Flower growers and Importers

One of our most commonly asked questions at the flower shop is “Where do all the flowers we sell come from?”  Helen Blakey Flowers.com

Helen Blakey Flowers

The answer is too lengthy to properly cover but I’ll touch on some of the more interesting points. The flower growing industry has changed quite a bit in the past 30 years that I have been in the flower business.  While Holland is still the major supplier worldwide of cut flowers, there are new countries entering the market or increasing their share of it.

A shipment of fresh roses from Ecuador.

When I started most of the roses sold in Ontario were locally grown, now the vast majority come from Columbia and Ecuador with Africa starting to break into our market as well. The shift was mostly due to the expense of heating and cooling local greenhouses and the less than ideal quality of sunlight here. The result is that our roses now have much larger blooms and stronger stems producing a longer vase life.

In the 70’s Columbia was Ontario’s supplier of carnations, now they provide a selection of several other flowers as well. While it’s still a developing industry Columbia and Ecuador have benefited from assistance and investment from experienced growers in Holland. This has increased employment, especially for women, and most farms are trying quite hard to build, develop and invest in schools, daycare and health programs for their employees and their families and communities. Many have attained “fair trade” and sustainable practices accreditation.

http://www.hosa.com

http://www.colibriflowers.com/interiores/environmental.html

http://www.josarflor.com

 

Flowers arriving from Staalduinen

There is still a strong grower industry in Ontario. Our flower shop’s mandate is to buy local whenever a local product is available. We carry local gerberas, alstromeria, chrysanthemums and different types of lilies year round as well as many other seasonal flowers through out the year. We always carry locally grown tropical and flowering plants to support local growers and avoid problems caused by acclimatization.

Flowers arrive every Tues. and Fri. from Dick Ormel Inc.

You’ll find the growers who supply our shop in the Niagara, Grimsby and Vineland areas.

PickOntario.ca

 

 

Many florists in the Toronto area shop at “the clock” in Mississauga .http://www.ontarioflowergrowers.ca   It is a much smaller version of the Aalsmeer flower auction in Holland. Local growers and importers sell their stock to florists at a reverse auction where the price goes down during bidding instead of up.

Receiving flowers from Dick Ormel Inc.

Our flower shop instead purchases our flowers from a variety of suppliers during the week. Debrimex, Staalduinen, Dick Ormel Inc, Vanderhout and Midland Flowers . We have standing orders with each supplier and can fill in with assorted other flowers as needed. Our shop chose this supply method because we can buy in more frequent, smaller batches, ensuring the freshest possible stock at all times. Having 2-3 different wholesalers delivering to our store every day provides the advantage of being able to get different flowers and colours throughout the day to fill last minute requests. The hard part is not buying too much, the selection is amazing, I wish we could buy them all.

 

Wild flower, Solidago or Goldenrod

SOLIDAGO

One of my all time favourite accent flowers is the wildflower golden rod or, as most florists call It, solidago. Though it brings with it a bit of a feeling of fall approaching all too soon, I love seeing fields and wild areas currently covered in this bright yellow flower. I’m not the only one who enjoys seeing solidago on the horizon, this flower has been adopted as the state flower by Nebraska and Kentucky as well as the state wildflower for South Carolina. While solidago is considered a wildflower or even a weed by many in North America, it is actually a favourite garden flower in Europe.

Outdoors,  Goldenrods are also an attractive source of nectar for bees, flies, wasps, and butterflies.

Golden Rod Allergy Myth

Many people shy away from this particular flower because of its bad reputation of causing hay fever and other allergies, but actually ragweed is the culprit with a similar blooming time to solidago (golden rod). The pollen of solidago is too heavy to be wind-pollinated and must be carried by insects from plant to plant. Handling solidago may still cause problems to those with allergies, however.

Use In Floral Design 

Did you know golden rods (solidago) are a common filler flower used by florists? That’s right, in many designs florists use a hybrid version of the common golden rod to add bright yellow color and interest to a flower arrangement. They have been hybridized to bring out all the best qualities of solidago. Though now available year round, this fall-bloomer is a great addition to your seasonal decor.

Marion, Helen Blakey Flowers.

 

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!