Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Botanical Brouhaha Expert Discussion Panel: Session 17

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                                                                                                                                                            image via Art with Nature

The Question:

I have a great opportunity to provide weekly flowers for a very upscale club in my area and would love to know the tips that others with these weekly contracts can pass along. Favorite long lasting flowers? Special conditioning tricks? How to change it up on a weekly basis to make each design unique? How to find inspiration week after week? (from a designer in California)

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The Answers:

We have a collection of containers that go out on the weekly deliveries. Those containers are always fun and unique and add to the design. I can afford to use the nice containers because I always pick them up at the end of the week. I typically design in Oasis because my weekly customers do not freshen up the water so by the end of the week the water is funky. If the client could afford it I would suggest a fee for you to come by at least once a week to water the design and even offer a freshen up fee. My clients don't choose this option and the design is typically very tired by the end of the week. However, because they forget to water it and don't want to pay for me to come by and do it, we never have any complaints or issues. They receive the design and don't touch it for a week.  We typically use larkspur, snapdragons, lilies, roses, alstromeria, mums, mini carnations, and fillers.

Tropicals and orchids are wonderful to work with as well, but the client has to have a big budget. How sexy, unique, and/or clever the design is each week depends on the value of the piece.

-Holly Chapple (Holly Heider Chapple Flowers)

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Try to buy the best quality of flowers you can afford to ensure the flowers will last the length of period they will be in situ.  Take in to account the style of the venue the flowers will be placed and so when choosing the container / vessel it matches well with the interiors décor.  Make sure that the container / vessel is spotless inside and out to keep flowers as fresh and healthy as possible.  Choose long lasting flowers, foliage and keep the colour scheme simple.  If possible try and keep a log of your designs – a quick photo or note, so that you keep moving the designs along and you don’t get stuck in the rut of the same piece over and over.  It’s also useful to look back and learn from your mistakes.

-Gemma Bain (Planet Flowers)

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I haven't had very much experience with this as I have only had standing orders a few times and they were very laid back. I found it best to make sure that even if parts of the arrangement didn't last the full week (a blooming flower of some sort), that other parts of it (a long-lasting green with some interest and structure) would. Tropicals usually worked really well, even if they aren't my favorite style of flower.  Once I ran into a problem where a vent that was constantly pushing out air was hitting the flower arrangement directly if I placed it where they wanted me to. We had to experiment a bit with moving the arrangement to different spots on the front desk and we found that the flowers lived much longer when they did not have air hitting them.

-Sarah Winward (Honey of a Thousand Flowers)

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I look after the flowers for the majority of the five star hotels in the West of Scotland including Cameron House, One Devonshire Gardens and Blythswood Square.  As we change the flowers on a weekly basis we can't design with flowers such as roses, peonies, tulips etc as they just won't look perfect for a week. Hotel flowers are very different from flowers for the home as they need to look as good on day seven as they did on day one. Favourites of ours are cymbidium orchids, anthurium, amaryllis, hydrangea, ginger, vanda orchids and heliconia. In order to keep our arrangements different each week we keep detailed notes of what each client has had in the past and make sure we change the vase style, vase colour, foliage varieties and flower colours each time. Black and white glass or ceramic vases are great to use as on day 5 or 6 if the water is a little cloudy it can't be seen. When using clear vases we always disguise the stems and tie point with a tropical leaf such as anthurium, monstera, green tie or black tie. I find inspiration from the books and websites of other great florists around the world as well as on field trips to cities like Paris, Stockholm and Las Vegas! However we often have to adapt the size and scale of those designs to suit our clients budgets.

-Nick Priestly (Mood Flowers)

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I think most flowers can be used for weekly contracts, but you need to get to know the place - is it very sunny, do they use AC/heating etc.. Make sure the water is clean! Change it 1-2 times a week and use some antibacterial fertilizer. When I did weekly contracts, we put in new designs on Monday and popped up there Wednesday and Friday for  a quick check up - change the water, snip off a yellow leaf etc. just to make sure you're on top of everything.

Weekly contracts are a great opportunity to use containers that usually to hide in the cupboards,as well as seasonal flowers and foliage. Even if we think our memory is very good, it can be very handy to make a simple list of what flowers+container you use every week!

-Emelie Ekborg (Svenska Blomsterbloggar)

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Thanks Emelie, Nick, Sarah, Gemma and Holly!

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I enjoy checking out the hotel lobby flowers at the Ritz-Carlton Dallas designed by Bella Flora…thought you might enjoy a quick glance, as well…one table…a dozen designs…

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Hope you have a wonderful Wednesday!

3 comments:

Lisa (Blooming Art) said...

Great question, and very helpful answers. Thank you!

Susan Three Sisters Flowers said...

Thank you for the great tips and the beautiful inspiration!

Mimi said...

it's always so great to hear the experiences of other floral designers. Our weekly account for 3 luxury residences are on the concierge desk at each site. We buy the freshest flowers available, including roses, and make dense and unusual arrangements in cubes as per their request. We freshen up the flowers once per week for free, because the residents in the buildings place orders because the flowers look great. In the cooler months there is little to do, but in the summer we sometimes have to replace a few flowers.