The Easter Lily Capital of the World

It’s likely you’ve never heard of Smith River, California, but odds are that’s where your Easter Lily was grown. This fertile land – located in the far northwest corner of California – is home to less than 900 residents, but produces about 95% of the world’s Easter lily bulbs – making it the Easter Lily Capital of the World.

With towering redwood trees to the east and the sparkling Pacific Ocean to the west, this gorgeous river valley – comprised of about 600 acres – is considered the most ideal spot on Earth for growing Easter lily bulbs due to its nearly perfect growing climate and soil condition.

Easter Lily by George Thomas Florist

In fact, only five Easter Lily bulb farms – owned by four families – produce up to 14 million bulbs each year. So how did this small strip of coastal land become such a dominant force in the production of Easter Lilies?

It all began in 1919 when a man named Louis Houghton introduced some hybrid lily bulbs to the south coast of Oregon and planted the seeds – so to speak – of what would become the Easter Lily Capital of the World. Prior to 1941, nearly all of the Easter lilies plants in North America were imported from Japan, but WWII changed that when Americans found themselves cut off from their beloved white lilies.

By 1945, Houghton’s crop had taken off and there were around 1,200 growers producing bulbs all along the Pacific Coast. That number would steadily drop as growers found the bulbs difficult to grow commercially.

It takes at least three years to grow the bulb to commercial size, and each year the bulbs must be dug up and sorted by hand – then either shipped to the greenhouse or replanted for another year.

Unlike other crops that are planted, left to grow, and harvested later, Easter Lily bulbs must be planted, harvested and shipped within a span of three months. That means in order to force the bulbs to bloom in time for Easter, they require 40 days of a forced artificial winter by refrigeration followed by a brief growing period in a high-temperature greenhouse.

The growing schedule is crucial since the value of the bulbs drops considerably even one day past Easter. To complicate matters, Easter doesn’t fall on the same day every year and can vary by as much as five weeks, so timing is everything.

With Easter only days away, this magnificent plant is available now. Give us a call or stop by and pick one out for your Easter celebration or check out our selection of Easter flowers.

Are you considering an Easter lily this year? Here are some tips to help you make the most out of your beautiful new plant.

  • If your Easter lily came with a decorative plastic, foil or paper wrapper, remove that as soon as possible in order to prevent the lily from becoming waterlogged.
  • When choosing a “home” for your lily makes sure to choose a location away from drafts and drying heat sources.
  • Water your plant if the surface feels dry, but be careful not to over-water. Easter lilies require a medium moisture level and should never stand in water for any length of time.
  • Potted Easter lilies kept indoors need bright, indirect natural light but, too much exposure to sunlight can cause burning issues.
  • Remove the yellow anthers from the center of each flower to prolong the life of the blossoms.
  • Easter lilies can be planted outside in a sunny location after the flowers have withered away.
  • If you plant your Easter lily outside, cover the roots with mulch to help keep them shaded.
  • Once planted outside, the lily should be watered freely during the active growth period and be kept moist during the winter.

Remember: Easter lily plants are highly toxic to cats.

A Painless Guide to Prom Flowers

Fancy Orchids & Roses Writstlet by George Thomas Florist

Prom season is upon us, and for many high school students across the country, prom may very well be their first experience buying flowers from a professional florist. That can be a daunting task for teenagers who may not know a lilac from a lily, but fortunately, we’re here to help. In fact, we can even show you how to properly pin the boutonniere!

Prom flowers typically consist of a corsage for the ladies and a boutonniere for the gentlemen. Traditionally, the colors and flowers used in the corsage and boutonniere were matched to the color of the prom dress; but like most rules, this one was made to be broken.

Modern corsages and boutonnieres are limited only by the imagination, and the flowers available to the florist. However, it’s important to keep in mind that prom night is centered about dancing, so the flowers should not only be beautiful but functional enough to withstand an entire evening of festivities.

Succulent Boutonniere by George Thomas Florist

How do I know what to choose?

Ideally, the corsage and boutonniere should be purchased together to ensure the colors and styles match, but this isn’t a necessity as long as the florist has enough information from one of the parties. Some prom-goers even bring their dress or a swatch of fabric with them to help the florist get a better idea of what to design.

The first decision when choosing a corsage is: what kind? You may think that all corsages are the same, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. It used to be tradition for the gentleman to pin the corsage to his date’s dress prior to departing for the evening. But prom dresses have evolved to feature spaghetti straps or even no straps, making the ceremonial pinning no longer practical. Instead, many ladies opt for the wrist corsage that can be worn like a piece of jewelry.

Options aren’t limited to the wrist, however, as modern corsages can be worn in other places, such as around the waist or in the hair. It behooves the gentleman to find out which style his date prefers since she will be the one wearing it all evening.

The ladies have it easier when choosing a boutonniere because there are fewer decisions to make. Since boutonnieres are traditionally pinned to the lapel of the tuxedo or suit jacket, the main decision is the color and types of flowers. Since those two elements are usually dependent upon the style of the corsage, it’s usually just a matter of trusting the florist to know what works best.

What kinds of flowers do I want?

There are many different options when it comes to choosing the flowers for your corsage. Roses and spray roses are always a popular choice and can usually be matched well to the dress. Many people opt for carnations which are available in nearly every color imaginable, and some people prefer more bold options like orchids, lilies, succulents, and even birds of paradise.

While some people know exactly what they want, there are plenty of others who don’t even know where to begin when it comes to choosing flowers – that’s where we’re happy to help. In fact, most customers find they end up with the best result by simply giving us their dress color and letting our designers do their thing. We have years of experience with prom flowers and stay on top of the latest styles and trends. Depending on the budget, we can add special features such as jeweled beads, feathers, and lace to truly make each corsage one-of-a-kind.

Prom night is often one of the most important and memorable nights of a young person’s life and the memories from that special night can last a lifetime. We like to think of prom flowers as the icing on the cake, and we’re excited to help create that perfect look to fit every style.

With Mother’s Day quickly approaching as well as wedding season and other special events, the spring and summer seasons are a busy time so we urge our customers to order their prom flowers as early as possible to ensure that their order is filled on time.

It’s Time to Think Spring!

Country Spring Bouquet by George Thomas Florist

Country Spring Bouquet by George Thomas Florist

March is here at last, which can only mean that it’s time to think spring! While most of the country enjoyed a relatively mild winter, it’s always nice to know warmer days are ahead and summer is just around the corner (and don’t forget to set your clocks forward next weekend – March 12).

But before we start thinking about summer, it’s time to celebrate spring and all of the wonderful imagery and rejuvenating energy it provides. In fact, one reason we love spring so much is that it’s nearly impossible to think about spring without thinking about flowers! From tulips to daffodils, and everything in between.

We may be a few weeks away from the “official” start of spring, but by this point, many of us are enjoying the blooming of the deciduous magnolias, cherries, and quince. Spring is a time for growth, new beginnings, and for many, a welcome reward for several months of being cooped up indoors.

Summer will be here before you know it, but don’t go digging out the flip-flops just yet. Right now it’s time to enjoy this sensational season – and all it has to offer.

St. Patrick’s Day

One sure sign that spring has sprung is the arrival of St. Patrick’s Day. No matter who you are, or where you’re from, we’re all a little green on March 17. This particular holiday holds different meanings for everyone, but many use it as an opportunity to get out and have some fun! Of course, one of our favorite things about St. Patrick’s Day is that it features the iconic shamrock!

Shamrocks are a symbol of Ireland and were said to have been used by St. Patrick, Ireland’s patron saint, as a metaphor for the Christian Holy Trinity. Interestingly, there is not a consensus over the exact botanical species of clover that is the “true” shamrock, but instead, the name is sort of a catch-all for a number of three-leaved clovers.

Spring Blooming Garden by George Thomas Florist

Spring Blooming Garden by George Thomas Florist

Easter

Easter takes place this year on April 16, and what better way to mark the occasion than with an Easter lily? This hearty plant bears a number of fragrant white trumpet-shaped flowers and is symbolic of the resurrection of Christ that is celebrated during Easter. If traditional flowers are more your style, pastel-colored floral designs are also very popular during the Easter season.

May Day

One holiday that often gets overlooked is May Day. Celebrated each year on the first day of May, this holiday originates from an ancient northern hemisphere spring festival and evolved into a secular celebration. Although fading in popularity, it used to be tradition to make “May baskets” full of flowers and sweets and leave them anonymously on neighbors’ doorsteps.

That’s not all…

There are so many more reasons to love spring and so many more reasons to shop for flowers – as if you needed a reason! Spring also ushers in prom season for many high school students as well as the start of wedding season and graduations. As the school year draws to a close, this is also the perfect time of year to thank teachers, coaches, school administrators and facility for all their hard work during the school year. Of course, flowers are an excellent way to do just that. Whatever the reason or occasion, George Thomas Florist is here to help you find the perfect gift. Don’t forget to pick some out for yourself as well! Give us a call, or stop in today – we’re always happy to help.

International Women’s Day 2017 – Be Bold for Change

iwd-logo-portaitjpgInternational Women’s Day is a global celebration of social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women that takes place on March 8. First observed in the early 1900’s, International Women’s Day is also a call to action for accelerating gender equality.

International Women’s Day is an important opportunity to not only celebrate the achievements of women but also a chance to take action as an individual or organization to help raise visibility and awareness in order to help drive positive change for women and accelerate gender parity across the world.

Every person – women, men and non-binary people – can do their part in helping drive better outcomes for women by becoming responsive and responsible leaders in creating a more gender-inclusive world. The World Economic Forum predicts that the gender gap won’t close entirely until 2186, so International Women’s Day provides an opportunity for ground-breaking action that can drive greater change for women.

What Can I Do?

  1. Running your own #BeBoldForChange International Women’s Day campaign is one of the most powerful ways you can influence how quickly gender parity is achieved. Decide which bold action you’d like to take – you can challenge bias and inequality, campaign against violence, forge women’s advancement, celebrate women’s achievement, champion women’s education, or choose your own bold action. Ask your friends, coworkers, and colleagues to declare their bold action on the IWD website and use #BeBoldForChange selfies cards for social media amplification. You can also embed the #BeBoldForChange widget on your own website and call for others to declare their bold action.
  2. Host a #BeBoldForChange IWD event. Invite speakers to articulate and explain that exact moment when they themselves took bold action to help improve or develop an aspect of their own livelihood, career or business – or that of another woman’s or women’s status overall. You can also host a proactive discussion, build a “Bold Actions” wall and ask your audience to declare bold action via their phones.
  3. Share your support through social media by downloading and printing the #BeBoldForChange selfie card. Co-branding is encouraged and you can promote your support for bold action on any social media channels including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Youtube.

“The story of women’s struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organization but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights,” says world-renowned feminist, journalist and social and political activist Gloria Steinem. Thus International Women’s Day is all about unity, celebration, reflection, advocacy, and action – whatever that looks like globally at a local level. But one thing is for sure, International Women’s Day has been occurring for well over a century – and continues to grow from strength to strength. Do you part this year to make a difference; think globally and act locally!

Did You Forget Valentine’s Day?

Oh no – Valentine’s Day is on Tuesday! As the last few hours before Valentine’s Day quickly tick off the clock, now is the time when even the most hard-core procrastinators start to panic. If you still haven’t found that perfect gift, or if you simply forgot (it happens), no worries! You still have some outstanding options left, as long as you know where to look.

Passionate Love by George Thomas Florist

Passionate Love by George Thomas Florist

Ordering a gift online and having it shipped is just too risky of an option this late in the game. Even with costly expedited shipping fees, there is still some lingering doubt that the correct item will be sent to the correct place at the right time. With so little time left, and so little room for error, this option will probably end up being even more stressful than figuring out what to get in the first place.

True Love by George Thomas Florist

True Love by George Thomas Florist

Your best option now is to find someone who can help – and find them fast! Time may no longer be on your side, but luckily you have friends in the business who are happy to assist you with finding the perfect gifts – and they’re only a phone call away. Want something more than just flowers? George Thomas Florist has you covered with balloons, teddy bears, chocolates, and so much more!

Best of all, after you make that phone call you can rest assured, knowing that the perfect gift is already on its way to being carefully created, packaged and hand-delivered to your valentine in time for Valentine’s Day.

Our customer service representatives here at George Thomas Florist are experts on last-minute gift ideas. Their “Yes We Can” commitment not only makes for a stress-free Valentine’s Day shopping experience but also makes you look like a hero in the eyes of your valentine for being so thoughtful and creative. It will be our little secret that you waited until the last minute!

Pictured here are a few of our most popular choices.

Do Roses Cost More on Valentine’s Day?

Is it true that roses cost more in early February than they do the rest of the year? The short answer is yes, but not just for consumers. Many people are led to believe that flower retailers artificially raise prices to stick it to desperate consumers, when if fact that couldn’t be further from the truth.

hw0_690387Yes, roses cost more this time of year, but they also cost more for the florist, and the wholesaler, all the way down to the grower. In fact, the incredible demand for long-stem red roses on a single day puts a tremendous strain on the entire industry; and that affects everyone involved in the complex process of bringing fresh flowers to your door on Valentine’s Day.

In order for growers to meet the annual demand for red roses, they must time the growth of their flowers. This is accomplished by altering the rose plants’ growth cycle to optimize the harvest for February 14. By doing so, the growers must interrupt everyday production for several weeks in order to produce a bumper crop at precisely the right time. Unfortunately, the cost of stopping everyday production comes at a price, and that gets passed on down the line.

Is that the only reason?

That’s one reason for the price increase, but many additional factors come into play before the flowers reach the consumers. For starters, the unusually large harvest of roses can swell up to three times the normal volume that is typical for other times of the year. Since roses are processed manually, this necessitates hiring temporary laborers to help harvest and package the roses. Once the roses are ready to be shipped, importers are not only forced to pay more for the extra needed cargo space, but also for the extra trucks and drivers necessary to handle the extra volume.

Valentine’s Day is one of the busiest days of the years for florists, but our preparation for this holiday begins weeks – if not months – in advance. In order to meet demand, we must hire additional help, work longer hours, and rent additional delivery vans in order to make sure all the orders are delivered on or before the 14th.

Nobody likes to see the annual price spike for roses, but unfortunately it’s an unavoidable result of supply and demand. With an increasingly crowded marketplace dominated by online-only flower shippers, the profit margins for local florists are razor thin compared to many other times of the year.

So, what’s the good news?

The good news is that we work very hard at George Thomas Florist to keep costs low and prices competitive while never sacrificing quality or service for our customers. We understand the importance of this holiday to our customers and their loved ones and always do our best to exceed their expectations.

Whether it’s a dozen red roses or something else you had in mind for your sweetheart, we’re here to help you find the perfect gift. Remember, the earlier you order, the better! Do yourself a favor by not waiting until the last minute when items are picked over and delivery times are full. Make this Valentine’s Day one they’ll never forget, with the help of your friends at George Thomas Florist.

2017 Floral Forecast

2017 has arrived, and this year is already shaping up to be a hot one in the floral industry. From exciting new color palettes to creative new textures, here are some trends to watch for this year.

greenerygeothoColor My World

Pantone recently announced their pick for the 2017 ‘Color of the Year,’ and this year’s winner is one that ties in extremely well to the floral industry. In fact, the name itself – Greenery – is something that florists use every day!

According to Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director of the Pantone Color Institute, the newly crowned Greenery is ‘nature’s neutral’ and is symbolic of new beginnings.

“Greenery bursts forth in 2017 to provide us with the reassurance we year for amid a tumultuous social and political environment. Satisfying our growing desire to rejuvenate and revitalize, Greenery symbolizes the reconnection we seek with nature, one another and a larger purpose,” Eiseman said.

Greenery is a very versatile color that is considered “trans-seasonal” and thus lends itself to many complementary floral color combinations, including last year’s co-colors of the year, Serenity and Rose Quartz.

A Twist of Modern and Antiquity

Each fall, the Society of American Florists previews some trends in the floral industry that they think will be at the top of every fashion-forward list for the upcoming year. This time, SAF identified four trends to watch for in 2017.

  1. Photo by SAF

    Photo by SAF

    The French Connection – This trend is all about the beauty and romance that surrounds the French culture. Thoughts of cobblestone streets and quaint countryside cottages were the inspiration for this trend which features a color palette of reds with hints of chocolate, burnt orange, golden yellows, sage grey-greens, charcoal and muted pink. Featured flowers include multi-petaled blooms such as garden roses and peonies combined with textured berries in aged metallic pedestal containers and distressed ceramic vases.

  2. Photo by SAF

    Photo by SAF

    The Force of Nature – The focus of this trend is all about our love for nature and the connection we have within in our lives. Bright teals, ocean blues, and mossy greens, blend flawlessly with muted gray undertones in this nautical-inspired palette. Natural textures such as driftwood, sea glass and shells complete the trend with featured flowers including delphinium, hyacinth, veronica, and Nigella.

  3. Photo by SAF

    Photo by SAF

    Modern Wonders – This dynamic trend stresses simplicity. A blend of modern, sophisticated lines with furnishings from other cultures and metallic finishes; this trend unites young and old with a fresh new approach. Featured colors of this trend include plum red, lavender, taupe, gray and copper with floral selections including bold single blooms or uniquely shaped flowers like Protea, red ginger, cymbidium orchids and muted lavender rose shades.

  4. Photo by SAF

    Photo by SAF

    Into the Jungle – The final trend is an untamed, wild mix of jungle-inspired colors that excites the senses in a classic departure from more formal, muted palettes. Bright shades of orange, yellow and green mix with animal prints, hand-woven baskets, and hand-carved wooden vases, highlighted with tropical flowers and foliage including bamboo, moss, and cork.

Wedding Trends

In addition to the new trends in floral design, weddings also play an instrumental role in determining what’s hot and what’s not for the upcoming year. While each wedding is unique and the design choices are ultimately determined by the wedding party and their florists, certain trends signal a preview of what brides will be asking for in 2017.

Organic and natural is one of the top wedding trends for 2017, and loose, unstructured arrangements are becoming a popular choice for many of this year’s brides as many choose cascading bouquets that appear to flow like a floral waterfall.

Those with tastes leaning in the opposite direction may opt for a simple, more traditional round bouquet with bold eye-catching colors. Some brides may elect to take that simplicity a step further with bouquets consisting of only one to three flowers for a dynamic effect.

Of course, there are also the giant, oversized statement bouquets which have been popular in recent years. That trend has been strong for a while and shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.

Whatever your style dictates, and however your tastes decide, consider giving some of this year’s floral trends a try, or better yet, start a trend of your own! We’re here to help you find the perfect bouquet for any occasion, and our design team will be happy to work with you to help make your world beautiful in 2017!