Picking the right flower for your table

There is no better way to brighten up your dinner table than with a vase of fresh cut flowers. Your flower garden is only productive June to September, so the rest of the year you must rely on your local florist for those precious petals. Here are a few tips to help you select the freshest flowers for your bouquet.

Alstromeria Lily - Long stems that contain 5 or more 2" trumpet shaped blooms. Color ranges from white to purple. Flowers are long lasting 14 days. Select stems with several buds still not open. Focal flower and rewarding.

Baby's Breath - Clusters of tiny flowers 1/4" or less on 3" to 6" stems. Flowers should be bright white with no sign of browning. Longer lasting than the larger flowers in the arrangements. Filler flower that dries well. 14 days.

Carnations - Standards are - a single large flower on a stem, 2" or larger. Mini's are 5 or more I" flowers per stem. Colors range from white to red and bi-colors. When selecting standards gently squeeze just below the flower petals to see if there are additional petals coming into the center. If the green capsules under the petals feel hollow select something else. Mini's should have several buds still not fully open yet. Long lasting up to 2 weeks.

Caspia - Clusters of tiny blue flowers resembling statice, I/ 1 6" or less. A long lasting filler flower like Baby's breath and dries well too. Delicate, easy to work with and great to fill in holes in arrangements.

Delphinium - A stiff stem that contains several 3" funnel shaped blooms one on top of the other like a spike. Flower color ranges from light to deep blue. Striking, unusual focal flower for large or small bouquets. Short lived - 7 days.

Gladiolus - A stiff stem that contains several 3" funnel shaped blooms one on top of the other like a spike. Flowers come in all colors. Showy but a delicate focal flower Select stems with many buds still tightly closed. Short lived but a good flower for large arrangements. 7 days.

Iris/Dutch - Long stem with a single multi petal flower. Shade of blue with a bit of yellow in the center. The bloom is up to 3" and striking. Select when still in bud rather than open. Short lived but very showy in small or large arrangements. 7 days.

Lisianthus - Long stem holding many flower buds and 2 or 3 large open flowers that resemble poppies and some tulips. Blooms are 2" to 3" wide and come in white, pink and lavender. Very showy, delicate and unusual. A focal flower that will have people talking. 10 days.

Lilies - A stiff stem that contains several brightly colored buds that will open up to be 6" to 8" wide and trumpet shaped. Each stem contains 3-5 flowers and is truly spectacular as a focal point flower. Colors are pastels and some bi-colors. Some varieties are fragrant. Select stem with I flower open and some tight buds. Flowers are long lasting. 14 days.

Mums - A stiff stem that contains several 1" or larger flowers on 6" side stems. Daisy types should have green centers. Pom pom should have a tight center with visible petals still not unraveled. They come in all colors. A common flower but the backbone of most arrangements and very long lasting. 14 days.

Rose - A stiff stem holding a single flower that unravels slowly revealing many delicate petals. Flower color is as wide as the rainbow. Gently squeeze the base of the flower bud when selecting roses for a firm but not hard bulb. Buds that look like a Hershey Kiss are called bullets and will not usually open. If roses are open in the flower chest they will blast open quickly when you get home. Fill vase with water and re-cut the flowers under water with sharp scissors or the flower head will fall over. Fresh cut roses should last 7 days.

Tulips - A stiff stem holding a single cup shaped flower with a hollow center. The colors are endless and some are bi-colored. Will last longer in a vase of water rather than in a basket arrangement. Select when flowers are still small, tight and color has a dusty appearance to it. Keep them cool if possible for extra blooming time. They should last 7 to 10 days.

Wax Flower - A stiff stem that contains many small flowersless than 1/2". Colors are white to purple and stems also contain many flower buds. A great filler flower and long lasting. Foliage is fem like and striking. Unusual and when used as a filler it will hide many holes in the arrangement.

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