When you don't have a chance to purchase flowers from your florist, take advantage of the flowers in your own garden. But make sure you have the proper tools before cutting them so you'll get the longest vase life.

Sharp pruning shears, floral scissors or a floral knife are essential to extending the vase life of your flowers. Dull blades can crush or tear fragile stems.

Bring along a container of water in which to place your flowers as soon as you cut each stem. Don't wait until you return to the house.

Garden gloves are a necessity if you are cutting stems of roses or other prickly-stemmed blossoms.

Reprinted by permission from Floral Retailing magazine.

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