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Floral Tips
How to Preserve Flowers Print E-mail
1. Air Drying

Pick flowers when they are dry - never after a shower, as moisture can be trapped between leaves and petals and can cause mould to develop. Divide the flowers into small bunches, and tie each bunch with an elastic band. Don't use string or wire, as the stems will shrink as they dry, and may fall out of their tie on to the floor, causing damage and if unnoticed, the flowers will dry into strange shapes! In the majority of cases (though not all, see below), hang the bunches upside down in an airy and warm place, preferably in the dark, but at least in low light. Strong light will bleach out the colours. Allow plenty of room for air circulation between the bunches, as this will aid the drying process and prevent mould forming. Most flowers will take around a fortnight to dry. You can tell when they are dry by carefully flexing the head of the flower - if it gives, then it is not yet ready. Some flowers need to be dried upright in water - yes, I know it sounds crazy, but it's true. Flowers such as Hydrangea, Gypsophila, and Alchemilla mollis should be picked, then the stems placed in a vase with about an inch of water in the bottom. By the time the flowers have used all the water, they will have dried successfully.

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Arranging Artificial Flowers Print E-mail
Most of the tips for fresh flowers will also apply to artificial flowers, but here are some which are unique to artificial flowers:

1)     Artificial materials and the dry-foam in which they are arranged are quite light in weight, so always weight your container with sand, pebbles or gravel at the bottom, to give greater stability. If using a clear container, add marbles, layers of interesting pebbles, or shells to hide the foam and give stability.

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Arranging Fresh Flowers Print E-mail
1)     Choose the right foam for the flowers you are using. Generally, green water-retaining foam is for fresh flowers and foliage, whilst the brown stiffer foam is for dried or artificial flowers.

2)     Think about the size of the space in which your arrangement will be placed, and choose the size of your container and flowers accordingly. A huge vase and lots of flowers will look overcrowded on a small side table, and equally, a small vase and a few flowers would be completely lost in a large area such as a Church.

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Making Flowers Last Longer Print E-mail
1)      Always use clean vases or containers.

2)      Remove all leaves which will be under water in the vase. Submerged leaves will rot and create bacteria, shortening the life of your flowers.

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Using Floral Foam Effectively Print E-mail
1)     Choose the right foam for the flowers you are using. Generally, green water-retaining foam is for fresh flowers and foliage, whilst the brown stiffer foam is for dried or artificial flowers.

2)     Always soak your foam in a bucket or large bowl - never under the tap as this can leave dry spots inside the foam which can't be detected from the outside. This can cause stems to wilt. Fill your bucket or bowl with fresh water, then drop the foam onto the water. Allow it to take up the water naturally (this takes only around 20 seconds for today's modern foams). Do not push the foam under the water. When the top of the foam is level with the surface of the water, take it out immediately and allow it to drain. Oversoaking can cause the foam to break up in use.

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