Back to School – A Perfect Time for Flowers!

Back to school. Decorative kids round emblem poster. Flat. Vector illustrationIt’s that time of year once again – summer vacations are winding down and school is back in session (or will be very soon). Whether you’re excited about this time or year or are already missing the hustle and bustle of summer activities, it’s an excellent opportunity to start anew. It’s a special time of year with a clean slate or new memories to be made and new friendships to formed, so why not take the time to celebrate the occasion – and what better way to celebrate than with flowers?

No matter what you role you play in the start of a new school year, there are plenty of opportunities to spread some cheer with some fresh flowers or plants. Here are a few ideas:

Apples are so cliché

Why does nearly every illustration of a classroom depict a big, juicy apple on top of the teacher’s desk? It may be a nice gesture in theory, but in reality, it pales in comparison to a beautiful bouquet of flowers! Even better would be a lovely green plant that would last the entire year.

Petite Love by Topper's European Floral Design

Petite Love by Topper’s European Floral Design

It takes a village

Most people immediately think of teachers when they think of school, but it takes a finely tuned machine comprised of dozens (or even hundreds) of people to make a school run smoothly. From bus drivers to librarians and administrators to custodians – and everyone in between; there are many behind-the-scenes areas where people spend their time. Why not make these spaces special with some pretty petals?

Empty nest? Fill it with flowers

With kids back at school, the house is probably a lot quieter this time of year – which makes this an excellent reason to treat mom and dad to some beautiful flowers. They’ll appreciate the gesture and it’s a nice way of saying thanks for all their time spent on summer activities. Conversely, if you have older students leaving home for school, what better way to warm up their dorm or apartment with beautiful flowers and plants?

Whatever the reason, flowers are the perfect way to make someone’s day a little brighter. Topper’s European Floral Design can help you find the perfect gift for any occasion, whether it’s school-related, a birthday or anniversary, or just something out of the blue. Give us a call today – we’ll take care of the rest.

Pet-Friendly Flowers and Plants

Persian cat and Yorkshire TerrierWe all love fresh flowers and plants for the beauty they provide and their wonderful aromas that fill our homes. Unfortunately, our pets don’t enjoy flowers the same way we do. Dogs and cats have a natural curiosity and tend to investigate anything new by smelling or tasting. Their inquisitive nature is often adorable, but can sometimes lead to trouble – especially for active pets that have a tendency to eat everything they see. It’s up to us to protect them by knowing which varieties of flowers are safe for pets and identifying which ones can be dangerous to our four-legged friends. While many plants will cause nothing more severe than mild digestive upset should they be ingested by pets, some can cause more serious health issues.

Non-toxic choices
Roses are always a safe choice when it comes to choosing flowers for a home with pets. Once their thorns are removed, they are usually harmless to most animals. Gerbera daisies, sunflowers, snapdragons, and alstroemerias are also safe to have around pets, as are orchids and ferns.

Flowers that may be harmful
According to the ASPCA, Lilies (specifically Lilium and Hemerocallis) are considered to be the most dangerous flowers for pets, particularly for cats, and should be avoided if the pets will be left alone with them. Tulips, baby’s breath, birds of paradise, hyacinths, stargazers, carnations, and daisies can also be toxic to pets if they are ingested.

Alternative options
When sending a bouquet or plant as a gift to a pet owner, it’s always best to seek out a “pet-friendly” bouquet.

There are several options to consider when sending flowers to a pet-friendly household. Alstroemerias (Peruvian lilies) can be substituted for other lilies in bouquets, and ferns can be used in place of baby’s breath when accompanying roses or other flowers.

A common organic solution can also be used to deter pets from getting too close to potentially harmful flowers. A mixture of ten drops of citrus essential oil, one cup of water and one teaspoon of cayenne pepper can be sprayed over the flowers and plants, and should repel even the most curious pets.

In most cases, pets and flowers can safely co-exist in the same house by taking a few simple precautions. Below are lists of some of the most common “pet-friendly” flowers and also of flowers that are known to be toxic. For a more comprehensive list, visit: http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control/toxic-and-non-toxic-plants, or contact us for more information.

Brief list of “pet-friendly” flowers and plants:
– African daisy
– African violet.
– Alyssum
– Bachelors buttons
– Celosia
– Common Snapdragon
– Easter Daisy
– Orchids
– Peruvian lily
– Brazilian lily
– Rose

Toxic to both cats and dogs are:
– Tulips
– Azalea
– Bird of Paradise
– Aloe
– Begonias
– Baby’s Breath
– Amaryllis.
– Easter and stargazer lilies can cause serious kidney problems if ingested by cats

Happy Independence Day From Topper’s European Floral Design

iStock_55091590_smallIt seems like only yesterday we were celebrating Memorial Day, and now Independence Day is just around the corner!

Summertime means picnic time as outdoor barbeques, parties, and other social gatherings bring us together to enjoy the great weather and great company of our friends and neighbours.

Blooming Garden Basket by Topper's European Floral Design

Blooming Garden Basket by Topper’s European Floral Design

Are you hosting your own 4th of July party this year? Why not try a contemporary twist on the traditional red, white and blue with some tropical flowers or one-of-a-kind centrepieces for your picnic tables? Let Topper’s European Floral Design help you with all of your flowers and decorations for any special events (indoor or out) that you may be hosting this summer.

If you’re attending a picnic, party, or gathering, we also have a wide selection of plants, gifts and fresh floral designs that make lovely gifts for the host. Surprise them with something unexpected – after all, holidays are for making memories!

Give us a call today at 206-622-6330, and let us help you find something perfect for your special occasion.

-Have a safe and happy 4th, from your friends at Topper’s European Floral Design!

Tropical Flowers are Summertime Treats

Red roses are an iconic symbol of Valentine’s Day, and tulips are a sure sign of spring, but lush tropical flowers scream summertime like no other flowers can. Tropical flowers add bold color, magnificent height, and curious drama to any setting. These large, exotic flowers effortlessly transform any home or office into a beautiful island oasis.

Besides being easy to care for, these beautiful tropical flowers come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and colors. Here are few of our favorites:

qw1Bird of Paradise – Also known as crane flowers, these exotic flowers are native to South Africa and symbolize freedom and magnificence. Inspired by their bright blue and orange flowers fanning from green bracts like a colorful bird in flight, they grow between three and five feet in height and typically have three to five “birds” inside each bract that bloom in succession.

qw2Heliconia – These magnificent tropical beauties feature large vibrant bracts in pink, red, orange, or yellow rising from sturdy towering stalks that can grow up to 20 feet in height. Native to Guyana, Costa Rica, Belize, Ecuador, Peru, and Brazil, heliconias symbolize great returns. Unlike bird-of-paradise, heliconias have tiny hidden flowers that won’t emerge from the cut stems – their beauty is in color and silhouette of the dramatic bracts.

qw3Ginger – Native to the Pacific Islands, Malaysia, and Taiwan, ornamental gingers have large cone-shaped blooms that symbolize strength and pride. Although they come in a variety of colors, the red ginger flower is the one most often associated with the tropics. Because of their fragrance and beauty, the ginger flower can often attract bees, butterflies, and a variety of wild birds.

qw4Anthurium – With their large open heart shaped face, anthuriums have come to symbolize hospitality and a deep romantic attraction. Originally from Columbia, they were brought to Hawaii in 1889 and have since become virtually synonymous with tropical islands. These lovely red flowers have a long vase life and thrive on the moisture and heat of a tropical environment. Although often seen in red with a bright yellow spadix, they’re also available in white, pink, peach, magenta, and green.

qw5Protea – Named for Proteus, the Greek God who could change his form at will, proteas are an extraordinary group of flowers originally found only in South Africa and Australia. Proteas symbolize transformation, diversity, and courage, they’re available in an array of sizes, shapes, and colors – from pin cushions to imperial crowns in white, yellow, orange, and rose to crimson, magenta, and burgundy.

Let Toppers Take You to Paradise
Click here to check out one of our expertly designed tropical arrangements that will send you sailing into paradise.

Run for the Roses

June is just around the corner, which not only signifies the official start of summer but it also means National Rose Month!

Colorful, fragrant, and graceful, it’s no wonder roses hold a special allure for romantics, artists, and designers alike. In fact, roses are overwhelmingly the world’s undisputed favorite flower with over 85% of people calling it their top choice.

Roma by Topper's European Floral Design

Roma by Topper’s European Floral Design

Rose blooms span nearly the full-color spectrum from delicate shades of soft pastels to bold confident hues in solid, striped or variegated petals. From the purest white to the darkest red, plus pink, yellow, orange, mauve, russet (and many shades in between), roses coordinate with any setting. Their fragrance will fill a room with classic rose, citrus, sweet, or spicy notes, and their durability allows them to adapt well to nearly any weather environment.

It’s not surprising that roses have accumulated deep symbolism and a devoted following. They are America’s national flower, as well as the state flower of Georgia, Iowa, New York, North Dakota, and the District of Columbia. They’re June’s birth flower and the 15th and 50th wedding anniversary flower. New Year’s Day celebrates them with a parade and college football bowl game in Pasadena, California.

Most of all, roses are an irresistible indulgence and an excellent way to express your true feelings. When you’re tongue-tied or can’t find the right words to express your feelings, there’s no better flower than roses to do the talking for you. Roses have long been used to send covert messages which are easily decoded if you know their secret language. From love at first site, friendship, or true love and new beginnings, appreciation, and congratulations, there is a color to symbolize your heartfelt sentiment.

Did you know there is a whole language around the color of roses?

Red – enduring love, romance
Lavender – love at first site, enchantment
Bright orange – passion, excitement, and fascination
Coral – desire and happiness
Yellow – friendship, gladness, delight
Light pink – happiness, joy, admiration
Deep pink – appreciation, thankfulness
White – innocence, purity, honor, reverence
Peach – appreciation, admiration, modesty

Here are 10 fun facts about roses that will give you an even greater appreciation of our favorite flower:

  1. There are over 100 species of roses.
  2. The first rose fossil was found in Florissant, Colorado and dated back to 35 million years ago.
  3. There is no such thing as a “black” rose. The closest to black is a rare breed called the Turkish Halfeti – a dark deep crimson that appears black to the eye.
  4. The term “thorns” is technically incorrect when referring to the sharp objects on the stems of roses. The correct term is “prickles.” Thorns have deeper roots in a plant’s stem whereas prickles attach at the surface.
  5. There is, however, a blue rose. Rose petals lack an enzyme that is necessary to create a blue pigment. For years, breeders have tried to cross different colored roses to create what seemed impossible. In 2009, however, with the help of genetic engineering, the world’s first blue rose was created.
  6. More than 54% of land in Ecuador is used to cultivate roses. Over 80% of the land of Zambia is cultivated with roses as well.
  7. Rose hips contain more vitamin C than any other fruit or vegetable.
  8. George Washington was the first rose breeder in the United States. He named a variety after his mother, Mary.
  9. The tallest rose bush measured in at over 23 feet tall!
  10. Roses can live a long time. The oldest rose bush in the world is over 1,000 years old and is found covering the wall of the Cathedral of Hildesheim Germany.
Two Dozen Red Roses by Topper's European Floral Design

Two Dozen Red Roses by Topper’s European Floral Design

No need to wait until June to send some fantastic roses to someone special in your life. Check out our website for some of our amazing designs that feature roses in a multitude of colors and styles.

At Topper’s European Floral Design, we truly have something for everyone! If you don’t see exactly what you’re looking for, give us a call or stop in and talk to one of our designers and we’ll make something completely unique that you’re sure to love!

Mother’s Day Around the World

Girl hiding greeting card for mother behind backIn the United States, we celebrate Mom every May with flowers and gifts, and perhaps treat her to a meal at her favorite restaurant. Sure, Mother’s Day is celebrated around the world, but other countries have their own spin on Mom’s special day too. Here are few of the more interesting ways that mothers are celebrated across the globe.

Australia
Janet Heyden started the first Mother’s Day in Australia in 1924. She began the tradition by asking school children and businesses for gifts to cheer up lonely and forgotten mothers at the Newington State Home for Women. Chrysanthemums are traditionally thought of as Mother’s Day flowers in Australia since they are naturally in season during May and end in “mum,” an affectionate term for “mother” in Australia.

Pretty in Purple by Topper's European Floral Design

Pretty in Purple by Topper’s European Floral Design

Belgium
Belgian children celebrate their mothers by making little presents at school to give to their mothers in the early morning of Mother’s Day. The father will typically buy croissants and other sweet pastries that are served to her while she is still in bed at the beginning of a day filled with pampering. While most of Belgium celebrates Mother’s Day on the second Sunday of May, many Belgians consider August 15 to be the classical Mother’s Day and view the May observance as one started strictly for commercial reasons.

Egypt
Mother’s Day is celebrated on March 21 in Egypt to coincide with the first day of spring. It was first introduced by journalist Mustafa Amin in 1943. The idea was largely either ignored or ridiculed at the time by Egyptian politicians, but it was eventually adopted in 1956. When Amin was arrested and accused of being an American spy in 1965, unsuccessful attempts were made to change the name of “Mother’s Day” to “Family Day” to prevent the observance of reminding people of its founder.

Modern Mom by Topper's European Floral Design

Modern Mom by Topper’s European Floral Design

Ethiopia
Mother’s Day is a three-day long celebration in Ethiopia, where it is celebrated in mid-fall at the end of the rainy season with a feast called “Antrosht.” Children bring the ingredients making a traditional hash recipe. Girls bring butter, cheese, vegetables and spices while the boys contribute a bull or lamb. Unlike many places where mothers needn’t lift a finger on Mother’s Day, in Ethiopia, the mom prepares the hash. Afterward, mom and daughter put butter on their faces and chests as part of the celebration ritual.

Nepal
In Nepal, Mother’s Day is known as “Aama ko Mukh Herne Din” which means “day to see mother’s face.” Many Nepalese people honor their late mothers by making a traditional pilgrimage to the Mata Tirtha ponds in hopes of seeing their deceased mother’s face. Pilgrims believe they will bring peace to their mother’s souls by visiting that sacred place.

Taiwan
Mother’s Day in Taiwan is held on the second Sunday in May to coincide with Buddha’s birthday and the traditional “washing the Buddha” ceremony where devotees pour fragrant water over Buddha statues as a way of symbolizing a fresh start in life.

No matter how we choose to celebrate, the day is all about mom. Let Topper’s European Floral Design help you treat her to something special this year and make her day one that she won’t soon forget.

Elegant Beauty: A Closer Look at Orchids

Lavender Phalaenopsis Orchid Plant from Topper's European Floral Design

Lavender Phalaenopsis Orchid Plant from Topper’s European Floral Design

Orchids are often identified as a symbol of refinement and innocence, and their allure is undeniable. Let’s take a closer look at these amazing and complex plants.

While orchids are fascinating to look at, their outward appearances barely scratch the surface of why these exotic beauties are like nothing else you’ll find in the plant world.

Orchids comprise the largest and most diverse family of flowering plants on Earth and boast over 25,000 different species along with nearly a quarter of a million hybrids – with more being discovered every day.

Most orchids are native to the tropics, but their incredible ability to adapt to nearly any environment means that they can be found anywhere in the world (except Antarctica) in almost every climate from the arctic tundra to the equatorial tropics and all points in between.

With so much variety in the different types of orchids, it’s no wonder why they’re a favorite among horticulturists and amateurs alike. Although some varieties of orchids can be difficult to grow, since there is such a wide variety of orchids to choose from, it’s easy to select an orchid that is suitable to thrive in the conditions you can provide. If you need help selecting a variety that is right for you, stop by and talk to one of our designers – we’re happy to help you find your perfect plant!

No matter if you’re an experienced green thumb or a novice who simply enjoys the elegant charm of orchids, these wonderful plants are sure to make you smile and appreciate the incredible beauty of nature. Stop by today and check out our selection of orchid plants; not only do they look great in every room in the home, but they make outstanding long-lasting gifts for any occasion. Be sure to keep them in mind for Administrative Professionals Week or Mother’s Day – both of which are coming up soon!

 
Here are 10 fun facts that you might not know about orchids:

  1. Vanilla is a member of the orchid family and vanilla beans are the only commercially grown orchid crop.
  2. Certain orchid species can live up to 100 years.
  3. Orchids have the smallest seeds in the world. They are so small that they appear to look like a speck of dust and can only be visible under a microscope.
  4. Some orchids have flowers that can last up to six months while other species only last for only a few hours.
  5. A fossilized bee dated 10 to 50 million years old showed ancient orchid pollen on its back, however, other fossilized evidence suggests that orchids have been in existence for around 100 million years or more.
  6. Similar to human faces, orchid flowers have bilateral symmetry, meaning they can be divided into matching halves by drawing a vertical line down the middle.
  7. Some species of orchids are parasitic and obtain their food from fungi living inside their roots.
  8. Depending on the species, orchids can be smaller than a dime, or they could weigh several hundred pounds.
  9. Due to their thick, heavy petals, orchid plants always grow upside down when mature.
  10. The first flowers on an orchid plant won’t appear until at least five to seven years after germination, so the orchid plants you buy in the flower shop are often a decade old.