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Decorating with Plum Branches

I love these flowering branches, the delicate pink flowers are the perfect compliment for my decor and they make such an incredible floral display.

If you have been following my blogs, you know  how much I love the combination of pink and black.  Last year, I  decided to change up the arrangements in my dining room so I’ve added a vase of blooming plum branches in a lovely vase.   Would you believe those spectacular mums are three weeks old? They still look amazing. I wanted to change up the look I had created in my dining room a bit so I’ve added a vase of blooming plum branches in a lovely vase. The lighter colors of the plum branches blend perfectly with the richer colored mums.


If you are planning on recreating the designs,  make sure you have plenty of space. The credenza table with the black ceramic vase below is in the hallway/entrance to my home. And the urn that I placed by my fireplace would look equally as great anywhere in the house. On a credenza table, in a bathroom, dining table, coffee table….the possibilities are just endless.


Make sure to check out my video on creating these lovely arrangements, and the other videos I have available showing you how to use flowering branches to create a spectacular arrangement.

Add a touch of green for St. Patrick’s Day–Cymbidium Orchids

I love working with cymbidium orchids. If you’ve been a member of our site for awhile you know that I use these lovely flowers in a number of my arrangements.

There are 52 different species of orchids and they are available in a wide variety of colors, white, cream, yellow, pink red, brown, green and greenish yellow. The Green Cymbidium Orchid is very popular with florists because it is one of the very few flowers that are naturally green. Green cymbidium orchids have a fabulous range of colors, going from a pale green to grass green or a rich dark olive. These colors do vary by season, so my suggestion is that if you want to use Green Cymbidium orchids in an arrangement, find out first which ones are available and plan your other flower colors around them.

Cybmiduim Orchids have a very long vase life, in some cases up to 5 weeks with the proper care. This is one of the reasons that they are so wonderful to work with, they will look their best throughout the life of your arrangement. This also makes them the perfect choice to add to Manzanita branches as I have talked about in my videos. They make a fabulous companion flower for any such large arrangement. The picture below shows them mixed in with spider mums and button mums being used as a chair end Pomander for a wedding.

Check out this adorable Shamrock for St. Patrick’s Day

Here is a fun shamrock creation….the one in the picture is 36″ wide, but you don’t have to make yours this big. Take 3 heart shape Styrofoam and put the points together. I glued them to a foam board for extra support. Depending up the size you are making, you can most likely get away with a piece of cardstock or cardboard.


I used white carnations. I had to put a wooden pick into the back of each carnation and then poke that into the shamrock shaped Styrofoam. Keep the carnations pretty close together, because there is no water source for the flowers and they will start to wilt a little each day. By keeping them close together, the wilting will be less noticeable. Once all the carnations are covering the front of the shamrock shaped Styrofoam, use Holiday Green Design Master Spray Paint to make the white carnations green. Spray lightly and reapply if you need more color. The paint can be purchased at your local craft store, locally, I know Michael’s carries it.


I used a Kelly Green Ribbon around the edges, but you could use carnations if you have enough or plan for it. I used about 215 carnations for this size. When you are figuring out how many you need, I visually take my hand and hold my fingers to illustrate a 1-1/2 inch diameter and then count how many I need by moving my hand all over the foam shape. Since each section is a heart, you really only have to do one section and then multiply that by 3 times. For the stem, I bought a round Styrofoam wreath form and cut a section out and glued that to the foam board as well.


While this is not hard to do, it is time consuming. I spend over 5 hours making this particular shamrock.

The sweet smell of Spring–The Lilac

Did you know that Rochester New York is considered the Lilac capital of the world? In 1892 John Dunbar planted 20 varieties of lilacs on the slopes of Highland Park. Every year, there is a two week long Lilac Festival that over a half a million people attend. The park now has in excess of 500 varieties over it’s 155 acres.

The lilac’s scent is only second to that of roses for the distance that it carries. The Lilac’s presence in the United States dates back to the 1750’s. A favorite of both George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, they were also grown in some of America’s first botanical gardens. The lifespan of a single bush can be hundreds of years.

There are over 1,000 varieties of this sweet smelling flower available. It is also available in pink and white in addition to it’s signature lilac or purple colors. Lilacs range in size from 4 foot to a variety that grows up to 30 feet. Because of their longevity, Lilacs are the perfect gift to plant to mark the birth of a child. They also make a wonderful wedding gift or a memorial tribute for the same reason. Because Lilacs tend to bloom just as spring is beginning, they are most often associated with rebirth and new life. They are also a popular floral gift at Easter time. The white Lilac symbolizes innocence and youth and the purple Lilac symbolizes first love.

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Those first few years were rocky for sure. In fact, after today  coaching hundreds of business owners, many who are starting their  first ventures, Ali believes your first THREE years in business  are typically your *toughest* by far.

Ali says, “In my experience, this is also when most of you want  to GIVE UP. You may think:


‘This is just too much’,

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Flower ‘Scents’

Creating that perfect centerpiece is not only about the mix of flowers visually, but also the mix of flower scents. If all the flowers in your arrangement are heavily fragranced, it could definitely ruin the effect you were hoping for with your centerpiece. Even some foliage used in flower arrangements has a scent of their own that needs to be taken into consideration when planning your centerpieces.

Some of the different types of scent categories flowers and foliage are judged by are Aromatic, Heavy, Citrus, Spicy, Sweet

eucalyptus foliageThe Aromatic category includes a lot of foliage and herbs. Dill, Eucalyptus, and Lavender are all part of the Aromatic category. So are most of the greenery used during the Christmas Holiday Season.





longiflorum lilyThe Heavy Fragrance category includes Gardinas, Oriental Lilies, Stephanotis and Tuberose.





Wax flowerThe Citrus Category covers Waxflowers and eucharis. Both of these have a light lemony scent






The Spicy or Peppery Category includes Mums, Stock, and Florist Bloom. The prevailing scent in this group is a clove scent with some blooms having a stronger scent than others.






 hyacinthThe Sweet Category is the one that always comes to mind when you think of flowers. Hyacinth, Lilac, Carnations, Freesia, Sweet Peas, Lily of the Valley and of course, last but not least, Roses make up this category.

Flowers of March–the Daffodil

Also known as the Jonquil or Narcissus, Nothing says spring quite like a sea of Daffodils with their gorgeous sunny yellows and pearly whites. These very popular flowers just seem to bring light into any room you place them in and do so much to cast out the gray gloom we all associate with winter. In the language of flowers, this sweet bloom means Friendship and Domestic Happiness.

Daffodils have a trumpet shaped inner bud that is surrounded by a star shaped outer flower.

The trumpet is often in a contrasting color from the star shaped background. The traditional Daffodil that first comes to mind is all yellow, but there so also so many different combinations available. Yellow and white, yellow and orange and white and orange. There are even pink and lime green Daffodils.

They are always one of the first buds of Spring to arrive and often bloom in clusters. There are at least 50 species of Daffodils and nearly 130,000 hybrids of those species available making they extremely easy to combine into just about any arrangement you could dream up. Daffodils come in all sizes, from 2 foot long stems with 5 inch radius blooms to the tiny half inch flower on a 2 inch stem.

They are perfect for almost any style of centerpiece or floral decoration you can think of, from a casual display in a mason jar on your back porch breakfast table to a formal centerpiece at your spring wedding reception. Create something special with some Daffodils today and welcome Spring back into your home!

Add a little sparkle to your arrangements

One of the nicest things about using clear glass vases is that it gives you the opportunity to add some great touches to your arrangement. Whether you are planning to use a bubble bowl like I talked about earlier this week or are planning to use a tall stately glass vase, there are literally hundreds of different things you can use to help secure your flower stems into place and create an added splash of color.

River rocks are very popular. Available in a wide variety of earth tones, these polished stones work very well with almost any type of vase you are planning to use. Readily available in every craft store and department store with a silk flower section, river rocks come in three general sizes, small, medium and large. River rocks also work well to help secure your arrangements into place.

Glass and acrylic beads are also a very popular way to add color and pizazz to your arrangements. They come in a variety of colors, shapes and sizes. Like river rock, glass beads and shapes depending on their size will also help support your arrangement in the bottom of the vase. Most acrylic beads are usually added for splashes of color. Their lighter weight will not always support heaver stemmed flowers so they’re used more for their decorative appearance that as additional flower support.    Acrylic and glass beads are also available in a variety of gem shapes, which make them just perfect for a wedding reception or romantic dinner at home.

Shells, marbles, wood slices, just about anything you can think of can be used to create a unique setting for your arrangements. I have actually even used broken windshield glass with spectacular results.

Vase Types–Bubble Bowls

Bubble bowls are becoming more and more popular.  This style of vase is also known as a fish bowl or rose bowl and range from about 5 1/2″ to 16″ in diameter and make a great container for shot stem arrangements. I’ve done several videos using these versatile vases and the results are always just so wonderful.

Because they are wider in the middle than at the mouth, bubble bowls are great for creating the perfect rounded shape. Being shorter in height, they are wonderful for dinner party or wedding reception table centerpieces allowing your guests to see and talk to each other. This type of vase also lends itself well to using water beads or decorative river rock with your arrangements.  And best of all, you can find them at any craft store and they are very inexpensive.

Capture a Rainbow

As we come to the end of this wonderfully romantic week, I have something new and fantastic to share with you. How magically could it be to present the love of your life with the most unique bouquet of rainbow colored roses, making sure she knows you believe she is the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow as far as you are concerned. Guess what, that dream is now a reality!

I had a local television appearance last Friday, 2/10/12 and the subject was “Bye Bye Boring Valentine’s Day Roses”. This company, sent me 5 different rose bouquets for the show…rainbow roses, blue roses, purple roses, lime green roses and half red and half white roses. Their sister company, sent me 3 foot long red roses as well. I can’t say enough great things about these companies and the product they sent to me for the FOX 40 episode.

Please check them out if you are looking for unique roses…they ship overnight anywhere in the U.S.”


And as my special gift to all of you who have taken the time to read my blogs, participate in our community and for flower lovers everywhere, here is my full length FREE video talking about Rainbow Roses.

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