When I was a little girl, I always took my mother flowers that I picked from the yard even if the flowers were in reality, weeds. I would invariably give her flowers with stems that were an inch long with a jagged edge where I yanked it from the bush. I even remember giving her flowers that fell apart as I passed it to her because the stem was non-existent and there was nothing to hold the petals together. Mom was overjoyed and thanked me profusely every time, seemingly oblivious to the short to non-existent stem. Then, putting the flowers in a little cup filled with water, she would continue with the accolades. Mom had a way of conveying that she thought I was special and everything I did was wonderful.
Flowers last longer if they are cut at a slant with a sharp, unserrated knife and immediately placed in water unlike those I gave my mother as a child. By cutting the stems at a slant, more of the surface is exposed and more water can travel into the flower quickly. Also, removing all the leaves that would otherwise be under the water helps to extend the life of the flower. Mom didn’t have to worry about leaves because I don’t think I ever had a stem long enough to be accompanied by leaves or I had preplucked them off.
Every little child I have known acted the same including my daughter, Alyssa. On the flip side, I acted the same way my mother did whenever Alyssa presented her gift of flowers to me. I oooohhh’d, aaaaahhh’d and thanked her profusely, totally ignoring the fact that my flowers were basically stemless. Her little face would beam and her smile always melted my heart as much then as they do now.
The other day I was sitting at the computer when Alyssa, then 16 and now 17 years old, came in and presented me with a beautiful Dogwood blossom. There she stood like a little girl waiting for the oooohhhing and aaaahhhing over her flower gift. I was more than happy to accommodate and immediately put it in a glass filled with water. Alyssa’s beaming smile was joy to my eyes and heart.
Later that evening as I sat staring at my little Dogwood blossom floating in the glass, I had to chuckle because some things just don’t change. The stem on the flower is about half an inch long just like the flowers I used to give my mother. I guess stem length really doesn’t matter after all because the Dogwood flower remained perfectly beautiful for ten days!