daffs in blue vase - Illustration by Helen KrayenhoffDuring these long days of light it’s hard to remember the short and gloomy days after the New Year. Think ahead and make a plan to plant now to brighten your early spring days with flowers to cut and bring inside. Spring bulbs are a good place to start. There are many species and varieties of Narcissus available and they tend to re-bloom year after year. If you have room in the fridge to force bulbs, early blooming tulips are a wonderful addition. Anemones and Ranunculus are other spring-blooming bulbs that produce flowers on long stems that last well in a vase.

Planting long stemmed hardy annual seeds in the fall like Nigella, Cerinthe and Scabiosa is a good way to ensure earlier flowers. Seeded in pots now, they can germinate in the warmth. When transplanted in the garden they can take advantage of the winter rains to establish extensive roots that will support lots of good quality blooms.

Tuck in some 6-packs of those pretty mixed color Yarrows and Iceland poppies to round out your cutting garden hope chest. If you don’t have a bed or border to dedicate to a cutting garden, it’s just as easy to tuck these plants in among your other plants.

Here are a few cut flower arrangement tips for any time of the year. For the longest vase life, harvest in the mornings and pick flowers before they are fully open — they will continue to open in water. Make sure your vases are clean as bacteria can shorten the vase life. Re-cut the stems right before you put them in so they are open to absorb water. Start your bouquet with the bushiest flowers or foliage plants as they create a structure for single stem varieties to stand up in. Check the water level in the vase daily and enjoy!