Bat Flower

ok – the bat flower…

Tacca Chantrieri

From the tropical forests of West Africa and Southeast Asia, this freaky flowering beauty belongs to the Dioscoreaceae family – which is the yam family, of all things…

Scroll the images below – they are truly beautiful!

bat 2

bat 4

 

bat flower

the spring wedding

we are all so happy to celebrate the coming of the cherry blossoms – our guests today had the energy of grateful survivors – so nice to celebrate with wedding flowers, and flip flops – too bad about the impending rain  – but all the best to our couples who are tying the knot this weekend- we look forward to creating your floral pieces tomorrow – cheers! –Jennica Hookstra – Photo
pink on pink jennica hookstra

heartfelt thanks

We want to thank all of you for the generous donations that arrived here for Melissa and her family.

We are deeply saddened to learn this morning that Melissa has passed.

We were moved daily by your understanding and generosity, from the children donating their allowances, to the letters and cards that filtered in; the money so easily parted with and the stories shared over flowers about similar journeys that you have taken as a result of cancer in your lives helped us to understand the pain Melissa was in. We are grateful only that her pain has ceased.

Our heartfelt condolences go out now to Melissa’s family and children, and we would like to offer any support we can as they continue on from here. We know this is a very sad and  difficult time for them.

Thank you so much for your kindness.

please donate to help this family

This family can use all the help they can get right now – we are accepting donations now at the shop and can also accept paypal donations at playwithflowers@gmail.com. Please take the time to read, below. Thank you-melissa 2 001

A new year, new technology, New beginnings

I blog to the world now from my android phone. In a million years I could not have foreseen something like this. I grew up in the woods with a phone that was coiled to the wall. I distinctly remember my feet falling asleep. Calls were brief. No dashing to meetings whilst banking and ordering flowers from my …. personal portable telephone. That fits in my pocket. That dries in bags of rice in a vase while I do wedding work til midnight, having knocked it off the counter into a watery bucket of salal. Pretty bizarre. Times are changing and technology is business now, ugh…But ignore it at your peril, right?  so I have now an e-commerce website. I skyped with a bride from Australia today, clumsy and embarrassed at how out of tech touch I still am. And my invoices once, no lie, handwritten, are now backed up and accounted for and thank goodness for.that. I do often get itchy and cranky for flowers as often I do paperwork and sit at the computer for most of my day.

But I believe there can be a strangely comfortable marriage between the natural and grounded and the virtual and electronic. Receipts are easy to send now. Click, send. How annoying was all that scanning? Mailing, sheesh. Fast and convenient. Back to the bouquet. That’s what we want. Which has got me thinking about flowers. Again. Here’s the thing. Flowers can’t be altered and obliterated by the the tecnodork advances we are making. In fact, their value and importance seems to feel that much more precious. Magic that we can’t control and download is still the best kind. Refreshing, beautiful, lyrical blossoms. They can’t be matched in their ability to calm, restore, energize and communicate to us all that is whimsy and real at once. So I breath it in every day, and I am the luckiest person alive to have landed where I have. Purveyor of gorgeous unadulterated beauty.

Thanks for supporting my little shop. You are in turn supporting our families.  By appreciating what we are doing with your patronage, your kind words of encouragement and your continued generosity to others, you truly make our world go round, and all of our efforts worth it.

happy new year everyone. Put down the iPad, go for a walk ;)

Now how do I get off this page…no, really……

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post wedding season check-in

All I can really say is whoa, that was something else. A lot of late nights, missed meals, cold coffee, and hysterical laughter. In the end it was an epic floral feat – a conquest, a storage nightmare at times, many garbage runs, missed hours of sleep and tolerant husbands. The work came first and that meant while the flowers were beautiful and looked after, the florists were not. We are so grateful for not only the business but for the people trusting us with their important arrangements. Thanks to all the wonderful couples who worked with us this summer and fall – we had a great time and it really was a pleasure. It is you that keep us going. Congratulations to all of you!

A note to the rain, again….

Ok rain. You hate us and we hate you. Now that we understand each other, here’s the deal, k? We’ve got four weddings this weekend and you are not on the guest list for any of them. We’ve got a delicate pink peony affair, a posh citrus and cream gala, a rich vibrant red/orange fusion and some beachside romance to attend to. Nowhere in any of these lovely people’s plans do you fit in. You’re like the sloppy drunk who arrives  uninvited and makes a mess. Take your wet self elsewhere. It seems you are needed in other parts of the world that are ON FIRE. Got it? So get it all out of your system, do what you will this week, have your little tantrum and then beat it. Understood? Ghaa.

The upside to all the rain…?

Sigh…what is going on, right?

Our recent blast of warm weather has been suddenly drenched with a humid thunderclap of water from above. Blah. From where we are standing it’s a bit of a double edged sword. It’s tough to build displays outside that can handle the elements. Awnings are just not enough in sideways rain. Our hundred+  year old brick building breathes and seems to expand and swell with the persistent damp. Water gets tracked in on the tiles creating a slimy and slippery terracotta walking experience. Break out the achtung sign….

It’s dark. Noon feels like 6. Everyone needs a pick me up, but resent that they have to be out in the muck to get it; yellow moves quick. Orange too. We have to drink extra caffeinated beverages to get the orders done. We play happy music. We try not to talk about how gross it is out there. It’s fresh, it’s good for the garden, kind of…

The upside: Not everyone is at the beach, so sales are ok. In the long gaps between customers, ie: when the rain is heaviest and all are seeking temporary cover, I am able to throw myself into the beautifying of the shop itself. Corners are dug out, water is refreshed, color sections are moved around, re-merchandised. My restless energies that are solely devoted to wanting those succulents to be grouped magically with the mossy planters and snowy callas and poppy pods are appeased. I clean my office. I create lists and attend to clerical stuff that I find unbearable. All excuses are removed in the steady Chinese water torture that is Vancouver’s current offering, forcing us to do some things that need doing.

So I am doing a sundance for the brides on the inside. We sent a wedding out yesterday with some extra love…..let’s hope it was beautiful and romantic and very very westcoast. Today is father’s day, not a big day for flowers. It’s also the street festival, car free days here. Having seen it all a few times before I’m taking this opp to blast out of town on a float plane with my little family this afternoon – destination: Saltspring Island, gorgeous come rain or come shine. Happy father’s Day Dad, let’s get the rock out of here….

Maybe we can bring back some milder weather, and summer can get started for real. And hopefully this all means a brief but hot and amazing summer, followed by a warm, romantic autumn with swirling winds and lingering leaves and all the goodness that comes from waiting patiently for good things to come.

 

bye bye tulips, and other changes

It’s all over for tulips here for another year.

One of the best things about being a florist is that early morning rush we get when setting the display with a new seasonal favorite like tulips or peonies or seasonal sunflowers, something we know people will be super excited to see…finally! It’s like Christmas, sometimes literally, complete with paperwhites and amaryllis. We are sneaking presents out for our customers. It’s the gift we get to offer.

And we see on the faces of people passing by a wash of emotion. It’s this response that gives all our hard work extra value. There is a realization when spotting the fresh dahlias in a pail, bundled and waiting. They herald a change in weather, in energy. The tulips are a big one. They mean darkness is over, spring is here! Cue the bird music. It’s movement and familiarity and cycles and relief, and thank goodness for that.

And as quick as they come they are gone. Already we have to say sorry, we aren’t buying tulips anymore, it’s just too warm, they blow open so fast…etc…

But the disappointment is hard to dwell on in the face of all those peonies, they just don’t get your tulip devotion. They are like hey, what’s the big deal, have you seen us? We’re pretty gorgeous….

And so, just in time for all those fluffy garden weddings we have what we need, again, always as florists, truly living in and with the now.

And Another Thing…

It has been some time since I blogged…and even though I’m new to it i feel odd internet cyber guilt like someone’s keeping score…

There just aren’t enough hours in the day, as they say, to do all the things that matter, that are a priority.

I have been thinking a lot lately about priorities, and as of today here’s what I’ve come up with.

Everything is a priority….

Meaning everything is important. There is a constant inner shuffle that I’m physically aware of that involves moving one very important thing  aside to accommodate another, equally important but different task, or errand, or bit of focus. There is no trick, at least in my mind, to sorting it out seamlessly.

There is only today, and now, and response. Then tomorrow will be here and then there will be more things and stuff and action.

Flowers have a way of teaching us. They have lessons for us. The best of which is this – Now is awesome.

I feel sad for the people who buy plants because they feel sad when the flowers die. They are missing the point. Now is what will give you the most if you will only notice. Now is fleeting – it will be summer soon and all the hyacinth will be gone…should we hate the hyacinth for going? And miss out on it altogether? And hate the hyacinth?

Why is permanence so valued when the most beautiful things are often so short lived, like lily of the valley? i’ll take lily of the valley over a ‘stay sharp’ knife. Lily of the valley has no purpose, other than to make me feel otherworldly and sweet and lucky, all at the same time.

I love it even more for it’s fickle here today gone tomorrow-ness. What a tease…sigh…

So in celebration of our new warm-ish spring days, enjoy the flowers people, and not to line my pockets, but because before you know it it will be winter……wait, no…

because it’s nice to have seasonal flowers…..if only for today