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Mothers’ Day!!

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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

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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!!


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.


Florists, old and new!

The picture on the right is a “design” done by my 4 year old grand daughter. I was busily working on a design for a client and Hanne wanted to do her own. She began picking up discarded material on the floor, soaked a hunk of oasis, inserted it in a container, and went to work. When I turned around to see what she was up to– voila! I think I might hire her!!!! Think she might work for chocolate Easter eggs???

On the left is a picture taken in a florist shop in New York City about 1910.  My son texted this one to me. He is a wonderful photographer in his own right.  He loves the early photos of NYC. Flowers don’t change through time, but fashions sure do. Then it all circles back. Hope your March is beginning to turn into Spring, melting snows, and warmth! Enjoy!


Valentine’s Day!!!!!!

I keep up with my Facebook page (barely), and I forgot all about the blog! So here I am to remind all of you to place your orders for Valentine’s Day flowers as soon as possible. You can’t believe how fast the roses go, especially red roses. The growers only have so many and then…. so ORDER NOW! If you order from me think about chocolate too. Bon Bon is our chocolate store on the Island and they are fabulous. Lisa’s fudge comes in so many different flavors it’s unbelievable!!! It’s the best fudge I’ve ever tasted!!! She has lots of old fashioned candies and imported chocolates and hand made local chocolates. You can’t go wrong!

Here are four different styles. And there are others. One is exotic, one contemporary, one traditional and the heart!


Different colors for Christmas

We all think of red,  green and white for Christmas decorations, as well as silver and gold. But this client knew his wife loved purple. It was for their anniversary as well. It was fun to think in terms of another color! Many folks are choosing to use one color as the dominant theme for the holidays. The traditional colors are still the happiest, but it’s fun to experiment with other ideas too. I once watched a video of a family who lived in an ultra modern contemporary home who really pushed the envelope. They decided to have multiple trees. One tree was completely yellow (including the tree itself)! Another was pink, another was electric blue, another was orange. What a surprise!! You wouldn’t think it would work but it did! Very, very cheerful! So don’t be afraid to try something new, even if it’s just a little area you want to experiment with. You can’t help but be smiling when you’re finished!! Have a great holiday season!  Pipper


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…

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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.


Want to Make your Girl Happy?

How happy do you want her to be? Flowers can be purchased in any price range. Whatever you are comfortable with! Whether it is a just a single rose or a full blown huge arrangement, you can be assured, if your sweetheart receives  flowers from the local florist for no reason at all, she will be over the moon! Just do it!


Happy Spring Everyone!

Spring is here! I love this time of year. All the new growth, fresh green leaves, spring flowers popping out on trees, shrubs and from the ground. It is incredibly lovely. When you take a drive on the Olympic Peninsula you see hills covered with dark green Douglas fir and intermittent groves of alder. The alder has taken on a light, airy, burnt sienna brush across their tops, the silvery grey beneath, holding up the cloud like mass.  After awhile it takes on a purplish hue. Nature is stunning.

Being a florist is a wonderful gift. To be able to take all this color and vibrancy to a different level is also a responsibility I don’t take lightly. After completing a design I feel happy with, I sometimes take a picture. It isn’t until I look at the picture blown up on the computer that I see all the flaws and wish I had seen them before I made the delivery. I get so wrapped up in working with the flowers I forget myself and what humanity has determined to be the correct way to do things.

There is a lesson here. One which we should consider carefully. People make up rules, expecting others to live by them. These rules are constantly changing as does the need for them.  Until nature decides to do otherwise. Who is to decide what is right and what is wrong? under what circumstances? Life itself is a learning process, one which can never be completely achieved. We are lucky to observe and learn as much as our small minds can. Good luck!!!


Order your Valentine NOW!!!

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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…


Happy Valentine

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When you place your order for Valentine’s Day, you CAN send chocolates too! Our local chocolate store specializes is homemade fudge of so many varieties I can’t begin to list them all. Bon Bon also has homemade truffles to die for as well as any number of other fancy chocolates. You can’t go wrong. There are lots of other candies as well, many bringing back memories of the 50′s. All age groups are catered to here.

Keep in mind that the sooner you call your local florist the better. Florists place their orders with wholesalers at least a month in advance. If you call the day before V Day, chances are you may not be able to get exactly what you want. Red roses are at a premium. When they are gone, they are gone. Wholesalers up their prices for this holiday, and prices have to be passed on. So heads up everyone. Order as early as you can to be placed high on your florist’s list!

Think about the person who will be receiving the flowers. Do they decorate their home in a contemporary style, a traditional way, with an asian influence, or eclectically? Tell your florist. The arrangement should reflect the recipient’s taste. If you are sending to a young person, we can add something to more personalize the gift.

If you are really happy with your florist leave a review on google or yelp! Believe it or not it makes a whale of a lot of difference to ANY business!!! So thank you in advance. We all appreciate your input.

Here’s hoping you will be remembered on Valentine’s Day. Even if it’s a peck on the cheek, it still means a great deal. I love to see the faces of the people I deliver to. Their smiles and words of appreciation are all I need to make my day much more than just worth while! A hearty thank you to all of you who choose Pipper’s Flowers as your florist. On the home page of this website at the very bottom is the icon for Facebook where you can always contact me with any suggestions or thoughts that concern you. Happy Valentine’s Day!!!!


BRIDES! 2014 is here….

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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!!!


Happy New Year!!!

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May this new year bring happiness and joy to all of you. The last couple of years has been really difficult for so many people, but we’ve made it through to 2014! I have a really good feeling about this new year. So make those resolutions and stick to them. For instance: keep smiling! don’t judge another, you haven’t walked in their shoes! do at least one good thing for another person at least once a week (that can’t be too hard)! drop the drama!!! think before you speak! always remember that there are so many many people out there who are much worse off than you are!!!! Have a GREAT year!!


HAPPY HOLIDAYS EVERYONE!!!

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Here are a few designs done lately for clients. There will  be several more at the end of the week.

These are on a more traditional basis. The new ones will have a very contemporary, artistic look.


Almost Christmas!!!!

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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!!!

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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