult to work with because they wilt so fast, and have to be treated to keep them alive. This takes a lot of attention and time to ensure that they look good for an occasion.

The Winning Design

Do You Create Floral Art Masterpieces In Your Own Home Or Do You Just Slap A Bunch Of Blooms In A Pot And Be Done With It?

I am definitely not a person who would just slap flowers in vase. Working at my business will always allow me a flower or two to play with at home. Flowers should never be neglected and just slapped in a vase.

Were You Guilty Of Grabbing The Last Bunch Of Blooms Away After Seeing Your Closest Competitor’s Eagerness To Win?

I’m not sure. I just focused on what to pick and having enough flowers to finish my challenge to the best of my ability. Thinking back, we were probably all a bit guilty of grabbing the best first. It was a competition after all.

If You Could Do It All Over Again, What Would You Change?

I would tackle it with more confidence.

Now That You Have Been Crowned As The Winner Of Die Groenste Vingers, What Are Your Plans For The Future?

My main mission is to grow my business and the prize money will help me with this. I have decided to use it to buy more decor items in the style which I like and to start hiring them out under the name Black Tulip Edition. I think there is a gap in the market for this.  

Facebook: Black Tulip Floral & Decor Styling

Instagram: Black_Tulip_Styling

Sprout South Africa

Sprout South Africa

A brand-new and the youngest outfit of SANA’s (South African Nursery Association) subsidiaries is called Sprout South Africa. It was created with the intention of bringing a little bit more of nature’s quality of life into people’s homes and daily lives. 

Due to various delays, the GCA (Garden Centres Association) QR Hunt will take place alongside the release of the Sprout app which will take place from 17 September until 30 November 2022. There are 26 participating garden centres in the KwaZulu-Natal region, and one lucky gardener will have the opportunity to win a Grand Prize.
 
Here are the steps you must do to participate in this QR Code Hunt:

Get the Sprout-SA app now by scanning the QR code below using your phone’s camera & google lens that is included in most phones today. Each garden centre will also display the code, available to scan on a poster in-store, so keep an eye out for them. Visit at least eight unique retailers on the Garden Centre Association list after creating an account. You can view the participating Garden Centre list on this page and in the app. 

For a full entry to be eligible to win the Grand Prize, you must stop by at least 8 locations and scan the QR Codes placed near that Garden Centre’s featured display. 

It can be fulfilling to take care of plants and see them flourish, so come see some of the ideas, laid out for you to take home and make your own, each store has its own unique arrangements and combinations of plants and plant care products to make your home just a bit more Spring Green and to enjoy throughout the year.

The splendour and magnificence of this planet can drastically improve your life. Everyone can grin when they are surrounded by the joys of nature’s beauty in their home. 

Sprout intends to help bring the wonders of nature just a bit closer into our homes, and educate us about its care and how it can care for us.

The Sprout South Africa app was created to highlight SANA members and provide users with educational and interesting content in a fun way. 

“We lean a little more toward the digital side of what it is SANA and its affiliates currently do.  Using the technologies available to us, such as AR | VR | and WEBGL we can create Educational Experiences the whole family can enjoy and learn from. Our aim is to educate people more about the wonders and beauty this planet provides us, in ways that they know or will enjoy.“  – Sprout SA

With features like interactive plant maps, plant detection, historical visualisation, and family-friendly quizzes, to come in the very near future, Sprout promises to provide interactive material for the entire family. Additionally, Sprout will advertise gardening-related events hosted by SANA members in an effort to involve app users. Sprout will give users access to unique events, such as scavenger hunts and augmented reality puzzle challenges.

https://sproutsa.co.za/
5 Questions For Leon Kluge

5 Questions For Leon Kluge

Die Groenste Vingers is a reality competition series where 15 of the country’s top flower fundis compete to be crowned as having Die Groenste Vingers. Participants take part in different weekly challenges where they must each design and create unique floral arrangements, after which judges decide who will bloom and flourish, and who will wilt…

Leon Kluge – Judge

Leon is an internationally recognised landscape designer, artist, botanist, presenter and writer who was born and raised in the Lowveld’s botanical gardens. He has won several prizes around the world, including Gold awards for his gardens at the Chelsea Flower Show in 2010 and 2012.

Leon also won gold at the Shenzhen International Garden Show in China – the first South African garden artist to achieve this accolade at this world-class garden show.

Leon is known for his modern and contemporary landscapes, sustainable community projects and his specialisation in vertical gardens.

We recently sat down with Leon Kluge, one of the judges on Die Groenste Vingers, and asked him 5 questions, to learn a bit more about him.

You are dealing with a show where there are flowers and plants in abundance for the competitors to use. Do folks ever gift you with a huge bouquet on a special occassion, or are they too afraid to do it because they might think you will not appreciate it?

I think folks might be afraid to give me flowers as a gift because they might think that I am too critical, but its not true at all… I love all flowers, never mind their colours or fragrance, but appreciate a little plant that I can plant in the garden much more. That makes me very happy!  

Do you stealthily nab a cutting from somebody’s garden because you can not resist it?

I am definitely guilty of ‘liberating’ a seed or two. I have yet to meet a serious gardener that has not done it. Where cuttings are concerned, I will always ask first, because even though gardeners are generally friendly souls, they can be fierce if they catch you with a looted cutting in your pants.

Have you shaken hands with the queen of England and had a conversation with her at Chelsea?

I have been privileged to be in the Queen’s presence at Chelsea, but it was so fast and awe-inspiring that it was all over before I had even managed the bowing thing. But, our gardens at Chelsea were very popular amongst royalty!  

Have you ever nicked a finger with a pair of sharp flower scissors or secateurs?

There is no finger or toe on my body which has not been nicked yet. I sometimes get way too familiar with these tools which cut me down to size over and over again!  

It must be very scary for the competitors to do challenging floral art before the cameras and the judges. Has anyone ever given up or burst into tears?  

It is truly difficult to work under such pressure, but it is part of the trade, and if one is busy with any function and especially a wedding,  time is of the essence while the mother of the bride will be constantly looking over your shoulder with a frown. So, you bite the bullet and try to look calm, while crying a few inside tears.  

Catch season 2 of Die Groenste Vingers from Wednesday 26 October 2022 on DStv kykNET channel 144.

5 Questions With Franz Gräbe

5 Questions With Franz Gräbe

Die Groenste Vingers is a reality competition series where 15 of the country’s top flower fundis compete to be crowned as having Die Groenste Vingers. Participants take part in different weekly challenges where they must each design and create unique floral arrangements, after which judges decide who will bloom and flourish, and who will wilt…

Franz Gräbe – Judge

Franz is a floral couture genius who, in addition to flowers for weddings and corporate functions, also designed a complete couture fashion range made entirely from flowers, sticks and leaves for South Africa Fashion week. Their Moët & Chandon collection was a world first that changed the way fashion was viewed internationally. 

His company, Franz Gräbe Flower Couture, was appointed by Colin Cowie, an acclaimed Los Angeles-based events coordinator, to supply flowers for Oprah Winfrey’s private South African visit as well as for the launch of her Leadership Academy for Girls.

We recently sat down with Franz Gräbe, one of the judges on Die Groenste Vingers, and asked him 5 questions, to learn a bit more about him

You are dealing with a show where there are flowers and plants in abundance for the competitors to use. Do folks ever gift you with a huge bouquet on a special occassion, or are they too afraid to do it because they might think you will not appreciate it?

Your are 100% correct! Nobody ever does it. I suppose folks must feel that it is like giving bread to a baker, or giving ears of corn to a maize farmer.

Do you stealthily nab a cutting from somebody’s garden because you can not resist it?

You caught me out! I do it all the time and can not resist it. To excuse my behaviour, I would say that it is because gardeners are not so willing to dish out cuttings (I do not think this is true. Bad excuse!).

Who do you fear most when you have to do the floral decor for a wedding. The bride, her mother, or the-mother-in-law to be?  

Oh, you have evoked a fearsome trio! I ALWAYS create an example first for them to see exactly what they are getting, but the one paying the bill will have my sympathy.

The floral art that you do, is much more than just sticking flowers in a vase, it hinges on intricate mechanics. Have you ever done an installation which came apart before the function has even began?

Thank heavens never! Did you forget that I am Afrikaans, and that we are always afraid that the client will be dissatisfied? I think it is an age-old inferiority complex imbedded in our tribe, so I (we) always over-perform and compensate for the worst and the unexpected.

What was the budget for the flowers at the Gupta wedding?  

Yep! I should have guessed that you would try to catch me out somewhere! I can naturally NEVER divulge such information although I am itching to do it. I have not seen public photographs of these functions so, imagine one morning function around that enormous swimming pool at Sun City where its edge was completely surrounded by flower arrangements and all the palm trees were draped with strings of flowers and crystals 4 metres long. The tables were decked with exotic floral arrangements which took one’s breath away and drifting on the swimming pool were huge Hindu symbols created with thousands and thousands of flowers…  Remember, that this was just ONE of the functions! Imagine what such abundance might cost and then add a lot of money to it and your estimation would still be a humble sum. But, I MUST inform you that my staff and I was treated like kings. Civilized and professional treatment the likes of which I have never since experienced from any other client. I guess its a double-edged sword. On one side, these wonderful and hospitable people and on the other side, the knowledge that your tax money paid my bill! So, there you have it!    

Catch Season 2 of Die Groenste Vingers from Wednesday 26 October 2022 on DStv kykNET channel 144.

5 Questions For Edrien Erasmus

5 Questions For Edrien Erasmus

Die Groenste Vingers is a reality competition series where 15 of the country’s top flower fundis compete to be crowned as having Die Groenste Vingers. Participants take part in different weekly challenges where they must each design and create unique floral arrangements, after which judges decide who will bloom and flourish, and who will wilt…

Edrien Erasmus Presenter

Edrien is a versatile South African singer, actress and writer with a zest for life. She started her career in the early 2000s with two independent solo albums, and her music has featured in several Afrikaans films such as Vir die Voëls and Aalwyntyd

She is well known in Afrikaans music theatre circles as a strong comic performer with a warm mezzo-soprano voice, and her musical theatre highlights include productions such as Ons vir Jou, Ester, Liefling die Musical, Droomkind and Aspoestertjie die Pantomime, to name but a few.

Edrien has also acted in various television series, such as Donkerland, Fluiters, Bloedbroers, High Rollers and Elke Skewe Pot, and fans would have also seen her make appearances in 7de Laan, Scandal! and, more recently, Binnelanders. She has also acted on the big screen in Vir die Voëls, Raaiselkind and Toorbos

Edrien cares about people and feels passionate about leaving the world in a better place than she found it.

My team recently sat down with Edrien Erasmus, presenter of Die Groenste Vingers, and asked her 5 questions, to learn a bit more about her.

You are dealing with a show where there are flowers and plants in abundance for the competitors to use. Do folks ever gift you with a huge bouquet on a special occassion, or are they too afraid to do it because they might think you will not appreciate it?

I love receiving a huge bunch of flowers and people that know me, know that the brighter and more colourful it is, the better!

Do you stealthily nab a cutting from somebody’s garden because you can not resist it?

I do, and try my best to keep it alive… I usually ask my Mom’s advice which is always the best. She has a very pretty garden.

Do any of you get stage fright when you have to talk on camera?

Even after doing this type of work for a while, I still get nervous when the cameras start rolling, but it gets easier with time.

Can you keep your house plants alive without stress?

I am sure that plants relate to one’s emotional state. When I am calm and serene, they grow well, but when I am stressed they battle a bit. I do try…

What is your favourite flower and why?

I am crazy about snapdragons (I use them to perform puppet show tricks) and daffodils, as they remind me of Alice in Wonderland. And then, definitely the beautiful sunflower. What’s not to like about them? 🌻

Catch season 2 of Die Groenste Vingers from Wednesday 26 October 2022 on DStv kykNET channel 144.

Fill Your Garden With Butterflies And Bees

Fill Your Garden With Butterflies And Bees

If your garden has seemed different in recent years, with that familiar buzz much quieter, the air less colourful and alive, it’s probably not your imagination. Bee and butterfly populations face alarming declines worldwide. That’s a scary thought, considering that most of the crops we eat rely on these (formerly) frequent visitors.

It’s true that no one person can single-handedly restore the monarch butterfly and reverse the honeybees’ downward spiral, but as we work on the larger issues at play, like climate change and widespread pesticide use, pollinators need safe spaces to feed and find mates. That’s where you come in: make your own yard a pollinator-friendly pit stop with a few simple fixes.

Why are bees so important?

Bees are such a precious part of our ecosystem, and there has been some concern about their well-being over the last few years. It is thought that certain pesticides as well as mass monoculture farming are playing a key role in weakening their immune systems, causing colony collapse, and declining numbers. Loss of habitat and urbanisation are also taking their toll. This problem is far more severe in the industrialised northern hemisphere but is starting to gain ground in South Africa too.

By making your garden a biodiverse haven, you can play your part in keeping the bees thriving as an indispensable part of our ecosystem.

Pesticides

It’s important to make sure that you are not using nasty pesticides in your garden that are known to contain bee-harming chemicals such as neonicotinoids. Read your labels – they usually contain acetamiprid, clothianidin, imidacloprid, and/or thiamethoxam as active ingredients. Explore greener, healthier pest control options.

Plants that bees love

The most important step you can take is to plant a pollinator-friendly garden. Choose nectar- and pollen-rich plants such as vygies, rosemary, sunflowers, thyme, lavender, agapanthus and fruit trees.

Some more bee-loving tips

  • Bees are especially attracted to purple, violet, blue, blue-green, yellow, ultraviolet, and white flowers, and they prefer scented flowers.
  • Plant flowers that bloom at different times of the year to keep the bees well fed year-round.
  • A bee bath needs to be shallower than a bird bath – a shallow tray-like bath of water is ideal. You can also put some marbles in a shallow pan and fill it with water – that way the bees will have somewhere to land and drink.

Care for our Butterflies

If you want the privilege of these floating jewels in your garden, you’ll need to make peace with a few munching caterpillars, because that’s how butterflies start off. To encourage butterflies in your garden means you must allow for the larval stage too – your garden should serve as a sanctuary to nurture and protect the butterfly throughout the stages of its life.

Pesticides

Go lightly on pesticides and only use them when necessary, to give caterpillars a fighting chance as they are already pitted against plenty of natural predators. especially if you are creating a diverse ecosystem in your garden. Toxic pesticides can also get into the plant nectar that adult butterflies drink.

Plants that butterflies love

Our top picks to include in your garden to attract butterflies are Cape plumbago, Cape honeysuckle, butterfly bush, lavender, daisies and impatiens.

Some more butterfly-loving tips

  • When it comes to flowers, butterflies like colours ranging from blue to mauve, red, pink or white.
  • Some butterflies like rotting fruit such as bananas or pineapple, so leave some fruit from your fruit trees to rot on the ground as food.
  • They like to get some minerals from pockets of mud too, so a little mud puddle or two will be appreciated.

Bringing insects back into our garden

Let’s aim to bring back all the beneficial insects back into our garden and appreciate them for all pollinating services they provide. They buzzing of the bees and the colourfulness of butterflies definitely puts a smile on our faces.

Tips And Tricks For Hydrangeas

Tips And Tricks For Hydrangeas

Hydrangeas are like the spring’s pompom, cheering on the season. Blooming from spring to autumn, this flower is so beloved that it even has its own holiday! Hydrangea Day is celebrated on January 5th, which is perfect since it is a time of year when the beautiful Hydrangea ‘Endless Summer‘ is in full bloom!

If you are looking at growing your own hydrangeas at home, read the following tips and tricks on how to plant and care for them, particularly the Hydrangea ‘Endless Summer’:

Appearance

Hydrangea ‘Endless Summer’ is a deciduous shrub growing in a rounded shape. Its glossy, dark green leaves range from 10 – 20cm long, and its stunning blooms are showy mopheads nearly 20 – 25cm in diameter.

You can choose from a range of colours, depending on the alkalinity or acidity (pH) of your soil. Starke Ayres Acid Loving Plant Food is a good fertiliser to help you regulate the pH levels. Shades range from deep blue to vivid lavender and from soft mauve to rose pink, depending on the .

Hydrangea ‘Endless Summer’ is compact, growing 1.5m tall and 80cm wide.

Planting

Autumn or early spring are the best times to plant Hydrangeas ‘Endless Summer’, since you want to give them time to establish a healthy root system before the blooming season begins.

Choose a sheltered planting site that receives partial shade – ideally, sun in the mornings and shade in the afternoon. Before planting, decide what colour Hydrangea ‘Endless Summer’ blossoms you want.

Dig a hole twice the width of your ‘Endless Summer’ root ball and roughly its depth. You want your plant to be just slightly higher than the level of the surrounding soil.

Begin to backfill the hole with soil. Stop halfway and pour water into the hole until it rises to the top. Once it drains away, finish filling in the rest of the soil.

If you’re planting your Hydrangea ‘Endless Summer’ plants as foundation plants, space them 2.5m apart from each other, measured from the centre of the plants. For a garden border, space them out 1m apart.

Growing conditions

‘Endless Summer’ actually enjoys partial shade to full sun and is able to bloom on both old and new growth from spring through summer or early summer to autumn, depending on the climate of your area.

Sun and shade:

‘Endless Summer’ thrives in partial shade, or roughly four hours of direct, unfiltered sunlight per day. It’s best if it receives sun in the morning and shade in the afternoon.

Soil:

‘Endless Summer’ can grow in a range of soils but needs moisture to flourish. The key thing to remember about soil is that the level of acidity or alkalinity will determine the colour – from blue to purple to pink. For a bluer shade, make sure your soil is acidic. For pinker, amend it to more alkaline, as needed. For bluer blossoms, you can adjust your soil with sulphur. If you’re more interested in bold pinks, adjust it with lime.

Watering:

You should water your ‘Endless Summer’ routinely each week, up to twice a week during the hotter months.

Fertilising:

Fertilise your ‘Endless Summer’ once in spring or summer with a specially formulated fertiliser, such as Starke Ayres’ Hydrangea Food or Acid Loving Plant Food.

Pruning:

You do not have to prune your ‘Endless Summer’, because they can bloom on both old and new growth. However, you should trim any dead, dying or diseased branches when you notice them.

Happy hydrangeas makes for a happy gardener

Be sure to follow these easy steps for happy Hydrangea ‘Endless Summer’ plants. They will keep blooming for you to enjoy! Buy your ‘Endless Summer’ hydrangeas in all the colours at Plantland.

Encourage Your Kids To Garden

Encourage Your Kids To Garden

Gardening is a terrific way to get children involved with nature. It has the power to teach kids about the beauty of flowers and vegetables, whilst also teaching them valuable life lessons like patience and self-confidence. It equips them with critical skills that can help them in other areas of their lives.

Below are some of the main benefits children can experience by helping in the garden.

Engage all the senses

With gardening, kids can touch and feel the dirt, seeds, flowers and leaves, see the vibrant colours and varied sizes of the plants, hear the sound of the vegetable when it’s taken from the plant, and smell the amazing scents of the flowers. Allowing all the senses to be involved helps kids understand and grasp the concept of gardening and, in turn, teaches them to appreciate nature.

Encourage healthy eating

Getting children to eat their fruits and vegetables can sometimes be a challenge. When they are involved in every step of the process, however, they gain an interest in eating them too. Even the pickiest eaters won’t be able to resist trying veggies they’ve grown themselves!

Enhances fine motor development

Gardening and fine motor skills go hand-in-hand. In the garden, children must move around a lot to tackle tasks like watering, fertilising, pruning, digging, weeding and bending. As kids do these tasks, they develop important motor skills that will help them improve their academic skills such as writing, cutting and typing.

Develop social skills

Gardening can be a very sociable activity, especially in schools. Children can learn to work together and will enjoy discussing different types of flowers and plants, and the process they have carried out to plant their seeds. Gardening presents wonderful opportunities for children to bond and help each other look after and nurture their plants.

Teach responsibility and patience

Kids learn that they must take care of their seeds each day for them to grow into healthy plants. They will quickly learn they get out what they put in; if the plants aren’t regularly watered and taken care of, they won’t flourish.

Gardening is a great way to teach responsibility, but it is no overnight process. Kids are used to immediate gratification; however, gardening is often a slow process. They must learn to be patient when waiting for their flowers and vegetables to grow.

Enhance the ability to plan and organise

For those that garden regularly, you understand that planning and organising a garden can be time consuming and somewhat of an art form. You must know which flowers bloom during whoch time of year, how long it takes a seed to turn into a vegetable and when is the best time to plant your seeds.

Involving kids in this process helps increase their planning and problem-solving skills. It also enhances their organisational strategies, which can be carried over to every facet of life!

Highlight the importance of taking care of the environment

When children garden, they realise how important it is to take care of the Earth if they want their garden to grow and produce healthy plants. It creates the perfect opportunity for parents to talk to their kids about concepts such as pollution, pesticides and recycling.

There are so many activities you could try with your kids, to get them back into nature. Plantland has a cool Little Seedling club that you can sign up to, which sends you a box filled with gardening goodies each month, for you as a family to enjoy!

It is important to get our kids back into nature for a healthier and happier home.

Visit Thanks Plants for more.

How To Cut Flowers And Use Them Indoors

How To Cut Flowers And Use Them Indoors

While your garden is peaking and is filled with vibrantly coloured flowers during spring, it is precisely the right time to create a stunning bouquet from the fruits of your labour, so that you can enjoy the sights and smells of the garden inside your home. It only takes one gusty wind or heavy summer rain to destroy your beloved blooms anyway, and cutting guarantees that at least some of your flowers will be spared that cruel fate! Another reason to cut your flowers is that it encourages more flowering on your plants throughout the summer months and even into early autumn.

Read and follow the following tips and tricks on how to cut your garden flowers and use them inside your home:

When to cut

Early morning is the ideal time to cut fresh flowers, when the flowers have had the benefit of cool night air and morning dew. Their stems are filled with water and carbohydrates, meaning that they are firm to the touch.
When harvesting, have a bucket of water on hand to immediately put the flowers into. We suggest using a plastic bucket rather than a metal one because metal can affect the pH balance of the water.

Different types of flowers must be harvested at different stages in their development. Cluster flowers with multiple buds on each stem, such as an Agapanthus, should have at least one bud showing colour and one bud starting to open before being cut. If gathered too early (while they’re still tightly budded) these flowers will not open in a vase of water. By contrast, flowers that grow on individual stems, such as roses, should be cut when fully open.

Cutting tools and techniques

Always use clean, sharp utensils when cutting flowers. Knives, clippers or shears can be employed, but never use ordinary household scissors! The gauge on scissors is set for paper or fabric, not for flower stems, which are bulkier. Using scissors will crush their vascular systems and prevent proper water uptake.

Cut all flowers about 3cm from the bottom of a main stem. Make the slice at an angle of about 45° as it will provide a larger exposed area for the uptake of water.

Water temperature

Use lukewarm water (between 37°C and 43°C) for your cut flowers to get the best results. Warm water molecules move faster than cold water molecules and so can be absorbed by flowers with greater ease. The objective is to get water and nutrients as quickly as possible to the head of the flower.

Preservatives

Using a preservative increases the longevity of cut flowers. To survive, flowers need three ingredients: carbohydrates, biocides and acidifiers. Carbohydrates are necessary for cell metabolism; biocides combat bacteria and are necessary for maintaining plant health, and acidifiers adjust the pH of water to facilitate and increase water uptake.

To make your own, use 1 teaspoon of sugar, 1 teaspoon of household bleach and 2 teaspoons of lemon or lime juice.

Care of cut flowers in an arrangement

Here are some general rules that will help you make your cut-flower arrangements last:

  • Don’t overcrowd the flowers in the container;
  • Check the water level in the vase and replenish it frequently;
  • Flowers that go limp are not drinking well and need to be recut;
  • Always discard wilted blooms;
  • Keep flowers away from drafts, direct sunlight and ripening fruits.