5/12/13, 10:00 a.m.
This morning we’re getting the shop ready for you. We are open from 9 to 1 today, selling the fresh arrangements from the cooler and making lost of new ones. Come on down and visit us! 7784 W. Sand Lake Road.
There are just two of us here today: Sarah and JoAnn. Ken has the day off but he’s been amazing all week. If you are one of our regular customers, you know Ken well. He studied floral design at the American Floral Arts School in Chicago. His first flower shop job after school wasat Thomas Murray Florist off Lakeshore Drive, where he made arrangements for local celebs like Ann Landers. Ken went on to earn a degree in interior design, which inspires his approach to creating floral designs. He has been at Bay Hill Florist for almost six years.
Ken works full time at the shop and you can count on him to take great care of you day in and day out. He’s well-versed in every type of design for every occasion, and makes great suggestions if you’re not sure what to buy.
5/11/13, 1:30 p.m.
Just because it’s Mother’s Day weekend doesn’t mean we don’t have other orders. It just so happens to be a prom weekend as well! We made wrist corsages (roses, spray roses and orchids) for dozens of girls and boutonnieres for dozens of guys (mostly single white roses, a few orchids and really cool miniature calla lily).
For those of you who have been trying to reach us with an order for an occasion other than Mother’s Day (birthdays, funerals, etc.), we are so busy that we are not able to answer the phone, and we are no longer taking more deliveries for this weekend. But if you leave a message with details about an order for Monday, we will call back when we close the shop tonight and get you sorted out!
Here’s some exciting news for our customers who still need Mother’s Day flowers. Even though we cannot take any more deliveries than we already have booked, we WILL be OPEN on Mother’s Day morning from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Come by the shop and pick out one of the beautiful fresh flower arrangements that is filling our coolers.
5/11/13, 8 a.m.
It’s only right that I introduce you to everyone at the shop. Designers get all the glory (haha) but without our delivery drivers, we’d be up a creek. We often say that deliveries are the hardest part of this business. Organizing a route; carefully loading each floral arrangement into the truck; trying to arrive when the flower recipients are home or finding a safe place to put the flowers if they aren’t; navigating Orlando’s crazy traffic so as to complete all the deliveries in a timely manner–it’s a tough job!
Andy, nephew to the owner, made his first delivery in November of 2011. Since then, he’s been delivering every Saturday plus all the big holidays. “What most appeals to me is delivering beautifully arranged flowers to someone, usually unexpected, and the look on their face when they answer the door. A close second is the smell of the delivery truck and shop when filled with fragrant flowers. Nothing better than that smell,” he says.
Andy understands the joy of flowers. They don’t just need to be gifts for special occasions: “I think people enjoy their lives more when fresh flowers are present in their homes, because flowers are like little reminders of the beauty in life. They should be enjoyed every single day of the year.”
Phil has been delivering flowers daily since our shop opened ten years ago. It’s gotten to the point that most of our customers know him by name. He is incredibly meticulous, careful to deliver in a timely manner, and always with the greatest concern for the flowers’ freshness (he’ll come back to the shop for a replacement if he sees even a single bloom that looks blown). Since he has traveled Southwest Orlando’s roads so frequently, no one knows how to get around like he does. Even the most obscure address is no match for his internal mapping abilities.
5/10/13, 9 p.m.
There were a few floral design moments worth noting today. Actually, more than a few but we only have so much time and space to discuss it. Maria made a great design to fill an order that came from one of our favorite shops through Teleflora–Winston Flowers in Boston. Wire orders are abundant at this time of year. So many sons and daughters from all over the country send flowers to their mothers who live in Florida (Florida being such a popular destination for moms).
I got an order from a guy in New Jersey who needed to get flowers to his mom today. We were all booked up on deliveries as he called late in the day, so he had a courrier come get the design I made and take it to her. I was impressed with his dedication and his focus on getting those flowers to his mom today, since she was going to be out and about the rest of the weekend.
There’s a pretty even split between customers who send their orders via a wire service like B.Brooks or Teleflora, and those that call direct. We give both customers equal treatment. However an orders arrives on our desk, the same amazing flowers, the same custom approach and the same passion for design lead to an amazing creation from one of our designers.
5/10/13, 12:50 p.m.
It’s been an amazing day so far! In between taking orders over the phone and in person, I’ve been straightening up around the shop which includes pulling the stamens off of lilies to prevent orange pollen from staining our customers’ clothes. I don’t know how many lilies we have, but it’s well into the thousands. You’d be surprised how soothing the monotonous motion of removing stamens can be. I’m serious! If you wonder whether its important to remove the stamens, read this previous post I wrote about the hassle of removing pollen from your clothing (although it can be done).
We’ve had a lot of customers coming by to pick up flowers to go, mostly tissue-wrapped loose flowers. Some of these purchases are for Mother’s Day, but many are for Teacher Appreciation Week. (I sent my son to school with bouquets for his teachers today as well.)
5/9/13, 8:50 p.m.
It’s incredibly satisfying to leave the shop at the end of a long day and see the coolers overly full of finished arrangements ready to be delivered first thing in the morning. There’s the naturalistic vase with tall, Florida-grown snapdragons, some feverfew, purple iris, a four or five yellow roses and of course some peonies ot anchor the whole thing. I love that low, cylindrical vase stuffed with monochromatic flowers arranged in an orderly fashion: orange tulips and ‘Early Sunset’ roses, no greens. God bless the guy who sends his wife a dozen roses for Mother’s Day. Take a page from his book and use mom’s special days as a kickstarter for romance–he ordered the long-stemmed red ones in our classic urn. The European-style arrangements that Maria makes are popular in Dr. Phillips, and make up a huge percentage of our orders. They are placed in row after row in the lower level of our coolers from the front of the shop to the back. Ken put together some amazing tropicals, big and impressive and a whole different approach to showing mom love. One is all birds of paradise and liatris with four kinds of tropical greens, and the other has a ton of lilies and orchids, dense and profuse while tightly constructed, with curly willow added to make sure the design isn’t more serious than it should be.
Every arrangement has a personality all it’s own (whether big, loud, sweet, gracious, wild or even humorous). As we lock up, I think of their big day tomorrow, when they will leave us and go out to their final destination, making a mom somewhere smile.
5/9/13, 12:50 p.m.
Because it’s a busy weekend, we need a little help from our friends. Maria, one of our “holiday helpers” is a fantastic designer and has a long history in floral design that began almost at birth. She’s here at the shop today, and shared some insight into her background.
“Growing up on a farm, my father was a horticulturalist. My parents decided to go into the floral business,” she says. “We ended up having four flower shops in Wales. As my parents had five girls, each one of us was trained to be in the floral business. When we were still in the crib, we were watching my parents make arrangements from an early age. I loved floral design—it inspired me.”
Maria joined the Women’s Royal Air Force and worked in telecommunications for NATO. “At 24 years old, I wanted to get married and have a family, and the forces life was not for me, so I went back to Wales and joined my parents in the flower business and my dad gave me a shop in Port Talbot,” says Maria. “My mother had one, my dad had one and my sister, too.”
The floral business is very different in Wales. “The flowers don’t go in vases, they go in bouquet bags. European flowers like tulips, iris, stock and carnations are popular. I like working at Bay Hill Florist because of the unique flowers we carry. The contrast is so interesting that it makes the arrangements pop.”
Today, she lives here in Florida and works in telecommunications in the healthcare industry, moonlighting at flower shops during the holidays, including Christmas decorating work for the area’s major hotels.
One of Maria’s great gifts is her eye for color. Every design she makes has a unique color combination that is fresh, unexpected and eye-catching. If you receive a Mother’s Day arrangement from our shop this weekend and you notice an expert fusion of colors, chances are pretty good that Maria made the arrangement.
5/8/13, 5:50 p.m.
I just had a moment. I looked around and saw stuff (leaves, stems, debris) EVERYWHERE and had to majorly clean up. When things get busy around here, the floors are quickly covered with piles of green, and it isn’t until the day comes to an end that we have a minute to clean up. Now I’m looking at my spotless desk and my final arrangement for the day, and taking in the fact that this is the calm before the storm. Not until next Monday will my desk look like this again.
5/8/13, 12:20 p.m.
Just in time for Mother’s Day, we’ve been developing Roaring 20s-style arrangements since we KNOW lots of moms will be seeing the Great Gatsby this weekend. If your mom loves that era, we do have lots of lilies and orchids in stock–those are the two staple flower types. We do go with soft, muted pastels OR bright, intense hues. Want to learn more about this look? Check out the article I wrote for Bridebird magazine this week by clicking HERE.
Wonder how we go about developing new designs for you? It all starts with the flowers. Every time I walk into this shop I am IN AWE of the great things our suppliers have sent us. We’ve made ordering into a fine art, calling local wholesalers and farms overseas to see what everyone has. Instead of just having standing orders that show up weekly (that’s the easy route), we hunt down the best of the best–the freshest of the fresh–and bring fresh flowers in daily.
As flower come in, we create custom designs, never looking at a recipe or example but rather allowing our creativity and love of flowers to shine through in every arrangement. Personally, I love garden-style arrangements: a hydrangea here, a few tulips there, a couple of iris and Queen Anne’s lace, designed together in a naturalistic way that looks like I went out back to the garden and picked everything that was blooming. As for inspiration, anything can trigger an idea.
The forthcoming film The Great Gatsby did not escape my notice. The styles and flowers of that time are among my favorites, so I set out to create arrangements that would appeal to moms this Mother’s Day and also tie in with the Roaring 20s trend.
5/8/13, 10:30 a.m.
This morning I walked through the shop to get a close look at all the fresh flowers we’ve ordered in for this holiday (Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day are our two biggees). I’m overwhelmed by how gorgeous everything is! Look at these gorgeous iris, stock, snapdragons and agapanthus!
And we also have orchids of all kinds. You won’t find a conveyor belt hiding out back–each arrangement is made with love by floral designers who care about making the most beautiful designs possible with the best materials available. Call us at 407-226-7122 to find out more about our offerings: fresh flowers arrangements, hydrangea plants and orchid plants.