When you cut liatris-commonly called gayfeather-from your garden, place the stems in hot water for 30 seconds, and then condition them in cool water for some hours before arranging them.
Lilies should be cut when the first blooms on a stem open. Split the stems one inch and plunge them into deep, warm water. Do not wet the petals and leave as much foliage as you can when you harvest the blooms.
Remove the pollen-bearing anthers at the ends of the stamens. If this is not done and pollen falls onto the flower petals, they will shrivel.
Also, pollen that gets onto fabric tablecloths or clothing is very difficult to remove.
Allow orchid flowers to remain on the plant 4 to 6 days before you cut them to reach full color. Cut on a slant with a clean, sharp knife and re-cut underwater. Do not get water on the petals. Stand orchid stems in lukewarm water in a cool, dark place until they're arranged. They can also be stored out of water in the refrigerator.
Crush the stems of phlox with a hammer or split them and then condition them in warm water until they're arranged.
Always keep cut flowers away from hot air vents and drafts.
Invest in a little hammer that you can use to pound woody stems, as it is easier sometimes than splitting them.