Flowers& AUGUST 2013 $5.50
A Fresh Take on the Fall Palette Pg 30
Cast Your Vote in the Flowers& Design Contest Pg 17
Permanent Flowers as Wearable Art Pg 42
29th Annual Flowers& Design Contest View the ten finalists, and vote for your favorites!
Grower Profile: Continental Flowers This pioneering company has helped to shape the industry.
On the Cover 30
Fresh Harvest Fall designs in a reimagined seasonal palette. Floral design by Kevin Ylvisaker AIFD, PFCI Photography by Ron Derhacopian
Savage Botanicals Fantasy couture, celebrating the subversive in design. Fashion design by Joyce Mason-Monheim AIFD, PFCI, AzMF and Gail Chronister AIFD Photography by Ron Derhacopian
4 AUGUST 2013
Food coloring in water tubes wonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t actually affect the color of these bright blooms, but it makes a clever statement about the role of color in our lives. Clove-studded oranges add delightful fragrance. For more colorful fall designs by Kevin Ylvisaker AIFD, PFCI, see pages 30-41.
Focus on Design Using Votive Candles with Flowers By Rich Salvaggio AIFD, AAF, PFCI
Creative Edge Product Series: Nursery Plants By Hitomi Gilliam AIFD
Net Effects Ready to Vlog? By Sarah Botchick
Hydrangeas By Bill McKinley AIFD and Bruce Wright
Shop Profile The Flower Center, Stephens City, Virginia By Robin Dale Meyers Photography by Virginia Hamrick
Where to Buy
What’s in Store
12 Flowers& Volume 34, Number 8 (ISSN 0199-4751). Published monthly by Teleflora, 11444 W. Olympic Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90064, 800-321-2665, fax 310-966-3610. Subscription rates: U.S., 1 year, $66.00. Canada, 1 year, $90.00 (US currency only); Canadian GST registration number R127851293. Other foreign countries, 1 year, $102.00 (US currency only). Single issues, $5.50 each prepaid. Periodicals postage paid at Los Angeles, Calif., and at additional mailing offices. Postmaster: Send address changes to Flowers&, PO Box 16029, North Hollywood, CA 91615-9871. Copyright
6 AUGUST 2013
2013 by Teleflora. Printed in U.S.A.
Flowers& Publisher Editor Art Director National Advertising Director
Rich Salvaggio AIFD, AAF, PFCI firstname.lastname@example.org Bruce Wright Tony Fox Peter Lymbertos
On the Internet
ADVISORY BOARD Teleflora Education Specialists Susan Ayala
SAO Professional Design, Loma Linda, Calif., Tom Bowling
Fairfield, Ohio, Tim Farrell AIFD, PFCI,
Kansas City, Mo., Hitomi
AIFD, AAF, PFCI,
Phoenix Flower Shops, Phoenix, Ariz., Vonda LaFever AIFD, PFCI, AZMF,
Essexville, Mich., Julie Poeltler Iowa, Jerome Raska
Surroundings Events and Floral, Verona, Wisc., Alex Jackson
Fla., Joyce Mason-Monheim
Vancouver, B.C., Canada, Bob Hampton AIFD, PFCI,
Farrellâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Florist, Drexel Hill, Penn., Bert Ford
Ford Flower Co., Salem, N.H., Jim Ganger
John Hosek AIFD, PFCI,
AIFD, AAF, PFCI,
Tucson, Ariz., Darla Pawlak
Fountain of Flowers & Gifts, Lone Tree,
AIFD, AAF, PFCI, CAFA, MCF,
Blumz... by JR Designs, Detroit, Mich.,
Three Bunch Palms Productions, Palm Springs, Calif., Gerard Toh
Garden Trade Services, Sherman Oaks, Calif., Cindy Tole, Botanica Flowers & Gifts,
Greensboro, N.C., Kevin Ylvisaker AIFD, PFCI, Mukwonago, Wisc.
EDITORIAL COUNCIL Marie Ackerman PFCI,
AIFD, AAF, PFCI,
Teleflora, Oklahoma City, Okla., Tom Butler
Teleflora, Oklahoma City, Okla., Carol J. Caggiano
Jeffersonton, Va., Wilton Hardy
AIFD, AAF, PFCI, FSMD,
Palm Beach, Fla., Rocky Pollitz
AIFD, AAF, PFCI,
A. Caggiano, Inc.,
JWH Design and Consultant, West
Blue Jay, Calif., Elizabeth Seiji
Edelweiss Flower Boutique, Santa Monica, Calif.
Customer service: For service on your magazine subscription, including change of address, please write to Flowers&, P.O. Box 16029, No. Hollywood, CA 91615-9871, enclosing a recent address label. For faster service, call 818-286-3128; Teleflora members call 800-421-2815.
focus on design Floral design by Rich Salvaggio AIFD, AAF, PFCI
Photography by Ron Derhacopian
For product information, see Where to Buy, page 62.
Enhance floral designs with stacked votives. For parties, weddings, and holiday designs, for mantels and sideboards or back to back as a centerpiece, designs that feature a row of votive candles add festive atmosphere. To make the most of them, elevate them on floral-foam risers and wrap the glass cups with beaded wire to reinforce the color story of your design. The stairstep technique demonstrated here also adds depth to your design. 1. Fill a long, low, rectangular container with floral foam at two levels, such that the taller level creates an appropriate “riser” for your votives. 2. Cover the top and sides of the foam with ti leaves (pinned to the foam with greening pins) and galax leaves. 3. Wrapping the votives with beaded wire boosts the color impact of the design and harmonizes the votives with the flowers. Attach votives to the foliage with pan glue: use a brush or any kind of applicator to daub the bottoms of the votive cups with glue from the pan. 4. Add flowers by pushing the stems right through the ti leaves, first making a slit with your design knife if necessary. Everything up to this point can be done well in advance, and this part goes very quickly with advance preparations. Here, a composite table arrangement with three containers—one large, two smaller—dramatizes the stairstep effect with repetition. b
3 AUGUST 2013 11
creative edge Floral design by Hitomi Gilliam AIFD
Photography by Philippe Martin-Morice
For product information, see Where to Buy, page 62.
Mixing cut flowers and nursery plants can really give your designs an edge, with a whole new world of visual options. Many nursery plants offer long life in a design. Combining them with materials from the cooler can be a fun experience for the designer and for the customer.
A floating garden To create this effect, insert willow whips into wet floral foam in a long, low ceramic planter. When the planter is pretty much filled with a thicket of willow, cover the foam surface with gel beads. Attach plastic water tubes with water in them between the willow whips with UGlu Dashes; add Bind Wire to make them really secure. Fill the water tubes with flowers and foliage cut from nursery plants, such as violets, miniature cyclamens, and maidenhair fern. A tillandsia, tucked underneath some of the flowers and secured with Bind Wire, adds yet another dimension.
Arisaema griffithii Above, the cobra lily plant is a special treat for plant aficionadoes. Half of this composition is planted in soil, while the other half is designed in floral foam. The cobra lily bloom rises on its own stem, next to a second stem that bears sheltering leaves. The floral foam side is lined with polyfoil. To re-create the shady, woodsy natural environment for arisaema, cut chunks of cherry wood are criss-crossed over the mossed surface, while maidenhair fern and cut hellebores are casually inserted for a natural look.
Cordyline armature At left, Cordyline indivisa is a plant with a sturdy central stem and a fountain of leaves at the top. Here, a potted Cordyline indivisa was cut whole above the roots. This was inserted into wet floral foam and turned into an armature by interweaving the individual leaves and attaching them to the trunk and to each other with UGlu Dashes. A cut whole clematis plant was then tied to this woven structure. At the base, the foam is covered with a combination of maidenhair fern, clematis, cordyline leaves, and gel beads. There are fewer than 10 insertions in this design. b
AUGUST 2013 13
net effects By Sarah Botchick
Are you vlogging? It’s easier than you think!
ging I thought it would be better if I just “spoke from the heart” without a script—not my best idea! You will be smoother and more professional if you create an outline and practice it a bit. BASIC TOOLS
Vlog : a video blog (source: Dictionary. com). Once you get the basics of blogging down (as explained in last month’s Net Effects), it’s time to take the next step: vlogging. A vlog is simply a blog post that takes the form of a video. GETTING STARTED • Make a plan. Since time is your most valuable resource, spend it well. Consider: What goals do you want to accomplish? What message do you want to deliver? What demographic are you trying to reach? Ask yourself, “What do I know that I can share with my customers to be a valuable asset to them, to make them come to my shop, to make them buy from me?” Choose topics that you can be passionate about. • Decide on your style. What presentation style do you want to project? Do you want to be funny or serious? Casual or formal? Upbeat or soothing? • Decide on location. Some vloggers choose to vlog from outdoor locations in order to take advantage of natural outdoor lighting. If you do this, then you will not need to purchase studio lights, and you can change up your setting at will. But if you want to vlog from inside your shop, you will need to choose a backdrop—whether it is a simple studio backdrop (see below) or a beautiful location within the shop that shows off your flowers. • Go shopping. You may already have everything you need, but check the tools list below just to make sure, and if you need anything, purchase it before you start filming. • Write a script. When I first started vlog14 www.flowersandmagazine.com
• A camera. You need at least a point-andshoot with HD (high-definition) video capacity and a built-in microphone. • Light. The simplest solution is to go outside: choose a cloudy day to reduce squinting and shadows. Another option is to sit near a window; just make sure the window is not directly behind you. • A background. The ideal background is something in or related to your shop—as long as it elevates your brand! You can also purchase a simple backdrop from your local camera supply store, or use a nicely painted wall. • A tripod (or someone to hold the camera). If your camera has a remote feature, you can purchase a tripod and do all of your video yourself. If you don’t have a tripod and a remote feature, you will need a “camera man.” • Simple video editing software. If you are just getting started, the free programs Windows Movie Maker or Apple’s iMovie will be sufficient for you. TOOL UPGRADES • Video camera. Many vloggers choose to have a dedicated video camera. • Studio lights. If you want to use studiotype lights, you will need at least three. The website www.simplevloggingtips.com explains what kind of lights you need and how best to set them up. • A microphone separate from your camera’s microphone. • Better software. Some find the free programs to be too limiting. There are many options of other software. PCMag reviews the top ten here: www.pcmag.com/ article2/0,2817,2397215,00.asp. IT’S ALL ABOUT YOU You don’t need to be fancy or a supermodel, just a polished professional. Let the camera
roll; be yourself. Pretend you are chatting with your favorite customer in your shop. Remember —there is always the delete button! GETTING YOUR VIDEO ONLINE After you have taken your video you will need to import it into your video editing software and edit it. If you don’t know how to do this, look up your software online—you will be amazed at how many how-to videos are available! Once you have it edited and finished you will need to post it to your blog. Some blogging software has an option to insert your video right into the blog. If that is not an option, you can upload it to YouTube, and then choose “Share” and “Embed Code.” This will give you a snippet of code to copy and paste into your blog. Be sure to write a description with your location, shop name, and descriptive keywords (a.k.a. “tags”) for your search engine optimization. BE SEEN You want as many people as possible to see this video you have worked so hard on. Here are some ways to get it out there: • Feature it on your website—prominently, on the first page. • Post to your social media pages (Facebook, Google+, and LinkedIn). You can do this one of two ways: you can either upload it directly or you can post a link to your blog. If your blog is part of your website you will find maximum impact if you post the link to your blog because it drives traffic to your website and increases the chances of your viewers shopping your site. Also, of course, post it to any Facebook or LinkedIn Groups or Google+ Communities you may participate in. • Tweet the link. You can also include the link to your vlog post in your email newsletter, and on all statements and invoices that go out. Give vlogging a try. You will be surprised how easy it is and the rewards you can reap!
Sarah Botchick is Marketing Director for Pioneer Imports & Wholesale in Berea, Ohio and the owner of Stellar Marketing & Consulting (www.stellarmarketingconsulting.com). b
Pick 2 Increase Sales by 20%
Increase Salary and Profit to 20%
What you have now
The Second Time Flowers& Around 29th Annual
DESIGN CONTEST Here are the finalists. Now it’s your turn to pick the top three winners! Wedding themes always seem to draw exceptionally expressive, original, and skillful entries to the Flowers& Design Contest—and this year’s theme was no exception. You gave the “encore” bride your all, with an incredible variety of creatively designed and beautifully photographed bouquets. There were many more than ten entries that could have qualified as finalists—but in the end, the judges selected those that appear on the following pages, giving due consideration to the classic criteria for design along with the quality of the photograph and the requirements of this year’s theme.
CASH PRIZES As we do every year, we ask you, our readers, to pick the first-, second-, and third-place winners. Review the designs that appear on the following pages and vote for your three top favorites, following instructions on the postagepaid ballot card bound into the magazine facing this page. You must use an original ballot card to vote; there is only one ballot per magazine subscription. Each ballot asks for a first, second, and third choice; these choices are weighted in the final tally.
Each of the remaining seven finalists will receive an honorable mention certificate.
Place the card in the mail so that it’s postmarked by Friday, August 30, 2013. The winners will be revealed in the November 2013 issue of Flowers&. AUGUST 2013 17
The Second Time Around
Materials include phalaenopsis orchids, mini carnations, lisianthus, waxflower, genista, lavender delphinium, African violet blooms, begonia plant blooms, Mega Wire, spool wire, florist wire, stem tape, beads, and ribbon.
Materials include â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Balouâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; cymbidium orchids, succulent rosettes, dogwood, beaded wire, and florist wire.
2 18 www.flowersandmagazine.com
Materials include ‘Million Stars’ gypsophila, Tack 2000 spray adhesive, a 16-ounce bag of clear vase-filler gems, midollino sticks, aluminum wire, Diamond Wire, and waterproof tape.
Materials include hydrangea, hellebores, ‘Quicksand’ roses, and ‘Sea Star’ fern.
4 AUGUST 2013 19
The Second Time Around
Materials include ‘Miranda’ David Austin roses, cymibidum orchids, dendrobium orchids, lily grass, pittosporum, flower gems, and an extra-large bouquet holder.
Materials include ‘Purple Haze’ roses, tulips, hydrangea, succulents, hypericum, white spray roses, bear grass, boutonniere pins, and a cable tie.
6 20 www.flowersandmagazine.com
Materials include phalaenopsis orchids, miniature spathiphyllum, African violet blooms, leucadendron, â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Green Trickâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; dianthus, eucalyptus leaves, aluminum wire, Diamond Wrap, Lomey corsage pins, bullion, dry foam, and floral adhesive.
Materials include cymbidium petals, wire, beads, tape, and lace ribbon.
AUGUST 2013 21
The Second Time Around
Materials include ‘Geraldine’ roses, ranunculus, grevillea flowers, hypericum, sprouted curly willow, two-inch succulent rosettes, sponge mushrooms, a floral-foam bouquet holder, double-face satin ribbon, and sheer satin ribbon.
Materials include green spider mums and button spray mums, ‘Saba’ mums, lily grass, limegreen sheer ribbon, corsage pins, and a bouquet holder.
This pioneering company has grown with the industry it helped to shape.
HOW DIFFERENT IS the supply of cut flowers today from what was available 40 years ago? Ask any florist who’s been around that long, and they’ll tell you: Very different. Where florists once had to be contented with roses, carnations, and pompons (spray mums) in a narrow range of colors and varieties, today’s market offers a diversity of flower types and fashion-forward hybrids unheard of in, say, 1974. That was the year Continental Flowers got its start. “We’re one of the original, pioneering import companies,” says company president Bill Fernandez. This was the decade that saw the beginning of the rise of cut-flower imports, spurred in part by the energy crisis of the 1970s,
which raised the cost of heating greenhouses in the U.S. Like other pioneer importers, Continental began by bringing carnations and pompons into the U.S., mainly from Colombia. Today, the company supplies over 100 varieties of flowers from Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, and Brazil. “It’s a lot to handle,” says Bill, who credits his daughter Tricia Gomez—the company’s director of purchasing—with managing a very complex operation so that supply meets demand. “But our customers appreciate that we offer onestop shopping. We try to be the wholesaler’s wholesaler.” Within each flower category are many subcategories: for example, five varieties of
DISBUDDING Alstroejewels® is the name Continental Flowers gives to its premium line of alstroemeria in vibrant colors. As seen in the top left photo below, disbudding—the process of removing the center bud from a stem of alstroemeria, about ten days before harvest—is a labor-intensive step that makes all the difference to the size and the vigor of the remaining buds as they bloom. If it is left on the stem, that center bud won’t open; it will just turn yellow—but still, removing it sends more energy to the other alstroemeria flowers.
HARVESTING When it comes to harvesting alstroemeria (bottom left photo), it’s crucial to get the cut point right. Harvest the stems too soon, and they will never develop the vivid color for which Continental Flowers’ Alstroejewels® are famous; too late, and the open blooms can be damaged in shipping. INSPECTING ROSES Below, a worker at Continental Flowers’ facility in Miami inspects a box of roses in a refrigerated holding room; at the bottom of the page, Bill Fernandez (on the right) checks labels.
Continental Flowers Locations: Miami, with farms in Colombia, Ecuador and four other countries Founded: 1974 Specialties: Alstroejewels® alstroemeria, roses, spray mums—and one-stop shopping Size: over 100 hectares of greenhouse production on its own farms Employees: 45 in Miami, 350 on farms President: Bill Fernandez www.continentalflowers.com
AUGUST 2013 25
grower profile gypsophila, 20 of carnations. Orders today are highly customized. “Forty or even 30 years ago, this industry was like the auto industry in the days of Henry Ford, who said, ‘You can have any color you want as long as it’s black,’ ” says Bill. “You could order a box of mixed carnations, but you wouldn’t know how many would be red and how many white. Nowadays customers want something very specific: a quarter box of peach carnations, or 100 stems of ‘Sweetness’ roses. Most of our customers are buying products they need day to day—and many more solid boxes than mixed.” To meet these more complex demands, it helps that Continental Flowers has its own online sales and inventory system, which allows regular customers to place orders 24 hours a day, seven days a week—“and as they place the order, they’re not just sending us an email request, they’re grabbing live inventory,” Bill explains. “The only thing the salesperson does is check and print the order. It’s a very sophisticated system that has taken us 10 years to develop with inhouse programmers.” Not that salespeople aren’t available to help—a sales staff of 12 is constantly giving customers advice and information. FARM FRESH It also helps that Continental Flowers is now a grower as well as an importer, with over 100 acres of its own greenhouses spread over half a dozen or so flower farms; the rest of the company’s flower supply comes from another 500 or so acres of greenhouses at farms that partner with Continental. “This is what gives us the variety,” says Bill: “the lime-green hydrangeas from Peru, the roses and callas from Bogotá, pompons from Medellin, liatris and lilies from the Dominican Republic, tropicals from Costa Rica. Altogether we import from about 50 different farms.” By the same token, having direct ownership of some farms gives Continental Flowers an edge in terms of working with breeders to introduce the newest floral varieties. In alstroemeria, for example, Continental Flowers works closely with the leading Dutch breeders like Royal van Zanten, Könst, and Hilverda. “When they come up with a new variety and they want to find out how it will do in Colom26 www.flowersandmagazine.com
POMPON MUMS Spray chrysanthemums were among the crops that made Continental Flowers’ reputation in the early days—and continue to do so today. Among the most popular varieties are the cushion pompons ‘Music’ (top photo) and ‘Golden Yellow’.
ROSES Although Continental Flowers grows and distributes over 100 varieties of flowers, roses are a specialty, along with pompons and alstroemeria. The company’s Dos Niñas brand includes such successful rose varieties as (from top to bottom) ‘Cherry Brandy’, ‘High & Bonita’, and ‘Cool Water’.
grower profile bia, they’ll ask us to test it for them,” says Bill. As a result, Continental Flowers has been the first or among the first to introduce such new alstroemeria varieties as soft pink ‘Prima Donna’, bright red ‘Nadia’, or the latest hit, ‘Green Day’. In 2002, Continental introduced the Alstroejewels® line, known (as you might guess from the name) for their vibrant colors. “Before that the alstroemerias that were available were mostly in pastel colors,” Bill explains. “But the trends, not just in flowers but in clothing and decorating, were going away from pastels to jewel tones.” It’s not only breeding that gives Alstroejewels® their vivid color; it’s also how the flowers are grown. “We change out the plants after five years,” says Bill. “After five years, the stems become thinner and weaker, the flowers smaller, and the colors less intense. Some growers try to keep harvesting from the same plants for up to ten years, because replacing them with new plants is expensive, but then the quality degenerates.” Replacing the plants, of course, also offers the opportunity to stay up-to-date with the latest hybrids, in the fashion colors that customers find most appealing. If replacing plants is labor-intensive, so is disbudding, the process of removing the center bud from a stem of alstroemeria. This bud never develops, but if it is left on the stem it will sap energy from the surrounding blooms. “You need something like one and a half employees per hectare just to do the disbudding,” says Bill, “but it’s worth it because you get bigger, healthier flowers.” COMING UP ROSES While perhaps better known for alstroemerias, Continental Flowers has also been a leader in the introduction of new rose varieties. In 1985, the company introduced ‘Madame Delbard’, which became the best-selling rose for over a decade, according to Bill. “Later we came out with ‘Forever Young’, an excellent rose with big blooms, though expensive to grow, so that we send it mostly to Russia, where they are willing to pay for it.” Continental Flowers grows roses on farms in Ecuador as well as in Colombia. Its line includes the popular ‘Freedom’ rose and the Dos Niñas collection of “color” roses. 28 www.flowersandmagazine.com
“These days we’re focusing more on solid-color roses” versus bicolor or two-tone varieties, says Bill. He notes that trends in the market are often set by brides, who have become savvy and aggressive about finding flowers, especially roses, in the colors they want for their wedding. “They find our website and ask about the varieties they see,” he tells. “I always try to guide them to local florists, who should be able to buy our roses from their local wholesaler. We sell to over 800 customers nationwide, in 47 or 48 states, on a regular basis.” Buying from an importer who is also a grower offers customers the best of both worlds, Bill argues. “We have all the inventory,” he says. “Sure, it’s always better to order in advance, and that’s what people usually do when they need something special. The best thing is to have a standing order so you know what you’re going to get every week. We order it from the farms, and we get it to the customer in time and in good condition. We have good relations with cargo agents; we have state-of-the-art coolers and pre-coolers and refrigerated trucks. But we also have up to 5,000 boxes in our cooler on any given day that are for the spot market, because a lot of our customers expect us to have that product in stock when they need it even faster. It’s always better if you had told me a week ago, because we may not have the exact variety and grade you need. But we can help you out. ‘Could I have more of those white calla bouquets?’ Yes.” 40 AND STILL GROWING “Thirty years ago you could visit a typical wholesale distributor in Atlanta or Mobile or Dallas and you would find boxes of glads, carns, and roses, and not much of anything else,” Bill remembers. “Nowadays, that wholesaler may be selling fewer carnations, but more of a lot of other items—just a lot more variety.” Getting ready to celebrate a 40th anniversary in August of 2014, Continental Flowers is still expanding its product line. “We just got a new partner farm in Costa Rica,” says Bill. “We’re starting with items like iris, different types of sunflowers, stocks, birds of paradise.” The company, and the industry, are a long way from 1974—and the road stretches out ahead. b
VIVID HUES By constantly introducing new varieties, Continental Flowers keeps up with color trends and advances in breeding. Varieties featured in the Alstroejewels® line include, from top to bottom, ‘Cote d’Azur’, ‘Jamaica’, ‘Mayfair’, and ‘Nadia’.
Fresh Harvest Fall designs in a reimagined seasonal palette. For product information,
RUBIES ON THE SAND
Floral design by Kevin Ylvisaker AIFD, PFCI
Photography by Ron Derhacopian
see Where to Buy, page 62.
Bicolored roses define the outline of this design, along with golden amaran-
thus, and also harmonize the color scheme that combines vivid reds with a range of warm, dry, self-effacing tans and greenish browns. Gerberas sport sandy-yellow disk florets that echo the color of the rose petals. Bosc pears match the color of the amaranthus but offer a contrasting texture. Ears of Indian corn, picked into the foam, call out the purple of the rose stems, while rust-colored mums and green croton leaves fill out the mix.
AUGUST 2013 31
Fresh Harvest UP WITH YELLOW Red amaranthus enlivens the otherwise close-analogous color scheme in the design at left with its contrasting hue, while its draping line softens the upward movement of the sunflowers, peppers and tulips. The gold amaranthus harmonizes nicely with the gold Dubai vase. PUMPKIN AND SPICE
Fashioned using the Oasis Square Foam Riser, this design could easily support a jack-o-lantern or a punch bowl where the pumpkin sits, on the riser’s Styrofoam center. The riser itself rests in a square plastic Essentials Designer Bowl. Foot-long cinnamon sticks are banded with copper flat wire; Kevin used one end of the flat wire to insert the bundles into the riser’s floral foam. Finally, he added roses, hypericum, and sweet peppers—securing some of the peppers in the foam with picks, so that he could turn their attractive stems outward.
AUGUST 2013 33
WILD OATS Two full bunches of oats make a strong fall statement and provide the design at left with height and volume, while stem-dyed craspedia, short roses, ‘Green Trick’ dianthus, and curls of half-inch flat wire in matte gold add long-lasting color and line. With one bunch of oats standing vertically in the center, Kevin took the other bunch, split it in half, bundled the halves with Bind Wire and secured them in the foam horizontally with wood picks.
GREEN + WHEAT “Adding fresh green into the fall palette is a good way to shake it up,” says Kevin. This design starts with one full brick of foam in the copper-colored rectangular Essentials Designer Bowl. Add two loops of Apple Green one-inch flat wire, then the three bunches of wheat, each bundled with a spiral of narrow flat wire. Notice how Kevin finished off each spiral at the top with a curling flourish! Finally, he pavéd flowers in clusters into the foam: spider mums, ‘Green Trick’ dianthus, and two varieties of rustcolored spray mums.
AUGUST 2013 35
IN THE ROUND Below, red rosehips and bright green spray mums add depth and lively color to a medley of ornamental gourds, miniature Indian corn, pincushions and roses, all in a round basket. Kevin began by placing the gourds (on wood picks) and the corn (secured with wired wood picks), then added the fresh flowers in groups.
NUTS TO YOU
Fiber Sticks and natural pods and nuts combine in a sculptural design thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s both abstract and organic, and certainly full of fall feeling. Kevin placed Sahara foam upright in an eight-inch glass cube, which left just enough room to surround the foam with nuts and pods. He whittled down the Fiber Sticks at one end before inserting them in the foam; their soft inner core is easily pierced with the stems of the dried jinga pods. Gold reindeer moss covers the top of the foam and brightens the color scheme.
AUGUST 2013 37
HARVEST BLUE While purple may be considered part of the traditional fall palette, blue delphinium and eryngium add something unexpected that nonetheless harmonizes beautifully with red and brown. Kevin began by placing the red pears into this design, then the Florigene carnations, delphinium, eggplant, crabapples, eryngium, and green reindeer moss, with brown wired wool as the finishing touch. ON THE BIAS Two strong diagonalsâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;a red ti leaf, striped with red flat wire, and two downward-thrusting bundles of red pineapple buttonsâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;give this design its dynamic line. Kevin lined the terra-cotta container with plastic before filling it with floral foam; he made the stripe of flat wire adhere to the spine of the curving ti leaf with UGlu Dashes. He also used red flat wire to bundle some of the pineapple buttons and to pin the bundles into the foam. Mini gerberas and rose hips complete the composition.
AUGUST 2013 39
MÉNAGE À FALL Offering variations on a theme, three bubble bowls filled with bright yellow flowers bring a little summer sunshine into the fall. Each of the three monofloral bunches is paired with an accent material—tulips with midollino, carnations with aluminum wire, and roses with Deco Sand. Each is bound with gold bullion.
METAL MATRIX Two different kinds of flat wire—one-inch wire in matte copper and half-inch wire in shiny gold—are all it takes to create a sheltering sculpture that enhances the rich tones of three cymbidium blossoms in a simple yet elegant design. The loops of wire are held together with UGlu. b
AUGUST 2013 41
Fantasy couture creations, celebrating the subversive in design.
For product information,
Fashion design by Joyce Mason-Monheim AIFD, PFCI, AzMF and Gail Chronister AIFD Photography by Ron Derhacopian Permanent botanicals from Baisch & Skinner, www.baischskinner.com Models: Brittany Maas, Jordin Nestor, Christina Reinsch Hair and makeup: Kirsten Kroeger Photographed at The Phoenician, A Luxury Collection Resort, Scottsdale, Arizona
see Where to Buy, page 62.
WHAT DO FASHION and floral design have in common? And what, specifically, can the provocative vision of designer and couturier Alexander McQueen teach us about making a powerful statement using floral materials? That intriguing question inspired a program presented at this summer’s National AIFD Symposium by Joyce Mason-Monheim AIFD, PFCI, AzMF. The dresses featured in that program, created using permanent botanicals and other materials in the floral designer’s tool kit, are seen here. Known as fashion’s “bad boy” from his rise to fame in the 1990s to his untimely death in 2010, McQueen continually challenged clichés about the nature of beauty and femininity. His sensibility exerts a powerful influence on popular culture even today. What intrigued Joyce most about McQueen’s work was his deft and compelling use of contrast: not only contrasts of color, texture, line, and form (light or dark, smooth or rough, round or angular, and so on) but such contrasts as fragility versus strength. While the dresses were designed by Joyce and by Gail Chronister AIFD, their completion required the efforts of a whole team of AIFD designers, including: Melanie Burnett AIFD, Diane Gonzalez AIFD, Katherine Gonzalez AIFD, Cathy Grim AIFD, Ikuko Hashimoto AIFD, Sharon Petelle Kantor AIFD, Patti Klawans AIFD, Claire Ortloff AIFD, and Ann Peckham AIFD. Look for a full report on AIFD Symposium in the September issue of Flowers&. For more information on AIFD, visit www.aifd.org.
INSECT AWAKENING The seasonal migration of monarch butterflies is one of nature’s most impressive gatherings, though it may be said to have a dark side: in nature, the color orange often signifies danger, and indeed, the monarch is poisonous. It’s typical of McQueen’s style that his dresses have their own distinctive form. Here, to support the bouffant skirt, a chicken-wire armature was covered in muslin, then overlaid, first with many layers of tulle, then with strips of fabric that make a sandwich of foam insulation, into which clumps of midollino are inserted. The butterflies, glued to the ends of the bouncy midollino, seem to be in flight.
AUGUST 2013 43
WOODLAND WARRIOR At left, in a reinterpretation of an Alexander McQueen original, Joyce designed this ensemble to evoke a defender of the forest. The cap, bodice and skirt were sewn with over 8,000 artificial hypericum berries, mingling khaki green and brown for a naturalistic variation of hue, to create a texture reminiscent of medieval armor. Providing contrast with the berries, strips of soft chiffon were torn, melted, and distressed with Design Master paints, as though fresh from battle.
AUTUMNAL RUINATION Autumn is the season when we see that beauty can be found in death and decay, as leaves turn color, barren branches emerge, and a whole new range of hues and textures is offered to the eye. Leaves, twigs, and grasses were grouped by color as they were added to this gown, creating patterns and movement within the narrow band of hues. For all of these dresses, materials had to be sewn, rather than glued into place, but here glue was used first to establish the placement, followed by handstitching for secure construction.
AUGUST 2013 45
PETALS AND PLASTIC Bristling with more than 12,000 white plastic cable ties in three sizes, from eight inches on up to four feet, this dress embodies the dramatic contrast between manmade materials and the natural beauty of petals and pearls. The cable ties were strung onto more than 150 feet of pearl wire; then the wires were sewn onto the dress. Magnolia and gerbera petals add their satiny and fluffy textures to the bodice and hat. Like all of the dresses, this one is rather heavyâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;over 40 poundsâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;but well balanced.
LIFE CYCLE The rainforest is both full of life and redolent of decay; its ferns and mosses thrive in the rich soil that accumulates from decomposing organic matter. Likewise, the dense growth of water lettuce on the surface of a pond suffocates the life below; thus life and death coexist in a mutual relation. The skirt of this dress is petaled with plastic water-lettuce leaves, while the bodice and hat are layered with mosses, ferns, and tiny lavender flowers; the very dramatic hat is built on a bicycle helmet, augmented with Styrofoam.
AUGUST 2013 47
BIRDS OF A FEATHER Feathers are soft and flowy, light and airy, gentle to the touch—but feathered birds can also be fierce and threatening, as seen in some of the designs from McQueen’s 1994 collection, “The Birds.” It was typical of McQueen’s subversive sensibility to bring in the dark side and use it to create startling contrast. Here the birds are supported on a back brace; they perch on rough-textured artificial branches that contrast and harmonize with the brown velvet of the magnolia leaves covering the bodice.
HORTENSIA’S ADDICTION To capture the essence of garden hydrangea in soft pastels and voluminous ruffles, this gown was designed with billows in the skirt (actually two skirts combined), fashioned with an armature of chicken wire underneath. The gown itself gives the impression of looped garlands; in a perhaps ironic comment on its sentimental associations, Joyce created a gigantic bow with streamers, also constructed on a chicken wire base. Individual hydrangea petals are layered onto the bow for an ombré (shaded) effect. 48 www.flowersandmagazine.com
AUGUST 2013 49
MECHANICAL MERINGUE Squares cut from wide flat wire, attached to a black dress with over 1100 nuts and bolts, move with the stretchy material and create an effect like sequins, but also like chain mail. A crown and a metal band reinforce the theme of industrial materials cast in a medieval mode; they create a stark contrast with the fluffy tulle meringue attached to the bottom of the dress. The large gears attached to the band are plastic toys sprayed silver. White poinsettia leaves decked with silver jewels drape from the shoulders and harmonize the transition from metal to meringue.
CROWN OF HORNS Inspired by a dress created by McQueen for a controversial runway show in 2006, this gown re-creates the startling combination of antlersâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;a sign of protective, masculine power and strengthâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;with lace, a feminine material suggesting softness, seduction and submission. The antler headdress is supported with a back brace. Goat fur, artificial ginger petals, and plastic Spanish moss add new and harmonizing textures to the mix. 50 www.flowersandmagazine.com
AUGUST 2013 51
SPANISH LACE Hot colors and flaring panels reveal the Spanish influence on a dress covered with metal lace. The lace was made with tendrils and spirals of flat wire in copper, gold, red and brown, either sewn directly onto the fabric with monofilament or, in the sections that fly away from the dress, clamped together with snippets of flat wire. Yellow cymbidium petals deck the bodice and the back of the underskirt. The bustle, at right, made of whole cymbidiums, is underlit with Acolyte LED lights, wired to a wooden bar tucked inside it. b
AUGUST 2013 53
fresh focus By Bill McKinley AIFD and Bruce Wright
Soft and voluminous, woody-stemmed hydrangeas are the chameleons of the flower world. ALL FLOWERS ARE VARIABLE, being products of nature. Their color, form, and size are influenced by the conditions under which they grow—as is their performance in the vase. But of all the flowers that can be found in a florist’s cooler, hydrangeas offer perhaps the widest range of variations, from the subtle to the dramatic. Hydrangea Sometimes that means eduHydrangea macrophylla cating a customer that a hotand other Hydrangea species pink hydrangea is not likely to show up in precisely the same Availability: shade in August as in June—“it year-round, but specific colors or depends on soil, fertilizer, light, varieties may and where the plant is in its life be seasonal cycle,” says Ginny Wyche of Sun Vase life: Valley Floral Farms. 6 to 10 days But hydrangea variability Bunch: 3 or 5 stems, also gives us the wide variety of sometimes singly types that we have. This diversity comes partly from the efforts of breeders who create new varieties, but also from the effects of growers working hand in hand with Mother Nature, so that we have pink and blue in the summer, morphing into “antique” jewel-tone colorations in the fall; “neon” hydrangeas, picked as the color is just coming in; and a range of green, white, and cream-colored hydrangeas all year round—from the smaller, immature flower heads sometimes called “mini green” to jumbo white hydrangeas with large, fluffy flowers harvested at the peak of their growth curve. It’s widely understood that the color of hydrangea is influenced by the pH of the soil, which in turn affects the availability of aluminum, a mineral that is readily absorbed by hydrangeas. Acid soils release aluminum, resulting in blue hydrangea. The same variety, grown in alkaline soil, will produce pink flowers. “Antique” hydrangeas, also called heir54 www.flowersandmagazine.comersand
loom hydrangeas, come into season in the late summer and fall, usually beginning in August. As solid-color hydrangeas mature, they take on intriguing variegation, often of a greenish cast, like the patina of old brass. Of all hydrangea types, the antiques are best for drying and are widely used in this way, retaining their color and form for weeks and months on end. Hydrangea variability may be related to the persistence of the blooms on the branch. Why do they last so long? Like some other “flowers,” hydrangea flowers aren’t really flowers at all but modified leaf structures. The flower itself—the reproductive part of the plant—is very small, a tiny round button that appears at the center of each “floret” in the many-flowered inflorescence. Most hydrangeas sold as cut flowers are of the mophead type, also called bigleaf or French hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla). Some mopheads, known as “lace-cap,” have smaller, fertile flowers in the center of the blooming head. Occasionally you also see cone-shaped hydrangeas sold as cut flowers, especially light green ‘Limelight’; these are of a different species (H. paniculata). At Sun Valley Floral Farms, as at most farms where hydrangea is grown, the crop is cultivated under shade. While the plants thrive in bright light, too much heat and light can also “burn” the flowers. Information on Sun Valley hydrangea and other crops is featured in the Sun Valley Horizon e-newsletter; free sign-up is available at www.thesunvalleygroup.com. Among the many types grown at Sun Valley, “antique” hydrangea (seen at far left) is one of the most popular. It comes in infinite variety, but one of the classic color combinations is a kind of khaki green inflected with red or burgundy. ‘Bottstein Rose’ is one of several vivid pinks and magentas, while ‘Harlequin’ is a new two-tone variety introduced from Holland.
North and south Today good-quality hydrangeas are available year-round from Colombia, where the main difference between summer and winter is that winter may bring heavy rain. “If we get a lot of rain, the antiques are less available,” notes Albert Guevara from Paradise Flowers Distribution LLC, a company that grows hydrangea in Colombia and distributes it nationally, with other specialty flowers, in the U.S. (www.paradiseflowersnyc.com). Likewise, with heavy rain, “we do get blues, but the color is not as deep. In the normal sun season we get a deep, deep blue.” Much in demand for weddings, white hydrangea is a specialty for Paradise, cultivated in separate fields using special methods to keep the white flowers pure and bright. By contrast, for Colombian rose grower Alexandra Farms (www.alexandrafarms.com), producer of premium garden roses, the hy-
drangea specialty is vivid colors. Like roses, hydrangea that is cultivated year-round in the bright Colombian sunshine grows best at a high elevation, where it matures more slowly and seems more resistant to bugs and diseases. In season—roughly from June or July through September or October—hydrangea growers on the Pacific Coast also benefit from an environment that is both bright and cool. Growers in Oregon and northern California will tell you that the seasonal changes, as days get shorter and the air gets a little drier and chillier in late August, produce a more dramatic antiquing effect than is found in any South American hydrangea. They also claim to produce the biggest hydrangea blooms around. At Flora Pacifica in Oregon, Don Mitchell reports, “Some people say the petals of hydrangeas grown in our rather temperate marine climate tend to be thicker than those grown in warmer temperatures—not so apt to wilt and bruise.” Responding to market demand, hydrangea growers supply “mini green” and “neon” hydrangea by harvesting the flowers before they are fully mature. The “neon” colors— pink, blue, purple and lavender—pop because they are set off with accents of white and green that remain in the flower heads at this stage. Some varieties do better than others when harvested early: at Flora Pacifica, for example, Don finds that Kuhnert hydrangeas make a good baby green. And yet, to get the longest vase life, growers advise that most hydrangea varieties should not be harvested until they have reached a certain maturity. “They really should be showing their stamens,” says Ginny at Sun Valley. Don agrees: “If you cut too early, with white around the petals, they can wilt and fail to open out.”
Steps to wilt-proof hydrangea Among some florists, hydrangeas have a reputation as finicky, unreliable flowers, at risk of sudden collapse—and yet, others find they perform beautifully when purchased and handled with care. What gives? AUGUST 2013 55
fresh focus Good performance, of course, begins with the grower and with how the flowers are processed at harvest. “We don’t like to ship the same day hydrangeas are cut,” says Don at Flora Pacifica. “We want them well hydrated first, and then cooled.” The Flora Pacifica method is to place freshly cut hydrangeas in water that is quite hot, about 110 degrees F, then right away into the cooler overnight: “That gets water up into the flower,” says Don, who recommends a similar treatment when hydrangeas are received by customers. “We also put in gel packs in the box,” he notes. “And we don’t bunch our hydrangeas; we pack individual stems.” At Sun Valley, “when we harvest, we give them a 30-minute head bath upside down in a pail of water,” Ginny reports, “then give them a fresh cut, turn them over and let them drink from the stems in Chrysal Clear Professional 1, which is a low-sugar hydration solution. We leave them out of the cooler the first night and let them drink at room temperature, which for us is maybe 67 degrees F at the warmest, then move them into the cooler.” This again is a procedure that is recommended for wholesalers and florists receiving hydrangeas that have been shipped dry. To many florists, long stems mean quality—even if the flower will be cut short for use in design. With hydrangea, it’s important to make sure the stem end is young, white tis-
sue, not old wood, which may have been left on to keep the stem length but won’t allow the flower to get a good drink. Dipping a freshly cut hydrangea stem in alum powder—used in cooking, and available at grocery stores—is a trick that many florists swear by. “It does make sense,” concedes Gay Smith, technical consulting manager for Chrysal Americas and cut-flower care-and-handling expert extraordinaire. “Alum is aluminum, and hydrangeas love aluminum. The reason I don’t like it is, when you think of using it in the flower shop, out on the work surface, it could so easily get dirty, contaminated with germs. I like a solution, because you’re hydrating at the same time. Our hydration product Chrysal Clear Professional 1 is aluminum sulfate–based and works great for hydrangeas.” Because hydrangeas are indeed wiltsensitive, Gay recommends re-cutting and rehydrating the stems at every step, and definitely before use in design. “Once they are in a design, they need flower food, nutrients, to stay turgid,” she notes. An anti-transpirant finishing spray also helps to prevent premature wilting of hydrangeas. “But never spray flowers with anything and immediately put them back in the fridge,” Gay warns, “or you can get problems with botrytis. You need to let them dry first.” There may not be just one right way to make sure your hydrangeas stay fresh and lovely—but with conscientious sourcing and care, their quality will be one thing about them that never changes. b
care tips hydrangea
• Hydrangeas are thirsty flowers and very wilt sensitive. Upon arrival, immediately begin processing by removing excess foliage. Give the stem ends a clean cut with sharp pruners. Do not crush the stem ends of hydrangea (or any other woody stems). This does not increase water uptake, but impedes it. If the stem ends in old (brown) wood, be sure to cut enough to reach the softer, new (white) stem tissue. • Treat with a hydration solution, then place in a flower-food solution. As a supplement to hydration solution, some florists dip fresh cut stem ends into alum powder (used in cooking and available in grocery stores) before placing them into hydration or flowerfood solution. • To re-hydrate limp, wilted flower heads, it’s possible to re-cut the stems under water and submerge the entire stem and flower head in tepid water for about 20 minutes. Be sure, however, to let the flower head dry again com-
‘Blue Hamburg’ is one of the classic hydrangea varieties, seen here (top photo) as grown at Flora Pacifica in Oregon (www.florapacifica.com). “It comes in early,” says Flora Pacifica’s Don Mitchell, “and as it matures it takes on burgundy hues, goes to the antique colors. It’s a good one for drying.” Blue hydrangea thrives in acid soil like that found at Flora Pacifica; the same is true for purple flowers like ‘Oregon Pride’; this variety is unusual in that along with purple flowers it sports maroon or burgundy stems. “We occasionally get flowers from ‘Oregon Pride’ up to 18 or 20 inches in diameter,” says Don, “but mostly in the normal range of eight to twelve inches.”
pletely before placing these flowers in the cooler. • Store hydrangea in flower-food solution at 36 to 38 degrees F and 85% humidity. Be sure to keep the solution replenished. Cover loosely with a clear plastic bag to help maintain high humidity. • For maximum longevity, treat hydrangea with an anti-transpirant prior to using in designs.
shop profile By Robin Dale Meyers
Photography by Virginia Hamrick Photography
The Flower Center holds onto small-town charm while it adapts to change. IN 1976, THE HISTORIC TOWN of Stephens City, Virginia, had only one traffic light— but a wide-open market for a flower shop. That’s when Butch Fravel opened The Flower Center, in a building dating back to at least 1786—a building he eventually bought— and moved his wife and two kids into an
apartment right above the shop. One of those kids was Beth Lehman, who is today the shop’s head designer. Immersed in flower-shop culture from an early age, Beth didn’t know any other environment but one filled with flowers. She would play with empty vase boxes in the back room and make houses out of them. Inspired by the creativity around her, she made her first arrangement at the age of seven: an Easter Bunny made out of a football mum. Impressed, her dad “ordered” six more and sold them all. Part of Beth’s reward for studying hard in middle school was being allowed to help
Sisters Beth Lehman and Kate Fravel grew up in an apartment directly over the family business—which is housed in a building that is over 200 years old.
out in the afternoons, cutting flowers and cleaning. In high school, she advanced to design and customer service. It was no surprise when she competed in Future Farmers of America on the floriculture team, on state and national levels, and was one of four national Proficiency Award finalists. Her passion continued through her studies AUGUST 2013 57
The Flower Center in horticulture at Virginia Tech before she returned home to become head designer at The Flower Center. The shop resides in a building, formerly a general merchandise store as well as a drug store, believed to be the first brick and stone structure in the town. As the town historian and an avid antique collector, Butch took advantage of the 14-foot ceilings and spacious interior by decorating the shop with old-time gardening tools, farm implements and glassware to give the store a small-town feel while reflecting its deeply rooted history. He also used the generous space to create an open design area, which attracts curious customers and helps to develop stronger relationships between them and the designers. This open feel permeates the entire shop, so that customers can easily browse through the cooler and the detailed vignettes. The store also features two sixby-eight-foot windows, allowing Beth and the rest of the Flower Center staff to create large, eye-catching displays throughout the year. One window frequently reflects the history of the shop, incorporating Butch’s beloved antiques among a variety of floral arrangements. The other window often includes a mannequin dressed appropriately for the holiday or season, from wedding gowns to Santa’s red suit. This creative outlet, Beth says, “is like dressing a set. And customers always tell us that they saw our windows and ‘just had to come in.’ It’s validating to know our creativity, passion and hard work are noticed.” Another thing that sets The Flower Center apart is the interactive display cooler, which Beth says gives the shop a leg up on big box stores. A five-door display cooler contains all the shop’s flowers, allowing customers to reach in and select from the cut-flower inventory to their taste; they are encouraged to buy by the stem and even to create their own designs. This same cooler also has storAt near right, the Flower Center staff: Sarah Lineberg, sisters Kate Fravel and Beth Lehman, and owners Butch and Libby Fravel. Along with part-time holiday help, the five keep the shop running and well merchandised year-round. The green and cream shelves are original shop fixtures.
The Flower Center Stephens City, Virginia Owners: Butch and Libby Fravel Head Designer: Beth Lehman Space: 1800 square feet Staff: 5 persons, plus holiday help www.theflowercenter.biz
age space for greenery and arrangements. So it serves the staff with deep storage and display space while encouraging personal, creative interaction for the customers. Getting people in the door is the step that seems to keep them there. Although The Flower Center also does weddings and funerals, it thrives on its daily business in flowers and arrangements, both fresh and silk.
Always on the move “One thing that becomes clear when you’re in business for a long time,” Beth explains, “is that you have to work hard to keep from stagnating. Having been in business for 37 years, we’ve experienced great economic times, poor economic times, and the strong influence of changing technology. So it’s critical to be able to adjust and adapt with every new circumstance.” When The Flower Center first opened there was very little competition, so the store thrived, prompting Butch to explore his first challenge: expansion. He opened another shop in Front Royal, Virginia in 1978—which he closed five years later, so he could open a new one in a well-located mall in Winchester, Virginia. When she was old enough, Beth managed this store until they closed it 13 years later. Their expansion experience, though beneficial, proved to them that the main shop was busy enough to sustain the whole business. Beth returned to the Stephens Center store to help run the shop with her dad and step-mom. Since then, the shop staff has had to get creative in response to unique changes in the community. To begin, while most businesses experienced a customer decrease during the most recent economic downturn, The Flower Center actually experienced an increase. Located just an hour from Washington, D.C., The Flower Center was caught in the flow of people moving from the city to the suburbs in search of lower rents and mortgages. These moves, on top of the natural expansion of the city over time, meant the population had doubled since the store first opened. While this may be every store owner’s dream, it meant this neighborhood A display mantel lends a homey feeling to a corner of the store that is also furnished with an antique cabinet, table and chairs. Among the shop’s many distinctive features are exposed rafters and an antique sliding ladder, hooked to a rail in the ceiling, that gives access to the upper shelves.
AUGUST 2013 59
The Flower Center shop had to find a way to build relationships with a challenging influx of new customers. “During that time, the biggest change for us was that we used to know every customer that walked in the door; many of them grew up here, and the community was very stable,” Beth explains. “But as new residents showed up, we had to rise to the occasion and try to develop those relationships from the beginning. Customer service was always important, but in this situation it became even more critical.” To instill a sense of community in the new arrivals, Beth and her co-workers put in extra effort and time to make them feel comfortable and get them talking. “People who have just moved are hoping to be welcomed into their new town,” she observes. “They’re looking for ways to be a part of the community. Luckily, our staff has a genuine desire to get to know people, so finding common ground comes eas-
ily.” Plus, Butch is the oldest serving member of the town council, the town historian, president of the local Stone House Foundation and board member of the Cedar Creek Battlefield Foundation. So when it comes to educating new customers about the area, he’s a bottomless well of local history. Beth’s involvement in the PTA and Cub Scouts also adds to the neighborhood feel of the familyrun store. They’ve always found that customers respond to business owners who are not just friendly and polite but invested in their community.
Marketing then and now Back when there was only one traffic light in town, marketing was a completely different beast. There was no internet, so the only options available were radio, TV and print. Luckily for Butch, The Flower Center’s popularity grew by word of mouth, and marketing expenses were quite low. But things change. Over the past 37 years, The Flower Center
has used a combination of old and new marketing methods to keep up with the times and the growing community. While Butch occasionally paid for newspaper advertising back in the ’70s and ’80s, Beth currently barters with two local radio stations for holiday advertising. The Flower Center covers the station’s floral needs for all their annual events and special occasions in exchange for free advertising. So the shop saves money, still advertises—and has exposure at large, high-profile events. When it became clear the town was expanding due to relocations from Washington, D.C., the folks at The Flower Center created a “New Move” program. They invested in an outside vendor to create postcards for free flowers, sent to new residents as a welcome. While this brought in some new customers, they stopped the program because printing costs were lost on people who had moved only temporarily. Sometimes the old tried and true methods are the ones that keep the front door opening and the phone ringing. One program that has
lasted almost as long as the store itself is the Carry Out Special. Every month, loosewrapped roses are offered at a discounted price. Although it’s a slimmer margin, the program does bring in a greater volume of customers. At holiday times, premade recipe designs save time for both designers and customers; for those who prefer a more specialized touch, custom design work is offered throughout the year. A vase recycle program also brings customers into the store, where they can drop off old vases for the store to reuse and get a discount on their next purchase. Once new customers are in the door, Beth implements both print and electronic strategies to encourage loyalty. “The POS system is certainly extremely helpful when it comes to sending out reminder postcards and emails for birthdays, anniversaries and other personal celebrations,” she notes. At one time, print newsletters were distributed bi-monthly with sections focusing on new products, community, floral education and upcoming holidays. But the cost associated
with printing led Beth to electronic newsletters via email and Facebook, a much less expensive option. Facebook has proven to be a helpful marketing tool, even if it can be a challenge to keep up with it. Online photos give a tour of the shop and of holiday designs and merchandise (plus some favorite furry friends), showing off the store’s architectural charm. Posts range from community business recommendations to flower-shop specials, industry studies and other information. But diligence is required to post two or three times a week—and Beth is determined not to let Facebook take away from face-to-face interaction, which is her preferred method of communication. “We have yet to make the jump to Twitter,” Beth says. “We know our clientele has changed and more savvy people are moving into the area, so online venues are becoming more important—and we do want to keep up with it all!” They’re grateful for Teleflora’s eFlorist website, which makes the online load easier to manage.
A lifelong passion Whatever the method, The Flower Center must be doing something right; they’ve been rated one of the top Teleflora shops for the past ten years. With just five staff members and extra help during the holidays, they’ve kept their small-town charm, historical gravitas and most importantly, their customers. “It’s an incredible journey of life-long learning that never ends,” Beth explains, “whether it’s keeping up with changes in our community or advances in our industry.” As the president of her local Teleflora unit, the Blue Ridge Unit, Beth brings Teleflora-sponsored educational programs to florists in the area. It’s a volunteer position that reflects her—and her whole family’s—passion for what they do. “We absolutely love our industry and the impact that just one bouquet can have on a person’s life. So naturally we always want to offer the best quality, value and service that we can. Sure, challenges come along, but we’re grateful for the opportunity to keep growing.” b
Having created her first commercial arrangement at age seven (a chrysanthemum Easter Bunny), Beth Lehman (at far left) is today The Flower Center’s head designer. An accessible display cooler (near left) makes it easy for customers to buy flowers by the stem, should they so desire; a carpet in front of the doors keeps the tile floor from getting slick or spotted with drips.
AUGUST 2013 61
where to buy For more information on merchandise featured in Flowers&, contact the supplier directly. Direct links to most suppliers can be found on the Flowers& website, www.flowersandmagazine.com. Use the links under “Advertisers in this Issue” or the link to our searchable, online Buyers’ Guide at the top of the Flowers& home page.
ON THE COVER Newport Boat ceramic bowl, Accent Décor.
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IN THE ROUND, page 36 Rosehips, Florabundance. NUTS TO YOU, page 37 Mixed dried pods, jinga pods, and gold reindeer moss, Schusters of Texas. Fiber sticks and large glass cube, Accent Décor. HARVEST BLUE, page 38 Wired wool, Accent Décor. ReCreations design bowl, Western Pulp.
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pages 42-53 METAL MATRIX, page 41 Flat Wire, Smithers-Oasis. Harlow glass bowl, Accent Décor.
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In our third decade of performing confidential key employee searches for the floriculture industry and allied trades worldwide. Retained basis only. Candidate contact welcome, confidential, and always free. 1740 Lake Markham Rd., Sanford, FL 32771
" ! ! " ! " # ## $$$ ! " !
4800 Dahlia, Denver CO 80216 800-858-9854; 303-388-7377 Classroom or Home Study Courses Visit our website for more info
www.floralschools.com approved by Co. Dept. of Higher Ed.
South Florida School of Floral Design 1612 S. Dixie Hwy â&#x20AC;˘ Lake Worth, Florida 33460-5856
1-800-585-9491 www.floralinstruction.com E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Licensed by the Commission for Independent Education, License #403
WEDDINGS John Toomey Co
For information about advertising in Emporium call Peter Lymbertos at 800-421-4921 64 www.flowersandmagazine.com
Wedding Aisle Runners Rentals & Sales
White Cotton Runners
advertising links For easy access to many of our advertisers’ websites, go to www.flowersandmagazine.com and click on the Advertisers link.
ARRIVE ALIVE BY CHRYSAL............................................................................. 3, 29 888-280-3509 www.arrivealiveproducts.com
BENEVA SOLUTIONS ................................................................ INSIDE BACK COVER 866-768-2420 www.benevasolutions.com www.localflowershop.com www.floralapp.com www.floralprodigy.com
BRIGHT SIDE CRAFTS ........................................................................................... 8 208-932-0205 www.brightsidecrafts.com
CHRYSAL AMERICAS ............................................................................................ 9 800-247-9725 www.chrysalusa.com
CONTINENTAL FLOWERS ..................................................................................... 15 800-327-2715 www.continentalflowers.com
DOLLAR TREE DIRECT ......................................................................................... 23 877-530-TREE (8733) www.dollartree.com/floral/559/index.cat
FLORACRAFT CORPORATION ...................................................INSIDE FRONT COVER 800-253-0409 www.floracraft.com
HARVEST IMPORT ................................................................................................ 8 949-833-7738 www.harvestimport.com
LOVEJOY FARMS ................................................................................................ 63 509-297-4282 www.lovejoyfarms.com
MILTON ADLER COMPANY .................................................................................. 63 800-651-0113 www.miltonadler.com
ROYAL FLOWERS .................................................................................................. 1 800-977-4483 www.royalflowersecuador.com
SEMINOLE ......................................................................................................... 63 800-638-3378 www.seminoleds.com
SMITHERS-OASIS ................................................................................................. 5 800-321-8286 www.oasisfloral.com ®
SUPERTHRIVE ..................................................................................................... 7 800-441-VITA www.superthrive.com
SYNDICATE SALES ..............................................................................BACK COVER 800-428-0515 www.syndicatesales.com
TEAMFLORAL ..................................................................................................... 16 800-342-2251 www.teamfloral.com
TELEFLORA .................................................................................................... 2, 27 800-421-2815 www.myteleflora.com
TEXAS STATE FLORISTS ASSOCIATION ................................................................. 65 800-375-0361 www.tsfa.org AUGUST 2013 65
what's in store
TURN TO THE SUN Everyone loves sunflowers. Here's a simple way to punch up their cheerful message: deliver them in a clear glass vase with applied sunflower decorations. The vase, available year-round, is being promoted by Teleflora for Grandparents' Day as part of the Simply Sunny Bouquet. Call Teleflora at 800-333-0205 or visit www.myteleflora.com.
LET IT ALL HANG This four-tiered wall
UNSQUASHABLE Tying into the burlap
ROPE IT IN Available in 40-foot coils in natÂ
basket, 14 inches long by 16 inches high
trend, plump jute pumpkins, five inches
ural brown or green, Wired Sisal Rope from
and five inches deep, is one of many
high, come in orange or white (with
FloraCraft is easily molded and holds its
hanging baskets from the Ragon House
natural jute stems and leaves) or in all
shape. Part of the Design it:'" Simple Style'"
Collection, perfect for floral wall decor
natural. They take their place among
collection, it provides a natural
or for gourmet gift baskets that put
many other faux pumpkins, gourds and
accent to silk and fresh floral arrangements,
their contents on appetizing display.
similar decorative items for fall, from
used as a binding material or to lead
Call 877-874-3750 or visit
Pioneer Imports & Wholesale.
the eye over the surface of a design.
Call 888-234-5400 or visit
Ask your local wholesaler, call
800-253-0409, or visit www.floracraft.com.
The following leading wholesale florists are distributors of Flowers& magazine.
PHOENIX Conroy Wholesale Florist The Roy Houff Company
CHICAGO Bill Doran Company The Roy Houff Company NORMAL The Roy Houff Company PEORIA HEIGHTS Bill Doran Company WHEELING The Roy Houff Company
CAMPBELL HALL Henry C. Alders
SALT LAKE CITY Ensign Wholesale Floral
CALIFORNIA FRESNO Designer Flower Center INGLEWOOD American Magazines & Books OAKLAND Piazza International Floral SACRAMENTO Flora Fresh SAN BERNARDINO Inland Wholesale Flowers SAN DIEGO San Diego Florist Supplies SANTA ROSA Sequoia Floral International
FLORIDA PENSACOLA Hall’s Pensacola Wholesale Oscar G. Carlstedt Company
GEORGIA OMEGA Hornbuckle Wholesale Florist
HAWAII HONOLULU Flora-Dec Sales
WICHITA Valley Floral Company
BEREA Pioneer Imports and Wholesale DAYTON Nordlie, Inc. NORTH CANTON Canton Wholesale Floral PARMA Cleveland Plant & Flower Company
LOUISVILLE The Roy Houff Company
PITTSBURGH Keystone Ribbon & Floral Pittsburgh Cut Flower Company
BURNABY, BC Signature Floral Supply (division of Kirby Floral Inc.)
LOUISIANA BATON ROUGE Louisiana Wholesale Florists LAFAYETTE Louisiana Wholesale Florists
MASSACHUSETTS BOSTON Jacobson Floral Supply
MICHIGAN WARREN Nordlie, Inc.
MINNESOTA MINNEAPOLIS Koehler and Dramm ROSEVILLE North American Wholesale Florist, Inc.
SOUTH DAKOTA SIOUX FALLS North American Wholesale Florist, Inc.
TENNESSEE NASHVILLE The Roy Houff Company
TEXAS DALLAS American Agroproducts, Inc. HOUSTON Pikes Peak of Texas Southern Floral Company LUBBOCK Lubbock Wholesale Florist
NORFOLK The Roy Houff Company RICHMOND The Roy Houff Company
Reward without the Risk we promise!
WASHINGTON TACOMA Washington Floral Service
MALAYSIA SELANGOR Worldwide Floral Services
SINGAPORE Worldwide Floral Services
Sell Flowers& in your store! for extra profits Select any quantity— no minimum Whatever you don’t sell we buy back! Yes, it really is that simple.
Call Elinor Cohen at 800-321-2665
MISSOURI ST LOUIS LaSalle Wholesale Florist
Visit us online for a taste of Flowers& quality. flowersandmagazine.com AUGUST 2013 67
industry events For the most recent additions to Teleflora Unit Programs, go to www.MyTeleflora.com and click on Design Education to access the Floral Event Calendar in the Unit Program section.
National and International August 17-21, New York, NY NY NOW (formerly New York International Gift Fair), Jacob K. Javits Convention Center - Piers 92 & 94. Call 800-272-SHOW or visit www.nyigf.com.
September 5-8, Sapporo, Japan World Flower Council Summit, Sapporo Park Hotel. Visit http://wfcsapporosummit.b.la9.jp.
September 18-21, Phoenix, AZ SAF Annual Convention, Sheraton Wild Horse Pass. Call Laura Weaver at the Society of American Florists, 800-336-4743, or visit www.safnow.org.
October 2-4, Bogota, Colombia Proflora, Corferias. Visit www.proflora.org.co.
November 10-12, West Palm Beach, FL Association of Bridal Consultants, Annual Conference, West Palm Beach Convention Center. Call 860-355-7000 or visit www.bridalassn.com.
Central Region August 6, Louisville, KY Kentucky Derby Unit, Everyday Designs with Jim Ganger, Dreisbach Wholesale. Call Tammy Gibson at 502-802-0376.
August 11, Minneapolis, MN Minndakota Unit, Holiday Designs with Bob Hampton, Koehler & Dramm. Call Patience Pickner at 605-234-6365.
August 25, Wichita, KS Valley Floral Company, Fall and Christmas Open House with Jerome Raska, Valley Floral Co. Call Jerry Yocum at 800-657-2553.
September 11, Flint, MI Michigan Unit, Christmas Designs with Tom Simmons, Nordlie, Inc. Call Brian Bak at 248-437-4168.
September 4, Pittsburgh, PA Western Pennsylvania Unit, Holiday Designs with Hitomi Gilliam, BW Wholesale. Call Patrick Devlin at 413-461-2503.
September 8, Orono, ME Maine Florists’ Association, program includes Fall and Christmas Designs with Alex Jackson, The Black Bear Inn. Call Karen Duncan at 207-769-2731.
South Central Region August 3-4, Ruidoso, NM West Texas New Mexico Florist Association, program includes Everyday Designs (8/4) with Kevin Ylvisaker, Ruidoso Convention Center. Call Anee Hilling at 575-910-1565.
August 16-18, Hot Springs, AR Arkansas Florists Association, program includes Wedding Designs (8/16) with Alex Jackson, Hot Springs Convention Center. Call Bitsy Carter at 870-777-6667.
August 18, Tupelo, MS Mississippi Unit, Flowers to Wear and Carry with Tom Bowling, Magnolia Wholesale. Call Kevin Hinton at 800-748-9848.
September 8, Fort Smith, AR River Valley Floral Distributors, Fall and Christmas Open House with Tom Simmons, River Valley Floral Distributors. Call Jim Gaston at 479-452-1199.
September 13-15, Quapaw, OK Ozark Florist Association, program includes Party Designs (9/15) with John Hosek, Downstream Casino. Call Frances Davis at 417-883-8580.
September 17, Houston, TX South Texas Unit, Fall and Christmas Designs with Kevin Ylvisaker, Taylor Wholesale. Call Alan Masters at 832-661-3958.
September 17, Phoenix, AZ
Arizona Unit, Holiday Merchandising with Tom Bowling, Baisch & Skinner. Call Rakini Chinery at 928-445-5131.
August 22, West Springfield, MA
September 17, Tulsa, OK
New England Unit, Fall Wedding Designs with Joyce Mason-Monheim, Pennock Wholesale. Call Seth Carey at 413-536-0444.
Oklahoma Unit, Holiday Designs with Jerome Raska, Greenleaf Wholesale. Call Ronn Doby at 918-224-0461.
Southeast Region August 2-4, Columbia, SC South Carolina Florist Association, program includes Cost Effective Everyday Designs (8/4) with Vonda LaFever, Clarion Hotel & Conference Center. Call Bud Hornburg at 843-450-9804.
August 2-4, Murfreesboro, TN Tennessee State Florist Association, program includes Christmas Designs (8/4) with Hitomi Gilliam, Embassy Suites. Call Kevin Coble at 901-683-4313.
August 4, Charlottesville, VA Virginia Professional Florist Association, program includes Asian Flair with Tim Farrell, Doubletree Hilton. Call Rhonda Burnett at 540-250-8864.
August 11, Atlanta, GA Georgia Unit, Everyday Party Designs with John Hosek, Oscar G. Carlstedt Co. Call Randy Stone at 478-272-7681.
August 17, Greensboro, NC North Carolina State Florist Association, Wedding Designs with Tim Farrell, Embassy Suites. Call Gary O’Connor at 919-471-1566 or visit www.ncflorist.org.
August 27, Bradenton, FL North Florida Unit, Everyday Designs with Jim Ganger, King’s Wholesale. Call Robyn Arnold at 813-782-1106.
September 15, Silver Spring, MD DC-MD-VA Unit, Wedding and Special Event Designs with Darla Pawlak, Potomac Floral Wholesale. Call Jeanne Ha at 301-270-1848.
Western Region August 18, Van Nuys, CA LA Coastal Counties Unit, Wedding Designs with Hitomi Gilliam, Mayesh Wholesale. Call Bruce Wataru at 626-287-1653.
August 25, San Jose, CA Northern California-Nevada Unit, Everyday Tropicals with John Hosek, United Wholesale. Call Annemarie Robertson at 831-458-9232.