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Allergies and Flowers

Posted by Suzie Canale on Wed, Mar 22, 2017

At certain times of the year, allergies are at their worst here in New England and many suffer from ailments such as running nose, watery eyes, scratchy throats and other unpleasant woes. Pollen from flowers, the re-sprouting of grass and re-budding of trees are only a few of the sources that cause discomfort for those inflicted by allergic reactions.  I’m one of the lucky ones who aren’t affected in the slightest by seasonal changes that induce environmental changes having to do with flora and fauna.  

 

PHEW!  

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Photo credit: via www.bio.brandeis.edu

As florists, we should be aware of these common issues with our product and always ask customers if there are any issues they may have towards certain plants and flowers.  Roses can be a big one but many designers are unaware that several other typically used species can be problematic for sensitive customers.  No matter if the season is winter, fall, spring or summer, flower industry employees should be well educated in order to promote the health and happiness of our clientele.  After a little research, here’s what I found to avoid for those who fall within this category.  

 

Birch: I know this may not seem like a flower or plant (it’s a tree) but it’s used in abundance within holiday centerpieces and bouquets.  Birch grows in a beautiful white covering of bark but many people are allergic to this branching and can cause serious reactions just by touching the outer skin.  Try using pine as a substitution because it’s cheaper, festive and possesses a nice aromatic scent.

 

Goldenrod:  Man- unless you want to hang a sign on your door that says “Allergy Sufferers Beware”, you might want to nix the spring bloom during May and June.  It’s inexpensive and easy to find but the pollen that’s omitted from the stem and head is enough to put a person in the hospital if they’re sensitive.  Try using euphorbia or another pretty yellow product that has half the pollen and just as much impact on your arrangements.

 

Wisteria:  Wisteria is a tough one to say “no” to because its elegance can be such an asset to an event’s flower planning but if there’s a chance of making someone sick, you’re going to have to find a replacement.  Wisteria is one of the worst flowers for allergies although the delicate flowers and stunning stem formation want you to put it everywhere, especially in weddings.    The gorgeous white and purple blossoms can cause major reactions specifically a swelling of the throat to name one of he more serious effects.

 

Top Flowers to Avoid:  It’s really hard to scratch off some of these beautiful flowers from your buying list when considering allergic reactions but these are some of the more serious ones to look out for.  Mountain Thistle can bring about terrible irritation of the eyes if made contact with and a lily’s odor can make a person sneeze for hours.  Other species to be vigilant about are roses, zinnias, pansies, petunias, crocuses, columbine, verbena and geraniums.  

Tags: Flowers, Gardens, Health, Allergies

Dressing Your Wedding Cake with Flowers

Posted by Suzie Canale on Mon, Mar 20, 2017

Many brides don’t realize this, but a wedding cake can decide the entire theme of an event depending solely on the color, shape and accents it’s made with.  If the cake is decorated with shells or tinted blue, it’s most likely a beach motif or if the frosting is orange and black, it’s probably a Halloween inspired ceremony.  My point is, that it’s extremely important to keep this bridal planning issue in mind when you’re browsing the catalogue in the bakery.  You don’t want to showcase a hodge-podge collection of unspecified taste during your reception so maintain focus on one orientation and choose accordingly.  Your wedding cake should be one of the first details of consideration since it will become the basis of your party platform and will guide you through the rest of the coordination process.

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If you ask me, it’s no big surprise that I favor a floral motivated decoration when it comes to bridal sweets!  Not only can you add your favorite blooms to the top, sides or bottom of the cake presentation, you can also match a specific hue that you would like to be prevalent.  Whether your favorite flower is the daisy, sunflower or rose, designers can work with bakers to make your sugary treat one that all your guests will remember.  These are models that caught my eye and all reflect a stunning yet sophisticated dessert display supported by deliciously decadent blooms.


Succulent plants have made a huge splash in the last couple of years because of their gorgeous color, exotic appearance and resilient longevity properties.  Barely needing water, these pretty little cacti are one of the most requested botanicals for interior designers and are now being asked for by Boston wedding planners as well!  Succulents compliment a variety of icing tints, particularly, peach, aqua and cream and make for a wonderful centerpiece that doesn’t need further props to make it pop.  

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Bright and bold wedding cakes are a hit for summer and fall bridal events, specifically when shades of orange, yellow and fuchsia are thrown into the mix.  You don’t have to worry about matching because they contrast well with just about anything and you’ll have a million varieties of blooms to choose from.  Roses, gerberas, sunflowers, peonies and spring bulbs such as grape hyacinth are a few to keep in mind.  


Orchids are probably my favorite plant and/or flower in existence and I can’t think of anything that would dress a cake up more than adding just a few heads to the top or base.  If you’re looking for examples, cymbidiums, phaelenopsis and James Story orchids pack a punch of color and won’t wither like other softer petaled varieties.  

Tags: Planning a Wedding, Weddings, Wedding Flowers, Wedding Favors

How to create a harry Potter Themed Wedding

Posted by Suzie Canale on Wed, Mar 15, 2017

J.K. Rowling has become one of the most beloved authors of all time after her creation of the whimsical wizardry character, Harry Potter.  Throughout the series, the author managed to take her readers along for a wonderful ride filled with magic and adventure, making readers beg for more once the final chapter arrives.  Due to her genius of technique, Harry Potter has become more than a mere fictional fantasy and has transposed itself into a beloved phenomenon that reaches out to new fellowship every year including athletics, education and even fashion.

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Mon Petit Studio monpetitstudio.com / Via blog.theknot.com

One area that we are seeing an interesting realm of expansion is within the wedding scene where brides are requesting Hogwarts themed celebrations.  Including wardrobe, décor and even menu servings, wedding planners are now being challenged to re-create Rowling’s enchanting world that lies beyond platform 9 ¾’s.  While conservative critics snub their noses at this idea that shies away from traditional pastel florals, white gowns and typical matrimonial cuisine, others are ready for a change and diving in with both creative feet!  Are you curious as to how to accomplish this innovative magical illusion that focuses on the wizarding world?  Take a peek at some of these brilliant ways to transform your everyday wedding fete into something you and your guests will never forget!


Décor

This is pretty easy if you’ve read the books or seen the movies because all you have to do is replicate one of the Hogwart’s locations such as the dining hall, staircase or one of your favorite classroom areas.  Props can be simply made by covering books and labeling them with titles such as “Advanced Potions” or “Transifiguration Made Easy” and simple tea lights can be lit for illumination.  Place cards are another great bridal detail that can be set up to represent the different houses where guests will be sorted by table.  Make sure the linens match each section and add a bubbling flask filled with food coloring and dry ice to add effect.


Flowers

Another super simple wedding feature that can be adapted to the theme are the flowers, which only have to be picked for their hues of red, blue, green and yellow.  Another option would be to place heavy gold and silver accents resonating the opulence and mystical feel of the story or making Paper Mache flowers out of old recycled books.  Containers should also reflect the motif, focusing on metallic shades or jewel-toned vases.  If you really want to get fancy, have your florists make gold colored balls filled with sprayed blossoms that symbolize Quidditch balls like the Quaffle, Bludgers and of course, the Golden Snitch.  


Wardrobe

The bride and groom can have fun with their costuming by playing characters in the series, the two most popular couples being Ron and Hermione or Harry and Ginny.  Bridesmaids can wear different red, yellow, green and blue fabric dresses representing the different houses (Gryffindor, Slytherin, Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw) and the groomsmen can simply wear a tie which also color-coordinates in either solids or stripes.  

Tags: Books, Weddings, Childrens Book, Harry Potter

Saint Patrick's Day Flower Arrangements

Posted by Suzie Canale on Mon, Mar 13, 2017


In a couple of weeks, my favorite holiday of the year will be here; a day filled with celebration, joyous friendship and an awful lot of hope for LUCK!  Yes, St. Patrick’s Day is on March 17th and although the festivities originated in Ireland to honor the death of Saint Patrick himself in AD 385–461, you don’t have to be Irish to scream “Erin Go Bragh!” when the occasion arises.  For many of us Bostonians who are fans of cabbage dinner, dancing a jig and finding a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, we’re looking forward to this special day and are planning to whoop it up in some way or another.

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For college students, it’s a pretty safe bet they’ll be filling the pubs to toast the holiday but for others who might enjoy a close get together; they’ll need to come up with a lively menu as well as decorations.  The food’s the simple part since you should be leaning towards traditional feasts of corn beef and root vegetables.  Accessories such as green and white streamers, faux pieces of gold and paper clovers to hang on the wall are also pretty s standard and available at local party store outlets.  The tricky part, on the other hand, will be the selection of flowers for your serving table and hosting area where guests will be entertained.  Don’t think for a second this is a minor detail that can be cut from the budget to save a buck because they’re actually extremely significant to Irish customary rituals associated with St. Patrick’s Day.  

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amrock is the national emblem and flower of this European country and it’s stunning foliage of leafy green hearts make it the perfect bloom to incorporate within arrangements.  Not only is the small bud delicately beautiful in appearance, but the 4-leaf clover also symbolizes hope, faith, love and luck.  You can utilize this fact by gifting guests with small pots of clover as party favors.  Other varieties that are perfect for your March soiree are Bells of Ireland, Green Goddess Callas and green roses, which are readily available during this time of year from florists.  You might want to also think “blue” as a possibility since this was the original color representing this annual celebration.  Species such as blue delphinium, bachelor buttons, scabiosa and iris are splendid options that will bring authenticity to your bouquets as well as add a brilliant and fun pop of color.   

Tags: St Patrick's Day Flowers, Green Carnations, Holidays, Saint Patricks Day, March

Seedling Discovery - Grow Something

Posted by Suzie Canale on Fri, Mar 10, 2017

Pre-spring preparations can be well underway and you don’t need to be outside to do it.  Certain seedlings can be grown right inside your home as long as you choose the right varieties and materials to support your green thumb efforts.  If you have kids, they’ll love this project since it will give them something to look forward to when the boredom of being locked inside gets the best of them.  


Follow these easy set up directions and begin sprouting your spring garden while the snow is still spread across the ground!

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When To Start:

This is a tricky question because the answer varies depending on the type of plant you’re wishing to grow.  For vegetables that take a really long time to mature such as peppers and tomatoes, you might want to begin at the middle to end of March.  For flowers such as morning glories that need less time to foster, try planting them in starter soil at the end of May to early June.  A good tip is to be sure to read the back of the seed packets for further information that will help you make the right timing decision.


What You’ll Need:

The best part of this project is that you need very few materials, which is both cost effective and convenient.  Grab these items at your local Home Depot or for those who are wise, dig them out of your potting shed to reuse from last year.


  1. A bag of soil
  2. Pots or starter seedling kits
  3. Seed packets
  4. Water
  5. A sunny window

How to Start:

  1. Place a seed in an inch and a half of dirt and make sure it is well covered with soil.
  2. Sprinkle the container with a small amount of water and be sure not to flood the pot.  They are only seedlings so it is very easy to over water and drown them out.
  3. Put the seedling next to a sunny window that allows ample light for growth potential.  Be sure that there is also enough heat and avoid areas with chilly drafts.  

Tags: Gardening, Seeds, Vegetable Garden, Garden

Flower Colors Affect Your Moods

Posted by Suzie Canale on Wed, Mar 08, 2017

When you visit your flower shop to pick up a fresh bouquet of blooms, you may have a difficult time making your selection with so many varieties to choose from.  Maybe you’re a rose lover or perhaps delphinium is what catches your eye but whatever your favorites are, you might want to keep in mind the color.  The shade of a bloom can affect your mood in more ways than one and can actually elevate or decrease your present state of mind.  Sound like a bunch of bologna to you?  It is a proven fact that colors are capable of creating emotions just by having visual contact so why wouldn’t this apply to flowers, too?  Here’s a general chart and some suggested options to match the right flower to you!


Red

Red signifies passion, love and heat but it can also trigger emotions of anger and combativeness.  If you’re planning a hot date with your significant other, than load up on red roses.  If on the other hand, you’re having a rough week, you might want to switch to gerbera daisies that will soften your mood and deflate your temper.


Orange

Orange can bring about a playfulness in others as well as adventure and fascination.  This is the perfect tint for flower selection when you are going on an exciting vacation or preparing for a large event.  Cosmos and orange Stars of Bethlehem are excellent examples to use.

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photo credit via aboutflowers.com

Yellow

Yellow is typically associated with cheerfulness but it’s also been known to aid in the healing process.  If you know someone who is just getting out of the hospital, a vase of yellow sunflowers or daffodils is a sure fire medicine to cheer them up!


Green

Green is a stimulating color, a color that often represents renewal and rebirth.  In the spring, we see many green flowers such as bells of Ireland, tulips and hellebores, which are fantastic considering the theme during this season.  Green can also encourage financial developments so you might want to grab a nice bunch of Green Goddess callas if you’re about to close a business deal!


Blue

Blue is a soothing hue that’s wonderful if you are feeling anxious or upset over a recent difficulty in life.  Suggested species might be hyacinth, bachelor buttons and delphinium to brighten your spirits!

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Purple

Purple denotes an imperial influence divined from royalty and opulence but can also mean wisdom and intelligence.  If you’re studying for a big test, buy a phaelenopsis stem or perhaps alliums and sweet pea to stimulate your brain!   

Tags: Emotion Flowers, Flowers for Emotional Health, Flowers

Flowers For Beauticians

Posted by Suzie Canale on Mon, Mar 06, 2017

The cosmetic industry makes millions upon millions of dollars a year concocting potions and elixirs that are meant to beautify and euthanize their female demographic.  How many women out there start their day by applying foundation to cheeks, a swab of lipstick to mouths or a dab of moisturizer to cheeks?  I’m betting quite a few of you which is why we should know more about these products we’ve come to depend on.  Did you know that many creams are being tested on animals and some actually contain low-grade poisonous additives like strychnine?  Those aren’t exactly the kinds of components I want contacting my skin or any other part of my body, do you?  

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Photo credit via L'Occitane

When engaging in a little research, you’ll be able to find out what a corporation is really putting in their makeup so you can avoid harmful additives or unwanted components.  One area I pay close attention to is if the items possess natural elements-particularly floral elements.  Some varieties of flowers have known to have beautification properties and can actually smooth away years when implementing concentrated oils from petals, buds and in some cases, foliage.  


Potential properties that flowers contain which are beneficial to beauty are:


  • Hair Growth
  • Acne Prevention
  • Purifier
  • Reduction of Skin Redness
  • Medicinal for eczema and other sensitive skin issues

When you get right down to it, flowers can do AMAZING things for our bodies, which is why it’s important to purchase products containing these essential qualities.  Be on the watch for cosmetics using flowers such as violets, roses, jasmine, calendula, hibiscus, sunflowers and chamomile since they are the best blossoms to boost elasticity, shine and other desirable reactions.  You’ll be surprised what these pretty blooms can do for you and your beauty ritual!

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Sunflowers: Vitamin E helps build strong hair molecules so that it can increase resistance against breakage and lucky for sunflowers, they contain a lot of it!


Roses:  Rose buds have several benefits when it comes to health but makeup containing this flower will help reduce inflammation such as puffy eyes.


Hibiscus:  Another great hair strengthener is the hibiscus, which also promotes healthy shine and encourages growth.  


Lavender: This herb flower is an excellent cleanser and is useful for eliminating dead skin cells.  

Tags: Flowers for Emotional Health, Health, Lifestyle, Beauty

Easy Step-by-Step Flower Garland Craft

Posted by Suzie Canale on Fri, Mar 03, 2017

We are pushing through the last few weeks of winter here in New England and although spring is certainly not to far away, there’s still the possibility of a snowy day or two.  Being stuck in the house with nothing to do can be difficult, especially when you have little kids trapped inside with you and it may be a challenge to find something to do.  That’s why its always a great idea to have a few fun crafts on hand to toil away the hours until the more temperate days allow us to play outdoors again.  Crafting for both kids and adults is a healthy way to keep our hands and minds busy as well as enjoy special time together creating with one another!  Since we love flowers so much, I’ve found this great project that’s simple, easy and ready to hang in your home when you are finished!  

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PHOTO CREDIT via guidepatterns.com

Here’s what you’ll need to get started:

* Tissue Paper

* Pipe Cleaners

* Beads with Large Holes

* Tape

* Scissors


Crafting Technique Steps:


  1. Slide a bead on each end of a pipe cleaner and bend the ends to avoid the beads from slipping off.


  1. Find the mid point of the pipe cleaner and bend them exactly in half.


  1. Use the scissors and cut colored tissue paper into strips to be used as flower petals.


  1. Roll the strips of tissue paper around the pipe cleaners in different sizes and shapes to create a multitude of different looking blossoms and them secure the paper with tape.  

  1.  Secure the florets onto a long piece of string using the remaining tape and        hang in an archway to create a garland for your home.   

Tags: Kids, DIY, Crafts

Climbing Flowers for Homes

Posted by Suzie Canale on Thu, Mar 02, 2017

Spring is right around the corner and that means summer gardening is soon to follow!  During the months of March and April, it’s still too cold to begin harvesting in the backyard but it is the perfect time to start planning for materials and other necessities you’ll need.   On your list, be sure to write down shovels, mulch, soil, plant food and any other gardening tools you prefer to use during the outdoor season, particularly the seeds you’ll want to start as soon as the weather warms.   Seeds are a wonderful way not only to save money but to also preoccupy the time before the earth thaws to a comfortable temperature.  Select any blooms that tickle your fancy and give them an early boost by planting them indoors, inside containers set by a window.  This will benefit your garden if we have a late spring arrival as well as spark their longevity once it’s time to re-pot to the outdoors.

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photo credit via Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

One area pre-started indoor seedlings can become extremely useful is when they are being implemented to scale the exterior of houses.  If you’re a fan of this landscaping style like I am, you’re probably already dreaming about the species of sensational blooms you intend to display.  Do you love Morning Glories or do you prefer purple clematis to scale your home’s architecture?  Believe it or not, there are millions of choices available to you and most are successful no matter what the material of your house is built out of.  So if you’re bored with simple side plots and window boxes as your main gardening project, take a look at these stunning species that make dynamic and romantic presentations when utilized as New England floral climbers.  


Morning Glories

Morning Glories are fantastic garden climbers and reproduce shoots quickly once they get going.  Their beautiful blue heads are shaped like trumpets and open and close from sunrise to nightfall.  They are typically annuals although they drop seeds and will re-generate the following summer so be sure you have a large enough space for them to grow maturely.  


Clematis

Clematis is usually a favorite of well-experienced gardeners because it is a colorful yet dependable plant to include in your flowerbeds.  Available in a wide array of hues, they are capable of climbing anywhere you train them to although they won’t multiply so they can live happily in a small area of land.


Nasturtium “Flame Thrower”

Nasturtiums are my number go-to when it comes to planting seeds because they are fiery in color and gorgeous when they begin to extend their tendrils, which clip onto whatever is closest.  Much like the Morning Glory, the heads are bell-like except the blooms stay open throughout the day.  


Trailing Sweet Pea

Another one of my beloved varieties is the Trailing Sweet Pea, which curls itself over other flowers it’s nearby with its delicate bending stems and foliage.  They are soft pedaled plants and will often disappear once the heat arrives from summer but they will make a massive impact on your gardening efforts from April to late June.

Tags: Gardening, Spring, Gardens, Nasturtiums, Gardner Museum

Celebrities Who Love Flowers

Posted by Suzie Canale on Wed, Mar 01, 2017

Hollywood is known for its glamorous starlets who understand that in order to dazzle fans, they’ve got to talk the talk if they want to walk the walk.  Factors such as wardrobe, home décor and overall appearance is what makes these money maker’s names stick on the silver screen but underneath this manipulated image lies a real a person who loves flowers.


Many famous movie stars possess a hidden talent beyond the scripts they read, which enables them to reach beyond the confines of what their fans expect from them.  Even though we envision performers to be solely connected to the dramatic industry, a few choose to extend their creativity into other areas, particularly floral design and gardening.  For some, it’s a way to release tension and relax while the mix of colors pleasantly stimulates others.   For whatever reason, these A-Listers have been found to be superior not only in cinematography but also within the world of flowers.  Check the list out and see if any surprise you?

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Tori Spelling

The actress has been known to set up a garden no matter where she calls “home” and over the last few years, there have been plenty.  Spelling is said to have an infatuation with growing organic vegetables to feed her growing family as well as having a sweet spot for cultivating wildflowers.  

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Leonardo Dicaprio

“Titanic” star, Leonardo DiCaprio is openly an advocate for green living and pushes the healthy life style of eating your own grown food instead of store bought.  Sources say that he also habitually requests florists to dress his home before he arrives whether in his LA pad or European abode.  

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photo credit via hawtcelebs.com

Jennifer Garner

Garner is a well-known patron to several different Farmer’s Markets throughout California and Boston where she usually picks up bundles of flowers such as gladiolas, sunflowers and delphinium.  She named her daughter after the bloom, “Violet” so it’s no wonder she’s so tightly bound to beautiful flowers.

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sporting a bouquet from our friends at Winston Flowers

Tiffani Thiessen

“Saved by the Bell” star Tiffani Thiessen has extended her talents to include her own cooking show where she shares her favorite delicious recipes with friends and fans.  Many of her dishes incorporate freshly grown herbs, which she insists on growing herself as well as a beautiful crop of perennials, succulents and orchids.  Since her pilot requires her to serve the food while filming, she’s always in need of a fresh bouquet of flowers for the dinner table!

Tags: Celebrity Florist, Hollywood Florist, Flowers

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