Completely contrived holidays that rake in the cash for greeting card companies are easy targets for cynics. But sometimes made-up holidays (and their promoters) can really do some good. Next Wednesday, Sept. 11, Honolulu flower shop Beretania Florist is celebrating the 19th annual “FTD Good Neighbor Day” by giving away a dozen roses to anyone who brings in a can of food for the Hawaii Food Bank.

But your work is not done once you donate the can of food. Beretania Florist asks that you keep only one rose for yourself and give away the rest as eleven gestures of aloha.

In total, the shop plans to give away 7,500 roses.

Fighting hunger and spreading 7,500 flowers’ worth of aloha? We’re in. Happy Good Neighbor Day!

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  • Cut Your Flowers' Stems...

    Always re-cut flowers before putting them in water. Flower stems grow a pseudo-seal at their base after snipping -- when left out of water for a good period of time, they'll stop drinking the water in a vase.

  • But Cut Them Properly

    When cutting stems, always cut on an angle so they're not sitting flush with the bottom of the vase -- this gives them more room to soak in watery goodness.

  • Water Can Be Too Cold

    Only ever fill a vase with room-temperature water.

  • Arranging Flowers Is A Must

    Plan your arrangement so it's compact and close together (i.e. buy enough flowers to ensure this happens). Grouping stems closer together will hold each in place, and water and nutrients will be distributed evenly. <em>Credit: Bruno Duarte</em>

  • Remove Loose Leaves

    Try to remove as much foliage from the stems as possible. Foliage in the water will cause bacteria to grow and your flowers will die sooner.

  • Stems Are Different

    When cutting woody stems, such as hydrangea stems, always cut them higher up the stem -- same goes for flowering branches in the spring.

  • For Delicate Flowers Like Tulips...

    Use cold water; prick the stem below the tulip bloom to help keep them sitting straight. Another trick? Put pennies in the water. The copper keeps them from growing in all different directions.

  • Open Your Roses

    A simple trick with roses is to run your thumb along the back of the petals one by one. This will help the petals stay open -- they may even double in size.

  • Small Stems Deserve Special Care

    For smaller stems, like Orchids, use a water pick (a plastic container with a pointed end that can be stuck into the soil in a planter) on the stem <em>then</em> insert the flower into the arrangement. Orchids are not big water drinkers and can be left to bloom for five days without topping up the pick's water. If you use this technique for roses that have broken off the stem, add water every day to the water pick.

  • Play With Colour

    When selecting flowers always select one to two colours plus your greenery to give your arrangement a more elegant and modern look. You want your flowers to look clean and simple and not overly designed. Also, don't be afraid to experiment with different vases or to place flowers in different areas of your home. Fresh flowers always change the energy and feel of a room. <em>Credit: Bruno Duarte</em>