Sunday, November 18, 2012

How to Keep Your Flowers Longer

You receive a beautiful floral arrangement and you want to keep it looking fresh and beautiful longer; how would you do that?

The first thing to remember is that flowers must have an immediate and continuing supply of water, once they are cut, to replace the life giving foods and fluids of the plant on which they grew. This water must be fresh, but not cold.

Florists "condition" the flowers they get from the wholesalers. they first cut the stems at an angle with sharp knives or shears then immediately place the flowers in warm water with conditioning solution for an hour or two before using the flowers in an arrangement. The buckets of conditioned flowers are then moved into their display coolers.

Cleanliness can reduce wilt

Florists try to use immaculately clean containers and pails and vases at every step. They scrub their containers with hot soapy water to eliminate the decay of foliage that hasten wilt. After the soaping, containers are thoroughly rinsed. Traces of soap usually damage the the flowers as much as the bacteria would.

Avoid hot or drafty locations

The same rule applies to prolonging the life of flowers from your florist. If possible, put your bouquet where the temperature will be as even as possible - out of drafts, away from the heater vents. Always place your bouquet where you will enjoy it most. Add water once you receive your bouquet. as leakage could occur during the trip from the florist to your home. You need not change water daily, but add as needed to make up for evaporation loss. Keep your bouquet fresh by removing and replacing the faded flowers and leaves. When a good number of flowers have wilted but others are still fresh, do another arrangement on a smaller scale and extend your enjoyment.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Beautiful Orchids

Orchids are instinctively synonimous to the island state of Hawaii. The exotic orchids have a lot of species, and some of the smaller orchids are native to Hawaii, and most of all the orchids today have been introduced by Polynesians arriving in Hawaii a long time ago, then the orchids have been hybridized by farmers experimenting and adding thousands of various species.

Most orchids need little more than moisture-laden air to survive. Masters of adaptation, orchids grow in semi-arid desert, marsh and swamp, from the sub-arctic to the tropics.

If beauty can hypnotize and inspire perfection, the orchid must be oe of the proofs. Under the tropic sun, nourished by moist humid air, it is an elegant tribute to the image of Hawaii-as-Paradise.

Send one to someone as a gift, a gesture of appreciation, or for any occasion.

Sunday, July 08, 2012

My Job as a Florist

Owning a business in this economy has been a challenge. During summer, business is somewhat spotty. For flowershops, summer is a period for a little rest from the hectic days of spring when there are holidays like Mother's Day and Easter, school dances, graduations, and weddings. And for established florists, the corporate accounts and weekly standing orders help keep the business afloat, and the website helps put us on the map too. As a florist, we not only arrange flowers, we are also advisers to people who have no idea of what to send, for a birthday, or a new baby, a get well or a sympathy. We are also Planners - we plan what flowers we need to purchase, what supplies we are low of, other items such as plants, balloons, plush, etc. to buy and which suppliers to use. In a small shop, sometimes all the jobs are handled by one person, the owner; jobs including cleaning, display design, marketing, sales, customer service, web maintenance, bookkeeping, etc. The most rewarding is the ability to practice the art of flower designing. There's a satisfaction in seeing the result - a happy smile from the recipient of the flowers.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Earth Day!

Way before Earth Day was established, my mother has been an avid practitioner of recycling and we were not about to break that practice. When we were very young, she collected brown bags, those small ones used for brown bagging school lunches. Those types of brown bags used to be the bags used by vendors for packaging small amounts of whatever one bought at the marketplace. Nowadays, the normal packaging are plastic bags. Anyway, after Mom has collected a good amount of these bags, and on one of her trips to the market, she went to her favorite vendor (suki in our dialect) of salt and exchange the bags with salt to the value of the bags. Because of the number of children in our household, including cousins, we would have a lot of cans of milk collected. The only milk we knew then was the Carnation evaporated milk or condensed milk which probably was 12-16 fluid ounces. She used these cans to propagate plants, mostly cactus and succulents. Seasons when people were expected to visit our city, she'd take these plants to a plant retailer in the market and sell it to them.

Aside from raising us kids, she raised chickens, pigs, and sometimes goats. For the pig food, she would send one of the kids to collect leftovers from neighbors who had student boarders. We also went to the vegetable market and collect the cabbage leaves or any other greens taken off from their merchandise of vegetables, thus helping the vendor get rid of their garbage of greens. She would cook the greens mixed with the leftovers collected from the neighbors in a huge pot using wood we collected from open spaces, mostly fallen branches from pine trees.

Mom came from a farming family. She had the green thumb. But her secret came from the use of a lot of things available for free. She collected the chicken dung and put these aside until these have broken down enough to use in her garden, same with horse manure. She had spanish tomato tree, banana trees, chayote, and sweet potato (camote) in her small yard. We had a good supply of spanish tomato jam (tasted like strawberry jam), fresh bananas that we shared with a lot of people, fresh chayote shoots and sweet potato shoots. Some of us kids collected/picked bottles; when we've collected enough, we sold these to buy movie tickets. We collected newspapers and magazines so that we can get money for comic books.

Our house was small, but my parents managed to house not only the 7 kids but also 2 to 3 cousins, several relatives and 4 roomful of student boarders. And to top that off, the smaller kids always got hand me downs.

Everyday was earth day to us and the practice of reuse, recycle, waste nothing helped us immensely and in our own small way preserve nature in the space and time we were and are in. Happy Earth Day!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

April Flower of the Month

It's April and the flower of the month is the daisy. This flower is so unpretentious and uncomplicated, it means innocence. The daisy is commonly known as Transvaal daisy, Barberton daisy, African daisy, Veldt daisy. The gerbera daisy comes in three sizes, miniature at 2-3 inches in diameter, standard at 3 -5 inches in diameter, and giant at 5-6 inches diameter. The gerbera daisy comes virtually in every hue except for blue-green, blue and blue violet which has made it a favorite flower with flower lovers. A perennial favorite, this April birth flower is perfect in floral bouquets and it is usually made the focal point specially if the gerbera used is the standard size or larger.

The gerbera daisy is a native to South Africa, thus, the name African daisy.

A Very Sweet Reminder

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Flower of the Month Of March - Daffodils

Daffodils come out early in March, that's probably why these were designated as the flower of the month of March.  The botanical name for daffodils is Narcissus and the common name is Daffodil, Jonquil or Paper-white.  All Daffodil blooms have petals emanating from the base of a trumpet-shaped cup (corona).  The single flower variety have six petals; the double flower variety have 12 or more. The blooms are at the top of the stems and when open, face perpendicular to the stems. larger varieties sport a simgle bloom per stem, and the smaller variety sport clusters of blooms per stem. The stems of the Daffodils are hollow and leafless. They come in several colors, the most abundant of which is yellow; other colors are orange, peach, pink, white, and cream.
Before florists arrange these flowers into a beautiful bouquet, the stems are cut about half an inch off the bottom and kept in separate container for at least 6 hours. Daffodils exude a slimy substance that is harmful to other flowers. After 6 hours, the harmful sap will have leached and the flowers can then be arranged or placed with other flowers.  Like most bulb flowers, daffodils have short vase lives.

Monday, February 20, 2012

A Very Memorable Birthday

When I was young, we didn't have much. My parents had 7 girls, all were in Catholic schools, so we didn't have birthday parties. My mother then made sticky rice cake, bought some cookies and prepared hot native chocolate drink to celebrate my younger sister and my birthday together. The only birthday party we celebrated at home was my older sister's 18th birthday because she had finished college and had a job.

On my second year in college, Martial Law was declared by then President Ferdinand Marcos. The administration started rounding up student activists including my younger sister, myself and another girl who was boarding at my parents house. We were detained at a military camp called Camp Dangwa. While in detention, I became ill in the camp, and later was taken to the hospital; and that was where I spent my 18th birthday. Imagine the anguish my mother felt when two of her young children were taken away and detained for months and then seeing one of them in the hospital on her 18th birthday. I had no idea what my mother felt and went through at that time.

This year, should be a very memorable birthday for me, one that would never be ever forgotten, a real celebration of life, and real greatfulness for the good Lord's power.

The day before my birthday, I called my son to ask where he was when I stopped by his house. He was already at work, and informed me he rode his bike to work. He uses our other car which was at his house but we needed it for valentine flower deliveries. He told me to go ahead and take the car and that he'll see us on Tuesday to help with flower deliveries.

At about 1:30 am on February 13, the phone rang, and I thought it was a prank call; then my cell phone rang, but I didn't pick it up because I was trying to get to sleep so that I have energy for a busy day. After several rings, I finally got up at 5:30 to pick up the call on my cell phone. It was a social worker from UC Davis Medical center. She informed us that our son was in a very bad accident, he is serious, but calm and collected and was able to give our business phone, home phone and my cell phone. The other passenger was more seriously injured with broken back, eye and head and leg injuries and at first was not expected to live.

At the end of his shift, it started pouring rain so his friend offered him a ride, will drop him off by his friends apartment which is halfway to my son's house and he will ride his bike home from there. It was a ride he won't ever forget. His friend drove too fast for the weather condition and lost control of the car, hit a tree and then another tree. It's a miracle my son survived - he had a cut on his chest, broken sternum, broken tibia and a day later, they found that his hip was broken too. It was a shock to be awakened with such a terrible news. I can't express what I felt; I just fell on my knees and prayed for my son and the other passenger and for the driver who lost his life that dark, ominous morning.

I called my helper to come in early, informed my daughter of the news, and then rushed to the hospital. My son was in the operating room when we got there and expected to be in there for a couple of hours. We went to work and got busy with valentine orders. We informed his employer of the accident, and I sent a text message to one of his roommates.

After not getting any news, my husband went back to the hospital and found our son in recovery but was sleeping. About 10 of his friends were in the OR waiting room - my husband told them to go home because they are not yet allowed to see him while he was in ICU recovering. When we got back to the hospital at around 6 pm that night, he woke up and had the guilty look in his face and apologized. It was such a rough day seeing my only son all battered, bruised, in pain, and hooked up with mask-like breathing instrument. etc. and can't barely move.

This particular birthday, I am grateful for the gift of life, I feel so blessed and thank the Lord my son is alive.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

February is - Black History Month

On the second week of February in 1926,"Negro" History Week was establshed. Dr. Carter G.Woodson, who originated this event, chose the second week of February because it marked the birthdays of two Americans who greatly influenced the lives and social condition of African Americans: President Abraham Lincoln and abolitionist and former slave Frederick Douglass. Woodson also founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, now the Association for the Study of African American Life and History.

Black History month should be a time to honor those whose struggles, accomplishments and contributions brought us to where we are in this country. We could start by learning and discovering who Dr. Carter Woodson is and his accomplishments.

In Sacramento, the local libraries are presenting a variety of cultural programs for all ages in all its 28 locations throughout the month of February. Programs include art displays, arts and crafts hands-on projects, story telling, geneology workshops, drumming and dancing, cooking and much more.

Friday, February 03, 2012

February is the Month of Love and Romance

Valentine's day is on February 14th. It's time for expressing our love and affection for those who are most important to us. And naturally enough, sending flowers is one of the best romance ideas of all. Not only that, studies show that there is a link between flowers and the emotional health.
Anyone, of any age who is presented with flowers elicit a geniune smile.

For Valentine's Day, roses are the most popular flower that express love and romance and the favorite flower men order for their loved one. Professional florists offer lots of choices of roses and spring flowers and many of these flowers have a very sweet scent.

If you've decided to send flowers for valentine's, consider sending your flowers on Monday, February 13th, especially if they're being delivered to a place of work so they can be admired and enjoyed for several days more.
Don't wait until the last minute….call or visit us soon and let Cupid's arrows fly. Your local florist - A Vanity Fair Florist, can help you express your feelings of love and romance with flowers.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

February is the month of Violets, Amethyst and Aquarius

It's February and today is my sister's birthday, and my niece's too. What a birthday gift, a blessing to my sister on her birthday to give birth to a beautiful daughter 25 years ago. Here's wishing them both a blessed day as they celebrate this day apart, a continent apart, and yet just a click and a phone call away.

The flower for the month of February is the African Violet and the birthstone is Amethyst. Violets represent chastity, humility and faithfulness.

February's purple birthstone has been found among the possessions of royalty throughout the ages. The intense violet hue of Amethyst appealed to early monarchs, perhaps because they often wore this color. Amethyst is also symbolic of spirituality and piety. It has been used to ornament churches and crosses used in religious ceremony, and worn in rings and on rosaries by bishops and priests.

For the Aquarian, enjoy this month's segment of a Gregorian Birth Stone Poem:

    The February born shall find
    Sincerity and peace of mind,
    Freedom from passion and from care,
    If they, the amethyst will wear.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Before the Golden Age

What do you call the period of time before the so called "golden age" - the time period when one is about ready to retire (from work) but yet have to continue working to be able to pay bills, and also continue fulfilling family responsibilities like caring for an aging parent.

Working in a flowershop, I get to work a lot on flowers for funeral services, flowers for grieving families, or flowers for gravesites for loved ones who passed a long time ago. When working on flowers for people I know, it becomes a personal "mission". It is very sad to note that last year I learned of the passing of high school classmate, and early this year, the passing of a college friend. They are my age, and I realize and I'm thankful for each day I wake up, alive!