How do you keep your Flowers alive ?

DSC01806I came across an article from the Live Science website by Joseph Castro, which as I was reading it, brought a large grin to my face !

We all at various times have put  cut flowers into a vase of water at home and enjoyed having them in the house, then only after a few days to see them wilt and die. We then wish that they had lasted that little bit longer and regret that we did not add that something to the water.

The article quotes: To prolong the life of fresh-cut flowers, florists recommend you use commercial flower preservatives.

The additives work by providing food in the form of sugar, fighting the growth of harmful microorganisms and allowing the plant to take in nutrients more efficiently by raising the acidity of the water (lowering its pH).

You may have heard that numerous homemade vase solutions — including water mixtures containing copper pennies, aspirin, vodka, sugar, 7-UP or bleach — mimic the effects of commercial preservatives. But do these home remedies actually work?

So let’s look at some these homemade remedies a bit closer:

Copper pennies are best kept in an old tin in a draw as University of Florida horticulturalist Terri Nell wrote in a June 2004 telling us that pennies may have copper in them, but are not soluble so are of no benefit !!

Aspirin are another commonly used ingredient which are known to lower the pH in water, but there are many conflicting studies of to its effectiveness. So it’s best to keep them for your headaches !!

Sugar is another used ingredient which people swear by, and this does have a short term benefit but also promotes micro bacteria which kills our flowers quickly. Perhaps best to keep the sugar for your Tea !!

Seven Up & Sprite make flower water both acidic and sugary & Susan Han recommends concocting a solution of one part soda and three parts water to add to the flower vase. Seems like an awful waste and expense to open a couple of cans for this !!

So that just leaves us with the VODKA………. Don’t even try it !!!!!!Just get a tall tumbler, fill it with Ice and a slice of lime, a good slug of Vodka and top up with tonic. After a few of these you won’t even care !!

But seriously, the best way of keeping your flowers longer is either to add a commercial flower preservative sachet or use this trade secret recipe.

Add a tiny pinch of sugar to water then add a tiny drop of bleach & change the water every day……..CHEEERS !!!!


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British Flower Week

British_Flowers_Week_550_15We at Carrington Brown have for many years been a supporter of British grown flowers , but as the years have passed their numbers have decreased considerably due mainly to the dominance of the Dutch flower auctions & traders.

Back in the 1950s & 60s British flowers were grown in large areas mainly around the towns of Spalding in Lincolnshire. Many of the farms were of small acreage, which grew a large selection of seasonal cut flowers & plants, but as with many small farms the pressure of outside competition, lack of subsidies and a change in the opportunities for the offspring’s to earn a better living than their parents did elsewhere,  caused the decline.

By the middle 1980s there were vast areas of land coming up for sale in this area and much of this was brought up by Dutch companies & growers. Of course Lincolnshire was not the only flower area in the UK the Dutch were buying up, with large parts of the Channel Islands & Isles of Scilly being added to their portfolios.

It was good business practise of the Dutch to buy up what to them was rich fertile areas, close to Holland in which to grow seasonal flowers for their home consumption and export. It also made perfect sense to buy land at a fraction of the cost to the equivalent land in Holland.

I am a admirer of the Dutch flower industry for there innovation and business practises that have transformed the world flower industry to a level, where flowers are never out of season and also available in large quantities despite the weather.

Sometimes I do question their ethics in growing let say daffodils in Lincolnshire, shipping them to Holland, then exporting then back to the UK market. Not terribly eco is it !!

That’s why we at Carrington Brown support British Flower Week, where the emphasis is on a fresh seasonal premium product grown in the UK and sold mainly to the UK markets like New Convent Flower Market in Battersea London.

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Corporate Web Shop opens

CORP LOGINThe Carrington Brown Online Corporate Web Shop has now opened.

This site has been developed to allow our approved Corporate customers, who have weekly flowers delivered to their offices, an online facility to order Bouquets & Arrangements.

The portal for registering for this facility can be found on our main website and once a corporate customer has registered and been approved by ourselves the process of doing multiple bouquet orders becomes a very easy operation.

This corporate facility remembers all your billing, department and personal details whilst allowing yourselves to place multiple orders for delivery all over the UK.

There is a range of Bouquets & Arrangements with a choice of sizes,  that allows you to be able to pick the right item for the occasion.

Corporate customers can be assured that this site is 100% secure as registered users will not be required to put any card details  into the system. Being an approved corporate customer allows you to be able to order & charge ‘on account’ all your bouquet & arrangements.

The benefits of being a registered corporate customer allows you to receive a monthly consolidated invoice, which clearly shows all the orders placed in separate listings with all the information contained in it so as to allow your accounts department to charge this out to the relevant departments. This system also lets the department who places the order to easily check the orders against the invoice making sure it is correct.

Being a registered & approved corporate customer you are able to benefit from our corporate payment terms, being 30 days from invoice date.

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Bouquet Ordering Web shop Opens

WEBSHOP PICSAfter many months in development the Carrington Brown online Bouquet & Flower web shop has opened.

This new service allows anybody throughout the world to log on and register in order to be able to order flowers to be delivered to anybody within the UK.

Apart from having a wide selections of bouquets from mixed flower to rose bouquets available in several sizes, it also offers a wide selection of sympathy bouquets and arrangements.

The registration process has been designed with simplicity in mind, allowing one a safe and secure environment to store one’s personal data. Once you have registered for the first time the process of doing repeat orders becomes a very quick operation.

Once a selection has been made this system allows you to stipulate the date of delivery as well as adding any special instructions to the florist.

One can be assured that this site is a 100% secure against internet fraud as all payments are processed through the Pay-Pal portal. So none of your credit card details are retained by this web shop.

Coming shortly will be the Corporate web shop portal, which will allow registered and approved corporate bodies to order flowers `On Account’. More to follow !!

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You should try it some time

DSC01564It was one of those nights where there was nothing on the hundreds of television channels we all seem to have these days, so I decided to go for a walk along the lane.

After a few minutes it suddenly dawned on me that above  I could hear the whizz of something flying around me. Looking up I could just see a fleeting glimpse of what I first took as small birds weaving around in the twilight but on closer inspection I suddenly realised they were in fact Bats ! I stood spellbound for a couple of minutes admiring the acrobats they performed just a few feet above me, and then I suddenly saw the whole picture.

Up until that time being so focussed on these tiny flying creatures, I had failed to notice the true magnificence of the last dying rays of an autumn day.

The moral of this tale is that we all live busy lives and as a result of this we sometimes don’t see the bigger picture !!

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Fresh is Best

George Omondi writes about the concerns that Kenyan flower exporters have regarding the ever increasing cost of air transport in getting their produce to Europe, US & Asia.It is reported that ‘specialised equipment’ has been invested in to facilitate the switch to sea transport….. I wonder what that can be, gene engineering or chemical suspension, the latter being rather unpalatable . With Kenya’s Sh 70 billion a year export trade and the switch to sea transport estimated to cut cargo costs by 60% there is plenty of incentives to make this work. But do we the end users want this ? I do not intend  to get drawn into the economic or humanitarian arguments  concerning the ethics of exporting  fresh produce to the rest of the world, but concentrate on the issue of having a ‘Fresh Product’ that would be over two weeks old !! Also how long before Dutch, South American or Asian growers start to see the benefits of the above and start treating their flowers this way. Sooner or later we could have flowers that are up to a month old in our vases. But may I suggest a cheaper alternative: Silk or Artificial flowers that last for years & all you have to do is dust them !!!! (lol) For me the beauty of fresh flowers is in their short vase life, as they then fade into a memory……..I always say Fresh is Best.

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Forgotten just how good this is

The Best things in life are Free !!

Last weekend I  decided it was time to get out of the house and away from the all  those consuming gardening chores. I packed the dog into the car and drove a short distance down a tiny track to some woods I know.

On arriving I was greeted by a never ending carpet of these delightful little blue flowers stretching as far as the eye could see. I just stood there….half marvelling at what was before me, but also remembering years gone past & eventually coming back to my childhood. I got the same feeling then as i did now , one of purity & beauty !   Letting the dog off the lead,I sauntered along the track listening to the backdrop of bird calls and the scampering of the hound, but deep in thought. As I finished my walk , it struck me that I had forgotten just how good this experience was, and some of the best things in life are…….Free !!

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Spring Madness

Don't pick the Flowers !!

Spring has finally arrived….the bees are humming, the birds are singing and the spring flowers are starting to bloom !  But all beware we are now entering a change of season which brings with it odd human behaviour. Remember from your history lessons  ‘Beware of the Ides of March’ which unfortunately Julius Caesar choose to ignore.

 Well looking at how human behaviour changes once the seasons change, makes me despair & wonder…… it really does!!

Trawling through recent events I came across many articles with the theme of spring, flowers, police and rioting…..what a mind boggling combination of opposing contrasts. An article from the blogger Angela Epstein of the Manchester Evening Post caught my eye, by proclaiming  ‘Daffodil thieves are as bad as London rioters’. For those of you that followed this hugely blown up story from the media, can only shake their heads in despair when a so called ‘reasonable journalist’ tries to link little girls picking daffodils in a park to Anarchists smashing up businesses in central London. Whatever your views on the actions of the little girls picking flowers in a municipal parkand being cautioned by the Police,  there is no way reasonable people should try to link the two……..just to fill up a page in a local paper !! May I suggest to Angela Epstein that instead of sitting in her office trying to cobble together a non story as this,  she should be reporting directly from the next Anarchists riot and maybe a real story might come from her.

On a lighter note,  a very quintessential British story about the election of a Grouville student becoming Jersey’s Miss Battle of Flowers 2011, a post that was created in 1902 as a celebration of the coronation of Edward VII. Ahhhhh don’t stories like this just make you feel good and that in this country we are all as Mad as a March Hare !!

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Mothering Sunday….Don’t Panic !!

Mothers Day…It need not be like this !!

With Mothering Sunday just around the corner, I am starting to hear ‘OMG what do I get her this year’  For those of you who are still unaware of this years dates it is on the 3rd of April, so you now have no excuse that you forgot

So we have got this far as making a mental note of the dates, now the hard part…….what to buy her !!
I am taking for granted that most of you will know your Mums quite well……..I hope, and so this process should be a little easier. For those of you with should I say the slightly trickier Mums, this process is quite a tightrope to walk. Will she like it, is it her colour,fragrance, style etc etc etc ………it is enough to give you a nervous breakdown.
For me , I fall into the above category and over the years I have found out that it’s not the amount of money you spend, its how you spend it  !
So now you have to do some investigating on likes and dislikes until you come up with exactly what your Mum likes……It’s not difficult !
For my mother it’s flowers every time, just two varieties from her favorite local florist and a card I have written and posted to her.
So what ever you are going to give your mother on the 3rd April this year, two things above all are important, being one that you remembered her and  two you showed you cared !
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Government & Councils


Having seen the cutbacks made by the corporate sector in 2008/2009 , a wry smile came across my face when I read an article from the Oxford Times. Their headline cried out‘ Floral displays go as council cuts £2.7m’ expecting the readers to think that their council spent that much on flowers & plants !

But seriously the flower trade in general has had it`s first real recession, where both corporate & retail  sectors have seen their trade shrink  as both companies and the public reign back spending. However much the press & especially the florist trade press try to convince us that volumes of fresh flowers are increasing into the UK all I hear from retailers & wholesalers alike is that volumes are well down since the peak of 2008. I know it does not help in the fact that the major multiples have made severe inroads into the florist trade traditional  market, but their is one thing that they are unable to do which if they ever acheive will be the final nail in the trades coffin……provide a service !! While they may be able to sell flowers or get flowers delivered by post(Usually half dead)they cannot provide that bespoke service that the independent florist can, because it does not fit into their productivity costings verses sales. If they ever are able to work that one out then I am afraid the florists will go the way of the high streets other dinosaurs the greengrocer, butchers & fishmonger.


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