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Homegrown flowers save money, cost time
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- The decision to use homegrown flowers may cut wedding costs, but at what price?
Julie Reeves of Starkville wanted to help with her son's May 1999 wedding.
“We wanted so many flowers that we knew we couldn't afford to pay a florist for all of them. It seemed like the effort would be worth it,” she said. “There really wasn't much cost involved, just a lot of effort.”
In hindsight, Reeves said she was satisfied with the visual outcome, but the stress on the special day would make her reconsider her decision if she had it to do all over.
“There is a lot less hassle having someone else handle the flowers,” she said. “If you put a value on my labor, I did not save anything, but if you count my labor as nothing, I came out ahead.”
Lynette McDougald, manager of Mississippi State University's Florist, said supplementing a professional may be a better option than providing all of the flowers.
“Unless the floral provider for the wedding is well versed in conditioning and caring for collected materials, then providing your own, though a sweet idea, should probably be left to a professional,” McDougald said. “The time it takes to care for and prepare flowers could be better spent by the wedding families just enjoying the day.”
When it comes to the care of fresh floral plant materials, McDougald said sanitation is critical.
“Make sure all tools and containers are clean. If the water isn't clean enough for you to drink, it's not clean enough for the plants,” she said. “Make sure the vases are clean, too.”
Plants tend to hold up best if cut in either the morning or evening.
“Morning collection allows for a minimum of heat to build up in the plant material, which decreases one of the stresses that can shorten vase life,” she said. “Evening collection affords the build-up of carbohydrates within the plant material for longer vase life.”
When preparing the arrangement, McDougald said to remove broken, bruised or crushed leaves or blossoms. Remove any foliage that might fall below the water line in the container. Hydrate the cut plants overnight or for up to 24 hours so they make the best transition into the design. Prepare flower-food solutions that offer a balance of carbohydrates, citric acid and biocides. Store in a cool place out of direct light.
Fresh flower foam is widely used in floral designs and available from florist, craft and discount stores.
“When using fresh floral foam, collect enough water in a clean container so the entire block of foam can fully submerge. To prevent dry pockets, allow the foam to float and slowly absorb water rather than pushing it under the water,” McDougald said.
“After it is soaked, remove and place in the desired container and cover with the flower-food solution. If the foam ever dries out, it will not reabsorb water properly,” she said. “Dispose of floral foam with spent arrangements since it will be full of bacteria and not suitable for reuse.”
Place finished floral designs in a spot free of drafts and heating vents. Do not display designs on top of televisions or any appliances that give off heat. Do not place floral arrangements in direct sunlight.