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More Than Pretty Blooms

MORE THAN PRETTY BLOOMS BLOG

Often times we simply just look at flowers.  We admire their beauty and grace, and never stop to think of what more they might be able to offer.  Many flowers that are commonly found in bouquets are also edible or have been used for medicinal purposes*.  Sometimes they are mistaken for weeds or wildflowers. These flowers are frequently found in flower beds as well as florists’ shops.  

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Feverfew
Feverfew is known by many names and is a relative of the chrysanthemum.  This delicate, white flower looks similar to a daisy and may be mistaken for a common weed.  They grow in barren places outdoors, but can also be grown indoors or found in gardens.  They can become invasive.  

Feverfew has been used for hundreds of years to treat migraines.  The leaves can be eaten directly, but are said to be bitter or can be brewed into a tea.  Feverfew also has anti-inflammatory properties and has been used to treat arthritis, allergies, and insect bites.

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Petal It Forward!

On Wednesday, October 9th, 2015, SAF held a wonderful event promoting flowers and making people smile in the streets of Time Square. Here are the results of this event coming from SAF’s blog, aboutflowersblog.com.

Petal It Forward! Spreading Smiles, Warming Hearts
by Jennifer Sparks

It’s all the rage – those positive acts of kindness where people “pay it forward” to make someone’s day shine just a little brighter. Because flowers are the perfect way to do just that, we — the Society of American Florists — hit the busy streets of New York City today, handing out thousands of flower bouquets (4,000 to be exact) to busy morning commuters to help brighten up their mid-week slumps. Our way of paying it forward? To PETAL IT FORWARD!

We have university research that shows that a gift of flowers creates instant delight and increases enjoyment and life satisfaction. We also know from a recent survey that while 80 percent of people feel happy when they receive flowers, even more – 88 percent – report that givingflowers makes them happy. So, not only did we pay it forward and make peoples’ day, but we gave recipients a chance to do the same, in a big way. They received two bouquets, one to keep (big smiles!) and one to share with a loved one, coworker, or even a stranger who needed a lift (off-the-chart smiles!).

The best part: In addition to New York, florists across the country are making the effort to petal it forward in their local communities this week, from New Hampshire to New Jersey to South Carolina to Illinois to Minnesota to Colorado to California to Alaska! More than 30 events are taking place nationwide.

To read the full article about the #PetalItForward NYC event, click the link below!

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5 Trending Valentine’s Day Arrangements

Valentine’s Day is the biggest floral holiday of the year. But this year, give that special loved one something unique! It’s the perfect time to show your sweetie how much you care and surprise them with a twist on the traditional flower arrangement. Here are 2015 Valentine’s Day floral trends making the rounds to loved ones everywhere.

Roses in a Box
Scrap the vase altogether! Many florists have gift boxes available, so have them line up roses so your sweetie gets a lush, fragrant surprise upon opening the lid. When they receive the box, they’ll be expecting chocolates, but instead they will receive a unique floral arrangement that they can dry and keep as lovely potpourri. In this case, think inside the box!

Ditch the Red
With so many rose colors to choose from, you can always deliver a favorite. Maybe a pink or purple arrangement would be more fitting for your specific recipient–after all, you don’t have to use roses! If you do have your heart set on them, they come in just about every hue under the sun. Tell your florist about your significant other’s favorite color and let them help you make the right choice.

Tip: An orange rose signifies desire and passion–perfect for a new romance. For a friend, choose a yellow rose.

Hanging Beauty
Instead of a bouquet, consider something with a little more shape. Your florist can create a heart-shaped arrangement, like a wreath. Your loved one can display it on their front door or hang it as decor in their living room.

Bling Bling
If she likes sparkle, add some to her arrangement! Your florist has a lots of options to really make flowers pop. From heart-shaped pins to strings of shiny pearls, these can be added to the vase or the jewels can even be inserted into the middle of flowers for a surprise sparkle.

Florals to Wear
A trend that has continued from last year are floral crowns and jewelry. This stylish floral gift can be a classic take on Valentine’s Day flowers because she can wear her arrangement! What a better gift to give your significant other on the day of love than the opportunity to feel like a princess? She’ll love to wear her gift all day, whether it’s a headband, a bracelet, or a necklace.

There are many creative ways to shower your sweetheart with flowers this Valentine’s day. Plan ahead with your florist and give that valentine a unique floral gift.

 

Stephanie Devine Runner-Up in Canadian Florist Inspired Design Bridal Bouquet Contest

Stephannie Devine is the newest designer at College Park Flowers. She has been working at the shop the last five years but until recently only in a part time capacity. Why was her time limited? Because when she started, she was still in high school.

Stephanie

Stephannie worked during the summer and through the year as part of a co-op placement. (For the non-Canadians among us, that’s a work program where you receive high school credit for dipping your toes into your chosen career. How cool is that?) But although her experience has been short, she was excited for the opportunity to show off her design skills in the Canadian Florist Inspired Design Bridal Bouquet Contest.

The Design Contest

Held at this year’s Canadian Florist Business Forum in Toronto, Canada, the design contest allowed contestants to bring a finished product without restricting the materials they could use. Stephannie was a bit hesitant to compete at first, but some heartfelt encouragement from shop owner Anne Cao and manager Carys Cao bolstered her confidence.

Because of the last minute decision to enter the contest, Stephannie didn’t have time to order anything special for the competition. She instead used flowers the shop had readily available. In her talented hands, it was more than enough. Stephannie designed and created her bouquet using orchids, eryngium and carnations. The resulting arrangement speaks for itself. Beautiful job, Stephannie.

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Looking Ahead

Please join us in congratulating Stephannie on her second place finish. FSN is excited for what the future holds for Stephannie and the floral industry as a whole. If this talented young designer is any indication, the next generation of florists are going to take the industry to new heights.

 

Presidents Day with Flowers

Presidents Day began as a day to celebrate the birth of George Washington, 1st President of the United States. Abraham Lincoln was added as a later honoree as his birthday was also in late February, but in recent years the holiday is often seen as a celebration of the office of the President in general and all the men who have held it.

But whether you’re celebrating Washington, Lincoln or all the President’s we’ve had, flowers are always your best option!

Red White and True Blue red-white-beautiful-bouquet-of-flowers.425 Made in the USA

A Presidential Presentation

A patriotic bouquet is the perfect item to place on your desk in acknowledgement of the holiday, and it also makes an excellent gift! Planning a party? Contact your local florist for amazing and creative arrangements and other decorations that embrace the spirit of Presidents Day.

Don’t neglect the opportunity to honor the leaders of our country, and don’t neglect the opportunity to buy flowers!!

Valentine’s Day Flower Meanings

Flowers are not only beautiful, they also have a lot to say. With Valentine’s Day coming up fast, we are here to let you know the message you’re sending along with that gorgeous arrangement. And knowledge of meaning is no less important on the receiving end. After all, what good is a floral message if the recipient doesn’t understand it?

Three's a Charm100 Percent Lovable

So in the interest of clarifying the communication of love, here are the most common Valentine’s Day flowers and their meanings! [Read more…]

Lasting Florals in Vogue!

Lasting Florals Head Piece

If you’ve ever wondered how to get your work into Vogue magazine, Deborah Mooney’s path is probably an accurate, if difficult to emulate, blueprint. In essence: be talented, work with talented people and have a heaping helping of good luck!

The Value of Hard Work and Reputation

Deborah wasn’t trying to get into Vogue. Rather she did what every local florist does every day, accept an order and do her best to make it amazing. It’s that “everyday” quality that makes this story so wonderful. It’s a tale of hard work, of taking advantage of opportunities and striving to make the most of them. It’s about a talented local florist whose toil through the years earned her the respect of her community and a simple request that led to a most unexpected honor.

Answering the Call

Deborah’s work speaks for itself. She’s been operating locally in Midlothian, VA, since 2001, specializing in weddings and special events and working an average of 30+ weddings a year. And when local make-up artist Lulu Schwall put out a request for a local florist to help with a photo shoot, Deborah jumped at the opportunity.

Lulu put Deborah in contact with photographer Jyoti Sackett who requested three unique pieces she could pose together with her models. After getting the details, Deborah went to work. Once they were ready to go, Deborah shipped them out and went on with her day, never giving the project a second thought. Why would she? After all, she had been given no information to indicate the project had such potential. Quality work is business as usual at Lasting Florals.

A Pleasant Surprise

Time passed and Deborah had largely forgotten about the three pieces she’d designed. She had other projects to occupy her time and talents. Weddings, holidays and social events all conspired to keep her plenty busy.

And then it happened.

Out of the blue, Deborah was contacted by Jyoti Sackett who informed her that one of the photos featuring the headpiece she’d designed had been selected to appear in Vogue magazine. To say the least, she was shocked and very excited!

Deborah has done impressive work in the Midlothian area, and because of her dedication to her craft she received a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to have her work shared with the world. It’s this kind of work ethic that embodies and defines not only Deborah but all local florists. Congratulations to Deborah Mooney and everyone at Lasting Florals. We are proud to have you as members of Flower Shop Network.

 

Flowers, Florists, and Random Acts of Joy

Bouquet on a Park BenchAll florists face the challenge of getting people to visit their shop outside of traditional flower-giving holidays. It’s standing room only on Valentine’s and Mother’s Day, but at other times of the year, manning the counter is akin to running the second most popular hotel in a ghost town. It’s not that flowers become any less beautiful, delicate and amazing, it’s just that, without the commercialized holidays or traditional events to remind them, people tend to forget.

It’s not hard to see why. In this world of hurly-burly hustle and bustle, it takes a rare person to stop what they’re doing and smell the roses. And yet, that’s what is being promoted in a new movement. People are being asked to not only smell the roses, but pass them on to others!

The Lonely Bouquet – Spreading The Love of Flowers

This movement, with roots sunk deep in the soil of the Netherlands, is called the Lonely Bouquet. The original idea was to leave a bouquet of flowers on a park bench, or any other public area, with a visible note attached saying, “Take me.” The point is to spread joy and happiness to some unknown stranger through the anonymous gift of flowers. This idea has gained traction quickly and is now grown into an international event! If you want to leave a lonely bouquet of your own, any day is good, but June 30th is the official day all across the globe!

Although not intended as marketing for florists, the awareness raised by anonymous bouquets found around town has proven very beneficial. In fact, many newspapers, blogs and television stations covered the event this past year, spotlighting individuals who organized groups to place bouquets in public. As you know, anything that puts flowers in the spotlight is valuable to everyone. Florists get much needed business, and more people get to open their doors to a vase full of fresh and beautiful blooms.

Even so, this event only happens once a year, and though annual events are nice, they are limiting. So what can florists do to make an idea like this work for them?

Spreading JoyBouquet on a Table

Leaves Floral Design and Gift Boutique in Greendale, WI chose to place multiple gorgeous and well-arranged bouquets around the city, but instead of the single note that says, “Take Me,” she added a second note encouraging the finder to take a photo and share his experience of finding the bouquet on the florist’s Facebook page. Excellent idea!

For each person who posts on her page, she gets a photo of her arrangement and a touching story of how the finding of it improved the recipient’s day in some fun way. She knew that whoever found the bouquet would be thrilled because flowers are alluring, peaceful and offer she who holds them a chance to reconnect with the natural world. Something that is increasingly more difficult to do every day. Those testimonials are guaranteed to be interesting and touching to both the florist and her readers.

On the business side, quality content on her site will ensure more and frequent traffic. Also, each of the poster’s friends see the post and have the opportunity to like and/or share it. Not all will of course, but of those that do, all of THEIR friends now have the same access. This florist was lucky enough to have a newspaper article published about her campaign. Because it was original, the local paper was interested in the concept. For the cost of a handful of bouquets, she has brightened the day of the few people who found her flowers and the multitudes who read about them after the fact. Her business has been advertised far and wide, and the potential results can be significant.

This same idea is already being implemented by multiple florists across the country, including MaryJane’s Flowers & Gifts in Berlin, NJ who was kind enough to submit all the photos you see in this post. Thanks MaryJane’s!

Letting Joy Spread ItselfBouquet on a City Bench

Another florist chose to use Twitter for his marketing campaign. His idea was to give away a bouquet with the stipulation that the person he gave it to could only keep it for one hour. Once the time had passed, and that person had now had time to be seduced by the intoxicating aroma of flowers in her work space, she had to then pass the flowers on to another person with the same stipulation. She would then post about the experience on Twitter using the hashtag #passthepetals.

Again, this florist chose to use the awesome power of flowers to do his marketing for him. He didn’t have to mount a large campaign, he just had to give someone a bouquet of flowers. Everyone who received the bouquet was overjoyed, took pictures of the flowers and had a wonderful time doing so. Receiving flowers is special; it shows that someone cares about you and wants to bring you joy. If you’re curious what kind of response this florist received, go to twitter and type #passthepetals in the search box to see the results!

Ideas of this nature are excellent grass roots marketing campaigns, and the incorporation of social media offers even more potential exposure. Don’t forget, Instagram also uses hashtags and Pinterest is a visual format as well, giving you the opportunity to share photos of your creations.

It’s not necessary to duplicate what the people above have done, feel free to explore your own ideas and use all that social media has to offer. And there’s no need to limit this kind of outside-the-box thinking to one day a year. If you’ve been in business for long at all, you know when your downtimes are. Don’t be afraid to generate some buzz with a well thought-out and fun event when things are moving slow.

But it’s not all about business. We know that though florists deal with flowers, they’re real business is that of making people happy. Flowers are as much a tool to accomplish that end as they are a source of revenue for the men and women who choose to operate in this industry. The giving and receiving of flowers is a long-held tradition for a reason, it never gets old. If you’re not a florist, but want to spread the joy of flowers to those you love or maybe as a random act of kindness, partner with your local florist to see what’s available.

It’s a concrete jungle out there. So much of life is lived away from nature and its wondrous bounty. Sometimes people need to be reminded that flowers are available and that the local florist is still there, offering fragile beauty and contagious smiles with each purchase.

 

Flowers & Bees Communicate In Electric New Ways

Bumblebee ElectricityWe all know how bees use flowers to collect pollen for food and sustenance. You might even be aware of how bees see ultraviolet light, color and shape to determine different types of flowers. But, there’s more to pollination than just sight and smell — according to a very new study conducted by the University of Bristol and published in the journal Science, flowers actually communicate with bees through electric fields!

“This is a big finding,” says Daniel Robert, who led the study. “Nobody had postulated the idea that bees could be sensitive to the electric field of a flower.”

Flowers and plants tend to possess negative charges and are electrically connected to the ground, allowing them to conduct electricity very slowly. Bees, on the other hand, have a positive electrical charge because they fly in air. When the two connect, sparks may not fly, but pollen sure does. “We found some videos showing that pollen literally jumps from the flower to the bee, as the bee approaches… even before it has landed,” says Robert.

Now the electric side of pollination isn’t exactly new, as far back as the 1970s, botanists suggested that electric forces enhance the attraction between pollen and pollinators. But it wasn’t until now that we started asking the right questions, “Does the bee know anything about this process?”

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Anything But Ordinary – Inspiring & Unique Flowers

As a gardener and as an artist and photographer, I have long been attracted to more unusual plants — those that are showy, quirky, alien-like, and over-the-top — anything but ordinary. Any plant or flower that makes me ask, “what in the world is that?” has a place in my garden! Many of these flowers can also be used in bouquets, adding a touch of the exotic and unusual to any arrangement.

Unusual Flower Types & Photos

Globe Thistle (Echinops ritro)
Globe Thistle

Globe Thistle (Echinops ritro)
Globe Thistle is a clump-forming herbaceous perennial with coarse, prickly leaves with 1-2 ball-shaped silvery-lavender-blue or dark blue flowerheads blooming in early to late summer on rigid branching stems 24-48 inches tall. These beautiful ornamentals grow best in full sun to mostly sunny areas and attract bees and butterflies. In the garden, they will tolerate heat and are deer-resistant. They make excellent cut flowers as well as great additions to dried bouquets.
This flower IS available from your local florist*.

Allium Bulgaricum (Nectaroscordum siculum)
Allium Bulgaricum

Allium Bulgaricum (Nectaroscordum siculum)
This ornamental allium is easy to grow, deer-resistant, and hardy to zone 4. They thrive in sunlight and bloom in May and June. Also known as Mediterranean Bells, Sicilian Honey Lily, Ornamental Onion and Sicilian Garlic, they are native to the Mediterranean. The individual florettes begin in an upright position and gradually relax to a cluster of tricolored bells and begin to drape like a floral chandelier. They make an interesting addition to flower arrangements.

Bat Face Cuphea (Cuphea llavea)
Bat Face Cuphea

Bat Face Cuphea (Cuphea llavea)
Also known as St. Peter’s plant, Tiny Mice and Bunny Ears, Bat Face Cuphea is a tender tropical evergreen perennial native to Mexico. Bat Face Cuphea prefer partial to full sun and its distinctive red and purple flowers blooms from March through October. Attractive to hummingbirds and bees, the plant is low maintenance, drought-tolerant and makes a great plant for pots, planters, and beds. The plants will grow 2-3 feet tall by 3 feet wide. In early summer, pinch growth off to encourage branching.

Cat’s Whiskers (Orthosiphon stamineus)
Cat’s Whiskers

Cat’s Whiskers (Orthosiphon stamineus)
Part of the mint family, Cat’s Whiskers are herbaceous perennial flowering plants originating in tropical East Asia. They grow up to two feel tall and three to four feet wide. The flowers have an orchid-like appearance and are white or lavender, sprouting long stamens that resemble cat’s whiskers. They attract butterflies and hummingbirds and can be harvested to use in herbal teas.

Family Jewels Milkweed Tree (Asclepias physocarpa)
Family Jewels Milkweed

Family Jewels Milkweed Tree (Asclepias physocarpa)
This species of milkweed is also known as White Butterfly Weed or Swan Plant. Native to Jamaica and South America, this perennial herb can grow to over six feet and prefers full sun and well-drained soil. It is a food source for caterpillars and is a food and habitat plant for the Monarch Butterfly. The small flowers are creamy white and orchid-like, followed by translucent, inflated 2″ green balls covered with soft bristles that are the resulting seedpods. It is a fast-growing tender perennial and grows best in Zones 7-10.

Firecracker Vine or Spanish Flag (Mina lobata)
Spanish Flag

Firecracker Vine or Spanish Flag (Mina lobata)
A tender perennial grown as an annual, this fast climber can grow 10 to 20 feet tall. The incredibly intense-colored 1.5″ blooms are reddish-orange fading to orange yellow and white flowers from mid-summer to fall. Two cultivars include Citronella (cream flowers and red buds) and Mexican Fiesta (red and yellow flowers). A member of the morning glory family, Spanish Flag can be grown in sun to partial shade and is best grown on a lattice.

Red or Yellow Hot Poker (Kniphofia)
Hot Poker

Red or Yellow Hot Poker (Kniphofia)
Red Hot Poker (Kniphofia uvaria) and Yellow Hot Poker plants are grown from bulbs, and are heat and drought tolerant. They can grow 36″ tall. This variety is ‘Sally’s Comet’ Yellow Hot Poker. Native to Africa, they are known as Torch Lilies. Upright, rocket-shaped blooms produce ample nectar during blooming and are hummingbird magnets. They must be grown in full sun and require good drainage to prevent crown rot. They may spread up to three feet wide. Hardy to zones 5-10.
This flower IS available from your local florist*.

Liatris or Blazing Star (Liatris)
Liatris

Liatris or Blazing Star (Liatris)
Hardy perennials White Liatris (Liatris spicata ‘Alba’) and Purple Blazing Star Liatris (Liatris spicata purple), are also known as Gayfeather and Button Snakeroot, and are a member of the Aster family. They bloom from the top down, which is unusual with flowering plants. Each spike is comprised of tiny flowers that are a magnet for pollinators. Ranging from 2-4′ tall, they add height to flower beds and are a popular cut flower in summer floral arrangements with a long vase life.
This flower IS available from your local florist*.

Love-in-a-Mist (Nigella damascena)
Love-in-a-Mist

Love-in-a-Mist (Nigella damascena)
Love-in-a-Mist is a beautiful Victorian garden annual blooming in soft shades of blue, pink, white, and lavender. Because its fern-like leaves look similar to fennel, it has also been called fennel flower. This annual herbaceous plant is in the buttercup family (Ranunculaceae), readily self-seeds, and is common in old-fashioned cottage gardens. It grows in full sun to partial shade and blooms from late spring through fall. Nigella is short-lived, so for continuous bloom, repeat sowing every four weeks. You can cut and deadhead this plant to keep it flowering longer.
This flower IS available from your local florist*.

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