Bells of Ireland: The Forgotten Flower of St. Patrick’s Day

Bells-of-Ireland (Moluccella laevis) in the garden.

When you think of St. Patrick’s Day, you think green. Obviously, shamrocks come to mind, as well as green carnations the occasional green roses, but when many people think of flowers for St. Patrick’s Day, they often overlook Bells of Ireland.

Bells of Ireland, sometimes known as shell flowers, are vertical green spires that are known to symbolize good luck. Despite their name, Bells of Ireland are not native to Ireland, and the green bells are not actually flowers, but the calyxes that surround the tiny flowers inside.

Native to Turkey and Syria, these green flowers are a member of the mint family and are sought after for their complex, but intricate beauty as well as their longevity. They are a very popular choice for St. Patrick’s Day bouquets and are also popular wedding flowers.

Bells of Ireland grow in stalks that can reach three feet tall and make an interesting conversation piece in any bouquet. They emit a pleasant fragrance and their curious design and gentle color make them very versatile in many different types of bouquets as they seem to complement a wide variety of different flowers.

It is best to keep Bells of Ireland cool and away from sources of heat, but they do extremely well in areas that have lots of natural light but only minimal direct sun exposure. A tabletop or windowsill is a perfect spot for a bouquet containing Bells of Ireland.

With St. Patrick’s Day just around the corner, Bells of Ireland are a perfect way to spread your Irish cheer, but why waste all that luck on one day? If you know anyone starting a new job, moving to a new home, or beginning a new endeavor, send a little bit of luck their way by choosing the remarkably wonderful Bells of Ireland.

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Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from Your Friends at Topper’s!

From our family at Topper’s European Floral Design to all of our wonderful friends and customers, thank you for another terrific year! We would like to take this opportunity to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and a very happy New Year!

The Cornucopia: An Iconic Symbol of Thanksgiving

Ready, or not – the holiday season is upon us and Thanksgiving is less than a week away! Thanksgiving is a special holiday for many reasons, but what makes it so unique is the fact that it is the one major holiday where the meal is the main event.

Not only that, but It is also the holiday that will set the tone for the remainder of the holiday season. So why not make it beautiful with a cornucopia of your own, or some Thanksgiving flowers from Topper’s European Floral Design?

According to lore, Thanksgiving began as the celebration of a bountiful harvest. It was – and still is – a time to reflect and give thanks through a meal shared with friends and loved ones.

One of the most iconic symbols of Thanksgiving is the cornucopia. Typically hollow and made out of wicker in the shape of a horn, it is often called the “horn of plenty.” Cornucopias represent an abundance of food and nourishment and serve as a visible reminder of the meaning of the holiday while also giving the table a finished, polished, look.

While cornucopias are most closely associated with Thanksgiving, their origin can be traced all the way back to Greek and Roman mythology. Cornucopias are even depicted on the state flags of Idaho and Wisconsin, as well as the coats of arms for Columbia, Panama, Peru, and Venezuela.

With food being the center of attention at Thanksgiving, the table itself an important part of the holiday as it often serves as the hub of the day’s activities. Long after the food is enjoyed and the dishes are put away, the cornucopia and other autumn-inspired centerpieces remain to serve as a reminder of the prosperity and good things in life for which we give thanks.

It’s never too soon to start thinking about Christmas

Since Thursday is Thanksgiving, that means Black Friday is here as well to kick off the official start of the holiday shopping season. Wouldn’t it be nice if you already had your holiday shopping done before the calendar even turned to December?

You’re in luck because Topper’s European Floral Design is your one-stop-shop for all your holiday needs. Of course, flowers always make an outstanding gift, but we also carry a wide assortment of other holiday presents for everyone on your list.

Make things extra-easy for yourself and order your holiday flowers and gifts at the same time you place your Thanksgiving order. Let everyone else fight the traffic and the crowds while you enjoy the holiday season from the comfort of your own couch, knowing your shopping is already complete!

Chrysanthemums: The Ultimate Fall Flower

We often associate certain flowers with certain times of the year. Red roses, for example, are an iconic symbol of Valentine’s Day, and spring never really arrives until the tulips start popping up. Poinsettias usher in the holiday season while sunflowers remind us of lazy late-summer days.

But when it comes to fall, chrysanthemums are the star of the season – especially during the month of November. With their brilliant colors and long-lasting nature, mums can brighten up any front porch or indoor space. Many people, however, do not realize the deep symbolism behind this favorite autumn icon.

In Chinese culture, this flowering herb symbolizes a life of ease and longevity. Together with the plum blossom, the orchid, and bamboo, chrysanthemums are renowned as one of the “Four Gentlemen” in Chinese and Eastern Asian art and are depicted in traditional ink and wash painting

Wellington by Topper’s European Floral Design

The earliest illustrations of mums show them to be daisy-like flowers that are small and yellow in color. Today’s chrysanthemums can be quite showy and would probably not be recognized by ancient growers. Modern chrysanthemums can be daisy-like or decorative, like pompons or buttons. In addition to the traditional yellow color, mums can now also be found in a variety of whites, purples, and reds.

Around the 8th century A.D., the chrysanthemum appeared in Japan and was so admired that it was adopted as the crest and official seal of the emperor. The western world was not introduced to the mum until the 17th century and it first appeared in American horticulture in 1798 when Colonel John Stevens imported a variety called ‘Dark Purple’ from England.

Just as the season the represent, chrysanthemums are known for being hardy and strong while also presenting an unmistakable sense of beauty and intrigue. Consider including some mums the next time you order flowers so that you can enjoy these amazing flowers! The Wellington by Topper’s European Floral Design features the lovely mum and is a perfect way to spread some autumnal cheer!

Did You Know???

  • Despite their strong presence in the fall, chrysanthemums are tropical flowers that were originally grown in the Eurasian region.
  • In the Victorian language of flowers, yellow chrysanthemums are a gentle way to decline amorous advances and white mums encourage the recipient to tell the truth or to be honest.
  • The chrysanthemum is November’s birth flower. If you are born in November, the mum is symbolic of your soul’s many layers.
  • In Eastern meditative traditions, the chrysanthemum is used as a focus tool to activate the heart chakra.
  • Germans have white chrysanthemums in their homes on Christmas Eve as a symbol of Christ.
  • The name, chrysanthemum, is adapted from the Greek word, “chryos” which means gold (the original color) and “athos” meaning flower.
  • Some species of chrysanthemum flowers are boiled to make tea in parts of Asia. Likewise, a rice wine in Korea called gukhwaju is flavored with chrysanthemum flowers.
  • The chrysanthemum was recognized as the official flower of the city of Chicago by Mayor Richard J. Daley in 1966.

Know Your Flower Etiquette

We all know that flowers make wonderful gifts for a variety of different circumstances. It’s hard to go wrong with choosing flowers as a gift, but there are a few rules of etiquette that should be followed when giving flowers on certain occasions.

Choosing the right flowers

  • While there are no definitive rules about what kind of flowers to send, certain types or colors of flowers may be inappropriate depending on the circumstance. A dozen red roses typically suggest romance and may send an unintended message if you are giving them to a co-worker or casual acquaintance.
  • White or light yellow flowers are usually the best choices for sympathy flowers. You certainly will want to avoid bright colored flowers in most instances.
  • Bright colored flowers, however, are almost always appropriate for happy occasions or milestones such as birthdays, anniversaries, congratulations, or thank yous.
  • When thanking someone, choose their favorite flower or favorite color instead of the cheapest option, the extra effort on your part will be appreciated and it makes your gratitude appear more personal and genuine.

Timing is everything

  • Some hospitals prohibit flowers, so check to make sure they’re allowed if you are sending them there. The local florists should know which hospitals accept them, and which do not. If the recipient’s hospital visit is brief, consider sending them to the home after they are dismissed.
  • While many people prefer to send sympathy flowers directly to the funeral home, it is perfectly acceptable to send them to the family’s home afterward. It’s even okay to wait a week or two in order to let the family know you’re still thinking of them.
  • Birthdays, holidays and anniversary are obvious occasions for sending flowers, but giving flowers “out of the blue” or “on a whim” are more impactful, especially if the recipient is not expecting a gift.
  • If you are late hearing about an occasion, but still wish to send flowers, be sure to mention that to the recipient – otherwise, the timing may seem odd to them.

Consider the recipient

  • Size matters, so consider where the flowers are going and what will happen to them after they’re delivered. Designs that are too small may not send the appropriate message you wish to convey, but larger gifts may be intrusive in small offices or rooms – especially if they’re shared with other people.
  • Putting yourself in the recipient’s shoes and asking yourself how you would feel receiving the gift should give you a good idea of what is appropriate.
  • Do some research when sending flowers to people from different cultures. Some cultures have stigmas against certain colors or flowers, and you don’t want to misconstrue your message or create an obligation to reciprocate.
  • Sending sympathy flowers If a family specifically asks for donations in “lieu of flowers” is a breach of etiquette, even if you mean well. In circumstances such as this, a fruit basket or other memorial item may be appropriate if you would still like to send a gift.

Flowers are such an excellent way to convey a personal sentiment, so it’s important to consider the message you are wishing to express. When in doubt, give us a call and let us know the circumstance and we’ll help you select the perfect gift!

When You Think Father’s Day, Think Toppers European Floral Design

Father’s Day is coming up on Sunday, June 18, and we’re here to help you find the perfect gift for dad. Of course, everyone loves flowers, but if they aren’t exactly dad’s idea of the perfect Father’s Day gift, we have many other wonderful options that he is sure to enjoy. Topper’s European Floral Design has a wide selection of unique gifts that you won’t find anywhere else!

Topper’s Veuve Clicquot Gift Tray

Does dad like to eat? Treat him to a gourmet basket filled with his favorite treats, or a fruit basket if he wants to keep it healthy. But Father’s Day only comes once a year, so why not go all out with Topper’s Veuve Clicquot Gift Tray or Topper’s Moet Champagne Gift Tray – both overflowing with elegant goodies and a fantastic bottle of champagne?

For dessert, we also have a selection of delicious Sugarfina sweet treats and irresistible Moonstruck chocolates.

Succulents and Orchids by Topper’s European Floral Design

If you would like to go with a more traditional gift, we offer a variety of long-lasting plants that are easy to care for and look beautiful in the home or the office. If flowers are more dad’s style, there are many terrific options that dad will love. Succulents, orchids, and tropical flowers are all splendid choices for Father’s Day.

No matter what dad’s style, we can help you make this year’s Father’s Day unforgettable with a gift that he is sure to love! We can even send his gift out of town so he can enjoy it no matter where he’s located. Stop by to see our selection or order online. Happy Father’s Day!

Ready, Set…Shop!

Autumn Elegance by Topper's European Floral Design

Autumn Elegance by Topper’s European Floral Design

Every year it seems as though the holiday shopping season starts earlier than the last. With the elections this time around to take up some of the attention – and more importantly, the good TV commercial spots, it was practically the middle of November until the full-fledged barrage of ‘all-things-holidays’ really got a foothold.

Now with Thanksgiving just a few days away, we’re staring straight into the biggest shopping weekend of the year! That’s right, as soon as the fork hits the plate after that last bite of pumpkin pie; it’s time to shop until you drop!

Some people love lining up in front of their favorite big box stores on Black Friday hoping to score the best bargains of the season, but those hard-core shopping tactics aren’t for everyone. Most people prefer a more leisurely pace while others want absolutely nothing to do with the entire ordeal and prefer to do all of their holiday shopping in their PJs from the comfort of their own couch.

Whichever method you prefer, now’s your chance to start that shopping that you always promise yourself you won’t put off until the last minute. So where to start? Right here at Topper’s European Floral Design!

Thanksgiving

Time is running out fast, but it’s not too late to get those last-minute flowers for Thanksgiving. Are you hosting a big dinner for family and friends? If so, a beautiful fall-themed centerpiece is the perfect finishing touch for your table. If you were lucky enough to get invited to a dinner where someone else is doing the cooking, flowers make a terrific gift for the busy who will surely appreciate the gesture. Give us a call or stop in and let us help you find something truly special for this festive holiday.

Wishbone by Topper's European Floral Design

Wishbone by Topper’s European Floral Design

Christmas

The key to successful Christmas shopping is finishing early. Imagine how many people you can cross off your list by ordering your Christmas flowers at the same time as your Thanksgiving flowers! You can reduce a great deal of stress with one phone call and have nearly all your shopping done before you even hear your first Christmas song on the radio!

Party Time

When formulating a plan for your holiday shopping list, you’ll, of course, want to include the usual friends and family members, but don’t forget about the other festivities and gatherings that usually take place before the end of the year. Office parties, classroom parties, sports banquets, church services and other social events all have a habit of popping up this time of year and they usually require some sort of gift. Fortunately, flowers are always appropriate and we can help you out here too. Give us a call and let us know what you need. From centerpieces and table dressings to gifts for the host or floral décor for any room, we have you covered and we’re here to help!

Happy Thanksgiving from your friends at Topper’s European Floral Design!