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Festive 4th of July Desserts for Kids

Posted by Suzie Canale on Mon, Jun 29, 2015

Independence Day is filled with red, white and blue food including delicious desserts for kids! Not only can we utilize the yummy berries that are finally in season such as blueberries, raspberries and strawberries but our pastry chefs all over Boston are whipping up scrumptious creations that are sure to please the whole family.  While some foodies suggest high calorie desserts with extensive ingredients (not to mention extensive sugar), this selection offers easy to prepare directions as well as fuss free diet restrictions.  With these delightful treats, you’ll be able to ring in the 4th of July with a bang!


Freeze Your Own Popsicles


Making your own popsicles is a simple way to invent a fast snack while still being able to control the sugar content by selecting a preferred juice.  Flavors that work the best for a red, white and blue theme are cranberry, fruit punch, grape, blueberry, white grape and lemonade juices.  Most of these varieties offer a low calorie and reduced sugar version so your kids will be able to cool off while slurping down a healthy Popsicle.  If you really want to get fancy, you can freeze them in three separate levels by placing one layer on top of the other just as long as you freeze them one at a time.



Strawberry Shortcake


Okay, so this sweet may not be on the healthy side but honestly, who cares!  You can make this dessert an essential dish at your 4th of July barbecue table just by place a huge scoop of whip cream on top of a piece of shortbread (store bought is fine).  Once you’ve started piling on the good stuff, add red and blue berries  (strawberries and blueberries work best with shortcake) that will finish it off perfectly.  Don’t be afraid to substitute when needed such as replacing the cream with a high quality French vanilla ice cream.               photo credit:


Strawberry Bombs


                         photo credit:

This is so great you’re going to want to make these year round!  Just take a strawberry and clean out the insides with a spoon delicately.  Fill the middle with whip cream and top with one ripe blueberry.  Place in the refrigerator overnight to allow hardening so the cream doesn’t spill out.  Serve before, after and during your barbecue and watch that plate disappear within seconds!


Tags: Dessert, July 4th, Chef, Kids, cooking, Summer, July

Top Red, White and Blue Flowers for the Fourth of July

Posted by Suzie Canale on Mon, Jun 22, 2015

The 4th of July is about celebrating independence, fireworks and showing our red, white and blue pride for our country!  Along with sparklers and waving flags, Boston florists are planning to show their spirit through a stunning spectrum of floral color.  Now, I know we’ve seen this color palette annually but rumor has it that some of this city’s top designers have invented a fresh and contemporary approach to this summer holiday’s festivities.   It’s not that the traditional white carnations, red roses and blue delphinium don’t still hold their appeal but isn’t it time to use a little imagination to present more options?  Here’s what the flower aces are building in their studios to make this year’s 4th of July a spectacular success!


                             photo credit: Flower Factor /


Red is the strongest hue in the color combination, standing for “hardiness and valor”.  It can be utilized throughout many varieties including gerbera daisies, hypericum berries, hibiscus, astilbe, celosia, zinnias, poppies, ranunculus, dianthus, begonias, dahlias and even some breeds of hydrangea.  All of these flowers are garden ready during this time of year so they should be available from your florist.  If your green thumb is up to it, try cultivating your own selection of red plants and flowers to be used at your holiday party!



In respect to the American flag, white represents the country’s “purity and innocence”.  This shade can be found within thousands of beautiful buds that are native to Massachusetts during the summer months or can be shipped from other parts of the world by your floral representative.  The top choices for 2015 include white hydrangea, lily of the valley, alliums, spiaria, beach roses, lilies, calla lilies, anemones, lilac, clematis, Queen Anne’s Lace, bearded iris, and even daisies.  The purpose of the white is to mesh the bolder colors together so don’t be afraid to go with a simple and dainty choice for your bouquets.  July offers some of the most gorgeous weather for wild flower growing so get your clippers and get snipping!


                                      photo credit: Flower Factor /


The blue segment of this holiday trio is also important which means “vigilance, perseverance and justice”.  Typically, you’ll see a lot of delphinium for this shade because in all honesty, there used to be limited choices.  A good thing for us, agriculturalists are getting clever with their crops allowing us a broader variety to select from.  New varieties of blue include hydrangea, jasmine, grape hyacinth, bachelor buttons, dandelion flower, clematis, morning glories, blue star, balloon flower and aster.  If you really want to wow your guests, order a bunch of blue dyed roses or phalaenopsis.  They might be a bit pricier than your other options but you wont be disappointed by the reaction you’ll get!

Tags: Floral Design, Flower Arrangements, July 4th, Flowers, Summer

Do you Grill or Barbecue ? by Jon Bornstein

Posted by Rick Canale on Thu, May 22, 2014

At Exotic Flowers in Boston, we embrace the holidays as a way to create memories and celebrate traditions. Flowers are always a big part of your celebrations, thank you. Memorial Day is a time for celebrating.

Read on for blogger and Boston flower buyer Jon Bornstein's take on grilling versus barbecuing.

Memorial Day Boston

So you think you know food, huh? Pride yourself on being able to differentiate between a Rib Eye and a Porterhouse? Aioli and Au Jus? Focaccia and fiddlehead? Impressive. Now that you’ve humbled me as an American and a food buff, maybe you can answer my favorite question on the cusp of the first long weekend of the summer – what’s the difference between grilling and barbeque?


This quandary has been on my mind as we roll into Memorial Day, a time that signifies many things to those of us fortunate enough to celebrate it. Perhaps most importantly, it is a time for us to reflect upon the sacrifices of our fellow Americans who have fallen in service to our country. Memorial Day also serves as the harbinger for a number of lesser events commonly associated with the warmer New England months. Academicians and their charges view the weekend as the beginning of summer break. Cinephiles welcome it as the start of the “tent pole” popcorn flick season (although the starting date for that seems to creep back earlier and earlier each year). Food-obsessed types like myself embrace it as open season on the outdoor grill.


Not that we diehards stop working our Webers when the weather turns cold and unpleasant. Working the grill is a year-round event for us. But the most glorious time to work the smoky hot space that a full grill top creates is when the thermometer heads north of 70 degrees and the icy sweat coming off a cold bottle of beer can cut a refreshing swath across your forehead.


So I repeat – do you know the difference between grilling and barbeque? I thought I did. Well, I pretty much did. But a recent demonstration at Le Cordon Blue institute in Cambridge by one of their talented chefs/instructors brought it all home for me, so let me do the same for you, just in case your sitting there wondering why I keep asking such an obvious question.


Grilling involves cooking something (be it meat, fish, chicken, or vegetable) by applying direct heat via flame, to the foodstuff in question through a grate. The significance of this is that most of us refer to this act as barbecuing, or having a barbecue, and as you will see, it’s not.


Barbeque is the process of slowly cooking food by applying heat indirectly via burning wood. This process can take up to 18 hours, and imbues the food in question with a smoky flavor and juicy tenderness as the long cooking time breaks down the fats and other components of the meat. Barbecue is truly an American style of cooking, and the way it varies from region to region is part of what makes it special.


Wherever you happen to be chowing down on ‘cue, be it somewhere in Texas, Memphis, the Carolinas, St. Louis, or Kansas City, you will be treated to completely different styles of eats. The sauce might be based around tomato, vinegar, or mustard. You might be eating beef brisket, pork ribs, or shoulder. Your meat may even have been seasoned with a dry rub and served with sauce on the side as opposed to being slathered by sauce directly.


The previously mentioned regions of the US view barbeque in the Northeast using the same lens that we New Englanders view college sports with – sure we’ve got it, and some of it is pretty damn good, but we don’t take it nearly as seriously as the rest of the country. And for a long time, they were right. But ‘cue is trending in this part of the country, and if you don’t believe me, ask anyone who’s been to The Smoke Shop at the Seaport or Sweet Cheeks in the Fenway. These places are popping up all over, and people who are serious about their smoke are putting them on the map.

blue ribbon bbq dedham


Two favorite long time denizens of the Boston area that I love who’ve been banging out quality ‘cue for quite some time. Any one of these three can walk you through all the styles I previously mentioned to satisfy both your intellectual curiosity and your hankering for something sweet, tender, and smoky.


1)      RedBones has been a fixture in Somerville’s eclectic Davis Square since 1987. Pumping out authentic bbq of all styles including jerk, the menu covers meat, chicken, fish, and vegetarian options, with numerous tasty sides and a handful of desserts to go with the two dozen microbrews on tap. Did I mention they also have a food truck?


2)      Blue Ribbon Barbeque is a multi-location operation whose longevity I’m not entirely sure of, but like Redbones, they do offer a variety of regional barbeque styles for your smoky flavor cravings. They do a nice job, and they’ve got four “Best of Boston’s” to prove it.


So do your patriotic duty this upcoming holiday weekend, and indulge in a truly American pastime by enjoying our native cuisine at one of the fine institutions listed above, or somewhere else you’ve been meaning to check out. And once you’ve done that, please don’t forget to report back! Did I mention this would also be a good opportunity to send flowers to someone you love?




Jon Bornstein Sandwich Guy Flower Buyer Follow Me On Twitter @Zucrow

Tags: Memorial Day, Traditions, Barbecue, Jon Bornstein, July 4th, Holiday Memories, cooking, Summer, July

What Can Buying a Baseball Card Teach a Florist About Customer Service ?

Posted by Rick Canale on Fri, Jul 19, 2013

Recently, I was on Cape Cod for July 4th with my family. While walking on Main Street, I happened upon an old fashioned baseball card shop. Unfortunately, baseball card shops are a dying breed. When I was a kid, I collected cards in the thousands and still have them. I forced myself to go into the shop, look around and even buy something.

I really wanted to show my support and even relive a bit of my childhood at the same time. Unfortunately, the windows were dirty (#fail), the lights dim (#fail) and a counter guy who seemed a bit more interested in his computer (#fail) than engaging the many clients entering the door to browse.

I was aware of some newly released items that unfortunately the shop did not have. That was okay. You cannot carry everything. But while I was there clients seemed interested and wanted to buy, but some things were out of reach, not priced and the salesman remained glued to his computer. (#fail)

willie horton resized 600

Finally in hopes of recapturing a little American spirit, I grabbed a 1968 Topps Willie Horton baseball card for $1. I know, this shop will not close early with this sale. But every sale counts and who knows a $1 dollar sale that day could turn into a $5000 Mickey Mantle card sale down the road.

Well as I  handed my purchase and my $1 bill to the salesman, still at his computer (#fail). He asked me to go to the register (#fail). Go where the customer goes. He rang my sale = $1.06 (I forgot tax but it is only 6 cents). He offered a bag (must cost at least 3-4 cents) I deferred. He then really should waived the six cents but did not. (#fail)

I won't be back. Not really angry about the six cents, just the indifference of the staff. After all, who in Boston buys a Willie Horton card ? What a great conversation starter.

Also heard that the store is up for sale and closing. Owning a small business is hard work. People really want to go stores, it is up to the retailer to astonish and delight its customers.


Tags: Baseball, Customer Relationships, July 4th, Customer Service

Celebrate Our Independence via Exotic Flowers in Boston

Posted by Rick Canale on Tue, Jul 02, 2013


july4promo headerbg7

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
***** Read the rest on line or in any library. It matters.

Patriotic Florist

patriotic flowers in boston

Exotic Flowers has deep military roots. Sonny Canale served on board the USS Buck DD-761 during the Korean War. We are neighbors of the Cardillo Army Base on American Legion Highway in Roslindale. We have worked closely with Fisher House Boston in West Roxbury.
Not a day goes by where the staff at Exotic Flowers does not recognize the importance of our heritage and independence. We are Americans and proud of it.

As Boston's Premier Florist, we have a responsibility to the community and our colleagues to set a good example. Our floral designers, drivers, maintenance and sales staff realize our importance to the entire Boston community. We offer a magnificent floral display which beautifies Boston every day. Our flower deliveries enlighten the lives of residents of Mattapan, Dorchester, Roxbury and Hyde Park daily.
We practice old fashioned American values; hard work, sweat and gratitude. We are thankful for our staff, our clients and we are thankful to be free.

Tags: July 4th, Patriotic Flowers, Declaration of Independence

The Best USA Flag Ever That Does Not Fly is Made of Flowers

Posted by Rick Canale on Thu, Aug 02, 2012

flower flag usa resized 600
This flower flag was created by the city of Lompoc, California in celebration of Flag Day in 2002. The Lompoc Valley is a mecca for flower growers and is also home to Vandenberg Air Force Base. The Bodger Seed Company planted this flag to honor all those lost on 9/11. The flag is comprised of red, white and blue larkspur flowers. 
The flag measures seven hundred and forty feet long and three hundred and ninety feet wide. The flag dimensions meet the protocoal of Executive Order #10834.  The flag is almost seven acres and each white star measures twenty four feet while each stripe measures thrity feet wide. The flag is estimated to contain more than 400,000 larkspur plants with about five blooms on each stem giving the flag two million blooms.

Tags: Gardening, Veterans Day, USA, 9/11, July 4th

What does the Battle of 1812 have to do with a Boston Florist ?

Posted by Rick Canale on Sat, Jul 07, 2012

War of 1812 reenactment
From June 30th through July 5th, 2012 - Boston hosted international tall ships, active Navy ships and ships of America's coalition partners in celebration of our nation's independence and to commemorate the bicentennial of the War of 1812. The War of 1812 not only brought us the Star Spangled Banner but reminds us of the importance of the USS Constitution in our history.
This week long event reached its culmination with Boston's traditional concert and fireworks display on the hatch shell at the esplanade. This show along with the Tall Ships bring thousands of visitors into Boston. 
boston pops resized 600 So what does the presence of an armada in Boston harbor and thousands of tourists and pedestrians invading the streets of Boston have to do with a Boston flower shop ? Events of this magnitude bring yachts from all over the world into Boston Yacht Haven. These yachts bring the rich and famous into Boston. While in port, these yachts refuel and pick up provisions.
They also buy flowers. Flowers for the deck, the luxuy suites, the dining rooms - the are no florists in the Atlantic Ocean so these yachts need flowers to create a warm and inviting atmosphere. 
If you have ever seen the Kevin Costner film Water World, then you know the importance of living plants while on the high seas.
tall ships 2 resized 600

Tags: July 4th, Tall Ships, Sail Boston, Boston Pops, Yacht Flowers

Exotic Flowers Boston - Store Hours for July 4th Weekend

Posted by Rick Canale on Sat, Jul 02, 2011

4TH OF JULY FLOWERSExotic Flowers is located at 609 American Legion Highway in the Roslindale area of Boston.

The business hours for 4th of July Weekend 2015 are:


Saturday: closed - but if we are here, we're open.

Sunday: 9am-1pm


The staff at Exotic Flowers will be delivering our stunning floral arrangements throughout the Boston area on Friday July 3rd.

If you are looking for a great deal on outdoor hanging plants and pottery for your 4th of July cookout, all our outdoor merchandise has been marked down.

Exotic Flowers in Boston posts hours for the benefit of its community and clients. As always, if we are here then we are open. Do not hesitate coming by if we are on the property outside of posted hours. The staff at Exotic Flowers in Boston is at your disposal.

Tags: Store Hours, Independence Day Hours, July 4th

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