August 2008

I know that a  pesticide for organic seems like an oxymoron, but I am interested in natural alternatives. I am a bit of a skeptic & I always want to evaluate the source.  I haven’t done that with this company yet, but I am putting it out there for us to all take a look at.  It’s new scientific research, I am not even familiar with the term Biopesticide, so if someone can enlighten me, that would be great.  But I do always gravitate towards herbal and natural solutions, and I know that some herbs & plants are toxic, so if we can use science to take those natural occuring properties and turn them into a safe solution to agricultural problems, I’m willing to listen and learn. Here is the recap on the latest research.. I’ll be watching and reading to try & decide if this is something of merit for the future.  BTW..I really dislike the word chemical, in reference to organic…LOL But I’m keeping an open mind here.

Source: John Simpson -The American Chemical Society

With the growth of Organic food creating the need for natural insecticides & herbicides that can be used on crops certified “Organic” biopesticide pioneer Pam G. Marrone, Ph.D, is reporting development of a new “green” pesticide obtained from the extract of the giant knotweed. The product is safe for “humans, animals and the environment” says Marrone, founder & CEO of Marrone Organic Innovations Inc. in Davis California.

Biopesticides are derived from plants, microbes, or other natural materials and are proven to be safer for humans and the environment. The new biopesticide has active compounds that alert plant defenses to combat a range of diseases, including powdery mildew, gray mold, and bacterial blight that affects fruits, vegetables and ornamentals.


I read an article by Betsy Towner, and she had some interesting statistics regarding weddings. She compared the years 1958 and 2008. Here’s what she found:

Tux rental in 1958 was $5.50 today $69.50

Postage for invitations in 1958 was 3-4 cents today it’s .42 cents

Divorce rate was 33% in 1958, today its 50%

A Trendy gift in 1958,  corning ware casserole dish at $12.95 , today it’s Nintendo WII at $399

Cost of the Honeymoon in 1958 was $237, today it’s $3,680

The likely getaway car in 1958 was a Chevy Impala convertable $2,700 – today it’s a Toyota Camry $18,570

Honeymoon destination was Niagra Falls in 1958, and today it’s Hawaii

A piece of cake per guest, was 35 cents, in 1958, and today it $4.52

Annual Weddings in 1958 was 1.5 million, and today it’s 2.4 millon

Gallon of gas in 1958 was 30 cents, today it’s $3.80

Age of marriage for women in 1958 was 20, and today it’s 26

Age of marriage for men in 1958 was 22, and today it’s 28

Annual Income for women in 1958 was $1,572 and today it’s $30,719

Annual income for men in 1958 was $2,396 and today it’s $34,167

Number of children in 1958 was 3.6, and today it’s 2.3

I am a professional florist, and I really value my profession. It’s a hard job, and after we pay for the flowers, there isn’t a huge amount of profit.  I love my devoted customers, I feel like I am a part of their family and they are a part of mine.  I’ve spent years developing relationships with my customers,  I’m there when they have births, deaths, accidents, joy, sadness,the kids go off to college, they start new jobs,  and everything in between, and I love it! 

So when I had a good customer approach me recently to tell me that she was getting married, I was a little surprised to find out that those plans didn’t include me?! I asked her who was doing the flowers, and she said ” a friend “.  Of course, being the professional that I am, all kinds of bells are going off, and I told her, that I thought she was making a BIG mistake, but that I respected her decision.  She asked me why I thought she was making  a mistake, and I told her how many times I had seen this go bad.  We jokingly left the conversation at ” I hope you don’t call me the week before the wedding ” which unfortunately is exactly what happened.

The week of the wedding, she came into the store and was near tears, saying that her friend was having a nervous breakdown and wasn’t sure she could do this.  Trust me..this is no news to me, even a seasoned veteran like me, has moments of adrenaline during the week of an event, it can sometimes be brutal!

I know the last thing she wanted to hear from me, was ” I told you this was not a good idea ” but of course I had to gently say it..and ask her how I was going to carry off a 200 guest event in less than a week.  This is where the professional side of me kicked in, I knew I had to just make it happen.  I did, & it was beautiful, but I wish that she had come to me in the beginning so I could have helped her & her friends organize it and carry it off more gracefully. 

I learned alot from that, and I always encourage my brides to communicate with me , tell me what they are thinking & not be afraid to ask for my help or guidance.  Florists of all people, know It’s not as easy at everyone likes to think it is!

Could a substance from the jasmine flower hold the key to an effective new therapy to treat cancer? 

Professor Eliezer Flescher of The Sackler Faculty of Medicine, thinks so.  He & his colleagues have developed an anti cancer drug based on a decade of research into the commercial applications of the compound Jasmonate, a synthetic compound derived from the flower itself.

According to the professor both blood cancers and solid tumors seem to be responsive to the compound know as methyl jasmonate and he is hopeful that an anti cancer drug based on jasmonate could be on the shelf in America within four years through the activity of Sepal-Pharma which liscensed his research.  Professor Flescher’s published his findings most recently in the academic journal Oncogene.

source: Eureka alert! medicine

There are so many great floral designers out there and unfortunately some not so great pretenders! The order taker / middleman fake florist has been a real problem in our industry and continues to plague consumers.  I’ve come to the conclusion that the only way to combat it, is to educate the consumer.  There is a great site that is doing a fine job of revealing some of the bogus tatics being used. If you would like to read up and educate yourself check out

I am a big fan of asking someone you know for a referral to a good florist, or asking your local neighborhood flower shop, who to use when you are sending flowers out of town. I know florists all over the country who are good, and I know some really bad ones too!

Be especially careful online, as the fake guys even use our store name in their ads, my own customers have been tricked into thinking they were on my website only to find out later that it was a shop in Texas, Los Angeles, or elsewhwere even though it says Brittany Flowers in the advertising.

Here are some examples of how the consumer is being fooled: These are copies of ads on google, these are the ads on the right hand side, paid sponsors.

Brittany Flowers Send Roses & Other Flowers – $19.99 “Best Value” – Wall Street Journal

Now correct me if I am wrong, this ad clearly states: Brittany Flowers with the small print under saying, is that misleading?


Brittany Florist Same Day Delivery by Local Florist Save $10 Online using Coupon JF2007

Now, this is justflowers in Los Angeles, they take the order and then send it to me to do, but people think they are ording from me. I get orders all the time from my local Kirkland customers, who thought they were ording local. Now is this misleading as well?


Kirkland flowers delivered fresher than from florists.

Kirkland flower delivery by ProFlowers – your local online florist. Send flowers to Kirkland Illinois and experience the freshest flower delivery available.


Brittany Flowers

Send Roses & Other Flowers – $19.99
“Best Value” – Wall Street Journal

This is another version, they add washington to the tagline, but they are not in Washington, or Kirkland, which according to the ad about, they are in Kirkland.  I guess maybe I should start pretending to be ProFlowers…hmmm I might have to rethink my ethics in order to compete with the big boys.


There is so much varying information out there on caring for your cut roses, some of it is misinformation and you can do more harm to your flowers than good if you do it wrong.  I attended a industry event a while back that was really informative on the care & feeding of roses. The seminar was lead by a scientist from Holland and she dispelled a lot of the myths regarding roses. Here is was I learned from her..

1. You do not need to cut roses under water, it’s a myth.

2. Do not ever leave a rose out of water for more that 2-3 minutes without recutting it. When a rose is out of water it is sucking air up the stem, which will create an air embolism ( an air bubble ) in the stem and cause a blockage and then the rose will not be able to drink water. If you’ve ever received roses only to have them bend at the neck and droop, that is what happened. They weren’t cared for properly when proccessed. You can acutally bring a rose back to life,  that is starting to droop, if you recut it as soon as it starts to happen. Don’t use scissors, or cutters that pinch.

3. Always make sure there is no rose foliage under the water, it breeds bad bacteria and will kill your roses. A drop of bleach in the water will keep bacteria from growing and will not hurt the roses.  If you use the flower food that comes with your roses, it has a bacteria growth inhibitor in it, as well as the food.

4. Keep your roses in a cool place, heat will kill them quickly. You can add a number of days to the life of the rose, if you put it in the garage or outside at night,  Just make sure the temperature isn’t below 34 degrees. Roses can’t handle any freezing.

5. Do not recut your roses, unless you know how to do it properly,  you will kill them.

6.. Roses have what look like a series of drinking straws inside, they are offset about every 1 to 2 inches, so when you cut an inch off the bottom, you get to the next new set of capillaries, which can provide the rose new life. But it’s important to use only a very sharp knife, never any tool that has even the slightest pinching effect on the stem which will cause these straw like tubes inside the rose to collapse, then they can’t drink water and they will die in hours.

7. Roses are heavy drinkers and need to keep the water level all the way up to the top daily, as I said, more than 2 minutes with the stem out of water requires a fresh cut or they will die.  I’ve seen roses drink half the vase of water overnight, so watch it closely.

8. A rose that is harvested at the wrong stage of it’s development is called a bullet, I know you’ve seen the ugly pointed, tight rose, the kind that will never open. Don’t buy them, expecting them to open, they will never open. 

9. When you are buying roses, pick good varieties, that have a longer vase life, we like to sell Forever Young or a variety called Freedom for red roses, they are good performers, and have a good vase life. When you feel a rose at the base where it attaches to the stem, it should be firm, not soft and mushy.  If it is soft and mushy, it’s probably at the end of it’s life.  Also note that certain colors of roses like yellow and lavender are shorter lived than other colors. A good variety should give you any where from 7-10 days in the vase.  Some of my customers have gotten two weeks out of their roses, we tell them it’s our Brittany Flowers water :>)

I was recently reading an article published by the American Botanical Council, they were quoting from an essay written by Loren Eiseley entitled How flowers changed the world, which was witten in the late 1950’s. Eiseley was an anthroplogist who wrote on the subject of science & ecology, and he was also a poet.  You can read more about Eiseley, his life, and some of his work at He was an interesting fellow.

It really made me think about flowers and plants and how they contribute to life. I agree with Eiseley that they are unique gifts from nature and they should be cherished & protected. They are magical, they bring out the good side in us all.  Our town recently planted an entire field of red poppies in the grassy area along the ramp to the freeway   I can honestly say that it worked magic, the beautiful red color filled my soul every morning, it made me feel kinder & gentler to my fellow commuters, and with the traffic we experience, that alone is pure magic! If we could all just take a little spot, and become the caretaker, and nuture it, think of the joy it could provide and how it might change the world. 

Seeds are amazing things, I recently removed a twenty year old bush from a spot in my yard, and to my delight, an entire garden sprouted in the bare dirt where that bush had been.  Some of the seeds were from plants that I had in the yard years ago, but they had died out and disappeared, only to reappear once I took out the bush. They must have been lying dormant in the darkness under the shrub.  It was delightful! Check out seed savers if you are interested in the subject  of seeds or want to learn more. It’s valuable to the biodiversity of the planet.

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