History of Flowers
Flora, by Nick Knight (Abrams Publishing, 2001; $29.95), is a book of exquisite photographs, but more than that, it's a book of botanical history. Each plant has a full-page color plate in the beginning of the book, suitable for framing. The photos are contemporary in design but botanically correct in every way. The second half of the book contains a thumbnail of each photo and a column of fascinating history for each illustrated plant. I found the text most interesting.
Clever Gardening Technique
Extending the Life of Cut Roses
Roses are finicky and can have a short life span as a cut flower. The major water-conducting tissues are between the pith or central core and the bark. If these tissues are injured, water will not be able to move freely and the flowers will wilt. You can extend the life of your roses in a vase by following these tips:
Begin by removing the thorns and leaves from the lower part of the stems. Wear heavy gloves and grasp the stem between your thumb and fingers at the top of the length to be cleared. Pull your gloved hand down the stem, gently but firmly, to strip off the foliage and thorns as you go. This technique seems to cause the least amount of damage to the rose stem's precious water-conducting tissues.
After removing the leaves and thorns, place the rose stem in warm water (100 degrees F) to which a flower preservative has been added. Be sure the level of water in the container is below the lowest leaves left on the stem. Place your rose bouquet in a cool location out of direct sun.
If you receive a bouquet of roses in which one or more blooms is wilting or has a droopy neck below the bud, don't toss it. Follow these simple steps to revive the "wilter":
1. While holding the stem under water, cut about 1 inch from the stem base.
2. Submerge the entire rose bloom --- stem, foliage, and all --- under water for 30 minutes or so. The water should be about 100 degrees F. Carefully straighten the angle of the head while it is soaking. For a long-stem rose, a couple of inches of water in the bottom of a bathtub will accommodate it nicely. Once the rose has revived, it can be replaced into your arrangement.