Think of the last time you received an invitation relating to your business. It may have been for a networking event, trade show, conference, or a coffee catch up. How you feel about the invitation will often influence how you respond. I use a check list, of sorts, to weigh up my response.
When you see a person walking down the street with a colourful bouquet, what do you feel? You might feel a moment of happiness, or perhaps a touch of envy because you’re not the lucky one taking them home? So why do we like to give and receive flowers?
Flowers can evoke within us all sorts of emotions for all sorts of reasons. Mostly sending or receiving flowers is related to a specific life event, occasion, or milestone. The most common reasons are birthdays, anniversary, newborns, presentations, corporate, weddings, romance, sympathy, and just because.
In the last few months we have seen how giving and receiving flowers are an important part of expressing our emotions and sentiments for particular occasions. Let me take you on a journey of emotions through the flower world, and see how and why flowers are used to express our feelings.
Valentine’s Day gave men the opportunity to let the flowers do the talking. A bunch of beautiful red roses speaks volumes in the love language, and takes some of the pressure off the guys to find the right words. Hearts are softened and warmed. I know the ladies who received the bouquets I delivered showed a mixture of surprise, warmth, and pure jumping for joy excitement!!! (This is why I love my job.) Seeing how the act of giving flowers builds bridges between two people will always inspire me and bring joy and to others.
On the flip side of emotions, we recently saw the significance of flowers during ANZAC Day services and ceremonies, with the laying of wreaths placed on memorials far and wide across Australia and New Zealand. Floral tributes in times of remembrance and loss are a tangible expression of our grief and respect for those who gave their lives fighting for the freedoms we now enjoy in our country.
We also express our sympathy by sending sympathy flowers and floral tributes to families who have lost a loved one. When a grieving family receives flowers from friends and relatives, they know the sender is offering their comfort through this thoughtful and sensitive act of love and kindness. This caring gesture is an important part of the grieving process, as showing support assures loved ones they are not alone. It is now common in funeral services for the families to place a single stem flower on the casket, along with the casket spray.
Now from grief, we turn to a love and respect as we give flowers to our Mum or Grandma for Mother’s Day. A bright and beautiful bouquet would have to be the EASIEST gift for Mum, and will certainly be well received. What woman doesn’t love flowers??? Maybe it’s been a tradition to give Mum flowers over many years. If not, now is a good time to start.
Why not give the gift that keeps on giving, because showing appreciation for Mum should be more than just one day. I am offering a gift voucher that provides a bouquet or arrangement for 2, 3, or 4 consecutive weeks, personally designed and delivered to your Mum. This is great value offer available now for Mother’s Day. Feel free to contact me for prices. This voucher offer is also available for businesses and hotels, as corporate arrangements present a professional image to clients, staff, and the public.
For those of you whose Mum has passed it can be a difficult day, especially if your loss was recent. Many people choose to honour their Mums by leaving flowers on the grave when visiting. It’s a gesture of love that can bring some comfort us in a small way.
As you can see, this journey of giving and receiving flowers has taken us on a roller coaster of emotions, from happiness, love, grief, surprise, joy, respect, and much more.
This is backed up by behavioural research findings at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. The study concluded that flowers have an immediate impact on happiness. When a person received flowers, they expressed true delight and reacted with an instant smile. Participants also reported feeling less depressed or anxious after receiving flowers, and also the presence of flowers created a sense of intimacy in relationships with family and friends. (Source; Society of American Florists).
Different colours and tones can be used to express particular emotions, such as soft pastel shades of peaches, creamy tones, lemon and soft pinks to express sympathy or nurturing. These soft shades skilfully combined portray a message of sensitivity and caring.
Bold colours such as rich reds, purples, oranges and hot pink add a touch of romance and sophistication to an arrangement or bouquet.
I’ll leave you with this quote that sums it up best.
“Our response to colour is intensely emotional, and flowers can be a catalyst for feelings that stimulate more than just our sense of sight and smell.” (Source; Leatrice Eiseman, International Colour Expert.)
I hope it won’t be too long before your spirits are lifted by receiving flowers, or having a fresh bouquet brightening your home or office.
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It’s a common experience for us all in social settings and networking events. When people ask the question, “What do you do?” I see it as an opportunity to tell my story as a Floral Designer, and share some background and insights into my world of floristry. So today I’m going to focus on frequently asked questions that arise when I meet new people from all walks of life.
The most commonly asked question I hear is, “Where do you get your flowers?” It’s a fair question, as I’m sure when people stop to buy a bouquet at the florist, they give no thought to the source of the flowers or how they ended up nicely assembled and wrapped.
Many people I speak to assume I grow my own, which would be wonderful in a perfect world, but it’s not that simple. For a start, I don’t have acres of land to grow a mass variety of seasonal flowers. Even if that were so, I would spend more time nurturing and farming the flowers than actually making, selling and delivering the customers arrangements and bouquets.
Working in the floral industry means I operate in the world of fresh produce. This presents challenges, as the stock I purchase needs to be in top condition when I buy, and last up to a week for the client to enjoy.
The fresh flower supply chain starts with the flower farms. These growers invest a lot of time, money, and research into developing healthier and stronger cut flowers to meet the demands of the industry and remain competitive with imports. Some growers choose to protect their stock from the harsh elements of nature by growing in climate controlled greenhouses, while others plant out in acres of fields and beds. The ongoing challenges and financial investment include environmental controls such as pest and disease management, irrigation, and artificial lighting to produce top quality flowers ready for harvest, packing and shipment.
Once picked and packed, the stock is then transported to local and interstate wholesalers, or exported overseas. When it arrives at wholesalers, the flowers are ready for sale to florists. That’s where I come into the picture!
One of the benefits of being my own boss is having the luxury of venturing off to the markets and choosing my own stock. Nothing gives me more delight than walking into the cold room and seeing a medley of flowers of multiple colours, varieties and textures. It still amazes me when I stumble across a flower or foliage type that I’ve never seen before, filling me with a rush of inspiration. Sourcing flowers never feels like work to me….I’m living the dream!!!
After choosing the freshest flowers suitable for a particular order, I make my way back to my home based studio to begin on the design creation that will meet the brief for my customer. Then I photograph the finished product, and personally deliver to the recipient. This is often one of the highlights of my day, seeing the surprise and joy on the recipient’s face when they open the door and I hand over their gift with a smile.
As you can see there are many links in the chain when it comes to breeding, growing, producing, and selling fresh cut flowers. It is easy to under estimate the effort and cost involved in the end product of a bouquet or arrangement. So next time you see fresh flowers for sale, or receive them as a gift, I hope you can appreciate all the steps in the flower chain that have taken place to bring to you a beautiful gift of nature that will bring colour into your day.
Another question I would like to be asked is “What sets you apart from other florists?” One of my differences is my personal service, which includes taking the order myself, making the arrangement/bouquet, and sending a photo of the finished product to the customer who called in the order. Many customers are pleasantly surprised by this, as when they have ordered flowers previously online or elsewhere, they never see what was sent to the recipient. I want to ensure my customer is happy with their purchase, so personal service and attention is important to me.
Another different type of product I offer is a choice of gift vouchers. Customers can purchase regular flowers to be delivered for either 2, 3, or 4 consecutive weeks. It’s the gift that keeps on giving, and I’m sure anyone would love weekly flowers to bring colour and life into their home or business! The recipient won’t forget you in a hurry, as every week will bring another unique gift. This would be an ideal choice for Mother’s Day, Sunday 14th May as it is fast approaching. Contact me (Wendy) now, as I am taking orders in advance, so as to avoid the last minute rush.
This time last year (2016), I was anticipating our visit to the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show, (MIFGS). This annual autumn exhibition of cut flowers, gardens, and landscaping set amongst the lush, leafy grounds of Carlton Gardens is a must do for any and every nature lover. Even if you’re not mad about flowers, there is so much on offer to cover all interests.
As the stifling heat of summer is gladly farewelled, the welcome change of seasons brings with it a sense of excitement as March signifies the start of autumn. Many gardeners and flower lovers look forward to autumn, taking opportunities to visit garden shows and exhibitions, with MIFGS being one of the best.
Inside the Royal Exhibition Building, (a showcase in itself), are cut floral displays and installations, student design competitions, talks and demonstrations, workshops, art displays, and retail stalls selling interesting crafts, gifts and products. Outside in the grounds are a myriad of show gardens, horticultural displays and products, achievable gardens, sculptures and much more. Inside and out, every corner I turned revealed a feast for the eyes, a visual euphoria of colours, style, mass plantings, clever design, unleashed creativity and new ideas to try for yourself. As the senses go into overload, I highly recommend visiting over two days, so as not to miss anything.
As a Floral Designer, one of my passions is visiting garden shows and exhibitions locally, interstate, and overseas. It’s important for me to keep up with current trends in the flower industry, and changes in floral design styles. This allows me to share and offer my insights with my clients to meet their particular needs.
One of the large, spectacular installations in the Exhibition Building was the Chrysco Flowers ballroom scene. The setting portrayed masqueraded mannequins wearing floral gowns, a floral tablecloth draping over the round dining table, and a spectacular, central floral chandelier under the dome to complete the scene. The entire installation used thousands of tiny Chrysanthemums, all skilfully and painstakingly arranged to create each unique work of art. Monochrome colours were mostly used for the floral gowns, tablecloth, and chandelier.
Against the back wall I spotted an eye catching art deco drinks trolley, featuring a flowing urn arrangement. The river of flowers streaming onto the floor gave this installation a sense of movement and life. Blooms of red, yellow, and orange flowers embedded into a lush green base of mixed foliage alluded to a sense of opulence and abundance, imitating a lively stream of flowing champagne and cocktails to impress the wealthy guests.
The overall scene for me was reminiscent of a bygone era high society masquerade ball, enhanced by the gold furnishings, crystal, and place settings. The use of mirrors placed on the back wall added to the illusion of generous space and depth, giving viewers a surprise glimpse at the back of the mannequins’ gowns.
I can only imagine the amount of hours and hard work that would have gone into putting this amazing display together. What a great experience it would have been to be a part of something as spectacular as MIFGS, and having the joy of seeing a team effort come together in creating a unique piece of floral design art. I can only hope that one day I will have the same opportunity.
On a smaller scale, the same can be said for the time and expertize put into creating a bouquet and arrangement by a floral designer. When a client sees the finished product, all they really see is the flowers. But what is unseen is the skill and labour required for creating a unique floral creation that will bring joy into someone’s day. I wonder how many people appreciate the true value of an arrangement when considering the time and effort involved, similar to a work of art by an artist?
At MIFGS what stood out to me was the amazing size and quality of the flowers and foliage in all of the displays. As a Queensland gardener visiting a cooler climate, I am envious of the variety of flowers grown in southern states, as the climate is so conducive to growing bulbous flowers, roses and foliage not suitable for sub-tropical climates.
My favourite flowers so abundantly displayed throughout the exhibition were large dahlias, tulips, hydrangea, freesias, sedum, hyacinth, fuchsia, iris, and a range of burgundy foliage. Some of the Achievable Gardens used clever blending of contrasting foliage colours ranging from dark to light green, silver, burgundy, red, and greys.
A highlight to end the show for me was winning a stunning bouquet made by a florist doing a stage demonstration. By simply asking a question I was given an amazing prize bouquet made up of mixed tropicals, spray roses and foliage. I “paid it forward” to a random young lady in the street, explaining I had to fly home. It was an unforgettable moment, with the joy of giving flowers blessing both of us. If you are keen to visit MIFGS, it runs from March 29-April 2.
So, you’ve just received a beautiful bouquet of cut flowers delivered to your door, or at work. Maybe it’s your birthday, or it’s a stunning bouquet of roses from your Valentine. Wow! What a special surprise, or maybe it was expected.
So what now? How do you show them off and care for them? In this article I will share with you how to care for your fresh flowers, and what tips and tricks to use to extend their life for more enjoyment.
Most people hunt around for any kind of vase, fill it with water, and place the bouquet in the vase. This is a common mistake. Firstly, the container needs to be an appropriate size and shape for the bouquet. A long stem bouquet will need a tall, upright vase, whereas a short stem posy will best suit a squat, wide mouthed vase. If you’re short on vases I can help with vase hire or sales. My collection is vast! (It’s one of my weaknesses).
The water level is important too. Only ¾ fill the vase, as more will be added in the coming days. Every bouquet is supplied with a sachet of flower food. Dissolve ½ the sachet into the water and stir well. Save the rest for later. This flower food is especially made to feed the flowers and fight any build-up of bacteria from the stems. It’s kind of like a fertilizer for flowers. Top up with fresh water in the days ahead.
Most bouquets from a reputable florist will have the leaves stripped from the stems. Any leaves below water level will cause bacteria to grow and build up, which shortens the life of cut flowers straight away. Remove any leaves/foliage before putting your bouquet in water.
We’re almost there…. Lastly, turn your bouquet upside down. Why? Have a close look at the ends of the stems. They should be white/greenish inside. This indicates they have been recently cut, which is vital for the health of your flowers. A fresh cut allows for water to quickly uptake through the stem and into the flower head, extending the life of the flowers. This should be done every 2-3 days. Using secateurs or a sharp knife, cut stem ends on an angle about 3 cm from the end. Cutting on an angle creates a larger surface area for water uptake than a straight cut.
Now you’re ready to vase up your bouquet. You may decide to remove the wrapping, or leave it on. I would suggest in summer it’s best to remove it to allow the flowers to breath and air.
If you’ve received an arrangement in a base/box, you will only need to carefully water every 2 days, as the flowers are drinking from an oasis base.
Now for the fun part….where to place your beautiful flowers. A tall, long stem arrangement will make an impact in any entrance, foyer, or hallway. This is where the elements of design come into it. As I mentioned in my last blog, the arrangement needs to be in scale with the surface it sits on, and the space around it. Consider the size of the table/sideboard and room. Does the arrangement look as if it belongs, or is it out of place? Play around with the area you are in, try different spots until you get the combination right.
Be aware that some everyday things in and around the home/office can shorten the life of your flowers, e.g. keep flowers away from fruit and vegetables, as they emit a gas called ethylene. Also keep them out of sunlight, and away from exhaust fumes, as all of these will damage cut flowers and shorten their life. That’s why it’s important not to buy flowers from fruit shops, servos, or roadside stalls. When you buy flowers from a reputable florist/floral designer, you know you are getting fresh flowers that have been conditioned properly with the right care and attention.
As a floral designer, I offer additional services that go beyond just creating bouquets and arrangements. One of these services is staging and styling. Are you selling your home? Or are you hosting an important dinner/event? I can help with both of these.
If you are having an open home inspection in the future, and want to add that splash of pizazz, I can work with you to decorate your home with fresh bouquets and arrangements. It’s amazing how a few strategically placed arrangements can light up a room and transform it from the mundane into a stylish, modern space. Using fresh flowers to enhance the presentation and warmth of the home will create a good first impression, add to the impact, and create a pleasurable memory.
Another service I am offering is the gift that keeps on giving. A Pick of the Bunch gift voucher offers a choice of regular arrangements delivered to the recipient for either 2, 3, or 4 consecutive weeks. Contact Wendy on 0401 317 011.
Hello 2017! A new year has arrived and brings a fresh clean page for us all to write our story and share with others. One of my new goals is to write a monthly blog on all things floral, with this being the first. I invite you to join me on this journey as I share with you the inside world of a Floral Designer.
After recently closing the chapter of 10 years in warehouse retail, I can now fully turn my attention to my passion of my floral design business, Pick of the Bunch. My modus operandi is working from my home based studio, where my focus on personal customer service and quality work is a high priority.
So what exactly is floral design? When I create any floral work, it must draw the viewer's attention and be pleasing to the eye. this doesn't just happen randomly. I achieve this by applying the elements and principles of floral design, so the end result will look like an artistic, creative arrangement or bouquet that fits together beautifully, and brings a smile to people's faces.
The elements of design include line, form, space, texture and colour. These elements form the basic framework of an arrangement, and together with the 7 principles of floral design, create a beautiful artistic floral gift for my customers and recipients to enjoy.
The 7 principles include proportion, scale, harmony, unity, rhythum, balance, and emphasis(or focal point). Proportion refers to the size relationship between the elements used, eg. flowers, foliage, container. Everything should work together, including the height of the flowers in relation to the base. A table arrangement should be in scale with the table and the size of the room. Harmony and unity is important in any floral work, as the combined elements must marry together and look as if they belong with each other. The design must look complete as one creative piece. The rhythm of an arrangement highlights the illusion of movement within the arrangement, as you would see in a circular, swirling bouquet, or a flowing cascading bouquet. Balance consists of 3 types; symmetrical, asymmetrical, and open. A symmetrical bouquet will have an equal quantity of flowers both sides. An asymmetrical bouquet has one side unequal, a more modern style sometimes used in fuller, cascading wedding bouquets. An open balance is seen in circular posy bouquets. The most important thing is that any bouquet or arrangement should look balanced from a design point of view. Finally, emphasis, or the focal point of an arrangement, draws the eye in to an element that stands out, either in colour, texture or size. It might be a bold central flower, or a grouping of berries or foliage off centre.
Having said all that, floral design is an art form, and sometimes I am tempted to stretch the boundaries a little. It's commonly known as creative licence. I'm sure all the arty readers out there will get where I'm coming from.
Another important aspect of my work is gaining a thorough understanding of the recipient's circumstances, and creating a work that speaks to their specific occasion. So when I make a sympathy arrangement, I design all elements to express a reflection of the sender's empathy for the loss suffered. I ask the customer ordering, specific questions that will help me choose the right flowers and design. My goal is to create and design a floral art work that has meaning, and stirs emotion for the person receiving the gift. It not only needs to look beautiful, but it needs to be an appropriate floral design that connects emotionally with the recipient.
That leads me to my next point! For all my male readers, this is for you!!! A very important date is approaching!! Valentine's Day is February 14, traditionally the day when single men (or married) show their love and affection for the special lady by sending flowers. It's often red roses chosen, but I also encourage the choice of other in season flowers that are often more long lasting in the unforgiving heat of February. Blooms such as sims (carnations), chrysanthemum disbuds, oriental lily, altroemeria, gerberas, mixed roses, natives, tropical and berries are all wonderful choices that will make a beautiful bouquet for the lady in you life.
I can help you take care of a Valentine's gift, and make it easy for you, from ordering right through to delivery.
By placing an early order you have the peace of mind in knowing you won't need to rush around at the last minute, as demand is always high. You can view samples of my work on www.birkdalepickofthebunch.com and call me on 0401 317 011 to place your order now.