April 2009

So I have a peony wedding this weekend, and I was reminded by my bride of an old myth that just won’t go away.  I know everyone has a grandmother that has a story that gets passed on to the next generation.  Of course I admire that because I value the heritage and history in my family.  However it did recently come to light that grandmother’s  pot roast recipe called for you to cut the end off the roast before you placed it in the pot, when Grandma was asked about this,  she told us that the end of the roast was always cut off because it wouldn’t fit in her pot!…so there you go…that’s how myths get passed on from generation to generation.  I love that joke, and it’s great for the purpose of illustrating my point about myths.

Any way, back to my bride… there seems to be no end to the myth that ants help peony buds to open,  but like any flower, peonies will open up on their own. The ants are there because they are attracted to the sweet nectar on peony buds.    That’s it, there is no mystery here, just the truth.

I couldn’t help but laugh at this post I found on a gardening forum:

I’ve copied it and pasted it in as it was written, just to prove the point that the peony myth continues:

Do Peonies NEED ants? I know ants are attracted to them, but do they have a symbiotic relationship? I know that ants love peonies, and i know that the peonies like the ants, because they help to pollinate the peonies, but aside from pollination, what other benifits do ants offer peonies, because i am about to plant some in my yard and i HATE how plants look when an ant hill is growing up around it. so if the peony doesn’t NEED the ants i would like to know the best way to keep an anthill from forming at its base. * 3 months ago

Best answer-by voters was:   Yes, it won’t bloom without the ants.

So there you have it…the myth continues! Let me say it again,  an ant-less peony WILL open and  ants don’t need to “tickle the buds” or “lick the sugar” to help them open either.  Contrary to popular belief, ants on peonies don’t harm the flowers at all, so there’s no reason to spray them. If you have ants in the garden, they will be attracted to a sugary coating that is on the peony flower buds and they get a lot of bad pr, but they will not harm the peonies.  You can pick your peonies in the bud stage, wait until the buds are starting to swell ( like right before they open) and they will open in the warmth of the room in about 3-4  days.
A little peony history….The American Peony Society was created in 1904. One of the first major undertakings in peony history was by the American Peony Society who became involved in a joint project with Cornell University to study as many as twenty six hundred peony varieties that were being grown at that time.

Then there was another historical figure named Frederick A. Goodrich  who established a farm in 1918 with 12 peony plants and in 1921 he had over 100 varieties. By 1925, the farm had grown to 200 acres of flowers and 700 varieties of peonies.  Indiana grower Harry E. Little who was a hybridizer in the peony world joined up with Goodrich and together they developed the largest peony farm in the United States.

You can read about the rescue and preservation project for peonies from Goodrich and Little’s Indian Spring Farm here:



We were having a great discussion this evening and it all revolved around these two words….. “could be”…..

If you really stop and think about it, those two words could apply to any and everything you would like to consider.

I’m not sure this is a good thing, but it appears to be the answer to all the problems and issues around the world.Go ahead and test the theory by asking yourself or anyone a direct question, see if those two words work as the answer. It will give you a laugh, because it works… so have fun with it.

Our goal is to take responsibility for a clean and healthy environment, do our part, even if it is small. We try to make every day Earth Day by taking small steps all the time. Last year we were honored with the Kirkland Green business label promoted by the city of Kirkland.  We started composting all of our green material waste product, we are lucky to live in a city where they offer free pick up of all that waste material, which is then turned into compost by a local company called Cedar Grove Compost.  I promised them that I would get better and start using recycled paper products, I have not yet done that, but I buy in bulk to cut down on packaging waste.

So today for Earth Day we decided to do away with plastic water bottles that we keep in the office for staff, because the water in our building is horrible to drink, we decided to put in a water cooler instead, so no more plastic bottles! And We don’t use paper cups, we use ceramic mugs and real glasses.  And we are now using reclyed paper towels.  And we started a glass vase recyling program, if a customer brings back a vase we will recyle it, reuse it, and offer them a free gift as well. So bring those vases back in!

One small step but I feel better knowing we took  action in helping to reduce waste on the planet.

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 www.floristdetective.com

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. this is an update to a previous article

Brittany Flowers www.ProFlowers.com

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

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

Brittany Florist JustFlowers.com/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 ordering local. Now is this misleading as well?

Brittany Flowers Send Roses & Other Flowers – $19.99 “Best Value” – Wall Street Journal http://www.ProFlowers.comWashington

This is another version, they add washington to the tagline, but they are not in Washington, or Kirkland, which according to the ad above, 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. On the other hand, I have a great reputation, so why would I want to pretend to be someone else?


Thanks to wordpress for sharing some great ideas as usual!  I love the concept of sharing TED.

TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design. It started out (in 1984) as a conference bringing together people from those three worlds. Since then its scope has become ever broader.

Our wire service just published these projected trends for weddings, I found them interesting, so I thought I would share them.

They estimate 2,219,264 weddings will happen in 2009, with the average number of guests at 166. ( only 20% of the weddings will have over 200 guests).

Average length of engagement is 16 months

92% of brides are getting married for the first time and 87% of the grooms are getting married for the first time

Average age of bride is 26 and average age of the groom is 28

49% of all ceremonies take place in a house of worship

65% of ceremonies occur indoors

35% of ceremonies occur outdoors

Average cost of the entire wedding is $29,614

Average cost of the wedding gown is $1,287

Average cost of a bridal bouquet is $150

Average cost of attendant’s bouquet is $ 47.50  ( This seems to be a little low, I think it should be more like $70 )

Average cost of flowers for the ceremony is $673

Average cost of flowers for the reception is $1039

Average cost of the wedding cake is $562

Average cost of wedding favors is $352

How to Plan Your Dream Wedding Day!

Wedding season has begun and it is so important to stay on track and organized. This is easier said than done, especially if you aren’t used to planning events. I’ve put together a short list of things that I think will help keep you organized and help save you money by staying focused.

1. Get a calendar to keep all your dates, appointments and deadlines straight

2. Get a big binder with dividers and sheet protectors and pocket pouches and a business card holder, then divide it into main categories, like wedding party, ceremony, reception, flowers, caterer, honeymoon, music, cakes, ideas, to do list.  As you gather information, keep adding it to the binder. Don’t overthink everything, when you see things you like, cut them out, or print them off the internet and add them to your binder in the appropriate category.  Even add things you dislike and make notes on the pictures what you like about them like color, or style, or shape, or the design, etc. It helps define your sense of style, and it’s helpful when you meet with your professional people; you can just open up the binder and show them your dream cake, or perfect centerpiece or dress. It helps put everyone on the same page.

3. Keep copies of all your contracts,receipts, and business cards. Start a vendor list once you have made your selections, and give one to each vendor with all the contact names and phone numbers. This really helps avoid miscommunication, and allows vendors to ask questions of each other if they need to.

4. Don’t procrastinate and wait until the last minute to make all of your decisions. This can happen if you overthink everything. Make a decision and move forward, it will make you feel less stressed.

5. Pick your location first, once that is out of the way, everything else will fall easily into place.

6. Have a budget in mind, and give each category a budget range, so that you have a general idea of what you have to spend. It is much easier to stick to a budget, it you’ve set it out there as a goal. Be realistic about what you have to spend.  For example if you only have $1000 for food, you have automatically eliminated some of your options. Then you won’t waste your time or the professionals time looking at options that are not in the budget.  If you are not sure what is a realistic price for things, call a few vendors in each category and ask them for a range.   I can do a $50.00 wedding bouquet, and it can be really cute, but let’s face it, it isn’t going to look like a $300 bouquet.  That isn’t to say that is is not going to be nice, becasue it is, it’s just going to be smaller or maybe just as large with less expensive flowers, etc.. It’s easy to work with any budget.

7. Prioritize what is the most important to you and what is least important to you, this helps set limits as well.

8. Don’t forget to delegate duties, and assign tasks because you have a lot of friends and family who want to help, so take them up on it.

9. Don’t worry, be happy and relax!  Your big day will be here before you know it.

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