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It’s been a long wait but it finally feels like spring in the Mid-Atlantic region! Once that happens, I can’t wait to enhance my outdoor spaces with flowering plants. I am fortunate to be surrounded by many trees, providing green therapy much of the year. 

In these warmer months I love to add pops of color that bring a smile and say “Welcome,” to anyone approaching my front door, or enjoying an afternoon on the back deck.

Because I have so many trees around my house, the sunny areas are limited, so I focus mainly on container plantings and hanging baskets.

Not only do I enjoy the end result, but I love to do the plantings myself. I have my favorite plants and colors in mind when I head to the garden center, but also like to see what new or fabulous offerings I can try. There is something about getting my hands in soil that is therapeutic in itself.

Whether planting in the garden, creating an herb pot, or a fun container grouping, I feel good connecting with Mother Nature in this way. And then to step back and look at the finished product brings joy.

Not a green thumb, or too busy to do it yourself? Let your nursery or garden center do the work for you! They offer an array of container gardens that mix plant varieties and colors you may never have thought of.

Plants and flowers are like paint, decorative pillows and rugs – they can easily and affordably add color, dimension and warmth to any indoor or outdoor space. Use it to your advantage!

And if you don’t have an outdoor space, bring the outdoors in, with flowers. Your florist can help.

Have fun, and happy spring!

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Flower Factor by Carolyn Minutillo - 3w ago

A big fluffy arrangement of garden hydrangea accented with sweet spray roses and a bold pop of color with Asiatic lilies.

We all know that one special day in May is reserved for Mom; it’s her day. While we fret over what to get, never underestimate the power of flowers.

Because a delivery of flowers is never expected, even for Mother’s Day, it is always exciting to be on the receiving end of such a beautiful gift. With so many floral choices, where is the best place to turn? Your local florist.

Take the time to pop into your local shop and have a look around. If you’re looking for a special flower or color palette, ask if it’s available.

Ask what original designs might be available at that shop and be open to suggestions.  

Your florist will probably have blossoms in shades you’ve never seen and the perfect selection of containers to design in.

A gardeny mix of color, texture and fragrance. Roses, antirrhinum, delphinium, matricaria, and hypericum, combine to create this just picked design.

Share some ideas of what your mom enjoys — gardening, cooking, bright colors, pastels—  then let the florist create something amazing.

Your Mom will love it, and you will certainly be her ‘favorite’ all over again.

Want to really wow your Mom? Do a bit or research on the Meanings of Flowers.

After you’ve selected your flowers — with your newest best florist friend —  include the names and meanings of some of the flowers or foliages in her arrangement.

Maybe include a special note in her card. It will surely show you took the time to not just send flowers, but ones specially selected for her, sent with true meaning and above all, love.

Enjoy your Mom and her special day. Send flowers, and get ready for extra hugs and kisses.

A sleek design of full blooming ‘Pink Floyd’ roses, accented with a dramatic branch entwined with delicate Jasmine vine.

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One of the things on my bucket list was to go to the Kentucky Derby, and I was lucky enough to get the opportunity last year. And boy, I was not disappointed!

As a floral designer, I have always been excited by the tradition of the Garland of Roses presented to the winner. I had no idea about all the other flowers before, during and after the race.

The minute I got off the plane in Kentucky and walked into the terminal, we were greeted with every ticket area decorated with red roses.

On the moving escalator, a huge floral arrangement of probably 150 red roses lined the walkway every 10-ft. I counted about 24 arrangements! The red roses continued at the car rental desk, and the lobby of our hotel had flowers everywhere. 

Arriving at Churchill Downs that Friday, the floral theme was pink stargazer lilies where the winner of the Kentucky Oaks would be draped in a stargazer blanket. Overnight the pink lily displays were replaced with red roses. It was truly magical.

The red rose blanket is proudly on display before the race and is carried in with lots of excitement and pomp and circumstance, truly showcasing the importance of the floral display.

At the Kentucky Derby, women wear flowers on their hats and men sport boutonnieres. When the day was over, the crowd was encouraged to take home the flowers from the displays. It was incredible to see people leave with handfuls of flowers.

Where have you been surprised to see amazing displays of flowers? How did the flowers make you feel?

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Flower Factor by Lacee Bilke - 1M ago

What are you wearing to prom? Check out these cool must-haves for inspiration for your big night:

Floral Cuffs and Corsages

Flower Crowns

Floral Headpieces

Floral Necklaces

Talk to your local florist for ideas perfect for your prom dress and unique style.

Want a fun way to find your prom flower personality? Take this quiz: aboutflowers.com/promquiz.

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Flower Factor by Jennifer Sparks - 3M ago

Last month my daughter turned 21, and I smile when I think of the amazing young woman she has become. I beam with pride and encouragement when she talks about her hopes and dreams for the future.

Last night I had dinner with my 83-year-old mother, who spoke with conviction about her views on events of late facing the nation — another reminder that my inner strength comes from her.

In the last few months I have had friends reach milestone birthdays, and I nod in agreement as they express more confidence with each new decade — as years turn into experiences, experience turns into new wisdom, and wisdom provides a greater sense of self.

The last year has been eye opening, as women of all ages have revealed horrific events in their lives that are shocking and hard to swallow. These painful truths that have been brought to light like never before have conjured up past deep wounds for many, and almost every woman can relate in some way. But as difficult as the past year has been in that respect, the good that has emerged is that women are more confident to speak up and be heard, and the compassion, support and action that has come from other women, as well as men, is changing the landscape moving forward.

March 8th is International Women’s Day, and while every day should be a day to celebrate the women in our lives, this particular occasion provides an opportunity — a reminder — to stop and consider: Who in your life do you admire? Tell her. Who has been a shining example of good in your life, or been a mentor to enhance your well being, professionally or personally? Thank her. Who has recently reached a milestone or achievement? Celebrate her. Who has a personal goal in mind but doesn’t quite know where to start? Encourage her. Who might be struggling and in need of a listening ear, comforting words, or supportive deed? Reach out to her.

A kind word or small gesture can make a big difference to the moms, daughters, sisters, friends, co workers, teachers and mentors in our lives. Go ahead, make her smile. You’ll be glad you did. Happy Women’s Day!

Women's Day - YouTube

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Every year after researching the latest floral and design trends, it amazes me how trends continue to evolve and inspire me with newness and freshness. So much of what is happening in the world today socially, economically and politically affect color and design trends. This year, we’re seeing brighter and bolder colors. People generally feel more confident about the economy, and one indicator of this is the vibrancy and uplifting color palettes forecasted by the Color Marketing Group for 2018.

As we march through 2018, we’ll experience four key floral trends. In this post, I address the first powerful and inspiring trend — Magnificent Mediterranean. This is the first in a four-part series.

Imagine yourself strolling through the small villages on the Mediterranean, in either Italy, Spain, or Greece. We notice the rich robust colors of golden butterscotch, red-orange, olive, and frosted almond combined with the vibrant blues and calming ocean teal that surround these villages. Steeped in history, geometric floral patterns explode and can be seen in fashion, textiles (such as cotton and linens) and home decor accents. Our interest increases in seeing hand-crafted ceramics and unique home accents. 

The 2018 comfortable and casual lifestyle finds our homes becoming retreats with soft architectural arches and palladium windows coming together with rustic beams and masterpieces of ironwork which can be found in gates and staircases. Courtyard gardens filled with terra-cotta potted blue hydrangeas, citrus trees and bougainvillea vines make this the ultimate escape from our busy everyday lives.

Reminiscent of this lifestyle, when entertaining, clear vessels or pedestal vases filled with beautiful blooms such as golden sunflowers, star-shaped dahlias, unique bells of Ireland, fruited kumquat branches and of course fragrant herbs capture our senses.

The Magnificent Mediterranean answers our need for nature and all its wonder brought into our daily lives.

Talk to your local florist about flowers and plants to complement the Magnificent Mediterranean in your home.

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Every Valentine’s Day floral arrangement is an expression of love. As a florist, it is truly a privilege and honor to see how people love and be a part of their love story. Here are a few examples of different ways flowers show affection and reveal part of your sweetheart’s personality:

Some Valentines carefully select each blossom for their beauty and meaning. The card messages that accompany these bouquets melt my heart. Each flower in this hand-tied bouquet was chosen for its meaning: alstroemeria symbolizes “devotion,” ranunculus “radiant charm,” tulip “perfect love,” and stock “lasting love”.

Some Valentines celebrate the contemporary and gravitate toward an arrangement like this one with trendy metallic accents. Elegant cymbidium orchids and spray roses are surrounded by foliage with eye-catching whispers of gold in a compact design.

Some Valentines truly appreciate the magnificent beauty of each flower. Arrangements like this pave heart invites the recipient to focus on the distinctive features of each flower such as the ruffled petals of the spray rose, textures of moss, and exquisite center of the helleborus.

There are some Valentines who want to express their love with something different. They want an arrangement that will be different from the others delivered to the office. An arrangement like this with pink roses, tulips, dusty miller, and amaranthus in grapevine orb makes an intriguing display and stands out from traditional vases.

And then there are some Valentines who really want to do something totally different. No red roses or pink flowers here. They strive for the surprise of the unexpected. Instead of soft and romantic, they want bold and dramatic. This Valentine’s Day arrangement says “I love you” with striking birds of paradise and large orange bicolor roses, combined with textural green trick dianthus and blue thistle. In color psychology, orange can make us feel excited and warm and represents attraction and optimism.

Valentine’s Day is all about personal expression. How would you say “I love you” with flowers? Let your florist create a custom design to celebrate your unique love.

Thank you, Jessie Thompson, for contributing to this blog.

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This year, Valentine’s Day falls on a Wednesday, making it the perfect opportunity to surprise your sweetheart at work. Pavé floral designs and flowers in keepsake coffee mugs are two great options for Valentine’s Day flowers, especially if your sweetheart works in an office. Here are a few ideas sure to inspire you this Valentine’s Day.

For the love of your life, a modern pavé design of red roses shaped as a heart makes a bold declaration.

If your sweetheart enjoys gardening, you cannot go wrong with a heart pavé of succulents and lisianthus.

Roses and succulents are always a winning combination.

Send your Valentine hugs and kisses with a textured mix of roses, amaryllis, heather and dusty miller in a keepsake coffee mug.

Trendy sweethearts will appreciate flowers radiating Ultra Violet — the Pantone Color of 2018. Vanda orchids, succulents and gold accents make this a heartfelt expression.

There is nothing like the “wow” factor when flowers come through the office door. To really surprise your sweetheart, send flowers on Feb. 12 or 13 with a note: “I couldn’t wait to say I Love You.” Talk to your florist now to order your sweetheart flowers for Valentine’s Day.

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Did you know that flowers and plants are scientifically proven to improve the dynamic in the workplace, whether in a corporate space or home office? Research shows that workers’ idea generation, creative performance and problem solving skills improve substantially in workplaces that include flowers and plants.

The great news is: It’s an easy way to spark creativity and boost morale. Interior designer Kelli Ellis and I recently partnered to provide tips and trends for using flowers to your advantage in the workplace. You’ll even find out which colors can help fight fatigue!

TWO-MINUTE TRENDS: Creativity & Problem Solving - YouTube

Have you ever worked in a place that had flowers in meeting rooms or offices? How did it make you feel?

For more tips and advice, visit aboutflowers.com/twominutetrends.

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In today’s high-tech world, it’s more important than ever to spend time talking and looking each other in the eye. Did you know that flowers are scientifically proven to help make intimate connections and increase contact with family and friends? Think about when you’ve had flowers in your home. People tend to gather around them because nature engages us. There’s a good reason why you see flowers used on the sets of talk shows, in hotel lobbies and restaurants. Color expert Mark Woodman and I share easy tips on how to use color and small touches to spark conversation at home.

TWO-MINUTE TRENDS: Inspiring Conversation - YouTube

Try it: Place flowers in your family room or kitchen. Did it help?

For more tips and advice, visit aboutflowers.com/twominutetrends.

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