May 27, 2008

Minty Fresh Calla Lilies?

It turns out that calla lilies don't enjoy mouthwash, or at least, they don't enjoy my husband's new mouthwash.

Before you jump to conclusions and think I must be conversing with flowers, let me elaborate:

Every time I buy flowers from this particular stand in the farmer's market by my office, I walk away, not only with flowers to arrange, but also with a free tip. It's true that most of the tips are not always practicable (e.g., sautéing the end of the hydrangea stem to seal in the juices; or if the hydrangeas start to go limp, drowning them in a bucket of water so they come back to life; etc.). Regardless, I always politely thank the flower guy for sharing his wisdom (though I never actually test the theories).

This week, however, was different, because this week, I was intrigued. After hesitating that they might be a bit too pricey for farmer's market standards, I decided to splurge and buy these gorgeous calla lilies:
As I handed over the cash, the flower guy leaned over to share his tip of the week with me, but this time, he started by saying that he doesn't share this particular tip with everyone (perhaps I was special...or perhaps only those that buy the overpriced flowers receive the tip).

Then, the tip followed, as he whispered to me that: the secret to keeping calla lilies fresh is mouthwash (something about killing bacteria on the flowers). He told me to just put these beauties in an inch and a half of water + mouth wash, change the water every 2 days and cut the stems every 5 days, the result: flowers that last for a whole 2 weeks.

I sat all day in my office staring at the callas in the corner, and counting down the hours until I could rush home and test his theory. Finally, the work day was done, and it was time. As soon as I walked in the door, I headed straight for my husband's new mouthwash, then grabbed a simple vase, and set out at arranging.

My husband stared as he saw me pour a splash of his mouthwash into the vase, and he even questioned whether I was feeling alright. I explained the top secret tip I had received, and reasoned "besides, what could mouthwash really do to flowers; I mean we put it in our mouths every day?"

Two days later, I stuck to the plan, and proudly switched the water and added another splash of mouthwash. So far, a complete success.

Then, sadly, I came home two days later to switch the water (yes, count that, four days after my purchase), and my callas were gone--they just disappeared. It turns out my husband found them sad and wilty, and decided to spare me from the pain. Unfortunately, I have no evidence to show you (or the flower guy) of the effects of mouthwash on calla lilies, but...alas...I will always have these pictures to remember how they once were minty fresh!

However, I must share this one caveat. Before jumping to conclusions that the flower guy makes up his tips figuring no one will ever bother to follow them, or that one should beware of unsolicited tips from the farmer's market flower guy, I feel I must disclose the following information that I just learned: Right before I sat down to write this post, someone informed me that their dentist told them that the brand of mouthwash my husband has been using has been known to turn teeth brown.

So, if I can brave it, I may have to try this again with a different brand, or at the very least, we will be switching mouthwash brands.

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