“As soon as flowers are snipped from their stems, they begin to die,” said a friend as she pointed out my drooping roses. She took a now-crunchy petal between her fingers; the petal fell away from the bud easily, drifting to the carpet.

Who else has experienced the guilt of dying flowers? A bouquet bought at a Sunday farmers market is drooping by Thursday. The vase water browns, the petals begin to crips around the edges, and (if you’re anything like me) you ignore the dying flowers and pretend their presence in your space is still cheerful and uplifting.

When it comes to tending plants, I even kill succulents. My grandma protests –  “succulents aren’t that easy!” As for bouquets, they’re dying as soon as they’re snipped at the stem.

“So,” my friend continued. “Once you cut flowers, even for a few minutes that they aren’t in water, they begin to scar over.” Her fingers tapped on the glass vase, the bottom half, filled with water. “Plants are smart, they’ll protect themselves to not lose water. But we have to nurture them, cut the scar off and place them into water. So they can drink.” Her hand moved upwards to her mouth, in a swooping motion. As if she was cupping river water and bringing it to her lips to drink.

In honor of my inability to care for plants, potted in soil or with stems gulping vase water, here is a list of things to do with a wilting bouquet of roses, renewing their beauty after death.

1. Press them into books.

Just make sure the petals aren’t wet to start with. Stick the flowers into a thick book, stack some more books on top, and open up for a pressed petal surprise in a week or so.

2. DIY face mask.

Disclaimer: We are not dermatologists and we recommend seeing a certified doctor for serious skin care issues. This is just our homemade recipe.

  • Soak rose petals in water for 2-3 hours. Only a few tablespoons of water is necessary for two or so roses.

  • Mash the petals into water to create a paste of sorts. Drain the excess water.

  • Add 3 tablespoons of honey. Mix mix mix well.

  • Apply to entire face! Drink a cup of tea! Dance or meditate.

  • After 10 minutes of roses covering your cheeks and forehead, rinse with cool water. Pat dry. Voilà.

3. Amp up your bath time.

The Greeks and Romans used flowers petals to perfume their baths – let’s take a tip from the ancients.

Sprinkle rose petals into your already frothy bubble bath for an extra luxurious self care ritual. Alongside looking and feeling like royalty, roses help rejuvenate and replenish skin.

Add some Epsom salt for muscle relaxing properties, essential oils (lavender or eucalyptus smells divine with rose), and sink into the suds.

Beauty benefits of roses?

  • anti-bacterial

  • moisturizing

  • toning

  • anti-anxiety

4. Rose water facial spray.

All you need is a stovetop, a pot, and some rose petals.

  1. Peel the petals from the rose buds. Make this a ritual – in making your own rose water, you are infusing your energy and your intention into the potion. Light a candle, breathe deeply, and peel the roses into a heat-resistant bowl. Thank the Earth for creation, for blooming.

  2. Fill a pot with water, and bring to boil.

  3. In a heat resistant bowl, pour boiling water onto the petals.

  4. Let the petals steam in hot water for a few hours – ideally overnight.

  5. Once the petals have lost their color and the water has taken on a tint, it’s time!

  6. Strain the petals from the water, and funnel your concoction into a spritzer bottle.

There are two methods to preserve your rose water: store in the fridge, or add a capful of vodka to the mix.

Voila! Spritz, smell, and sense the essence!

5. Hang them. Frame them.

Hang old flowers in bouquet bunches or take your pressed flowers and display them in frames.

Air drying is quite a common way of preserving roses; to dry them, hang them upside down in a warm and dark place for about two weeks or so. Afterwards, tie a string or a ribbon around the stems and hang them up as decoration. Our favorite place is against a white wall, or alongside ornately framed photos.

6. Embrace the faded rose.

Or, as my dear friend, an erotic poet and love aficionado does, you could leave your roses to wilt, and embrace the aesthetic of a faded rose.