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08/17/2018

Are You a Busy Bee?

If so, don't worry, this trend is perfect for the busy person who loves plants!
If so, don't worry, this trend is perfect for the busy person who loves plants!

Succulents continue to be a popular and growing trend and it's no wonder why! They grow in a huge variety of unique looks, and they require relatively low maintanence. When people joke about being plant killers, it's usually because they can't remember to water them. If you're one of those people, you're in luck! Succulents only need to be watered once every week or two. They are native to the desert, so you may be more apt to kill it by over watering than under! Another reason they are so popular is because of their versatile appeal to almost any style including sleek, urban, and boho to name a few.

The most important component to a happy succulent plant is sunlight. They like direct sunlight, so even though you may accomplish watering it appropriately, if you notice your plant isn't thriving, it may be due to lack of sunlight. Succulents make great additions to home or workplace decor, but, unless the room has sufficient sunlight, it will not last very long. Natural light is crucial for your succulent's survival. They're an ideal choice for anyone who is busy at work or for cottage owners. You can water the succulent and then leave it in a sunny spot for days without caring for it, and the succulent will survive.

Succulents are endlessly versatile, so we want to share with you three simple ways you can use succulents:

1. Refurbish something old and bring it back to life by planting it up with succulents. They're so easy to grow you can plant them in almost anything. Feel free to get creative! We took a strawberry planter and filled all the openings with succulents instead.

2. Gift them! Send it to your child's teacher as a back to school gift or send it off with your college student. They're perfect for a classroom or dorm windowsill. A fresh plant can make a dorn feel a little bit more like home, and plants always brighten up the day and fill a room with a little extra life and happiness. We even put them in glass hanging terrariums which are perfect for hanging near a window.

3. Include it in your bridal bouquet. Succulents make a great addition to a bridal bouquet for two reasons. First, they look cool ;-) Second, while the other flowers eventually die, succulents can be cut from the bouquet and planted. All you really need is one leaf to grow a succulent. Place it in dirt, and it will take root and grow. Drying or preserving a bouquet is always an excellent idea, but a succulent plant grown from the succulent in your bouquet is a living momento from the special day! 

We hope these ideas inspire you to test out your green thumb. Trust us, succulents are a great way to ease in to plant care!

 

With love,

Cecilia & Elizabeth

08/03/2018

Pure Michigan Flowers

It's that time of year again! Mixed Michigan flowers are blooming and we couldn't be happier!
It's that time of year again! Mixed Michigan flowers are blooming and we couldn't be happier!

As a flower shop, we specialize in arranging flowers, not growing them. Many years ago, our great-grandfather and grandfather dappled in growing some of the flowers for the shop, but they didn't find it very successful, so now we leave that delicate task to our skilled farmers around the world who dedicate themselves to cultivating many different flowers in their appropriate climates. We are very grateful to have built lasting relationships with many of these famers. There is one time of year, however, that is extra special for us, and that time is when our local farms are bursting with beautiful Michigan flowers. We are proud to be a local family-owned business, so we eagerly jump at the opportunity to feature flowers from our home state and local community. The harvest season for mixed Michigan flowers is very short, but that only raises our excitement because of our long anticipation. It's like if you had the opportunity to eat your favorite dessert every day for the rest of your life, it wouldn't be as special anymore. Michigan flowers are our special treat that we get to enjoy one time a year - during the late summer and early fall. 

As born and raised Michiganders, we have a special fondness and pride associated with all things Michigan related. Our favorite place to vacation is up north near Glen Arbor. Michigan is picturesque with it’s lakes, sand dunes, unique rocks, and cities, but it is also home to some of the most beautiful seasonal blooms. The sunflowers, dahlias, gladiolas, snapdragons, and zinnias grown here are, in our opinion, the best that you can find, and the assorted wildflowers are absolutely charming.

Our great-grandfather began working in the floral industry when he and a local farmer worked together to sell dahlias. The farmer sold bulbs to people to plant in their own gardens. While he cultivated bulbs for gardeners, he inevitably had an abundance of blooming dahlias he did not need since he was only focused on the sale of the bulbs. He and our great grandfather came to an agreement so that our great grandfather could sell the cut dahlias. From there on, he slowly expanded and eventually opened up his own flower shop in Detroit.

Sunflowers bloom beautifully here, as well, and there’s no better way to cheer up a room than with big and bright Michigan sunflowers. They definitely earn their name!

Michigan gladiolus (glads for short) are another favorite flower that we love to use in our designs. Like dahlias, they come in a huge variety of colors. Our mother loves to put a vase of glads in our front hallway at home. They are tall and showy, last a long time, and are inexpensive. It's a win win all the way! You often see them with the buds closed at the top of the stems, but that is how you want to buy them because those buds will open at home, and you'll get to enjoy new blooms as the days pass. The blooms at the bottom will wilt before the top blooms open, but all you have to do is snap them off and let the new blooms shine!

Some of the Michigan flowers we receive are from novelty farms which sell many different types of beautiful and unique flowers. Our friends like to quiz us on our flower facts, but some of the unique flowers we receive this time of year even stump two girls who grew up in the floral industry. It's fun to sneak a peek in the flower cooler to see what beautiful assortment the farmers send us. Unique and seasonal varieties of flowers are always exciting here at the flower shop because we are able to experiment with new designs and arrangements. Floral design is an art, and like any kind of art, it is more interesting to use a new medium especially if that medium is a magnificent flower grown in a beloved state.

As we reach the peak of the summer season, don’t forget to look around you and enjoy the beautiful flowers blooming right here in Michigan.

With love,

Cecilia and Elizabeth

07/20/2018

Bringing the Tropics to Michigan

Tropical flowers surely add a little pizzazz to floral designs.
Tropical flowers surely add a little pizzazz to floral designs.

The middle of summer is as tropical as Michigan ever gets, and we have one idea that is sure to make you feel like you're on an exotic island. We promise it's a whole lot cheaper and easier than booking a fancy trip. All you need to do is bring some tropical flowers home! This month, to match the warm weather outside, we've been featuring tropical flowers at Viviano Flower Shop. We bring in a lot of tropical flowers from our growers in Costa Rica, Thailand, Hawaii, and other tropical places. Most tropical flowers do not have any seasonal gaps which means they grow all year round. Unlike Michigan, many other climates are suitable for growing flowers all year which is why we rely on growers around the world, and that way we can bring our clients the best available flowers. (Luckily we get beautiful Michigan grown flowers in the summer, so look for a feature blog post about those special blooms coming soon!). 

Tropical flowers grow in a variety of colors and crazy shapes, and some of our favorites include orchids, proteas, birds of paradise, and ginger all of which look great with a variety of tropical foliages. This arrangement below incorporated many different tropicals that worked together for one big and colorful display!

We enjoy tropical flowers because they are fun and unique. Adding tropical flowers to bouquets and centerpieces is a great way to make the arrangement colorful and out of the ordinary. We love when clients allow us to get creative. One recent bride used the vibrant colors from her husband's charity for children as her wedding inspiration, and we got to create a bouquet with variety of colorful flowers including numerous orchid varieties. Just look at all her coloful blooms in this close-up shot of her bouquet!

The most popular orchid varietes that we carry are dedrobium, cymbidium, mokara, oncidium, and phaleonopsis orchids all of which grow in numerous colors and sizes. Most people are familiar with phaleonopsis orchids as a popular house plant, but they may be less familiar with how many color varieties exist including beautiful speckled ones. It's always exciting to wander around in our greenhouse to see what fun colored orchids our growers send us.

Besides all the fun colors, some tropical flowers can even look like animals such as the Bird of Paradise which is an orange and blue flower that looks similar to a colorful tropical bird about to take flight.

Tropical flowers might look funky to some, but like any flower, we appreciate their unique charm! So, while you're out enjoying our best Michigan "tropical weather," treat yourself to some tropical flowers, and enjoy the tropics in Michgian as best as you can ;) 

With love,

Cecilia and Elizabeth

06/29/2018

Our Founding Fathers & Flowers

Celebrating Independence Day with flowers is a great way to honor our Founding Fathers!
Celebrating Independence Day with flowers is a great way to honor our Founding Fathers!

The Fourth of July is a quintessential American holiday where we often think of fun summertime festivities and time spent with friends and family. A day relaxing at the lake or by the pool day with friends, a barbecue with family, and a night watching the sky light up with the vibrant colors of fireworks are just a few of the activities we Americans love to do to celebrate Independence Day. However, one addition to the day that is often forgotten can be a simple way to honor the Founding Fathers whom without their Declaration of Independence, we would have nothing to celebrate.

Flowers are a simple and beautiful way to honor such great men in our nation’s history because many of them loved their gardens. George Washington’s gardens at his home, Mount Vernon, were still of great concern to him even when he was president. In his letters to his steward, he wrote instructions for taking care of the plants. He loved spending time in his botanical garden which he referred to as “my little garden.”* Thomas Jefferson also loved his farm and flowers. He carefully designed his gardens at his home, Monticello, and kept careful documentation of the flowers and his observations of them in a book. Although we hold them in honor as the men who helped start such a great nation, these men were first farmers, and their love of flowers and nature lasted a lifetime.

So when it comes time to celebrate the Fourth of July do not forget to add flowers to the fun day. Celebrate with red, white, and blue! Red and white flowers come in a great abundance of different flowers such as roses, carnations, and daisies. Blue flowers are more rare, but some of our favorites include hydrangeas, delphiniums, and irises.

Even if you choose not to stick to the classic red, white, and blue color scheme, flowers of any color not only serve as a great way to honor the men who loved gardens and founded this nation but to add a little bit more beauty to a wonderful day.

With love,

Elizabeth and Cecilia

 

*source: mountvernon.org

06/15/2018

Roses Aren't Just Red

Roses come in a variety of colors, shapes, and sizes, and growing them requires much careful attention.
Roses come in a variety of colors, shapes, and sizes, and growing them requires much careful attention.

Most people don't know an agapanthus from an allium, but they can identify a rose. June is National Rose Month, and roses are hands down the most popular and well known flower. However, we find that many people are less familiar with the growing process and the different types of roses. You may think that the only difference among roses is the color, but that couldn't be farther from the truth! To start, there are different kinds of roses that include standard premium cut roses, garden roses, standard spray roses, garden spray roses, and sweetheart roses. Here, at Viviano Flower Shop, the majority of the roses we sell are grown on farms in or around Quito, Ecuador. The location of a rose farm greatly influences the final product. Roses that grow in higher altitudes tend to have bigger flower heads and more vibrant colors, but sometimes the roses require extra protection from the heat of the sun requiring farmers to carefully inspect and individually place brown paper bags over the heads of the roses in order to prevent the edges of the petals from darkening. This is not the only process that requires careful attention from the farmers. The roses are also all cut and packaged by hand. When we think about how much effort goes in to the growth and care of each rose, we are reminded of how special these precious blooms are! 

The soil in which the rose grows is extremely important, and volcanic soil has been found to produce some of the best roses. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that there are many rose farms at the base of Cotopaxi, the most active volcano in Ecuador.

Even animals play a special role at these farms! Ducks and geese help care for the roses by eating bugs and insects that could damage the precious flowers.

Huge greenhouses that cover up to 281 acres help grow the roses in a controlled climate and protect them from unexpected frost or too much rain. Despite their enormous size, these greenhouses are eco friendly and rainforest certified.

Some of the farmers are also able to regraft the roses. This is a very cool process where they cut down the stems of one rose plant, split the stem at the base, and add another rose variety to that stem. What was originally a Freedom red rose plant may then become a white Vendela rose plant. Sometimes farmers choose to do this to prepare for the busier flower seasons such as Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day when a particular color is more popular and they need more plants producing that color.

Farmers known as breeders are responsilbe for cultivating different types of roses. They decide which roses to grow, and they get to name their new variety which is a process that takes up to two years.

So, how do you determine what kind of rose you have? The petal structure is the significant feature. Garden roses have a ruffled look while standard premium cut have a spiral look to the head of the flower. A hybrid rose is a beautiful cross between garden and standard premium cut roses. Spray roses and garden spray roses are another variety, and they are distinguished by their small heads and mulitple blooms per stem.

No matter the variety, a rose is a beautiful flower that is not only popular with our customers but is one of our favorite flowers here at the shop. They are a flower that requires delicate care, and when you see them in a vase on your kitchen table, they can be a simple reminder that you are loved.

With love,

Elizabeth and Cecilia

P.S. These photos were taken by our flower buyer on her trip with our brother to visit the farms in Quito. The photo below is a picture of her with one of the farmers! 

06/01/2018

Flowers for a Family Wedding

Designing floral arrangements for a wedding is exciting, and when the wedding is for a family member, it becomes even more special for us.
Designing floral arrangements for a wedding is exciting, and when the wedding is for a family member, it becomes even more special for us.

This past Memorial Day weekend, our cousin, Katie, was married in Grand Rapids, MI. Weddings are always a big family affair for us and this wedding was no exception. An out of town wedding meant a little extra effort, but considering our past experience with out of town events, this wasn’t anything our team couldn’t handle with proper planning. Fresh flowers need to be kept cold, so we loaded the refrigerated van at 6 am, and drove two and a half hours to Kent Country Club where we set up the reception décor. When we are guests at a wedding that we are also servicing, it makes getting ready a little hectic, but despite the morning rush, we thoroughly enjoyed our time celebrating this happy occasion with our family and friends.

Katie made a stunning bride in her elegant lace dress, and she walked down the aisle at the Basilica of St. Adalbert with a bouquet of pretty pinks and purples. A week before the wedding, her mother sent us vintage hair pieces that both Katie’s grandmother and mother wore on their wedding days, and we included these pieces in Katie’s bridal bouquet. Upon seeing the bouquet for the first time, both Katie and our aunt teared up. Flowers may be a small part of a wedding day, and far less significant than the vows being made at the altar between husband and wife, but flowers do have a particular ability to add special value to an occasion, and sentimental moments like this make us feel especailly honored to participate in a wedding.  

Because our family has all grown up around flowers, it can make narrowing down a floral vision a little difficult, but Katie wanted her flowers to resemble a romantic and elegant garden. She chose very feminine colors, and popular garden flowers like peonies, hydrangeas, lilacs, and roses. We were lucky because the cold spring meant that lilacs were still in season at the time of her wedding. The ivy draping out of her centerpieces added the final gardeny touch.

We wish our dear cousin and her husband a lifetime of happiness!

 

With love,

Elizabeth and Cecilia

05/25/2018

Why Flowers?

Working in a family business is hard work, but there is something extra special about working with flowers.
Working in a family business is hard work, but there is something extra special about working with flowers.

After growing up in the floral industry, we are used to being surrounded by flowers. Cecilia and I regularly hear how lucky we are and how much fun it must be to work at a flower shop. I’ve smiled and nodded many times at such comments, while in the back of my mind thinking, if you only knew how much work it is! But, despite the daily struggles of working in a small family business, these people are right. We are lucky, and to be honest, quite blessed to be working at a flower shop. Flowers are a beautiful creation and have inspired countless authors, poets, musicians, and artists through the ages!

But what makes flowers so special? Despite having a never-ending supply of flowers in our shops, I still get excited to see new blooms outside each spring. I eagerly await the first bloom on the tiny purple crocus plant outside my family’s home, and I always pause in awe when I come across a seemingly flawless bloom in one of our shops. There is a special kind of joy that comes from a flower. New life blossoming after the darkness of winter inspires hope in our hearts. The color and delicate charm of each petal makes us smile, and the sweet fragrance fills our senses with delight. Truth can be found in the beauty of creation, and flowers speak to our souls. Flowers have the ability to stir up our emotions and memories, and their delicate and fragile nature makes us appreciate the little things in life. Our family delights in sharing flowers with others, and whether or not a flower gift is purchased for a happy or sad occasion, we know that each flower brings with it a little extra love! So go ahead, share joy by giving someone a flower today!

With love,

Elizabeth and Cecilia