FLOWERS, to keep fresh

An aspirin, a little starch or sugar dropped into the water in which flowers are placed may sometimes increase the longevity of cut flowers, but contrary to popular opinion this treatment is never infallible. Changing the water every other day helps to prevent the accumulation of bacteria which block the cells of the stems. For the same reason the lowest leaves should always be removed from roses etc. as they invariably decay in the water. Deep plunging to ensure the maximum absorption of water and to lower the temperature of leaves, stems and flowers is essential. Slanting, as opposed to horizontal cuts, should always be made at the bottom of the stems — a slanting cut permits a greater area of cut surface for water absorption. Some flowers can be made to last longer by cutting a small piece off the stem every day and splitting hard woody stalks about I in. from the bottom. Do these operations with a sharp knife, not scissors. Add a little soda and salt to the water to freshen the flowers. Damp moss, polythene or even several sheets of damp newspaper should be wrapped round the stems of flowers sent by post.

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