By David Austin Roses
Photographs courtesy of David Austin Roses
No cut roses are fresher than the ones you cut from your own garden. You grew them: that’s part of their allure. Now, it’s up to you to help them stay freshest, longest, as they make the trip from bush to the vase.
According to Michael Marriott, technical director of David Austin Roses of Albrighton, UK, there are several ways to lengthen the vase life of cut flowers, especially roses, beginning with how you cut them.
“For cutting single roses or clusters of blooms, choose better-quality garden scissors or, better yet, hand pruners with sharp blades,” says Marriott. “The idea is to cut the stems neatly without compressing their water uptake channels. Their ability to take up plenty of water is the key to keeping them fresh.”
Good cutting tools, he insists, are not a place to skimp. Higher quality tools have sharper cutting edges that stay sharp longer, and often worn parts and blades can be replaced.
For cutting flowers and light deadheading, he uses a small hand pruner – or secateur, as they’re known in England. His personal favorite is Felco’s #6 bypass pruner, a first choice of many florists, with a small cutting head that reaches easily into dense bushes. “They’re quite small, and fit easily in a pocket. I keep mine on me all the time so it’s handy for cutting flowers and for quick maintenance too. If you prefer a hand pruner specifically for cutting roses, he suggests, look for one with a “cut and hold” feature that makes it easiest to retrieve stems once you’ve cut them.
Christmas is a special time at Biltmore, in Asheville, N.C, and has been ever since George Vanderbilt welcomed his first guests to his new home, Biltmore House, in 1895. That year started a tradition that Biltmore’s guests enjoy today.
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