Some of the cheapestsuch as the marguerites or maximum go on for a long time and they are usually such a good buy that it is a pity not to make the most of them. Naturally many variations can be played on the daisy theme simply by changing their companions. These can vary from other to all kinds of . But sometimes try using them entirely on their own with nothing else at all, depending only on a good stylised line. You can use either pin-holders or foamed plastic for this. Try them before a large sea fan, or behind a piece of coral. Try also staining their centres to match some colour theme; a touch of ink or even poster paint will do the trick.
If you like summery and informal, these single daisies look well with scarlet pretending to be poppies and bleached barley bought from the florist, or wild grasses. If you store them carefully after use these can be arranged many times before they finally collapse.
Like the Chrysanthemum maximum pyrethrums are good long-lasting summer daisies. Don’t be alarmed if when you get these home the petals seem to have turned back and the flowers appear to have wilted badly. If the centres are young—and all young daisy-like flowers in good condition should have a green or immature zone in the centre of the eye—simply stand thein 1-2 in. of boiling water and leave them there until it cools. You can then stand or arrange them in tepid water.
Many daisies, such as the exotic gerbera, will wilt because they have been cut while still too young. Whereas some flowers such as daffodils are best cut in bud there are others which will not respond to this treatment.
Flowers wilt, of course, when they are too old and are fading and you cannot revive these. But when you buy daisies of all kinds always check the centres.
The pyrethrums have stems which are usually more fully clothed with leaves than those of the marguerites. It is important that theportion which is to go under water is stripped, for these particular flowers soon turn the water sour. If you have to shorten stems of pyrethrum set the leafy cut portions aside. They are useful to arrange among the stems, thus hiding the -holder and also contrasting with the flowers which rise above the leaves. As a rule you can arrange this portion as you go. When the flowers have faded you can pull their petals off and use the tansy-like centres in some other arrangement.
Scabious also can be treated in much the same way. There is often no need for extra filling material. Buy bunches with long stems and plenty of leaves and buds even if you want to use them for a low arrangement such as a bowl for the table centre. As the blooms are cut from the long stems trim the leafy portions left and arrange these among the stems. Try to keep some buds on long stems so that they can make graceful lines at rim level and provide contrast between the round blooms elsewhere.
Sweet peas are enchanting but they are not really good buys because they do not last long after they have been through the rigours of both market and shop. These are flowers which could well do with being cut in bud and marketed quite young. So avoid buying them unless you see that the topmost blooms of the spray are still in bud. Arrange them in shallow water, for they last longer this way.