The Ladybug Blog

Flower of the Week. Hydrangea

The flower of the week is Hydrangea.

Thought to be one of the most fragile of flowers these flowers a actually one of the hardiest.

There are 70-75 species of Hydrangea.

Hydrangea are native to Southern and Easter Asia notably Japan, Korea, and China as well as the Americas.

The most common is White and Light Blue although colors can be altered by changing the pH.  The lower the acidity (pH below 7) of the soil will cause the flowers to take on a blue hue and the more alkaline the soil (pH above 7) the flowers will take on a pink hue.

Most of the hydrangea you find in floral shops are of a more temped or tropical variety and don’t dry well.  On the other hand the Antique Hydrangea varieties not only are beautiful as a fresh cut flower, but will dry very well and retain their color.

The White and the Light Blue are less expensive and more readily available.  The deeper colors of Purple, Blue and Pink are typically more expensive and much smaller in size.

We have been able to alter the color of the hydrangeas several ways.  Hydrangeas can be stem dyed, dip dyed, and tinted with floral sprays to achieve any color your heart desires.


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scottFlower of the Week. Hydrangea

Flower of the Week. Anemone

These have got to be one of my favorites.

Anemones come in a vast array of color.  Whether it be White, Red, Purple, Pink or Magenta.

They are so delicate and beautiful.

Anemone means Daughter of the Wind, form the Greek, Anemos the wind god.

The plant was created by Aphrodite when her tears landed on the earth after the death of her lover Adonis.

The flower is known as the windflower.

Meaning of the flower range from protection from ill wishes and evil to bad luck or ill omens.

This flower will close up with the oncoming rains.

None the less the Anemone is a beautiful flower cherished by many for weddings.


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scottFlower of the Week. Anemone

Flower of the week. Banksia


Banksia is an Australian plant of 173 different species and all but one are native to Australia.

Named after Sir Joseph Banks who was the first to European to collect specimens in 1770.

The flower heads are made up of hundreds of tiny flowers grouped together.  They range from yellow to red.

I find this one of the most unusual flowers and they last a long time.

They can even be dried and used over and over in arrangements for interesting texture.

Typically available in the fall and winter.


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scottFlower of the week. Banksia

Flower of the Week. The Gardenia.

The Gardenia.


Did you know the Gardenia is in the Coffee Family?

In fact it is.

The Gardenia is actually named after Dr. Alexander Garden, a Scottish born naturalist.

It’s know for it’s intoxicating fragrance.  Just saying the name Gardenia I can detect the fragrance even when not present.

The meaning behind the Gardenia is “You are Lovely” and secret love.

Gardenias are most commonly used in bridal bouquets and corsages.  They also make great flowers to float in a bowl.  When they are blooming in my garden I love to bring one in and place it in a shallow bowl of water and keep it on my nightstand.  Gardenias take special care and can discolor from something as simple as breathing on them.  Carbon dioxide will cause them to yellow and brown quickly.  The oils from your hand when touching the petals will quickly cause the marking of the petal.  The are very delicate and are extremely perishable.  This is one reason Gardenias tend to be more expensive than many other flowers.

Gardenias can be purchased from you local florist in boxes of 3-4 blossoms, but you will typically need to give them a week or two notice that you need them.  Most florists do not stock this item and need to order them from their wholesaler.





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scottFlower of the Week. The Gardenia.

Valentine’s Day February 14

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner.

Here are some things you want to consider when ordering your Valentine’s Day Flowers.

Let’s begin with how to order your flowers.

First of all ordering online is not always the best way to go.  When ordering online you are not always dealing with a real florist.  During holiday seasons many companies will setup bogus websites to reap the rewards of the holiday and deceive the consumer.  You might think you are dealing with a local florist, but you are actually dealing with a clearing house that will charge you all kinds of fees that you can avoid by dealing with your local florist.  How do you avoid this you ask?  It’s simple.  Just pick up the phone and call the florist.  Ask them for their physical address and if you can stop by and see the flowers.  Better yet go to your local florist and see what they have to offer.  I always recommend go all my customers to search online for a florist in the zip code in your area or the area where you want to send flowers, and check out their reviews and call them direct.   Dealing with your Local Florist you will cut out additional fees and deal with professionals that can help guide you through the process of ordering the flowers that will make your purchase more personal and save money, and you know we are all about saving money.

One Dozen Premium Red Roses

Let’s begin with roses.

Red roses are the most traditional Valentine’s Day flower that are sent, but in the past years we have found not always the most popular.  Roses come in a variety of grades and lengths along with some amazing colors and varieties.  Long stem roses are roses that average 24 to 30 inches or more in length.  We at Apple Blossoms Floral Designs only carry Premium Grade A long stem roses.  You typically won’t find these at your local grocer or big box store.

Mixed Flower Arangement

Mixed flowers over the years have been the growing trend in popularity for Valentine’s Day.  Studies by the Society of American Florists have shown that women prefer a variety of flowers for Valentine’s day.  I know it’s easy to just up and order Red Roses, but there are so many wonderful flowers out there.  Everything from Exotic Tropical Flowers to amazing Garden Flowers such as Tulips, Garden Roses, Peonies, and the list goes on.  If you are looking for something that will really WOW your Valentine let us create a custom floral arrangement the will be more personal and show you put more thought into selecting special.  You can always request to add a Red Rose or two.

Wrapped Flowers

Even better yet.  Stop by your Local Florist and let them create a hand tied bouquet of a mix of fresh flowers wrapped to take to your Valentine.  Just imagine arriving home after work with a beautiful bouquet of fresh flowers and present it to your Valentine.  Something much more special than the cookie cutter bouquet you will find at your local grocer or street corner vendor.  Something that will be more personal, custom made and unique.  You will find at Apple Blossoms Floral Designs as well at many of your local florists you will get the very best of the best and freshest of the fresh flowers available not to mention supporting the local economy and building a relationship with a trusted professional.

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scottValentine’s Day February 14

Flower of the Week the Queen Anne’s Lace

Queen Anne’s Lace

Also known as wild carrot.

Lovingly used in bridal bouquets and arrangements.  This flower is named after Queen Anne of Great Brittan and her Grandmother Anne of Denmark.  It is thought that the red fleck in the center appeared when Queen Anne pricked her finger on a needle while making lace.  Today in the floral industry you will not typically see the red fleck.  This is more so seen in the wild variety.  You can easily alter the color by cutting the flowers stem and placing in a vase of water colored with food dye.  In the language of flowers Queen Anne’s Lace represents sanctuary.


Wedding Flowers.

Wedding Flowers.

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scottFlower of the Week the Queen Anne’s Lace

What it take to create your wedding day flowers.

Have you ever wondered what it takes to create your wedding day flowers?

These are things to consider when budgeting for your wedding day flowers from a florist point of view.

Not everyone understands what it takes from beginning to end.

So I have decided to give you a little insight on just how detailed we florists have to be in order to create your wedding day flowers.

Tampa Yacht Club Wedding

  1.  Typically we have either a phone or in person consultation which takes anywhere from half and hour to two hours depending on how elaborate the wedding might be.  Going over all the details of what might be needed to achieve your dream wedding.  Sometimes this is up to one year prior your wedding but as little as weeks prior a wedding.
  2. Now it’s time to get the quote together.  I personally have to create recipes for every arrangement including bouquets.  This allows me know know how to order your wedding flowers and how to price them to fit your budget.
  3. Next I type up your quote with all the details and send it off to you in about a week to two weeks after our first meeting.  By this time I have put in up to 4 hours just getting your quote together before sending it off to you for your inspection to make sure we have not missed anything.
  4. I get an email back requesting some change.  I revise the quote and get it back to you.
  5. We receive the retainer and signed contract from you and you are on the books for your wedding day.
  6. Two – Three weeks prior your wedding date we get together either in person or by phone to go over all the details and finalize many loose ends to get you your final total.
  7. I update your quote with all the final details and send it off for your approval.
  8. Once I receive your final approval along with your final payment I now go back to all the recipes and work figure how many flowers we will need to order along with all the rental items and such that will be needed to create your wedding day.
  9. Two weeks prior your wedding day.  I order all the items needed.  This may take contacting up to 5 different wholesalers to obtain the product including ordering direct from places like Holland and Ecuador to get exactly what you want for your wedding.  We typically order 20% or more than what we will actually need since not every flowers is perfect.  We need to order extra to make sure we have enough as close to perfect flowers to create every bouquet and arrangement.
  10. Next we begin to collect all the rental items at the shop and get them cleaned and prepared for your wedding day about a week out from your wedding.  Everything has to be packed for easy transportation and to make sure there is no breakage or damage in transportation.  This can take several hours to a couple of days depending on how large the wedding might be.   We will also get all the additional prepping of the hard goods such as the containers filled with floral foam, crystals that might be needed, candles, and anything that might be needed.
  11. Typically we start receiving your wedding flowers on Tuesday prior your wedding day.  When we receive the flowers they have not seen water.  They are delivered in boxes and they have to be cut and place in water with special chemicals that help the flowers open and maintain their freshness.  Some flowers require very specialized attention to get them to the perfect maturation for your day.  For instance.  Peonies may take several days to open.  This may require ordering 2 times more than required and working with them to get them to open for several days.  In the cooler at night and out in the shop during the day.  Re-cutting several times and finally open to create your wedding bouquet.  Not to mention those Garden Roses that arrived for your bouquet came in badly bruised and some were even rotten and now we scramble to replace them in time for the wedding Saturday.
  12. Now everything is under control.  On Thursday we start to create your wedding flowers that can be made in advance to the wedding.  Depending on the bouquets they can be made and placed in the cooler and will stay fresh and beautiful for your wedding day.  We start prepping the flowers for corsages and boutonnieres, and any arrangements that can be started are prepared and put in the cooler as well.
  13. Friday we do all the final work.  Wrapping bouquets and making sure they are perfect, putting all the corsages and boutonnieres together, creating more arrangements, and prepping to load all the rental items for the wedding.
  14. Saturday we arrive early (8-9am) to the shop to start the process of going over every detail.  Making sure we have not missed anything and everything is to perfection.  We load the personal flowers that need to be to the hotel early for pictures.  Another truck is loaded with the ceremony flowers and off to the church to set up for the ceremony.  The alter arrangements are to be used as arrangements for the guest tables at the reception so someone will be spending several hours at the church after setting everything up to wait for not only the ceremony to be over, but the pictures to be taken so they can collect the items and take to the reception.
  15. Several staff members are at the reception location setting everything up.  Putting all the final details out and waiting for the cake to arrive so they can decorate it with fresh flowers.
  16. The photos at the church are over and a staff member collects the items at the church and arrives at the reception to place the final items to finish off the setup before the guest arrive.
  17. We now leave for anywhere from 4-6 hours while the reception is going on.
  18. It’s time to head back out to the reception again anywhere from 30 minutes to 1 hour before the reception is over.  We will typically arrive anywhere from 15 – 30 minutes prior the end of the reception.  Many times when we arrive we will wait more than an hour for the everything to finish up before we can start our strike.  We never walk in and start breaking down the reception until we are given the go ahead.  We even arrive only to be told the reception has been extended an hour.
  19. It’s finally time to breakdown and pack up the rental items.  What took us over 4 -5 hours to set up is packed up and loaded in the trucks in about 1-2 hours and back to the shop we go to unload the rental items.
  20. It’s now 1óclock in the morning the next day and we are unloading at the shop.
  21. Normally takes 15-30 minutes depending on the size of the wedding to get all the items in the shop and head home.
  22. We arrive at home around 2am or later.
  23. Monday is now here.  We have all the rental items to put back in their place and prepare for the next weekends wedding.

These are just a few thing that go on in order to produce a wedding at it’s finest.  There are so many more variables that happen along the process.  Things that not even you would believe.  Not including all the production of the wedding.  The day of the wedding typically takes anywhere between 10 – 14 hours from beginning to end the day of your wedding and anywhere from 2 – 6 people to complete.  That’s between 60 – 132 man hours just the day of the wedding.  So when budgeting for your wedding make sure you add 20 – 30% or more to your flower budget depending on location and difficulty of setup to include delivery, setup, and strike.


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scottWhat it take to create your wedding day flowers.

Tips on saving on weddings

Brides often ask me how they can save on their wedding flowers and here a few tips.


1. First look at what date you are picking for your wedding day.  Weddings around Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, and Christmas tend to cost more since flower prices tend to go up.  Don’t forget if you are doing a destination wedding during peak season such as spring break prices can be a lot higher for things like rooms.


2.  Reduce your bridal party.  I know it’s hard to make a decision on not having 12 bridesmaids, but your friends will understand that you didn’t ask everyone of them to be in your wedding.


3.  Keep your bridal flowers simple.  The Bridal bouquet is where you might want to splurge and the Bridesmaids bouquets could be something as simple as a couple of Hydrangea or a couple of Roses with some beautiful foliage.


4.  I often hear of seasonal flowers.  There are some flowers such as Peonies, Lilac, Lily of the Valley, Blooming Branches, etc. that have very short periods of the season.  None the less.  Peonies are often available odd time of the year, but are traveling very long distances to get to your florist.  It’s the transportation that factors in to the cost of the flower.  In place of Peonies you might want to think about Garden Roses.  These are normally available year round and will give the a similar look at about half the cost of Peonies.


5.  Reduce the guest list.  I know it’s hard to do, and you want to invite everyone you know, but it just isn’t always practical.


6.  Doing a wedding at a venue where you can do the everything from the ceremony to the reception will save in transportation and be much more convenient for all your guests.  For instance a hotel with a beautiful courtyard where you can hold the ceremony and the guest can move easily to the reception.


7.  When it comes to centerpieces look into decor for some of your tables.  Candles might be the first thing that pops into your mind, but candles can be quite expensive.  Also talk to your venue.  Most places require candles to be in glass.    This will be an added expense unless you want to hire a Fire Marshall to oversee the event, and that can run several hundred dollars as well.  Not to mention if the wax from the candles drip on the table cloths you may have to pay retail for the linen to replace them.  Using decorative items such as Candelabras, Vases, etc. that you can rent rather than purchase is a way to give some interest to your overall look and theme.


8.  Reduce decorations for the church or use flowers from the ceremony to decorate the reception.  Pew markers can often be used to decorate head tables, cake tables and even guest tables.  Alter arrangements can be designed to be used on guest tables, or possibly buffet tables.  Remember that if you are having your florist stay through the ceremony to move these items there will most likely be additional costs for them to wait through the ceremony and even through the photographs to collect these items and move them.


9.  Have a plated dinner rather than a buffet.  Buffets are much more expensive than a plated dinner.


10.  When meeting with your florist find out if there are lesser expensive flowers that will achieve the same look and feel you are trying to achieve.  A florist can help you with making the right decision on the flowers that will fit into your budget and still look perfect for your wedding day.


11.  Hire a wedding planner.  Yes this may cost you a few hundred dollars for a day of planner to several thousand to help you though the entire process, but can help you to make the right choices and help you to budget your wedding needs and keep you focused on not over spending.  They also have many resources to help you meet with other professionals that not only fit your budget, but are reputable.


12.  Wedding insurance.  Yes, there is something called wedding insurance.  Life brings all kinds of unforeseen unknowns and changes in our lives.  Wedding insurance can cover many things that could happen for just a couple hundred dollars.


These are just a few things to think about when trying to cut costs.  I know not every bride has hundreds of thousands of dollars to spend and even if they do they are still looking on ways to cut costs.




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scottTips on saving on weddings