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AMA

I'm a florist AMA

40 replies

PainSnail · 13/07/2018 10:32

I used to work in flower shops and now I mostly freelance for weddings/events/photoshoots. Ask away.

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glitterbiscuits · 13/07/2018 21:25

Which flowers are the best value and longest lasting?

What are some top tips for making my supermarket flowers look special?

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PainSnail · 14/07/2018 06:04

Lilies last ages, or anything vaguely tropical will keep going a good while. Changing the water regularly and recutting the stems when you do will help most other things last longer.

Supermarket flowers are perhaps on of my least favourite things (although they are excellent value) but I'll go with the same advice as I would for any flowers at home. Pick things you like! Don't worry if goes together, don't worry if someone else thinks it looks nice or not. They're your flowers and they're going in your home, enjoy them!

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ElizabethinherGermanGarden · 14/07/2018 06:25

What are your work hours like?

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squashyhat · 14/07/2018 07:29

Why are there so many 'fillers' in bouquets? My DH gave me one for our wedding anniversary recently which had roses (nice) lilys (beautiful and, as you say, long- lasting) and a load of indeterminate wiry grey/green leafy stuff and what looked like bamboo sticks, most of which I got rid of when I put it in the vase.

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squashyhat · 14/07/2018 07:30

Another question - why do roses in bouquets have no scent?

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PainSnail · 14/07/2018 08:32

what are your work hours like?

Massively varied these days! When I worked in shops it was more regular (6am start if flowers were in, 9am if they weren't, and then a standard 9 hour day plus extra for special occasions) but now I freelance it can really be anything which makes childcare really difficult. The longest I have ever worked in one go has been 6am to 1am. You stay until the job is done basically. I have also had to do overnights for some big install jobs. I do not enjoy night work!

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LadyGAgain · 14/07/2018 08:38

Is it lucrative financially?
Can you share your best bridezilla story?

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PainSnail · 14/07/2018 08:43

Why are there so many 'fillers' in bouquets

Mostly because it keeps the overall cost of the bouquet down, whilst still making it look large. If a bouquet was just killer, no filler it would either be double the price or half the size, and people tend to equate "large" with "good". There are some fillers I really like and enjoy working with, but largely they are just there to serve a purpose.

why do roses in bouquets have no scent?

To lengthen the vase life! Scented roses don't last nearly as long as their hardy scent less cousins so the scent gets bred out of them. Scented roses also tend to be more expensive to buy and sell so a bit of a luxury even for florists. Norma Jeane is a nice scented variety that often isn't too dear though

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PainSnail · 14/07/2018 08:55

*Is it lucrative financially?
Can you share your best bridezilla story? *

Flower shops aren't lucrative at all. Profits on flowers aren't huge and I think we'll see the end of the high street florist one day unfortunately. Events generally make the most money, followed by weddings so if you're a florist with studio just doing these you might be alright. You'd be surprised how many of the "big name" florists are in financial trouble though...

I've been very lucky with my brides, most have been very nice. I do REALLY care about people's weddings though so maybe that's why? I find myself very invested in them having a brilliant day. Also it's generally the mothers that are worse when it comes to flowers. I've had several mothers/mils try and surreptitiously change flowers and colour schemes behind the brides back, but no one has got one past me yet Grin Weddings do tend to bring out the CF friends and distant relatives who suddenly get back in touch when an engagement is announced though. Luckily this game makes you tough!

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glitterbiscuits · 14/07/2018 08:57

Is there a good way to put flowers in a vase? Is it simply tall flowers at the back and short at the front? Are there some colour mixes to avoid? Or am I better just buying one type of flower?
I could easily be like Elton John and have a personal florist!

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PainSnail · 14/07/2018 11:18

Is there a good way to put flowers in a vase? Is it simply tall flowers at the back and short at the front? Are there some colour mixes to avoid? Or am I better just buying one type of flower?

If you get given a bouquet where the stems are spiralled then pop them in a vase as they are and cut the tie once they're in there. For other things, tall at the back works well, you want to be able to see everything! Personally I would always go for just one type of flower. Nothing nicer than a big vase of floppy tulips for instance!

Colour wise, people are funny about red and white together. Blood and bandages and all that.

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serendipitintea · 14/07/2018 11:46

What is your favourite flower OP?

Mine are peonies Smile

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CurlyWurlyTwirly · 14/07/2018 15:05

Speaking of floppy tulips. I once had a Dutch boyfriend who said, roll up tulips in a newspaper. Put them in a vase for a few hours till the stalks pull up the water. The unroll them from the newspaper and they won’t go floppy as they are already “turgid”

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DickensianHysteric · 14/07/2018 15:09

I know you said you had a 6am start in the shop, but do you ever have to get up really early to go to markets to get flowers?
Also, any tips for planting up succulents in a nice display?

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LadyWithLapdog · 14/07/2018 15:11

Are there any blatant faux pas regarding flowers (number of stems in a bouquet, combinations etc)?

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PainSnail · 14/07/2018 18:36

What is your favourite flower OP?

I'm rather partial to a peony too. The start of peony season is always exciting.

Speaking of floppy tulips...

The paper trick works very well when you first get them in, it gives them a great start off. Tulips grow even after they're cut though, so eventually the head will get too heavy for the stem to support and you get a lovely flop.

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PainSnail · 14/07/2018 18:48

do you ever have to get up really early to go to markets to get flowers? Also, any tips for planting up succulents in a nice display

I think they earliest I've ever been to market is 5am. Most florists I know go between 5 and 7am. No tips on the succulents really, I've never been good with plants!

Are there any blatant faux pas regarding flowers

Different cultures have different floral quirks but I would say any of them are very blatant. Things like white being associated with death in China, Russians find even numbers of flowers unlucky, Brits have the red and white flower hangup. Every culture has different requirements so no blanket rules, but it can be a lot to remember depending on what you're doing.

I must say these are all very polite flower based questions. I was expecting more about people having affairs and other appalling reasons for buying flowers. Florists know everyone's secrets Grin

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DickensianHysteric · 14/07/2018 22:48

Thanks for answering! I had never even considered the dark side of being a florist Wink but now you've put ideas in my head: what's the cringiest pet name or message you've ever been asked to write on a card? And have you ever had anyone contact the shop demanding to know who/where a particular bunch was sent to?

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PainSnail · 15/07/2018 10:38

@DickensianHysteric

There is always at least one sexually explicit message every Valentine's day, wherever I worked. Usually as an internet order. The most smutty was actually in the form of a gross poem but I think repeating it here would be too outing sadly. I quite liked it when big burly men came in and asked me to write something soppy in the card. It did often restore a bit of my faith in men.

People demand to know who sent them flowers all the time, but not particularly who the recipient was. We can't tell them anything due to the data protection act, so my hands are quite tied. I had one woman come in hysterical and told me she thought she was being stalked and needed to know who'd sent her flowers. I offered to ring the police so they could deal with the stalker and keep her safe etc, but then she looked embarrassed and fessed up that actually she needed to know if they were from her husband or her boyfriend! (They were from her boyfriend)

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PortToTheLeft · 15/07/2018 10:56

Why is it sooo difficult to get quality flowers? I received a generous but small inheritance and for various reasons to do with the memory of thst person decided to use it to buy a bunch of roses every few weeks. I started with a florist, just asked for 15 roses, unarranged/prepared etc. The quality was so variable, sometimes they lasted only a few days despite apparantely coming straight from the auction that morning. Then I found an online place that sent direct from market too. First lot were amazing, second lot didn’t last. I actually find buying a bunch from m&s has given me the best quality/lasting.

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PainSnail · 15/07/2018 20:30

@PortToTheLeft

That sounds frustrating! As long as you're taking care of them (recutting stems and putting them straight into water etc) I would take them, or take a photo of the, back to the florist. Florists will usually swap them for you and then pass on the info to the supplier in case they are sending duds. Feedback is useful to all parties. I would expect roses to last around 5 - 7 days if properly cared for.

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PortToTheLeft · 15/07/2018 21:14

Thank you, useful to know I’m not being unreasonable. I’ll persevere and maybe go and have a chat with the florist.
Can’t beat a beautiful vase of roses Smile

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Riddo · 16/07/2018 01:43

My Mum received two bouquets on the same day which both have roses in. One lot of roses still look perfect 6 days later and the others dropped their heads after a day. Can the other flowers/foliage in a bouquet affect the roses?

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VanGoghsLeftEar · 16/07/2018 01:56

My MiL is of the opinion that cut flowers are bad for the environment, and she prefers a pot plant instead. What do you think?

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PainSnail · 16/07/2018 09:27

@Riddo

Hmm, other flowers shouldn't affect roses really. As I said in the above post, with roses it's usually that either they weren't great at the growing stage, in which case they should go back to the shop, or they have been left out of water too long and not been recut properly. Flower stems sort of scab over once exposed to the air, so if they aren't recut then water can't get up. Roses can get air bubbles in the stems too which stops them drink properly. Some people suggest plunging them into boiling water for a bit to force the air up but I've never tried it myself.

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