Flowers& - November 2016

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Flowers& NOVEMBER 2016 $6.50

Celebrations of the eason S Winning themes for winter parties pg 36

Lavish looks for holiday fĂŞtes pg 24

contents NOVEMBER 2016

features 15

Hues in Harmony

Announcing the winners of this year’s Flowers& Design Contest.


Holiday Hoopla

Dazzling designs to set the tone for stylish celebrations. Floral design by Liz Seiji AIFD Photography by Ron Derhacopian


A Season, A Reason Themed floral décor for every kind of winter party.

Floral design by Tim Farrell AIFD, AAF, PFCI Photography by Ron Derhacopian


pg 24

on the cover If you have customers heading south to Florida for the winter, a citrus theme could be just the ticket for a going-away get-together. The color scheme pops with Ecuadorian roses, including ‘Hummer’, ‘Yellow Bikini’, ‘Orange Crush’ and spray roses ‘Babe’ and ‘Yellow Babe’. “Sendoff for Snowbirds” is just one of Tim Farrell AIFD’s winter party themes, starting on page 36.


departments 8

F ocus on Design


Inspired by...

Party-Favor Nosegays By Rich Salvaggio AIFD, AAF, PFCI

Art Deco By Tom Bowling AIFD, PFCI


Leaf Art

Braided Robellini Palms By Helen Miller AIFD


Shop Profile

Cosentino’s Florist, Auburn, New York By Marianne Cotter


Where to Buy

Wholesaler 65

pg 22



Industry Events


Advertiser Links


What’s in Store

Flowers& Volume 37, Number 11 (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, $78.00. Canada, 1 year, $102.00 (US currency only); Canadian GST registration number R127851293. Other foreign countries, 1 year, $149.88 (US currency only). Single issues, $6.50 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 © 2016 by Teleflora. Printed in U.S.A.


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Flowers& Publisher Editor Art Director

Rich Salvaggio AIFD, AAF, PFCI Bruce Wright Tony Fox

National Advertising Director

Peter Lymbertos

U.S. Subscriptions


Foreign Subscriptions




On the Internet

A d v i s or y B oar d Teleflora Education Specialists Susan Ayala AIFD, PFCI, Riverside, Calif., Tom Bowling AIFD, PFCI, Syndicate Sales, Fairfield, Ohio, Tim Farrell AIFD,


Farrell’s Florist, Drexel Hill, Penn., Hitomi Gilliam

Vancouver, B.C., Canada, Bob Hampton



Dallas, Texas, John Hosek

Surroundings Events and Floral, Verona, Wisc., Alex Jackson

Veldkamp’s Flowers, Lakewood, Colo., Vonda LaFever

Fla., Joyce Mason-Monheim

Helen Miller




Tree, Iowa, Jerome Raska




Designer Destination, Tucson, Ariz.,

Flowers and Such, Adrian, Mich., Darla Pawlak

Essexville, Mich., Julie Poeltler



Julie’s Fountain of Flowers, Lone

Blumz by JR Designs, Ferndale, Mich.,

Tom Simmons AIFD, CCF, Three Bunch Palms Productions, Palm Springs, Calif., Gerard Toh AIFD, CCF,

Garden Trade Services, Sherman Oaks, Calif., Cindy Tole AIFD, Botanica Flowers

& Gifts, Greensboro, N.C., Kevin Ylvisaker AIFD, PFCI, CAFA, Mukwonago, Wisc.

E d i tor i al C o u nc i l Marie Ackerman AIFD, AAF, PFCI, Teleflora, Oklahoma City, Okla., Carol J. Caggiano AIFD, PFCI, A.

Caggiano, Inc., Jeffersonton, Va., Bert Ford AIFD, PFCI, Ford Flower Co., Salem, N.H.,

Wilton Hardy


JWH Design and Consultant, West Palm Beach, Fla.,

Elizabeth Seiji AIFD, 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

With this fun, informal party design, each guest gets a nosegay to take home.



With different flowers and accessories, the recipe can be adapted for any occasion. Here, Moon carnations anchor a palette ranging from bright orange to pale pink.

See this

how-to on s

For product information, see Where to Buy, page 64.

at Flowers&or go to


1. Before making any hand-tied bouquet, choose your materials carefully, then prepare them and lay them ready. The flowers selected here offer a nice range of colors and textures: three kinds of Moon carnations, orange tulips, ‘Majolika’ spray roses, hypericum and baby’s breath. Strip the leaves from the stems and cut them to an even length of about six inches. 2. Make small bouquets of about seven to nine flowers, binding them with metallic (jeweler’s) wire.


3. Wind aluminum wire around your hand, then pull it apart a little bit and place into clear, plate-glass cubes and rectangles, which you will also fill with water and preservative. This creates a decorative mechanic to support the placement of the mini bouquets. 4. Place the bouquets into the vases, supported by the aluminum wire.



inspired by... Art deco

If the term “art deco” makes you think of a sinfully elegant dressing table designed for Jean Harlow or Carole Lombard—streamlined yet richly ornamented, dramatic in its simplicity—you’re not far off. The art deco movement, so influential in design all through the 20s and 30s, was in part a reaction against the preceding, nature-based style of art nouveau. Coming of age after the first world war, at a time of industrial innovation and enormous social change, it celebrated modernity with geometric forms. Buildings, furniture, and everyday objects in the art deco style were full of angles, straight lines, rounded corners, and curves that might be drawn with a compass—like the iconic Chrysler building in New York City, with its stepped, spired crown. Zigzags, chevrons, and stylized sunbursts



Floral design by Tom Bowling AIFD, PFCI

Photography by Ron Derhacopian

were typical motifs. In its heyday art deco was associated with luxury and glamour, but also with a forward-looking optimism and exuberance. The materials used ranged from exotic woods to stainless steel; finishes often gleamed with a metallic sheen. Tom has incorporated many of these attributes in a tall, dynamic design based in the streamlined Crossroads stand. The stand includes a clear glass vase with a rounded tip like a test tube. Tom filled the vase with crushed glass in both gold and black, a rich pairing that both contrasts and harmonizes with the steely silver gleam of the stand. His floral materials express the strong, clear lines, jazzy angles and graceful curves of the period, and are placed in a way to emphasize those qualities. Variegated flax leaves and birds of paradise point inward, framing the focal area with its king protea, surrounded by a pink corolla of evenly spaced, sharply pointed bracts. Striped calathea leaves echo the almost-parallel lines of the stand. Pincushion proteas and ‘Midori’ anthuriums function in the design like rhythmically staggered orbs and flat planes. The design stands as a testament to the idea that organic forms and pure geometry aren’t really so very far apart. b



For product information, see Where to Buy, page 64.


Announcing the top three winners in the annual

Flowers& Design Contest!

pen to all subscribers, the annual Flowers& Design Contest is, we like to think, unique among the many competitions available to creative, ambitious floral designers. The entry is a photo—and while it is judged primarily on design, the quality of the photo is also important. Over the years, contestants have told us that working on their entries helped them to develop skills in photography and in designing for the camera. In today’s internet world, those are important skills! The other thing we love about the Flowers& Design Contest is that our process for selecting winners combines judging by qualified experts with voting by the entire universe of Flowers& readers and fans. This year, for the first time, the voting took place entirely on-line! We’re happy to report a secure process with high participation.

Be sure to look for the announcement of next year’s contest in the January, February and March 2017 issues of Flowers&!

Design #1 Jamie Whitten The Twisted Tulip Denver, Colorado Design #2 Lorri Ann Medina The Flower Studio Austin, Texas Design #3 Carmen Stanciu Buzău, Romania Design #4 Maritza Nighswonger Dana Point, California Design #5 Cathy Hock Merrimack Flower Shop and Greenhouse Merrimack, New Hampshire Design #6 Indre Vansevicius New Lenox, Illinois Design #7 Melinda Lynch AIFD California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo, California Design #8 Gina Wright Huntington Beach, California Design #9 Andy Zimmerman Kiko’s Flower & Gifts Park Ridge, Illinois Design #10 Kim Green The Twisted Tulip Denver, Colorado

And now, here are this year’s winners!


The voting phase is, of course, anonymous. So here, for the first time, are the identities of all of our accomplished finalists. Then, on the following pages, we reveal the top three, all of whom will receive our special trophy (seen at left). In addition, the first-place winner gets a cash prize of $1,000!

The finalists

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1 st PL ACE








Others have placed as finalists or among the top three more than once—but Andy may be the first person ever to win first place in the Flowers& Design Contest twice! The last time was in 2010. Long-time subscribers may remember his winning entry from that year, with a cantaloupe as a container. He had been selected as a finalist once before, in 2007. “I’ve entered every single year since then,” he says. “Of course I get discouraged if I don’t become one of the finalists, but I always try again.” Competition isn’t normally a priority for Andy—his focus is more on the shop, “just making Kiko’s as good as it can be.” But adventurous design is certainly part of what Kiko’s is known for. “Actually, this arrangement is one of our top sellers,” says Andy. “I make at least one of these a day for delivery.” The flowers and colors might vary, but the basic recipe remains about the same. “It’s different, but sellable and not expensive,” Andy continues. “In our shop this is a $50 arrangement. We try to teach our customers that you can have a high-end look at a regular price if you give us some freedom. When that’s the case, why would you ever go to the grocery store?” Andy’s winning design is not one that’s easy to photograph. “It took a lot of tweaking in the camera to get it right,” he confesses. “The arrangement is really concentrated at the base, and that stayed put. But the lines at the top, where there is so much negative space—I kept turning the pussy willows to get the effect of framing just right, so they would curve toward the center but with the tips of the short ones separate from the flowers. I cut the oncidium orchids down to fill up the center more. Fortunately, with digital photography you can make an adjustment and then see right away how it looks on the computer. It’s never been easier to experiment and get what you want”—and in the process, learn about designing for the camera.



Kiko’s Flower & Gifts Park Ridge, Illinois


Andy Zimmerman







Merrimack Flower Shop and Greenhouse Merrimack, New Hampshire Like Andy, Cathy has placed before in the Flowers& Design Contest, and not only as a finalist but as the first-place winner, in 2014. Back then the theme was “Happy Anniversary.” Cathy’s winning design—which involved a pair of champagne flutes linked with calla stems and graceful curves of aluminum wire—showed the same passion for detail as this year’s entry. It’s a quality her customers have come to recognize and acknowledge when they ask for a “Cathy special.” With this year’s theme, “Hues in Harmony,” Cathy was inspired by her materials, including the colorful and strikingly patterned croton leaves. “I walked by this plant in the greenhouse every day, and I kept looking at it,” she remembers. “That is actually what made me choose this color harmony.” The orange gerberas with dark eyes were a perfect match for the croton leaves. The yellow flowers add a lightness and brightness. On the far left, callas are placed inside calla cones, available in a range of colors from




Accent Décor. “There was just one of those H H H C ON double tulips left in the cooler,” orange with ER TEST INT yellow margins, says Cathy. “I saw that and thought, ‘You’ve got a home.’ ” Making a quick loop in two blades of lily grass adds powerfully to the windswept look that Cathy was going for on the left side of the design, complemented by the fern curls, anchored with the round, solid forms of the tulip, gerberas, craspedia, and ranunculus, and balanced with the curls and curves of the gold wire and croton leaves. Cathy often clips from plants in the greenhouse as a way to give her designs a fresh, distinctive, natural look. If you clip judiciously, she notes, the leaf or blossom won’t be missed from the plant, so it’s free—“but you still charge for it.” Often these materials are “super fresh,” although she likes to condition them too by letting them drink water with flower food and placing them in the cooler overnight. One thing Cathy did differently this year was to photograph her design in the greenhouse, taking advantage of the soft, diffused light. Among other awards and accomplishments, Cathy is a New Hampshire Master Floral Designer—a title that is not only earned but clearly well deserved.


Cathy Hock NHMFD




2 n d PL ACE























While the other two among our top three winners have placed in the Flowers& Design Contest before, firsttimer Kim can claim another distinction: she is the creative director at a shop where another designer, Jamie Whitten, was also one of this year’s finalists. Shop owner Crystal Guise encouraged both Kim and Jamie to enter. “Every day she pushes us in that direction to be a little more creative,” says Kim. “The Twisted Tulip is known for creative design, so for us, that is the bread and butter of the business.” Of her process in designing her dramatic contest entry, she recalls, “I knew I liked the idea of doing mostly monochromatic, with a pop or two of other colors. I also knew what kinds of flowers I wanted to use. And I really wanted to do something interesting with the midollino!” She started with the support structure that elevates the design and defines the space around it: a bamboo pole sprayed black, plus a flat shape made with crossing and radiating pieces of midollino. The glossy black pot serves as an anchor and foil, setting off the bright colors of ti leaves, anthuriums, beehive ginger, tulips, and anemones. “We work with tropicals here on a daily basis, which we order from Hawaii,” Kim reports. She clearly is comfortable combining them with temperate-zone flowers, the key being color harmony. At the center of the design, a plucked sunflower adds a stabilizing round form and a bit of rough texture: “Everything else was so smooth and glossy, it seemed to need that,” says Kim. Originally from Artesia, New Mexico, Kim herself has been in the floral industry for 18 years, having started early working in her parents’ flower shop. She has worked all over the country, she says, but mostly in Denver. “Flower shops everywhere have a lot in common,” she finds, “but there are important differences too.” She’s found a good groove at The Twisted Tulip: “We all work together well and bounce ideas off each other. We work hard but happy!” b

3 rd PL ACE


The Twisted Tulip Denver, Colorado


Kim Green








leaf art


Floral design by Helen Miller AIFD

Photography by Ron Derhacopian

• b

Foliage courtesy of Wm. F. Puckett

Braided robellini palms give a fancy couture look. Cable ties make it easy—they come in a mini size and in all colors at craft stores. The braiding goes fast once you gain some practice and can be done in advance, since the palms are long-lived. Here the braided palms are major players in the design, contributing substantial value and impact. Lavender cable ties harmonize with the color scheme of purple, pink, and violet.


1. Starting from the bottom up, with the shiny side of the fronds facing outward, pull back four fronds at a time on each side, following the direction of their slight natural curve, and gather them at the back of the stem, allowing the tips of the fronds to overlap the stem. Tie them in place with a cable tie. 2. Continue on up the stem. Before you pull it tight, make sure the tie is always in the same position, with the tail end emerging from the back or the side. 3. When you have tied off all the fronds, snip off the cable ties and the tips of the fronds. b



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You can get your own monthly dose of creative design inspiration, flower news & business advice. Subscribe to Flowers& —in print (includes access to the digital edition) or online. Visit: and click on the “subscribe” link.

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NOVEMBER 2016 23


Dazzling designs to set the tone for stylish celebrations.

Holiday Hoopla

Floral design by Liz Seiji AIFD, Edelweiss Flower Boutique, Santa Monica, California Photography by Ron Derhacopian HEARD ON HIGH Musical notes and instruments, widely available as decorative accents from local wholesale florists, evoke the holiday season with ecumenical appeal. In gold, they harmonize nicely with classic gold urns and ilex berry sprays. Liz has enriched the

For product information,

2 january 2012


traditional red, green and gold color scheme with purple callas. see Where to Buy, page 64.

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Holiday Hoopla

ALL THAT GLITTERS Just as with other monochromatic color schemes, an all-gold palette brings contrasts in texture to the fore. Here, Liz has balanced the gold with plenty of green to keep the overall feeling restful and peaceful. A permanentbotanical wreath of mixed pine is hung off center, yielding pride of place to the pair of noble reindeer in a bed of fresh cedar augmented with pine, holly, and gilded boxwood. Bundles of gold-leaf rye lend dynamic movement to the gleaming ensemble.

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Holiday Hoopla TAPESTRY Since floral walls are all the rage for parties and special events, why not a holiday version? This one will last the season, since it combines fresh greens (pine, holly, cedar, berried juniper, red ti leaves, and moss) with gilded foliages and artificial flowers (red velvet hydrangea and poinsettias, red sedum balls). It is made inside a reusable frame lined with three Oasis Floral Foam Tiles, so there is wet foam to hydrate the fresh greens. Some designers do a very flat pavĂŠ with the tiles; Liz opted for a composition rich in depth and dynamic lines.


EIGHT DAYS AND NIGHTS Just as blue and white are the traditional colors for celebrating the Jewish festival of Chanukah, the nine-branched Chanukah menorah is not only central to its celebration but its most widely recognized symbol. This one is elevated on the footed Fuse Tray and decorated with a billowing profusion of silver branches, phalaenopsis orchids, freesia, callas, blue hydrangea and delphinium, brunia and dusty miller, along with curving strands of wired white paper, available at many wholesale florists. Lightly glittered, the paper strands come bundled on a stem.

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Holiday Hoopla

WINTER WONDERLAND Woodland creatures peep out from a scene that sets a friendly tone for celebration. Liz filled an18-inch, two-brick Gripper (a long, low plastic container with contoured ribbing that holds the foam in place) with two bricks of foam and added snowy birch trees and a twig wreath, plus white tulips and hydrangea, flowering Viburnum davidii, and White Mist Leyland Cypress. To one side, satellite designs are made in votive holders that Liz covered with glittered holly leaves (cut from a spray), which she also used to decorate the twig wreath. She created a snowdrift using Snow Patch Mat—a frosted, lightweight, flexible white matting that can be cut with scissors into the desired shape—sprinkled with a light dusting of artificial Winter Snow.


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Holiday Hoopla

COOL CHRISTMAS The hostess who wants contemporary style will be very happy with the palette of silver, white, and pale blue seen at left. Succulents nestle with millimeter balls (matte and shiny, silver and blue) plus a few large pearls. White flowers blend nicely with Frosted (silvered) and White Mist foliages. Note the pleasing combination of lines that point dramatically upward or drape downward, together with horizontal beds of rounded shapes—resting places for the eye. YULETIDE LUAU With their bright, natural reds and greens, tropical flowers and foliage blend nicely with traditional holiday accents like pine and cedar foliage, gilded magnolia leaves, and gold pinecones and ilex berries. Liz has tied it all together with a twig wreath, which sits vertically on a rectangular base, supported on sturdy uprights. The fresh flowers are arranged, once again, in a two-brick Gripper bowl; the rectangular base for the wreath is nestled into the foam and strapped into place. The gold-sprayed ti leaves are split along the spine to make them more flexible.

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Holiday Hoopla

SWIRLS AND STRIPES The candycane theme is so popular that it’s not

difficult to find varied accessories that come together for a coordinated look. To make the striped pots, Liz simply added glitter-edged white ribbon to inexpensive red plastic pots. As can often be done, she purchased the smaller candy-cane accessories as spray picks, then made the most of them by taking the picks apart and using the components individually to enhance her designs—including the artificial mini tree on the opposite page, which is also enlivened with millimeter balls, faux holly sprays and frosted cedar.

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Floral design by Tim Farrell AIFD, AAF, PFCI 36

Photography by Ron Derhacopian

For product information,


SENDOFF FOR SNOW BIRDS Citrus fruits set a cheerful theme and palette for anyone departing for, or arriving in, the Sunshine State. Tim used the 12-inch Oasis Floral Foam Sphere for the largest sphere, shaving a slice off the bottom so it would sit flat in a Lomey Designer Dish. The Designer Dish, in turn, fits nicely inside the flared lip of the footed clear glass Mia vase, which he first filled with lemons, limes, and clementines. Likewise, smaller Designer Dishes support spherical designs in Standing Spheres (floral-foam spheres with a durable, flat plastic base) that rest on twin candelabra and Serenity Vases.

see Where to Buy, page 64.

A Season, A Reason

Themed floral dĂŠcor for every kind of winter party.

E c u a d o r i a n r o s e s a n d s p r a y r o s e s f r o m R o y a l F l o w e r s , w w w. r o y a l f l o w e r s e c u a d o r. c o m 2 january 2012

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A Season, A Reason ISLAND GETAWAY Key to this colorful composition are equisetum towers made with FloraCraft Styrofoam sheets. For the smaller bamboo rectangles, Tim used sheets that were two inches thick, cutting them to the desired height and width; for the larger ones, he added a half-inch thickness to the two-inch sheets. He covered the sheets, first with Aspid DĂŠcor, then with equisetum, using UGlu Strips to secure both layers and trimming the equisetum even with the tops of the Styrofoam. Finally, he covered the tops with sheet moss and pinned the vanda orchids in place with corsage pins. The equisetum columns can be created well in advance, and the orchids added a day or two prior to the event if they are well hydrated and then sprayed with an anti-transpirant spray.

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A Season, A Reason

CHALET For a party at an upscale ski lodge, Tim created an expert blend of elegant and rustic elements—from ‘Sahara’ roses and café au lait dahlias to chocolate lace, white

allium, and lacy-leaf dusty miller, along with antique hydrangea and seeded eucalyptus. A fluted, footed compote, harmonizing votive holders, and manzanita branches likewise bring neutral tones and intriguing, weathered textures to the mix.


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A Season, A Reason

WINTER SOLSTICE It’s always darkest before the dawn— and the shortest day of the year is a great time to celebrate the turning of the season and the longer, brighter days ahead. Tim engaged the theme of night and day with black and white Studio Glass vases, midollino, and Deco Rocks, along with flowers in white and deep purple, arranged in mini Iglu caged foam holders, secured inside the glass vases with UGlu.

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SUPER BOWL Search “football team stickers” on the internet and you’ll find them widely and inexpensively available. They make an easy way to customize standard containers (and appeal to the enthusiasm of fans for their favorite team). The football rests on a standard football tee; both are available at sporting goods and discount stores. ‘Orange Crush’ roses and ‘Babe’ spray roses make a perfect color match; the blue cubes hold ‘Eskimo’ roses and ‘White Majolika’ spray roses.

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A Season, A Reason STEEL MAGNOLIAS What’s the perfect way to celebrate a certain type of Southern lady? With table dÊcor that manifests strength, simplicity and grace. Fresh magnolia-leaf garland, alternating glossy green and velvet brown, is here topped with pure white, highly realistic permanent botanicals. White lanterns capped with steely tops complete the picture, punctuating the flow of the garland and lending height to the design.

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A Season, A Reason FINE WINES For a wine-tasting party, or for the opening of a winery or wine store, what could be more appropriate than a bouquet of wine-colored flowers including ‘Karl Rosenfeld’ peonies? The flowers are arranged in foam in a Lomey Designer Dish, secured with clear anchor tape to the flared, footed Puchary Vase. Recycled wine corks are available for purchase online, but some customers may also like the idea of providing you with corks they have saved. Either way, by using them to fill the shapely clear glass vase, you can express the idea of remembering and savoring life’s celebrations.


INAUGURATION Whoever wins this November, supporters will be celebrating come January. The wavy rims of these flared white pots aren’t directly visible in the finished designs, but they give the surrounding flags a subtle rise and fall, complemented by loops of white midollino. Hydrangea, carnations, anthuriums, and ‘Volkerfrieden’ delphinium complete the red, white and blue color scheme.

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A Season, A Reason SNOW GLOBES Redolent of fantasy and nostalgia, snow globes make an appealing theme for almost any winter-season celebration. The look is easy to create with the Renoir Cloches and Renoir Bases, props that can provide rental income time after time. Tim placed a soaked Iglu caged floralfoam holder on the smallest base and filled it with white ranunculus and hydrangea, plus White Mist salal leaves. Working with the two larger cloches and bases, he began with white Lomey Designer Dishes with foam strapped inside and filled them with white flowers, dusty miller, and more White Mist foliage including curly willow. A sprinkling of glittery Winter Snow inside and all around completes the look.

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A Season, A Reason CHINESE NEW YEAR You don’t even have to be Chinese to throw a Chinese New Year party—especially with a decorating scheme as colorful as this one. Using paper lanterns as vase covers allows you to create bouquets in a random assortment of containers, with flowers in bright red and yellow, plus a twisty bunch of lucky bamboo.

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A Season, A Reason WISDOM IN WINTER Wide-eyed owls lend playful animation to a woodsy, romantic setting of birch candles and vases filled with antique hydrangea, blushing bride protea, and well-matched roses and spray roses: ‘White Ohara’ and ‘White Majolika’.

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A Season, A Reason AWARDS PARTY Whether it’s all about the Oscars or another of the many awards shows, the gold Bentley Bowls strike just the right tone, filled with roses in three different shades of red (‘Freedom’, ‘Black Magic’ and ‘Explorer’), plus ‘Scarlet Mimi’ spray roses, carnations, anthuriums, gerberas, and hypericum in bright and deep mahogany red. Tim brought the gleam of gold up among the flowers with gilded eucalyptus; grapewood branches offer a contrasting natural tone.

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A Season, A Reason FROZEN OCEAN A beach theme adds a novel twist to a party set in a winter palette of white, ivory and gray-green, with a wealth of contrasting textures. The Anemone and Seaside vases provided inspiration, with stem openings for callas, ranunculus and blushing bride proteas, along with fluffy bouquets of stock and lacy-leaf dusty miller.

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shop profile

By Marianne Cotter

One of the industry’s best-known floral businesses readies for a generational switch.


s Cosentino’s Florist in Auburn, New York, leans into its third generation, father Carmen and daughter Jessica navigate a slow, well-planned transition of ownership. “My taking over the business is a work in progress,” says Jessica. “When people in the business see me they ask, ‘Has he given you the shop yet?’ I always say no, but it’s in the works; we’re planning year-by-year, and each year we do a little more.” Jessica’s desire to carry on the family business came later in life. Growing up with parents who were always working, even on Christmas morning, she wanted nothing to do with the family business and pursued a career in social services. All that changed about ten years ago. “Now I understand the hard work and the reward,” she says. Cosentino’s was founded in 1934, in the depths of the Depression, by Carmen’s parents Carmine and Phyllis Cosentino. They rented a greenhouse for $200 a year from a wealthy man who gave them a sharecropping-type arrangement: in exchange for growing roses and grapes for the owner’s home, they could use the rest of the greenhouses to grow their own flowers for sale. In 1940 the Cosentinos Still located on the same property where the business was founded more than 90 years ago,Cosentino’s remains a thriving, dynamic flower shop under the leadership of Carmen (second generation) and Jessica (third). At near right, the wedding consultation area includes a large computer monitor for surfing Pinterest and other sites.


Photography by Ben Cleeton Photography

Cosentino’s Florist Auburn, New York Owner: Carmen Cosentino AAF, PFCI Niche: All-around florist with strong sympathy business Number of employees: 5 full time, 3 part-time Square footage: showroom, 2,700 square feet; design and storage, 2,500

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Like so many flower shops, Cosentino’s began as a greenhouse operation primarily and continues to maintain one greenhouse today (above) as a holding spot for green and blooming plants. The shop is focused, however, on fresh-flower arrangements and related services, with just one important area of diversification: it is famous for 18 flavors of delicious home-made fudge, sold at the counter seen opposite, at far right. purchased the property, and the business remains at the same location to this day. Carmen and his wife Anne Marie took the reins in 1962 and over the years have transitioned the business from a greenhouse operation into a retail flower shop. Today, the one remaining greenhouse is used to hold flowering and foliage plants for sale. Carmen grew up in the business and loved it, but his parents had other plans. “It was a very tough business in those early days,” explains Carmen. “My parents told me to stay away because it was hard work with long hours and devoid of vacation time, with no opportunity to travel or meet interesting people. So I graduated from Cornell University and started classes at the Pennsylvania School of Dentistry. After five months I knew where I really wanted to be.” Returning to the shop, Carmen lived a


life quite different from the one his parents described. “They were wrong about the flower business,” he concludes. “I’ve traveled a lot, met very interesting people, and have had many exceptional experiences like helping to decorate the White House at Christmas and being on the team that designed flowers for three presidential inaugurations. In retrospect, I did exactly what I wanted and was very successful at it.” A 15-year relationship working for AFS (American Floral Services) under the guidance of AFS president, later Teleflora chairman, Tom Butler AAF, PFCI assured that Carmen traveled widely. “In the ’90s I worked for AFS, mostly on the road doing seminars—about 200 in all,” Carmen recalls. “But then Tom said he needed me in-house in Oklahoma City because they were going to start doing computer education. So I commuted from New York to Oklahoma City Monday through Friday helping to develop educational programs. My wife, Anne Marie, ran the shop.” SUCCESSION AND SUCCESS A distinct division of labor is one of the keys to fatherdaughter success on the job. “I do business management, advertising, and accounting,” Carmen explains. “Jessica runs the shop, manages staff, designs, and takes care of families for weddings and funerals. Working with people is her strong point.”

Both father and daughter have given a great deal of consideration to the challenge of working together successfully and planning the transfer of ownership. “Any time you have family working there should always be planning and communication, especially when long-term plans are at stake,” says Jessica. “In addition to a very big age gap and different educational backgrounds, my father and I also have different ideas and values when it comes to running a business. All these differences can create a lot of problems. We have used programs and webinars from SAF [the Society of American Florists], Teleflora, and AFS as well as TeamFloral to come together, bettering ourselves individually, our father-daughter relationship, and our boss-employee relationship while developing business skills.” The transfer of responsibilities was accelerated for Jessica four years ago when her mother died unexpectedly. “She was a big part of this flower shop,” she says, “and when I took over her work I realized how many hats she wore.” For Jessica it brought home the intergenerational aspect of the business. “Many of our families have been with us for decades. We have clients for whom we’ve done three generations of weddings. My grandmother did the grandmother’s wedding flowers, my mom did her daughter’s,

and now I’m doing the granddaughter’s. She brought in pictures so we could replicate her mother’s bouquet.” To facilitate wedding consultations in the age of the Internet, Cosentino’s has a newly designed bridal consultation area with a large computer monitor where Jessica and brides can share ideas and search Pinterest for more. Father and daughter are both noted experts in the floral industry, and both feel their industry involvement has helped the shop flourish. “Our growth over the years has depended on it,” says Carmen. “Meeting people, going to seminars, working with Teleflora and SAF and going to the conventions: that’s where the ideas come from. We keep adapting ideas from the industry to our own needs. We have become friends with some of the leaders in the industry over the years and it’s helped us a great deal. If florists want growth over the years, they need to be involved in the industry.” Jessica is quite involved also, currently serving as Teleflora’s Upstate New York Unit President and serving on the Retailers Council and the Government Relations Committee at SAF. SYMPATHY AND SERVICE As the shop enters its third generation, it does so in a community in which the population is ag-

ing, a situation that brings both opportunities and concerns. Located in the Finger Lakes area of New York with a population of 28,000, Auburn is a bedroom community to Syracuse 20 miles away and has only three major employers of its own. Cosentino’s serves a larger area of about 40,000 people that affords an ample supply of sympathy work (about 30 percent of the shop’s business)—and, because the area is a growing tourist and wedding destination, a busy wedding business as well. Eventually the sympathy business will decline, so lately, Carmen and Jessica are placing more emphasis on weddings and events. Ironically, Carmen finds that sympathy work has the potential for repeat business. “When one family member dies, usually two or three will follow within the next few years,” he explains. “We send the family a laminated copy of the obituary with the twenty-third psalm on the other side as well as names and addresses of senders to facilitate sending acknowledgements. If they lose another loved one they have the obit handy and don’t have to start over putting together the survivor list, plus the Cosentino phone number is in their hands.” Sympathy work requires exceptional people skills, something at which Jessica excels. “I deal with people in bereavement every day; someone has lost a wife, a

daughter, a mother,” she says. “Turning a frown into a smile under these circumstances is very difficult. Whenever I’m having a tough time with the work I do, I think of a 19-year-old woman who was killed by a drunk driver as she was driving back to college. When her family came in they were very sad, reserved and hurt, but by the time they left they were more at ease and gave me a big hug. That’s when I know I’ve done my job and it means more to me than anything else I do.” TRACKING SATISFACTION At Cosentino’s, customer experience feedback is sought out and acted upon. “We maintain an ‘incident’ file where any customer issue is recorded and discussed at our staff meetings,” says Carmen. “We have a procedure manual that is updated every year from the incident reports. We also call senders asking for comments about our service. And five days after the delivery we call recipients to see how the flowers are holding up. We try to make five to ten calls a week.” FUDGE FACTOR With very little walk-in business and considerable competition from big retailers, Carmen doesn't invest much in gift lines. However, Cosentino’s has developed a popular line of homemade fudge that has become a signature product. “We make 18 different flavors of fudge in

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An in-store photo studio allows Cosentino’s to add original, custom designs to the shop's website, along with options like stuffed animals (“Cosentino’s Zoo”) and gift baskets. Cosentino’s robust presence on the internet reflects Carmen’s background as one of the first in the industry to develop computer education programs for florists, working with Tom Butler AAF, PFCI during the ’90s. our state-inspected kitchen, and we switch out flavors from time to time,” Carmen explains. “Customers really like it and it makes a great add-on sale of $4 to $10. Chocolate Walnut is the favorite flavor, followed by Rocky Road, Rum Raisin (we use real rum) and Pumpkin and Peanut Butter. A lot of people walk in just to buy our fudge.” COMMUNITY LOVE Cosentino’s hosted successful holiday open houses for many years, but as malls moved into the area attendance began to dwindle. Looking for another way to show the shop’s Christmas spirit, Carmen came up with the idea of hosting free “gala” evenings for local charitable groups. The galas are free to the non-profits, who then sell $10 tickets to the public. They take place in the evenings at the festively decorated shop, where guests are served wine and hors d’oeuvres while


being treated to design demonstrations and shop tours. Cosentino’s supplies all the food and beverages, and in return the shop enjoys enthusiastic word-of-mouth advertising, local media coverage, and good will in the community. “We host eight to ten gala events around Christmastime, and each one brings in between 25 and 60 people,” Carmen explains. “The galas raise a lot of money for the charities—up to about $5,000—and we get great coverage in The Citizen, our local paper.” Cosentino’s relationship with The Citizen is a testament to the value of a local newspaper to businesses in a small community. For the last eight years Carmen has been contributing a weekly column titled “Flowers, Plants and Things,” in which he offers advice on topics that range from pruning roses or re-blooming that poinsettia to ruminations on how the floral industry has changed over the years. He finds that the grind of generating new story ideas is nicely offset by the fact that it keeps him in the minds of readers as an expert. Jessica is president of the local chapter of Zonta, a service organization for women, and writes a column once a month about its activities. Furthermore, the paper’s readers have voted Cosentino’s “Best Florist in the Region” for 16 of the last 18 years. “Knowing that we are the best florist in the area is an impor-

tant motivator,” says Carmen. “There is no doubt about that.” KUDOS WELL DESERVED As he looks toward retirement, Carmen Cosentino has many accolades to be proud of. He was named to the Society of American Florist Hall of Fame in 1998; he received the Tommy Bright Award in 2008. Teleflora recently bestowed another award that honors an old friend. In September, Cosentino’s Florist became the second annual recipient of the Tom Butler “Floral Retailer of the Year” Award, established by Teleflora to honor the legacy of past chairman Tom Butler by recognizing a retail florist who shows a high level of commitment and service to the local community and provides leadership and guidance to fellow florists. That is a standard that Cosentino’s has held up over three generations. “I am very honored to receive this prestigious award,” says Carmen. “Tom was a best friend, mentor and my go-to guy with personal or business problems. I miss Tom.” For Carmen the final challenge is simply letting go. “Jessica and I both are looking forward to my cutting back and placing the whole business in her very capable hands,” he says. “And I look forward to the day when the flower shop phone is no longer sitting on my bedside table.” b


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industry events For the most recent additions to Teleflora Unit Programs, go to and click on Design Education to access the Floral Event Calendar in the Unit Program section.

National and International November 2-4, Aalsmeer, The Netherlands FloraHolland Trade Fair Aalsmeer, FloraHolland. Visit

November 2-4, Vijfhuizen, The Netherlands International Floriculture & Horticulture Trade Fair (IFTF), Expo Haarlemmermeer. Visit

November 6-9, Grand Rapids, MI Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers National Conference, Hilton Doubletree. Call 440-774-2887 or visit

December 5-January 20, 2017, Atlanta, GA FloraMart® (Pete Garcia Company) market dates (except 12/23/16-1/1/17) for fall/ Christmas 2017 merchandise, FloraMart. Visit

January 9-11, 2017, Santa Barbara, CA Florabundance Inspirational Design Days. Visit

January 10-12, 2017, Long Beach, CA The Special Event, Long Beach Convention Center. Visit

January 18-20, 2017, Fort Lauderdale, FL Tropical Plant Industry Exhibition (TPIE), Broward County Convention Center. Contact the Florida Nursery, Growers and Landscape Association at 800-375-3642 or visit

January 24-27, 2017, Essen, Germany IPM Essen, Messe Essen. Visit

January 27-31, 2017, Frankfurt am Main, Germany Christmasworld, including the new Floradecora. Visit

March 13-14, 2017, Washington, DC Congressional Action Days. Conference hotel: Ritz-Carlton Pentagon City, Arlington, VA. Call the Society of American Florists at 800-336-4743 or visit

March 22-24, 2017, Las Vegas, NV World Floral Expo. Visit


emporium June 13-15, 2017, Chicago, IL International Floriculture Expo, McCormick Place. Visit

July 1-5, 2017, Seattle, WA National AIFD Symposium, Sheraton Seattle. Call the American Institute of Floral Designers at 410-752-3318 or visit

Central Region March 3-5, 2017, Grand Rapids, MI Great Lakes Floral Expo, Amway Grand Plaza Hotel and DeVos Place Convention Center. Call the Michigan Floral Association at 517-575-0110 or visit

March 24-26, 2017, Wisconsin Dells, WI. WUMFA Convention, Chula Vista Resort. Call the Wisconsin & Upper Michigan Florists Association at 844-400-9554 or visit

Northeast Region March 3-5, 2017, Springfield, MA Northeast Floral Expo, Sheraton Springfield Monarch Place Hotel. Call the Connecticut Florists Association at 203-268-9000 or visit

South Central Region January 25, 2017, Corpus Christi, TX Texas Floral Showcase, Emerald Beach Hotel. Call the Texas State Florists’ Association at 512-834-0361 or visit

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Western Region November 4-6, Portland, OR Ninth Moon Floral Design Showcase, Chinese Lan Su Gardens. Visit

November 5-6, Los Angeles, CA Califlora 2016, including Top Ten Design Competition (11-16), Los Angeles Flower Market. Call the California State Floral Association at 916-448-5266 or visit

January 9-11, 2017, Santa Barbara, CA Florabundance Inspirational Design Days. Visit

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advertiser links e q u i pm e n t Refrigerators For Flowers

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Advertisers’ websites are hyperlinked on the Flowers& website. Go to and click on “Advertisers in This Issue.”

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Syndicate Sales 800-428-0515

Teleflora 800-333-0205


inside front cover

14, 21

NOVEMBER 2016 67

what’s in store

STAR BRIGHT A wide opening, a gracefully flaring shape, and a pattern of repeated stars make this etched mercury glass bowl a versatile holiday container. Nationally advertised as part of Teleflora’s Sparkling Star centerpiece, it is sized to accommodate half a block of floral foam or 3½ cups of water. Call 800-333-0205 or visit

HAVE A BLAST You can do so many things beyond just flocking with Design Master SnoBLAST, a water-based decorating spray—among them, frosted stencils and time-worn “antique” effects. SnoBLAST sprays on light and fluffy, then dries to a semipermanent finish that can be top-coated with Super Surface Sealer if desired. Check out the product features and application tips on the Design Master website,