Tips from a former florist since it is nearly Mother’s Day:
1. Shop local. You will do much better on prices and quality if you avoid the nationwide teleflora type shops and look up a local florist or better yet, a nursery. Place orders by phone or in person- not online.
2. Have an idea of what you want- if you can be specific, be specific. If you can’t be specific, ask what is fresh and just off the truck today.
3. Think outside the vase. A flat of annuals or a box of perennial bulbs for a gardener is more exciting than blooms that will die in a week. A hanging basket or pre-made planter will last for moths if properly cared for. I have sent my mother entire flats of impatiens a few times- gets quite the reaction at the office, and mom’s garden looks lovely all summer. A small plant with a gift certificate is also extra special.
4. If you must do cut flowers, there is more to life than roses. As a former florist, I can tell you that roses are the most uninspiring flower out there. They are a pill to clean and die off quickly. They are also what I really want to get out of my shop before they open and go completely limp. Think irises, tulips, delphiniums, daisies, alstroemeria, lilies, carnations, or my personal favorite- orchids. Be unique.
5. I always make it a point to tell the person taking the order that my mother is an avid gardener and that I was a florist. This says that we recognize quality, and we expect quality delivered. If you have been disappointed in the past, it doesn’t hurt to mention that. Saying, “wow, your competitor left me really unimpressed last year” gives them a reason to do better. Letting them know that you know a .99 cent carn from a $5 lily gives them a little accountability. Most florists really want to please you and want to sell the best product possible. You don’t need to be rude about it, but working something like, “I really don’t want my mom to be disappointed because she is such an amazing gardener and we had this really lackluster product last time I sent flowers. What do you have that is fresh and will really wow her?” is a good way to go.
6. Have your recipient snap a photo of the arrangement when it arrives and send it to you. Most people aren’t going to say, “Thanks for the ugly flowers,” or “wow, you spent five bucks on me” but if it is in a photo- you can see for yourself if you got what you paid for, or if you got the vase that fell off the back of the truck, so to speak. If you find yourself underwhelmed, call and complain.
7. On the flip side, a little praise never hurt. If they have done well, you can call and say so. At the very least, make a note of the business you used so you can use them again in the future!
8. Having a bad day? There is NOTHING wrong with sending yourself a few blooms! Flowers have been known to actually lessen symptoms of depression. If you need a pick me up, visit your local nursery or florist and get yourself a little something! Don’t pout because no one remembered you- treat yourself!