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The First Thanksgiving Centerpiece

Posted by Suzie Canale on Mon, Nov 23, 2015

New England is the absolute best place in the world to be when celebrating Thanksgiving!  Not only do we have the historical background such as Plymouth Plantation and Plymouth Rock, but we also have fabulous crisp and cool weather that is the perfect compliment for Turkey Day.  Bostonians have loads of decorative options available to dress up their homes and dining tables including a vast assortment of flowers that might well have been the same that the pilgrims placed on their tables!  

May Flower ?


photo credit: history.com

So what do you think?  Did the pilgrims really have the creative touch to arrange a few bouquets for their first November feast in America?

Gooseberries ?

photo credit: wikipedia

I would have to agree they did!

Bittersweet Vine ?

photo credit: marbleheadconservancy,org

With so many natural flora and fauna growing wildly around them, why is it so far fetched that they too, might have chosen a centerpiece to accessorize their festive gathering?

Wheat ? Beach Roses ?

After some careful research, these are a few of the possibilities that the Massachusetts settlers could have used on Thanksgiving.  If any of you are history buffs and want to make your holiday as authentic as possible, try digging up one of these for your floral displays!

Tags: Thanksgiving, Holiday Decor, Holidays, November

Top Thanksgiving Day Movies

Posted by Suzie Canale on Fri, Nov 20, 2015

I love movies.  I love movies so much that I have a collection for each special holiday and occasion.  Doesn’t matter if it’s a rainy day, the first day of school or Halloween, I’ve got something for everything.  That’s why this Thanksgiving is going to be filled with hours upon hours of watching my favorite flicks associated with the infamous turkey day!  I bet you didn’t know that Thanksgiving is only second runner up to the top cinematic holiday blockbuster, Christmas!  It’s because of the increasing popularity that we have dozens and dozens of films to choose from, offering both options for adults and kids!  (Check the ratings carefully because some of them are inappropriate for younger audiences.) I mean who hasn’t seen the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown?  It’s a classic!  Here are a few more of my top Thanksgiving Day flicks that I’ll be enjoying this season.


Tags: Movies, Holiday Movies, Thanksgiving, Holidays

How to Fight the Bulge During the Holiday Season

Posted by Suzie Canale on Thu, Nov 19, 2015

The season of merriment, the season of joy, the season when our pants feel a size too small.  Yes the holiday season has arrived, luring us in with decadent dishes and rich cuisine.  I mean who can resist the pumpkin pies, the mashed potatoes or the highlight- the beloved turkey?  There’s food everywhere and most of us (including myself) find it difficult to resist taste testing a few sugar cookies here and there.  Oh, and don’t forget the “stress” issue that comes into play when our relatives are literally driving us towards that extra glass of wine or slab of cake.  Yes, according to research, the average Bostonian packs on an extra five to ten pounds during the months of November and December, hence the popular New Year’s resolution promise to get “in shape”.  

But here’s my question to you…

Why must we continuously get back on the hamster wheel of holiday diets when there are perfectly good ways to steer clear of your scale’s needle bouncing back and forth?  Is it viable that by introducing techniques that are successful in curbing our appetites might we miss that rush to join any gym we can find on January 2nd?  I dare to think we have a shot if we follow these tips that will keep us on track without eliminating the holiday season’s tasty treats all together!


Smaller Plates Mean Smaller Consumption

This works particularly well if you’re the one who is hosting the feasts this year because that gives you control of selecting dinnerware.  Studies reveal that by serving meals on smaller plates, it gives the illusion that you are eating the same amount of food you would be on regular dishes.  It is also documented that people feel more “filled up” when emptying their plate no matter what the size of the dinnerware may be.  That means that you can feel equally satisfied while cutting back on unnecessary indulging calories. Portion sizes will be cut in half and you’ll be pleased to know that this compromise will allow you the room you need for a regular sized dessert!

Don’t Forget to Move

Looking back on my favorite holidays that I’ve celebrated, I can’t help but to remember that I was always moving!  Talking with Aunt Kay about her summer gardening plans and then offering to help clean the kitchen with grandma, I realized that I was constantly walking from one room to another.  What does this mean for our waistlines?  It means that I was exercising!  Moving about the room is important because it burns calories and helps to digest your food better.  You’ll be the hit of the holiday party for your impressive social skills and be able to slip back into those skinny jeans without any problems at all!

Tags: Christmas, Holidays, exercise, outdoors

What Does Your Favorite Flower Say About You?

Posted by Suzie Canale on Wed, Nov 18, 2015

I bet you didn’t know it but when you choose your favorite flower, you are really saying a lot about yourself!  Whether you fancy daisies or orchids, each variety reveals characteristics, traits and even personality types that are commonly associated with specific blooms.  It’s not science or anything but dating and employment sites are beginning to utilize this factor in order to make successful romantic matches and job placement decisions. The outcome has been quite beneficial urging us to ask the question, “What does my favorite flower say about me?”  I’ve got to admit, I had to find out if this new technique really did hold some truth behind it so this is what I found out…

Favorite Flower: Chocolate Cosmos

Color:  Brown to Burgundy- Rich Color Tone

Special Characteristic(s):  Smells Like Chocolate

Personality Type: Creative, Energetic, Ambitious, Seeks to be Different

photo credit: commons.wikimedia.org

Yup, I can definitely see the comparison!  

Now it’s your turn!  What does your favorite bloom reveal about you?

Favorite Flower:  Roses                                

Color: Red, Orange, Yellow, White, Pink       

Special Characteristic(s): Lovely Scent, Soft Petals      

Personality Type:  Sweet, Kind, Calm in Tricky Situations, Able to Stop and                                 Smell the Flowers Nonsense Attitude

photo credit: Flower Factor via Lisa Greene, floral designer

Favorite Flower: Sunflowers

Color: Yellow, Red, Brown, Orange

Special Characteristic(s): Popular Flower

Personality Type:  Stubborn, Showy, Social,  Intelligent, Hard Working

In a Wide Range of Crafts

photo credit: Flower Factor

Favorite Flower: Orchids 

Color: Green, White, Pink, Purple, Orange, Yellow, Burgundy

Special Characteristic(s):  Rare, Medicinal Uses 

Personality Type:  Likes to Stand Out, Exotic

Tags: Flowers as Symbols, Language of Flowers, Exotic Flowers, Orchids, Roses, Sunflowers, Flower Meanings

The History of the Cornucopia

Posted by Suzie Canale on Mon, Nov 16, 2015


The cornucopia has long been a significant symbol of the Thanksgiving Day holiday tradition.   Many of us recognize the decorative marker as a large basket that holds several different seasonal foods and flowers.  The most popular produce that New Englanders use to stuff the cornucopia are oranges, grapes, apples, bananas, gourds, small pumpkins, pears and artichokes while flowers usually consist of sunflowers, mums, hay, gerberas, calla lilies and mimosa.  Over hundreds of thousands of years, families select this centerpiece to be displayed during their celebratory feasts, enticing guests to pull out their preferred treats to enjoy during their visit.  Not only is this presentation both visually and tastily appealing, the cornucopia holds great historical importance when tracing back its origins.  Take a look where this customary relic came from and enjoy this tale, which will hopefully stimulate an interesting conversation between your guests.  

photo credit: Flower Factor

The cornucopia (or otherwise known as the “Horn of Plenty” ) has several different story variations explaining its beginning but because I love mythology, this is my favorite one I’ve found so far…

Allegorical depiction of the Roman goddess Abundantia with a cornucopia, by Rubens (ca. 1630)

Before Zeus was a mighty and powerful God, he was held in the woods to be protected from his father, Cronus.  His caregiver was a goat named Amalthea, who swore to keep the boy safe from any harm and raise him herself.  The goat nurtured him with milk, food and shelter until the day he was full grown and had received the strength to return to Crete.


One day, as the child was playing and laughing with his protector, Zeus accidentally handled Amalthea’s horn to roughly and broke it off leaving her with only one left.  Zeus felt so terrible about what he had done, he blessed the goat’s broken limb to always be filled with an abundance of whatever she might need for the rest of her life.  


Today, we celebrate the cornucopia as the plentiful horn shaped basket that is consistently filled with nurturing and bountiful gifts.  For some Bostonians, the basket has been passed down as a family heirloom and for others, the centerpiece is ordered annually from local florists.  If you are looking for some ideas on how to fill your cornucopia this Thanksgiving, here are some of the top requested styles for November 2015.  

Tags: Flowers as Symbols, The Arts, Traditions, Flower Arrangements, Thanksgiving, November

Is it Too Early To Be Buying Our Christmas Decorations?

Posted by Suzie Canale on Sat, Nov 14, 2015

There’s been a lot of hubbub lately surrounding the issue of whether it is too early to be stocking up on Christmas fare when it’s only November.  Starbucks is the latest culprit who recently launched their “red cup” marketing ploy, which interestingly enough has attracted a large amount of controversial press.  Is it wrong to change all accessorized décor color to red and green?  Is it pushing things to be lighting up the trees with holiday bulbs?  Or how about this one- buying floral centerpieces designed to reflect the Yule Tide season?  Is it offensive or simply a show of our adoration for the merriest time of the year?  

photo credit: Flower Factor

Personally, my holiday spread is put up a couple of weeks into December and taken down one week after Christmas but that’s just me.  I understand that there are many people out there who want to grab every second they can out of the season and I admire you, I really do.  But you have to admit, there’s no doubt the ugly head of commercialism does play a part in the mass movement to put Santa Clauses in storefronts even before we’ve celebrated Thanksgiving.  Do we actually spend more when influenced by the merchandising of Frasier Firs standing in doorways and twinkling lights dangled across glass display cases?  Most advertising business experts agree that inarguable, we do.

photo credit: Flower Factor

So what does that mean for Boston florists who are beginning to bring in shipments of poinsettias, Christmas trees and wreaths?  I’d say it’s a pretty good prediction that there will be a solid sales base for the early bird shoppers who can't wait to stock up on seasonal festivities. If customers are eager for holiday pieces but are torn by the issue of the timing possibly being premature, offer them arrangements that include some identifiable props but still can be categorized as appropriate for fall.  By not overwhelming clientele with a complete switch to silver bells and frosted greenery, we can make the most of November and December by easing ourselves gently into the holiday season.

Tags: Holiday Decor, Christmas Wreaths, Christmas, Holidays, Christmas Flowers, December

How Did My Flowers  Get to Boston ?

Posted by Suzie Canale on Fri, Nov 13, 2015

Bringing Flowers Home to Boston

I’ve bet you’ve visited flower shops a million times before, carrying beautiful blossoms that strike you as soon as you walk through the front door.  Buckets of sunflowers, roses and hydrangeas are the most common varieties that are being carryied this month but did you ever wonder how they got there?  Often, we don’t take into account the logistics involved with flower transportation and don’t realize how this factor alters conditions including availability, longevity and even price influxes or reductions.  The process is quite fascinating when you really get down to it.  Understanding how it all works will not only help you to become a savvier shopper but it will also give you a greater appreciation for the stunning stems you bring home weekly to put on your tables.  So here’s how it works…

There are a few different approaches that florists use to select their flowers.  They can be local, meaning that they are grown in greenhouses and farms that are close in proximity to your area or they can be imported from far away, even from another country.  Let’s start with the “greener” method and begin in our own backyard…


Locally Grown

There are many reasons why you should consider buying flowers that have been raised to supply your floral specialty shops.  For one thing, their travel time from being cut, boxed and shipped is going to be considerably shorter than imports sent from far off places like Japan, France or Canada (although wait-there’s bonuses to that too).  This can positively affect the flower’s lifespan to be longer and lower costs due to a decreased need of fuel for gas or air flight. It also allows you to know more about the product and be able to find out how the crop was harvested and what by what means with regards to chemical vs. organic support materials.  Buy shopping locally, you can also help sustain these growers within your community thus supporting a higher production of fresh flowers for your neighborhood.  



Imported flowers are generally purchased from an auction or a large wholesaler that buys what the florists wants and then reships it to them after they have bought from a far away grower.  The first issue that needs considering is that they have a long way to go before they get here.  Airplanes are usually the first choice for shipping because they arrive relatively quickly and have a large storage area for cargo.  Problems associated with imported flowers usually pertain to delayed flights where the flowers are kept too long in heated facilities without water or my favorite-trouble with US customs when they arrive to the gates.  Any unordinary fibers or bugs will win that shipment a one-way ticket to the incinerator meaning they’ll never make it to the florist at their cost making things pricey.  Another problem is that buyers cannot see first hand what they are paying for since the order has to first survive its transportation route.  A spectacular sample of a dahlia looks great online but if it’s had a bumpy ride over, it can be quite disappointing to the end user.  So why do you ask, import flowers in the first place?  Countries such as Holland provide the world with an auction that showcases rare and unique product from around the world.  Things can get pretty dull when you’re using the same varieties of plants and flowers so including a broad range of choice helps designers create fresh and fun looks that keep their customers satisfied.  Being able to access a broader spectrum of color and texture is what keeps the industry learning constantly and adapting to contemporary themes and styles.  The third important reason for importing is that although New England grow beautiful product of our own, there are some things that we simply don’t have the conditions for.   This is when a secondary source becomes extremely useful particularly within wedding events.  Connecting with a large variety of suppliers both educates and influences Boston florists to provide the best arrangements for their customers so a healthy combination of the two is a Boston florist’s best bet!

Tags: Wholesale Flowers, Holland, Ecuadorean Roses, Flowers

Flowers for Forgiveness

Posted by Eve Dennis on Thu, Nov 12, 2015

Flowers for Forgiveness

They say that forgiveness is one of the hardest tasks we face in our lifetime, especially when the hurt experienced is repeated, and profound. Forgiveness is not just a feeling that arise; it can take many years of work on ourselves, and sometimes, even therapy. Giving forgiveness isn’t the only challenge, however; so, too, is asking for it – admitting we are genuinely wrong or, perhaps, attempting to heal a rift with one symbolic action. Since time in memoriam flowers have had a deep meaning and an ability to relay a host of emotions through their scent and beauty. In this post, we suggest a few flowers that may relay a message that words are unable to, or at least serve as a starting point or a long-awaited reunion with a loved one. Life is too short to hold grudges or to cling to guilt; be bold and make a move, with a little help from the following flowers:

White tulip: When relationships are tense, nothing like the purity of whiteness can restore calm and symbolize rebirth and renewal all at once. The white tulip, which blooms in the springtime, is associated with new beginnings. It denotes that you wish to resume your relationship with someone you love with a clean slate, staring over, as though nothing had ever tainted it to begin with.

Daffodils: These spring flowers also symbolize rebirth. Bearing a beautiful star shape, they are meant to be given in a bunch, since one solitary daffodil is a sign of doom. A stunning bouquet of daffodils begs your loved one to forgive you, much more joyfully than words could ever do. Daffodils are known as ‘the poet’s flower’ owing to their great beauty. They are also known as the Narcissus flower, after the mythological Greek character who grew so enamored by his own perfection, that he turned into a flower.

Spring crocus: This flower is associated with purging following wrongdoing, which is why it is also known as the ‘penitent’s rose’. It represents our heart or soul (the eternal part of our being), which blooms when someone we love forgives us.

Violets: There is a story about author, Stanley Mooneyham, who once stumbled upon a unique flower that seems to have been a violet. The story goes: “One day when (Mooneyham) was walking along a trail in East Africa with some friends, he became aware of a delightful odor that filled the air. He looked up in the trees and around at the bushes in an effort to discover where it was coming from. Then his friends told him to look down at the small blue flower growing along the path. Each time they crushed the tiny blossoms under their feet, more of their sweet perfume was released into the air. Then his friends said, "We call it the forgiveness flower.” To Mooneyham, what made the flower so special was the fact that it did not wait to be asked for forgiveness; it simply gave it, effortlessly, almost at the same time it was being crushed. The story is reminiscent of the eloquent words of Mark Twain: “Forgiveness is the fragrance the violet releases as the foot crushes it.”

Blue hyacinths: Another bluish flower that is often given to ask for forgiveness is the blue hyacinth, whose colour represents truth. This flower is particularly ideal for those seeking forgiveness for having told an untruth; it indicates the giver’s sincere intention to speak the truth in the future.

White orchids: This pristine flower represents sincerity, making it another excellent choice for apologizing for past lies. It is also remarkably long-lasting, symbolizing your honest, long-term apology and commitment to change in the future.

Yellow roses: The rose is universally loved by all and is, depending on its color, representative of many qualities, including passion (red roses), purity (white roses) and friendship/forgiveness (yellow roses).

A particularly beautiful gift for someone one has wronged could include a bouquet containing more than one of the flowers mentioned above, and the best-selling book, The Language of Flowers, a love story whose main character struggles through abuse, finding solace in the vulnerability and beauty of flowers. The book is a veritable treasure chest for traditional meanings of each flower, and a sensitive story of redemption, renewal, and forgiveness.

Tags: Flowers as Symbols, Language of Flowers, Rose Symbolism, Flower Meanings

The Medicinal Power of Orchids

Posted by Suzie Canale on Wed, Nov 11, 2015

Over the weekend, I was fortunate to visit an orchid show in Winchester, Massachusetts and boy was I blown away by the impressive presentation!  So much so that when I returned home, I began researching the exotic plants to learn further about their history and purposes beyond home décor.  I was amazed at what I found!  Not only are there millions upon millions of varieties in existence but orchids are actually used for medicinal purposes as well!  

Emperor Shen Nung was the official “Father of Medicine” who discovered the flower’s healing properties, which include everything from curing sore throats to potentially lessening some of the symptoms commonly experienced by cancer patients.  Holding most of powers within their root systems, tubers and stems, orchids continue to be studied by scientists and herbalists in order to get a better understanding of potential benefits that can be used by the medical industry.  

After surfing a few of the web’s top agricultural websites, I found many examples of the stunning bloom’s incredible attributes beyond their obvious rare beauty.  Take a peek at some of these spectacular species that could quite honestly be life changing for all of us!




These beautiful plants are some of the most common and affordable in the orchid family.  Along with being used predominantly for making Hawaiian leis and funeral casket sprays, dendrobiums have also been known to assist cancer patients with alleviating radiation side affects such as strengthening the immune system and improving eyesight.  Like several of the species, it’s not the flowers that are used as the main ingredient for elixirs but the stems, which are dried and ground for making tea.  

Orchis Mascula


This is another “orchid wonder” and maybe the most utilized for creating medicine and vitamins in countries around the world.  Orchis Mascula was the plant of choice during the Ottoman Empire where beverages were derived to help cure digestive problems, diarrhea and even gum disease.  Today, the orchid is still used in areas of Saudia Arabia, Syria and Iran.

Calanthe Liukiuensis


This is another find for the medical world and has contributed to making major changes for those who experience hair loss and other low protein associated illnesses.  The orchid is also known to increase skin blood flow by drying and grinding the plant into flour when it can then be transformed into pill format or sold as an ingredient for cooking.  

Tags: Exotic Flowers, Orchids, Orchid Plants, Flowers for Emotional Health, Plants

Three Things to Remember When Ordering Thanksgiving Flowers

Posted by Suzie Canale on Tue, Nov 10, 2015

Ordering Thanksgiving flowers are one of the most overlooked tasks for those hosting holiday celebrations.  With all of the cooking, cleaning and preparing to think about, it’s no real shocker that it happens a lot.   Often the chore is left to the last minute giving the illusion that other issues such as selecting your menus, linens and guest lists are more important.  

Well they’re not.

If you’ve ever been in this situation, you know how disappointing the outcome is when you’re left with no other choice but to browse through the leftover section at Stop & Shop.   There’s just nothing more depressing than a dead bunch of mums and dried up roses, especially when they’re supposed to be decorations for Thanksgiving Day table.  So if you want to ensure a beautiful centerpiece for the festivities, here’s 3 tips that will help you get exactly what you wish for!

thanksgiving flowers 

photo credit: Flower Factor

  1.  Order in Advance and by that I mean at least two weeks ahead of time.

You might think that phoning your florist this early is silly but actually, it gives them the opportunity to spend more time getting a better understanding of your likes and dislikes.  If there is something unusual or rare in your bouquet that you are requesting, buyers will need that extra time to inform their wholesaler if it needs to be special ordered from somewhere else.  Remember, the earlier you call, the higher the likelihood of obtaining what you really want for your floral presentation.

thanksgiving hostess flowers 

Photo credit: Society of American Florists

  1.  Let the florists do their work and you do yours.

Let’s face it-preparing a Thanksgiving Day feast is hard work!  You’re pretty much hands on throughout the entire holiday so let the designers handle the heavy lifting when it comes to your floral creations.   By nailing this issue as job#1, you’ll be able to breath a sigh of relief knowing someone else is doing the work and not you!

thanksgiving centerpiece

3.  Coordination is the key.

Sometimes hosts are initially blocked when it comes to selecting their color palette of napkins, tablecloths and other dining accessories.  By ordering your flowers first, you can set the theme early, allowing you to match everything else to the varieties and texture the florist plans on using.  If you want to get a little “Martha Stewart”, you can even coordinate some of your menu to the blooms!  After all, pumpkin pie goes great with orange lilies, mango callas and peach amaryllis!  

Tags: Flower Arrangements, Thanksgiving, Hostess Flowers, November

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