Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Botanical Brouhaha Expert Discussion Panel: Session 21

5-07 002ee

The Question:

When I first started doing flowers I bought a used drink cooler for a few hundred dollars and had it in my garage. It froze my flowers once, so I got rid of it when I moved into a studio space. I bought a brand new True GDM 2 section 47 cu.ft. floral cooler two years ago.  I bought new because I did not want to risk any more freezing.  But, it froze my flowers anyways. It has frozen flowers around the edges of the cooler many times, and I have it serviced after each time. I have had it re-calibrated, cleaned, and replaced the internal thermostat several times. (BTW True warranty covered none of this nor did they pay for the lost flowers).  It is fine, then randomly six months later, it will strike again. This past weekend it froze an entire cooler full of fritillaria! When I got to the studio and found out, my cooler was at 9 degrees!

So maybe I have a bad egg of a cooler and I just need to get a new one. But the more I am talking to other florists, I find this is common. Does your cooler freeze? How do you cope with it? Any tricks or coolers that you have found better than others?

I have been considering buying a freeze alarm. They are about $250 from home security companies and when the temperature gets to freezing they will call you. Anyone use one of these?


The Answers:

I actually only have an old commercial drinks fridge that I use.  It runs pretty well but it always freezes over if I leave it running for too long.  I just turn it off at the start of the week and it takes a couple of days to get itself really cold which means for about three days I have a fridge at perfect temperature!  I haven’t actually been able to find a specifically designed florists fridge in Australia.  There was a company that used to produce them but they went out of business.  I put bowls of water in the fridge and cover the fan a little with cardboard to keep it a little more humid.  And it seems to work in our weather.  But it is pretty makeshift I must say!  A freezer alarm sounds great.  I am one of those that lie awake at night wondering if my flowers are ok in the fridge.

-Kristy Marek (Imbue Weddings)


It happened to me as well. But I found that this happens when I try to squeeze in too many flowers. In order to keep the right temperature there has to be enough space for the air/cold to circulate. I don't know exactly how it works technically, but if there’s not enough room for circulation the thermostat can't work properly. When I pack the cooler I always make sure that there's plenty of space in the back (where the radiator and fan are) and that containers are not too squeezed. Since I started packing the cooler this way I never had any problem with frozen flowers.

-Emelie Ekborg (Svenska Blomsterbloggar)


My answer might seem a little strange, but I decided not to invest in a cooler. My workshop is located in an old house and I have an old stone cellar. This one insures a 8 to 12° C (46 to 54 F) all year round. With this solution, no surprise ever as the ground temperature never goes below zero. This allows as well to spare on the electricity costs and save space in my workshop, and you don't need to clean the cellar as often as you have to clean the cooler. And as I do mainly weddings, I try to buy flowers in just the right time not to have to store them for a long time... Until now, it is working fine and I'm really happy with this solution.

-Laetitia Mayor (Floresie)


Thanks, Laetitia, Emelie and Kristy!

As for me…I had a reach-in floral cooler from SRC Refrigeration and never had a single problem with it! And I was still one of those people like Kristy Marek who lay awake at night wondering if the flowers were ok in the cooler!


I’ll leave you with a few Mood Flowers designs today…

100_0549 mood flowers

100_0968 (2) mood flowers

100_1311 mood flowers

100_1584 mood flwers

102_0648 mood flowers

Hope you have a great Wednesday!


Great flower lady said...

great post! I to lay on bed worried the flowers are freezing.. UGH

Emily said...

I too have never bought a cooler, mostly because I didn't have the space for one. We have a space in our basement that we work from as well, so it always stays cool. Since we only do weddings and events we only have the flowers for a short time, and it's never been a problem for us.

BareBlooms said...

I to have a fantastic cold cellar in my very old house. To be honest my whole house is super cold all of the time! The cellar is perfect as it's big enough to walk around in, etc. I don't think I could live in a house without one now!

Jamie said...

The cellars sound wonderful! Sadly some of us aren't so fortunate to have those available. As a grower and designer I've used a Coolbot for several years and have had no problems.

Laurie (Fleurie) said...

Like Emelie, I find that if I pack my cooler carefully, I don't have freezing problems. It is all about the air circulation. Like the home refrigerator, if the circulation is impeded, things freeze! I have a two door Bush cooler.