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Beautiful Flowers of Africa

Posted by Suzie Canale on Wed, May 03, 2017

Africa is a breathtaking continent, rich in history and opulent in culture.  Along with their natural sustainability for art and music, Africa is also know for mega industry positions within banking, consumer goods, oil, gas and agriculture, which many people are unaware of.  Perhaps the reason why Africa doesn’t come to mind as a lush spot for farming and harvest might be because we think of the topography as being too arid or dry.  Unbeknown to the masses, Africa actually has areas where the land is lush and ideal for growing stunning blooms to be shipped all over the world!  In fact, product from this region is escalating in demand, skyrocketing this particular segment of their economy in recent years.  So what are the most desired African species the floral industry is seeking currently?  

lily of the nile.jpg

photo credit via


Otherwise known as “The African Lily”, this variety has remained one of my favorites through the many years spent in the flower business due to its stunning color and playful architecture that makes any arrangement “pop”.  This bulb enjoys the warmth of Africa’s typical temperatures but does well when planted in pots as well.  Fortunately, the agapanthus is not accustomed to any major bug problems although this perennial will only bloom certain months of the year from June to July.  Also pay particular attention to the plant’s roots since it possesses a rhizome system.  


Gloriosa is a member of the “Colchicaceae” family, which is also a bulb plant that flourishes in moist weather conditions but remains dormant during dry spells.  The lily is a “climber” and uses its tendrils to scale over the tops of other flowers, making it a beautiful accent to tropical gardens.  Although the colors are bright and decadent, the stems and roots are highly poisonous and at the very least can cause skin irritation to someone who is sensitive to plant toxins.  Interestingly enough, African medicine does include some gloriosa samples within certain tonics and elixirs that are said to have great healing powers.  

Tags: Flowers Worldwide, Worldwide Flowers, Flowers, Africa

Most Popular Flowers from Japan

Posted by Suzie Canale on Wed, Apr 19, 2017

Being a HUGE flower lover, I often wonder about what other countries are growing compared to the United States.  Here, are most popular varieties usually include roses, hydrangea, sunflowers, mums and tulips but elsewhere, the answer might be significantly different. Depending on where we are in the world, there are assorted growing conditions, which make some plantings of flora and fauna more successful in one area compared to another.  Temperature, soil acidity, humidity and the abundance of water sources all go into the formula of a nation’s vegetation and particular horticulture.  If we are to visit the desert for example, we might see samples of cacti that need dry soil and little water.  If we visit a rainforest, we’re probably going to notice orchids and banana plants that need heat in addition to high humidity.  It really is pretty fascinating when you think about it.  So I’ve decided to research a few specific countries to see what their favorite flowers are native to their region and why they flourish so well.  


my husband recently brought home this Spirea from Japan for our sitting room

Japan is known for their stunning and eclectic resource of exotic blossoms and the reason lie within their asset of possessing a temperate climate.  Even though there are four seasons of winter, spring, summer and fall, the temperature usually doesn’t drop under 32 F unless you travel north where snowfall has known to occur.  The moist wet soil is also a beneficial characteristic composed of red and yellow sediment, breeding impressive species of ferns, which matriculate everywhere you go.  Yes, the heat, soil and extensive education for growing in Japan has laid claim to a gorgeous composition of plants and flowers across the land.  Here are a few of the most popular blooms, which are customary in this country.

  • Dahlia
  • Ranunculus
  • Scabiosa
  • Spirea 
  • Sweet Pea

Tags: Flowers Worldwide, Worldwide Flowers, Flowers, Japan

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.  




Photo credit: via

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

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 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 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.


photo credit via


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 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 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!



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

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?


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.  


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.  


photo credit via

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.


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

Different Ways to Gift with Flowers

Posted by Suzie Canale on Wed, Jan 04, 2017

When we meet that special person, we often seek ways to impress him or her in order to show them how we feel.  Maybe it’s a dinner to a fancy restaurant or maybe it’s a Hallmark card that’s says just the right sentiment, but whatever we decide, we want it to be a perfect match for that individual.   If you’re a flower lover, you probably choose to send flowers that perhaps might consist of a dozen roses, a bouquet of favorite blossoms or even a single stem of buttercup or daisy.  Yes, flowers have been the most popular way to connect with a person and have continuously been an effective conduit to show them how you feel.  


photo credit via

Here’s an idea… what if you could be a bit clever on how you gifted them? Instead of just wrapping up any old bunch of flowers, how about using your noggin to think of interesting ways to impress their unique sense of self?  What are their likes, dislikes, hobbies or dreams?  As soon as you figure that out, you can implement your creativeness to really give them something special!  No two people are the same and neither are two roses.  Here are a few ideas to get the wheels really turning towards impressing the love of your life!  

For Those Who Love to Bake

A colleague recently told me about this movie she watched where a baker was wooed with a case of “flour”-you know, the cooking kind?  I thought this was so brilliant and really showed his love for her individuality while still sticking to a traditional gesture.  By making a pun based on her occupation, he was able to connect with her in a deeper, more meaningful way as well as show a sense of humor.  Sure, she probably would have kissed the guy anyways if he handed over a pile of orchids, but the effect wouldn’t have been nearly as strong, nor would have been the scene.  If you’re trying to get a special baker’s attention, this might be the “sweetest” way to do it!


For the Book Lover

If you’re trying to get the attention of a book lover, you’re going to have to use your head.  Although a vase full of wildflowers will surely be adored, why not pick out a few titles that are written about flowers instead?  You can either grab a few floral designing books, gardening manuals or even a novel such as, “The Language of Flowers” by Vanessa Diffenbaugh or “Flowers in the Attic” by V.C. Andrews if they like a good thriller.  Your courtship will be extra intellectually sentimental as well as useful reading material for the future!

For the Gardener

I personally love this approach because not only will a gardener appreciate the message but they’ll be extra excited to have a head start for planting.  Seeds that are the most thoughtful would either be varieties of their favorites or choosing perennials instead of annuals.  Perennials will come back year after year and will remind them of you each time they bloom.  

Tags: Gardening, cooking, Flowers, Gifts, book

Make It This Year’s Resolution to Put More Flowers In Your Home

Posted by Suzie Canale on Tue, Jan 03, 2017


one cymbidium orchid stem can be cut in half and used a feature flower in your home for two to three weeks.

As 2016 leaves and 2017 arrives, our hearts and heads are filled with every hope of it becoming the best year ahead of us!  While we celebrate the holiday, I bet many of you took it upon yourself to make a few promises- otherwise known as a “New Year’s Resolution”.  Perhaps it was about changing some un-preferred aspect of daily life such as reading more, shopping less or losing a little weight (it’s time for those last five pounds to go).  Some of you might have wanted to strive for more patience, hope and joy, possibly take more vacations or reconnect with those you’ve lost touch with.  Whatever your resolution may have been, I hope it included something that will make you healthier and happy during the next twelve months.  One idea to enhance the human spirit and mind is to make a conscience effort to place more live plants and flowers throughout your homes.


Dendrobium orchids may be old fashioned for some, but premium stems that have flower buds that reach to the end are majestic and elegant.

I bet you didn’t know this but flowers have actually been proven to elevate a person’s mood thus benefiting their overall health.  Daisies, roses, sunflowers, delphinium or any other species can visually stimulate the frontal lobe of the brain as well as affect sensory arousal from a blossom’s aromatic properties.  Not only does the scent of a flower play a large part in the responsiveness to one’s positive reaction but the color is also a large contributor.  For example, red encourages a seductive, sensual, “search for inner perspective” type nuance while shades like green and yellow suggest a lighter, giddier appeal.  If you frequently experience spouts of depression, try inserting a few small bouquets of orange and purple arrangements in places like the bedroom and living room.  This combination of hues is said to promote mental wellness and balance.  If you find yourself constantly stressed or tense, you’re going to want to choose flowers with soft tones of blue or pink.  These cooler colors bolster a sense of ease and comfort and do best in areas like bathrooms and kitchens.


Star of bethlehem are sturdy and long lasting.

Some of you might say, “Sure, this sounds like a great idea but who’s going to pay for it?”  I understand your concern but in actuality, adding moderate stems of blooms weekly doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg.  If you can afford to set up an account with a local florist than go for it but if that’s out of your budget, I’ll give you some hints where to start.  First of all, seek out a nearby farm that might offer year round cut flowers from their greenhouses.  They’ll most likely be pretty affordable and will also sustain an impressive longevity due to freshness.  A second tip is to start your own indoor garden where you can clip blooms throughout the colder seasons and grow outdoors when it warms up.  Bulbs are also a lot of fun to start inside and give off an amazing aroma as well.  

NEWYEARS FLOWERS.jpg My husband salvaged the throats on spent cymbidium orchid flowers to offer exquisite detail to this bathroom arrangement.

Tags: New Years Resolutions, Flowers, Happy New Year, New Years, Lifestyle

Hot New Flower Trends for 2017

Posted by Suzie Canale on Fri, Dec 30, 2016

Whenever a new year rolls around, you have to expect a whole new floral fad to go along with it!  Although 2016 focused on compact arrangements styled after European influence using soft and neutral colors, 2017 is showing signs of a completely different look for the future.  Architecturally inspired pieces are being scene photographed on the hottest industry covers and are likely to be the next big thing in flowers!  Sticks, branches, leaves and other minimalistic material are being sought to replace “bushier” blooms such as hydrangeas and asters.  Orchids such as cymbidiums are replacing these blossoms and changing the “smoothed out” style to a much brasher, funkier appeal. Think sleek, sharp and tightly groomed, florists are after this edgier method of combining stems and hopeful that Bostonians will take to the trend.  Pastels and even hues are also out and have been replaced by tones that acutely contrast one another in ways never seen before. A year ago, we would have thought these colors clashed but now experts can’t get enough of the fascinating demarcation.  We’re raising the bar for floral design in 2017 so take a peek at what’s going to be hot and what’s not!

In - Orchids continue to be the mainstay. Vandas, Miltonia, Cymbidiums and Phaelenopsis.



In - Reds, blues and Greens for colors. Check out the new Black Pearl rose from Rosa Prima.

Out - round, mounded and compacted arrangements. It's about time this design style has died. While appreciated in its simplicity, skilled floral designers have grasped the importance of symmetry and framing each flower. 

Out - Blush Pinks, Cream and White-All Pastels. 2017 is all about colors and energy. If we can have an orange president. Expect lime greens, purples, deep reds and greens to pop the landscape. 


Tags: Orchids, Flowers, Trends, 2017

Lovely Little Flower Bouquets

Posted by Suzie Canale on Thu, Nov 03, 2016

You’ve heard them say, “The best gifts in life come in the smallest packages,” and that remains to be true even when talking about flowers!  Although large, bountiful and cascading creations still cause quite an affect on audiences, smaller vase work and nosegays are brimming up excitement for the “Less is More” end of the floral spectrum.  People are starting to become enticed by miniature arrangements and the precision that goes into making them.  Tiny pots, jars and urns are being snatched up by designers and filled with the most delicately beautiful blooms from the best wholesale markets in town.  Word has it that they’re being utilized in a massive array of situations including weddings, restaurant/hotel functions, personalized presents, holiday décor and interior decorating.  Because of their wide screen of desirability, florists are having a grand ole time projecting what their product needs will be for future sales.  


photo credit via Flower Factor

According to them, it ain’t easy…

One reason is due to the fact that orders are ranging in all types of design and color including contemporary vs. French styles and bold hues vs. pastels.  Some local Boston buyers are even saying that tropicals are starting to show up within this trend as well as succulents and cacti.  Apparently, anything is up for arranging when it comes to these tiny wonders.  


photo credit via Flower Factor

Tags: Floral Design, Flowers, DIY, Bouquets

The States and Their Flowers

Posted by Suzie Canale on Wed, Oct 19, 2016

Have you ever wondered what the state flower of Massachusetts is?  It’s actually the Mayflower.  Can you guess why?  Well first of all, there’s the obvious reason of the name being tied to our founding father, Christopher Columbus who sailed the ocean blue until he landed on Plymouth Rock.  The ship he rode over on was also called “The Mayflower” making it the perfect flora from the northeast to symbolize.  Also called climbing laurel or trailing arbutus, the pretty purple blossoms are clumped together in a delicate pattern holding a sweet fragrance that makes it a favorite among many New Englanders.  Mayflower prefers sandy sediment or rocky soil that is typical where evergreens grow so if you’re taking a walk in the woods, keep your eyes peeled!


Like the meaning and sentiment the mayflower represents to the residents of Massachusetts, people across the U.S. pay homage to a particular flower that makes them unique from surrounding areas.  Each and every state has an assigned bloom that tells a special story reflective of a historical background, a topographical attribute or traditional rite.  Check out your state flower by following the grid below!






Saguaro Cactus blossom


Apple blossom


California Poppy


Rocky Mountain Columbine


Mountain laurel


Peach blossom


Orange blossom


Cherokee Rose


Hawaiian hibiscus (ma‘o hau hele)


Mock Orange


Purple Violet




Wild Prairie Rose








White pine cone and tassel


Black-eyed susan




Apple blossom


Pink and white lady's slipper











New Hampshire

Purple lilac

New Jersey


New Mexico

Yucca flower

New York


North Carolina

American Dogwood

North Dakota

Wild Prairie Rose


Scarlet Carnation


Oklahoma Rose


(Floral Emblem)


Oklahoma (Wildflower)

Indian Blanket


Oregon grape


Mountain Laurel

Rhode Island


South Carolina

Yellow Jessamine

South Dakota

Pasque flower






Sego lily


Red Clover


American Dogwood


Coast Rhododendron

West Virginia



Wood Violet


Indian Paintbrush

Tags: Flowers as Symbols, Florist Massachusetts, Flowers, Mayflower, United States

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