Floral Health

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!!

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.

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.

A Christmas Gift that keeps on giving!

I deliver flowers to a lot of elderly people, many of whom live alone, have health problems or can’t afford much. When they open their door and see the flowers, the expression on their faces is priceless. they are so happy! Someone thought about them! Someone wanted to make their day a little brighter.

If you are one of the grown children of one of these folks or have a special relative or friend, here’s an idea for a Christmas present that keeps on giving for as long as you want. Send a bouquet once a month or twice a month or (heaven forbid!) every week! You will make a lonely, elderly person very, very, happy!

Give me a call at 206) 780-4242 and let’s talk about it!

COLOR!!!! what do you see?

When you think the color PURPLE, what color do you see? It seems to be the color a number of brides are choosing this year and next. But there is a wee bit of a problem here. When a bride chooses a color for her wedding, she tends to use words like periwinkle or peach or taupe or… well, you get the idea. These adjectives just don’t do the job. Mostly because every person sees a different color when they hear one of these words.

When I meet with a bride I pull out the color wheel, either physically or verbally or both! Take the word purple. Do you see a blue purple or a red purple? Have I lost you yet? Take a look at the roses pictured here. The roses on the left are red purple. The rose on the right is a blue purple. There is a huge difference here.

One bride I worked with was adamant about using only the blue purple. It is not hard to come up with flowers in this color spectrum – until you start looking for roses. Especially deep purple roses.  For all intents and purposes, there are no deep purple roses on the wholesale market.  What did we do? The bride opted for a deep purple floral spray.  It worked!!

Another bride went with the red purple. No problems here. Thank goodness!! So rethink how you talk about color, ladies. Use color terms rather than adjectives that describe objects, not colors.

Periwinkle? Do you mean light blue or dark blue?

Peach? Uh, a pink orange or a red orange? Pastel or full color?

Mint? Dark green or light green?

You get the idea.  Make sure when you consult with your florist/party planner you bring color examples with you. A great way to go is to go to the hardware store and pick up paint samples in the exact colors you like. It will work magic for you! Good luck!

Summer time and the living is easy…


Happy Summer everyone! As long as it doesn’t get too hot I’m a happy camper. When flowers come in from the wholesalers the first thing that happens is that they  are rehydrated. They sit in this solution for several hours. In hot weather the roses start to pop. Thank goodness deliveries usually come in the early morning! Then into fertilizer they go and into the cooler. Whew!

This year has been the best ever, many thanks to all of you! The best part of being a florist is delivering to the client and seeing their faces when they answer the door. Seeing that big smile says it all. When you order flowers you are making many people happy! The longer the flowers last, the longer there are happy people. Ripples in a pond…

Keep in mind that many florists accept vases that have been pre-used. I do. They get washed, sterilized, and used again. An environmentally sound idea. I also check around in antique stores for vases. I refuse to pay over a certain amount because I don’t want to pass the cost on to the consumer. But some of these vases are priceless when flowers are placed in them.

And don’t forget, many of our growers are certified organic! Yes, the industry is really trying to make our world a better place in as many ways as we can think of.

Order now for Mothers’ Day!!!!

Your mother is probably one of the most important people in your life. She knows you better than anyone else, and, she’s known you longer than anyone else has. There have been many times you’ve wished she wasn’t your mom, but, face it, she probably has felt the same way about you. What it all comes down to is FAMILY! And mom is the head of the family no matter what dad thinks! So show her how much you love and respect her.

Send her flowers designed especially for her. Does she prefer a traditional lifestyle or is she more contemporary, living with contemporary furnishings? Does she love to garden? Does she love to travel? What are her hobbies, her profession? We can create an arrangement to suit her personality!

Additionally, at Pipper’s Flowers, our message cards are the usual size message card, but they are 100% rag watercolor paper with an accompanying envelope. Pipper does a small water color on one side which can be cut out and placed in one of those wonderfully small frames as a keepsake.

Keep in mind, the Bon Bon here on Bainbridge is a wonderful candy store with the best home made fudge and imported chocolates, including truffles hand made by local confectioners. You can’t go wrong by including a small box of chocolates for Mom!!!

Place your order as soon as possible, before the last minute rush! If you have something special in mind you would like us to do for your mom, just let us know. We are here to serve you and make your mother’s day extra special!

Order your Valentine NOW!!!


Valentine’s Day is almost here. For florists it’s especially fun because we can be so creative. Suppliers have all kinds of hard goods that can be incorporated with flowers to really make a statement. Gone are the traditional arrangements of roses and baby’s breath. You can do so much more!! And still keep the cost down. Granted, something like the heart in the picture below costs a little more, but WOW! It’s much more fun to get. And will last a long time if the roses have been properly rehydrated, fertilized and cooled by the florist. When you call your florist try to be specific. Do you want a contemporary design, traditional, exotic, garden style… Think outside the box! And yes, florists are very busy and may not have time to do something special. But it never hurts to try. Just be prepared to spend a little more…

BRIDES! 2014 is here….


And it should be an exciting year. Especially since this is the year of your wedding. Are you  beginning to feel the pressure from all the decisions that need to be made?  The key to reducing this anxiety is: be organized. Ask for help and advice. Remember, in the end, it is YOUR day, YOUR wedding. This special day will only happen once.

TRENDS:  colors: pink (from very very pale – blush – into more intense fuchsia, orchid, plum), black and white color blocking and prints

dresses: off the shoulder necklines, cap sleeves, illusion neckline, plunging back

hair:  up

accessories: gold (in gowns as well, delicate beading

make up: soft browns, soft metallic, berry, bronze (everything natural) and berry lips

late night food: miniature versions of your favorite foods, huge dessert bar, expresso bar

chandeliers made of mason jars! and wooden farm tables

Save money by celebrating on Friday. Be  bold, bright colors, larger than life. Remember, you need to decide on a budget! When you meet with any professional, whether its the caterer, cake baker, or florist they need to know what you can afford in order to guide you on the right path to achieve your dream and still be what you can afford.

BOTTOM LINE: Do what YOU want. If you like hot yellow, then go with it! If you’re into cowboy boots, wear them. If you don’t want to serve alcohol, don’t. It is YOUR special day. DO IT YOUR WAY!!!

Almost Christmas!!!!


Before you know it, you will be decorating for Christmas! How do you like the photo shown here? The beauty of this design is it’s longevity. Almost everything here is artificial. Can you believe that? Even up close it doesn’t come across as “artificial”! The greenery is fresh Douglas fir and the poofs of white are carnations. Carnations? You don’t like carnations???? The wonderful thing about carns is their longevity. The form itself is very old rose like. Using a carn you get more bang for your buck! The rest is artificial. There are white poinsettias that sparkle, two kinds of red berry, and a branch of heavy crystals which work in beautifully.  The vase is a plain glass vase covered in red ribbon with lines of crystals adhering to the surface. It really is stunning when seen up close. Everyone who has seen it gasps and goes “Wow!” That’s the response you’re looking for!

A design NOT to buy!

It is imperative for any creative person to keep abreast of what the rest of the world is doing. One thing people seem to be enamored with at the moment is the fad using only one kind of flower in an arrangement. A vase of long stemmed calla lilies all leaning heavily off to the side of a tall vase. A container jammed full of roses.  You get the idea. But it is a boring idea. You see one you’ve seen them all. It takes no sense of design, no expertise to do this. Anyone can stick a mass of flowers of one kind in a  vase. I know this line of thinking is anathema to some, but I won’t apologize. If a client is going to spend hard earned money to have a professional florist make an arrangement for him or her, it should be worth it!

Any art school, including floral schools, teach basic design principles. Many scoff at this saying, “Oh I don’t need to know this. I just want to be free to be creative!” This attitude is why so many young artists never make it in this world. The reason the masters are still with us today is because they “mastered” the basic design principles. Picaso is the premier example of this.

What are these principles? There are many. To name a few: line, texture, color, balance. The list  goes on and on. When a professional is asked to do a design for a client these principles should be so firmly imbedded in their minds that when they start a design they can be creative. Very creative, if allowed to do so by the client.

So what is the point of all this besides a wake up call for professionals? You, as the client, should know you are getting your money’s worth. It doesn’t make any difference whether you are spending $20 or $2000 for flowers. You should be given the best based on the knowledge of your designer. So don’t hesitate to ask questions when you call to place an order. Tell the designer what style you want to send to the recipient, what colors you would like. Ask the designer if they are comfortable being creative or will they do a standard design shown by wire service catalogues. Ask questions and you may be lucky enough to get what you paid for!

The picture included here shows a simple design, but a very pleasing one. What style is it? A combination of Ikebana, contemporary and garden. Yes. It can be done.  Just ask.

Have a wonderful summer!!!


Good morning! It has been awhile since I posted on this blog. I always check the Facebook pages, but this post is more informative.  The picture on the left is a design I did for a small event. It is so much fun to do weddings and events. The arrangements can be bigger but not necessarily more creative! Some of the smallest designs can be the most artful. We have had a wonderful summer. The temperatures have been mild with some overcast. Weddings have gone very well.

Many people are doing their own flowers for special events (like weddings). I am always happy to see how beautifully arranged many of these flowers are done. The only problem I see is the longevity of the flowers. Most retailers (like grocery stores or places like Costco or Wallmart) don’t have the expertise to handle flowers properly. When you buy from these sources you should realize the flowers haven’t been rehydrated. What does this mean? It means that the cells in the stems have closed or are clogged with debris and bacteria. Therefore, the flowers will only last a few days. When you buy from these sources, always give your flower stems a fresh cut about an inch to 3 inches above the previous cut. Then immediately put them in water. If you can get your hands on rehydrating solution, use it now. Remember, cells close quickly. Rose cells close within 5 seconds!!!

That’s just for starters. After rehydration, I always place the flowers in clean water with fertilizer. If at all possible, they are placed in the cooler. This helps slow down the growth process (yes, the flowers are still growing! Tulips will grow up to 6 more inches!!!). After arranging flowers I always spray the designs with a solution that helps them retain their moisture.

Another thing to remember concerns the use of Oasis. I use it quite a bit. The recipient of the flowers should be aware that there isn’t much room for water. Don’t allow Oasis to dry out. It will not reabsorb water once it dries. I tell my people check the container by hooking a finger over the edge. Bring that water line up! Pour water with the fertilizer in the packets you get right into the  center of the arrangement. Your flowers should last at the very least for a week. Mine usually last close to 3 weeks. You pay a lot for fresh flowers. They should last!

Happy Summer!!! Pipper

Be happy!


Be happy! We are constantly barraged with negative news from all fronts. Whether you read the newspapers, news magazines, watch the news on TV, TV commentators, the internet, or any other source, you can be dragged down by it all. Everyone will tell you, “Focus on the positive!” Easier said then done.

How can you challenge this? Start with anything close to you, where you sit, at home or at work. Place a favorite object near you. Move the furniture around. Pick up all the MESS. Cleaning up your environment can be a lot of work, but by the time you finish, stand back and take a look. It was worth the effort! Spray an air deodorizer. Add a bud vase with a flower that makes you smile.  A bud vase doesn’t cost an arm and a leg!

Throw out all the things you never use. Take it to the dump. If it’s in good condition and clean, take it to the Salvation Army. But get rid of all the superfluous STUFF! Clean out the refrigerator. Change your sheets. Put on clean socks! Wash your hair. Shave. Put a little something in your pocket that only you know is there. Are you getting the idea yet?

I know there are those of you who think it’s cool to wear your pants down around your knees, allow your beard to grow out to stubbs, wear clothing that looks like its been in a dumpster for several months. Believe me, if you clean yourself up, clean up your immediate environment, you will suddenly look at the world from a far different perspective!  (P.S.  Girls get rug burn from all that stubble. THAT’S not cool!!)

And don’t forget the flowers.  You can’t help but smile if you see a colorful bouquet. In Seattle we have Pike Place Market. The f lower vendors there are fabulous. You can buy a wonderful, stunningly beautiful bouquet for under $10!!! If you can afford to support your local florist, that would be super! Retail florists have been closing their doors at an incredible rate. It’s a huge loss to everyone.

We all have sad, depressing things that have happened to us. In my life, I find I’m very fortunate to be able to give flowers to so many people. When I deliver flowers to someone, their smile is all I need to make my day.  If things are slow, as they have been lately, I’m even more lucky to have my two grandchildren who live nearby. I see them just about every day. One is 5, the other is 2 1/2 years old. They never fail to make me smile and make my whole day brighter.

Find what makes your heart sing. It doesn’t have to cost a thing. But do the things that make you truly happy. And don’t forget the FLOWERS!!

Remember Mom!!!!!


At  Pipper’s Flowers we process the flowers so that they will last as long as possible. People have mentioned repeatedly that their arrangements have lasted as long as a month in some cases depending on the species of flower.

Not only that, but each arrangement is individualized to suit the recipient. Traditional? Contemporary? Natural (which includes garden style)? Exotic? If you check the web site you will see arrangements for each of these categories. When you call to place an order you are asked about color, scent, species… We want YOUR input! Tell us what you want or do not want!

Best of all, our message cards are the same size as the industry cards, but they are done on individual Fabriano water color paper with a small original water color of a flower on it. The message is written next to the water color, placed in a matching Fabriano envelope and placed with the arrangement.

When you talk to your mom, let her know she can cut out this original water color and place it in one of those tiny frames as a keepsake! How special is that!!!?

And don’t forget the handmade fudge and chocolates from our local BonBon candy store. Lisa, the owner, is a wonderful lady, starting her store because she has always loved to make fudge.  The varieties are endless. All the truffles and other chocolates are first class yummies hand made by local people. She also has all kinds of imported chocolate, and candies from childhood! You can’t go wrong here!

So, give Pipper a call, 206) 780-4242.

Happy Mom’s Day!


Order now for Mother’s Day!


And the flowers are delightfully wonderful! There is no better way to tell Mom how much you love her than by surprising her with a beautiful spring bouquet. If you place your order before the end of the month you will receive a discount. And you might want to consider a gift of superb, melt in your mouth, chocolates or fudge hand made from our local chocolatier, Bon Bon. The added cost is nominal and well worth the look on your Mom’s face when she sees it all.

Clients will call and say they love #4 on the Everyday slide show. They will ask how much it is.  My policy is this: I can do any bouquet in any price range. Whatever you feel comfortable spending! I never do the same arrangement twice, but I will do something comparable to what you see on the slide show. Bottom line: Whatever YOU can afford!!!

How can I do  this? I have no employees, no overhead. Therefore, everything goes into the flowers. Depending on your budget, I choose flowers that will work for you! Not only will it make the recipient of the flowers happy, but the goal is to make YOU happy too!!

These pictures depict fairly traditional arrangements. Keep watching here or on Facebook for contemporary, exotic and natural designs!

Don’t forget! Order NOW!  206) 780- 4242.

Shhhhh. Don’t let this get out!


Shhhhhh. Don’t let this get out. Puleeease!!!! My fellow florists will disown me. They will put out a hit on me. Heaven forbid, my wholesalers won’t let me in their doors!!

So. Here goes. It really IS okay to buy flowers at the grocery store. Really. At the grocery store.

I know, I know. I’m a drama queen. What woman isn’t?

Why do I stick my neck out on this one? Because I want everyone to enjoy flowers in their homes. Flowers should be a staple item, like buying ketchup! Just like yogert or cheetos or chocolate.

Who can afford to buy a $50 arrangement every week? Well, some folks can. But most of us can’t. Especially in this economy. So go to the grocery store. Buy the $19 wrapped flower pack. Take it home. Cut off the bottom inch of stem. Put it all in a rehydrating solution immediately. (I guarantee – if you do this, the cells in those stems will open up and guzzle down nutrient enhanced water and last a lot longer! (If you can’t find rehydrating solution then just use the fertilizer pack from the grocery store that comes with the flowers!)

But for special occasions, say once a month, (I’m being overly optimistic here), ask your florist to make a really crative design for you. A special one. Not a run of the mill – I’m in a hurry – one. Ask her(or him!) to make sure the flowers have been rehydrated and fertilized. It wouldn’t hurt to spray the finished bouquet with a solution to help them retain their moisture, too.

By doing this you support your local business (we all need help here!) and remind your florist to use proper preservation techniques so your flowers will last longer. After all, you paid $50 for that bouquet! (And your florist’s reputation will be enhanced as well!)


today 054

My dear, dear husband had a dozen roses delivered to my door once. It was my birthday. I was SO happy! The very next day every single head was hanging. Talk about depressing! We hadn’t even paid for them yet – Doug had used his credit card. Needless to say, I never received a bouquet of roses after that. I had to become a florist…

My point is this. Times have changed. We now know WHY those rose heads dropped and there is no reason for that to happen any more, barring a sick rose. Your roses should last at LEAST a week if they’ve been properly cared for by your florist.

Once a flower has been cut, the cells nearest the cut will close. On roses this happens within 5 seconds! Yes. 5 seconds!! When the grower cuts his roses (usually most GOOD growers) they are immediately put into water. They are then taken out in warehouse,  iced and air expressed to the wholesaler.The wholesaler gives the flower a fresh stem cut and placed in water. When the florist gets the flowers, usually about 3-4 days later, the flowers should receive another cut and placed immediately into a rehydration solution. This solution opens up the cells so the flower can absorb water and nutrients as well as killing bacteria. After this step they should be placed in fertilized water and put into a cooler. (NOTE: A cooler is ESENTIAL!. It slows the growing process down appreciably, extending the time you will be able to enjoy the flowers.)

Out of every dozen or so, one or two flowers will droop. There is probably air in the stem up closer to the head. Stick a pin in the bulging part just under the head and place in warm water. Hopefully the rose will bounce back.

Remember. Not all florists follow these proceedures. They may do part of this or none or all. You should feel free to ask your florist how they treat the flowers when they receive them.

When you receive the flowers USE THE FLOWER NUTRIENT PACKET! Why? Because the flowers are still taking in nutrients and the powder will also kill bacteria that would close the flower cells. Follow the directions on the packet.

Remember. All flowers have different lengths of life. An antherium can last over 4 weeks. An iris may last only 1 day after flowering!

Don’t expect perfection. When a flower dies, remove it, replace it , make adjustments. Just enjoy the flowers!!!

Let’s do a Della Robbia design together!

Before we get into any deep discussions let’s do a Della Robbia design together! Lucca Della Robbia was an Italian Renaissance artist who was the first to make actual floral arrangements using fruits, nuts and vegetables, as well as flowers. It’s easy and fun. The pictures above will help guide you.

First: select your vase. I am using a glass compote on a stand. Place a pre-soaked hunk of aqua foam (cut to fit your container) inside. (Make sure you add a flower food to your water!)

Second: From your yard, garden or roadside gather any greenery you want to use. Salal, ferns, grasses, huckleberry, boxwood, hosta leaves, etc. Position them throughout the foam in a pleasing manner.

Third: Spray your grape clusters with Pam. Wipe shortening over your other fruits. This will keep the fruit flies away. Then, using a light gauge wire, attach it to the end of the stem of one  grape cluster, stretch the wire across your container and wrap the second grape cluster. The two clusters should fit opposite each other across the container, draping down either side.

Fourth: Add all the flowers you want. Along the way add a yellow lemon or lime or other fruit or vegetable. To do this, use a “pic” or make your own. A wood skewer (as thick as a toothpick only longer- 6″ -8″). Insert one end in the fruit leaving a good length the push between the flowers and into the foam.

Fifth: As you work keep in mind balance and shape, texture and color combinations. And there you have it!! Your friends will be VERY impressed. Don’t forget to add water on a regular basis. You don’t want the aqua foam to dry out. ENJOY!

wow!!! my first blog!!!!

White Rose with Red CarnationsWelcome to my blog. (How in the world did this word come about?) As you can readily see, I am not computer literate. I’ve been dragged, kicking and screaming, into this weird world. But, I readily admit, without the internet and all you wonderful people out there, I wouldn’t have a business!

Back to the reason for my being here. Flowers! What can possibly be discussed on a blog about flowers? The topics are endless! When you call to place an order the questions start. And, hopefully, this blog will answer your questions and give you information along the way that will enhance your life. I won’t shy away from controversy. I will try my best to give you truthful, researched information.

Some of the topics will touch on the “European Design Mystic”, buying flowers at the grocery store, how to ensure the longevity of your flowers, what happens when you place an order through a wire service instead of a florist, children and flowers, how to relieve stress, how to place an order, wedding flowers, and on and on.

If you have questions or want to comment on the blogs that follow (did I use that word correctly???) please don’t hesitate to do so. Other points of view will be respected. I won’t be able to publish every comment, but bear with me. This blog is a whole new world for me. (I feel like I am in pre-school!) I can hardly wait to hear from you! Have a great day!!!