Stock are sturdy spikes of dense clusters of sweetly scented single or double blossoms.

Fresh stock have one-third to a half of their blossoms open, with the remaining buds showing good color and size.

NAMES: Stock, Matthiola, Gillyflower.

COLORS: Pastel shades of white, pink, apricot, and yellow are most common, but deep pink and purple are also available.

SCENT: Subtle, spicy close scent.

FRESHNESS: One-third to one-half of the bottom blossoms are open, with the remaining buds showing good size and color.

VASE LIFE: 5 days or slightly longer.

AVAILABILITY: All year, but spring and summer are the peak seasons.

COST: Inexpensive.

MEANING: Lasting beauty.

OTHER: Stock has very dense stems, which makes water penetration difficult and shortens the vase life of the flower. Change the water frequently and re-cut the ends.