Wednesday, April 2, 2014

For the First Time Ever…Locally Grown Carnations!

I am beyond excited to tell you about our first ever order of heirloom carnations from Hendrick’s Flowers in PA.

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I know a lot of people are turned off by carnations since they are known as the cheap, grocery store flower. But I’m telling you, these heirloom varieties are TO DIE FOR!

Hendrick’s is one of only a handful of farms that still grow the heirloom, scented varieties of carnations. Before we met the great folks at Hendrick’s, we had never used carnations before because none of the growers in our region grow carnations as a cut flower.  But Hendrick’s does…and they have been for over 100 years.

If you haven’t smelled a carnation before, that’s not a surprise. Modern carnations, like many other flowers, have had their scent bred out of them extend their lives long enough to be successfully shipped from thousands of miles away. Carnations have a scent like cloves. It’s the most wonderful, spicy scent ever (and I cant get enough of it! If you want to come over and smell them…just call us!)

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We are beyond excited to use these beauties this week! Watch for them in our weekly bunches and in our other arrangements this week. You’ll never look at a carnation the same way again!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Changing the World: One Happy Client at at Time

u of md smallI received a note this week from one of our corporate clients at the University of Maryland. This client has worked with us off and on over the past 5 years. He’s ordered from us  for corporate events as well as coming to a few our past design classes. I was truly touched by his simple, but heartfelt note because it proved that we are making a difference in the floral industry…one happy client at at a time.

I’m overwhelmed with gratitude for our growers who take such care to grow beautiful, long lasting flowers for our clients, for our team who take such care to create beautiful, interesting arrangements for each client – large or small and for our clients for sharing their stories with us.  For all the local flower skeptics out there…this one’s for you.

Dear Ellen,

You've totally spoiled me when it comes to flowers.

I used to be skeptical about the quality and diverse selection of flowers that could come from a local radius here on the mid-Atlantic/East coast. But after taking several workshops and ordering several decorative arrangements for work...I’m 100% sold on Local!

For quick one-off events, I'll get a vase or two of flowers from the shop down the road from the office, or in an instance today, I used a gift card for a few blooms...just because! I had a major event last Friday and my consultant brought in their preferred flower vendor. And I know the passion and care for their work (the local shop and this designer) is there; but I’ve been disappointed. The quality and ‘showmanship’ pales in contrast to what comes from your shop. Sure some big tropical blooms provided a splash and the colors were completely uniform, but at the end of the day, I felt they were a little, less than.

The quality of the product and design coming from you and your team, and the quality of the flowers we get to use in your classes are top notch by comparison.

So, for what it’s worth…THANK YOU!

Friday, February 28, 2014

Buying Local, Making a Difference

Those of you who know us, know we talk A LOT about importance of buying local. The reality is, it’s not just talk. As a small business, we are committed to spending the dollars our clients give us in a way that supports our local growers and our local community.

We wanted to share with you some analysis on our spending this year.

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Local Growers: We spent 49% of our income last year on buying flowers, foliage, branches and plants from local farmers. (up from 38% last year!) We purchased flowers from 21 flower farms this year (up from 17 last year)

We’re especially proud to say that 2% of our farm dollars went to farmers inside BALTIMORE CITY! While this may not seem significant…it’s HUGE! This is the first year we have ever had flower farmers inside Baltimore City. Thanks you to all of our growers! We hope to give you even more business in 2014!

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Locally owned, small businesses: 19% of our total income was spent on small, locally owned businesses. Using our hard earned dollars in our own community is important to us. We love our local business partners including Carma’s, CVP, Charm City Cook, Kinderhook, Chesapeake Wine Company, the Food Market, Apothecary Wellness and many many more.

Local Designer: 15% of our total income went to pay our amazing TEAM! Our designers and delivery helpers are locavores themselves that love Baltimore and love to support local business.

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Chain Stores in our Neighborhood: 12% of our income was spent at chain stores in our neighborhood. While these businesses (Waverly Giant,  Waverly Ace,  Govans Carroll Fuel etc) are not locally owned, they are located in our community and employ local folks.

Non-local business: The last 4% of our income was spent at non-local businesses. Most of this money was spent on vases, our new wreath maker and other floral supplies.

Buying local is an important way to show support for your neighbors and your community. As a small Baltimore business, Local Color Flowers will continue to buy local, support small businesses and farms, employ local designers and strive to make an even more positive impact on our community. 2014 is going to be awesome!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Who Loves You?

Valentine’s Day stops for no snow storm!

We shoveled out way out of the house.

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Then we started walking down York Road.

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Our team shoveled, drove, walked…

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And we made it…just in time… for our first Valentine’s Day pick up of the day!

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And if this smile wasn’t enough reason to get here….he brought us treats! Seriously AMAZING CLIENTS!!!

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LoCoFlo Loves you Baltimore! Happy V-day!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Tulips For Valentine’s Day!

By Irene Donnelly

1240548_10151728130894962_1194461292_nValentine's Day is a day of constant motion and excitement in the floral industry.  We happily assist droves of semi-panicked lovers trying to piece together last minute gifts… all in the name romance.  As floral designers we are eager to help everyone find the perfect gesture of love for their Valentine.  For me, I tend to like helping the inexperienced, the procrastinator and the perplexed with their orders the best.  These giddy, mostly new lovers tend to be adorably refreshing and thoughtful.

Of course, not everyone is last minute and inexperienced.  There happens to be a minority of wise, generally older, married individuals who pre-order flowers for pick up or delivery a week or so in advance.  These people seem to realize the significance of the sentiment and have learned the tricks of the trade. Many have burned by long lines, florists running out of flowers and the overall mayhem of V-day shopping.  That being said, I don't want to scare anyone away from facing a floral shop on Valentine's Day, it's really not that bad but it does help to be prepared.

IMG_2546The panic that sets in seems to revolve around not knowing what to buy.  Take my advice. Think about your Valentine.  Are they classic? Earthy? Modern?  Trendy?  Etc.  A good floral designer will be able to execute any adjective into flowers.  Trust the designers and if you're really smart preorder! (order here).


When in doubt…locally grown tulips are sure to please. 

A short history on Tulips:  Second behind roses as the most popular V-day bouquet, tulips are clean, fresh and classy.  They originated as a wild flower in Turkey and were often adorned in Turkish turbans, hence their name. (not because they looked like "Two Lips." )

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The bulbs made their way to the Netherlands over four hundred years ago, where they became such a commodity they ended up being an extremely profitable investment opportunity and everyone wanted in.  "Tulip Mania," as it was called, had many of the Dutch buying bulbs in hopes of finding a desirable genetic mutation coupled with a big cash pay out. It was a gamble to grow tulips that had a new trait unique from existing tulips.  If a Dutchman did happen to spring up the next big thing, well…they got sticking rich.  But as we know, playing the stinking rich game doesn't pay off in the long run and usually crashes an economy. It eventually did. 

At Local Color Flowers we will have tulips from Van Dyke Brothers Farm in New Jersey.  While they are the farthest farm from the shop that we buy flowers from, they are still comparatively local when you think about the greater scheme of valentine's day flowers.   (114 miles) In addition to tulips, we'll have the usual hyper local magic we normally have this time of year including snapdragons, paperwhites, flowering branches and locally grown evergreens.

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We will have bouquets of tulips (and other local goodness) ready to "grab and go" at three locations on Valentine’s Day :

The Quintessential Gentlemen located downtown at 31 South Calvert Street from 11am-2pm

Chesapeake Wine Company at the Can Company in Canton from 11 until …the sell out!

Our  shop in Charles Village all day until 7pm. We’re located at 3100 Brentwood Ave. PLEASE call before you come by to make sure we can accommodate your request!

Wondering what the most remarkable and distinguishing fact about the Tulip is? It continues to grow once it's been cut from the bulb.  

That means long after you give your tulips as a gift, your lover will be able to watch these flowers grow taller and taller and higher still.  Other flowers may open and change but no others will grow as dramatically tall.  Isn't that a nice symbolic sentiment to give to your Valentine?  That your love grows?

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Sunday, February 9, 2014

What Locally Grown Foliage Looks Like in the Winter

Yesterday, Carling made this beautiful arrangement for a dinner party and posted it on Facebook. We received a comment/question  from a woman who has taken a few of our design classes and is enthusiastic about improving her design skills.

“I was just wondering today if I could mix winter greens with spring flowers? This picture answers the question.”

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It was a great comment, and one that deserves some attention. Local Color Flowers is proud to use locally grown flowers in all of our arrangements. What you may not know, is that we also you 100% locally grown foliage as well. In the winter, most of the foliage we can get from the local farms is evergreens including boxwood, magnolia, fir, pine, cedar and camellia along with lots of “sticks” including pussy willow, curly willow, fantail willow, flowering branches and more. On a rare occasion, we can get our hands on dusty miller and eucalyptus.

Our designs are unique because we are designing with what is available locally-flowers, foliage and branches. Using evergreens gives the arrangement a “winter’ feel. Combined with tulips and iris, the arrangement perfectly reflects the season, as we think it should…cold, crisp, green, brown…with the promise of spring ahead.

Friday, January 31, 2014

THANK YOU Farmhouse Flowers

On Wednesday, we got a call from our friend Dave Dowling, from Farmhouse Flowers explaining to us, that after 20 years of growing flowers, he was closing his business. Dave’s nephew, who owned the land Dave farmed, had defaulted on a loan, and despite working hard to find a solution, the land was sold at auction this week. There was crying and…some more crying and sadness and worry and of course gratitude.

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Farming is hard and often unpredictable-weather, land, money, staff. For many, the rewards are worth it. I’m reminded today, as I am most days, how important buying local is- not just as lip service to what some see as a trend—but as a way of building community-as a way of building a life.

Today, everyone at Local Color Flowers would like to thank Dave Dowling for the amazing contributions he has made to our industry, to our community and to our lives.

THANK YOU for supporting the idea of Local Color Flowers from the beginning. Back in 2008, it might have seemed crazy to think that a small floral design shop in Baltimore could sell 100% local flowers. But you listened, you encouraged, you taught, you believed.

THANK YOU for being a leader in the cut flower industry for the past 20 years. Your passion, commitment and expertise is evident in everything you do. From lobbying congress, sharing resources at the Maryland Cut Flower Growers meeting, leading tours of the farm, and being a true icon within the ASCFG.

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THANK YOU  for growing our flowers. For the past 6 years we have been so fortunate to go to the farm, week after week after week to pick the most beautiful flowers four our clients. Flowers that got saved and cut just for us. Thank you for helping to start Capital Flower Growers, which, after many years of lobbying, finally brought Montgomery County and Virginia flowers right into Baltimore. Thank you for all the beauty you brought to so many people.

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THANK YOU for texting, calling, emailing when we have problems, questions, sad news, exciting news, broken coolers,  some variety of flower we can’t identify and flower orders…always flower orders.

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Most importantly, THANK YOU for the positive impact you’ve had on our lives so far. Your friendship and mentorship has helped to mold who we are as a business.

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We love you Dave! We know that this is the beginning of a new chapter and we can’t wait to see what’s to come.