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How to make a temporary vase for cut flowers


Photo: Flowers in a tempoarary vase

Photo: Flowers in a tempoarary vase

I invested in Sarah Raven’s The Cutting Garden: Growing and Arranging Garden Flowers a while ago. It’s a brilliant inspirational book if you are raising flowers to cut for the house or to sell. A perfect reference guide. Recently I also bought her later book Grow Your Own Cut Flowers. This is a much simpler book than The Cutting Garden, listing just her favourite flowers and bulbs. But there are new tips and tricks and I’ve enjoyed lolling on the swing seat with the Min Pins and immersing myself in its pages.

If I was going to recommend just one book it would be The Cutting Garden as it is a really comprehensive book and lists thousands of flowers.

My mum is in hospital at the moment having a knee replaced. I learnt from Grow Your Own Cut Flowers that you can condition most flowers by searing the stems in boiling water for 20-30 seconds to make them last longer. Even the delicate Californian poppy can last for five days when seared – incidentally she tips that if you dead head this plant it will flower for months. So I had a sniff around the garden, picked this bunch and seared the stems.

I spotted a 100 meter role of florists quality cellophane for £19.50 on Sarah Raven’s website and ordered it with some seeds that I couldn’t find elsewhere – the postage on this site is the same for whatever you order. You can buy Cellophane Wrap from Amazon for less but the postage is quite steep. I have been using it to wrap posies but yesterday discovered Sarah Raven’s method of using the cellophane as a temporary vase.

This is basically a large square of cellophane (obviously it has to be a waterproof type and not the standard small roll that you find in craft shops). I pushed the centre of the square of cellophane into a small saucepan and filled the well with water and popped in the flowers which were held together with an elastic band. I secured the cellophane with tape and covered that with a ribbon, knotted and then tied with a bow.

The flowers travelled well – upright in the back of the car. My mum was delighted with the flowers – a waft of summer beside her bed.

Apparently the flowers can live in the temporary vase for a couple of days but will last longer in a proper vase.

  Leave a reply


  1. Cristina

    That’s a very clever way to make a temporary vase! Thanks for the tip, Fiona. Best wishes to your mother, hope she gets well soon.

  2. sebbie

    What lovely flowers and what a lucky mum you have. I hope she recovers well.

    I should add though that many hospitals no longer allow flowers since they are seen to be an infection control problem so anyone wishing to follow your example should check with the hospital before turning up with flowers.

  3. lindam

    Good luck to your mom Fiona. I just wanted to add that a very long time ago, in a long forgotten floral arranging book, I had read that flowers should be placed in a bath of cold water for at least an hour. This helps them stay fresh longer and is said to be a professional tip. I tried it with supermarket flowers and its true. They perk up and stay fresh without any added chemicals in the water.
    Thanks for the book recommendations. I’m in the planning stages of the our future cutting garden and need good references.

  4. Cookie Girl

    Lovely flowers. I was saying to Biscuit Boy today that you used to spend £500 a year on flowers which sounds a lot – but then he figured this is only £10 per week which isn’t a lot if you are buying flowers in one of the large supermarkets or M&S which have nice (but expensive!) flowers.. Makes me wonder how much I have spent on them in the past.. I love my flowers in the garden at the moment and my herbs. Gardening can be such a joy..

  5. Paula

    Love the colors! Good luck to your mum with her quick recovery!

  6. shelley

    It looks really beautiful Fiona!!

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