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Spring flowers in Seattle

Time to plant that garden. And make sure you plant lots of beautiful flowers for cutting!

If you've got a beautiful home, you'll want a beautiful gardent to highlight your Seattle real estate.

Here are some tips for keeping cut flowers alive longer. All cut flowers have a finite life span once harvested.

It's best to try to grown them yourself, but if not, here are some tips when buying:

When buying them, look for these signs of freshness:

• Leaves and petals that are upright and plump. Avoid wilted stems.
• Flower buds in color and blooms that are not fully opened.
• Clean, green leaves.
• Unbroken stems and petals that are neither battered nor bruised.
• An absence of slime where stalks have been sitting in water.

Once home, the flower must be quickly rehydrated by cutting at least an inch off each stem while they are submerged. This will remove the airlock in the stem's water column. Make an angled cut with clean scissors, or a sharp knife. The cut flowers should be transferred immediately to a vase of fresh, warm water.

The key to long vase life is good sanitation: Use a clean, sterile vase and fresh water as well as the powdered preservative from the florist. This should be dissolved in warm water and then added to the vase. It will feed the plants and prevent bacteria from forming. If you don't have preserver, you can add a tablespoon of sugar and two or three drops of bleach per quart of water.

With these tips, you can keep you flowers fresher longer.

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