Thoughts on Flowers...


Mothers’ Day!!

Remember your mom on Mothers’ Day. It takes very little to let her know you love and appreciate all she has done for you. Moms aren’t perfect. They make good decision and bad ones, too. But because of her, you are here. Tell her THANK YOU!!!

Hitomi Workshop!!

Yesterday, during a nasty wind storm, I took the Bainbridge Island ferry and headed across the water for a workshop in Kent. The wholesale floral distributor, DWF, hosted a workshop presented by HITOMI!!! She is world renown for her unique, creative floral work. The picture on the right is a very stylized version of bridal  bouquet. It isn’t for everyone, but it is unique and exquisitely beautiful in it’s simplicity. Hitomi presents her ideas and expects florists to take it from there and expand the idea into more and more ideas. She is a phenomenon of energy.

The second photo is also a bridal bouquet, but one for very few people. The idea behind it is this. Choose a plant you like, remove the dirt from around the root ball. Build the bridal bouquet at the top of the plant. After the wedding, the newly married couple can plant the plant and grow it as their marriage grows! A true wedding keepsake!!

In this third picture you are viewing the design from the top. It is quite unusual but gives the table an open, airy quality quite different from the heavy arrangements we are all used to at receptions dinners. One can easily see through to the other side and still enjoy the flowers. These lilies are very expensive, but other flowers can be used just as well.

Valentine’s Day orders

Valentine’s Day is almost here. Get your orders in NOW. Call your florist NOW!!! Why? Because flowers go fast. After Wednesday, it is almost impossible to get the roses you want. The growers have cut all their roses and sent them out.

Do NOT use a wire service.  Why? Because they take up to 20% off the top, before the florist gets your order. Valentine’s Day flowers are more expensive because of the demand. The price goes up astronomically.

Use your computer to find a florist in the area you want the flowers to go to, and call the florist directly!!! There are many different styles. If you want something specific, make sure to tell the person you are ordering from. Florists who are experiencing heavy order loads will only do several styles and you have no choice. They are mass producing the arrangements as fast as they can. Delivery can be a problem if the florist doesn’t deliver on Sundays.

I am fortunate in that I can handle the orders I receive. This means my clients can specify the style they want, the flowers they want. And I deliver on Sunday!! Every florist is different. They do the best they can with what they know and what they have. Be patient and understanding of them. It is the busiest time of year for florists!

Enjoy the day! It is so much fun and flowers really make a difference.

What species is this?

Do you know what flower species this is? It’s called Caramel. This species has to be one of my favorites because it comes in so many colors, it has wonderful texture, and it lasts so long in an arrangement!! I have been told many times by clients not to include this species because they don’t like it. What a shame!!! It’s a wonderful flower.

A New Design

This is a picture taken from the designers at Botanical Brouhaha on Facebook. I call this the Romantic Garden look.  It is becoming increasingly popular not only with brides, but for everyday work as well. This particular design is an interesting take on an asymmetrical look. The idea is to make the arrangement look like you walked out into the garden and came back into the house with your arms laden with beautiful flowers of all kind.

Here you see garden roses, dahlias, stock, snow in summer, ranunculus, and other interesting flowers. It takes a little practice to do this design right! It needs to look as though you didn’t actually design it. Believe it or not, it takes a little thought!

If you want your florist to make a design like this for you, be aware. It will be expensive. What makes this design really sing is the variety and great number of different flowers and  greenery. Texture is all important.

Flowers are more expensive today due to drought conditions within the grower community. If there is an overabundance of rain, or unseasonal cold, problems arise. I try to use local growers as much as possible, but keep this in mind. Many of the flowers florists use come from all over the world depending on the season.  Hawaiian flowers are really expensive, but boy! do we like to use them (orchids, anthurium, philodendron leaf, pincushion, etc.) Out of season tulips come from Holand, Africa is another source of flower growers. South America is huge in rose growers as well as other flowers.  These flowers all have to be flown in and transported as quickly as possible. They have to be kept cool and, hopefully, in water, although this rarely happens.

And one last reminder! Call a local florist in the area nearest the recipient!!! If you call a wire service, they take up to 20% off the top of your price, call the florist for you, who then has to take off a delivery charge and local taxes.  If you spend $100, by the time your friend gets the arrangement it is barely worth $50!

For Valentine’s Day, place your order early. Flowers go fast! If you call last minute and want two doz. red roses, you may not get that! There may only be a mixture of left over colors! Florists bend over backward to do the best possible for you. We want you to be happy!!! And flowers do just that!

It is extremely important to keep fresh flowers on hand at all times. Florists need to be aware of the shelf life of their flowers, and replace them with fresh stock in a timely manner.

When new stock comes in it should be rehydrated immediately. A species could have been out of water anywhere from one day to one week! Those stem cells need to be reopened by giving them a fresh cut and placed in a solution that will open the cells and kill bacteria.

After the cells have had a chance to reopen (the cells of a rose close within 5 seconds of being in the air!!), the flowers should be placed in fertilizer and then into a cooler.  These steps help the flowers last a lot longer.

After an arrangement has been made it should be sprayed with a solution that helps the flowers retain their moisture. This solution allows the flowers to continue breathing, but they won’t loose as much water through transpiration.

Ask your florist if their shop follows these procedures. The industry has done a lot of research concerning this and we should all be following these standards.  After all, you, the client, pay a lot of money for an arrangement and it should last as long as possible.  There is no excuse for the recipient to receive flowers that die with in a day!!

WARNING: wire service rip off

WARNING: This concerns the use of wire services when placing a flower order.

I just spoke with a young woman from another state who called to thank me for the heads up.  The following is what happened.

I received a call from a wire service yesterday to place an order going to someone here in my area. After giving me most of the information they were to call me back with credit card info which only the supervisor could give out.  I waited until nearly dark with no return call. They had wanted the order to go out same day.

I can not place an order without payment first. No florists would do otherwise unless they knew the client personally.

Since I never heard back from the supervisor I couldn’t fill the order. That night I called the recipient to let her know flowers had been ordered for her, but that the order had never been completed. Therefore I could not bring her flowers.

This morning the sender called me. This is her story. She had called the wire service and placed the order. They charged her over $100 for “premium” flowers.  (When the wire service called me they said the order was only for $45 !! That means the wire service was keeping over $60 for themselves!!! And by not finishing the order they were keeping the original amount!!!!!)

Needless to say, both the sender and the recipient were very happy that I had called to let them know what had happened at my end.  I suggested the credit card company be notified and put a stop on that payment immediately!

So please, please, PLEASE!!! Go to an area  florist to place your order! Not only will you be assured of professional service, but you will get your moneys worth!

One other thing to keep in mind: “premium” flowers? This is a total misnomer. It only means these flowers happen to be more fresh than the other grades. When I receive flowers from the wholesaler they immediately receive a fresh cut and are placed in rehydrating solution to open the cells in the stems. After that they are placed in fertilizer solution and placed in the cooler. This insures their longevity.

There are variables. Some species last longer  that others. Some flowers come from all over the world rather that from a local grower. Between the time the grower cuts the flowers and the florist receives them can be anywhere from one day to one week or more. That is time out of water!  This is why the florist really needs to prep the flowers when they receive them to reopen those cells.  Rose cells close within 5 seconds of being cut!! Some flowers (like hydrangeas) are just temperamental. You never know what they will do.

So: Call your local florist!!! Never be afraid to call the florist placing the order with questions!! Expect the best professional service, always. You pay for it!!

Home Grown Flowers

All summer long flowers are gloriously growing in our gardens (). Whether they are growing in containers on an apartment/condo deck or on 10 acres, their presence makes us happy! Best of all is cutting them and bringing them into our homes. But there is one problem. The lasting quality.

What can be done about the flowers that immediately begin to droop an hour after being put into the appropriate water container? First off, take a deep breath. In today’s world, most people are so stressed that the following scenario is the usual.

You are sipping your morning cup of joe or tea, looking out your kitchen window and suddenly realize how beautiful the flowers are in the back yard. For 10 seconds you enjoy them. Then the buzzer sounds behind you and you dash madly about the kitchen getting breakfast ready for the family. At one point, as you are setting the table, a niggling thought hits you: gosh, it would be nice to have some of those flowers on the table this morning.

You make a point to go out into the garden after the dishes are done to pick flowers.  You cut them, filling your hand with a stunning bouquet. You only have 10 minutes before you have to dash off somewhere so you run into the house, pour water in your vase, stick the flowers in and run off for the day.

When you come home, you go in the kitchen and the first thing you see are the flowers on the table, all drooping.  After all that hurry, trying to make things pretty, and now you have to throw them out! #*%@&*#

Well, there is the problem. Now for the solution. The cells in the flower stems close almost immediately after being cut. Rose cells close within 5 seconds! Once they close, that’s it. No water is going to go up those stems. The flowers will droop and die.  What to do? Bring your flowers inside. Fill your container with water, add fertilizer. Then recut the stems of your flowers and quickly put them in the water.

For woody stems do not crush them. Why? Well, what do you think? You just crushed all the cells. How can they possibly take up water????? Instead, take a small knife, whittle off the top layer of bark,  give the stem a fresh cut, and put it in water. Perfect! You are good to go. And so are your flowers!!

P.S. This is the website you find out how to take care of your garden better.

It was an incredible Mothers’ Day!!!!!

Many, many thanks to all of you who called Pipper’s Flowers and placed order for flowers for your moms.  Each arrangement was individually done, but, surprisingly, most people wanted garden designs! Here are a few of the ones we sent out.

Mothers’ Day is almost here!!!

Most people, when they think about this holiday, think: “Oh, I need to order flowers for Mom,” and let it go at that.  It’s taken me a long time, but I finally started to think, really think, about what it means to be a mom. It is a huge responsibility. Probably the biggest responsibility a woman will ever have if she decides to carry that baby to term. You hold the building of that life in your hands for many years. You will be forming that personality, how that child thinks, acts and feels about all of life. If you are a mom, you are building a culture, history. It all starts with you. And you deserve to be respected and helped in this endeaver by everyone, because all of us are involved. It starts with the child! And mom.