The best tip I have come across for making flowers last is a simple one - don't ram them into a vase or pot that is too small, because it crushes the stems together and hampers them from taking up water freely.
Separate the stems into different jam jars and group them together, or line them up and down the centre of a table or a long mantelpiece or shelf. I like the basic utilitarian look of the glass jars unadorned, but if you'd prefer something a little posher, tie the jars together with string or an elastic band and wrap a wide band of fabric around.
I haven't found that adding bicarb, charcoal or anything else to the water helps the longevity of the flowers, but changing the water every few days does - clean the stems under running water at the same time. Also, when first arranging the flowers, strip the stems so that there are no leaves, which will just rot in the water. Get maximum life out of the flowers by cutting away the bottom of the stem as it starts to decompose, which prevents it properly absorbing water.
From Simply Wonderwoman: A Survival Guide For Women With Too Much To Do (Kyle Books) by Joanna Gosling, Dh103, www.amazon.com
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