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Bringing Southern Flowers to Boston

Posted by Suzie Canale on Wed, Nov 08, 2017

Recently, I took a trip to Savannah, Georgia with a friend of mine and by the time I came home, I ended up bringing back a new appreciation for this southern state.  Beautiful architecture, rich history, outstanding cuisine, pleasant weather, inviting southern hospitality and delicious cuisine-it was hard not to fall in love with Savannah’s warm culture that I’ve heard about for so many years.  Although being a Boston native, it didn’t take long for me to appreciate Savannah’s lifestyle that seemed so different from east coast living.

One area that I was particularly drawn towards was the city’s artistic talent within sculpting landscape and floral displays that were trendy yet traditionally styled with expected southern charm.  


If you’ve been there, you know there is breathtaking tropical foliage springing up everywhere which provides a whole other aspect of sightseeing!  It’s not that I’m slamming Boston’s pretty parks and common areas- they are quite impressive during the warmer months of the year.  I just have to point out that when it comes to doing up a city’s public courtyard and sidewalk presentation, Savannah could teach every city a thing or two about planting and developing an eye catching outdoor exhibit.  As you can imagine, the benefits of successfully landscaping places which are major tourist attractions are extensive, including promoting a healthy, aesthetically pleasing and safe destination for travelers.  Statistics also show that a beautiful garden of flora and fauna will actually increase sales in areas where shopping is prevalent, so city managers may want to up their game and invest in a landscaping plan.

If we are talking about what’s growing outside, we might want to talk about what is going on inside the hotels and restaurants who impress customers with gorgeous floral displays in welcome centers, conference rooms and wedding venues. While Boston’s usually adapts the European style in floral work, Savannah chooses to design vases of loose fitting stems, typically filled with large headed blooms that promote a sophisticated, airy appeal.  Blush, pink and cream seem to be really popular as well as light blue, gray, soft green and indigo, which are strategically placed in urns or glassware in simplistic, flowing patterns.  Pieces never look “overdone” or “fussed with”, just elegantly created to bring about a wistful presentation that’s exemplifies the heart and soul of Savannah, GA.  


Tags: Flower Travel, Travel, Savannah

Floral Attractions in New England

Posted by Suzie Canale on Fri, Jul 21, 2017

The weather is beautiful here in New England and we’re finally footloose and fancy free to travel to the destinations we’ve been longing to see throughout the dreary months of winter.  For some of you, it may be a resort or maybe a beach where you can swim the shores of our Atlantic Ocean.  For me, it’s the time of year where flower gardens are in full bloom, making a road trip to a floral destination sound extremely enticing.  Thankfully, this region is loaded with talented gardeners who harvest robust crops of floral masterpieces in july and August (if we’re lucky, maybe even September).  So if you’re a flower lover who might be interested in learning a thing or two from the aces in the trade, here’s a list to pin to your maps this summer!

Wellesley College Botanic Gardens

Wellesley College Botanic Gardens

106 Central Street

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photo credit via

Wellesley is a beautiful town to visit, which is home to historic houses, a quaint shopping center and of course, the prestigious educational center of Wellesley College.  Although most of the students have left for the summer, this college gives you another reason to stick around and it’s all thanks to the beautiful botanical gardens thriving on the grounds.  Open daily with no charge to visit; this should be at the top of your list to visit this summer.

Fells Historic Estate and Gardens

Route 103A / P.O. Box 276

Newbury, NH, 03255

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photo credit via

If you’re a history buff, you’ll like this location because not only does it have some of the most beautiful gardens you will ever see, there is also a rich background tied to the property regarding the famous statesman, John Milton.  Along with stunning flowerbeds surrounding the property, you can also enjoy the wooded trails if you hike as a hobby.

Blithewold Mansion, Gardens & Arboretum

Blithewold Mansion, Gardens & Arboretum

101 Ferry Road / Route 114

Bristol, RI, 02809

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photo credit via:

Also referred to as “An American Garden Treasure”, this location will have you saying “WOW” as soon as you get there.  One reason is due to their vast collection of plants and flowers, which range from exotic to romantic if you’re looking for some diversity in your travels...

Tags: Gardening, Flower Travel, New England, Gardens

Chelsea Market and Flowers in New York City

Posted by Suzie Canale on Mon, Apr 03, 2017

During a recent trip to New York City, I marveled at the obvious love this vibrant city has for flowers.  On almost every corner, there are displays from florists, grocers and even bookstores where you’re almost guaranteed to see an impressive floral presentation.  Unlike many other urban centers, it is common practice to see multiple buckets filled with stunning blooms that customers can easily select from during their travels.  Gorgeous clumping of color such as yellow sunflowers, bright green football mums, electric orange dahlias are just a few of the incredible species I saw turning heads on sidewalks.  But whatever your taste is, I can almost promise you’ll find some kind of blooming marvel that will make you stop in your footsteps.  

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photo credit via www.

Although I usually stay near the hustle and bustle of action in the Big Apple, I changed my mind during this trip and went for a new area where I’ve never been before.  Instead of the electrifying lights and hoards of people crowding the streets of Times Square, we lodged in a charming location situated right next to Chelsea Market.  If you’ve never been before and you like cobblestone, brick buildings and quaint little shops to browse, this is the place for you.  Illuminating an “artsy” feel, this cool marketplace extends a length similar to traveling through a tunnel with original beams and structure dating back to the 1890’s.  For foodies, you’ll find any kind of delicacy you’d ever hope to taste and for consumers, you’ll be thrilled to peruse the sweet but trendy boutiques tucked inside.


The really special part of this hidden treasure is a small flower shop that you can find right in the middle of the market.  It isn’t actually inside a space, no this place is too funky for that!  The kiosk is actually a real old-fashioned flower cart, the original means for how flowers were sold decades ago.  Surrounding the cart, the owners have set up tables showcasing exquisite samplings of the best flowers sold in the whole city using the European style for display setup.  You’ll see pink perfection ranunculus, parrot tulips, peony tulips, exotic orchids, sweet pea, black callas and a whole lot of other delicious goodies.  Customers can purchase small bunches of the same variety or have one of their talented designers create bouquets right there in front of you. 

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Of course, no trip to NYC is complete without flowers from my husband's favorite New York city Florist. 

Starbright Floral Design
140 West 26th Street, New York City, NY 10001
Voice: 212 229 1610

Tags: Flower Travel, New York Florist, New York Flower Shop, New York, Travel

A Floral Fantasy Tucked Inside Lovely, Ontario

Posted by Suzie Canale on Mon, Oct 24, 2016

When you hear of a town named, “Lovely”, you might want to giggle to yourself.  You may envision pink houses with picket fences, perfectly mowed lawns or even a place that the temperature is always set at a perfect 71 degrees.  The picture that you’re seeing in your mind is probably leading you to believe that the town is completely fictitious but interestingly enough, it’s not.  Nestled safely in the banks of beautiful Canada, there is a place called “Lovely” and it holds reputable to the name it’s been given without a single fault.  


Quaint and beautiful this tiny little area is nestled within Ontario, Canada’s suburban outskirts, which yields thousands upon thousands of tourists annually.  No, the weather may not be reflective of a continuous day in early summer (it’s Canada after all, it snows) but it is home to a lovely town, with lovely, shops, and lovely restaurants to coax just about anyone to give it a try.   This tiny town is so “Lovely” in fact, that it is a popular location for cinematic production including “The Ref” featuring Dennis Leary.  Yes, all of these assets make this the ideal place for a little getaway, but most of all, for those who love flowers.

For some mysterious reason, the townspeople of “Lovely” have made it their personal crusade to out beat any neighboring area when it comes to landscaping architecture and floral designing.  If I hadn’t seen it with my own two eyes, I might not believe it but when I say, “Wow”!  I mean it…

From the tops of the roofs, to outside window boxes and lantern posts, there are stunning baskets, arrangements, garden plantings, flower beds, loaded urns and thickly dressed pergolas designed to the nines with the most glorious flowers Canada has ever seen.  Lush greenery and blossoms popping with color spring from every direction as you stroll down the main street, which pulls you further inside the dream-like state “Lovely” has created.  It isn’t quite clear if there is a secret tribe of magical gardeners or perhaps a world-renowned society of floral designers who just happen to reside there but whatever the reason may be- the Town of Lovely is where you want to be.   

Take a look at these pictures I snapped while on my travels there and see if you’re just as amazed as we were with dramatic floral presence this community magnificently exudes!


Bright flashes of color including foliage, perennials, annuals and tropicals cascade over everything, particularly in areas close to shops, restaurants, and boardwalks.


Tags: Gardening, Flower Travel, Travel, Canada, Outdoor Planters

A Boston Florist's Observations at the Northeast Floral Expo

Posted by Rick Canale on Thu, Mar 14, 2013

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The Northeast Floral Expo remains my favorite regional floral industry show. Although I have not attended in a few years, I jumped at the chance to attend the 2013 show. The 2013 show took place at the Marriott Mystic Hotel in Groton, Connecticut. When given the opportunity to go to Mystic, I jump at the chance to combine business and pleasure. 

I always try to bring my family along for these trips. Being a florist, means long hours and six to seven day work weeks. My boys love room service, indoor pools and spending time together. Only about one hundred minutes from home, this trip made sense. Besides, our family loves the Mystic Aquarium

We set on our destination in the midst of a snowstorm on Friday, March 8th. While Boston was buried in over a foot of snow, it was a delight to 'get out of Dodge,'. After picking up my son at school, we were on our way at 345pm. Traffic was a bit light considering the elements. About a half hour from home, I realized I forgot my own bag. No socks, no undies, no pants or shirts; so what did I do ? I could have turned around and basically wasted more than ninety minutes. I pulled into an Old Navy and spent over $150 for new clothes. 

The show included a bounty of floral stars including Michael Derouin, Ann Jordan, Jay Schwanke, and Mandy Majerik. Floral industry leaders like Teleflora, FTD, John Henry and Delaware Valley all represented and contributed. For florists, this show is a must attend event. From business seminars, hands-on floral design workshops to networking, I came away with some fresh ideas to keep Exotic Flowers as a leading florist in Boston. 

flowers ne floral expo resized 600  I attended the seminar by Barry Gottlieb, where he reinforced the importance of exceeding, astonishing and delighting our customers. At Exotic Flowers, we are making a written effort to make every client experience memorable. In the next few days, we will be unveiling the Exotic Flowers branded ribbon. Every flower package and gift bag that leaves our store will have increased added value with this new ribbon.

Some highlights of my visit to the show inlcuded meeting Flower Network guru Ryan Freeman, catching up with John Henry service rep Janie Jackson, chatting up Delaware Valley Floral icon Doug Carey, facetime with Connecticut floral legend Bob Heffernan and talking baseball with FTD's Jim Weedon and Dave Galvin. I was also able to bask in Laurie Lemek's best in show display booth for Delaware Valley Wholesale. See photo below. dvalley resized 600

Of course, no Canale trip is complete without some great eats and cool shops. We were able to explore some cool independent toy stores in Mystic and had a couple of good meals at Mystric Diner and The Steak Loft. 


Tags: Northeast Floral Expo, Flower Travel, Floral Indusrty, Flower Show

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