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How to Make Rose Beads

Posted by Suzie Canale on Fri, Jun 01, 2018

When I was a little girl, I remember a special gift my parents gave me for my seventh birthday, a necklace made from rose beads.  Being a lover of flowers starting from a young age (I figure it was in my blood since both mom and dad were florists), I adored anything and everything made from the petals of blossoms.  When I opened the tiny pink box to see the delicate piece of jewelry, I immediately believed that I would cherish them for the rest of my life. Unfortunately, my education in horticulture was only just beginning because I hadn’t yet understood that my trinket was almost 100% organic and would eventually disintegrate.  Nevertheless, I did my best to preserve the pretty bauble in the hopes that I would one day pass it down to my daughter. Thirty-four years later, this is merely a sweet memory of my childhood I carry with me and smile thinking about every time I spot a similar styled necklace in a store window.

black pearl roses

Along with a rose beaded necklace being a lovely way to show your affection for flowers, this form of jewelry is actually the outcome of some interesting history dating back to centuries ago.  Before even the 1500’s, rose beads were used as tools for counting, originating in the country of India. Easy to make and a reliable resource, they were made by the bushel and used to teach science and mathematics.  As time continued, they found their way into the religious realm, specifically by the Christians who formed necklaces as a sign of worship. The delicate yet stunning presentation of the strung roses made them a precious commodity-some of which survived to be passed to future family members. Today, they are still used in religion although you probably see them more often as a metallic chain called, “the rosary”.


Get togethers called, “Beading Bees” still exist today and are still quite popular all over the United States.  During these group meetings, friends and family join to make their own rose beads to use as bracelets or necklaces.  If you are interested in trying out a simple and fun recipe to make your own, follow these simple instructions to create them today!


  1. De-petal a dozen roses (preferably red) and discard the center core.
  2. Boil a pot of distilled water and throw the petals in until they are soft.
  3. Drain the water and place in a blender.  Puree until they have a doughy consistency.
  4. Add a few drops of rose incense to replace any aroma that has escaped.
  5. Let the dough dry until it is easily capable of being formed into balls.
  6. Roll small balls to whatever size you would like and push a sewing pin through the center.
  7. Let the rose beads dry in the sun and string for decoration!

Tags: DIY, Roses, Rose Symbolism

Should You Do Your Own Flowers ?

Posted by Suzie Canale on Wed, Apr 18, 2018

So, there’s a ton of people out there who love flowers.  I’m certainly one of them. There’s also a ton of people who want to become a florist.  Yes, I was also one of them. Then there’s a ton of people who think just because you love flowers, becoming a florist must be easy.  Here’s where you lose me… By a show of hands, who out there has ever browsed a flower shop, viewed the arrangements made by professional designers and thought to themselves, “Hmmm… I can do that!”  Now right off the bat- I’m willing to admit that there is a small segment of this population who is capable of replicating these florals but the hard truth is-most cannot. It’s a belief amongst some that professionally arranged flowers are overpriced and simply just not that hard to whip up yourself.  You see this with a lot of brides trying to save a buck or two or party hosts who believe their floral talents are just as good as the real deal. Well, maybe you will get lucky and prove to pull off the impossible! There is a select group who is able to pull off the wedding of their dreams by asking bridesmaids to give up their Friday night to stuff roses in oasis and who knows-they might even come out have decent…  ?

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But trust me- if you have thoughts of playing these odds, I’d cash in your chips ahead.


Realistically, playing designer is actually really, really, really, HARD.  Many of the best in the Boston area have gone to college just to study the ins and outs of the industry, including floral varieties, seasonal availability, horticulture aspects, architectural theory and creativity techniques.  Most of the desired designers have several years training or have been mentored by a seasoned staff member. There’s also the business end of things behind these beautiful little buds which is incredibly important to understand when serving clientele.  They’ve learned how not to “age” a bloom” by over touching and what makes “sense” when arranging with a multitude of different varieties. My point is- more often than not, save yourself the hassle, expense and disappointment by doing your own arrangements for an important event.


If you’re going to ignore this advice- I’d read the rest…

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Ok- I get it.  You’re not taking NO for an answer and are hell bent on making your own centerpieces for your bridal event or party.  If this is you- just think about these tips that might save you the pain and agony of having a total floral meltdown right before your special day.


To Avoid “The MESS”

When you spend too much time trying to jam stems of flowers together and then end up taking them out over and over again, it’s likely your piece just looks like one big mess.  To cut back on the likelihood of this happening, make sure you have the right height vase with the length of stems you want to use. Tall arrangements need a 10 to 12-inch cylinder, rectangular or flute shaped vase while shorter bouquets are great with low lying bubble vases.  Having the perfect height will cut back on “rearranging” pieces and protect against the petals from aging too quickly.


Make Your Colors Make Sense!

No, it’s a vicious lie that all flowers are beautiful so that must mean they all go together all the time.  WRONG! There’s a lot of thought that goes into professionally made color palettes, making it of great importance to pre-plan beforehand.  If you like blush tones, then purchase blooms of the pastel realm or if you prefer bright styles, stick to the straight rainbow spectrum shades.  Mixing and matching sound like a good idea but more often than not- the arrangement just won’t make eye appealing sense.

Tags: DIY, Wedding Flowers, DIY Brides

Easter do-it-yourself Arrangements

Posted by Suzie Canale on Mon, Mar 26, 2018

We love this time of year when Easter arrives because not only is it another fun holiday to celebrate with friends and family, but a time to start crafting spring themed projects again!  Flower arrangements are included on this list and make excellent decorations for the gathered festivities so make sure to save time during your planning stages. If you are a person who prefers to let the experts handle the heavy work, you’ll have no problem ordering a stunning arrangement for your table.  If on the other hand, you look forward to the challenge of maybe making your own, here are some tips to guide you through the process. Don’t be intimidated if your bouquet doesn’t turn out exactly like the picture you’re studying from because all creations will vary in size, shape and dynamic. This is what makes floral designing so much fun and a true artistic simulation.  Remember, when you put your heart, soul and imagination into what you do, beautiful outcomes are bound to happen…

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photo via aboutflowers.com

Do-It-Yourself Easter Floral Arranging Directions


Go online and check out the local flower shops and farm stands around your area who carry fresh flowers sold in bundles.  Most floral outlets do not sell inventory in this fashion so you’ll want to do your research beforehand. Once you have located your destinations, browse the selections available and opt for varieties which appeal to you.  If you are sticking with the Easter motif, grab species in pastels or those typical to the season such as hyacinth, tulips, hydrangea, pussy willow, forsythia, sweet pea and delphinium. You’ll notice the selection has drastically changed overnight from winter’s hardier blooms to softer pedaled heads, so don’t shy away from trying something new.  If you like branches, there should also be cherry blossoms available which make stunning centerpieces all on their own. If you prefer the European style of tightly compacted bouquets, choose types that have similar surfaced heads like ranunculus and anemones. Don’t forget to pick up a bunch of greenery like lemon leaf or ruscus to use for filling in wholes and finishing off your arrangement.

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Alright…now that you have all your flowers at home, undo the packages and lie the different varieties next to each other to make arranging easy.  Select a vase such as a bubble bowl, ceramic container, urn or glass cylinder, fill with warm (not hot water) and begin to “green” the insides. This means make a ring of foliage on the outer inside of the container to place a base for the flowers to rest upon.  Next, layer with the blooms you’ve chosen while remembering to constantly turn the vase. This will ensure that you are properly leveling the piece evenly. When you have finished, fill in the spots you may have missed with remaining flowers and foliage and place in the middle of the table.  Be proud of yourself because you have just designed your first Easter centerpiece!

Tags: Easter Traditions, Easter Flowers, DIY

Behind the Rise in Popularity of Succulents

Posted by Jenny Holt on Mon, Oct 23, 2017

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If you’ve recently visited a coffee shop, restaurant, doctor’s office, a friend’s home, or anywhere else with counters and tables, you may have noticed the rise in popularity of succulents. For those unfamiliar with these types of plants, a succulent refers to any plant that stores water in its leaves or stems (sometimes both). They are available in all shapes, colors, and sizes, making them perfect for almost any space. Well-known succulents include aloe plants, cacti, and zebra plants.

Take a look at three of the top reasons succulents have risen in popularity within recent years.

They can match almost any decor

Whether your style is more modern or traditional, succulent plants work well with almost any decor. If you want a design that will match a particular room, planting succulents in decorative containers is a great way to achieve the look you desire. Succulents are available in small enough sizes to fit a tiny glass container, and they can also be arranged to fit large pots or containers. Whatever your space constraints or needs are, succulents can be customized to work with any interior or exterior area. Additionally, succulents provide a wide availability of colors. Although there are many green options, succulents can also be found in shades of pink, red, orange, purple, and blue-green.  

They require minimal maintenance

If you don’t have a green thumb, or can’t commit to consistent care of a plant, succulents are a great choice. Because they can store water in their leaves and/or stems, one weekly watering is all that is needed to keep these plants healthy. They are built to handle drought conditions, so occasionally forgetting to water them will usually not cause any harm. Also, succulents can handle almost every environment (except for the extreme cold). This means that whether you have access to full, minimal, or no sun, or if you choose to plant indoors or outdoors, your succulents will stay alive.

They are gorgeous plants

Aside from the concrete, logical reasons for the rise in popularity of succulents is a more subjective reason: they are simply gorgeous to look at. The diversity of colors and shapes of succulents are powerful enough to brighten one’s mood and environment in an instant. Whether decorating a dorm room or an upscale cafe, you can easily bring a stunning element of nature into any space. Perhaps it is the desire to experience beautiful, natural elements on a daily basis that has contributed to the continued rise in popularity of these versatile plants.

Choosing succulents for your space

When choosing the best succulents for your space, decide what colors and styles will work best with your existing decor. Do you want a bright, vibrant feel, or a more natural, relaxed appearance? Also, be sure to assess how much space you will need to cover with your succulent plants, and what style of container you would like to use. No matter what you choose, you are sure to enjoy the wide array of benefits provided by succulents.

Tags: Succulents, Plants, Plant Care, DIY

Urban Flowers - a Book Review

Posted by Suzie Canale on Thu, Oct 19, 2017

I’m an avid reader who loves books from genres such as Mystery, YA and Middle Grade but when a new release title about flowers or gardening catches my eye- I can’t resist browsing the pages.  Recently, I was in the library where I saw a beautiful cover put on display entitled, “Urban Flowers” that seemed to be creating quite a demand at circulation.  Written by Carolyn Dunster, this how-to seeks to educate the city dweller with ideas on designing the perfect patio garden no matter how small the area may be.  Patios, decks, balconies and tiny walk ways all have the opportunity to be transformed into luscious landscapes (according to this author) if you just have the inspiration and tips she provides.  Well this topic was right up my alley so I decided to look through the book for advice to pass on to those believing their space is too crammed to orchestrate a thriving flower bed!

urban flowers book.jpg

The first thing I noticed about this manual was how efficiently and effectively the chapters were organized.  Too often gardening books provide mashed up information where it’s hard to find the answers to questions you are seeking.  Dunster eliminates this problem by segmenting topics into easy-read fashion with contents entitled, “Evaluating Your space”, Choosing a Style” and “Experimenting with Colour”.  Within these segments, she breaks down the subject to include “Growing Therapeutic Flowers”, “Using Pots and Containers” and “Personalizing Your Space” which really helps readers to find the help they need to grow an individualized garden made specifically for them.  Not all of us have the same taste in flowers so it’s important to purchase the right supplies specific to you- a concept that is continuously stressed by the author.


If you have a hard time following lengthy instructions, you don’t have to worry because “Urban Gardens” reads more like a story than a technical guide that may leave you confused.  The descriptive phrases like, “You are effectively creating an extension of your home, while also making a green sanctuary where you can retreat from the hustle and bustle of daily life,” not only will give you the confidence you need to begin but will also soothe you as if reading a work of fiction.  Another incentive to check out a copy are the glorious images captured by photographer, Jason Ingram who manages to beautifully illustrate “Urban Gardens” to resonate a fairytale.  

Tags: Books, Libraries, Read, DIY, Lifestyle

Small Details That Help Sell a House

Posted by Suzie Canale on Fri, Sep 22, 2017

If you’ve taken a look at the housing market lately, you’ll notice that there are certain houses being sold as soon as they’re shown while others sit there for months, sometimes years.  You may have also caught on to the phenomenon of two houses which look similarly (if not an actual carbon copy of the same blueprint) is often retailed at severely contrasting prices even when they’re offered for purchase at the same time.  For those who are hesitant to put the “For Sale” sign on their homes because they just can’t figure out how the trend will work out for them, here’s a helpful tip.  Yes, your real-estate agent is a major key player in how well you’re going to do at the closing but so isn’t your florist.  Not buying this one?  Read on…

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photo credit via aboutflowers.com

It’s no big mystery that landscaping will bump up the value of the property as well as additions, new appliances and general upkeep.  These are all presentation factors that help create the illusion to potential buyers that they too, could be living in your home.  This truth is what sells homes so don’t forget “presentation is everything”.  Before you only budget the prep work to ready your house for the market, you might want to consider other areas of your home that might need sprucing up.


While we know that clutter is a “no-no” in this occasion, you also have to realize little touches that scream you have taste are just as important.  One way to infuse an air of style is to dress the rooms with a vase of fresh flowers.  By adding the right variety to drab sites of the house, you can increase the illusion and appeal to visitors.  This doesn’t mean go straight to the yard and begin clipping-No!  This tactic is going to take a bit more expertise than our beloved green thumbs.  The place you want to begin is at your local flower shop who will be able to match paint, texture and general theme of your abode with equally alluring species of blooms. Depending on the characteristics present, a skilled designer will be able to correctly match, enhance and compliment the space just by using specifically architected centerpieces.  If it’s a bathroom, maybe all you’ll need is a bud vase of spring pips or if it’s the dining room, maybe a vase of wild poppies is what’s going to catch a browser’s eye and hold their attention.  By taking snapshots of rooms that need a little charm to your florist, they’ll get a better idea about what you need to make your home a sure-fire winner on the retail market.

Tags: DIY, Real Estate, About Flowers, New England

Fall Flower Garden Clippings

Posted by Suzie Canale on Wed, Sep 06, 2017


Fall is here but there are still some remnants of our summer gardening efforts thriving in our flowerbeds.  Although many of our favorites have gone to sleep for the season, you might be lucky to find a few late bloomers poking their heads out of the ground.  Many people give up taking care of their gardens when September rolls around, foregoing the watering, feeding any other important tasks but I assure you this is a mistake.  There are abundant amounts of species that enjoy the crisper weather and will stay healthy for you all the way up until the first frost.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could steal the last remaining warmer days on your deck gazing at a garden, which is blooming well into October?  Trust me- It can be done!  All it takes is a little pre-planning when planting particular varieties and you could also have a plethora of flowers right at your fingertips!  Especially if you are a clipper like me who loves to snip a few stems for indoor arrangements- you might want to check the below list.  

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Picking types of blooms that will do well for you during the last end of summer to the beginning of fall are usually on the heartier side, which are resilient against a nip but also perfect for transportation from soil to water.  


Excellent options include:


  1. Hydrangea
  2. Coleus
  3. Sunflowers
  4. Nasturtiums
  5. Mums
  6. Asters
  7. Sedum
  8. Scented Geraniums
  9. Millet
  10. Catmint

Not only will these look gorgeous in your homes, but the price is affordable and you’ll actually be doing your garden a favor.  Trimming back species extends the longevity of a plant as well as stimulate new shoots of growth.  Simple yet elegant, this style will compliment any décor as well as remind you of how wonderful a gift of a garden truly is…

Tags: Fall, Garden, September, DIY, Autumn

Fall Decorating 2017

Posted by Suzie Canale on Wed, Aug 30, 2017

I know… I know…. It’s beyond depressing to think about the summer ending once again but for all of you who enjoy a new season, it’s right around the corner.  Autumn is surely arriving soon when the trees will turn different colors and the air will infuse a crispy freshness, which makes everything seem to smell better than it ever did before.  For those of you who enjoy this change, you’re probably welcoming the transition that will become the theme for seasonal decorating, particularly if you’re living in the New England region.  If you call this your home, there are definite benefits to the four-segmented panels of our calendar since each brings its own unique inspiration that can be brought beautifully inside your homes.

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photo credit via aboutflowers.com

If we’re talking about fall, then we have a plethora of material to work with, as you well know because this time of year is mirrored by rich hues and warm scents that give the sensation of coziness.  Jewel tones are EVERYWHERE so you want to start here and focus on tints of gold, burgundy and emerald.  Take the maples for instance where leaves transform into orange, red and yellow – these stunners mix perfectly with sunflowers of all varieties or incredible still when left entirely alone in a clear, glass vase.  Other autumn gifts, which can be easily implemented, are pinecones, twigs and acorns that have fallen from trees.  These can be made into wreaths or ornaments surrounding the bases of centerpieces that give an ordinary bouquet a festive touch.  During this time, foliage is at its best so you’ll want to keep this as the focus when planning floral pieces and other arrangements.  Dahlias, mums, sage, aster, statice and dark hydrangea are also sure-fire winners with this motif.  

Tags: Autumn, Fall, DIY, Decorating

Questions You Should Be Asking Your Florist

Posted by Suzie Canale on Mon, Jul 24, 2017

When we have an important event to plan or a special anniversary to prepare for, we often turn to the advice of a florist to steer us on the right path.  Whether its an order of red roses for Valentine’s Day or the organization of a bar mitzvah’s centerpieces, we know our local flower shop is always available to help make our floral dreams come true.  For those of you who are anticipating a similar occasion and aren’t quite sure how to begin to approach a conversation with a designer, you might want to do a little research beforehand in order to be prepared.  It’s always good to do a little homework as well as be equipped with some suitable questions to ask the professional so you get the full picture what they can and can’t do.  If you’re not sure where to start, let me help you with some general points it might be wise to convey to your florist before finalizing your order.

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Brooke Shields in “Flower Shop Mystery: Mum’s The Word”

Valuable Questions You Should Be Keeping In Mind…


  • Where does your product come from?

Most probably, you’ll get more than one destination for an answer since flower shops almost always use a wide range of suppliers from around the globe due to cost and availability of particular species.   Where the flowers come from will have a large bearing on the price and quality.


  • Can I get my favorite flower year round?

Unless you’re talking roses or pom poms, the answer is usually no.  Certain flowers grow at certain times of the year, especially those found local to New England.  Is it true that it might be possible to order these from another country instead of relying on local harvesting?  Yes, but be prepared for a cost increase or a variation in quality.  Examples may be sweet peas, freesia, grape hyacinth and lily of the valley.   


  1.  What exact colors do the blooms grow in shade?

This is something you should always be aware of when it comes to matching an exact tint to a fabric or other “idea” you may be relying on… you must be flexible!  It is more than likely your florist may not be able to perfectly copy a color to a swatch so please remember that tractability will save you a lot of stress, anxiety and most importantly, disappointment.  Flowers were meant to contrast and compliment décor so give the pro’s a little wiggle room to do their work.  

Tags: Boston Florist, Boston Florist Staff, Community Florist, DIY, Weddings

Not All Medicine Comes in a Pill - Video

Posted by Rick Canale on Wed, Jun 28, 2017

Get outside and plant something.

Being outside with plants is good for your mind, body and soul.

Fresh air, exercise and an immeasurable feeling of being whole.

Tags: Video Flower Commercial, #EXFL, Lifestyle, Garden, DIY, exercise, Outdoor Living

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