Alstroemeria, Peruvian lily

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Every once in awhile a flower shop should blog about flowers, right?

I wanted to start this series at the beginning of the alphabet.

One of my favorite flowers to use as a designer is the alstroemeria, or alstro.  It is also known as the Peruvian Lily.  It comes in a large variety of colors, covers a large area for the price per stem, and has a long vase life.  It can be used in an elegant arrangement as well as a wildflower arrangement and seems right at home in either.

Alstroemerias were named after baron Clas von Alstromer.  He brought the seeds to his teacher and friend Carl Linnaeus, a famous botanical taxonomist, in 1753 after a trip to South America.  Alstroemerias are a “bulbous” flower just like tulips.  They prefer very cool soil and are grown in cooler mountainous regions.

Alstroemeria are six-“petaled” and trumpet shaped, they usually have three to six blooms per stem.  They are usually spotted, striped, dappled, or yellow tinged and come in almost any color except blue.  Alstro are sensitive to ethylene gas so it is important to keep them away from fruit, decaying flowers or foliage, automobile exhaust and tobacco smoke.

We always have alstro in the cooler.  Stop in anytime to see this beautiful flower in person.

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A Goody Basket Is A Good Thing

With the end of summer rolling in we begin to see the back to college crowd.  I welcomed a new student just the other day that was moving into the apartment beside our small town flower shop.  The kids are excited to set out on their own and the parents are excited yet apprehensive, especially those parents of the incoming freshman class.  It’s hard to make the transition, I myself am going through this transition.  The excitement of buying all the things they need to live on their own and the realization that they will actually be on their own.  It’s not hard to get nostalgic and emotional, but this life’s journey will put some well needed backbone into some of them.  As they learn new responsibilities and try to make their mark.  The real fact of the matter is that they will still need you, you are their sounding board, their shoulder to lean on, their keystone.  I am planning to surprise my new college student with a few gifts along the way to let him know I’m thinking of him and am always in his corner.

I love the idea of goody baskets.  You can customize them any way you want, there are hundreds of ideas.  Not sure what to put in them?
Maybe try a snack or junk food basket and include some of their favorites.
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How about something for a healthier student.  You can include fruit, granola bars, trail mix, or maybe Power Bars and a water bottle.
School supplies are another great idea, stock up before school begins.  Later in the year when they start running out of things like notebooks, folders, pens, and pencils you can come to the rescue.
Everyday necessities that college students aren’t used to buying for themselves would be another lifesaver.  Fill your gift basket with deodorant, shampoo, soap, shaving cream, and razors.  Don’t forget laundry detergent and dryer sheets.  Unless you are fairly certain (like I am) that by the end of term your student won’t even know where the laundry facilities are located.
And of course a comforts of home basket with Microwave mac and cheese or popcorn, a cozy pair of socks, or a book.  Add a mug with a couple of these new mug cake mixes I found at the local Wal-mart (they have many different kinds).
Duncan Hines Perfect Size, Cookies & Cream Cake, 10.16 Oz
You can also include gift cards to local theaters, restaurants, or stores as well as an iTunes or Google play card.
Need some more inspiration, check out Google or Pinterest, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of ideas out there.  I promise you, your college student will be incredibly happy when they receive their goody basket.  Chances are it may even arrive when they need it the most.
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Grandma Mae

For the last few years I have set my Wednesday nights aside to spend with my Grandma Mae. Because of failing eyesight, she is no longer driving , so I pick her up and take her to wherever she needs to go and she always insists on buying my supper in return for the favor. When I was young I spent a lot of time with her and I’m ashamed to say that during the time I was raising my family I let that relationship dwindle and never realized until lately what I’ve missed. What started out as a labor of love on my part, has become such a blessing to me. She is just this incredible lady that raised her babies while my Grandfather was away in WWII, survived cancer, buried a husband and most recently lost a dear companion. She is smart and funny and has so many wonderful stories to tell. I look forward to Wednesday nights and I talk to her often in between. If you don’t have a Grandma Mae, you should get one. If you have to, use the neighbor lady. It will enrich your life and make you appreciate what you have, because she will tell you how it was when she grew up. It will make you patient, because she doesn’t move as fast as she used to. It will make you smarter, because she will tell you what you are doing wrong and what you should be doing. It will make you a better person, because if you can just catch a glimpse of the world through her eyes you will know what’s important and what’s not. And most of all she’ll teach you that selfless love is by far the best return for your investment.

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Who has time to blog?

I started this blog because I thought it would be a great way to let people know what was new in my business and my personal life, but I gotta tell ya, I’m having a hard keeping up with it! In the last few weeks I have had several occasions to reflect on my age. Now I’m really not one to moan and groan about birthdays and in my head I’m hardly more than 18, but last week I kept my 3 grandchildren from Tuesday through Sunday, and now I know why we have children when we are young! We had a great time, and they are very well behaved kids, but the energy level is way up there when they are around. I think I walked around in a daze for two days after they went home, glad that I was off the hook, and missing them at the same time. 

This weekend we had a wedding to attend. My little (OK not little anymore) neighbor boy got married. For 20 years he has been coming to our house, playing with our kids, trying to annoy me (that was his proclaimed goal during his visits) and now he is starting his own family. I think his Mother and I are both still in shock!  But time marches on, and he now has a very sweet wife.  Of course along with doing the flowers, we attended the wedding and I paid twice to dance with him because I couldn’t possibly miss the opportunity to annoy him.  Congratulations Seth & Morgan!  May God richly bless both of you and your marriage.

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July What?

Unbelievable how fast the time goes! It has been a good month at the flower shop. I just want to thank all of you who brought in your vases and recycled.  The response has been so good that I am going to continue to offer the $1.00 for every CLEAN, UNCHIPPED vase you bring in. I am in the process of ordering my Christmas inventory and by the middle of next month we should have all of our fall stuff out.

This week the Missionary Conference is in town at Westminster College. It is always fun to meet new people and see where they are from and I certainly appreciate their business. This year I met a lady from Taiwan who was very interested in our area and in the Amish especially. We had a very nice visit and I hope to see her next year. I have been asked many times this week if I am a Christian, because of all the “spiritual” stuff I have in the shop. What a great way to start a conversation. I am a Christian and I’m so glad it shows!

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A Great Surprise

Last week I had a jewelry party at my house. One of my friends asked if she could bring her sister who was in from Japan (we were neighbors and playmates when we were young) I was excited to see them. The real surprise was when they brought another friend, my oldest (not eldest) friend along. What a great surprise it was. We weren’t able to visit as much then, but Saturday I did get to her parents home and we had a really nice time catching up and reminiscing. I think the older you get the more you realize how dear those old friends are to you. I’m so glad we got together!

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Wow Watta Week!

Last week I traveled to Chicago to the FTD Education Center for more training on my POS System. It was an adventure with delays at the airport and the challenge of finding transportation from the airport to the hotel. The next three days we had class from 9:00-4:00 and were given so much information I was afraid I’d never remember any of it. But I took lots of notes and have already applied some of the shortcuts to my system. I also met a really great couple from Jacksonville Florida that invited me to eat dinner with them on Wednesday night. They have a large flower shop called Hurst Florist that has been in business for a long time. If anyone needs flowers in the Jacksonville area, I would highly recommend them. They are great people who love the Lord and I really appreciated their company.

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One Step Forward

We have just had our 4th Anniversary here at the shop. Believe it or not, that day passed, and then two more, before I even realized it. We have had an awesomely busy 2009 so far, thanks to all our great customers! Which brings me to my next point. I need a day off!
Most of you are used to dealing directly with me or, if you happen in on a Friday morning, my beautiful Daughter. I’m very happy to announce that, as of next week, I’m going to have a part time helper in the store. Her name is Lori, she is an experienced floral designer (who actually taught me) and I have known her for 15 years. So if you stop in the shop and I’m not here, don’t worry, you’ll still get great service, and I’ll be getting a much needed break.

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Last Weekend

I was a little disappointed that we didn’t get to go to camp last weekend. But now that the weekend is over I have to say it goes down in the books as one of the best ever! We had planned a trip to our camp in Tidioute with 3 other couples, a prime rib dinner and kayaking on the Allegheny. Rather than cancel it, we just changed the location. Our neighbors cooked the prime rib Saturday night, we all brought something, and sat around the camp fire and ate. It was great! Sunday we went to Church to see our son recognized for graduating from Grove City College (yeah!) then met up with our friends again. We went out to lunch, baled hay, watched our daughter and her boyfriend skydive (yikes!) and finally ended up kayaking on Lake Wilhelm in the evening. We saw lots of carp, herons, an osprey on her nest and even a raccoon. It was just a great time spent with good friends. Thanks Guys!

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