Brad Parker: Hi! My name is Brad Parker and my company is MyFlorist. We are in McLean, Virginia and in this segment we are going to look at how can you get the most out of your floral arrangement; how can you ensure that you have the longest lasting flowers.
Well, this is a little more complicated than what people sometimes think. The key to a long-lasting arrangement is the transportation from the time the flowers were cut until they actually arrive at the florist or to you directly. The major flower growing centers in the world are in Holland in Europe, in South America, particularly in Columbia, in Ecuador and also in California. From all these locations the flowers have to travel a long ways before they get to you and the key is that in that process they have to be maintained at the right temperature through all their traveling. Some of it's going to be by air, some of it's going to be by truck, they have to go through customs, they have to be handled by several different carriers along the way. The truth is, frankly, that no one knows whether or not they are mishandled along the way; usually they are not, but with some regularity they could easily sit on the tarmac at an airport on a hot summer day for couple of hours or they could on the same airport in the middle of winter in below-freezing weather and when you first look at the flowers, you don't really know.
So the key is we get our flowers in, we process them and put them through a hydration process that last for 24 hours before we ever use them. In that 24 hour period, the flowers begin to drink and come back to life again. When they are initially cut in the fields and refrigerated they are put into a dormancy state and for then to properly perform, they are going to have to come out of that, draw water fully up through the stem and expire through the petals. So every florist should for 24 hours, hydrate their flowers and in that period you can tell if there is any damage been done in the transportation. Likewise, if you are buying your flowers direct from the fields where it's overnight shipped to you, you could also have the same problems; but again what you want to do is cut them and handle them properly at that point and we are going to cover that next.
Now, what we want to do now is look at how do you properly cut and maintain your flowers. The first thing that you do if you are getting flowers direct from a grower or you are going to the supermarket and purchasing your own flowers, what your retail florist should be doing is, when he get the flowers in, there is a lot of foliage along the stem below where the blossom is. Any foliage that goes into the vase and it's below the water line will detract from the performance of that arrangement. The reason is that the foliage will begin to decompose; the bacteria will get in the water and that will prevent the flower from properly drinking. So, all that foliage needs to be removed before the flower is cut and put in water.
Now, when you go to cut the stem of any flower, it's very important that you use a sharp knife. You do not want to use scissors or dull knife, both will squeeze the stem and squash the stem and prevent it from drinking properly. You want a nice, sharp, clean cut, which allows the flowers to properly draw water up through the stem and this is what brings the full brilliance of the color out. It allows the flowers to fully open as when the water is drawn all the way up through the stem and expires through the petals. So last thing I want to mention is floral food. You always want to use it because in it there is not only food, but there is also agents to control the pH of the water, so that harmful bacteria does not accumulate in the water and the water that you use should also be room temperature. The flowers have been shacked since they were cut from the fields and refrigerated. They need room temperature to tap that water, to help them begin to drink again. Finally, if you have the time and you would like to, if after three days you change the water, change the flower food and re-cut the stems of the flowers that will allow you get maximum performance. However, if you do all the other steps, I found that it's not that critically necessary. So, that concludes how to get the most out of your flowers and in our final segment we are going to look at some things about ordering flowers on Valentine's Day that you may not have thought about.