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5 things you should know about caring for annual plants

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So you bought annual plants in a container at your local florist, garden center or home-improvement store.

Annual plants – such as petunias, geraniums and begonias that complete their life cycles in one year – pose perennial challenges once you bring them home.

Here are five things you should know about caring for your annuals:

1. You have to add nutrients: Your plant didn’t come in nutrient-rich soil. Rather, it’s a potting mix that includes peat moss. This mixture is inert, meaning that it doesn’t contain the nutrients found in soil. So you have to add the nutrients by applying fertilizer on a regular basis.

2. Fertilizer is soluble, so you have to keep adding it: Regular watering of your annual plants will wash out the added nutrients if the container has drainage holes on the bottom.

3. Don’t add too much fertilizer: One of the ingredients in fertilizer is salt. Too much fertilizer – and with it, too much salt – can damage plant roots. The salt in the fertilizer will remove whatever moisture is left in the roots and burn them.

4. Cut the amount in half: Whatever dosage the fertilizer manufacturer recommends, consider cutting the amount in half and fertilizing every time you water. This way you have less of a chance of burning the roots, and your plant gets a continual supply of nutrients rather than peaks and valleys.

5. Give them a pinch: Remove the old blooms and pinch a plant’s tips, which will force out new growth. An occasional light trim will keep a plant bushy and blooming.

With proper care, your annual plants will bloom beautifully for you this summer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2014 kids club birthday card design contest runs now through July 12

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This is the kids club’s current birthday card, which will be retired this summer. We’re looking for the next birthday card design.

For children, summer is for getting out of school, swimming, going on vacation.

And entering the 2014 Connells Maple Lee Kids Club birthday card design contest, which is open to children ages 5 to 12.

The deadline to enter is July 12.

The winning design will be featured in the email birthday card that every kids club member receives on his or her special day.

The winning artist will receive a free flower delivery on his or her birthday.

The entry form may be downloaded here and dropped off at the nearest Connells Maple Lee store: 2408 E. Main St., Bexley, 614-237-8653; 2033 Stringtown Road, Grove City, 614-539-4000; and 8573 Owenfield Drive, Powell,740-548-4082.

Connells Maple Lee Stems Hunger food drive returns June 20-28

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Mid-Ohio Foodbank’s on-site garden produces thousands of pounds of food each year.

Connells Maple Lee’s annual food drive – Connells Maple Lee Stems Hunger – will return June 20-28 to collect non-perishable food items for the Mid-Ohio Foodbank.

We’re asking the public to bring nonperishable food donations to any Connells Maple Lee store. For each food item, donors will receive a free carnation, up to a maximum of six carnations per family per visit.

Our stores are at 2408 E. Main St. (Route 40), Bexley; 2033 Stringtown Road, Grove City; and 8573 Owenfield Drive, Powell.

Connells Maple Lee Kids Club event June 21 to help kick off annual food drive

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Connells Maple Lee’s annual food drive – Connells Maple Lee Stems Hunger – will take place June 20-28. The Connells Maple Lee Kids Club will help out with a special event on June 21 for children ages 5 to 12.

They are asked to donate a non-perishable food item as the price of admission and to bring an empty food can that they can fill with flowers to take home.

Participants also will receive a free balloon and have an opportunity to enter the kids club’s birthday card design contest for a chance to win a flower delivery.

Time slots are available at 10 a.m., 2 p.m. and 3 p.m.

Registration is required by calling your nearest Connells Maple Lee store: 2408 E. Main St., Bexley, 614-237-8653; 2033 Stringtown Road, Grove City, 614-539-4000; and 8573 Owenfield Drive, Powell, 740-548-4082. Connells Maple Lee Stems Hunger benefits the Mid-Ohio Foodbank.

A thorny problem is solved by our annual May-June rose sale

“It was June, and the world smelled of roses. The sunshine was like powdered gold over the grassy hillside.”
― Maud Hart Lovelace, author

Indeed, June is National Rose Month, which coincides conveniently with the fact that roses are abundant this time of year.

That abundance explains why Connells Maple Lee has its rose sale every June.

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As everyone knows, roses, especially red ones, are in great demand at Valentine’s Day. Hence, prices go up for florists and customers alike. Even then, however, the law of supply and demand comes into play.

There’s considerably less demand for yellow and orange and white roses, which become more affordable for us and, in turn, for our customers. This Valentine’s Day, we offered a “rainbow” mixed-rose (colors other than red) arrangement with babies breath, valued at $59.99, for $39.99.

A rose farm typically harvests its crop every six to eight weeks. Conveniently after the Valentine’s Day harvest comes the one for Mother’s Day. But while there’s another big crop of roses in late spring, there is not a corresponding holiday to absorb all of those flowers.

So we created our annual rose sale, which this year started May 17 and runs through June 22. We discount rose arrangements by $10 for one dozen and by $20 for two dozen, among other offers.

Yes, in June the world smells of roses.

There’s also the whiff of our annual rose sale in the air.

 

 

 

15 houseplants that will improve your indoor air quality

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For all of its exploration of the galaxy, the space program has accrued many benefits right here on earth. Thanks to NASA, we know that houseplants can purify the air in our homes and workplaces.

NASA originally focused on finding ways to purify the air in orbiting space stations. A 1973 space mission identified 107 volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, that were emitted by the synthetic materials inside the spacecraft. It was clear that tightly sealed buildings, whether orbiting in space or on the ground, could cause health problems.

Sick building syndrome

Back on earth, spurred by the energy crisis of the 1970s, the building industry focused on making old and new structures more energy efficient. Without intending to, they also paved the way for trapping pollutants – or what is often called “sick building syndrome.”

Three of the pollutants found in spacecraft – benzene, formaldehyde and trichloroethylene – also are present in homes and offices, emitted by everything from building materials to furnishings to office equipment. Air-tight buildings conserve energy and reduce heating and cooling costs, but they also trap these pollutants.

NASA found that certain houseplants, because they are good at absorbing gases, could remove indoor pollutants. Researchers suggested using one potted plant per 100 square feet of home or office space to improve indoor air quality. One study found that philodendron, spider plant and golden pothos removed 80 percent of the formaldehyde that was introduced into a sealed chamber.

If you want to improve the air quality of your space, you might consider bringing home some of these commonly recommended plants:

1. Heartleaf philodendron
2. Elephant ear philodendron
3. Cornstalk dracaena
4. English ivy
5. Spider plant
6. Janet Craig dracaena
7.Warneckii dracaena
8.Weeping fig
9. Golden pothos
10. Peace lily
11. Selloum philodendron
12. Chinese evergreen
13. Bamboo or reed palm
14. Snake plant
15. Red-edged dracaena

Sources: sunsethillsfoliage.com, coopext.colostate.edu

 

We’ll walk down the aisle with you on your wedding day

Talk about a night at the museum. Instead of historical figures coming to life, this is a story about a would-be florist providing flowers for a wedding at a museum.

She left the flowers overnight in the museum’s old refrigerator – and they were frozen solid the morning of the wedding.

Not only are we familiar with this story, we lived it. At least the part where the woman came to us in a panic, and we made all-new bouquets, corsages and boutonnières in time for the nuptials.

It certainly wasn’t the first time we repaired or made new bouquets on short notice for a bride who bought her flowers elsewhere and was disappointed. Nor is it the only way that we can help to make a wedding day a little more special.

Wedding packages

We’ve been fortunate to provide flowers to many big weddings, but the typical expenditure for wedding flowers is between $400 and $1,000. We also offer affordable wedding packages.

Typically, we deliver two hours before a wedding to make sure that everything is where it should be.

Nine-piece rose wedding package.

Nine-piece rose wedding package.

Wedding service

We also offer a wedding service – for a fee, in some cases – that arrives an hour prior to the exchange of vows and stays until the bride has walked through the door and down the aisle.

A trained wedding consultant helps everyone with their flowers – and brings along a toolbox to help with just about any other need that might arise:

• Such as the time that the flower girl gave an enthusiastic hug to the bride, who was left with a nice bright lipstick stain in the middle of the gown. No problem. Our consultant pulled out her stain stick and removed the blemish.

• Or the time that the bride’s gown zipper ripped just before the wedding. Our consultant reached for her needle and thread.

• And the icing on the cake with all of this? It was the time that our consultant helped to ice the wedding cake moments before the reception.

Annual plants add beauty: 3 simple tips for taking care of them

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Colorful flowering annual baskets and pots provide an easy and inexpensive way to increase the beauty and enjoyment of outside living areas.

Annual plants are available in a wide range of colors and varieties, offering something for everyone.

Care is simple. Just keep these things in mind:

• Choose plants suited to the light levels they’re growing in:

  • Sunny spots require plants that thrive in the sun, such as geraniums, petunias, marigolds, salvia, ageratum, alyssum and portulaca.
  • Plants that do better with partial shade are begonias, impatiens, fuchsia and coleus.

• Container plants drink lots of water. Check them daily.

• To keep the blooms coming all season, add a water-soluble fertilizer a couple of times each week when watering. Plants also can be encouraged to bloom and stay “bushy” by pinching off the spent blooms.

Don’t let ‘DOGs’ take a bite out of your Mother’s Day order

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Our Google search for “flowers, columbus, ohio” returned a couple of sponsored links from what appear to be local florists.

On one website, there’s this message: “Columbus, Ohio Flower Delivery by our local florist to Columbus TODAY!”

What might not be clear is that the owner of that website is in Michigan.

‘Deceptive order gatherer’

The company is what is known in the floral industry as an “order gatherer,” or sometimes derided as a “deceptive order gatherer,” or DOG, as described in a recent story in the Philadelphia Inquirer.

They take orders and then broker them to local florists or even ship the flowers (unarranged, of course) via UPS or FedEx. These DOGs, which operate year-round, are hunting for your Mother’s Day order. And if they get it, they’ll likely take a bite out of your wallet that will exceed what you would have paid by working with your local florist to place the order.

An order gatherer will entice you with deals that look great but, upon closer inspection, probably aren’t.

In almost all cases, order gatherers present their flowers at discounted prices. A tulip bouquet valued at $81.99 is shown as marked down to $44.99, for instance. They also tend to upsell, so that when you select a standard or regular arrangement it defaults to a “deluxe” (read: more expensive) version.

Costly commissions and fees

On one order gather’s website, the home page featured a “best seller” arrangement of lilies, roses and alstroemeria valued at $34.99 but discounted to $27.99. When we clicked on it, our selection instead chose the deluxe version: valued at $44.99 but with a “Google discount” of $9 that put the total at $35.99.

At checkout, there was a $2.99 charge for same-day delivery – and a service/handling fee of $14.99. Our total was $53.97 even with the so-called Google discount.

Order gatherers typically deduct a 20 percent commission and other fees from orders, according to the Inquirer article. So if a flower order is valued at $44.99, that leaves less than $36 for the local florist, who then must deduct his delivery fee. Pretty soon, that $44.99 worth of flowers is maybe only a $28 value or less to the customer.

“It’s a no-win situation,” the Inquirer noted of this practice. The florist “can either fill the full order and lose money, or substitute a cheaper arrangement and risk consumer outrage.”

Let your local florist help

Either way, it might not be a risk worth taking when it comes to the impression you wish to make on the recipient. If you have a strong and trusting relationship with your local florist, then why not let them help you with an out-of-town flower delivery?

Reputable florists will make sure you get the value and quality that you deserve on your long-distance orders. After all, they want to be treated fairly when they are on the receiving end of orders.

The deceptive order gatherers, on the other hand, extract high service and delivery fees – only to hand off the order to someone else.

Another one of the order gatherers we examined offered same-day delivery of a gerbera arrangement valued at $49.99 but discounted to $29.99. Then another offer appeared, lowering the price to $9.99. But a service charge of $19.99 and a handling charge of $10.50 brought the total to $40.48.

The order gatherer won’t earn those fees, and you won’t get what you paid for.

When it comes to flowers, these DOGs aren’t man’s best friend.

 

 

Big Time Rush’s Maslow turns to Connells Maple Lee for ‘promposal’ bouquet

Hannah Wackernagle has a big-time crush on Big Time Rush’s James Maslow, so much so that the Grove City high school student asked Maslow to her prom on April 25.

Her “promposal” came in the form of a YouTube video that her mother, Hollie, helped her with.

 

 

Maslow, who was busy competing on ABC-TV’s “Dancing With the Stars,” could not attend. However, he invited Hannah, her mother and her sister to visit him in Los Angeles. Hannah also got to walk the red carpet and go to Disneyland.

 

 

What’s more, Maslow’s publicist worked with Connells Maple Lee’s Grove City store to send a beautiful mixed bouquet to Hannah at Central Crossing High School.

Nicole Judd of Connells Maple Lee designed the arrangement, which included gerbera daisies, roses, hydrangea, dendrobium orchids, alstroemeria, lilies. She complemented the flowers with a large butterfly and ting ting.

“[Maslow] went all out for her,” said Crystal Wells, Grove City store manager.

She and Judd delivered the arrangement to Hannah at school on the day of her prom. It was so big that it took both of them to carry it.