A small arrangement of tightly packed roses is always a nice, classic gift to send someone for a special occasion. The other day at the wholesale flower market, I saw some nice deep pinkish roses and bought 3 bunches (about 72 stems total) for about PHP400. I cut off an inch from their stems and plunged them straight into deep buckets of fresh water to â€œconditionâ€ them overnight. What that means is to slowly bring them out of their stupor that had set in during their arduous journey from the Benguet hillsides to Sampaloc, Manila. If the roses have a chance to soak for at least 12 hours they will last a lot longer. Best to let them condition in a cool spot like an airconditioned room here in the tropics. I like to soak them at least 2/3 of the way up their stems…
The next day, I sorted out the damaged blooms of which there were at least 18 in this group of roses so I ended up with about 50 nice blooms. I have this really neat little gadget made of steel that easily strips off all of the thorns and as many leaves as you wish. Personally, I like arrangements with just blooms and not many leaves so I stripped all of the leaves from these roses. If necessary to clean up the blooms, you can gently dunk them in cool water and remove any outer petals that donâ€™t seem fresh. Do this sparingly though as the flowers arenâ€™t keen on it. I then took out one of many floristâ€™s glass vases we stock for occasions like this and filled it with water and floral powder to keep the flowers fresh and avoid bacteria growth in the vase. Arrange the flowers in a tight bouquet in one hand and when you are happy, cut of the stems to the right height that fits your vase. My vase was less than 6 inches in diameter and I used all 50 or so blooms. The arrangement wasnâ€™t more than 10 inches tall.
Next consider how you wrap the flowers. I think most florists in Manila do NOT pay much attention to the wrapping (with the exception of Mabolo and 517 Flower Company that I know do a brilliant job of wrapping) and that takes away from the excitement of getting a bunch of flowers. I like to ensconce the flowers in lots of white papel de japon and waterproof clear cellophane and appropriate ribbons. I spent a lot of time in Australia one year and noticed how they wrapped their flowers and have taken many ideas from those days. The final result? A fresh, tightly packed arrangement of roses wrapped in a crisp manner and delivered to a hopefully surprised and delighted recipient.