Flowers For Cutting

I arrange lots of cut flowers for clients intended as Mother’s Day gifts. It may be old fashioned or expected, but I do believe the gift of flowers or plants is so appropriate for a Mom.  My Mom was a scientist.  Her view of the world had to do with experiments, statistics, dispassionate reasoning and disbelief without solid verification.  But she did in her own special way nurture me.  We had a very long and very intense relationship over the garden-once I got old enough to understand that gardening, and a love for nature and all growing things was a way of life-not always so pretty or stylish, but genuine and connected.

cut-flowers.jpgJulia died suddenly and unexpectedly in 2001.  For 2 months, I turned every light on in the house before I went to bed.  I could not sleep, unless the house was ablaze with light. I finally went to see my doctor-she told me everyone expresses their grief differently-I should not be concerned.  I eventually turned the lights off.  As much as everyone expresses their grief differently, everyone expresses their joy and appreciation differently.  The shop was jammed over Mother’s Day weekend-we did our best to help every person express their feelings in a way that satisfied them. Mother's Day flowers.jpg

I also do cut flower arrangements for clients.  Any orders I have for Mother’s Day flowers, I take seriously.  There is a son, a daughter, a husband, a niece, a friend, wanting to express their feelings via the flowers.  I order flowers in season, and fresh for these arrangements.

cut-flowers.jpgThe Dutch do a vastly better job of growing Dutch iris than I ever could.  A California farm has delphinium belladonna available.  The white sweet peas-I confess I do not know where they came from.  The white tulips-from my own garden. The mix says spring. Hello, and Happy Mother’s Day.  Thank you for all you have done for me.  All my love to you.  The arrangement is densely flowery, in a fairly formal shape .

cut-flowers.jpgThe arranging of the floral orders for Mother’s Day-I spend a fair amount of time with them.  Why so?  My clients are asking that I interpret their caring in a way that accurately represents them.  I understand they are entrusting me with an important message.  I take the time.  And I enjoy it.  Working with cut flowers is time well spent.

Mother's DayWhether the arrangement is big or small, formal or casual, subdued or bright and sassy in color, the message is fairly universal.  Thanks for helping me to bloom, Mom.

Mother's DayTulips, Dutch iris, and bupleurum

pink vaseLisianthus, white dendrobiums, pale yellow gerbera daisies, and lavender freesia

cut flowerswhite ranunculus, iris, and bupleurum

May flowerstulips, ranunculus, and orlaya

Mother's Daywhite Dutch iris, yellow and white ranunculus, belladonna delphinium

white cut flowersIf you arrange your own flowers for your home, or as a gift, proper conditioning is really important.  I recut every stem on a steep slant, and put them in fairly deep water which is lukewarm.  I try to find a very cool spot to set my buckets for 24 hours.  This treatment gives the stems time to take up water.  Cut flowers are delivered to me in boxes-they need to take a deep drink.  This step is especially important if the flowers are arranged in floral foam, as opposed to a vase filled with water.  The foam will quickly obstruct the pores of the stems, and impede the uptake of water.  The stem and flower should be juicy.

anniversary flowers I cut each stem again, as it is arranged.  Taking the time to condition the flowers will give them the longest possible life in the vase.  This is true whether you buy flowers from a florist, the grocery store-or if you cut flowers from your own garden.  A bouquet from fresh flowers from the garden makes a very personal and thoughtful gift.  What spring garden flowers make great cuts?  tulips, grape hyacinths, spring flowering branches as in dogwood or viburnum,, hellebores, peonies, iris, delphinium, sweet peas, early clematis, trollius- the list is plenty long.

flowers from the gardenIt is not only a pleasure to be able to bring the garden indoors, it is a pleasure to share it with someone near and dear.





  1. The corgis Howard and Milo both told me to tell you that you’re the best mom there is.
    happy mothers day from all of us boys.

  2. Katherine says

    You turned the lights back on in your own exquisite, personal way — a great gift shared w/ many.

  3. Wow. The beauty of these arrangements is breathtaking. You are such an artist!

  4. A garden center I worked at also did FTD, so you know I LOVE your arrangements!

    Sent my mom cash-for-flowers in her card. Her health is not suitable to a floral delivery, but I know the grocery store she goes to has great flowers.

    We’ve many fun conversations about the flowers she will get with the money! She still hasn’t gone to the grocery store. I don’t cook. Learned it from my mom !

    Again , love your flowers and the vases you matched them to.

    Garden & Be Well, XO T

    • Deborah Silver says

      Tara, I don’t cook either-neither did my Mom. But she could grow anything from seed-including trees. And she was a great gardener. She had my back until the day she passed on. She is on my mind, every Mother’s Day that I am arranging flowers for other people. Your Mom-when she shops, she will be thinking of your gift. This is how it supposed to be. From Mother Theresa- “It is not how much we give, but how much love we put into the giving”. Perfectly said, don’t you think? XO Deborah

  5. I love flowers!! Raised on a farm my grandpa and I had a huge garden, took flowers to church every Sun during the summer.. Your arrangements are so beautiful!!

    You have been blessed and trust me those that you give this gift to will always treasure it!!

    • Deborah Silver says

      Joy, thank you for your letter. Sounds like you had a special relationship with your grandfather! Deborah

  6. Julia Hofley says

    Hi Deborah,
    I can only imagine how many of your customers turn to you and DGW for the perfect expression of love and gratitude for their Mother, Wife, etc… over such an important holiday. Truly the perfect place to shop for that special something.
    Your attention to detail, creativity, spontaneity, elegance and sincere meaning all wrapped up in a bow~I’m sure you were packed.
    Another thing in common, dear friend~we both lost our Mother’s in 2001.

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Julia, we both have lived through that terrible day-there is never a good time to loose a Mom. Thanks for your letter. Deborah

  7. How do you convince lilacs to remain hydrated? I have bashed, slit, scraped and still they droop within hours.

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Suzanne, I use my pruners, and cut into the center of the branch- the pruners are parallel to the long side of the branch. Once the pruners close, I crank the pruner to one side to further split open the stem. Warm water, deep water, cool place. And I plan that 15% of them will wilt no matter what! Deborah

  8. LOVE Dirt Simple, such a treat for me to page thru!

    For Suzanne, additional experience with lilacs as cut flowers. I have found it depends on the variety of lilac, some are better than others. My chinese lilac is a flop as a cut flower. On Lilac Hills Nursery’s website is a good chart of lilac varieties and their qualities.

    I first became aware of Lilac Hills Nursery through this article on Better Homes and Gardens website.

    I did order six varieties of lilacs from them for my daughter’s new home, my choices based on LHN decriptions, opting for extended bloom time and fragrance, first searching for them at my local nurseries and finding four. LHN shipment was of outstanding quality, the one that I could only purchase as three foot tall potted plant arrived in bloom and perfect condition. They have all survived the past two winters in a solid USDA Zone 4 Sun Prairie,WI. Tho the seedling plants have not yet bloomed the larger ones have provided small tabletop bouquets.

    Hope this helps.

  9. I can find no such thing as blueplurum on Google…can you help redirect me? I wish to grow some in Wisconsin.

  10. Your bouquets are very unique. Very not FTD. I love FTD BTW, but I like these a lot, too. This year, I started making bouquets with my lilacs. I just made one with pink lilacs, some sprigs of that upright japanese holly (sky pencil?) and cattail leaves. It looks a little crazy, but I like it.

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