Still smells sweet

"A red rose is the essence of a Valentine," wrote poet May Sarton, and perhaps no other flower says "I love you" as eloquently - or as frequently. More than 90 million roses are sold on Valentine's Day.

To keep the romantic gesture from your sweetheart lasting longer, try these tips:

*Use clean vases or containers.

*Remove leaves that will be under water.

*Cut the stem of each flower under water using a sharp knife or scissors. This prevents air pockets from forming inside the stems which block water uptake. Recut every three days.

*Add floral food to the vase water. Change the water every three to four days.

Source: Calif. Cut Flower Commission

Compiled by Joshua S. Burek and Stephen Humphries

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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