“What are flowers? Are they not messengers of love, prayers of the vegetal world, the aspiration and of Nature, the smile of the divine?”
From the book - “Flowers - Their Spiritual Significance”
For the past few years Amma has asked local devotees across the country to grow flowers in their gardens to sell in Amma’s flower shop at Her tour stops, to support Her many charitable projects.
And now we are happy to announce the continuation and expansion of Amma’s Flower Garden Project!
Several groups of enthusiastic local devotees are committed to growing flowers for Amma but we are in need of many more than a few gardens can provide, as every year more and more people come to meet Our Divine Mother. If you have a garden and would like to grow flowers for Amma, or if you do not have a space but would like to help out on planting and harvesting days, please contact Prema directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lola (Tour Staff flower person) also sent out a note to all the flower coordinators asking that local people please try to grow some flowers in little flower pots, such as baby roses and other small perennials, herbs, and especially Tulasi (seeds available through Green Friends). These make lovely offerings to Mother that devotees can then take home and plant in their own gardens! This seva would be especially suited to indoor or city gardeners or those with a small space …
Here is a list of some recommended flowers and greens that work well in the bouquets, along with some tips for cutting and conditioning. Remember, plants should be started indoors 6 to 8 weeks before the last frost — that’s soon!
This is such a wonderful seva. Imagine growing flowers to be offered to Our Beloved Amma!
Amma’s Garden Project 2011
Annuals for a cutting garden:
- Amaranthus Caudatus (Love Lies Bleeding)
- Ammi Majus (Bishop’s Flower)
- Bells of Ireland
- Callistephus Chinesis (China Aster)***
- Celosia, Cristata (Cockscomb)***
- Celosia, Plumosa (Feather)***
- Celosia, Spicata (Wheat)
- Centaurea (Bachelors’ Button)***
- Cleome (Spider Flower)***
- Dimorphoteca Sinuata (Cape Marigold)
- Eustoma (Lisianthus)
- Gomphrena (Globe Amaranth)
- Gypsophila (Baby’s Breath)***
- Helichrysum (Strawflower)
- Helipterium (Everlasting)
- Matthiola (Stock)***
- Nicotiana (Flowering Tobacco)***
- Nigella Damascena (Love in A Mist)***
- Reseda Odorata (Mignonette)
- Salvia Farinacea***
- Scabiosa (Pincushion Flower)***
- Sweet Pea***
- Verbena Bonariensis***
Perennials for a cutting garden:
- Achillea (Yarrow)
- Chrysanthemum, such as Shasta Daisy
- Coral Bells
- Dianthus, Deltoids (Pinks)
- Digitalis (Foxglove)
- Echinacea (Purple Coneflower)
- Echinops Exaltatus (Globe Thistle)
- Gypsophila (Baby’s Breath)
- Heuchera (Coral Bells)
- Kniphofia (Red Hot Poker)
- Nicotiana (Flowering Tobacco)
- Poppy, Shirley or Iceland
- Rudbeckia (Black-Eyed Susan)
- Solidago, (Goldenrod)
Greens for a cutting garden:
- Asparagus, Densiflorus
- Asparagus, Sprengeri
- Dusty Miller
- Euphorbia (Snow on the Mountain)
- Flowering Cabbage
- Flowering Kale
|Flower||When to Cut||Treatment for Conditioning|
|Anemone||½ to fully open||Scrape stems|
|Aster||¾ to fully open||Scrape stems|
|Azalea||Bud to fully open||Scrape and crush stems|
|Bachelor’s Button||½ to fully open||Scrape stems|
|Bleeding Heart||4 or 5 florets open||Scrape stems|
|Calendula||Fully open||Scrape stems|
|Carnation||Fully open; Snap or break from plant||Scrape stems|
|Chrysanthemum||Fully open; break off||Scrape or crush stems|
|Daffodil||As color shows in bud||Cut foliage sparingly and scrape stems|
|Dahlia||Fully open||Sear stems in flame|
|Daisy||½ to fully open||Scrape stems or sear in flame|
|Delphinium||¾ to fully open||Scrape stems, break off top buds|
|Gladiolus||As second floret opens||Scrape stems|
|Iris||As first bud opens||Leave foliage, scrape stems|
|Lilac||½ to fully open||Scrape and crush stems; Put wilted branches in very hot water for 1 hour|
|Lily||As first bud opens||Cut no more than 1/3 of stem|
|Marigold||Fully open||Scrape stems|
|Peony||Bud in color or fully||Scrape or split stems open|
|Poppy||Night before opening||Sear stems; a drop of wax in heart of flower keeps it open|
|Rose||As second petal unfurls; cut stem just above a 5-petal leaf||Scrape stems; cut stems again while holding under water|
|Tulip||Bud to ½ open||Cut foliage sparingly, scrape stems, stand in deep water overnight|
|Zinnia||Fully open||Sear stems in flame|
CUTTING AND CONDITIONING
Success in flower arranging depends on knowing the best ways to condition and maintain plant materials to keep them looking fresh. Conditioning is the plant’s process of taking on more water than it gives off, so as to put it into a prime state of freshness. It is all-important for creating flower arrangements that will last for more than a day. It is silly to spend all the time it takes to make a lovely arrangement only to have it begin wilting after a few hours because the material wasn’t properly conditioned.
The general rules for conditioning most flowers are the same but there are specific things to do for various blooms. One rule is certain, however: it is best to cut plant material in the evening, because sugar has been stored in the plant tissue all day. The next best time to cut is early morning, and the poorest time is in the middle of the day. This means you have to plan ahead.
Flowers should be cut with a sharp knife or a good pair of garden clippers. Cut the stem on a slant and remove all unnecessary foliage. As soon as the flower is cut, place the stem up to its neck in a bucket of warm water and place the flowers in a cool room for at least 6 hours or overnight. A darkened room will slow the development of the blooms. Any that you want to open should be placed close to an indirect light source.
Some stems need special treatment. Brittle stems (such as on chrysanthemums) should be broken to expose a greater surface for water intake. Woody stems (such as lilac) should be peeled back and split an inch or so. Milky stems (such as poppies) must be sealed with a match or other flame, or by dipping the end momentarily into boiling water. Milky stems need to be resealed each time they are cut, so they are not suitable for needlepoint holders, which pierce the stem.
Foliage plants should be cut when they are mature. Tender new growth should usually be removed. Most foliage can be immersed completely and some must be. Wilted plant material is not necessarily dead; it may be just thirsty. Re-cut the stems and place in hot water and most will revive. After conditioning, place the plant material in cool water in a cool room.
Some commercial chemical preparations added to the water in which plants are conditioned have value in that they check maturing, nourish plants, sweeten the water and help slow decay. Other tips to keep in mind are: remove the pollen from self pollinating flowers (lilies); cut the stems under water to keep air bubbles from entering (important with roses); put water in the container before you start the arrangement; and cut the stems straight across for needlepoint holders, and on an angle for deep vases.
Many books have detailed lists of different plant materials and how best to condition them for arranging. The previous chart will get you started.