Flowers, the gift of happiness

What I believe: Flowers open hearts

When you receive flowers, the doors of your heart swing open. When you give flowers, the doors swing open in response.

Expressing love and kindness through flowers to a friend, family members or lover – is faster and less complicated than words and communicates so much about you. Research proves, as I have always believed, that flower givers are thought of as caring and loving people who appreciate beauty.

Love yourself. Treat yourself to flowers. I am also a firm believer that the amount of love you have in your life starts with the amount of love you have for yourself. So, in addition to giving flowers to others, remember to give flowers to yourself too. Research shows that flowers make people happier. Make yourself happy and include flowers as a part of your daily self-love practice!

Your Florist is your BFF!!!

What follows is my advice for building loving relationships. Send flowers to spontaneously and instantly improve the mood of a friend or a loved one. Also here is your Florist, who is like that friend in the know, who has the best advice and the hottest tips, who you can always rely on to help you add that special touch.

One of the best-kept secrets is that a gift of flowers from one friend to another is the perfect fit and the flower power can be immense. Pick a flower or flowers that remind you of your friend’s unique spirit and include a note linking the flower to them. One of the greatest gifts you can give a person is the gift of really seeing them, especially at the times that matter the most.

There is something magical about sharing your life’s path with a friend for those important milestones…marking special times with flowers will keep you in their memories forever. Congratulate them on a professional achievement, a baby, a birthday or send a big dose of love when they need it the most. The time to build a friendship is when it’s strong, so one of my favourite times to express my appreciation is when they are least expecting it.

Sending flowers to a romantic partner is a natural way to express your emotions – with an added bonus. Flowers show how special and caring you are too. The truth is that great relationships take love and care, not hard work. If you step out of your busy life and take a moment to be spontaneous with the simple gift of flowers, you’ll be surprised with how much love you get in return.

Smart lovers know that flowers are like bursts of love you can give any day of the year to create a deeper intimacy with the people you love. No matter how busy life gets or what challenges you face, remember, the bond between you, is what matters the most. Think beyond tradition and send her (or him) flowers that remind you of a memory only the two of you have. Did you meet in the spring? Fresh tulips or a mix of spring blooms might be the key. Does she have a sunny personality? Sunflowers or flowers in bright cheerful colours will make her take notice. You get the idea. Flowers can signify so much – it’s up to you to make your move.

Let’s face it. Moms deserve a floral reward just about every day of the year. And what moms want more than anything is to feel their kids love. So, how easy is this? Pick a day, any day and send her the kind of flowers that express your love. Choose the flowers that say something about her. Does she love purple? Did she carry roses at her wedding? On her birthday, tuck an old photo of her and you into the card with a note saying “another year younger.” For many of us, an aunt, a godmother, an in law or even a family friend has been a mom to us. Return the love with a gift of flowers saying “Thank you for the impact you’ve made on my life.”

Finally, when you order flowers,tell your florist what statement you want the flowers to make. From a tender“You’re sweet” to a more direct “I think you’re hot” and anywhere in between. A floral arrangement can be designed to communicate your feelings and your florist can be your cupid any time, all the time! For easy and secure website orders visit helenblakeyflowers or call us at (416) 291-2117 or toll free (888) 425-0375.

 

Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year is the longest and the most important celebration in the Chinese calendar. The Chinese year 4710 begins on Jan 23, 2012. Chinese months are reckoned by the lunar calendar, with each month beginning on the darkest day. New Year festivities traditionally start on the first day of the month and continue until the fifteenth, when the moon is the brightest. Chinese New Year is the biggest annual event, where families will gather for a reunion dinner and friends will be visiting each other. In China, people may take weeks of holiday from work to prepare for and celebrate the New Year.

For Chinese New Year celebrations, it is customary for Chinese families to have living blooms in the house, which symbolize rebirth and new growth. Highly prized flowers for the Chinese New Year are azalea, peony, water lily and narcissus. The Chinese believe that without flowers there would be no formation of any fruits, which in turn would negatively impact a family’s fortune. Therefore it is critical to incorporate flowers into your Chinese New Year decorations.

Breathing Fire into the New Year
Legend has it that in ancient times, Buddha asked all the animals to meet him on Chinese New Year. Twelve came and Buddha named a year after each one. He announced that the people born in each animal’s year would have some of that animal’s personality. 2012 is the year of the Water Dragon. Water has a calming effect on the Dragon’s fearless temperament. Water allows the Dragon to re-direct its enthusiasm and makes him more perceptive of others. Those born in dragon years are innovative, brave and passionate.

Fireworks and Family Feasts
At Chinese New Year celebrations people wear red clothes, decorate with poems on red paper and give children “lucky money” in red envelopes. Red symbolizes fire, which according to legend can drive away bad luck. The fireworks that shower the festivities are rooted in a similar ancient custom. Long ago, people in China lit bamboo stalks, believing that the crackling flames would frighten evil spirits.

The Lantern Festival
In China, the New Year is a time of family reunion. Family members gather at each other’s homes for visits and shared meals, most significantly a feast on New Year’s Eve. In North America, however, many early Chinese immigrants arrived without their families and found a sense of community through neighbourhood associations instead. Today many Chinese-American associations host banquets and other New Year events.

The lantern festival is held on the fifteenth day of the first lunar month. Some of the lanterns may be works of art painted with birds, animal, flowers, zodiac signs and scenes from legend and history. People hang glowing lanterns in temples and carry lanterns to an evening parade under the light of the full moon. In many areas the highlight of the lantern festival is the dragon dance. The dragon, which might stretch a hundred feet long, is typically made of silk, paper and bamboo. Traditionally the dragon is held aloft by young men who dance as they guide the colourful beast through the streets.

The most prominent colours of the Chinese New Year are red and gold. Red
symbolizes happiness, while gold symbolizes wealth. Prior to the first day of
the Chinese New Year many families decorate their living rooms with vases
of pretty flowering blossoms, platters of oranges and tangerines and a candy
tray with eight varieties of dried sweet fruit. Here at Helen Blakey Flowers
we have many flowers and plants to choose from to create the perfect
enviroment for Chinese New Year. Visit our secure website
www.helenblakeyflowers.com to view our beautiful selection.

We wish you, your friends and your family good luck
during this New Year, the Year of the Dragon.

 

The Story of Thomas Kinkade

Thomas Kinkade, “Painter of Light” is the most collected, living artist in the world. He has sold more canvases that any other painter in history.

Kinkade is inspired by the simple act of painting straight from the heart, putting on canvas the natural wonders and images that moved him. Thomas’s luminescent paintings and the products created from that art, reflect the simple pleasures and values; family, community and the celebration of beauty and goodness. Thomas’s artwork is recreated as collectables, such as the Teleflora Christmas Bouquet Collection. These collectable winter scene figures with fresh flowers have been extremely popular with our customers who love to collect the series. This year, 2011, as well as having lights in the home there is the addition of music to go with the Christmas Carolers theme.

Thomas’s goal as an artist is to touch people of all faiths and to bring peace and joy into their lives through the images he creates. Through his artwork Thomas conveys a message to slow down, appreciate the little details in life and to look for beauty in the world around us.

Thomas spent one summer on a tour doing sketches with a friend, which turned into a best selling instructional book, landing both men jobs creating background art for the animated feature film Fire and Ice. It was during this time that Kinkade began to experiment with light and explore the imaginative worlds that would play such an important part in his future work.

For a time, Kinkade earned his living as a painter, selling his originals in galleries throughout California. In 1982, he married his childhood sweetheart, Nanette, and two years later they began to publish his art. Kincade strives to lead a balanced life, committed to family values. He creatively fills his work with “love notes” by hiding the letter “N” in his paintings as tribute to his wife Nanette.

Thomas Kinkade has received many awards for his works, including multiple National Association of Limited Edition Dealers (NALED) awards for Artist of the Year, Graphic Artist of the Year and his art has been named Lithograph of the Year nine times. In 2004, he received a special award from NALED recognizing him as Most Award Winning Artist in the Past 25 Years. As millions of collectors around the world sit back and enjoy his artwork in their homes, there is no doubt that Thomas Kincade has indeed achieved his goal of Sharing the LightTM.

Quote by Thomas Kinkade:
“I try to create paintings that are a window for the imagination. If people look at my work and are reminded of the way things once were or perhaps the way they could be, then I’ve done my job”

The History of Holiday Traditions

So many times we have our traditions, especially around the holidays and we never think of why we have these customs. The Holiday Season is coming soon and we will begin to unpack our decorations. They are memorable. They are fragrant. They are beautiful. But why do we use them? What did they signify in days gone by?

Tradition of the Christmas wreath
We hang them on our front doors. They rest above the fireplace. We even find ways to hang them on the hood of our car. The wreath is one of the most popular of the holiday decorations next to the actual Christmas tree. The wreath is beautiful, but where on earth did the idea of evergreens twisted in a circle come from?

The history of the wreath actually goes back a few thousand years. Even before the Roman Empire, but it was during this great period that we began to take notice of them. If you were transported back in time don’t expect to see the same kind of wreaths we have today. Like everything else time changes it and it evolves to something that we know today.

In recognizing a victor of a war, a game or a political challenge it became common to place a wreath on the head. It was relatively small compared to our current Christmas wreaths, but they were to sit gently on the head. They could be made of gold or silver or even flowers and leaves. They gave honour to those who wore them.

Many cultures adopted this wreath and incorporated native pieces to them. It became a symbol of completeness. After all it was a circle that never ended. Over time it even came to represent eternity. The wreath is a common symbol. It is evident in many aspects of life: religious, governmental and romantic. It is almost an universal symbol. What it is made out of might be different but the symbolism is the same.

Tradition of the Christmas tree
In 16th century Germany fir trees were decorated both indoors and out with apples, roses, gilded candies and coloured paper. It is held that Protestant reformer Martin Luther first adorned trees with light, While coming home one December evening, the beauty of the stars shining through the branches of a fir inspired him to recreate the effect by placing candles on the branches of a small tree inside his home.

The Christmas Tree was brought to England by Queen Victoria’s husband, Prince Albert from his native Germany. The famous Illustrated News etching in 1848, featuring the Royal Family of Victoria, Albert and their children gathered around a Christmas tree in Windsor Castle popularized the tree throughout Victorian England. The tradition of the Christmas tree was brought to North America by the Pennsylvania Germans.

Tradition of Mistletoe, Holly and Ivy
Mistletoe was used by Druid priests 200 years before the birth of Christ in their winter celebrations. They revered the plant since it had no roots yet remained green during the cold months of winter. The ancient Celtics believed mistletoe to have magical healing powers and used it as an antidote for poison, infertility and to ward off evil spirits. The plant was also seen as a symbol of peace. Scandinavians associated the plant with Frigga, their goddess of love and it may be from this that we derive the custom of kissing under the mistletoe.
In northern Europe, Christmas occurred during the middle of winter when ghosts and demons could be heard howling in the winter winds. Boughs of holly, believed to have magical powers since they remained green through the harsh winter, were often placed over the doors of homes to drive away the evil spirits. Legend also has it that holly sprang from the footsteps of Christ as he walked the earth. The pointed leaves were said to represent the crown of thorns Christ wore while on the cross and the red berries symbolized the blood he shed. Ivy was often brought indoors to freshen the air and brighten the mood during the long dreary winter.

Tradition of the Christmas stocking
According to legend, a kindly nobleman grew despondent over the death of his beloved wife and foolishly squandered his fortune. This left his three young daughters without dowries and thus facing a life of spinsterhood. The generous St. Nicholas, hearing of the girls plight set forth to help. Wishing to remain anonymous, he rode his white horse by the nobleman’s house and threw three small pouches of gold coins down the chimney where they were fortuitously captured by the stockings the young women had hung by the fireplace to dry.

Tradition of the Christmas card
A form of Christmas card began in England first when young boys practiced their writing skills by creating Christmas greetings for their parents. It is Sir Henry Cole, who is credited with creating the first real Christmas card. As the first director of London’s Victoria and Albert Museum, Sir Henry found himself to busy in the Christmas season of 1843 to compose individual greetings for his friends. He commissioned artist John Calcott Horsley for the illustration. The card featured three panels, with the center panel depicting a family enjoying Christmas festivities and the card was inscribed with the message “A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to You.”

The variations of holiday traditions in North America equal the number of active cultures that have settled in the land. These cultural contributions were given a new lease of life by creative artists, authors, poets and songwriters. It was melded together by the power of secular and commercialized media in record companies, radio stations, television, cinemas and now the internet. There are lots of traditions that are practiced by a number of counties all over the world during the holiday season. These traditions can be as diverse as the culture and religious practices of each and every country.

Easy Ways to Add the Holiday Spirit to Your Home

Apples & Spice Arrangement

If you are like most people, you don’t have much time at the end of the day to do anything extra. But at this time of the year you want to do something to make your home look festive and special. Here are some quick and easy ideas to create a holiday atmosphere that will leave you with time left over to really enjoy the holiday season.

Hang holiday wreaths.
· Put a wreath on every door you have. Of course start with the front door to welcome guests.
· Remember over the mantle and in all your front windows.
· Use real pine, holly or grapevine, decorated with bows, berries, raffia, ornaments, birds or candy.
· To keep wreaths year after year, buy artificial wreaths that last.

Use lots of special colour
· Drape garlands either real or artificial on railings, over mirrors, on top of armoires and along the mantle.
· Use ribbons and bows to put wonderful colour around you home for the festive season.
· Don’t even think about not putting out your special holiday ornaments.

Add gifts of nature
· Place small holiday arrangements in a bookcase, beside the powder room sink, on the kitchen windowsill and on side tables in your family room.
· Pile pinecones with ornaments and bows in a bowl or in a basket.
· Decorate your powder room or kitchen with small poinsettias.
· Hang an evergreen swag on your bedroom doors.

Add sparkle and shine to everything.
· Sprinkle artificial snow across your tabletop, buffet or on your mantle.
· Place shiny ornaments in a clear glass bowl or vase.
· Embellish indoor plants or trees with shiny ornaments.

Create memories and bring happiness.
· Plan a time in the day when the whole family is home to open an advent calendar.
· Holiday baking with your children is a tradition they will always remember fondly.
· Make a family time of preparing holiday cards, taking family photos and addressing the cards. Offer to help a friend who cannot do this task alone.

By keeping things simple, you will find that you can enjoy the season, the lights and the traditions with family and friends without getting tired out in the process. Merry Christmas!

The History and Legend of the Poinsettia

Joel Robert Poinsett, who was an amateur botanist and the first ambassador to Mexico, first introduced poinsettias to the United States in 1825. December 12 is National Poinsettia Day. An official day set aside to enjoy this symbol of holiday cheer. It was established upon the death of Mr. Poinsett to honour him and the pant he made famous. He died in 1851.

Poinsettias are native to Mexico, where they grow wild. The enchanting legend of the poinsettia dates back several centuries, to a Christmas Eve in Mexico when a little girl named Pepita had no gift to present to the Christ child. Her cousin Pedro urged her to give a humble gift. So on her way to church she gathered some weeds she found along the road. As she approached the altar, a miracle happened. The weeds blossomed into brilliant flowers. Then they were called Flores de Noche Buena – Flowers of the Holy Night. Now they are called poinsettias.

Poinsettias (Euphorbia Pulcherrima) fill our homes with holiday cheer, but when the Christmas decorations get packed away, the plants sadly tend to go too. Some folks have no problem sending the festive beauty directly to the compost bin. Others treat it like a regular houseplant until the colourful leaves drop off in the spring. But a select few will hold onto their poinsettias with visions of re blooming the pretty plants for next Christmas.

If you would like to try keeping your poinsettia alive and well long after this years holiday season, there are a few things you need to know. Poinsettias are short day plants. That means they start the blooming process when the hours of darkness exceed the hours of daylight. In this part of the country (Ontario) that time of the year is around Sept. 23rd. To re bloom your existing poinsettia by Christmas, you need to expose it to natural day lengths from that point on – because excess light delays blooming (and the turning of the green bracts to red).

Avoiding extra light might sound easy, but remember, it starts to get dark earlier and earlier come fall and you probably don’t want to turn the lights off in your house at 5:30 pm. You might try keeping the plant in a separate room that gets adequate daylight but can be darkened as night falls. If that’s not an option, you can move your plant in and out of a closet daily or cover your poinsettia with a box when the sun sets and you turn the lights on. Just don’t forget to bring your plant back into the light come morning! Poinsettias need at least six to eight hours of bright sunlight daily.

While proper lighting is the key element to re blooming your poinsettia, there are a few more things you need to do to maintain a healthy plant throughout the year. In the late spring cut the branches back to about 8 inches. Then continue to water your poinsettia as needed and fertilize it with a well balanced all-purpose feed. In July, if your plants become “leggy” or too big, pinch them back to ensure compact growth. Pinching removes the end of the branch and encourages more flowers. Just be sure to leave four to six leaves on every branch you pinch.

Although they’ve become a winter holiday plant tradition, remember that poinsettias are sensitive to cold injury. They are happiest with a night temperature range from 60-70 degrees F. Finally, if you poinsettia doesn’t manage to colour up by Christmas (due to improper lighting), don’t give up on it just yet. It will most likely change eventually, but you might want to purchase some new ones for holiday décor. And you know what that means…. more poinsettia growing later.

Facts

· Despite a persistent myth to the contrary, toxicity tests have shown that no part of the poinsettia plant is poisonous to humans or pets.
· As with any non- food product, the poinsettia is not meant to be eaten and can cause varying degrees of discomfort. Therefore the plant should be kept out of the reach of young children and curious pets.
· The flower of the poinsettia is actually its yellow center. The red “petals” surrounding those flowers are modified leaves called bracts.

Tips and Care

· Poinsettias don’t like “wet feet.” Allow the soil to become dry to the touch between watering. Too much water can cause root rot, which can kill the plant. When the surface is dry to the touch, water thoroughly. Discard excess water in the saucer.
· To prolong colour, keep a temperature range of 60 degrees for night and 72 degrees for day. High humidity is preferable.
· Place plant away from hot or cold drafts and protect from cold winds.
· Unless you are truly dedicated to the re blooming process, horticulturists generally recommend enjoying a poinsettia indoors for several months after the holidays. Then either compost it or plant it outdoors to grow as a green shrub through the summer.

To shop for your Poinsettas on line visit www.helenblakeyflowers.com

 

Orchids are still misunderstood

Phalaenopsis orchid plant

In spite of their new level of popularity, homegrown orchids are still misunderstood. The major misunderstanding is that orchids are difficult to grow, but this is not necessarily so.

The orchid family is the largest in the plant world. Most people who are just starting out with orchids are looking for a long flowering, easy to care for plant with exotic flowers that rebloom without much fuss. If you enjoy ignoring your indoor plants, allowing them to go dry for long periods of time, I have the answer for you. Orchids. The availability of orchids today is a testament to advances made in plant breeding.

Most orchids sold for use in the home are members of these three families: Phalaenopsis, Paphioprdilum and Dendrobium. They are reliable indoor performers that tolerate our dry air in the winter, the low light of our northern latitude and their limited root mass makes for the perfect window sill plant.

The Phalaenopsis is the most popular of orchids for the home gardener. They are epiphytic, which means that they grow on trees and rocks in the tropics. When the bloom fades, cut the stem below the last flower and just above a node (where the leaf meets the stem). In most cases a new stem will develop and it will reflower. Place in a warm area in your home. No direct sun. Prefers  an east facing window but also does well with a north facing one. Mist leaves with tepid water often including the exposed roots. In winter, reduce the watering frequency. Fertilize half strength with a good quality orchid fertilizer.

There are many websites where you can access information on growing orchids and most florists carry a steady supply of orchids for sale all year long. To get the real scoop, visit the Southern Ontario Orchid Society website www.soos.ca for more details.

You can visit our website to view some of the options available of orchids for delivery.

  http://www.helenblakeyflowers.com/scarborough-flowers/dulce-duet-207902p.asp?rcid=509&point=1

Hello Bloomszoomers!

Welcome to our new blog.We are Helen Blakey Flowers. As professional florists we live with flowers every day and would love to share our enthusiasm for flowers with you. Our flower shop has been serving the Scarborough and GTA since 1969. On staff we have two full time designers with combined experience of over 40 years. We are delighted to take care of any and all of your floral needs, weddings, birthdays, new arrivals and funerals etc. Based in east Toronto we enjoy working with many ethnic and multi-cultural diversities and influences. Visit our all occasion website www.helenblakeyflowers.com to view our seasonally changing online catalogue. You will enjoy our easy, secure online shopping.

To celebrate our new blog, we are offering a coupon. Until Nov. 30, 2011, spend $50.00 before delivery and taxes and enjoy a savings of $10.00. Mention promo code Blog10 when placing a phone order.For online orders enter Blog10 in the promo code box in the check out.

Helen Blakey Flowers is commited to improving and encouraging fair living standards for flower farm workers all over the world and supporting responsible growing practices that protect the enviroment. These fair trade practices insure that  the beautiful flowers you see in our fridge are purchased from farms that meet specific guidelines. We feel that offering our customers an ethical choice is our responsibility. We want our customers to feel good about their purchases. We guarantee that the quality of our product will remain second to none, as it has for over 43 years!

FAQ

Q – What are fair flowers?

A – Fair flowers refers to social and enviromental responsibility. Socially it means workers are paid a fair living wage which gives them the opportunity to cover basic needs for their families. Also, international health and safety laws are enforced. Enviromentally it ensures that efforts are being made to conserve natural resources. Fair flowers offers consumers an ethical, more aware choice in the world market and walks hand in hand with the Fair Trade initiative.

Q – Are your flowers more expensive because they meet these standards?

A – No, at Helen Blakey Flowers we work very hard in coordination with our wholesalers to seek out the very best product in a cost effective way.

Q – Does this mean you have less of a selection?

A – No. We source our flowers from Canada, Ecuador, Columbia and Europe to ensure the same great selection you’ve come to expect.

Q – Does this really make a difference?

A – By purchasing flowers from fair farms, this encourages farms with less than ethical values to re-assess their practices in order to remain in business. We feel everyone can play a part in making this world a better place to live. It is a proactive approach that we are proud to offer and sincerely hope our customers embrace this initiative.

Q – Where can I get more information?

A – www.sierraeco.com

www.flower-label-program.com

www.colombianflowers.com

www.fairtradefederation.com

Please feel free to comment on our blog or call us at our store (416) 291-2117. We would love to hear what you think!