Posts made in July, 2009

Pursuing the Peony

Posted By on Jul 24, 2009

peonyOne of the most sought after flowers for weddings, the spectacular peony causes agida for many the bride and their flower arrangers.  The huge long-lasting blooms come in dozens of shades of pink, red and white and make stunning bridal bouquets and centerpieces.  Our favorite flower buyer Greg (who is up to his ears in flowers 24x7x365) brings only one type of flower home to his wife… the domestically grown pink peony! 

So what’s the problem with peonies?  Many flowers in the wholesale market like roses, carnations, and hydrangea are commercially grown in hot houses and bloom year-round.  Peonies, on the other hand, are all field grown in many areas of the world, but each field yields one crop of cut flowers for a couple of weeks only once per year.  Wholesale flower buyers locate and buy peonies in the US starting in California in mid May.  They then move to the Florida fields and work their way all the way up the east coast right into Canada.  So literally each week peonies in the wholesale market are from a different grower and a different state.  All this happens for the short season beginning in mid-May and running through most of June.  But on top of the sourcing issues, weather plays an additional factor though out the season.  Too Hot in one area and the crop will come in too fast and bloom too quickly, too cold or rainy in another area and the crop may not be of top quality.  Once the last field is harvested somewhere in Canada, there are simply NO peonies to be had.  Needless to say,  the timing for all the summer weddings could not be worse! 

Simply put, during August, September & October a fresh cut peony is not to be found.

Beginning in November and running through the winter there is another source of Peonies from Europe.  They are smaller and much more expensive than domestic harvests, but do provide an option for peony die-hards.

So if you are determined to have fresh cut peonies for your wedding or party, now you know the story and you will need to plan accordingly!

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Going Green

Posted By on Jul 22, 2009

GreenButton copyEvery day we help customers plan flowers for weddings, parties, and business functions.  They usually have a color theme and thoughts about the primary flowers in their arrangements.  At that point, they often get stuck and aren’t sure what to order next.  I often recommend something green.   You may assume I’m talking about green leaves (yes, they’re very important too!) but I’m talking about green flowers!

Green flowers are a hot trend in floral arranging, and make a great arrangement even better. From the yellow-green Limbo rose to the bright green pompon mum, green flowers enhance the colors and interest in your arrangements and will add the extra “wow” factor that you want.

If you like purple roses like Blue Curiosa, add green hydrangea or mini calla lilies.   If you love pink lilies try green spider or pompon mums.  Don’t forget green orchids.    Dendrobium and Cymbidium both are available in great shades of green.  So have fun, be creative, and Go Green!

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We had a post not too long ago about “Hue”, which is what most of us mean when we say “color”: red, blue, purple, yellow, etc. (Have a look at the Blooms By The Box Flower Color Wheel!) You can combine different colors to really swing the mood of your arrangements from quiet, romantic and dreamy to dazzling, vibrant and energetic.

The other two components of color – value and saturation – can also greatly affect the tone of your flower design. “Value” means how light or dark a color is. “Saturation” is the intensity of a color.

Let’s use an example that will work for using wholesale flowers. Start with a true, rich pink:

Basic Pink

Basic Pink

Different “values” of this pink range from a dark, burgundy Black Magic Rose (lowest value) up to a light spring tulip (highest value).

Color Values for Wholesale Flowers

Color Values, Dark (left) to Light (right)

Many flowers are available in different values of the same color. Here we have four different hues (yellow, orange, red, purple) of carnation, each in two different values. You might think of the darker values for a bright, exuberant effect, or the lighter values when creating a more “pastel” arrangement – maybe baby shower centerpieces.

Color Values for Wholesale Flowers

Seeing Color Values for Wholesale Flowers

Now let’s talk “saturation”. Returning to our base pink color, different levels of “saturation” range from the intense base color on the left, to a very subdued, dustier color on the right.

Differences in Color Saturation for Wholesale Flowers

Color Saturation, from High (vibrant) to Low (Muted)

These variations happen in nature too – here’s a Gerbera Daisy and a pink Mini Calla Lily.

High-Saturation Gerbera Daisy

High Saturation: Gerbera Daisy

Low-Saturation Calla Lilly

Low-Saturation: Calla Lilly

So, what does all this mean when you’re choosing flowers for an arrangement? First, it’s very subjective. You like what you like. One person’s “vibrant” could be another person’s “harsh”. It’s all about mood and balance.

Varying value – mixing lights and darks, even in different colors – will give your flower arrangements and bouquets depth and visual interest. Too much of the same value may leave your flower arrangement looking “flat”, with no particular focal point to move the eye around.

Highly saturated color, when mixed with less saturated blooms, also creates contrast. More subdued flowers will quiet the overall effect of the flower arrangement.

It’s all about finding the right balance that suits the design and the event. Going for soft and romantic? Look for more muted, less saturated flowers. You can still go darker to up the drama, or lighter to soften it more.

Want something more energetic and vital? Bright, saturated blossoms will lead the way.

You can certainly mix the elements for a unique look. But keep the balance of value and saturation in mind as you choose. If something looks “off” in your flower arrangement, even if you’re happy with the basic color combination, see if swapping out something more or less muted (but in the same hue), doesn’t do the trick. Or try more or less contrast with changing out a lighter pink for a darker one.

Experiment, experiment, experiment…don’t be afraid to try something new!

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Barcodes For Flowers – Step 1

Posted By on Jul 16, 2009

barcodeAs announced by the Floral Industry and discussed in our previous post on Billy Balls, we are moving toward product and box barcodes on cut flower products by 2010.  So let’s look at the first milestone and see what needs to be done to be ready.  According to the plan the first step  is for all cut flower producers to obtain a GS1 Company Prefix by September 2009.  This includes growers, private labelers, bouquet makers, and any other entity that has its own brand of flowers.  Simply put, a Company Prefix (CP) is a unique number throughout the world that gets assigned to individual companies by the GS1 organization.  In the US, the GS1 is called the GS1.US  and there are similar organizations to administer other countries.  The length Company Prefix used to be a fixed length, but now varies from 6 to 9 digits based on the number of products and boxes that need to be barcoded.   Company Prefixes can be obtained in a few days and the price varies based on the size of the company (sales revenues) and the issuing country.  Once a grower or other flower producer has obtained their Company Prefix, this number will be coded into a standardized barcode for labeling of each product and box being sold. We will dissect a barcode in our next post… stay tuned!

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The Gladiolus makes a Comeback

Posted By on Jul 14, 2009

GladiolusI was recently in a discount cosmetics store with my 15 year old daughter. We purchased a number of things including an old fragrance that was one of my grandmother’s (and probably yours) favorites. The saleslady looked at us in a funny way and asked for whom were we purchasing it. (I don’t think she had sold any in months!) I told her that I liked to use it once in a while because it always reminded me of my grandmother and the special times I had with her. She understood immediately, as we all have special memories of people that we love. Flowers remind us of those people too. I can’t see a Gladiolus without thinking of my grandmother. Just like that old fragrance that used to be so popular, Gladiolus used to be one of the hottest selling flowers. I can see why. They are stunning in large arrangements, long lived, and come in a variety of colors. Right now they are also a great value!

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