Care of cut flowers


 

Really excited to be participating in the upcoming Design Contest in September and then having the opportunity to relax at the BBQ,  California style of course!  Looking forward to mingling and spending the day with fellow florists, and sharing a whole lot of creative brainpower with our other floral industry professionals!  Skyline Flowers has been an exciting addition to the Seattle marketplace both for the consumer who are getting the benefit from the freshest flowers available and the floral business community who now have access to fresh California grown flowers as well.

http://skylineflowersseattle.blogspot.com/2011/03/save-date-may-15.html

Looking forward to a California Style BBQ, and excited for the design show, which will be a huge opportunity for all of us in the floral industry to network, brainstorm, and plan for the upcoming wedding season!

The only thing I’m sad about, is that it is in going to rain cats & dogs!

Welcome to Seattle Skyline~ :>( sorry) but then again, you’re  getting the real welcome to Seattle.  Seattle Natives know how to  enjoy themselves immensely, in spite of the rain!  We just appreciate “GREEN”  which is the by product of “RAIN”! Which is the  by product of “GROWING”!

Looking forward to networking with all my fellow partners in the biz!

I couldn’t resist sharing a funny story that I recently heard.  A fellow florist friend and I were lamenting the other evening over the power that reviews can have on your business.  It’s true that reviews can be helpful to business owners and to consumers. The part that we owners love is that reviews can help consumers make good choices, but the down side is that reviews  can go bad and cause a business owner undeserved grief.  I’m not sure if any of us benefit when this happens.  Hopefully the person that wrote the review when they were frustrated, gained something good from getting their frustration out.  But I can pretty much guarantee you that the professional who tried to help this DIY bride might not be so inclined to help next time.

When I first heard the story, I did not find it funny at all, but the more I thought about it, the funnier it became.   My friend was telling me how she had sold bulk flowers to a bride who wanted to do her own flower arrangements. It’s because of the business owners desire to provide awesome customer service that she decided to help this bride who was on a budget.  Of course you as a consumer can’t even imagine how this could go bad.  When I  as a professional look back and consider what could go wrong, I might be able to think of quite a few things that could go wrong and often times it does go wrong.

As my friend described the incident, my first thought was that the grower might have shipped the wrong rose?!  My second thought was that maybe the shipment was delayed in Atlanta and the flowers did not arrive?~ Honestly, there are a million things that can go wrong, which is the biggest reason why you pay a florist to handle it for you.~ We have nerves of steel and we know how to make it happen for you. When you are dealing with Mother Nature, she has a way of taking charge sometimes!

We process and hydrate thousands of stems of flowers every week, just today I processed over 700 stems of flowers.  It’s an amazing volume of flowers that florists deal with every day.  Processing a bunch of flowers include unstrapping them from the hefty constraints that they use to make sure that they survive the long airplane ride from wherever in the world they come from. Then we have to handle them gently, cut the stems, dip them in a hydrating solution, store them in the cooler, cut the stems  a few days later, spray them with an anti-transpirant which helps hold the moisture in the flower. The worst part is that every flower has a different care requirement which requires constant monitoring by the florist to provide the consumer with quality flowers and give consumers a long lasting product.  It’s a very scientific job.

So the funny ending to the story was that the  bride came back after the wedding to complain that the flowers they had bought had thorns and leaves! I had to laugh hysterically at my friends explanation of the complaint.  I asked her if she had informed the customer that they might want to take that up with God????  Honestly, thorns and leaves on the roses??  You know that is how they grow, right?  Roses have HUGE thorns, they puncture your skin and your fingers hurt for days, which in turn, inspires you to be very careful and handle them respectfully. It is what we learn and live with every day as florists!

The moral of the story,  do your research, pay attention and make sure you are ordering from a real florist and look for good reviews but understand that sometimes there are two sides to every story, and most importantly please remember that roses have both thorns & leaves!  :>)  LOL!

As a florist I am being asked quite often for local product,  of course I’ve talked about this subject before,there is not much local in the NW except in summer.  I did recently make contact with our local farmer’s market director last week to request a list of local farms and what they carry. I thought about my conversation with her, and I realized that we are all so busy doing what we do, that sometimes we forget to look outside our box. I’m looking for product and they are looking for buyers..how silly is that?

I was thinking about all the growers that are local around me, and wondering why I didn’t know of a single one? Some of them are in my own neighborhood!  It reminded me of the time I needed lilacs, and I called my mother and had her cut them from her tree and ship them to me, they arrived the next day and they looked beautiful.  she lives about three hours away from me.  Sometimes I walk down the street and look at the beautiful things growing in the neighbors yards, and I always think how much I would love to buy some of that natural product.  They have the time to nurture and grow,  I have time to sell & design!

I have a wedding coming up that is going to need magnolia leaf,  & no one is commercially growing that around here, but many folks have it in their yard.  I just happen to know someone who loves to have me take it! I have a customer who prunes her corkscrew willow tree and calls me to come pick it up. I love it, I’m helping her and she is helping me.

My old store used to be in the middle of a wonderful neighborhood community and we used to find gifts at our back door, salal trimmings, willow, cherry tree prunings,  pittosporum, magnolia, ..we dubbed them ” gifts from the flower fairy”..  I always appreciate it so much when someone takes the time to call me and ask me to take their “natural trimmings”  That enables me to pass  the saving on to my customers.

I have a customer who is retired, and he loves to grow Dahlias in his spare time, I buy them from him because he uses the money to buy books to donate to the local schools.  I have another customer who loves to grow calla lilies, I really love going over to her yard and pick them fresh and then pay her instead of someone I don’t know.  She lives in the neighborhood where my store is located. I have another gal who cuts her holly back every year at Christmas, and I always  make her a lovely centerpiece during the holidays in exchange for the holly she brings.

Think about your neighborhood, think about the local florist, the next time you prune your yard and have to pay to throw it away, why not pass it on and give joy to someone else,  and joy to yourself!  I’m sure your florist would give you a beautiful arrangement in return for taking your trash or be willing to pay you for it, if you have cut it at the right time, hydrated it properly and handled it carefully.  It’s just what flowers are supposed to do…spread a little joy to everyone!  Call your local florist the next time you think about loading that truck full of yard waste to take to the landfill!

I can’t say this too many times..keep the water level up in the vase.  Flowers drink a lot of water and they need to have the vase filled to the top every day with fresh water.

Heaven forbid that anyone got flowers in a box for Mother’s Day, but if you did, make sure you recut the bottom of the stem before placing them in the water.  They are dehydrated, and need to be recut in order to be able to drink water.

It makes no difference if you add a penny, or seven up or sugar, those are myths.  Sugar is what the flowers need to live on, but if too much is added you will actually cause the flowers to use up their energy quicker and die faster.  All florist’s add flower food to the water, so until you change the water, there is already the right amount of food in the water.

Speaking about changing the water, cut flowers breed bacteria and bacteria kills flowers. When the water starts turning nasty and dirty looking, grab the entire arrangement out of the vase with one hand, and dump the water out and rinse the vase, then add fresh water back in it and quickly place the flowers back in the vase of water. You can actually add a small drop of bleach to the vase of water after you put the flowers back in, and it will help the bacteria level from growing, it doesn’t hurt the flowers.  If the flowers don’t come out of the vase becasue of grid work, then just hold the edge of the vase under the running water and flush the dirty water out by forcing fresh water in.

What does hurt the flowers is sucking air up the stems, so you have to be quick about changing the water, if the flowers are out of water for more than 3-5 minutes before being placed back in the water, they have to have each stem recut.  I always tell my customers not to recut, unless they know how to do it because recutting can also kill your flowers if it is not done properly. When a rose sucks air up the stem it causes an air block in the stem and it blocks water from going up the stem. I’m sure you have seen a rose with a bent neck, that’s why it happens.

If you have a very sharp knife, like a swiss army knife, you can cut the stem with that, or with sharp pruners. Never ever use scissors or dull pruners because they pinch the stems when you cut with them, which crushes the inside cell structure of the flower, then it can’t drink water and it will die for sure!

Enjoy your flowers!