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December Birthday Flowers versus Holiday Centerpieces

Posted by Suzie Canale on Mon, Dec 18, 2017

There are many people out there who have been given the birthdate placed in the very special month of December.  For some, they relish in the notion of being surrounded by seasonal festivities of lights, trees and wreaths and believe this only accentuates the happiness of celebrating a birthday.  For others, there’s quite a different story…  For those who lie on the latter side of the fence, you may feel cheated by the idea of having to share a day which was supposed to be dedicated to you and only you with heavy hitters such as Christmas or Hanukkah getting in the way.  Have you ever perceived your birthday as being seemingly less important and perhaps experienced with less enthusiasm due to the busyness of the season?  What about the terrible gift labeled, “For Your Birthday AND Christmas” that’s supposed to be perfectly acceptable as a combined present for both?  Face it- you’ve probably felt robbed at one point or another and can sympathize with new babies born on December 28th.  


In my family, we actually have a triple header in this department with three birthdays all falling just before and after Christmas.  My husband, who observes the earliest of the trio on December 4th, constantly grudges about his youthful disappointments of having his day meshed with other yuletide fetes and reminds us annually of the importance of throwing a proper ceremony dedicated solely to a birthdate.  The second to place is my youngest falling on December 11th who relishes knowing the holiday tradition of putting up the tree will always happen on his birthday.  Last but not least is my oldest son who even though had the due date of December 25th, didn’t officially arrive until two days later on the 27th.  He doesn’t seem to mind in the slightest bit of his post-holiday remembrance and instead chooses to use the celebration of the season to his advantage.  After all, it is the happiest time of the year and who wouldn’t look forward to and encore of presents?


I suppose we’re all different (what do I know?  I was born on April 5th) but wouldn’t it be nice to be given a few pointers on what these December babies feel is appropriate birthday etiquette?  For starters, presents should never be wrapped in Christmas paper because they feel that the wasted effort is an insult to their occasion.  Secondly (as I mentioned before) don’t even try to sneak past a gift (no matter how large or expensive) that is said to be meant for both a birthday and a holiday.  In their world, this is absolutely sacrilegious.   A third tip is to never bake them a Santa or menorah cake accept in the situation where the request has been made.  Although there typically tends to be tons of sweets and treats around this time of year that you could quickly pass off, most December partygoers really wants a typical cake.  The last piece of advice you should be wary of in case you are planning to gift flowers is nixing poinsettia plants or red/white arrangements for floral birthday gestures.  Stick to bright colors that are reflective of the celebration and wait to give these “Christmasy” displays of blooms until after their special day.  Everyone wants to feel special on their birthday so make sure to put in the effort by sticking to this guide if you have a loved one celebrating a birthday this December.

Tags: Rick Canale, Suzie Canale, Christmas Flowers, December, Birthdays

Flower Demonstration at the Westwood Public Library

Posted by Suzie Canale on Thu, Mar 31, 2016

Rick Canale flowers

Libraries are amazing places and serve their communities far beyond the task of lending books.  Most local libraries also provide informative classes and workshops for both children and adults to enhance their knowledge and education throughout many different topics.  There are science programs, writing workshops and impressive guest lecturers including top authors from the area who offer stimulating presentations throughout the year.  While all are open to the public, these sessions are provided for the sole purpose of connecting members of the community and growing comparable interests that will foster both new ideas and relationships.  Plus- almost everything offered is free of charge, allowing anyone with a library card to join in.


That’s pretty cool, right?

On Tuesday, March 22nd I was fortunate to assist my husband with an impressive floral demonstration to the patrons of the Westwood Public Library.  During the two-hour program, guests were given their own vases, supplies and flowers to learn the easy and fun way to arrange their own centerpieces.  Along with teaching proper technique and form, Rick Canale led an interesting talk about the do’s and don’ts of handling the blooms as well as giving a brief background of the flowers he was using.  Varieties included stunning garden roses, spray roses, alstroemeria, anemones and lemon leaf for the finishing foliage.  The vases were rectangular, heavy glass, which provided a sturdy base for the product and a cardboard box for easy carry home was also available.  In the end, the room couldn’t have smelled better with the luscious spring color bursting from every table.

suzie and rick canale

We had a great time during this adult flower arranging class and hope to return with a fresh new look designing in the future!

Tags: Floral Design, Rick Canale, Floral Studies, Suzie Canale, Westwood, Libraries

What Place Does a Boston Florist Have in The Baseball Hall of Fame

Posted by Rick Canale on Thu, Jul 10, 2014

Baseball Hall of Fame

At Exotic Flowers in Boston, we are baseball fans. We celebrate the grand old game any chance we get. On Opening Day, we have a company cookout. We have partnered with the Boston Red Sox and sponsored many little league and softball teams over the years. If you're in Roslindale and talk baseball, rest assured your florist in Boston will always 'talk shop,'. 

Baseball and flowers go hand in hand. Glenn Stout tells us, in his book Fenway 1912, that on April 20th, 1912 Fenway Park opened and pots of flowers greeted the fans. Think about it, pots brimming with flowers welcome people. Baseball people knew this 100 years ago. Baseball Hall of Famer Bill Veeck planted the ivy at Wrigley Field in Chicago in 1937 to make patrons feel more welcome. Yes. Baseball, flora and fauna go hand in hand.

cooperstown collection flowers resized 600 Flowers and baseball provide a spark of nostalgia. Whether you recall Fred Lynn crashing into the Fenway wall in 1975 or the beautiful flowers on your grandmother's dinner table, these images create a bond and experience that your cell phone cannot. The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum on Cooperstown, New York celebrates its 75th anniversary this year. At Exotic Flowers, we have partnered with the Hall of Fame to bring our clientele The Cooperstown Collection. Exotic Flowers will donate twenty percent of the purchase price of specially designed baseball themed floral arrangements and gifts to the Hall of Fame to help raise money and awareness for this valued American Institution. The world needs more museums.

Rick Canale

On another note, Exotic Flowers is proud to announce that the team we sponsor in Westwood, Massachusetts won its championship. The Westwood River Bandits had an amazing run of 12 wins, 1 loss and 1 tie as it captured the third grade championship. 

Tags: Baseball, Red Sox Florist, Bill Veeck, Fenway Park, Boston Florist, Rick Canale, Baseball Hall of Fame

World Cup Flower Flop? Not So Fast, Says Boston Florist

Posted by Rick Canale on Sat, Jun 21, 2014

This article was featured in the 6/18/14 The SAF Wednesday Ebrief

By Mary Westbrook

Exotic Flowers in Boston recently launched its “Cooperstown Collection”— a partnership with The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, N.Y. Owner Rick Canale, who has also been the official florist for the Red Sox, said sports tie-ins, done well, have lots of marketing potential. 

Bloggers in the U.K. are giving a red card to a supermarket chain that tried to capitalize on World Cup fever with a special bouquet — but at least one sports-savvy florist in Boston said the idea has the potential to hit plenty of marketing goaaals. 

Calling the “Come On, England” bouquet concept “painful,” several bloggers put the red and white carnation design, sold at Morrisons grocery stores, at the top of their “worst” lists for World Cup tie-ins. 

“Suddenly, a [groveling] apology from the other half for their latest screw-up just isn’t as gratifying as it used to be,” according to EuroSport. “Alternatively, it’s a rather backhanded way for a guy to [apologize] in advance for spending the next month doing nothing but watching football marathons and angrily debating contentious decisions on social media.” 

The chain also rain afoul of customers in Scotland, who successfully petitioned the stores there to stop playing an endless loop of England-related soccer — er, football —songs. 

Good intentions, lousy promotion? Not so fast, said Rick Canale of Exotic Flowers in Boston, who suggested the bloggers and writers are probably overreacting, and misinterpreting the grocers’ intentions. “I bet [Morrisons] did not sell the bouquet as an apology theme,” he said. “That would be floral suicide.” (At press time, EBrief editors had not been able to obtain the original marketing materials.) 

Canale should know. Exotic Flowers was the official florist of the Boston Red Sox from 2007 to 2009 and won SAF’s Floral Management Marketer of the Year title in 2008. He recently partnered with The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, N.Y., to launch his new “Cooperstown Collection,” which coincides with the museum’s 75th anniversary. 

Canale said hitching your shop to a sports team or event can be marketing gold, but “it’s all about the approach.” In other words, never market a sports-themed design as an apology, but instead, promote it as a party idea or team-spirited host and hostess gift. When you do that well, you turn a non-floral event into an opportunity for your shop. 

“Believe me, if I liked soccer, I would be pitching World Cup bouquets here, too,” Canale said. “You have to capitalize on the success of special events. [For example], every Election Day, we launch an Election Day category on our website and then rebrand the same category for Veteran’s Day.” 

Tags: Red Sox Florist, Boston Florist, SAF, Rick Canale, Red Sox

An Italian Florist in Boston on St. Patrick's Day

Posted by Rick Canale on Mon, Mar 17, 2014

green carnations in boston resized 600 Growing up 100% Italian is quite rare in Boston. I would never trade my heritage for anything. But growing up in Boston also surrounds you with many Irish people and even more Irish customs. My mother, whose parents came from Italy, even cooks corned beef and cabbage every Saint Patrick's Day. This tradition has even carried over to my own family where my wife Suzie, who is part Irish, looks forward to my boiled dinner of corned beef, cabbage, turnip, potatoes, carrots and pearl onions.

New England Boiled Dinner resized 600 During Saint Patrick's week at my house, you will hear us reading the chidlren's book Tim O'Toole and the Wee Folk or watching the Janeane Garofalo movie The Matchmaker on TV. At Exotic Flowers in Boston, we often speak about tradition and creating your own memories. Saint Patrick's Day is an ideal holiday to start your own tradition. 

I have witnessed many clients at Exotic Flowers who celebrate St. Patrick's Day by buying green carnations in the Boston area. The green carnation reminds of the green shake from McDonalds. You only see them around Saint Patrick's Day. One client in Wellesley has been sending his wife 24 green carnations every year for more than twenty years, while a company on State Street in Boston has bought more than one hundred green carnations every year for the past ten years. They hand a green carnation to each one of their employees to celebrate the holiday. 

So crack open a Guinness, hand your loved one a green carnation and listen to the Irish Rovers belt out my favorite Irish tune, 'The Unicorn,'.

Tags: St Patrick's Day Flowers, Carnations, Traditions, Rick Canale

March Newsletter from Exotic Flowers in Boston

Posted by Rick Canale on Wed, Mar 12, 2014

exotic flowers boston resized 600

Dear Friends, 

The weather has been brutal. Thankfully, the Red Sox are in Florida and that crack of the bat is right around the corner. The past few weeks at Exotic Flowers were enlightening, entertaining and exciting. 
We are proud to bring you a crisp and clean update to our website. Please let me know what you think. 
If you have Comcast for your cable TV, then I hope you saw us featured on their get local for Valentine's Day. If not, no worries; I have provided a link in this email.
Our most exciting news is Suzie's new children's book. This is her fourth children's book, maybe even her best yet. She has even decided to donate 100% of all her royalties to the One Fund to support the Boston Marathon bombing victims and their families.
Boston You're My Home  
New Children's Book by Suzie Canale 
Boston You're My Home
Order Your Copy Here
Boston, You're My Home is the story of a young girl named Sweet Caroline who is nervous about her family moving to Boston. Her mother and father attempt to soothe her fears by telling her a bedtime tale inspired by Boston's strengths. From its education to the arts and its heroes, Caroline learns about the wonderful benefits about calling Boston her new home.
Exotic Flowers on TV  
Comcast Video
Click Here to Watch
Aired in February
If you ever visited the shop, you know our story is better than most reality television. We even turned down a reality show opportunity this past year.
This winter however, we had the TV cameras from Comcast rolling and we were able to tell a wonderful piece of our story without the drama.
"The true harbinger of spring is not crocuses or swallows returning to Capistrano, but the sound of the bat on the ball."




Rick Canale
Like us on FacebookFollow us on TwitterView our profile on LinkedInFind us on Google+Find us on YelpVisit our blogView our videos on YouTube

Tags: Boston Strong, Sonny Canale, Rick Canale, Boston Florist Staff, Childrens Book, Boston

How to Play the Christmas Tree Car Game

Posted by Rick Canale on Tue, Dec 10, 2013

christmas tree gameDid you ever play the game padiddle/perdiddle ? The beauty of the night time car game is a way to compete with friends during long or short drives. The Christmas tree car game is very similar but you can play both day and night. 

Start your own holiday tradition with the Christmas tree car game. I had never heard of the game or even played before last year. My son and wife introduced me to this fun and festive game. griswold tree resized 600

During the holidays Christmas trees can be found from Boston to Belchertown. On my twenty minute commute to work at Exotic Flowers in Roslindale, I pass by five places who sell Christmas trees; including Louie the Florist, Exotic Flowers, Walk Hill Florist, Allandale Farm and Flowerland. 

The Christmas Tree Car Game can be played with two or more players. All one needs to do is see a car on the road with a Christmas tree on its roof and call out 'tree,'. A running tally can be kept all month long. Right now I have four points, my son has nine and my wife has six. What a great way to start your own Christmas tradition. 

christmas tree car game

You can even have a point system if you know your Christmas trees. You could offer bonus points for living Christmas trees or snow flocked trees. Like padiddle where a police car is huge bonus points, how about huge points for a double Christmas tree car or a game ender if you see the Griswold family Christmas tree. 

Tags: Traditions, Rick Canale, Suzie Canale, Christmas Trees, Christmas

What Can Red Sox Larry Lucchino Teach a Florist in Boston ?

Posted by Rick Canale on Tue, Mar 26, 2013

Larry Lucchino Cares About Red Sox Fans One at a Time

a few months ago my 8 year old son came home and said I should be a Yankees fans. He is a huge fan of Fenway Park, but the Red Sox recent woes had made him look elsewhere. He argued that the Yankees had Babe Ruth, the greatest of all time.
Being a lifelong Red Sox fan, I was stumped. I wrote a letter to Sox chief Larry Lucchino asking for advice.
Here is the letter he wrote back.
"Dear Rick,
I received your 'urgent' note and wanted to lend a few ideas to ensure that your son remains a member of Red Sox Nation. You mentioned that your son's love of Fenway Park, and that's a good place to start as any. Yankee Stadium is a fine venue, to be sure, but nothing can match a Red Sox game at America's Most Beloved Ballpark with its 100 years of tradition (and counting).
Second, your son should consider the personalities of Red Sox past and present. From all-time greats like Ted Williams and Yaz to modern heroes like Big Papi and Dustin Pedroia, the Red Sox have a lineage of ballplayers unlike any in our game's history. And while it's true the Yankees 'had' Babe Ruth, we did win three championships of our own with the Bambino and had the good sense to use him as both a pitcher and a  hitter.
Finally, I hope your son continues to see the payoff in rooting for our club instead of the Yankees. Supporting the Yankees is like rooting for the Roman Empire (or even the 'Evil Empire' - as I once said about our rivals to the south). Encourage your son to pick the good side as he considers his baseball loyalties. We look forward to calling your son one of our most loyal fans. "
                                                Larry Lucchino
P.S. Enclosed is a Red Sox hat for your son - used as bribery to sway your son away from the Yankees.
as a florist in Boston, who has done lots of business with the Red Sox, I have a new found respect for Larry Lucchino and see why those argue for his plaque in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Tags: Baseball, Customer Relationships, Rick Canale, Red Sox, Customer Service

Valentine's Day Comes Early in Boston

Posted by Rick Canale on Fri, Oct 05, 2012

valentines day in boston
When we think of Valentine's Day in Boston - roses, romance and restaurants come to mind. Valentine's Day in Boston is a celebration of love and also the busiest day of the year for florists too. Yesterday, October 4, 2012 Valentine's Day came early. Red Sox fans paused to briefly celebrate the termination of Bobby Valentine as manager of the Boston Red Sox. Valentine watched over the worst Red Sox record in decades. 
The hiring of Valentine never sat well with this Red Sox fan. I knew his ego would never fit in Boston or in the Red Sox clubhouse. More than twenty five years ago I used to collect autographs at the Sheraton Hotel in Boston when visiting teams came to play the Red Sox. There was always a handful of kids and some adults too waiting outside and inside for players to show up and sign. One time when Valentine was managing the Rangers, I got his signature. Thank you Bobby. But he was not exactly friendly about it. When security came to shoe me away, Valentine quickly had to throw in his 'now run along, you're not supposed to be here,'. Dear coach, I was a kid. I knew I was breaking the rules. No need to embarass me. I see why your players felt like you did not know how to speak to them either.
I do find it admirable that Valentine walked out of his firing with his head high and wishing the team the best. But after reading an article by the Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo, it all made sense. Valentine has a gag order. He cannot bad mouth the team or his 2.5 millions dollars due in 2013 will be withdrawn for breach of contract. So I ask this, if the North Korea-like Red Sox PR team knew Valentine could not control his words when the contract was written then why even put him in the pressure cooker of Boston sports ?
I wish you the best Bobby. 'Run along now, you're not supposed to be here,'. Valentine's day came early in Boston and this Boston florist is thrilled. The Red Sox lost their last game to the Yankees who scored '14' runs. Valentine was fired '14' hours and '14' minutes after the last pitch of the season. Valentine's Day is February '14' - coincidence ? Maybe or maybe the baseball gods needed a laugh.  

Tags: Baseball, Red Sox Florist, Rick Canale, Valentine's Day, Red Sox

Boston's Exotic Flowers Featured in Floriology Magazine

Posted by Rick Canale on Fri, May 18, 2012

At Exotic Flowers in Boston, we actively contribute to floral associations. We are members of FTD, Teleflora and the Society of American Florists, (SAF). We exchance ideas with our colleagues and are always looking to learn so that we may remain Boston's Premier Florist.

Recently, Exotic Flowers and myself were featured in Bloomnet Magazine floriology. Below is the article in its entirety written by Fred Russell in April 2012 edition.

Exotic Flowers floriology

From Facebook to Twitter and everything in between Rick Canale is LinkedIn to everything social.


Rick of Exotic Flowers inBostonis a third generation florist and an industry leader in using social media to help promote his business. Growing up in theBostonarea Rick would help out his parents Sonny and Marie doing a little bit of everything. After attendingBostonCollegeas Liberal Arts major in the early 90’s, Rick went to work full time at the family business that started over 50 years ago.


“Most of our marketing is reinforcing our current clientele”, says Rick. “We combine an aggressive direct mail marketing plan and mix in social media to remain relevant and top of mind”, he adds. Rick sees his new customers result mostly from referral business and a lot from local search engines like Google, Yelp and Foursquare. Because Rick looks at his current customers as an avenue for getting new ones he consistently targets them on different platforms to stay relevant and keep people talking about them.


When it comes to social media Rick was an early adapter and could foresee the movement coming quickly. “You have to collect ‘likes’ on your Facebook page like baseball cards”, says Rick. Between his Facebook friends and Twitter followers Rick has well over 1,000 contacts. This is a lot of potential consumers at your fingertips that can be easily reached at a moments notice. Rick is also very active on his blog ( which attracts 6,000 unique visitors a month and tries to reach out to his customers via a social avenue three to five times a week. “I write about everything; from social issues, what’s going on inBoston, baseball or top five movies of the week”, says Rick. “You don’t always want to make it about you and be to self serving, you just want to be out there so people see your name”. Rick likens it to a Presidential Campaign, “it’s all about shaking hands and kissing babies!”


Rick also monitors closely what people are saying about his shop. He uses Hubspot (www.hubspot) to monitor activity. He gets a notification that his shop name is being mentioned somewhere. “I jump right in and answer questions, talk about the shop and they’re floored to get that quick reaction”. He also monitors what his contemporaries are blogging and follows them on Twitter. “You can always learn from what other people are doing and see if I’m missing anything. I also find a lot of inspiration by looking at what my peers are doing”.


One of the things Rick has asked himself is how do you keep your website and social customer’s loyal? “When we get a first time order on a website order we send the customer a hand written note thanking them for our business”. Rick also sends a personal business card, not just one with the store name to give it a more personal touch. Rick also stays away from discounting and feels it’s unnecessary because they always have great products and are always competitively priced and once you discount your customers will expect it. “There’s no way I’m going to compete with someone selling $9.99 rose and that’s not what we’re about.

Rick plans on continuing to use social media in his marketing plan and thinks Twitter is still in its beginning is about to boom. Rick suggests the Twitter community is just another form of blogging and a great way to catch a customer’s attention with a quick, catchy message. As far as another recent social phenomena—Pinterest, Rick compares it to a coffee table book. “Everybody loves coffee table books, but how often do you read them?” With the recent fascination Rick will observe it’s progress and develop a presence down the road.


Be sure to follow Rick on Twitter @RickCanale!


Owner: Rick Canale


Shop: Exotic Flowers




Employees: 10 full time


Established: 1957



Tags: SAF, Teleflora, FTD, Rick Canale, Florist Blogger

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