The longest (lasting) cut flower I’ve known

On December 17, we went for dinner at an Indian restaurant we’d never tried before; this was part of our ongoing attempts to explore more of the city we’ve only recently moved to. Fittingly, the Welsh Rose was given a flower—a single chrysanthemum—by a waiter who was charming if slightly awkward, as though he’d just left waiter-patter school.

Here is that same chrysanthemum, just over three weeks afterwards:

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It was remarkable how long it had lasted in a vase on a south-facing windowsill. Who knows, but that it might have been helped by being seared: before placing in cold water, I immersed the stem in recently-boiled water for perhaps ten seconds, to break down its woodiness slightly and permit it to take up moisture without roots. This is a standard trick, but one that I learnt from Sarah Raven’s great videos about both nursery horticulture and flower arranging, among other topics.

Today, Thursday 14 January, four weeks after we originally brought this cut flower home, it has started to look noticeably fatigued, although I don’t know whether that’s because of nature taking its general course along the way of all flesh, or the especially chilly temperatures in our kitchen. But let nobody say cut flowers never last: I’ve had gifts of pot roses that have died off faster!

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