Our Small Effort for Japan Aid

I didn’t start out with any plan other than to put a name to one of the designs I plan to feature for Mother’s Day this year. I was quite pleased with the finished result, and diligently photographed it and edited it, planning to get everything ready to go onto the website.

I always name my designs, it’s much easier for me and for my customers if we have a name to go with a certain product. But on this particular piece, the names I was coming up with were just…..well…..stupid sounding. I’m not even going to share what they were.

Somewhat in desperation, I posted the image on a professional florist’s forum, Flowerchat. There were quite a few responses as florists from around the world piped in with their thoughts and ideas for an appropriate name. Every single one of them was a winner, especially in comparison to the ones I came up with.

Then, Sprout from Massachusetts piped in, and boy, was it a winner!

Why not name it “Japonica” she suggested, and donate a portion of each sale to the Red Cross for aid to Japan.

Bingo!

With it’s clearly eastern flavor, it is the perfect fit for such an endeavor. Additionally, another florist, Melissa from Canada, remarked about how the greenery appears to be “hugging” the flowers, much as a mother would hold her child. I thought, hmmm, or how the world would like to embrace Japan in a global “hug”.

So, without further adieu, I give you Japonica.

Japonica

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Flowers for Valentine’s Day

Flowers for Valentines Day

What are the perfect flowers for your valentine? Sometimes, that is a very difficult choice for people.

First of all, let me make something very clear. Flowers are always appropriate. Always. Not everybody understands the magical good feelings that flowers evoke. That’s okay, as long as you understand that flowers WILL work magic.

Now onto the heart of this discussion, pun intended.

So you want to give your loved one something that will express your feelings, but also give the recipient enjoyment. For many, a mixture of quality flowers will make them happy, it’s just the fact that you thought about them and then did something to show that, like stopping at your local florist to purchase flowers. You are already 99% there!

A little sleuthing would not hurt, and at this point it isn’t too late. Make a point of asking about favorite colors, and if you happen to be in the vicinity of flowers, casually ask if there is a preferred or disliked flower. For example, a lot of people love stargazer lilies, but their strong fragrance can be over-powering to others. If they have allergies, this flower is a no-no.

You don’t have to purchase the whole dozen roses if that is beyond your comfort zone in price, roses tend to rise in price around holidays, and Valentine’s Day Roses come at a premium because of the demand at a time when climates do not agree with the demand. Consider a bouquet of mixed flowers with one or two beautiful roses for an affordable alternative.

Orchids have become much more affordable in the last several years, especially in view of their extraordinary longevity. We will be well-stocked with our popular blue orchids as well as cymbidium orchids.

Some people do prefer a blooming plant for even longer lasting quality, and we will have all of the favorites in stock.

If you are somebody who prefers to order on line, buyer beware! The companies who promise the moon are usually those who have cornered the market on deceit. They will trumpet that their flowers will be hand-delivered by a local florist. Most often that is true. HOWEVER. They will charge you a fee for that, a fee that will NOT go to the fulfilling florist and as a result, will also NOT go toward your flower purchase. You just pay them for taking your order.

Be sure to check out our website to see what specials we are offering. Not all of them are on the website, so if you want more options, or want something special, please stop in or call us.

Happy Valentine’s Day to all!

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“I’m a funeral director, not a florist….”

Today was the last straw for me. I decided I at least have to write a post about this to get it off my chest.

As I was delivering family floral pieces to a funeral home today, I sort of breezed past the funeral director as he was un-wrapping floral tributes that had been delivered. I didn’t really pay attention to what he was doing, I had two urns in my hands that were connected. This piece takes a bit of setting up and is heavy and awkward so I headed straight for the chapel.

After I finished setting them up, I came back down the hallway and was chatting with the director as I walked toward him. As the conversation waned, I finally noticed what he was doing. He was wiping water off of a vase that had about a dozen yellow roses and probably 10 standard sized white calla lilies.

It should have been stunning, it was not.

All of the flowers were the same length, roughly 12-14″ tall. (That’s very short!) They were just sort of “in” the vase, bunched together, and he was headed for the chapel with it. When he noticed my grimace, he nodded at the black box marked with a gold FTD logo and said, “I’m a funeral director, not a florist”.

I am disgusted with FTD for allowing this sort of thing to happen. There will not be any oohs and ahhs during the service when people gaze at this mish-mash of premium flowers, I can guarantee that at best it will be passed by without a glance.

Is that REALLY the way FTD wants to portray itself? FTD has always touted it’s floral design as the best, and that they offer a wonderful product via their partner florists. There was no florist involved in this little horror and that was blatantly obvious.

Here is a picture of what the sender probably ordered, I do so wish that I had brought my camera with me to share what was actually presented to the family as a tribute to their dearly departed.

I might add that the foliage shown here did not exist in the vase he was carrying. This bouquet is the best upgrade, cost of $70 plus shipping.

Now imagine this with all of the flowers one length, no greens, and the flowers sort of clumped together. This picture may be what is shown, but it takes a professional to come even close to the pictured look.

Please FTD, stop selling this type of thing to the consumer, they will only be displeased.

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Anytime Flowers Thanksgiving Centerpieces

Thanksgiving is just around the corner, only two weeks – yum – TURKEY!!

We have quite a few designs planned for all of your needs from a small basket of fall flowers to the most graceful bounty, a  Thanksgiving centerpiece featuring pheasant feathers and deep jewel tones.

Be sure to place your orders early for one of our featured designs, or if you prefer, bring in your favorite container and we’ll fill it for you!

Here is a peek at some of the featured designs.

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Anytime Flowers October 2010 Store Tour

Just a quick little tour through the store, with a few stops along the way to showcase some of the everyday items we stock besides flowers and plants! Hope you enjoy.

Shop Tour

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Seeing Is Believing

Take a good look at this image and make your best guess on just what size the design is.

Did you count the roses? And you can’t even see what is on the sides and the back, can you? Wow, that sucker must be HUGE, right?

Sorry, so very sorry to disappoint ~ this is a cube vase measuring 4x4x4 inches. The entire design is roughly 10 inches tall. I’ll wait while you mentally imagine that, or you can even get out a tape measure to get a visual.

This blog post was brought on by the extreme displeasure of a consumer, who found this next image on the internet, printed out the image, and brought that picture to me to copy.

Beautiful, isn’t it? Too bad all of the flowers are showing, makes you wonder what’s on the side you can’t see, huh?

Imagine my embarrassment when his wife showed up the next morning while I was working with another customer, and announced how unhappy she was with the design. After finishing with the previous person, I turned my attention fully to her concerns.

She had wanted the flowers for her dining room table, and this design was just incredibly small for her purpose. She wanted it bigger and demonstrated by her hovering hand the height that she wanted it. She was taken completely by surprise and dismayed at just how small it was.

I explained that in order to replicate that design in the size she had expected, we would have to use two dozen standard size roses plus a couple of bunches of daisies, and the miniature carnations would look entirely silly so we would need to use standard carnations as well. It would have cost $125.  She didn’t want to spend more than they already had spent, but she was so unhappy!

What to do?

I finally asked her if she was dead set on that particular design or if she was just looking for a nice, full, fall design for her table. She said it didn’t have to be that one. So, we walked over to the cooler and she immediately chose our Tuscan Tapestry. That is one of the featured designs on our website, and what you see really IS what you get.

She now understands that she is much better off if she goes straight to her local florist to find something she likes rather than hunt through pages and pages of wire service images of designs, designs that never existed outside of a great photo editing suite and an adept photographer, and most certainly never graced a table in a real home.

I think it is a real shame that these consumers went through so much angst because of this misleading image. The average consumer is going to make a logical assumption that seeing is believing. Certainly they are not going to read a looooonnggggg paragraph extolling the virtues of something that has already caught their eye. You need to read to the very bottom before you get to the actual size which is 7 inches tall and 7 inches wide!

I sincerely hope that this post will help to prevent  disappointment to future consumers, whether you shop at Anytime Flowers or elsewhere. I guess seeing ISN’T always  believing!

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International Day of Peace is Sept 21, 2010

Peace, love, and harmony!

International Day of Peace.

When you first read that, the mind immediately conjures  scenes of battlefields and soldiers. The meaning can so much deeper, though. As individuals with our own complicated sets of relationships, we each have one, two, or many conflicts that harbour feelings of angst.

Small jelousies, angry arguments, or even stubborn differences of opinion can fester and poison for days, weeks, and years. They can add toxicity to every action or thought that, for most of us, lead to an “icky” feeling. We may even lead our lives differently because of them.

Would you want to have a stupid, pointless argument be the last memory you have of a father who suddenly was killed in a car crash? Could you live with the guilt you would feel if your child made you so mad you quit speaking to them, only to lose them to an overdose?

These are difficult emotions to reconcile, and yet reconciliation is paramount in the delicate human psyche. Should you then avoid confrontation and lie down like a door-mat for all to tread upon? What is the answer to balance these?

I think forgiveness, at least to ourselves. If we are strong enough, to reach out to someone who has wronged us and try to make peace, with true intent, nothing less will do.

So I challenge you to think of someone who ticked you off, or is ticked at you. Reach out. If they do not reach back, that’s okay, at least you tried and now you will have peace in your heart.

Peace out!

Oh, and if you want to send a little gift as a message, be sure to check out our Flower Power Love Bug. It will be sure to bring smiles!

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Grandparents Day is September 12, 2010

In an earlier post, I wrote about my memories of fishing with my grandpa. My two sets of grandparents, who are now all deceased, ahd important impacts on my life. Some of my very fondest memories of childhood revolve around them. Those memories are something that cannot ever be replaced.

Sadly, I can’t recall ever thanking them for those precious memories. Or honoring them for the willing and loving help they gave me, both big and small.

Had I known a Grandparent’s Day existed, it would have spurred me into the action of giving them a token to honor them, to thank them for the positive influence they had on me.

I urge everybody who still has a grandparent in their lives to make a point of calling or sending a small token of thanks to them, and let them know that you appreciate them. Their wisdom from life experience is priceless, even when we don’t always realize it or heed it.

Here is our featured design for Grandparents Day if you wuld liike to send flowers. Click on the link and it will bring you to our site. Remember to register as a user, it’s free.

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Patriot Day – Sept. 11th

 

In remembering our fallen heroes of conflicts back through the decades, we have always set aside a day as a nation to celebrate our military heroes. This is good and right. Since that fateful day we all know as 9/11, our understanding of the designation “patriot” was broadened.

In a truly bizarre and devastating attack, a nation, even a world, was brought to a new level of awareness of the human nature to defend and protect against evil.

We all know who the heroes are.

The military was there immediately, helping people to safety. I recently read a story about some Marines who showed up at a daycare facility near the Pentagon, un-asked. In teams they picked up cribs with babies and anything else and brought them out of danger.

The first responders? Oh, how well we all know who they were. So many of them lost their lives in the blink of an eye while trying to save the lives of people caught up in the surreal drama.

And every day folks, traveling in the air, going about their daily business suddenly confronted with berserk people and making a decision. A decision that still ended their lives, but saved countless others by forcing a crash in a Pennsylvania field.

Heroes all. Bravo and standing ovations forever!

I think, though, that we have many more patriots. I certainly was no hero that day, but it changed me forever, and I want to remember why I proudly call myself a patriot.

Like most people, I was going about a usual day. I guess it was about 9:00am that I was receiving a shipment of plants. The driver came in with a load and mentioned that a plane had just crashed into the world trade center building. After realizing that it could not have been the world trade center in St. Paul, MN, (we would have heard it), he went to listen some more while I unpacked plants.

Then he came back in scant minutes later and told me that another plane had hit the other tower. The chills, fear, and anguish that went through my body as I realized the significance of that second plane still, yes even right now: bring a sense of dread and disbelief.

The rest of it is such a blur. At one point before or after hearing about the Pentagon, we heard and felt two fighter planes go screaming overhead. I went out on my deliveries, barely keeping tears in check. The flowers were almost ignored by recipients, all we could do was shake our heads and mourn.

When the first building collapsed, I felt as if I did, too. All I could think about was the children who at that moment became orphans. I drove the couple miles to my church after my last delivery and sank onto a pew in the darkened sanctuary and wept. I must have sat there for an hour or more, alternately sobbing, praying, and shaking my fist at God. Most of the crying was done out of compassion for those left behind, but some of it was for me, too. I was scared.

That evening our family gathered in front of the television, praying that any minute we would be told of survivors being found. The power went out. We looked at each other, nobody saying really anything but easily reading the dread in each others expressions. We cautiously went outside, scanning the skies for airplanes, noticing neighbors up and down the street doing the same. We were immensely gratified when a brief half hour later the power came back on. Turns out a car hit a power box during an auto accident.

A tiny piece of background. I was educated in the public school system during the 70’s. Every morning, we as a school body stood and faced the American flag, and recited the pledge of allegiance. It didn’t really mean anything to me, it was just something I had to do. I will admit here that I would get a bit of a shiver if I heard a really good vocalist sing the “Star Spangled Banner”.

On that day, Sept. 11, 2001, I became a patriot. No, I did not lay down my life to protect my country or its citizens. What happened is nevertheless profound. I became a willing partner with my fellow citizens to see that future generations understand and appreciate why we stand together. That duty to country, patriotism; is as much about preserving humanity as it is about fighting on a battlefield.

My battlefield is my little flower shop in St. Paul, MN. Conversations with people over the counter as I wrap their flowers and gifts plant tiny seeds of understanding that, with hope and faith, will flourish and grow to supply a hungry nation. A nation hungry for true patriots.

I have shared my memories of that day in hopes that others will post here with their memories, too. This is one of those wounds that will fester if not opened up occasionally to let out the toxins. It is cleansing.

In closing, I just really want to extend my utmost and sincerest condolences to those who lost a loved one or friend on that day. I give my pledge to you all that this patriot stands with you.

God bless

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And so another summer gone

It’s hard to believe that another summer has flown by so quickly. Schools are already started or soon to begin another school year. The temperatures have dropped, and soon the leaves will follow. What a wonderful time of year it is with all of the rich colors and textures to be found almost everywhere you look.

And yet, how sad too. Bye-bye summer evening walks to DQ, we will miss you! So long, my pretty garden flowers, I hate to see you go! Won’t be shaded from the hot sun by a glorious leafy bower of trees.

Oh will I miss the butterflies flitting about, touching a bit of magic to my senses. And the bird-song in the morning, so alive a refreshing!

Ah, fall though, how I do love it. Crisp mornings, love putting on a light jacket. The earthy scent of leaves giving cover to my garden. Good sleeping weather. And daylight savings, that glorious extra hour of sleep!

We have said good-bye to summer in the shop, too. And have welcomed autumn with open arms. We are positively bursting with the warm tones of fall with new giftware, blooming plants, and fresh flowers.

Here is a photo of our featured design for autumn, Tuscan Tapestry. Lush and full, rich tones of gold, burgundy, purple, and orange with texture you can almost feel with your eyes, closely gathered together in a faceted amber or green glass vase. Yummy!

Tuscan Tapestry

                                                                                                                             Click picture to order now!

So I will say ta-ta to summer with a little bit of sadness, and welcome autumn with open arms!

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