British narcissi

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The royal wedding is only a few weeks away now and the whole country is eagerly awaiting the big day. We brits don’t need much of an excuse for a party, but a royal wedding is as good a reason as any. Admittedly, for some the excitement is due to an extended break from work, tagging the Easter holidays onto the royal wedding weekend.  But I can’t wait to see what Kate will choose for her flowers and dress.

It has been banded about that Prince William and Kate might decide to go for British flowers, which would highlight the gorgeous cut flowers we can produce in Britain.  It’s a little early in the year for some British grown flowers, so they would be limited to spring pretties if they did choose to stick with just home grown flowers.  I would love to see William and Kate go for British flowers, and a selection of spring flowers would be beautiful.  Tulips, anemones, hyacinths, narcissi and lily of the valley are all available in April.

Lily of the valley wedding bouquet

When Camilla married Charles, Prince of Wales in 2005, she carried a pretty wired posy of lily of the valley and primroses for her bouquet.  The wedding was quite low key and her petite bouquet reflected this.  It included some Myrtle from Queen Victoria’s Garden on the Isle of Wight. Queen Victoria included a sprig of Myrtle in her wedding bouquet and then planted the Myrtle in her garden afterwards.  Since then all royal brides have included Myrtle in their bouquets including Queen Elizabeth II and Diana, Princess of Wales.  Myrtle is said to be the herb of love and is thought to bring good luck.  It is expected Kate will include Myrtle in her bouquet too.

Kate’s flower choices will obviously depend a lot of the type of dress she wears.  If she picks a fairy tale style dress with a large full skirt she may choose a trailing shower bouquet to balance the dress.  This type of bouquet is usually thought of as more traditional.  Shower bouquets have seemed to be out of fashion for many years as handtied bouquets were so popular.  But teardrop shape bouquets have been making a comeback recently, either as a smaller more compact version with a lot less fussy foliage or as a very modern waterfall design constructed on a decorative wire base with minimal flowers wired on.

Teardrop wedding bouquet

My bet for Kate’s flower style is understated elegance.  I think she will go for a teardrop shaped bouquet in neutral colours, not a large bouquet with long foliage like Princess Diana had, but a simpler contemporary version.  Most spring flowers are not very well suited to trailing bouquets as they are wired, so I’m not sure Kate will pick British flowers, since she would have to use spring flowers at this time of year.

Whatever flowers Prince William and Kate decide on for their big day, I’m sure they will be fabulous.  Kate always looks very elegant and stylish.  I just hope the sun shines for them on the 29th.

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What do you search for when you want to buy flowers on the internet? Do you go to your trusted local florist’s website, or do you just search ‘buy flowers online’ and pick the first the one listed at the top of the page?

The independent product testing company Which? recently rated six online florists on their Mother’s Day flowers, unfortunately their decision to test nationwide companies means when it comes to flowers they missed out on the best of the bunch.  They only ended up with one bouquet from an actual florist shop and that order was passed to the florist from Interflora, a relay company. There are several distinct types of florists online and knowing which is which could greatly affect the flowers that are received.

Firstly the independent florist, they are generally a small company, whose main business is selling and delivering flowers from retail premises. It might seem hard work finding a local florist’s website, as there are so many listings for florists online, it can feel a bit like looking for a needle in a haystack.  Often florist shops won’t have a large budget for online marketing, so they will struggle to appear on the first page of a search engine. To find a local florist all you need to do is search florist and the area you require, you should be able to go directly to a local florist in the vicinity you require.  A real florist shop will always list their address and local contact number.

By ordering directly with a florist shop you are ensuring the people actually making your flowers will receive all of your money and you can see how much you’ve really paid for delivery. Your flowers are guaranteed to be hand delivered on the day of your choice as well.   Don’t kid yourself into thinking that someone bigger offers free delivery. There’s no such thing as a free lunch, plus delivery drivers and petrol are not free.  By picking a local florist you know you are dealing with experts, if you need to ask advice about the best type of design for someone in hospital or if your Mum’s favourite flower is in season, a knowledgeable florist will be at the end of the phone ready to help.

spring flowers

Next we have the relay companies; these companies pass orders between local florist shops.  For example if you wanted to send flowers to your aunt Hetty at the other end of the country, you order them in a florist, the florist sends the order to the relay company and they in turn pass it to a florist near the recipient.  It works the same way online, you place your order and the relay company gives the order to local florist shop.  But don’t forget someone has to pay for this service.  Florist shops pay monthly membership fees to be part of a relay service and they also pay for every order they receive by way of a commission as well, which can be up to 30% of the order value. You can cut out relay companies by searching directly for a florist in the area you require this also enables you to view pictures of the florist’s own work, rather than images from the relay company.

There are also order gathering companies, so called as they simply gather orders, take a commission and pass your order onto a florist.  This percentage varies, but can be as high as 30% and often the florist given the order is not aware money has already been deducted.  These companies often advertise for many delivery areas but when you look at their contact details, they may not list an address and only have a free phone number.  The quality and value from this type of company can be very hit and miss, if you are unsure about a company like this try searching online for reviews about them before purchasing.

Lastly there are the big name online florists.  You might normally buy clothes or food from these brands but they also offer online flowers.  They will have flashy websites offering a wide range of floral products for seemingly great prices.  But the flowers are actually often made in a factory by unskilled workers and delivered in an unattractive cardboard box.  When I say unskilled, I mean someone who is expected to whip flowers together very quickly, production line fashion and hasn’t trained for several years like florists in retail shops do.

Bouquets from this type of company are sometimes not gift wrapped and have very little foliage, so the bouquet will simple fall about in a vase and not sit nicely.  Often these companies do not use best grade flowers.  Roses are often the worst offenders from these types of companies, if a stem length is not stated then assume they will be very short and therefore have very small heads. Beware delivery conditions from this type of company too, as their flowers are often sent by courier which means a delivery date is not always guaranteed.

Every household name has jumped on the flower bandwagon in recent years, but what qualifies your favourite supermarket as an expert in floristry?  To get the best quality and service, search for a local florist.  All good florists will show pictures of their own work, beware of shops that only show standard relay company images.  Florists want to show off their own good work.  Many florists have business listings on Google and Facebook, these are good places to see images of florist’s work as well as customer reviews.

pink bouquet

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We are a nation that loves our mothers. Thousands of us choose to thank our mums with pretty gifts of flowers or plants.  Mother’s Day is one of the busiest weeks of the year for florists and despite the economic uncertainties, this year was no different.  Florists reported a very busy weekend sending beautiful bouquets to mums all over the UK.

Weeks before most people have realised Mother’s Day is coming the florist’s preparations start.  Suppliers require the order for fresh flowers weeks before Mother’s Day, so this means predicting what customers will want and how much they are likely to buy normally weeks before customers place any orders.  In the week running up to Mother’s Day there are a few long days and late nights required to get all the flowers in water and organised, so they can be made into gorgeous gifts in time for Mother’s Day.

mdroses4 mdspring5

Bouquets of spring flowers were very popular this year.  These pretty bouquets include things like hyacinths, tulips, ranunculus and British narcissi.  The hyacinths and narcissi make them smell gorgeous.   Giant vintage teacups were also popular this year over-flowing with spring flowers …..and there were happy mums all round.


Don’t forget a mother is for life, not just Mother’s Day.

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