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PAMPER MOM ON MOTHER'S DAY WITH LASTING BEAUTY; 15 STEPS TO HELP PRESERVE FRESH BLOOMS FROM CALIFORNIA CUT FLOWER COMMISSION

 GOLD RIVER, Calif., May 4 /PRNewswire/ -- Your Mother's Day bouquet of fresh cut flowers can provide up to two weeks of color and cheer by following a few simple steps, say insiders in the California flower- growing industry.
 According to Dave Pruitt, a Leucadia-based flower grower, who chairs the California Cut Flower Commission (CCFC), in Sacramento, "Consumers can easily adapt some of the steps that professional growers use to ensure that cut flowers enjoy as long a display life as possible."
 Pruitt and the CCFC have created a 15-step plan that consumers can follow to help ensure that each purchase of fresh cut flowers can provide up to two full weeks of color and cheer for a home or office:
 1. Select the freshest flowers available. Check the stem for firmness (a plus) and the leaves for color (a necessity!). Blooms that are tight and just beginning to open are the freshest and will last the longest.
 2. Flowers will last if bought last. Flowers should be treated like any other perishable -- milk, ice cream, butter -- on your shopping list; buy them last and keep them as cool as possible when you drive them home.
 3. Choose the right vase. The deeper the container (to provide adequate water to the stem) and the more comfortable the space that it allows the flowers, the better.
 4. Prepare the vase. Scrub the vase clean to eliminate bacteria, then fill it with lukewarm water. It's also a good idea to add floral preservative -- which many florists provide free or for a few cents with the purchase of cut flowers -- and, as Pruitt points out, "By all means, follow the instructions!" Alternative flower nutrients include sugary (but non-cola) soft drinks or a simple pinch of sugar, plus a teaspoon of lemon juice or a few drops of bleach.
 5. Pull off the leaves that will be submerged in the vase. This, too, combats any bacterial growth.
 6. Place the flower stems in two or three inches of lukewarm water.
 7. Cut stems diagonally while keeping them underwater. This prevents trauma (for the flowers) and disappointment (for the consumer).
 8. Place flowers loosely in the filled receptacle. Remember, even cut flowers need "breathing" room.
 9. Keep the flowers in a mild climate. That means, Pruitt says, "Out of drafts and off the top of the TV."
 10. Repeat step no. 7 every two days.
 11. If preservative has been added, Pruitt says, "Freshen the water every two days." If preservative has not been added, "Change the water completely every two days."
 12. Spray-mist the flowers daily.
 13. Keep your display fresh by regularly removing limp flowers.
 14. Wilting flowers can be revived! "You can simply recut the stems and totally submerge them horizontally in a tub or in a sink of room- temperature water for a few hours," Pruitt says.
 15. Have more than one vase ready. When your floral arrangement becomes smaller, you can easily make a new one -- "in a brandy snifter or a bud vase, for example," Pruitt points out, adding that by using garden cuttings from your own yard, "not only will you extend your arrangement's display life, you may even become a part-time floral designer!"
 -0- 5/4/93
 /NOTE TO EDITORS: Photograph is available on request: Contact California Cut Flower Commission, 2339 Gold Meadow Way, Suite 101, Gold River, CA 95670, 916-852-5166, or fax, 916-852-5177./
 /CONTACT: Kathryn Miele of the California Cut Flower Commission, 916-852-5166/


CO: California Cut Flower Commission ST: California IN: SU:

SM -- NYMFNS9 -- 4098 05/04/93 06:54 EDT
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Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Date:May 4, 1993
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