Petal Pushers

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Two professionals florists offer advice on keeping fresh-cut flowers beautifultulipsThere is always a need for flowers, especially in the month of May.

If you are lucky, you stroll out to your cutting garden, with basket and shears in hand. But even if you live in an apartment, flowering plants can be a joy. Many of us rely on a local like Fat Cat Flowers to infuse our homes with color and scent.

But accenting our home with floral arrangements can pose a dilemma. Irises are beautiful but last a nanosecond. Gardenias are scent-heavy but bruise easily. Roses can be finicky. So how best to care for the blossoms that bring such happiness?

We posed this question to two brilliant gals who know that the word “style” transcends an ordinary tablescape or bridal bouquet. Ginja Moseley is the owner of A Beautiful Life, a lifestyle company that does everything to “make your life beautiful,” including event planning, catering and design. Diane Mouton, the owner of Fat Cat Flowers, in Mid-City, is the maven of all things luxurious and inventive and can weigh in on all manner of things, but flowers are her true love.

When it comes to maintaining and keeping May’s splendid blossoms fresh, knowing some rules of the road can help guide you. Thankfully, Diane and Ginja were willing to share some tips with us.

1) If you are cutting from your own garden, do so in the early morning or the late evening, according to Ginja. The flowers are at their peak and should be quickly placed in room-temperature water.

2) Store-bought posies should be kept cool on the way home. Make a fresh cut on the stems and put them immediately into temperate water so they will again begin drinking water.

3) When buying flowers, look at the stems and make sure they are fresh and green, advises Diane. And use the “flower food” that comes with them, as it will help maintain them as they “drink.”

4) Ginja says some flowers with woody stems such as magnolias will do best if the stems are actually smashed. Seems cruel but the various splits in the stems help with hydration.

5) Changing the water daily will help fend off bacteria, which is the demise of all flowers, says Diane. Ginja agrees and adds that the removal of all leaves from below the container’s water line will also help.

6) Ginja believes that flowers need to be trimmed every other day to retain freshness.

7) Lilies, gerbera and shasta daisies, sunflowers and roses can last a week if very fresh when purchased and treated well, meaning not put in direct sunlight or in front of air-conditioning and heating vents.

8) Orchids, according to both, are exotic but far easier to grow and maintain than most people think. They need very good drainage pots and a good soaking once a week. That and a bit of sun will have them blooming not just once but several times. A well-maintained orchid will be in bloom for as long as six weeks.

9) Ginja uses her thumb and forefinger to test the firmness of roses. If they are soft, they will not open slowly and beautifully, or last. A good bouquet of roses, properly watered, cut and strategically placed should last a week.

10) Diane believes in pulling the blossoms as they fade. This will keep the others looking fresher and the water cleaner. And besides, one can always sprinkle slightly faded petals across a tablecloth or in a bath.

For more information, contact Fat Cat Flowers at 486-8580 or A Beautiful Life at 812-6612.