How to arrange fresh flowers
Tips for fresh flower arranging from Troy Gifft, co-owner of TG Designs in Hagerstown:
Using a sharp knife - Gifft uses an inexpensive fruit knife from the grocery store - trim the leaves off the stems. Leaves will decay if they touch the oasis, the spongy greenish stuff that holds the stems, or the water in the vase.
The knife used to trim the stems should be clean. Gifft also recommends washing plastic or glass flower containers with bleach to kill bacteria.
Stems always should be cut at a slant or angle to take up water faster.
In arranging, start with the central or focal flower, sticking it in the wet oasis. If the arrangement is for a dining room table, use shorter stems so the arrangement doesn't get in the way of conversation.