During my time at The Culinary Institute of America, in Napa Valley, there were many opportunities for students to enhance their experience through volunteering. One particular weekend Jacobsen Orchards, who grows produce and flowers for Michelin restaurants such as Atelier Crenn and The French Laundry, was hosting a dinner for a Nascar sweepstakes winner. Although I was not a Nascar fan, I jumped at the chance in hopes of meeting Peter Jacobsen.
Much to my surprise, not only did I get to meet Mr. Jacobsen, but I worked with him closely in creating the atmosphere before joining the head chef in preparing dinner service. Mr. Jacobsen and I walked through his garden and eyed the flowers that we were going to pick. He taught me to never cut, pick or trim flowers dry because oxygen bubbles will form in the stems and suffocate the plant. Once you stick them in water, they will breathe again, but will struggle to do so causing them to wilt within a few days.
With that said, always cut your flowers under running water (i.e. a hose, faucet, water basin), have the vessel ready for immediate transfer, and be prepared to work fast. This method preserves and extends the life force of the flowers, allowing them to survive the process and you to admire their beauty for much longer before they bid you adieu.