Dorothy Campbell’s Guide for Grown Ups

How to care for cut flowers

Special thanks to the Pici Pasta team for support and encouragement.

Flowers can brighten a home and improve the atmosphere of any room.

Now is a great time to take advantage of Spring blooms in all your rooms.

Whether your flowers come from the garden or the florist, flowers are thirsty after a journey. So first they must be conditioned and given a long overnight drink in a cool and dark space such as a closet or cupboard, if they are to last well in a vase.

First re-cut all the stems which will have become dry and unable to absorb water. Japanese people traditionally re-cut stems under running water so that no airlock can form in the stem and prevent water reaching the flower head. Stems that bleed white sap must be seared with a flame, and woody stems (except roses) hammered. Most flowers then need a drink right up to their necks in lukewarm water in a cool dark place. Tall spaghetti jars are good for this.

Conditioning alone extends the life of flowers, but how they are treated once in the vase also makes a difference.

Spring bulbs should stay in the same water, as they lose too much sap if water is changed.

Other flowers benefit from having the water changed daily and a small piece cut from the bottom of their stems.

Adding a small spoon of starch when placing flowers in the vase will help hold flower heads and a pinch of salt helps revive spring flowers.

Lemonade revives most other flagging flowers. Flowers have a sweet tooth and nothing keeps them going like sugar.

Copper coins reduce funga. Growth and bacteria in the water.

Asperin can revive sagging flowers but harms healthy flowers.

Maybe we’ve got more in common with flowers than we thought.

How to make a simple stove using tin cans.

large can (roughly 500 grams, big enough to cover a small tuna tin)
single serve tuna tin (or similar)
corrugated cardboard
cooking oil, grease or wax

church key bottle opener
tin snips

To Make Stove
1: Take a large empty tin can and flip over. Along the closed end, make six holes around the rim using a church key bottle opener. 
2: Create a damper using tin snips at the base of your stove. Make two cuts in the bottom (open) end, roughly two centimetres long and six centimetres apart. Bend out to open the damper. The damper can be closed or open to control heat.

To Make Burner

To Make Burner

A: Stuff tuna can with strips of corrugated cardboard

B: Add cooking oil, grease or wax

C: Light cardboard

D: Place stove over burner

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