Thursday, November 30, 2017

Gingerbread House Contest!

My family's annual tradition is a Gingerbread house decorating contest.  Strictly just for fun and bragging rights. Usually broken up in to two teams (boys vs girls), each team decorates the house and I post pictures on Facebook with numbers only, no team names. This year only the kids decorated and the decorator remains anonymous until the contest ends.   So feel free to join in and cast your vote in the comments for House #1 or House # 2- Enjoy!

House #1:

House #2: 

And the winner is #2!!! 

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Hurricanes & Agriculture impacts

Between Irma and Harvey there will be great economic impact on us all.    It goes without saying of the devastation in Texas from #Harvey, and the soon to be seen impact of #Irma on all of Florida.
The immediate destruction will be obvious but the other, trickle-down-economics of a hurricane's impact may be felt for months.  

Per the article about some Florida farms Sugar and Hog farms brace for Irma    hurricane prepping is already in motion.  Moving livestock to higher ground and storing grain for possible transportation outages is just one example.

Orange trees may be completely destroyed, another huge crop for Florida and the US period.

For the floral industry, although what we do is not considered a necessity, we too will feel the impact. Florida is a major producer of greenery (leather leaf, lemon leaf, moss, etc) and green plants.  Green plants not only for decorative purposes but also for the production of fresh herbs, fruit and vegetables.   Expect the prices of even the modest leather leaf greenery, found in most floral arrangements to double in price.  Other countries that import Florida-grown greenery will also feel the price increase - and possibly a transportation disruption.

Florida boasts one of the busiest international airports for exporting and importing in the US- Miami International.   All products being imported from South America, Mexico and elsewhere come through this airport to be inspected and then loaded on trucks or connecting flights for distribution throughout the US.   As of today, American Airlines has canceled 2,000 flights scheduled for Miami.
Growers won't be able to ship flowers into Miami throughout much of this weekend.  Transporation could be further complicated by the damage after Irma leaves, as the roads may be impassable even if the product lands safely in Miami.   You may not see the price increases right away, but as supply and demand laws go into full effect, you will see steep increases on everything from gas, oranges, cotton,  pork and yes, even flowers.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

No Sun for Me!

Fresh Flowers that have been cut no longer need sunlight! In fact, sunlight can wilt those precious blooms if left out in the sunshine too long!  Flowers really only need sunshine during growth on the plant itself.  And the sunshine is absorbed by the flower leaves, not the bloom itself.

For an excellent detailed summary of the science of cut flowers, Check out the page on University of Minnesota's Extension :

Quick Tipsfor Fresh cut flowers :

Cool temps (36 degrees and up),
Fresh water daily!,
Recut stems often to encourage water intake.
Keep away from heat, sun and electronics

Monday, July 10, 2017

A bouquet divided

One of my weddings this past weekend had a unique request concerning the bridal bouquet-

The bride wanted to carry the bouquet down the aisle, but upon reaching the altar wanted to split it in half so each of the junior bridesmaids would hold it during the ceremony.

This is actually trickier than it sounds as I design the bouquet in my hand, european style, so each stem is rotated around the center.  Normally, this style will allow the bouquet to stand perfectly upright if  placed on a solid surface, only balancing on the stem ends:

I was able to design two seperate bouquets and combine them with a mostly seamless appearance.   I would not suggest this for every wedding due to the level of difficulty in making two bouquets appear as one.  Not all combinations of flowers will allow this "blending" of two bouquets.  This instance I was very pleased with the result: 
 Finished bouquet underside

Side one

 Side Two

Whole Bouquet : 

Monday, June 26, 2017

Ordering Flowers for a Funeral

If it is your first time ordering flowers for a funeral you are not alone.  Most people have not ordered flowers for a sad occasion until about their mid 30's- 40's, or later.    Here is a quick breakdown :

To order flowers for a funeral visitation (also called "family night" or viewing)
You have 2 main choices:
1. Traditional sympathy arrangement:

These can be an designed in any color combination and is appropriate for the viewing and to also go to the church for any services afterwards, and also to the graveside for those services as well.  On the left is called a Traditional Funeral basket, aka mache.  On the right is a Standing Spray aka Easel arrangement.

2. Home Sympathy arrangement or plant :

Both of the choices above are appropriate to go home with a family member after the visitation or service if they choose to do so.  If you would like a particular person to take the flowers home, this should be noted on the back of the card.  If you feel that it would be more convenient, you may also send either one of these options directly to the family's home.

Colors of Flowers:
Traditionally for a man's service, bolder primary colors are used (red, yellow, white, blue) and for a woman's service pastel colors (lavenders, pinks, whites, yellows)
If a company or group is sending the flowers, often the arrangement will coordinate with that group's colors.  (Ex. Local high school colors red and white are used for a faculty member's services)
If the person had a particular flower or color they loved you can most certainly ask to see if it can be incorporated or not.

Types of Flowers:
There are no "funeral flowers".  We hear this over and over, but all flowers in the commercially available universe have been used at one time or another in arrangements going to a funeral.  Some flower varieties have been more popular than others.  Everyone has a different opinion on what they consider "funeral looking flowers" As florists, we do not have this opinion.   If there is a flower you would rather us not use, please let us know.

Card Messages:
We always suggest simple is best.  If it is more than one sentence or two, you should really send a private card to the home address directly.   The enclosure cards we use are 2" x 2" and not suited for more words than that.  Suggestions for wording on cards:
In Deepest Sympathy,  In Loving Memory,  Our thoughts are with you,  Our thoughts and prayers are with you,  With Love.

I would not suggest using " during this difficult time" or "during this time of loss"  
It's redundant and generally overused.  "Thinking of you and Your family" however is most appropriate to use.

Card Message Signatures:
When signing the card message, brief and to the point is preferred. When signing for a large group of people shorten to "HR Dept of Blank Company" or "Everyone at Blank Company"
When it is a list of family members, brief and concise.  "The John and Jane Doe Family"
Every person does not need to be named.  Again, the card is 2"x2" and is simply to acknowledge the sender and a brief note.   Any passages, poems or lengthy phrases should be sent afterwards directly to the home on a note card.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Florist Fun Facts for April

Did you know......

80-90% of the fresh cut flowers in the US come from South America?

Fresh cut flowers do not need sunlight, in fact, it will speed up the "dying"process

Roses and Carnations are grown in mountain regions with cooler climates in Ecuador and Columbia.

The biggest "floral holidays" by rank are: Christmas, Mother's Day and in 3rd place, Valentine's Day.

Daffodils secrete a poisonous sap that will kill other flowers if combined in a vase together.

Poinsettias are not poisonous but amaryllis, mistletoe and holly berries are.

Baby's breath, wax flower, limonium and other "filler" flowers are weighed and sold in grams (metric) but florist have to convert that to by the stem pricing for resale

Floral designers stand while designing, sitting while designing has been proven to result in slower productivity.

Designers are expected to produce/design 3-4 arrangements per hour as an industry standard.

There are several universities that offer Associate Degrees in Floral design, Floriculture, and other related fields.

In the victorian era, each flower had a specific meaning, and when combined with other flowers in a nosegay, could convey secret messages between men and women.

Some of the early boutonnieres were worn by men to disguise body odor in the victorian era.

Egyptians crushed rose petals and other flowers to use as "make up"

Oasis, the first "floral foam" was first marketed in 1953 and could take up to an hour to saturate with water.  Today there are several companies that produce floral foam of different shapes, sizes, densities and colors and most are completely saturated in less than 2 minutes.

Friday, March 17, 2017


I hear "wildflower" almost every day.  Customers wanting a "wildflower" look or Brides wanting a "wildflower" bouquet.  But what does this mean?

A wildflower "look" or "style" usually means: a large variety of textures, colors, and types of flowers used.  Not more than 2 or 3 stems of any one flower, usually smaller headed flowers are used or flowers with multiple blooms.   It also can mean a looser, unstructured design as well:

A wildflower bouquet in terms of weddings means using more field type flowers, or less formal flowers than what is traditionally used: 

One mistake people often make is thinking "wildflower" means "less-expensive".  Stems of "wildflower" cut flowers are either equal to, or more than, some of their traditional cousins
 ( i.e. roses, hydrangeas and lilies. ) These "wildflowers" are still commercially grown, exported cut flowers and still come with all the same costs to produce and ship them worldwide.  Unless you are truly picking a flower from a field would you save any money.  The field flower will not last as long as a commercially cut flower will last due to breeding.   

Monday, February 27, 2017

DIY Wedding Flower Budget

The number one question I am asked is about budget.  How much will the flowers cost?  This is hard to answer because there are literally thousands of combinations of flower varieties which contribute to total cost.   However, I can make a few suggestions based on many of the weddings I have done over the years.
To give you an idea of what controls your floral budget I have an equation below to illustrate:

Venue(s) + Time of year + Bridal Party Size + Guest Count = Quantity/Cost of Flowers needed

Example 1:

Church ceremony + Hotel reception + May + 300 guests = $2000+
Garden ceremony + Tent Reception + May +300 guests = $1500+

The difference between the two equations above is the locations.  With outdoor weddings in May, most outdoor plants will be in bloom creating a colorful backdrop to your wedding day and possibly eliminating the need for additional arrangements outside.   Have the same outdoor wedding in March, October, November (and possibly September) and you will need the addition of fresh flowers to add color to muted outdoor backgrounds.

Example 2:

Justice/Court house ceremony + 15 guests + Any Month < $200

With a court house ceremony only the bare minimum is needed, a bouquet, a boutonniere and sometimes corsages and boutonnieres for your guests.

The bigger the ceremony and reception location is usually in line with needing a bigger budget.
Again there are so many different variables that each wedding comes to a different amount needed for the budget.

To help (again, this is to help you estimate your budget and is not the final amount you may or may not spend on wedding flowers) I have put together a google spreadsheet with multiple budget options available:

It should automatically calculate the subtotal for you.  Delivery and setup fees vary with each wedding depending on how much is transported, how many vehicles/employees are needed and how far the flowers have to travel.

This is the first time I have ever published an interactive worksheet to help brides calculate wedding costs.  I would love any and all feedback so that I can add more worksheets in the future or make the necessary changes to this one.

Happy Planning!

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Rose Pricing Quick Break Down

1. Pruning back in Dec/Jan to get 200 million roses to grow, cut and ship in Feb

2. Growing, watering, fertilizing 200 million roses

3. Harvesting, packaging, logging those roses by size and color

4. Shipping to Miami from South America one way, paying round trip fares.

5. Shipping from Miami to all locations in US.
6. Wholesaler receiving, inventory, reselling to retailers.

7. Retailers receiving, cutting, watering, storing, & arranging roses then delivering.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

2017 Pantone Color : Greenery

Apple, Avocado, Grass, Granny Smith, Artichoke...just a few names that come to mind when looking at this color.  (Yes, I am writing this close to lunchtime- hence the food names)  Green can be a great platform for colorschemes when it comes to weddings.   This particular shade will accent and brighten many colors including purples and pinks.

Purple + Green

Pink + Green

And even Blue + Green

There are many different color combinations beyond what I posted here.  This is just the beginning.  
I am really excited to see this fun and vibrant color incorporated into weddings this year!