Summertime, summertime … sum, sum, summertime! Gotta love summertime! Now is the time to really have a blast experimenting with unique and fabulous combinations of flowers, foliage and other garden finds. Sure, we can get beautiful flowers all year long, but summertime brings those special garden treasures that are only available at this time of the year. Allium, Astilbe, Aquilegia, oh my!! And those are just the “A’s”.

Take a moment to explore your own yard, the community farmer’s market, and your local flower shop. Remember, with seasonal flora, new and different products arrive every week and may only be available for 2-3 weeks. Currently in my own garden there are beautiful lambs ear, mint, hosta, and cottage yarrow. I combine these together with green fujis and kermit pom pons from the florist, slices of limes and fresh bittersweet vine, to create a totally cool “mojito-inspired” designed arrangement.

"Mojito" Inspired Design - Photo Courtesy Blumz by...JRDesigns in metro Detroit, www.blumz.com

Summer also brings dahlias, snapdragons and gladiolus will be coming in strong. These big bodacious beauties, when combined with garden foliages, grasses and vines, make a real statement without breaking the pocketbook. Add some unique branches for line and enjoy your arrangement.

The trick to keeping those garden beauties looking lovely longer is summed up in four basic tips: fresh water, floral food, recut, and keep cool.

Use fresh water and clean containers
to which you add accurately measured commercially produced floral food. Follow the directions on the package. Despite what you may hear, a pinch of this and a splash of that may work in the kitchen, but when it comes to keeping flowers fresh, ACCURACY is queen. Commercial floral food, such as the type used by florists, not only feeds the flower, but also reduces the growth of algae and bacteria in the water. If it is used incorrectly, it can be worse than using nothing at all.

Recut! Recutting the stem is necessary for one main reason; removing stem blockage. How can you expect flowers to drink up water if their little soda straws are all stopped up? Algae and bacteria plugs the flower stem over time resulting in the inability of the flower to draw up water and floral food. They literally starve and dehydrate while sitting in a vase of water and food. Recut the stems every 4-5 days and change the water. It’s amazing how long the flowers will last when they are treated with a little TLC.

Keep cool! Flowers by their very nature are not meant to last forever. Keeping them cool and out of drafts helps increase their life by preventing them from drying out too soon. Think of a clothesline; air flowing around wet clothes and in warm temperatures dries the wet clothes quicker. Good for damp bloomers … bad for pretty blossoms.

Follow these simple steps and you will have happier flowers that live longer. Consider trying some of the more unusual and funky flowers of summer. Their fleeting but uniquely wonderful charm will add beauty to any occasion!

Tell us about your favorite summertime flowers.