This section is from the book "Commercial Gardening Vol2", by John Weathers (the Editor). Also available from Amazon: Commercial Gardening, A Practical & Scientific Treatise For Market Gardeners.
This is the "last lap", so to speak, in the race, and not a few fail to grasp its importance. To grow a crop for weeks on end, to expend a few pounds in fuel, and finally to put the flowers on the market in a poor condition is the height of folly. Yet it is often done. The more common errors are half-expanded flowers, short stems - much stem being cut to waste in the packing shed - and limp flowers insufficiently supplied with water. A grower of forced daffodils should remember to-day that as much is paid for the stem as for the flower at its summit, short-stemmed flowers being practically valueless. Hence, preserve all possible stem growth. Bunched the day before being marketed, and spending a whole night and day in water, the bunches "face up" well, and, all else being equal, represent the first-class article, while others not so treated may come out but a very poor second.
Fill the boxes well when packing up. Flowers loosely packed and having room to move about may be in a sorry plight on reaching the market, where first impressions count for much. Firm packing is of the greatest importance when the flowers are sent by rail, the risk of damage being greatly reduced when the goods are sent by road van. The flowers are arranged one dozen in each bunch, and if given room will be seen to advantage. The flowers should always be backed by their own foliage, that is to say, ornatus foliage should not be used for Emperor, or vice versa. The frail stems of ornatus and the smooth rounded stems of double incomparabilis sorts are the most difficult to arrange, and require patience and not a little engineering at times (fig. 191).
Fig. 191. - Showing Daffodils bunched and packed in Light and Shallow Wooden Boxes for Covent Garden Market.