Articles for the Month of March 2014

Flower Budget

budgetLet’s talk about Flower Budget. What’s included in the quote that you were given by your florist and what to expect when planning an event.

The key elements for a great party are: good location, great food, music for everybody to dance, great décor and lot’s of fun. A beautiful floral arrangement it’s a good ice breaker at the table; to get the conversation started.

Having said that a good floral décor comes with a price and it should be included in the initial planning process. When organizing an event, any event: wedding, corporate party, family affair, etc. it is recommended to set a side 10%-15% of the total you want to spent for flowers. This is just a recommendation, but it’s a good start.

Always book an appointment with a professional florist to discus your ideas and to get a quote. The prices given to you by different florist will vary, depending on what they normally charge for their products, labor and delivery and set up.

A lot of customers are surprised to see some of these charges, for them it’s just flowers. Why does it cost more to do an event floral design, then just a regular bouquet?

There are many factors involved. It takes time, hours of work by professional designer; lots of goods are used to make the perfect arrangement; the flowers must be kept at the best conditions in order to look amazing on the big day, every detail counts; delivery and set up are time consuming and must be done on time and perfect state.

In order for a floral studio or shop to do one event, there is weeks in advance preparation. Few days before the event date the real hard work starts. The flowers are ordered in advance and they must be picked up by your florist on time so they can be cleaned, conditioned and monitored before the designs are made. Depending on the size of the event a professional designer or a few are assigned to work on a specific event, which in a busy shop or studio means  that there should be more help and additional staff on hand, which means extra labor charges. Conditioning the flowers is a hard work, literally. There are buckets to be cleaned, filled with water and flower food, not to mention carried around. Then there is the cleaning and prepping of the flowers. Lots of dirty work, accidents do happened some even require medical attention. And there may be a few insects or other animals involved here and there, just to make your day pleasant (they bite, if you don’t see them on time; they arrive with the flowers and remain hidden in the leaves). Vases need to be washed and prepped as well before any one can start to design or as many customers say “play with flowers”.

Now the design process takes time and a lot of skills to be done properly, the flowers to last and look at their best for the event date. Wires, tape, tubes, sharp knifes, cutters, shears, pins, slippery floors, you name it. Lots of tools and little things are used and happen behind the designers table. It takes patience, concentration and no time to waste. The most time consuming work is making personal flowers – corsages and boutonnières, those cute little things. I’ll be honest it takes twice the time of making a bridal bouquet to do one corsage.

What should be considered when a quote is given? (and this goes for both sides on the table – florist and consumer)

-         cost of flowers

-         cost of greens

-         cost of vases

-         Other materials used (foam, wires, ribbons, tape, etc.)

-         Labor

-         Delivery based on location

-         Set up / tear down fee

-         Taxes are always extra

Most florists will not give a very detailed quote in regards what’s exactly is included in the price, in terms of flower stem count or labor charges. The reason why that is it’s because is hard to know in advance exactly how many stems will be used. We are working with live materials and most of the times they are not perfect size or shape and we have to compensate that by adding more or taking some away in order to create the design we want. Same goes for labour charges. There are designs that require more time and specific skills to be done. For example there should be different labor charges for doing a hand-tied style bouquet and cascading bouquet, event if the flower stem count is the same. Cascading style bouquet requires more time, more other materials are used; some of the flowers must be wired, so the price is higher.

When you go for your appointment be ready to disclose your budget and be realistic in your expectations. Show pictures of designs that you like and have fun choosing your flowers.

Happy planning! 

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Beautiful fresh cut flowers – how to make them last!

 

flower_careAs flower lover I always take a detailed care to ensure my flowers stay as fresh and beautiful as possible and so can you.

To achieve maximum enjoyment and longevity from your fresh flowers, you need to provide them with a little care when they arrive at your door.

What is required is very simple. Here are a few easy steps that will ensure your flowers will look great and last for as long as possible.

Start with a clean vase and clean water! Bacteria are the number one cause for short vase life of fresh cut flower bouquets. Bacteria and fungi are everywhere and are ready to enter the cut surface of the stem and multiply. A plant’s root system serves as a filter to limit dirt, micro-organisms and chemicals from entering and blocking the plant’s ability to absorb water. When the flower is cut off from its life-sustaining root system, it loses this vital filter. Prior to actual decay symptoms, cells of the water-transporting tissues can become blocked with micro-organisms, inhibiting water uptake.

It is very important to always use clean vase and water in order to protect and preserve the flowers.

Use the Flower Food sachet, provided by your florist. While the flower is attached to the plant, it receives nourishment allowing it to grow and develop. When cut from the plant, it loses its source of nourishment and water.

Flower Food has been developed to simulate the flower’s original environment, it allows the flowers to fully develop and can increase the vase life of cut flowers. Commercial Fresh Flower Food is scientifically developed formula, carefully balanced mixture generally containing:

 Sucrose (sugar) – it serves as a source of energy (food). Like all other living things flowers require food energy. Too much sugar can be a bad thing, as it can “force” the life cycle of the flower to proceed faster than normal.

 Acidifier - most water supplies are alkaline and can reduce the life of cut flowers, an acidifier will help bring the waters pH closer to the acid pH of the cell sap. Slightly acidic water is taken up more readily through the stems than water that is neutral or alkaline. The acidifier also aids in stabilizing the pigment and the colour of the flowers.

Bactericide - designed to limit the growth of bacteria in the water. Bacteria, just like the flowers are growing on sugar. Because cells of the water-transporting tissues in flowers can become blocked with microorganisms, inhibiting the flowers ability to hydrate and severely reducing longevity we need something to limit it bacteria’s growth, in order to protect the flowers.

Follow the directions on the package and always use the recommended amount.

Always re-cut Stems & Remove Foliage. Make sure to always re-cut the stems (preferably at an angle) removing at least an inch of the stem. Use a sharp knife or clippers and avoid crushing the stem and therefore the vascular system. The slanted cut opens more stem area for hydration and prevents the end of the stem from resting directly on the bottom of the vase blocking the water flow.

Leaves sitting in water will deteriorate and rot. Decaying leaves are a good medium for bacteria and fungi, which will plug the stems and prevent hydration. Do not remove all leaves along the stem; the flowers require the leaves as part of their hydration process, only the one that will go below the water level. Check the water level daily and replenish as needed. If the water becomes cloudy, it should be completely exchanged for fresh.

Keep flowers away from drafts, direct sunlight, and ripening fruits, which emit ethylene gas, which can causes buds to remain closed, petals to have poor colour, and flowers to have a shortened vase life. Discard wilted blooms.

Enjoy your dose of fresh flowers. Recommended daily!

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