Loving care will help a gift of fresh, cut flowers last longer.
For many, it is the time of year for giving and receiving flowers instead of growing them. Because we live in a visual age, we forget that flowers are more than what they seem on the outside. To our ancestors all over the world, certain flowers had meanings far beyond their pretty petals.
Roses are the popular gift of choice this time of year, but do you know what they symbolize? What is their meaning beyond their beauty?
Red roses are a symbol of desire and courage, in addition to their more common expression of love and respect. White roses stand for charm and innocence but also may mean secrecy and silence. A withered white rose can mean fleeting beauty or "you made no impression" (not recommended for your mother-in-law or that favorite valentine on your list). Red and white together signify unity. Pink roses symbolize grace and gentility. Yellow ones stand for joy and gladness but can also mean infidelity and jealousy or "try to care." Coral or orange roses denote enthusiasm and desire.
If you've received a gift of roses or flowers, how can you experience their beauty and meaning for as long as possible? Here are a couple of tips to help keep cut flowers alive as long as possible:
1. If the flowers are in florist foam, water the arrangement daily. A little water should be standing in the container above the foam.
2. For cut flowers in a vase there is usually no need to re-cut the flower.
3. For long-stem roses in a box (or other flowers that have not yet been placed in water), cut the ends diagonally and place in lukewarm water.
4. If you are using a floral preservative always mix it according to directions. Too little mix will feed bacteria in the water but won't be strong enough to kill them, and too much mix will burn the flowers.
5. Remove all dead flowers immediately. They can shorten the life of your arrangement.
6. If your arrangement is full of dead flowers this can shorten the life of your relationship.
-- The Garden Calendar is sponsored by K-State Research and Extension-Douglas County office and written this week by Master Gardener Bill Padgett. For more information call the extension office at 843-7058, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.