Thursday, March 18, 2010

First Farm Cut Flowers

I stopped in at the flower farm yesterday. I thought for sure they would be open by now as I could see the the bright yellow daffodils smiling so happily out in the fields. But they're still busy with their spring yard work, getting ready for opening day the first week of April.

Nevertheless, the owner greeted me with a smile (I'm a loyal customer you see) and insisted that I take a pail (I happened to bring one along) and cut as many daffodils as I'd like (I had my clippers too). As she put it, she'd rather see them enjoyed than fade away out in the fields all alone (me too).

The fields felt so quiet compared to the time when all the flowers are growing here in the summer. But seeing the eager daffodils all bright eyed and bushy tailed against the slowly awakening landscape was a a good sign that more flowers are soon to these and these.

I love the bonnet-shaped face of this variety of daffodil. And there were lots of them...lots of smiling faces basking under the soft late winter sun.

The owner of the flower farm joined me out in the fields to pick a pail of her own so I was able to get some clarification on cutting daffodil and tulip stems for arrangements.

The gooey sap of the daffodil flower contains calcium oxalate crystals. When their stems are cut, the sap starts to flow and is poisonous to other cut flowers. If you'd like to mix daffodils with other cut flowers, you should soak the fresh cut daffodil stems over night (this makes the sap stop flowing). The next day, rinse the stems under water before putting them in the vase with the other flowers.

Also, the information I was given previously on not cutting your tulip stems was false. Tulips do not have the same toxic sap as daffodils and therefore are fine to cut and arrange with other flowers.

Since I've been in a tulip craze for the past several weeks (yes, more white tulips!), I did a little more research when I got home. I found that you should always re-cut your tulip stems. Cutting the stems opens up the flowers uptake channels allowing them to take in the water they need and therefore extending its vase life. It's also suggested that you refresh or change the water daily.

By far, the most fascinating realization I unearthed during my tulip research is that unlike other flowers, tulips continue to grow after they've been cut. They also tend to grow towards sources of light, which is why tulips seem to arrange themselves (they're interior designers at heart) in the vase.

Another way of looking at it was explained by David Caras of the Netherlands Flower Bulb Center in New York City. As he put it, tulips prefer to "dance in the vase." Unlike other flowers, "they refuse to stand still."

I just love that.


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