A selfish reason for giving flowers or plants on Secretary’s Day: boost productivity

Flowers aren’t just a nice thing to do for your administrative assistant on Secretary’s Day, also known as Administrative Professionals Day.

Research conducted at Texas A&M University found that flowers can help boost workplace productivity.

“Our research shows that a change as simple as adding flowers and plants can be important in the most meaningful way to businesses in the modern economy,” said Roger Ulrich, lead researcher on the project. The increased productivity – in the form of innovation and creative problem-solving – “could mean the difference between mild and great business success.”

The Society of American Florists worked with the researchers, lending expertise in flowers and plants.

In an eight-month study, both women and men demonstrated more innovative thinking, generating more ideas and original solutions to problems in the office environment that included flowers and plants. Men generated more ideas, while women generated more creative, flexible solutions to problems.

So bosses can give their administrative assistants flowers or plants out of respect and self-interest.


How the lily became a symbol of Easter and other floral facts about the holiday

Photo: Matt H. Wade

Photo: Matt H. Wade

Numerous accounts identify her as Mrs. Thomas Sargent, a resident of Philadelphia who visited Bermuda in the 1880s. Smitten by the lilies she saw there, she brought lily bulbs home with her.

She gave some of them to a local nurseryman named William Harris, “who began growing them, forcing them into spring bloom, and selling to other florists,” writes Leonard Perry, an extension professor at the University of Vermont. “Many began buying this flower for Easter, as they do today, with it symbolizing the Resurrection.”

“Forcing” bulbs – as we described in this post about hyacinths – is the means by which light and temperature can be manipulated in order to control the rate at which a plant grows. In most parts of the United States, lilies naturally would bloom in the summer – weeks after Easter.

Some other facts about Easter lilies:

  • Flowering and green houseplants (46 percent) account for the biggest chunk of Easter/Passover floral sales. Lilies (52 percent) account for most flowering houseplant sales. (
  • Lilies are considered highly toxic to cats. The Society of American Florists recommends keeping lilies out of the reach of cats as ingesting even small amounts of the plant can cause kidney failure. Lilies do not pose a problem for other pets or humans. (
  • In the home, Easter lilies prefer moderately cool temperatures (recommended 60 to 65 degrees during the day, slightly cooler at night). They thrive near a window in bright, indirect natural daylight. (Texas A&M Agrilife Extension)
  • Ohio is among the states that produce the most potted Easter lilies. (Texas A&M Agrilife Extension)







Flowers help stem the morning blahs: Harvard study


Maybe it’s the long winter or the still-cold mornings, or just too much work and not enough sleep. There are any number of reasons why it can be tough to get at ‘em in the morning.

When it comes to a pick-me-up, caffeine isn’t for all tastes. But everyone can start their days with flowers — and with good reason.

People are happier and more energetic after looking at flowers first thing in the morning, according to a behavioral study conducted by researchers at Harvard University and Massachusetts General Hospital.

“The morning blahs, it turns out, is a real phenomenon, with positive moods — happiness, friendliness and warmth, for example — manifesting much later in the day,” said lead researcher Dr. Nancy Etcoff. “Interestingly, when we placed a small bouquet of flowers into their morning routines, people perked up.”

The final study results demonstrated that flowers affect people emotionally at home, causing them to feel less anxious and more compassionate. They even reported a boost of energy that lasted all day.

“What I find interesting is that by starting the day in a more positive mood, you are likely to transfer those happier feelings to others — it’s what is called mood contagion,” Etcoff said. “And, the kitchen is the place where families tend to gather in the morning — imagine how big a difference a better morning mood can make.”

To learn more about this study and ways to incorporate flowers into your kitchen, click here.


Irish eyes smile at St. Patrick’s Day kids club event

A tip o’ the cap to everyone who joined us on March 15 for our St. Patrick’s Day-themed Connells Maple Lee Kids Club event.

Each child who participated had an opportunity to decorate a white carnation by giving it a smiling face. They carnations were dropped in bud vases filled with water that was dyed green to mark the holiday. Eventually, the dye will work its way up the stem to change the color of the flower.

There’s even more fun planned as the kids club has three more events in 2014. The dates and themes:

June 21: Stems Hunger food drive

Aug. 23: Back to school

Nov. 1: Bouquets for Books book drive





Six easy ways to get a jump on spring

The days are getting longer, the sun is getting brighter, and everyone is looking to shake off cabin fever. Spring is almost here, but you can get a jump on the season by bringing bright color and natural beauty into your home.

Here are some easy and cost-effective ideas to get you started:

1. Blooms: Nothing says spring quite like flowering plants. Violets, begonia, kalanchoe, cyclamen and Phaleonopsis orchids are all easy care and just need a home near a bright window for cheerful blooms over an extended period.

Bulb plants such as hyacinths, daffodils and tulips offer an added bonus. In the fall, you can plant the bulbs outside so that they deliver a splash of color next spring.

2. Think green: Green foliage plants add oxygen and humidity back into the air that we breathe and remove some impurities. Rejuvenate and dust off your houseplants. Better yet, pick up a new plant to replace one or two that are tired or to fill a bare corner or tabletop. Add a new basket or ceramic pot cover to add color and enhance your décor.

3. Common scents: Candles aren’t just for the fall and winter holiday seasons any more. Vanilla and lavender are two of the most popular scents, but you’ll find plenty of fresh, clean fragrances and styles of candles that have increased in popularity and are perfect for year-round use. Try a fresh linen or spring floral scent.

4. Bring the outdoors in: Trees and shrubs are just starting to bud. Trim a few branches and bring the outdoors inside to force open the blooms in a vase. Some good choices are forsythia, pussy willow and flowering cherry or crabapple stems, each of which produces colorful blooms.

Becoming more popular are curly willow and red twig dogwood branches. Although these branches do not have visible flowers, they look great in a vase and give texture when you add a few fresh-cut flowers. When you’re at the florist, be sure to pick up floral preservative to add to the water.

5. Front and center: Don’t forget about the front door and porch. Hang branches or a nice door piece for instant spring. Bulb plants, pansies and primrose all do well on a porch or patio. You may have to cover them or bring them inside overnight in case of frost or low temperatures. A cheerful front door will put a smile on your face and on those of your neighbors.

6. Treat yourself: Studies show that flowers are a great weapon against the morning blahs, boost energy and workplace productivity, and improve emotional health. So pick up a mixed handful, a weekly special or even just a few loose stems of your favorites.

Join the Connells Maple Lee Kids Club on March 15 for our free St. Patrick’s Day event

Kids club project St. Patrick's Day (March 2014)

At the end of the rainbow is another free Connells Maple Lee Kids Club event for ages 5 to 12.

Join us March 15 for an opportunity to decorate a white carnation by giving it a smiling face. You’ll be able to take your creation home in a bud vase and watch as the green dye in the water changes the color of the flower. 

Participants also will receive a balloon. 

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

Registration is required by calling your nearest store: 2408 E. Main St. (Route 40), Bexley, 614-237-8653; 2033 Stringtown Road, Grove City, 614-539-4000; and 8573 Owenfield Drive, Powell, 740-548-4082. 



Five Valentine’s Day options for $40 or less

You can put a price on love.

No matter what your budget, Connells Maple Lee has a Valentine’s Day option for you.

Rainbow rose bouquet

Let’s get to the heart of the matter with five options for below $50 each:

1. Single rose: $5; perfect to give to a son or daughter, or for them to give to Mom
2. Flower handful: $5 to $10; consider something less traditional such as tulips
3. Single rose with bear: $15 to $18; another great option for children
4. Mixed bunch: $15 to $20; easily dropped in a vase — and most of us have vases at home
5. Dozen rainbow roses (photo): $40; great value on mixed-color roses in a vase

As an added bonus, we’re offering an incentive to encourage customers to have their Valentine’s Day orders delivered by Feb. 13: The recipient will get a coupon for a free dozen-rose bouquet.

Rather than national services, call your local florist to get the most bang for your buck on Valentine’s Day: NBC’s “Today”

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

With the Valentine’s Day fast approaching, NBC’s “Today” put three national floral delivery services to the test. The results weren’t always pretty, with “Today” concluding that what customers received didn’t always match what they ordered from the 1-800-Flowers, Teleflora and FTD websites.

In the clip above, “Today” consults with a flower expert on the subject of getting the most bang for your buck.

The takeaway? Shop a local florist.

In his introduction, “Today” correspondent Jeff Rossen said: “Here’s tip No. 1: Experts say call your local florist. Most of them deliver. You can say to them, ‘What flowers are fresh today?’ You have that personal communication, so experts say you’re more likely to get what you pay for.”

Connells Maple Lee Kids Club announces full 2014 event schedule

We hope to see your family at Saturday’s Connells Maple Lee Kids Club event. But even if you can’t make it, you will have four other opportunities to join us throughout 2014.

Be sure to mark your calendars for these dates and event themes:

  • March 15: St. Patrick’s Day
  • June 21: Connells Maple Lee Stems Hunger (food drive)
  • Aug. 23: Back to school
  • Nov. 1: Bouquets for Books (book drive)

Registration is required for all events, which take place on Saturdays and are open to children ages 5 to 12. Typically we offer sessions at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

To keep up on the latest kids club news and events, join the club by clicking here.

See you soon!

Kids club looks ahead to spring with free event Jan. 18 in all stores

Kids club arrangement (Jan 2014)

It’s early winter, but spring is the thing at the first free Connells Maple Lee Kids Club event of 2014.

At our stores on Jan. 18, children ages 5 to 12 will have an opportunity to create a daisy arrangement in a decorative glass jar as shown above. Participants also will receive a balloon.

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

Registration is required by calling the store nearest you: 2408 E. Main St. (Route 40), Bexley, 614-237-8653; 2033 Stringtown Road, Grove City, 614-539-4000; and 8573 Owenfield Drive, Powell, 740-548-4082.

For more information about Connells Maple Lee’s Kids Club, click here.