I used a question/ answer format and there are still more to come but if you have any specific questions you'd like me to ask her, please feel free to pop them in the comments box at the bottom.
What should you look for when picking fresh flowers?
Flowers such as lillies must always be closed to ensure they will last longer. The head of more structured flowers, such as roses, should feel hard as this means they are fresh. The best way to check any flower is by the greenery; it should look healthy and green as that's the first thing to go.
Another good indicator is the way the flowers are kept in a shop: they should be in clean water as this shows they have been looked after (dirty flower water gives off a foul smell so you can normally tell if it hasn't been changed frequently). Also, avoid flowers that are all crammed into the pot, each stem should have a sufficient amount of space so it's not crushed.
Avoid flowers that have had exposure to extreme temperatures. Flowers that have been too cold or too hot will have crispy greenery, especially in lilles where the heads will look slightly brown and be soft to the touch- they will probably never open! As flowers should be kept in a cool atmosphere and shaded from sun, those displayed outside/ in the window are best avoided. Flowers left outside to the elements such as rain frost or direct sunlight will be damaged so it's best to avoid these and better to select your flowers from inside of the shop.
Which flowers last the longest?
The longest lasting flowers are carnations and crysanthemums but all flowers last if cared for and the water is changed regularly. Flowers such as: anthuriums, cut orchids, calla lillies and proteas can all last up to 3 weeks. Another tip is to opt for some really lovely greenery such as large fatsia leaves which are sturdy and glossy, adding a bit of 'wow' to arrangements. There are too many palms to name them all but they do the same job. Personally, I like to use greenery as it adds character and longevity to an arrangement, it's not technically a flower but it frames the flowers if used correctly. Finally, bamboo is fab at lasting.
Which flowers are best for a gorgeous scent?
Flowers which are the most scented are the white and pink oriental lillies ( yet the orange, pink and yellow asiatic lillies don't smell at all). Garden roses have a sweet smell, are very beautiful and natural in appearance but they aren't as long lasting. Orchids have a very sweet smell (although I personally dislike the smell but love the flower). The best scent in my opinion is stocks but again they are not long lasting but just lovely all the same! Another pretty flower is freesia which is very scented when in bloom.
I always explain to customers the longevity of flowers to assist them in making their selection and a good florist should be able to do this for you. They should help you work through a range of factors such as: appearance, colour scheme, occasion, scent, longevity, budget etc to assist you in your selection.
A HUGE THANK YOU to Gemma for taking time to answer these questions. In my next installment I'll cover things such as how and where to keep your flowers once you get them home.
Remember, you can ask any specific questions for Gemma in the comments box.
Today we're having a thrilling day tidying before we go back to work tomorrow, hope your day holds something more exciting!
Happy Sunday everyone xxx