I arrange lots of cut flowers for clients intended as Mother’s Day gifts. It may be old fashioned or expected, but I do believe the gift of flowers or plants is so appropriate for a Mom. My Mom was a scientist. Her view of the world had to do with experiments, statistics, dispassionate reasoning and disbelief without solid verification. But she did in her own special way nurture me. We had a very long and very intense relationship over the garden-once I got old enough to understand that gardening, and a love for nature and all growing things was a way of life-not always so pretty or stylish, but genuine and connected.
Julia died suddenly and unexpectedly in 2001. For 2 months, I turned every light on in the house before I went to bed. I could not sleep, unless the house was ablaze with light. I finally went to see my doctor-she told me everyone expresses their grief differently-I should not be concerned. I eventually turned the lights off. As much as everyone expresses their grief differently, everyone expresses their joy and appreciation differently. The shop was jammed over Mother’s Day weekend-we did our best to help every person express their feelings in a way that satisfied them.
I also do cut flower arrangements for clients. Any orders I have for Mother’s Day flowers, I take seriously. There is a son, a daughter, a husband, a niece, a friend, wanting to express their feelings via the flowers. I order flowers in season, and fresh for these arrangements.
The Dutch do a vastly better job of growing Dutch iris than I ever could. A California farm has delphinium belladonna available. The white sweet peas-I confess I do not know where they came from. The white tulips-from my own garden. The mix says spring. Hello, and Happy Mother’s Day. Thank you for all you have done for me. All my love to you. The arrangement is densely flowery, in a fairly formal shape .
The arranging of the floral orders for Mother’s Day-I spend a fair amount of time with them. Why so? My clients are asking that I interpret their caring in a way that accurately represents them. I understand they are entrusting me with an important message. I take the time. And I enjoy it. Working with cut flowers is time well spent.
If you arrange your own flowers for your home, or as a gift, proper conditioning is really important. I recut every stem on a steep slant, and put them in fairly deep water which is lukewarm. I try to find a very cool spot to set my buckets for 24 hours. This treatment gives the stems time to take up water. Cut flowers are delivered to me in boxes-they need to take a deep drink. This step is especially important if the flowers are arranged in floral foam, as opposed to a vase filled with water. The foam will quickly obstruct the pores of the stems, and impede the uptake of water. The stem and flower should be juicy.
I cut each stem again, as it is arranged. Taking the time to condition the flowers will give them the longest possible life in the vase. This is true whether you buy flowers from a florist, the grocery store-or if you cut flowers from your own garden. A bouquet from fresh flowers from the garden makes a very personal and thoughtful gift. What spring garden flowers make great cuts? tulips, grape hyacinths, spring flowering branches as in dogwood or viburnum,, hellebores, peonies, iris, delphinium, sweet peas, early clematis, trollius- the list is plenty long.