Collect an assortment of vases and containers to suit different floral styles and environments.
There is no need to spend a fortune here – head to your local op shop and pick up bottles, cans, urns, ceramic vases and antique bowls (a small chip won’t matter), coloured glasses – and anything else you can get your hands on -– in various shapes and sizes.
Glass vases are simple and elegant, but you'll need to keep the water clean (you should do this anyway). A wider opening at the top accommodates more flowers. For just a few flowers, opt for an hourglass vase: wide at the bottom, narrow in the middle and flared at the top.
Anything goes with rustic designs. Choose a vessel for an informal display and, if it's not waterproof, insert a glass vase inside to hold your flowers. This turquoise urn suits displays with both a strong or soft colour theme. A colour wheel can help you choose colour combos.
Choose a white vase and you're halfway to creating the classic country style. Buckets, urns and large pitchers suit this style, as do roses and big, blowsy blooms. Scrunched up chicken wire inserted into your container will support stems and keep them upright.
CARING FOR BLOOMS
Picking from the garden? Place flowers in a bucket of water when picking. Once indoors, recut stems on an angle to expose more of the the xylem tissue, which is responsible for the uptake of water. Woody stems should have an additional 5cm vertical cut at the bottom to assist with water uptake. Place flowers in a bucket of clean, lukewarm water (bulbs in cold water) with floral preservative. Molecules move faster in warm water, ensuring water flies up the stems to the flowers.
CONDITION YOUR BLOOMS
It's easy and economical to make your own floral preservative. To a litre of water, add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice or white vinegar, 1 tablespoon of white sugar and half a teaspoon of bleach. Place your bucket of freshly picked flowers in a cool room, out of direct sunlight, and leave for at least six hours, or overnight to condition them. Florists keep them at around 4°C before arranging, where the life of most cut flowers can triple.
To get the maximum vase life from your flowers, keep your vases spotless and condition flowers before arranging.