Mother’s Day is Looking Beautiful!

It’s been an exciting week at Bay Hill Florist leading up to Mother’s Day. While some holidays like Valentine’s Day are all about one big day, our customers tend to order flowers for delivery in advance of Mother’s Day. We’ve been filling orders for mixed premium arrangements, dozens of roses and blooming plants, to name a few.

Bay Hill Florist

We carried hydrangea plants, calla lily plants and orchid plants, but we sold out of the first two quickly! We kept such a large quantity of orchids in stock that we still have some left. If you’re interested in picking one up for your mom or wife, stop by the shop. The orchids are stunning: multiple stems of huge, perfect white blooms! We dress them up by putting them in a range of stylish containers. If you had your heart set on a classic hydrangea plant, we do still have cut hydrangea flowers that can be included in an arrangement.

Our premium mixed arrangements are one of the pieces we’re best known for. Because we only carry deluxe flowers, you can be assured your arrangement won’t be full of daisies, carnations and mums. Not that we’re biased!

One of the premium flower varieties we’re especially proud of is the rust-colored calla lilies that are locally-grown. Our pink peonies are also extra pretty.

We’re also known for our roses. We’ve been making one- two- and three-dozen arrangements all week. The red roses tend to be the favorite, but lavender, peach and pink have also been very popular this year.

Come by the shop and take a look at what we have in our coolers!

The Beauty of Flowers

We fell in love with this beautiful video of flowers in bloom, and just had to share it with you. We feel pretty lucky that we get to spend our days around flowers, unpacking them when they first arrive; cutting them and placing them in buckets of water; and watching as they slowly unfold. This video shows the opening of many flower varieties, but in high speed. You don’t have to wait days to see roses turn from tight little bullets to incredible, ruffly blossoms. you can see the transformation now.

 

Surprising Uses for Eucalyptus

bay hill florist orlandoEucalyptus makes a beautiful addition to a flower arrangement (we keep it in stock all of the time), and its fresh scent perks me up. But there are many benefits to eucalyptus beyond how it pleases the senses.

Last month, my indoor/outdoor cat came home with fleas, and I went through the hassle of washing all the linens in the house, vacuuming the house twice and sprinkling Borax under the sofa cushions. Kitty got a flea bath and a fresh dose of Revolution. But I was still worried about fleas coming back. Our shop’s owner Jo Ann told me to keep stems of eucalyptus in vases around the house, which I’ve now done, and so far the fleas haven’t come back.

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Bridal Bouquet Styles: Tropical Flowers

Tropical flowers have such stunning shapes and bold colors that that simple bouquet designs show them off best. Try to upstage an anthurium or orchid with a complicated assemblage of many varieties of blooms and in the end you’ll wish you had left well enough alone.

Case in point: a cluster of dendrobium orchids (pictured below) tied with string or ribbon makes a beautiful bridesmaid bouquet. Knowing when to put the spotlight on the flowers instead of the design is what makes a good designer. Sometimes, nature has it all worked out for you.

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The History of Mother’s Day

With all the planning and celebrating around Mother’s Day—the spa visit, nail salon, fine dining and flowers—have you ever wondered how this holiday began? Contrary to some beliefs, this holiday was not invented by Hallmark! In 1907, Anna Jarvis started a letter-writing campaign to ask ministers, businessmen and congressmen to make Mothers Day a holiday to recognize all mothers. Why? She had just lost her mother two years earlier and missed her terribly. With each letter, she sent a white carnation.

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In May of 1914, President Wilson decided he agreed, and that mothers ought to be officially celebrated. Back then, mothers wire a carnation corsage pinned to their dress: a white one if your own mother had passed away, and a colored one if she was living. Today, Mother’s Day is still synonymous with flowers. We at Bay Hill Florist are enjoying the fun of taking hundreds of orders and making each creation unique and special. Here’s to all the moms in town. Happy Mother’s Day!

Photo by Simon Blackwell

Tips for making cut Freesia last

We almost always have freesia in our coolers because it is so fragrant, and we love to include a few in our garden-style vase arrangements.

The only problem is that the first bloom on the stem tends to wither and die, and we have to pluck it off. Or that’s the way it was until recently when we learned a great secret about freesia that we’re going to pass on to you.

NEVER cut freesia. No matter what the end of the stem looks like, resist the urge to give it a fresh cut. Just place freesia in cold water without cutting it at all, and the blooms will open in sequence, they way you always hoped they would.

As wonderful as freesia is in cut flower arrangements, it’s also beautiful in the garden. If you live north of Florida, follow THESE TIPS for growing Fressia. Sadly, most classic  flowering bulbs don’t like our Florida climate, so we can’t grow freesia here. However, some daffodil varieties grow in Florida, which you can learn about in my article for the Orlando Sentinel HERE.

Spring in Florida

Bay Hill Florist OrlandoSpring is right around the corner, and here at Bay Hill Florist in Orlando we’re celebrating with flowers. There are a flower varieties that come available this time of year that are worth highlighting. One of our favorites this time of year is the Florida snapdragon. They are locally-grown, and have perkier blooms and more vibrant colors than their imported counterparts. We also like that they’re greener: significantly less fuel is used to transport them to our shop, and they support local farmers. Typically we have yellow, pink, burgundy and white in stock–we often have variegated pink and orange, too. Read More

Valentine’s Day Blog

We want to send a big giant hug out to all our fantastic customers, who made Valentine’s Day so fun and busy. We appreciate and love you all!

Bay Hill Florist Orlando

Our shop, full of Friday’s Valentine’s Day deliveries.

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Ever feel like you need a bit of inspiration when you’re writing a note to attach to flowers? These handwritten cards from men to their ladies are sure to remind you why Valentine’s Day is so special! (Names have been Photoshopped out to protect the privacy of the senders.)

Bay Hill Florist Orlando

A lovely note from a man to the woman he loves.

And then there’s this gem:

Bay Hill Florist Orlando

A love note from a husband to a wife.

 

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Bay Hill Florist Orlando

Our deliveries are increasing rapidly today. It’s Wednesday afternoon, and it’s funny how we get more orders in during Valentine’s week for birthdays, funerals and other occasions. I guess thanks to the season, everyone has flowers on the brain, and it’s the first thing they think of when it’s time for a gift or remembrance. Still, the overwhelming majority of our orders this week are for Valentine’s Day.

The most challenging and crucial part of our process is delivery. We want the arrangements to get where they’re going on time. We want them to look great and have no broken flowers. We accomplish this by doing a few things:

1. We hire trustworthy delivery people who know the area well and have experience making deliveries.

2. We wrap our larger arrangements, such as roses, with tissue paper to gather the flowers in and therefore minimize the chance that a flowers tem will brush up against something and break.

Bay Hill Florist Orlando3. We use a system that fixes our vases in place inside the delivery van, so the flower arrangements aren’t moving around as we navigate Orlando’s busy roads.

Taking these extra precautions costs us more time than typical deliveries, but we’re glad to do it because of the results. We think our customers and their loved ones appreciate the difference, too.

Paying attention to the details extends to everything we do in all aspects of our business. That’s why our flowers last longer, our shop is cleaner, our designs are more beautiful, our plants are healthier, our service is better and our customers are more loyal.

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Bay Hill Florist Orlando

Everybody wants a good view. People choose their driving route, vacation destination and real estate based on the views. Here at the flower shop, we always have a great view. On this fine Tuesday afternoon, I’m looking out at the front area of our shop where thousands of blooms stand in buckets, waiting for their turn to star in the role of a lifetime. Each flower will be a part of someone’s special Valentine’s Day bouquet. Every blossom will be loved and appreciated, later by all kinds of people, and for now, by me.

Among these, my favorites are the hydrangeas, especially the fluffy white ones that look like an exploding milkshake (in a good way). I also love the deep blue iris, which remind me of spring in upstate New York. The waxflower, a filler, is also beautiful. I like it by itself in a tall glass vase–there’s some on my dresser right now.

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Bay Hill Florist OrlandoWhile we do make the bulk of our deliveries for the holiday on Thursday and Friday, some of our customers like their orders to go out earlier. Just now, we loaded up the delivery van with rose arrangements to be taken throughout Dr. Phillips and Windermere. Why, you might wonder, would anyone want such an early delivery? There are a few good reasons. One is that not everyone will be home on Friday. One sweet guy wanted to make sure that his lady would get her flowers and enjoy them through the week, since she has meetings all day Friday and would barely have a minute to look at them that day. Another customer called from out of town to have flowers delivered to his wife today since she will be here on business the whole week. My husband will get his roses early because he is in and out of the office so much that the sonner they’re sent, the more likely it is he’ll get them.

What about your Valentine? Would he or she like flowers a few days early? Call today and we’ll deliver: 407-226-7122.

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Bay Hill Florist Orlando

As of this Tuesday morning, we have no knife wounds yet, and for this we are thankful. As many roses as we cut each day leading up to Valentine’s, it’s a wonder that there aren’t more accidents. Seriously, when I was in my early 20’s I cut my thumb to the bone and had to get a few stitches–and this was right before the holiday. I still have a little battle scar after all these years.

Fingers aren’t the only places florists accidentally cut themselves. There’s the occasional slippery-handed knife drop where the blade points foot ward and does its unfortunate worst. And rose thorns are serious adversaries to all florists: as they say, no pain, no gain. There are other bothersome mishaps that are annoying more than painful. Blow up a balloon in a rush and you might overfill it. Then POP–right in your face.

Most of our customers comment on what a peaceful place the flower shop is, and from their vantage point I can see why. It smells good, there’s classical music playing, buckets of nature’s glory crowd the floor and coolers. Pretty vases and stuffed animals line the shelves.

The phone rings incessantly, designers trample each other on the way to get water or flowers, plant debris piles up quickly on the design floor until you’re three inches taller than you were just this morning. The flower shop is an interesting dichotomy of beauty and beast.

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Bay Hill Florist Orlando

Monday afternoon has arrived and we’re stocking our shelves with the “extras” that many of our customers like to add to their orders. We’re talking about mini-mylar balloons, chocolate and teddy bears.

We even have some small red and black zebras, which are way too cute for words. Around the shop you’ll find a selection of Valentine vases for those who prefer something more unique than clear glass. (Note that my personal preference is the always-classy and sophisticated clear glass vase. Although that doesn’t matter too terribly much since you aren’t ordering for me. Hopefully my husband is reading this.)

We do not keep an unlimited supply of chocolates here. We order in enough for our customers who want to take a box with them. Wish we could deliver them with orders, but because of Florida’s warmth we are hesitant to take chocolates out on delivery. So if you want ’em, you are welcome to come by and pick up your order instead of having it delivered.

Another item we have in the shop–a special treat for those who place their orders in person–are amazing, huge orchid plants. We have several color, and we recommend these beauties as Valentine gifts because they are so long-lasting. If you happen to be on Sand Lake Road in Orlando this week, stop by and take a look for yourself.

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Valentine's Day Bay Hill Florist

We’ve greened up lots of vases with locally-grown leather leaf fern.

 

It’s Monday morning, the calm before the storm. Valentine’s Day is at the end of the week and we’re getting ready for our busiest day of the year. We’re greening up vases and prepping newly-arrived fresh flowers. Greening up vases ahead of time is smart because leather leaf fern (a prolific, locally-grown plant) lasts for weeks and is just as happy in a vase of water as it is in an air-conditioned cooler. That said, there are tables of greened up vases all around the shop. Before long, each vase will be on its way to someone’s home or office, full of roses and our other gorgeous blooms.

We’ve cultivated great relationships with a handful of select farms that grow premium long-stem roses. Throughout the year, we scrutinize our options and narrow down to the most consistent performers. We look at the way the bloom opens, how long it lasts, how rich its color is, and the way people respond to it. Every rose variety elicits a different reaction, and we pay attention! ‘Her Majesty’ is our rose of choice again this year. Stay tuned and we’ll post pictures of our rose arrangements this week.

Something to Consider on Valentine’s Day

Local flower shops do it best!

Here’s a thought: Small business owners throughout the U.S. (and beyond) are working tirelessly to serve their customers, and this is true of florists. Flower shops have a long history of bringing joy and satisfaction to customers by buying in the freshest flowers from their suppliers, carefully taking orders from our customers, creating beautiful flower arrangements and delivering them on time.

But just like other local businesses, florists are contending with faceless order-taking companies that offer a product without any guarantee. Even if they promise to deliver what you asked for on the day you need it, there’s no personal relationship, and no way you can be sure that you’ll get the right thing on time. For them, there’s no price to pay for disappointing you, because you don’t know them, will never see their faces, and their obligation is only to the bottom line and not individuals.

This is where local flower shops shine. We have brick-and-mortar locations where real people work day in and day out, and we have a reputation to uphold. We know that when it comes to flowers, there’s only one chance to get it right.

On Valentine’s Day, Bay Hill Florist is so organized and on top of things, it’s almost ridiculous. Through every step of the process we think about all the moving parts so the recipients of each arrangement feel what our customer want them to feel and react how they want them to react.

It starts with cultivating good relationships with suppliers so that we get fresh flowers to make our arrangements with. Don’t forget about the importance of hiring trustworthy and effective delivery staffers who make sure the flowers are delivered on time and in good condition. And we can’t diminish the significance of the talented designers on our staff.

As I write, I’m overhearing a customer tell one of our employees, “There is no doubt that when flowers come to our house, my wife immediately knows when they are from you.” That sounds like a fabricated line, but in fact it came straight from the mouth of our customer Blaine. We work hard to get that kind of feedback, and we live for those kinds of comments that let us know we’re doing the right thing.

So, as you’re deciding who to order flowers from this Valentine’s Day, resist the temptation to call an 800 number and instead shop local. No doubt there is a great flower shop in your neighborhood that will take care of your order and put a big huge smile on your loved one’s face.

Tips for Ordering Roses

Looking for some tips on how to order roses? There are three things to consider: the rose variety, the type of filler flower, and the style of vase.

1. There’s nothing wrong with long-stemmed red roses, but you’ll wow her if you choose an unexpected color like lavender or white.

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Happy New Year!

To Our Bay Hill Florist Customers: Thank you for a wonderful year. We have enjoyed every moment of providing you with the freshest flowers and look forward to another year of delivering top design and quality. Cheers to 2014!

Classic Spots for Orlando Portrait Photography

Bay Hill Florist OrlandoWith its tropical temperatures and colorful scenery, Orlando has all the makings of a photography hot spot. Still, choosing settings that match your vision for your own Orlando photo shoot can be difficult, especially when evaluating the landscape and aesthetic of each area. You’ll also need to consider the travel time from location to location, since you only have a few hours to spend with your photographer.

To make the most out of your Orlando photo shoot, practice due diligence in deciding the ambiance you’re aiming to capture — whether it’s a rustic vintage vibe or the epitome of city chic — and narrowing down the locales on your list that embody your personality.

Walt Disney’s BoardWalk: Just 20 miles outside of the city limits, this attraction has plenty of quaint storefronts that evoke the vintage feel found in famous coastal spots like Coney Island and Atlantic City. If you’re looking for a bit more variety, the promenade is centrally located to Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios, which also host photo-worthy scenery.

Orlando Museum of Art: Located in Loch Haven Park, this site combines the city’s natural beauty with a hint of refined culture. The outdoor grounds are free to the public, housing many unique sculptures and modern works of art. You may also consider scheduling your session during one of OMA’s signature events, such as the magical Festival of Trees exhibition, which typically takes place in November.

Lake Eola Park: This breathtaking natural gem can be found in the heart of Orlando’s historic district and is home to many notable landmarks, including the Walt Disney Amphitheater and Lake Eola Fountain. Best of all? The park features spectacular views of the skyline, offering your photographer the perfect setting to capture the beauty of the expansive cityscape.

Cypress Grove Park: Situated on the banks of Lake Jessamine, this charming venue boasts majestic groves of cypress and oak trees, in addition to antique bridges and forts. The area is also home to The Estate House at Cypress Grove, a plantation-style mansion that features colonial architecture and a lush courtyard. Put this locale at the top of your list if you favor a classic, elegant aesthetic.

Mead Botanical Garden: From lovely florals to an exotic butterfly garden, this 47.6-acre park is loaded with breathtaking backdrops for outdoor photos. Wooden bridges lead into tree-lined bike trails, where you’ll find privacy and tranquility away from the hustle and bustle of the city crowds. Be sure to stop at the Mead Garden Amphitheater, an open-air pavilion shaded by the park’s stunning greenery.

Bay Hill Florist OrlandoNo matter which location you choose, it’s important to find a spot that’s comfortable and doesn’t detract from YOU, the main focal point of the session. Choosing a locale that incorporates your personal style will make way for your personality to shine, allowing for more engaging images!

For more information and inspiration for your own engagement session, please visit George Street Photo & Video!

Flowering Tropicals

Did you know that poinsettias are flowering tropical plants that thrive here in Central Florida? Some locals plant their poinsettias in the yard after Christmas and are pleased to discover that they grow year-round.

This year, we have a wonderful selection of poinsettias as well as other flowering plants like orchids, Christmas cactus and amaryllis. Our stock changes often as we continually get fresh product in, so call us at 407-226-7122 to get today’s choices.

Floral Gift Ideas for New Year’s

bay hill florist orlandoChristmas and Hannukah can knock the wind out of you when it comes to gift-giving, not to mention what it does to your pocketbook. Yet if you’re going to a New Year’s party, it’s a shame to neglect your host. You do want to bring a gift–even it it’s something simple and sweet–to let them you know how much you appreciate that they are opening up their home and inviting you to ring in the New Year with them.

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Shop Profile: Iona’s Flower Market

Recently I spent a long weekend in Rosemary Beach, Florida, which is a gorgeous beach town in the panhandle. Among the new restaurants and shops is a flower studio called Iona’s Flower Market, managed by the lovely and talented Brittni Walker.

It’s fitting that Brittni would operate a flower shop in Rosemary Beach, because she grew up coming here during the summers with her family. Wondering where the name Iona came from? “Iona was my grandmother’s name,” explains Brittni. “She led a very fascinating life but passed away when I was around 2 years old, so I never got to do anything special with her that I could remember. So in a way, this flower shop is a tribute to her.”

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Best Case Scenarios for Silk and Dried Flowers

At Bay Hill Florist, our top seller is fresh flowers, namely roses, but we also offer a selection of silk and dried flowers. Despite what you might think, silk and dried flowers DO have a place in home decor if they’re done well. The key is to choose high-quality flowers, pick a look that works well in your room and work with a good designer.

Ready for some tips on getting the most style mileage out of your silk and dried flowers? Read on!

1. Art Imitates Life

Go with a silk arrangement that successfully fools even the most discerning eye into thinking it’s fresh. This silk orchid on the left looks so much like a real one, no one will know it’s a good fake. The collection of succulents on the right couldn’t be more convincing. The big benefit? They will last forever. Shopping tip: the best silk flowers don’t just LOOK real, they FEEL real. So be bold and get handsy.

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The REAL Thanksgiving Centerpiece

Bay Hill Florist OrlandoThis month we’re running a Rafflecopter giveaway on our website offering a free Thanksgiving centerpiece to the winner. The winner can be from anywhere in the U.S., and the flowers can be delivered anywhere in the U.S. that Telelfora offers delivery services. There are several ways to enter, one of which is to leave a comment on the blog telling us your favorite type of Thanksgiving centerpiece.

Here are some of the responses we’ve had so far:

“My favorite centerpieces are candles. I love it in Autumn when candles are offset by fall leaves, acorns, pine cones, or even cinnamon sticks.”

“My favorite Thanksgiving centerpiece is my Grandmothers soup tureen filled with apples and acorn squash.”

“I like something small. I prefer flowers. Here is a link to a design I like. http://www.pinterest.com/pin/284430532687685679/

Most of us have centerpiece traditions that are meaningful to us in one way or another. Granny’s dried flower bouquet, the cornucopia that we lovingly unpack each year, a fresh arrangement brought as a gift from a guest, or a crafty D.I.Y. that changes from year to year. But don’t forget the REAL Thanksgiving centerpiece: the turkey. Read More

Enter to win a Thanksgiving floral centerpiece!

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One of the many things that makes Thanksgiving so special is the extra care taken to decorate the dinner table. The people we love most are gathered together to celebrate family and friendship, and the mood is heightened by the amazing display before us. Read More

Flower Style

Bay Hill Florist OrlandoFlower designs are used to decorate every possible surface: lampshades, blouses, dresses, buildings (yes!), notebooks, cell phone cases, tote bags, you name it. Go for a walk down the aisle of any store anywhere and you’re going to see a floral print before you get to the end.

Flowers have proven to be endlessly charming, signifying all that’s good in life, and inspiring warm feelings for not just the giver of the flowers and the flowers themselves, but for nature. Is it their color, shape or fragrance that makes flowers so desirable? It’s fair to say it’s all three.

The one problem with fresh blooms is that typically they last only a week. Your expectations have to be reasonable when it comes to their life span. But you can satisfy your cravings for flowers by decorating with and wearing the many flower-print options out there…and in here.

At Bay Hill Florist we carry high-quality silks as well as framed flower prints. This way, you can enjoy flowers year-round. Stop by our Sand Lake Road location and see our selection of offerings.

See example of the framed prints we sell by clicking over to our Pinterest board HERE.

Heavenly Vessels

Bay Hill Florist OrlandoVases have been around since people first started making things. Of all the arts, ceramics has the longest history, and you’ll find vases in almost every museum in the world, each one telling the story of an age. Poke around on the internet a bit and you’ll find in-depth histories of vase shapes, like these Greek styles from the 5th and 6th centuries BC. The Greeks painted elaborate scenes depicting important cultural narratives on their vases. Then there are stunning carved lacquer vases from 15th century China, with knock-offs available today. Read More

Fun and Unexpected Baby Shower Flowers

Bay Hill Florist OrlandoOver the weekend we did flowers for a baby shower, and our client wanted something that breaks the mold. We’re all for soft blues, pinks and yellows, but why not try something different that shower guests will notice and remember for a long time? Our client had sent out black, white and hot pink invitations, so our flowers followed that color scheme. Check out this totally original, fun floral design concept! Read More

Fall Decorating Ideas

Here at Bay Hill Florist, we’ve always got decorating on the brain. Fresh flowers are such an important part of seasonal decor, so we are busy creating new designs, developing fresh ideas, and scouring the web and magazines for tips from the pros. Below, find some of our favorite fall decorating  ideas, all easy to accomplish in your own home.

Create a Natural Tablescape

Use clusters of fresh flowers combined with natural finds from outdoors to transform your dinner table into a seasonal showcase. At Bay Hill Florist we offer a great range of flowers that are perfect for this use. You don’t even need us to create custom designs–just stop by and pick up a few stems that you place in your own collectable vases. Simple white plates paired with timeless flatware and thin stemware keep this more rustic setting looking elegant. Bold orange napkins give the setting a pop of seasonal color. (From Better Homes & Gardens)
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Fall Flower Giveaway

Bay Hill Florist OrlandoWe’re celebrating the season with our Fall Flower Giveaway. Use the easy entry form below for a chance at winning a $50 fall flower arrangement delivered anywhere in the continental U.S. where Teleflora services are available.

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Premium Fall Flowers

Bay Hill Florist OrlandoOur shop rarely carries carnations or mums. Our year-round staples are roses (in scores of varieties), hydrangeas, lilies, tropicals and seasonal offerings that come from local growers.  While we’ve taken pride in avoiding “cheap” flowers like carnations and mums (except for special orders), I’ve always gotten confused come fall. The fact is, mums are traditional fall flowers, and carns come in the fall colors that people love to see this time of year. So what should I design with?

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Live Blogging Mother’s Day

Bay Hill Florist OrlandoThroughout the Mother’s Day holiday, we’re blogging from behind the scenes at our Orlando flower shop Bay Hill Florist. Check back daily for all the latest goings-on! Read More

Minimalist Bridal Bouquets

One of the foundational elements of modern design is repetition, which in the world of bridal bouquets means an arrangement of few or many of the same thing, or a repeat of patterns throughout an arrangement. Even if you have a whopping 30 calla lilies in your bridal bouquet, I would still call that minimalism, an aesthetic quite at home in the modern world. The massive bouquet of callas is minimalist because of the design approach, not the size. If you are wondering whether such repetition might sound severe, not soft enough for a bride, remember that we’re talking about flowers here. Arranged symmetrically in a uniform cluster, the velvety, conical blooms exude simplicity, elegance and even presence of mind.

No, I don’t need the confusion of 15 different flower types in my bouquet, because I know exactly what I like.

calla-lily-bouquetThe use of uniform color throughout the bridal bouquet and other floral arrangements for the ceremony and reception is another way to achieve a minimalist look. If you stop and think about it, the classic all-white bouquet is the ultimate piece of modern adornment.

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We’re Giving Away Roses!

Bay Hill Florist OrlandoAny chance you’re interested in sending a dozen roses to someone you love? We can help with that. Enter to win–one winner will be chosen. If you comment on a post to increase your number of entries, make sure your comment is on a post OTHER than this “We’re Giving Away Roses” post. We’d like your feedback on the many topics we cover on this blog, Inside the Flower Studio.
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New Flower Stamps

Bay Hill Florist OrlandoThe beauty of American garden flowers is captured on 10 colorful new stamps featuring intricate illustrations from vintage seed packets. Art director Antonio Alcalá used photographs of actual seed packets, cropping them to highlight the beautiful floral detail. Above each illustration is the name of the flower in bold capital letters.

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Prom Flowers

Prom is just a few weeks away, and we know you’re starting to think about flower accents to wear that night. We just posted our basic prom flowers in our online store today, with more to come soon. Take a peek at the corsage and boutonniere designs we’ve already posted.

The upcoming proms are:

April 6, Lake Highland Prep

April 13, Windermere Prep

April 20, Olympia High School and The First Academy

May 18, Dr. Phillips High School

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Organic Agapanthus? Check!

Bay Hill Florist Orlando agapanthusWe recently began carrying agapanthus regularly–it’s tall, smooth stem and fireworks-style blooms at the top are showy in big, gardeny arrangements, and their periwinkle color is hard to find in other flowers. We love putting them in compact French arrangements, too. The way their flowers hover above the other mixed blossoms in a low geometric vase adds dynamic texture.

Just where do we get our agapanthus? They come to us from St. Patrick’s, an organic farm that is certified by both the USDA and CERES. They’re also smart when it comes to water usage–emphasizing drip irrigation (which greatly reduces evaporation waste) and good mulching techniques. Read More

Donations for a Worthy Cause

Bay Hill Florist Orlando donations worthy causeWe very rarely put out a request like this, but every once in a while we support donations for a worthy cause. Ministry of Hope in Clermont is a not-for-profit organization designed to introduce the love of Jesus into the lives of children ages 3 to 18 who are in need of food, clothing, and a safe place to play and study year-round. The center is housed at First Baptist Church of Clermont. Adult volunteers provide transportation, mentoring, homework help and summer camp programs to the 45 kids currently enrolled in the program. They even sponsor children’s participation in Upward sports programs–totally awesome kids’ leagues, as many of you know. This is truly a great ministry, and currently they are in need of non-perishable food to feed hungry kids. If you are moved to do so, please donate canned spaghetti sauce, canned tuna or chicken or dry pasta during the month of March. You can drop your donations off at our shop, Bay Hill Florist, and we’ll take them to Ministry of Hope for you.

We are located at 7784 W. Sand Lake Road in Orlando, in Plaza Venezia West. That’s next to Bay Hill Jewelers, behind Panera.

Wedding Flower Style on Bridebird.com

bay hill florist orlando wedding flower styleAre you planning your wedding? You probably have a lot on your plate, not the least of which is choosing the wedding flower style that is best for the location, time of year and of course your own personal taste.

When choosing flowers for your wedding, it all begins with the bridal bouquet. Once you narrow down to the style of bouquet you want to carry down the aisle, the rest will flow from there: the bridesmaids bouquets, boutonnieres, corsages, altar arrangements, pew decorations and reception flowers.

We’re contributing a series about the range of wedding flower styles to Bridebird.com, a new online wedding magazine full of great design tips and advice for engaged couples. The first post in the series just went live, so give Bridebird some love and go check it out! Read More

A New Wedding Blog

Two very exciting things are happening on February 14th, 2013.

Bay Hill Florist OrlandoFirst-off, we are helping our customers celebrate Valentine’s Day by sending beautiful fresh flower arrangements to their loved ones. We’re developing our offerings and the Valentine’s designs will be up on our site next week.

As always, we’ll be carrying the finest roses money can buy. ‘Her Majesty’ is a stunning red rose that comes from our favorite farm in Ecuador, and we‘re the only florist in Orlando where you can find it. ‘Her Majesty’ opens beautifully and has a deep, rich color, making it a favorite among rose connoisseurs. This regal long-stemmed rose shouts romance from the rooftops!

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European Design Trends

Bay Hill Florist Orlando

A recent issue of Flowers& features a design tutorial from a floral instruction website called Bloomtube. We love this new European trend of throwing in a bold pop of color to catch the eye! A neon orange-painted manzanita branch is in dramatic contrast to the composition of white amaryllis, pink tulips and pale pink roses.

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How to make a huge rose arrangement

Bay Hill Florist OrlandoA dozen roses says I love you. And what does 6 dozen say? I love you so much I can’t help myself I’m going to shout it from the rooftops will you marry me?

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Florist’s Secret: Get Rid of Lily Dust

Look at the pale yellow stains on these amaryllis petals. That’s from dust released by the stamens.

Here’s what lilies and amaryllis have in common: they both have stamens that sprinkle magical orange dust (a.k.a. pollen) everywhere. What makes it magical? It’s next to impossible to remove that stain once it’s smeared. Because amaryllis and lilies are so beautiful, we don’t want to do without them in our arrangements, but what to do about this problem?

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Metro West Golf Club Wedding

Last month we did flowers for a photo shoot by Deanna Meredith at the Metro West Golf Club, a local favorite for hometown weddings. We’ve got lots of photos on the way to share with you!

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Uncommon Bridal

Bay Hill Florist OrlandoThis beautiful sunflower and hydrangea bouquet, stem-wrapped in animal-print ribbon, is just one of the many unique designs we make for our brides at Bay Hill Florist. Our seasonal creations draw in natural elements like the dried pods in this bouquet, and rely on flowers that reflect the time of year your wedding takes place. For more information on our wedding work, click HERE.

Photo courtesy of Anna Powers of Sunbright Sparrow Studio.

The Peonies are Here!

Bay Hill FloristPeonies are now in season! This fall, we’re carrying big-headed, sumptuous, dark red peonies.. Come see. Also fresh today, an abundance of spray roses in every color possible, sunflowers, hydrangeas and lilies in fall colors.

Framed Prints

Bay Hill Florist OrlandoWe’re now carrying framed custom prints by Anna Kinbar of Women Printmakers of Austin. Anna’s floral motifs are available in a range of styles and in custom colors. Call today to discuss pricing and availability. We also keep a few prints in stock at all times. To see examples of her work, visit her artist’s profile by clicking HERE.

Decorating for Fall

Bay Hill Florist Orlando

The side view of our window display by Paul Ponn.

This week we’ve been redecorating our shop for the fall season. If you come by, you’ll notice the front window has an entirely new display. The display was created by stylist extraordinaire Paul Ponn. Paul’s award-winning design work was featured in the August 2012 issue of Flowers& magazine, and he’s currently competing in the Barcelona World Flower Cup design competition.

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Fresh. Modern. Unforgettable.

Bay Hill Florist OrlandoDiscover the joy of contemporary design with this versatile arrangement that works as a centerpiece, a gift, office or restaurant decor, or an event focal point. Designed with a huge array of botanicals including cymbidium orchids, braided lily grass and billy balls, this design is all about the details. Click HERE to order.

A Time of Renewal

Every order gets special attention at our shop, but I can’t help being extra-interested in the unique types of orders that come once in a blue moon.

The lovely couple pictured at left was married 50 years ago, and several generations gathered to celebrate the landmark year this summer. Her daughter contacted us from her home state of Illinois and asked us to make a replica of the original wedding bouquet and have it ready when the family arrived in Orlando.

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Anthurium in Stock

Bay Hill Florist OrlandoWe are now carrying beautiful cut anthurium flowers in red, white and pink. These stunning tropical flowers look amazing as part of architectural designs in low, modern dish-style containers.

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Funky Tropical Greens

This summer we are carrying tropical greens, some of which you might not have known could be used as cut greens. Sansevierias (a.k.a. Mother-in-Law’s tongue), which were popular in the 70’s as houseplants have made a resurgence as landscape plants. They also function well as long-lasting cuts in a vase.

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Name Those Flowers

It’s been a few weeks since it hit newsstands, but I finally had a minute to look at the issue of People covering Camilla Alves and Matthew Mcconaughey’s wedding. Important stuff. The cover shows the lovely couple up close on their wedding day, and Camilla is holding her bouquet. I turned to the story inside to see more, and became alarmed when I got to page 60. In a 2/3rds-page picture, Camilla is walking down the aisle, carrying her cascading white bouquet. The accompanying caption reads: “Camilla carried cattleya orchids and artichoke flowers by Austin florist Cowgirls and Flowers.”

Wait a minute. Where are said orchids? And donde esta artichoke flowers? I don’t see them. What I see are three other varieties of flowers. Look closely at the photo…can you name them?

Growing Cut Flowers in Florida

My “growing ” interest in sourcing local cut flowers led me to a report published on the University of Florida’s EDIS website, where you can find a wealth of agriculture-related information. While sunflowers, snapdragons and leatherleaf fern all enjoy the attention of farmers in our part of the country, there is room for other cultivars to be successfully grown and sold here. A key quote from the report reads:

The cut flower industry in Florida is small when compared to California, but the potential exists for rapid expansion of many desirable species that grow well in Florida’s warm and humid climate. Cut flowers are almost a $306 million industry in California, producing 72% of all commercially grown cut flowers in the United States. Having a mild climate with advanced greenhouse technology present, Florida has the potential to significantly increase production and sales by growing such flowers as heliconia, bird-of-paradise (Strelitzia), blue ginger (Alpinia), dendrobium orchids, and many others.

What I love most about this report is that the tropical flowers mentioned match consumer demand. If Florida growers start producing crops of bird-of-paradise, I have no doubt we can sell them. Our tropical arrangements are among the most popular in the shop–not only because they are beautiful, but because tropical style is relevant in Florida.

True, it is much harder to find cut flowers grown in Florida than in California, where author Debra Prinzing lives.  But thanks to her new book The 50 Mile Bouquet, I’m going to make a serious effort to stock our shop with locally-grown flowers.

Classic Wedding Beauty

When Heather, this lovely bride-to-be, first walked into our shop, I knew that very good things could come from our collaboration. Not only is she totally in love (romance radiates from her like moonbeams), but she has great taste for classic beauty. The spring season all but dictated that hydrangeas, peonies and roses would form her bouquet, and she chose a simple, elegant garden style with stems clustered together.

Photographed by Reign 7 Studios, Heather and her wedding party show off how worthy simple designs can be. Bouquets don’t need to be fussy…and when they are, they detract from the overall look and feel of the wedding.

Like this bouquet style, but can’t quite put your finger on why? Here we break down the elements of this arrangement:

1. The Rule of Threes: Three contrasting flower types tend to complement each other when designed together. Peonies, roses and hydrangeas all look drastically different from one another, and are different sizes. Clustered in a group, you can see their individual characteristics.

2. Seasonality is Key: Please, no mums in spring, and no hydrangeas in November. We can order them for you, but seasonally-appropriate flowers look their best at the time of year they are naturally harvested.

3. Kick it up with Green: All-white bouquets can be gorgeous, but the pop of pale lime green from the hydrangeas adds interest and delights the eye. We now carry green hydrangeas in our shop throughout spring and summer!

Fresh Take on Wedding Photos

The elements of a wedding–like the dress, the flowers, the location–come together to express what a couple is all about, and some photographers intuitively understand how to tell that story through images. We recently did flowers for a wedding photographed by Anna Powers, and she is exactly the kind of storyteller I’m talking about. To understand more about her approach to shooting weddings, I asked her a few questions about her background and inspiration, and I’ll share our conversation with you here.

How did you get your start as a photographer?

Before I opened my photography business, I taught English literature and writing on the college level and freelanced as a writer. One of my major projects was creating Misosouper.com, a style and shopping blog that I sold to TheFind.com in 2009. Through all of these career transitions, I always considered myself a photographer; it’s the one hobby (besides reading) that I’ve sustained throughout my entire life, starting from my first camera, a Le Clic (remember those, children of the ’80s?) that I bought from the drugstore with Christmas money. After I had my daughter and throttled back on my teaching and writing, friends started noticing my photos of her, and asking me to capture their own families. And thus, a career was born. Photography is actually the perfect alchemy of my love for telling stories, helping people find their voice, and preserving the fleeting moment.

What is it about weddings that you find to be compelling subject matter?

For me, and I think for many photographers, weddings are the ultimate test of our skill set. They are family portraiture, fashion shoot, still life, and documentary all compacted into a few hours, during which the light constantly changes. So from that perspective, I love the challenge; I love knowing that a couple has entrusted me as the collective memory keeper of that day, which is a huge responsibility and honor. But from a more sentimental point of view, there is something so rejuvenating about watching two people step off into the world together, blind to what the future might hold. It’s romantic and terrifying at the same time (sort of like shooting a wedding!).

How does the location impact your approach to photography?

As a photographer who got her start on location, only shooting outdoors in natural light, location is crucial to my style. It shapes the light, making it haze or blaze, and adds depth and character to a shoot. For instance: I’m not going to take a very introverted couple to pose in front of a graffiti wall with harsh sidelight; that’s not their personality, and it would show in their facial expressions and body language. I shot a couple in a secluded grove recently, and it was their perfect fit: quiet, thoughtful, natural, private. And I’ve also had the reverse happen: I’ve had couples request that I take their photos in their favorite bar, which happens to be the place where they first met. So a totally different look, but still perfectly reflective of that particular relationship. Regardless of the couples’ likes and inclinations, I lean toward dramatic, sweeping locations; big, bold backdrops with soft light are my favorite, and I like to think, my signature look.

Do you have certain techniques that help you reveal the bride and groom’s relationship in the photos?

My best technique for capturing the bride and groom’s relationship on camera is simply to listen carefully, and watch closely! I like to meet with my couples before the engagement shoot, to get a feel for their dynamic, and to hear their vision for the shoot. This also provides us a level of comfortability before that first shoot, so I’m not whipping my camera out 5 minutes after we first meet. We do a lot of walking, a lot of chatting, and I often tell very stupid jokes to make myself less nervous! I have my thoughts for where we should stop and take a few shots, but I always ask if the clients have any ideas as well. And I always, always keep my camera ready to capture tender moments that happen before or after ‘the shot.’

What should engaged couples know about your wedding photography that sets you apart?

I have a very definite vision of the world, one which celebrates gorgeous, glowing light; rich colors; the amazing locations we have in Orlando; and the particulars of a couple’s relationship. I know what I like, I know my strengths, and I’m not afraid to shoot to them. And the more time that passes, the more I realize that wedding days—when different generations dance on the same floor, and hundreds of details have been so carefully considered—are so fragile and rare, that they must be treated with the ultimate thoughtfulness and care. As someone who came to this business after another career, I know how lucky I am to be entrusted with such an incredible job, and how hard I have to work to honor each couple whose images I capture.

 

Guilty Flowers

I’ve been struggling with some guilty feelings about the source of some of our flowers. Straight up: most of them are not local. My friend Debra Prinzing wrote a fabulous book that was published this April called The 50 Mile Bouquet: Seasonal, Local and Sustainable Flowers, and it’s about the importance of local seasonality in the floral industry. Her book was a nagging reminder (in a good way) of the challenges we florists face when satisfying our customers while also taking care of the environment. It seems like the two are often mutually exclusive.

Let me explain: If you, my customer, want a beautiful garden-style vase arrangement with roses, lilies and hydrangeas, I’m going to make it for you. None of them were grown in Florida, so I had them shipped in. The fuel used to transport them was costly in more ways than one. There’s the impact on your wallet, because part of the cost of the flowers is in the shipping; and there’s the cost to the environment, like lowered air quality from burnt fuel.

Another issue is that in natural growing conditions, hydrangeas are in season before roses are, so to create an arrangement that includes both requires a contrived scenario that is anything but seasonal.

There are local options for flowers. In Central Florida, there are a host of orchid farms, and we do sell their orchids here. Our dish gardens are made from tropical plants also grown in huge greenhouses just north of Orlando. At certain times of year, we can get Florida snapdragons (which are much prettier than their imported counterparts). Sunflowers, too. But Debra (and most of her readers, I would guess), are dealing with Southern California floriculture, which is completely different. You can grow roses commercially there, which means flower shops can sell roses, almost year-round, drawing only from the farms of California.

Were I to impose such a limitation on our shop, we’d never be able to sell roses, our mainstay. Our roses come from Ecuador, and there’s nothing sustainable about them. But they are gorgeous, and our customers love them. When I hear and see their reactions to our rose arrangements, it helps me deal with my guilt. Meanwhile, I believe in Debra’s mission, and I’m going to uncover as many local sources as I can. Check back with us on the blog, where I’ll be posting each time I find flowers grown nearby. ~Sarah

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