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7 Great Ways To Keep Up With Trends

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In this fast-paced world, it can be hard to keep up with the latest and greatest floral design trends. Here are 7 easy ways to keep up with the latest in the floral design industry.

1. Attend Design & Trade Shows -Nothing gets the creative juices flowing like attending a design or trade show. Being in the presence of industry leaders and talented designers you are sure to bring home tons of new ideas.
2. Follow Industry Leaders on Social Sites
– Are you into social networking? So are you favorite florists and others involved in floral design! Flower Shop Network on Facebook is a great example of a Facebook Page every florist should follow. We update our page daily with great tips, ideas, pics and even videos. (Our design videos on YouTube are a good way to learn new techniques from expert florists!) Other great Facebook Pages to follow are: AIFD Group, SAF Page or check out Flower Shop Network’s Favorite Pages for more.
3. Attend Workshops & Educational Classes – Just like with any type of art and design, the styles are constantly changing. A floral design class or workshop is a great way to stay in touch with the latest trends in the industry. Floral design schools, universities and even conferences can be a great place to look for floral design classes. Most of these workshops you can finish in a weekend, but you’ll return with a lifetime of new design ideas!
4. Subscribe to Floral Magazines – An easy way to stay up to date with trends is by subscribing to floral design magazines. [Read more…]

Avoiding Fraudulent Orders This Holiday Season

Red Holiday CenterpieceFlower Shop Network is catching wind of the newest trend in florist talk. The holiday gift-giving season is back which means there are a lot of fraudulent orders and scam orders floating around. Don’t be alarmed! We’ve heard the rumors too and want to make sure that you’re protected from sending/receiving a fraudulent order. Here are tips that will help keep you safe from scam this holiday season.

  • Scrutinize unusually large or hurried orders. Almost all fraudulent orders tend to be larger than average. Though some appropriate instances call for large orders, note particularly large and hurried orders.
  • Verify sender contact information. Make sure that the sender has listed a contact phone number, physical address (which can be verified on Google Maps), and other information that lets you know you are dealing with a REAL person.
  • Pay attention to the signature on the credit card. Make sure that the signature on sender’s credit card matches the signature of the sender. Also, make sure that the signature is a real name and not an obvious nick name.
  • Do not accept foreign (Non US or Canadian) credit card orders. Approximately 30% of all foreign orders are fraudulent.
  • Note the email address and corresponding mail server. Take particular note if the account is a setup under a free server such as Yahoo! mail, Gmail, and others or a very strange server as these can be obtained by anyone anywhere.

You may also be interested in these posts:

Quick and Easy Ways To Spot Fraudulent Orders
FSN Applauds Tennessee’s Consumer Protection Efforts
Why Sending Flowers Online Is A Good Idea

Christmas Flowers: Gifts, Tips And Decorations

Christmas Flower Arrangement

Red poinsettias, ‘Casa Blanca’ lilies, and the scent of fresh Christmas greens are the basis for many Christmas decorations.  Sure flowers make great decorations, but what about sending flowers as Christmas gifts?  Flowers are a fantastically appropriate gift for Christmas and other religious holidays. You won’t have to worry if they are the right size, shape, or color.  You can rest assured they won’t already have one.  Whether you use flowers for decorations or as a gift, now is the time to explore the world of Christmas flowers.

What Christmas Flowers Options Are Available?

At one time or another we’ve all sent a poinsettia to a loved one or friend for the Christmas holiday.  Although a quintessential Christmas plant, poinsettias are not the only Christmas flowers you can send.  Roses, mums, lilies, tulips and many other wonderful floral blooms are available at your local florist shop.  In fact, Christmas flowers run the gamut from traditional red roses to lime green “Fuji” mums as well as a host of plum and purple flowers.  Variety doesn’t stop with the flowers. Christmas arrangements can range from a traditional table centerpiece with candles and flowers to a contemporary arrangement with glitzy ornaments and flowers. Best of all, giving flowers as gifts during the Christmas holidays can make short work of buying presents for those hard-to-buy-for friends and loved ones.

Who Can I Send Flowers To At Christmas?

You can send flowers to anyone; your child’s teacher, your hairstylist, your uncle and aunt in TimBukTu. Sure, you could simply exchange cards, but why not add a bit of Christmas joy with some flowers? Do you have trouble finding an appropriate gift for your boss? Do you ponder with each item you look at “Is it appropriate?” or “Could it be misconstrued?” Flowers are the perfect solution—not too fancy, not too expensive, yet very thoughtful. Flowers eliminate all gift choice second guessing. The number one person to [Read more…]

Moving Duranta Erecta Indoors For Winter

Ask the Expert: I live in the mountains of Western North Carolina
How can I winter-over/indoors my duranta erecta–little tree in a big pot/about 3-4 feet tall.

It’s beautiful & I’d like to be able to bring it in (should it be in the house/sunny room?) or just in the garage over the winter? Gloria

Plant Expert Reply:

Hopefully the pot isn’t so big that you can’t move the plant and all into the house. I would not recommend trying to put the plant in a smaller pot just to get it in the house.

The optimum place for your duranta would be a sunroom that stays above freezing.  It doesn’t necessarily have to be heated but it can’t drop below 30 degrees.  A garage will work but only if it stays above freezing and has many windows that will contribute good light.  Any room in your house will work as long as it has a good light source.

When you bring the duranta indoors for the winter reduce your watering.  The plant will not need as much water as it did outside.  You can also cut back on the fertilizer.  Watch for spidemites, mealybugs and whiteflies when you take it indoors. If these pests due occur, you can spray it with a houseplant spray that controls those insects.

Good Luck and Keep Me Posted.

Need A Fresh Flower Decorating Tip For A Back-To-School Party?

Back to school parties are the highlight of the summer. They set the tone for the rest of the school year. After a long summer’s vacation (or a short one for year-round schools), it’s always nice to throw a little celebration that welcomes in the new school year and says goodbye to summer vacation. It’s not a time to mope though! Back to school parties are fun, exciting, refreshing gettogethers with friends. Where’s a cause for sadness in that??

So now that we’re up to speed on the tone of a back to school party it’s time to talk about decorating. Fresh flowers are, as with any party, the best way to bring life and vitality to the celebration. Streamers, balloons, and party utensils are all well and good. What really gets the party decorations bumping though–why, that’s flowers of course!

Here Are Some Clever Fresh Flower Decorating Tips for A Back To School Party

  • Match the color of the flower arrangement to the decorations. If the team colors are black and gold, live it up with black and gold flowers! (Yes, it CAN be done!) If they are red and white, use red and white. And so on and so forth.
  • Use your child’s favorite color(s) as the theme of the flower arrangements. This will help your child feel like they had a special hand in the party and that it really is something to celebrate part of their life.
  • Ask each child to bring one fresh flower to the party. Use these to create a bouquet or two. Place these at the center of the room so that each child will be able to view their contribution. If an outdoor party, create a centerpiece for the picnic table or food table using the same idea.
  • Decorate the main table with fresh flowers then give each child one as they leave. Stems of flowers are excellent gifts for young middle school children and older children. Young children are easily amused and glad to receive any gift. Older children recognize the significance and may choose to preserve the flowers, especially if it’s the Back To School Party for their senior year.

Have any other ideas? Send them our way by placing them in the comments box below. Who knows? Your idea may make it THE Back To School Party of the new millenium!

Peace Lilies & Watering Gadgets

Ask the Expert: Peace Lily pot
I recently bought a mature Peace Lily and repotted it into a “self-watering” pot, which is filled from the bottom & you can see how much water is in there.  I’m wondering if this type of pot is okay for Peace Lilies, or is it better to water them from the top?  Also, should the reservoir be kept full, or allowed to dry up?  Is it possible to over-water with this type of pot?  What about those “Aqua Bulb” things shown on TV lately (you fill the bulb with water, stick it in the soil, and supposedly they release the right amount of water to the plant based on how much oxygen the soil releases)– do they work, and do you recommend them? Dawn

Plant Expert Reply:

I’m an old-fashioned kind of plant watering gal.  For me the best peace lily method is the tried and true watering from the top.  See peace lilies want a evenly moist soil that does not dry out but doesn’t leave them soggy either.

I haven’t had any experience with self watering pots.  So they could be the next best thing to sliced white bread.  However for most plants if the roots stay soggy, the plant could develop root rot.  Depending on the design of the self-watering container this could or could not be a problem.  If I was going to use a self-watering pot, I would make sure that the soil was moist from the top to the bottom to begin with and then monitor the soil moist for a couple weeks to see how effect these containers are.

I am familiar with the “Aqua Bulb” principle.  We sell a decorative blown glass watering bulb at our garden center.  I find these mostly useful as a vacation watering method.  They slowly drip water as the soil becomes dry, so I don’t worry about over watering. On the other hand with these you could be under watering the plant.  Again if you use them make sure the soil is moist from top to bottom before you use these as your watering devise. You will still need to monitor your peace lily occasionally to make sure the soil is properly hydrated.

The key to any of these methods is monitor your soil moisture and adjusting accordingly.

Good luck and keep me posted.

Decorate Your Baby Shower With Fresh Flowers!

Summer is the time of weddings and babies. Both special occasions seem to center around this time of year which is why I’ve decided to include baby shower decorations in the fresh flower decorating tip this month. Whether celebrating Mommy’s first child or fourth, you can use fresh flowers to create the perfect occasion. Here’s how!

Tips For Decorating Baby Showers With Fresh Flowers

  • Use fresh flower petals of tulips or roses to decorate the gift table. This adds color and uniqueness.
  • Put a New Baby flower arrangement on a pedestal in the middle of the gift table or food table. (Gift table is probably best.)
  • Present each guest with a rose boutonniere. The “can’t say baby” game is so much more fun with rose petals! Plus, the remaining rose petals or a spare rose is (when dried) a great addition to the baby book.
  • Have each guest bring a single flower stem. Use these as a fresh flower bouquet during the party. When the baby shower has ended, have the flowers preserved or dry them old-school style (inside a thick book) for use in the baby book.

Fresh flowers are a quick and simple way to cheer up everyone in the room. Preserving these flowers helps Mommy remember the kindness of her friends when she needed them most. Whether they’ll be a memento or just a way to liven up the room, decorating with fresh flowers will take your baby shower up a notch–but you’re planning it so it will already be great!

How did you use flowers to decorate for a baby shower? Are you planning a baby shower in the future? Let us know what you think is a great idea! Just place your comments in the comment section below.

Fresh Flower Decorating For Dummies: Party Time!

Note:  The title is a play off of the “blah blah blah for dummies” books and not an actual reference to dummies or a quote from the books.

Great Idea For Outdoor Parties!

Great Idea For Outdoor Parties!

Okay. So we’re firmly embedded in Spring and summer is just around the corner. That means that party time is here! It’s time to step outside and enjoy barbecues and pool parties with friends. It’s time for frisbee, soccer, spirited basketball games, flag football, tennis and other outdoor sports. It’s also the season for relaxing in lawn chairs and enjoying the scent of freshly mowed grass and blooming flowers. Ahhhh.

If you’re looking for a way to decorate for these occasions, I suggest fresh flowers. No shock to anyone, I’m sure. However biased my love of fresh flowers makes me, this is still a great way to up the level of decor at your outdoor parties. Here are a few ideas for making your garden party, backyard party, or outdoor evening a little more beautiful…naturally.

Decorate the patio table with fresh flower centerpieces. Depending on the specific season, there are many options of flowers that can be used here. As shown in the picture at left, potted plants make a fine showing as well! Your local florist will be happy to discuss them with you. If you want to make it yourself, pick up a few stems from your florist and go from there. This is a quick and simple technique. Stems can be picked up in just a few minutes on the way home. Creating the picnic table centerpiece takes just a few moments also. This is ten or fifteen minutes of prepping for hours and hours of floral joy.

Loving The Table Centerpieces!

Loving The Table Centerpieces!

Line steps with small flower arrangements, outdoor lights, and perhaps a topiary at the base of each side of the steps. This one is a bit more complicated but delivers an exciting punch during outdoor parties. This is also a very elegant way to decorate backyard parties, outdoor cocktail parties, and other patio parties. If guests are going to enter/exit the home via the steps, this is likely the first impression of the party decorations that each will have. Make it a doozy!

Place “floating flower” arrangements on poolside tables. This is a great idea for pool parties where many poolside tables will need decoration. Giving flowers that “floating” look can be done in a few ways. Your local florist will have great ideas for how to accomplish this.

There are so many other great ideas for how to decorate with fresh flowers outside. If you’re looking for more inspiration, contact your local florist or check back and see what other readers are saying about these ideas! Feel free to submit your own ideas here as well!

The Silent Flower Killer: Ethylene Gas

Don’t let your flowers get snuffed out by the silent flower killer!!!

Perhaps that level of melodrama is a bit much, but I take sending beautiful flowers seriously. I recently learned the impact of ethylene gas on flowers. I admit that I learned it the hard way and was very upset by the results. *In my best Bugsy Malone voice* Here’s the scoop, see?

The most attractive, adorable, handsome man in the world gave me flowers for Valentines Day this year. He had purchased a bouquet of daisies and pink carnations. For those who do not know–which can’t be many by now–my favorite flowers are pink carnations. He bought that particular bouquet just because it was the only one available with carnations! But I digress.

Ethylene Gas Is The Silent Flower KillerI stayed in the home of a freight-train-chain smoker that night. Not a puff or two per day, but rather an all-encompassing fog of smoke. (Picture Pigpen from Charlie Brown only surrounded by a cloud of smoke.) That’s the level of ethylene gas that was in the house.

I am not a smoker. My flowers are not fond of the habit either. I had placed them in water with flower preservative, taking great care to trim the stems properly. Everything seemed normal when I fell asleep. However, I woke up the next morning to find my flowers droopy and almost dead! Frantically I questioned who you call when you want 9-1-1 for flowers.

What I did not know at the time was that the silent flower killer that nearly snuffed out MY flowers was ethylene gas. After researching the symptoms that my flowers had, I learned that ethylene gas present near flowers causes earlier disruption of life. This is not to say that smokers kill flowers. Not at all. The ethylene gas in the smoke however does combine with the naturally occurring ethylene gas production in the flowers. This combination is lethal in vast doses only. In smaller amounts, the results are much like what I experienced.

How Ethylene Gas Affects Fresh Flowers

Ethylene gas is a colorless and odorless gas so it’s almost impossible to detect. The symptoms of ethylene gas poisoning in flowers are much like those of over-watering or a lack of moisture. They are:

  • Wilted flowers
  • Petal drop
  • Leaf drop
  • Leaf browning
  • Failure to open

What Produces Ethylene Gas?

We all want to receive healthy, lively flowers. There are many things that florists can do to prevent these symptoms from occurring in their flower arrangements. First, avoid exposing flowers to these producers of ethylene gas:

  • Ripening fruit – keep lunch bags containing fresh fruit in a separate cooler;
  • Cigarette smoke – ask patrons and employees to step outside for a puff
  • Combustible engine exhaust – load delivery vans from the side or with the engine off if from back
  • Excessive vibration during shipping – make sure arrangements are securely placed in delivery van

How to Keep Flowers Away From Ethylene Gas

There are also many things that flower recipients can do to keep ethylene gas from ruining their morning like it did mine.

  • Ripening fruit – do not keep flowers near an open bowl of fresh fruit.
  • Cigarette smoke – while a few cigarettes a day will not kill flowers overnight, avoid smoking near the bouquet.
  • Combustible engine exhaust – avoid holding flowers near the back of a running engine

Have a story about the first time this happened to you? Know other ways to prevent ethylene exposure from killing flowers? Feel free to share! We welcome your conversation.

Why Do Oriental Lilies Fail To Open?

Ask the Expert: why don’t some oriental lilies open even after proper conditioning? colette

Reply:

A few things can keep the lilies from opening:

  • Temperature – Oriental lilies prefer temperatures above 45degrees. If your oriental lilies won’t open place them in an area where the temperature is 45degrees or higher.  The warm air will encourage them to open.  Do not place them in direct sun or under an air vent.
  • Ethylene Gas – Oriental lilies are extremely sensitive to ethylene gas.  Over exposure to ethylene gas can cause bloom failure.  Avoid exposure to fruits that give off ethylene gas like apples, bananas, pears etc. or other gas producers like cigarette smoke or exhaust fumes.
  • Once Is Not Enough – Oriental lilies often need to be re-cut more than once to encourage the buds to open.  So if you are only re-cutting them when you prep them, this may be the reason they are not opening.  Re-cutting lilies every couple of days will encourage the buds to open.

Hopefully, the answer to your question is one of the suggestions above.  Good luck and keep me posted.