If every dog has its day, so every flower has its vase. But now always happily.
Take the flower murders of my childhood. Every few years or so a malevolent force would ravage the tidy suburban gardens on our street. It could be a dog slipped its collar, a toddler with pinched fingers, a killer gust or hailstorm from the North. No matter, the result was pretty much the same. The bulbs that had been carefully planted, watered and nurtured with care became ugly, awkward, snapped-off stems. Fallen flower heads littered the fertile dirt like broken soldiers. Some garden owners raged or cried. Others, more pragmatic, gathered up the wilted tops and stuck them in bud vases.
Sentimentalists—hoarders, collectors, nurturers in particular—all hate to see flowers die. Count me in. I make a game out of extending cut flower life (short of using processes like drying, pressing or acrylic dipping). Like a good nurse I cut stems on the diagonal, change daily water, cull moldy leaves and add those powdery packets that look like sweetener. It works. Recently, I cajoled some purple calla lilies into sticking around and sticking around. A small victory, for sure, but it felt just like a miracle.
June roses are the thing now. For some, a big bouquet is too much lush. My L.A. friends salute the individual by sprinkling garden rose stems—each in its own container—across their dining table. Any bud vase or dish suits fine, from elegant Lalique crystal to lopsided homemade pottery. Honestly, the flower doesn’t care.
Paradoxically, one of the world’s largest plant conservation and research programs lies in the Bronx, courtesy of the New York Botanical Gardens. Both their spectacular grounds and the NYBG gift shop hold inspiration for rural and urban plant lovers. There I discovered this PTSD-curing arrangement of winsome single stem containers. Even if the nature of flowers is to come and go, a shelf glass garden has staying power.