24 September 2014

Arrange Your Flowers! - # 2 - How To Keep Your Cut Flower Tools Clean and Sharp




This is the second instalment of 'Arrange Your Flowers!' - and it's all about keeping your flower buckets and vases free from bacteria and how to keep your tools clean and sharp.

1. It's very important to keep your vases and containers scrupulously clean. Always clean the containers you use when conditioning your flowers after each use. 

After every time you discard a bunch of flowers give the used vase a good clean. Cut flowers start to decay as soon as they are cut and any decaying stems in the vase produces bacteria. Any build-up of bacteria in the vase will further shorten the life and increase the deterioration of the flowers.

If you live in an area with hard water - calcium deposits will also build up on the inside of the vases and leave white or light-brown powdery or scaly deposits. With very stubborn stains you might have to use some kind of scouring pad or very fine steel wool. Just go gently and make sure you don't scratch that old crystal vase! 

2. Hot soapy water and a bit of scrubbing is usually all you need to do. Use a dish brush for any larger vases or the flower buckets. For smaller vases with narrow necks use a bottle brush.

You can also buy tubs of little copper beads that you swirl around with water. They will remove any build-up of stains in hard to reach places. The beads are reusable so clean, dry and store them for next time.

You are often given the advice to use bleach for cleaning vases. I don't use bleach - its not environmentally friendly and there are too many questions surrounding it's usage and what it does to the environment and our health. 




3. Another important thing is to keep your cutting tools clean and sharp.

Just like with containers and vases - grime, dirt and bacteria will build up on your scissors, snippers and secateurs. They get sticky from the sap in the flower stems and leaves; and will eventually develop a brown residue on the blades. You will have to clean this of with hot soapy water - you can use the same dish brush that you use for cleaning your vases and containers. You might sometimes have to go over the blades with some steel wool. After washing and drying - wipe the blade with some oil to prevent any rust and to keep it working smoothly.

4. Sharpen your tools on a regular bases. The sharper they are the cleaner the cut. It's very important that you don't crush the stems. A crushed stem means that less water will be absorbed by the stems and transported to the flowers and leaves - and will result in your flowers not lasting as long.

There are all kinds of sharpening tools out there to buy or you might already have a steel for sharpening your kitchen knives. It's not too difficult to learn how to sharpen a pair of scissors or snippers - it just takes a little practice. After sharpening you should wipe the blades with some oil to prevent rusting.

Here is a link to the first 'Arrange Your Flowers!' - # 1 - Essential Tools for Cut Flowers.

I'll be back next month with more advice on how to 'Arrange Your Flowers!'. 

Have a Creative Floral Day!

~ xoxo ~

Ingrid


[Styling and photography © Ingrid Henningsson for Of Spring and Summer.]

6 comments:

HWIT BLOGG said...

Bra tips där Ingrid! Nu har jag lärt mig lite mer...toppen!
Önskar dig en skön höstdag i ditt härliga London.
Varm kram,
Titti

wolvesinlondon.com said...

Just to say I am loving this series so far! Looking forward to the next installment. Thanks so much for sharing all your knowledge...

As a newbie flower arranger (I did the flowers for my own wedding but have never done anything else!) I am definitely in need of lots of tips.

Lisa Gordon said...

You create the most unique and beautiful arrangements, Ingrid, and I feel so fortunate that you share them here.

Thank you, my friend! xo.

Frances said...

Ingrid, there are so many helpful and wise tips in this post! Thank you so much. I am going to pass them along to some of my flower-loving New York friends.

xo

Madelief said...

Thank you for your tutorial Ingrid!

Happy weekend!

Madelief x

Lisa Gordon said...

This is really such useful information for me, Ingrid.
Thank you so very much for posting it here. xo.