Fresh flowers lift our spirits and make us smile. They are wonderful gifts and perfect for those “just because” surprises. There are a number of great shops for buying these treasures, but gardeners are lucky – we have a bounty of choices right outside the front door. We need only select a few winners to make a great bouquet – feel free to experiment and find a new favorite! The best time to harvest flowers or stems for your fresh bouquet is early in the morning. Use a sharp knife or pruners to make a clean cut and place into a bucket of fresh water. Once in the house, use your creativity to arrange your stunning bouquet, remembering to strip any leaves that will be in the vase water. When you buy flowers from the shop, a commercially produced flower food is often included, but don’t despair, it’s easy to make a homemade version. Flowers need an acidifier (lemon juice), a food source (sugar), and something to keep the bacteria down (bleach). For one quart of warm vase water, mix 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 tablespoon sugar, and 1 tablespoon bleach.