Christmas Colors Inspire Me

I love the holiday season, but this year is especially spectacular. Not only did it snow this weekend, but the temperature in Eugene has stayed cold enough to keep it looking like a winter wonderland! A week into December, and with the lovely evergreens surrounding Eugene laden with the white, fluffy precipitation; the streets and rooftops snow-covered, the season has announced itself: Christmas is here!Dandelions Flowers & Gifts

This year, along with my usual reasons for loving the season – putting a tree up and dressing it up for the season; the festive decorations and lights around town; holiday shopping and wrapping (or bagging) gifts; anticipating fun family get-togethers; watching people go by all bundled up against the cold; Christmas music – I get to add a couple of  new ones to my list: the scrunch of footsteps in the snow; snow blowing off branches and swirling in the breeze against a blue winter sky. But I always come back to an old favorite: the red, white and green flowers we work with in the store. When the snow-tinted pine cones and Christmas greenery come out at work, it’s easy to get inspired, so I thought I’d give you a glimpse of some red, white and green floral inspiration at Dandelions:

Green and white kale adds fantastic texture to any arrangement you add it to.green and white kale

The big, beautiful and exotic blooms of cymbidium orchids with their deep red throats are a great attention-grabber.green cymbidium orchids

Deep red ranunculus, with its lovely, ruffly petals.deep red ranunculus

I never get tired of the wild allure of bells of Ireland. Their height is perfect for a showy, seasonal design.green bells of ireland

Red dogwood is also great for height in an arrangement. It’s woodsy red tint is perfect for the season.red dogwood branches

Red poinsettias are a Christmas icon! Their bold beauty add festivity to anyone’s holiday decor. red poinsettia

Exotic, bright red anthuriums, if you’re looking for something different, and dramatic!red antherium

Wintery-white fuji mums! white fuji mums

White poinsettias! Another winter holiday beauty!white poinsettias

I love the elegance that white dendrobium orchids bring to an arrangement.White dendrobium orchids

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!snow dec 10

Happy Bosses Day, Shirley Lyons!

Last month, our wonderful boss Shirley Lyons was installed as the President of the Society of American Florists (SAF), a trade association representing the U.S. floral industry that has been around for 130 years. Not only is she their first woman president, she is also the first Oregonian to serve. What an accomplishment! And what an example to women! We are so proud of her!

Shirley’s love for her community and desire to touch lives and make everyday things just that much more special is  evident in the community contests and events Dandelions hosts, and the employees at Dandelions get to benefit from this great-heartedness up close. We get the everyday view of Shirley that not everyone sees, and for this Bosses Day, we wanted her to catch a glimpse of how we see her, a sense of who she is to us. Each staff-member at Dandelions picked a word or two to describe Shirley, so she’d know how special she is to us:

Working on Elton John’s flowers!

Juggling grand kids

“Dynamic, and an educator.” – Jodie

Big-hearted and generous.” – Brenda

“Energetic.” – Marie

“Simpatica y suave.” – ShariAnn

“World-traveler. “ – Tami

“Inspirational.” – Tovi

“Comedian.” – Julianne

“Motivated. Fun-loving.” – Martha

“Sympathetic.” – Diana

“Admirable.” Tammy

KMTR’s Job Swap with Jordan Steele

track meet

Making arrangements for the U. of O. Olympic trials.

“Passionate.” – Sophie

“Madame President! And Gregarious.” – Cindy

“Vivacious.” – Sharon

“Appreciative. She is grateful for our service in her company.” – Beth

“Driven.” – Chela

“lively, positive.” – Stephanie

To our boss, Shirley Lyons: Happy Bosses Day!

Shirley with Eugene Emerald’s Sluggo on Valentine’s Day.

Presenting Eugene’s Favorite Mom Contest winner with her prize.

A Thank You to the Administrative Professionals

Next week, many bosses, managers, business owners – will send flowers to the valued colleagues and employees who work so hard, taking on many responsibilities and projects, to help them meet their goals and fulfill their plans. This is because a smart leader knows that a little recognition for good work, and a word of thanks go a long way.sec week 3

More and more, the 24 hours we’ve been allotted in a day are so busy, they seem to fly by, and the little things that make such an impact on every day life are the first casualties of our hectic existence. We mean to make that phone-call and check up on that friend, but by the  time we get to it, it’s too late in the day. We are grateful for the help and hard work of those around us, and at some point plan on sending them a thank you card or gift, but something urgent and requiring immediate attention pops up, and that kind intention is moved to tomorrow’s schedule.bamboo sunshine

That’s why Administrative Professionals Week is so important! It’s a week’s worth of nudging to remind you to show appreciation to those who work so hard for you. Anyone who’s ever received flowers knows how delightful it is to accept that lovely, thoughtful package, and long after the flowers have faded, the memory of that gift continues to delight.

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Fun, Quick DIYCenterpiece Idea

This Easter afforded us a perfect DIY centerpiece scenario: what do you do when you need something for your table, but you’re in a hurry and are low on flower options? Dandelions owner Shirley Lyons found herself in this situation this weekend, and was kind enough to share how she resolved her problem.

You’d think that as florists, we are constantly taking  flowers home to make fabulous and lush centerpieces and arrangements for family functions. That does happen on occasion, but usually, and  more often than we’d like to admit,  even the florist forgets to take flowers home!! Shirley was half-way home before she realized she did exactly that! So between babysitting her two-year and twelve week old grand-kids (a juggling act of princess dolls and diapers), and preparing dinner for twelve, she needed to come up with something fast and uncomplicated. Thankfully, Shirley had daffodils growing in her yard, and with some of these and a few vases in colorful, spring tones and varying heights, she had a quick, fun, artsy centerpiece on her dining-room table!

centerpiece 5Daffodils centerpiececenterpiece 1

Using what you have growing in your yard (be it flowers or some pretty greenery)  and your collection of vases is a cost-effective way to make a great impression, and get your creative juices flowing!

We love flowers because they’re inherently beautiful and really don’t need much embellishment to make a statement. Artfully placed vases and simply arranged flowers are an easy way to enhance any event.IMG_0200

Aqua vases with yellow flowers

Bucks for Pearl Bucks 2013

March is National Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, and once again the Pearl Buck Center is partnering with local businesses, including Dandelions, to raise awareness and support for those of us in our community who live with, or are affected by developmental disabilities. Pearl Bucks at Dandelions

The Pearl Buck Center  works with people born with disabilities such as cerebral palsy, epilepsy, and autism, to name a few,  nurturing these individuals so that they are able to function and be contributing members of society.

The businesses involved are offering Pearl Bucks for customers to buy as a contribution to support the cause. All you have to do is come in and buy a Buck! Pearl Buck

Here’s a link for a list of the businesses involved: http://www.pearlbuckcenter.com/images/stories/national%20dd%20awareness%20month%202013%20-1.jpg

To learn more about the Pearl Buck Center and find out about opportunities to volunteer, check out their website at http://www.pearlbuckcenter.com/.

To learn more about developmental disabilities and how the state of Oregon is involved, check out the Oregon Council on Developmental Disabilities website at http://www.ocdd.org/.

Using Flowers in Local Science Classrooms

We received a great thank-you note from local Willamette High School teacher, David Novak, who has been using flowers from Dandelions to teach the students in his botany science class about the anatomy of flowers.  We love hearing that our customers enjoy our flowers, and we love finding out about the different ways they are used. It’s great to hear how students are getting exposed to flowers in this educational way, and learning to appreciate even more this incredible part of nature.

Here’s some of what David wrote to us:

The flowers I get from you, even those that are too "ripe to sell",
the are perfect for us and add greatly to our learning of the
fundamental tissues and organs of plants and are great motivators for
learning! Nothing beats getting actual flowers into students hands when
learning about all the structures!!

What do I do with them??  I have included some shots to help you
understand.  In particular,
I have students draw them, both as the flowers come to us and after we
bisect them lengthwise.  
We examine the parts using microscopes to view all the parts (ovary,
ovules, pistils, etc.) which are often
hard to see with the unaided eye.  We answer questions about  the
flowers (e.g., compare the length of the pistil in one 
flower to another and suggest reasons for the different in length).
There are also a few experiments we like to try with the flowers, if we
get enough.

The mums we used this week and alstroemeria were perfect. THANKS for
all your effort and generosity!!

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Dandelions’ Poinsettia Project

A year ago – December 2011 – Roseann, one of our designers, put a broken poinsettia stem into a bud-vase of water thinking it would give her a few days of pleasure before it died. Over a year later, surprising us all, this stem has survived…the leaves have faded in color, but it’s still alive! 

So this year Roseann has a new poinsettia stem in a bud vase, next to the old one, and we’ll see how long this one lasts!!

How are the poinsettias you bought this holiday doing? Hopefully, great!! Here’s how you can care for them and get them to re-bloom next season:

1. Keep caring for them as you have been during the holiday (Keeping them away from the cold, in warm rooms, and making sure they get enough water and lots of light.) If the leaves have already shriveled or fallen off, start watering your plant less.

New poinsettia bract2. In March (around the 17th – St. Patrick’s Day), when the bracts (colored leaves) fade, cut the stems back to 8 inches above the soil line.

3. Water your plant less than you’ve been watering it, allowing it to dry out more.

4. Lightly fertilize your plant with a balanced all-purpose plant food every 3-4 weeks.

5. When it warms up outside, place the plant outdoors – first in indirect sunlight, and then direct sunlight. Avoid temperatures under 50 degrees throughout the summer. When the new growth appears, water your plant more frequently.

6. In early July, around the 4th, cut back the new growth on the stems, and re-pot  the plant, if it needs it.

7. In early September, when fall temperatures begin to drop, move your poinsettia plant back inside, but make sure it gets 6 or more hours of direct light.

8. October 1st to December 1st, keep your plant in complete darkness for 14 hours, giving it 10 hours of natural light daily. This will set the buds and cause the bracts to color. Any exposure to light during the dark hours will delay blooming.

9. In  early December, stop fertilizing your poinsettia and start caring for it they way you did during the holiday.

Old and new poinsettiaGood luck on your poinsettia project. Let us know how your plant does. We’ll definitely keep you posted on Roseann’s poinsettia cuttings.

Tips for Getting your Centerpiece to Last

The first thing you should know about your floral centerpiece is that the cut stems are inserted into a floral foam, also known as oasis. Oasis is great because it retains water well and helps the arrangement hold it’s design. Flowers in foam can stay vibrant and beautiful for days, but they need care. The downside to oasis is that where you can see the water level in a vase, in floral foam the water level is not as obvious. Because of this, many a centerpiece dehydrates and dies earlier than it should. So it is important to make sure your floral arrangement has plenty of water.

How to check the water level: Touch the oasis. If you press it lightly you should feel moisture.

When to water: Because it’s cold outside, and we’re all keeping our homes warmer, the water from the floral foam is going to evaporate faster, so you should check the moisture level every day.

How to water: Move your centerpiece to the sink, or to a surface that won’t be damaged by water, in case you spill. Carefully find a space in the centerpiece, or at the side of the container it is in, where you can see the oasis, or a space between the oasis and the container, and carefully pour water onto the oasis or into the space around the foam, allowing time for  the water to be absorbed.  Slowly add water until the oasis is thoroughly saturated.

Enjoy your flowers, and this wonderful season!!

                                 

Bob Welch Book Signing Event at Dandelions

Bob WelchLast month I wrote about local author Bob Welch‘s recently published books “Cascade Summer: My Adventure on Oregon’s Pacific Crest Trail” and “52 Little Lessons from It’s a Wonderful Life” that we have for sale here in our store. I mentioned then that Dandelions would be hosting a book-signing for Mr. Welch this month. Well, we have a date:

When:     Tuesday, December 18th, from 3:30 pm to 5:30 pm.

Where:   Dandelions Flowers and Gifts at 1710 Chambers St. Eugene, OR, 97402

Join us here at Dandelions at as we host this exciting event, and take advantage of the opportunity to meet Bob Welch. Not only will these autographed books be great to pick up for yourself, but they’ll also make a wonderful present during this holiday gift-giving season.

Also, all Dandelions merchandise will be 20% off during the book-signing.

Be sure not to miss this opportunity!!

How to Care for Your Poinsettia

Poinsettia -  Eugene, OregonThe vibrant red that poinsettias display (they also come in other shades including orange, cream, pink, even purple) have made them a popular plant around the Christmas season. But how do you care for this lovely plant? Here are some tips to help you get your poinsettia to last.

Temperature:

Poinsettias are tropical plants, so they don’t like the cold. During the day, be sure to keep it in a room that’s between 65 to 75 degrees, and at night, if possible, keep it in a room that’s a little cooler (55 to 60 degrees.) Poinsettias also don’t do well with sudden changes in temperature, so keep it away from the door so it doesn’t feel the draft, and if you keep it by the window, don’t allow the leaves to touch the glass. Sudden temperature changes will cause the poinsettia to drop it’s leaves. Poinsettias also like humidity, so if your plant’s leaves start looking a little crinkly around the edges, you can mist it.

Light:

Poinsettias love light, so make sure it gets as much as possible throughout the day.  dec 007

Watering:

Wait until the surface soil is dry to the touch and then water your poinsettia, allowing enough water so that it runs out of the drainage holes in the bottom of the container. Poinsettias prefer moist soil rather than sitting in water, so it is important that you allow the excess water to drain out after watering. Once a poinsettia starts to droop it will soon begin to drop it’s leaves, so it is important to check the soil frequently.

There is no need to fertilize your poinsettia plant during the Christmas season.

Contrary to popular belief, poinsettias are not poisonous to people or animals, but they are a delicate plant and their stems break easily, so be sure to keep them where a curious pet or child cannot reach them.

If you keep an eye on your poinsettia, it should last just fine throughout the season. In a few weeks I’ll let you know how to care for your poinsettia after the Christmas season.