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Buttercups as cut flowers
In June the fields around us turn into a haze of yellow. Slightly softened by the pink of the flowering grass the bright buttercup flowers bob in the breeze, an upper story of brilliant flowers, shiny as lacquer.
In the garden I have a slightly more tetchy relationship with the buttercup - it is one of the main weeds we have, left over from when the garden was a soggy pony paddock. It loves the wet and thrives in compaction, spreading in runners to form a dense strangling mat, regrowing efficiently from each tiny scrap of root.
This is one of the main reasons that the vegetable garden has raised beds - the buttercup shies away from the loose soil and organic matter, preferring to set up home on the paths with their stamped down wood chip.
But even though I don't like the buttercup in my lettuce patch, I adore it in the wild edges of the garden. And I love it as a cut flower. A decade or so ago one June I arranged the flowers for a fancy dinner. The brief was loose, the clients open minded and trusting. I created a slim meadow of cow parsley and buttercups rising from the starched white linen of the tablecloth.
I would have loved to make a wedding bouquet in the same combination, or perhaps even just the buttercups - gathered and tied with a silk ribbon.
Buttercups are very forgiving cut flowers if you condition them well. The most important thing is to cut them into water as once the shininess of the petals dims it can't be brought back. They hate to get dehydrated.
So, for the longest vase life, cut the stems with sharp scissors and put them straight into a deep bucket, leave in the shade for an hour or so. Fill your vase or bottles and then recut the stems and put them straight into the water. They should last about a week but hate being in direct sun and are heavy drinkers so keep them away from the windows and top up their water every day.