Thursday, 20 October 2011

October Flowers

Often I am rather sceptical about the promises made on bouquets and flowers for sale in Supermarkets. One thing that helps to make sure you are buying fresh flowers is to check for the display date which works the same as with perishable food.  These Tesco 'Finest' lilies were £10 to buy for six stems but they lasted ten days so overall that makes them very good value. Only a £1 per day to have a great looking vase and a wonderful scent.

£10 for six stems of Oriental lilies. Available in a range of colours. They can be pink, lemon or spotted as well as white so study the bud carefully.
This lemon variety was actually mis-labelled white!

I have to admit that I am not at all keen on Gladioli! I don't grow them in my own garden and I would not usually specify them unless I wanted to use 1 metre tall flowers for a large Pedestal and there were no Delphiniums or I wanted tall flowers for a contract vase.
Then I would chose green, deep purple or dark red and mass with a collar of Hydrangea to make them look more edgy.

However if it comes to October and you want to add some seasonal colour to your home and you want to BUY BRITISH then, Gladioli is your flower and it is really INEXPENSIVE!

In fact when I went on a search for British grown Gladioli in my local Supermarkets I found the way the stores were marketing them very interesting and confusing. They were all from Lincolnshire and the cheapest available were grown by Andrew Ellis in Lincolnshire for Marks and Spencer. At this store you can buy 6 in a bunch and get a further 3 free making them effectively half price at 20p per stem.

Asda are selling five stems reduced from £3 to £2 making them 40p a stem and Waitrose are offering 33% free and getting eight stems for the price of 6 which works out just over 37p a stem. 

I think the real value is around 40p a stem and so if the Supermarkets are offering deals it will hopefully be because the last flush of sun has brought them all on-together and the price has dropped.

Whatever you pay for them, they are great value. All supermarkets claim they will last five days which they will easily. Some claim seven days and I think if you use my tips for conditioning them you will get at least that amount of time out of them and maybe more.

Take off the additional leaves, nip out the top three buds of the stem and cut about 2 cms of the bottom in a diagonal cut. Use the flower food provided and top up the vase with lots of water. After five days, remove the spent flowers and re-cut the stems and change the water, giving the vase a quick clean with a few drops of bleach to kill any bacteria that may have formed. If you have flower food, then please add. Two or three days later repeat and enjoy the final top blooms for a further few days.

Asda - 5 Gladioli reduced from £3 to £2 (british grown)

5 stems is lovely but 10 stems makes far more impact so here
for £4 we have a mass of colour. Pick the strongest colour or white.
Avoid pastels unless it is the perfect match for your room. 

To make all the blooms open you need to pinch out the top three buds! Gladioli open from the bottom to the top! Just pinch out the top three buds when you first arrange the flowers with your fingers. 

 As time goes by, you need to take the lower flowers off as they have bloomed and faded. Remove spent flowers to help the flower flourish.

Make sure when you select you Gladioli that the greenery is clean
and a lively colour and there are no brown marks around the buds. 
Browning may mean the flowers have been cut and have been cool stored
for a few days.

This Lilac Gladioli is 'pale and interesting!' In the UK we are quite keen on lilac flowers but this colour is a lot less popular in Continental Europe which is intriguing!

I adore the deep and bright colours but there are some pastels I am drawn too!

Pure white Gladioli. White is always the safest colour to give as a gift

Magenta Gladioli opening.

We all love to see the stamens on the lilies but they mark furniture and clothes and generally are best removed. Sometimes they stain the faces of the flowers and so I recommend pinching them out with your fingers when they are open.

I don't wear gloves but surgical gloves are good for this as it keeps you skin from staining

Autumnal Bouquet

Vase of the Week;
House Bouquet arranged in Ceramic vase £65

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