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Blacklick third-grader wins Connells Maple Lee Kids Club birthday card design contest

Abby Hollstrom of Licking Heights describes her son Logan, 8, as a “big drawer.”

“He’s constantly drawing and coloring,” she said of Logan, who is entering third grade. “Legos, lots of Legos. And reading, too. He’s very creative.”

That creativity no doubt contributed to Logan winning this year’s Connells Maple Lee Flowers & Gifts Kids Club birthday card design contest.

Logan’s aquatic design will be featured on the electronic card that kids club members will receive on their birthdays in the coming year. His prize is a free flower delivery on his next birthday.

The kids club is free to ages 5 to 12. With parental permission, children may register for the kids club at any Connells Maple Lee store or at cmlflowers.com/kidsclub.

Membership benefits include a membership card, website activities, an e-mail newsletter, contests and in-store events.

We need your help naming this arrangement; enter our contest by Aug. 15

It has a number, but arrangement 3771 also needs a name.

That’s why we’re asking for help by seeking submissions to our name-the-arrangement online contest through Aug. 15.

The all-around arrangement comprises three roses, stock, hydrangea, mini hydrangea, a lily, cushion poms, button poms, bupleurum, caspia, and curly willow accents swirled in a nine-inch glass bowl.

The person who submits the winning name will receive this arrangement (retail value $69.99) as a prize.

To enter the contest, visit cmlflowers.com/contest.

Limit one entry daily per email address, now through Aug. 15.

Connells Maple Lee Kids Club offers free back-to-school event Aug. 17

We’ll celebrate the start of a new school year with a free kids club event on Aug. 17.

Children ages 5 to 12 will have an opportunity to create an arrangement featuring lavender and yellow daisy pompons, tree fern, limonium, and a back-to-school stick-in in an orange diamond-cut vase.

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

Registration is required by calling your nearest Connells Maple Lee store: 3014 E. Broad St., Bexley, 614-237-8653; 2033 Stringtown Road, Grove City, 614-539-4000; and 8573 Owenfield Drive, Powell, 740-548-4082.

Connells Maple Lee’s annual ‘Stems Hunger’ food drive returns June 22-July 6

Neighborhood Services Food Pantry in Columbus

Connells Maple Lee’s annual food drive returns June 22-July 6.

Connells Maple Lee Stems Hunger will benefit the nonprofit Neighborhood Services Food Pantry at 1950 N. 4th St., Suite J, Columbus.

Food drive donors will receive a free carnation for each nonperishable food item they contribute (limit six per visit).

Donations may be dropped off during regular business hours at any one of Connells Maple Lee’s stores: 3014 E. Broad St., Bexley; 2033 Stringtown Road, Grove City; and 8573 Owenfield Drive, Powell.

Forty million people face hunger in the United States – more than the entire population of Canada, according to Feeding America, the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization. The need is acute during the summer months for more than 18 million children who lose access to free and reduced-price meals through schools.

Enter the kids club birthday card contest by July 15 for a chance to win a free flower delivery

It’s like sending a gift to yourself.

One lucky child between the ages of 5 and 12 will receive a flower delivery on his or her birthday by winning this year’s Connells Maple Lee Kids Club birthday card design contest.

The deadline for submissions is July 15. The winning design will grace the official e-card that all kids club members will receive in the coming year. (Here’s how to become a member.)

One way to enter the contest is to attend the June 29 kids club event, where everyone who participates also will have an opportunity to make a sundae out of carnations. Time slots are available at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Registration is required by contacting your nearest store.

The other way to enter the contest is by downloading the entry form and dropping it off at your nearest store.

You’ll see the 2018 winning design at the top of this post.

To everyone who enters the contest, we wish you good luck! We can’t wait to see what you come up with.

Connells Maple Lee Kids Club making sundaes on Saturday at June 29 event

Here’s the scoop on the Connells Maple Lee Kids Club event on June 29.

Children ages 5 to 12 will have an opportunity to create an ice cream sundae out of carnations and to enter the kids club birthday card design contest. Participants also will receive a balloon.

As the price of admission, children are asked to bring at least one nonperishable food item to contribute to the Connells Maple Lee Stems Hunger food drive to benefit the Neighborhood Services Food Pantry in Columbus.

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

Registration is required by calling your nearest Connells Maple Lee store: 3014 E. Broad St., Bexley, 614-237-8653; 2033 Stringtown Road, Grove City, 614-539-4000; and 8573 Owenfield Drive, Powell, 740-548-4082.

The other remaining 2019 kids club events are Aug. 17 and Nov. 2.

Garden roses are back and a popular option for weddings

Garden roses, which once were the everyday rose sold by local flower shops, are back in their uniquely big and fragrant ways.

Their large blooms and strong scent not only distinguish them from today’s standard roses but also make them an increasingly popular option for weddings and other special occasions.

This is how Alexandra Farms in Bogota, Colombia, the source for most of the garden roses that Connells Maple Lee buys, toasts its product: “Garden roses are to roses what champagne is to wine.”

BRED FOR PERFORMANCE

Decades ago, Connells Maple Lee and other florists grew their own garden roses. What today is known as a standard or modern rose didn’t exist.

By the 1970s, however, an oil embargo made it prohibitively expensive for Connells Maple Lee and other domestic florists to heat their greenhouses. Meanwhile, Bogota, by virtue of lying on a plateau near the equator, enjoyed warm days and cool nights – or near-perfect conditions for rose production. (Today, the major rose-producing nations are Colombia, Ecuador and Kenya.)

But as with many things in life, there was a trade-off: The farther away growers were from florists, the hardier that roses (and other flowers) had to be to withstand the added time and rigors involved with shipping.

So, a choice had to be made between flower bloom size and fragrance on the one hand and vase life (or how long a flower lasts once it is cut) on the other. Garden roses have twice as many petals as standard roses, which manifests as significantly bigger blooms than standard rose blooms.

“In many cases,” according to Alexandra Farms, “you couldn’t get a garden rose with a long vase life if you wanted it also to have many petals or fragrance, so [growers] moved toward standard roses. Rather than getting more beauty or fragrance in the varieties they grew, they got longer vase life. In short, [roses] lost some of their charisma in favor of performance.”

Famed rose breeder David Austin changed that by developing a garden rose genetic line specifically for the cut-flower market.

“Now, garden roses are bred for performance in addition to their charismatic qualities,” according to Alexandra Farms, “so you can have the best of both worlds.”

Meanwhile, improvements in post-harvesting techniques – from hydration methods to anti-ethylene treatments (ethylene gas can promote premature flower death) to better packaging – “have enabled us to grow more productively and ship our cut flowers around the world,” according to Alexandra Farms.

The grower said it has tested more than 1,500 varieties of garden roses for beauty but also for shelf and vase life.

ALTERNATIVE TO PEONIES

Garden roses are available in almost every color that exists for standard roses. True to their champagne reputation, garden roses cost more than standard roses, but they are a cost-effective alternative to peonies.

Garden roses are sometimes described as having “powder puff” petals that mirror those of peonies and make them a good substitute when peonies aren’t available.

Peonies require frozen soil – and therefore seasons, Alexandra Farms explained. The plants must freeze in the ground for months in order to sprout in the spring. Based on time of year and availability, peonies can be considerably more expensive than garden roses, which are available year-round.

But Alexandra Farms, which grows 61 varieties of garden roses in Colombia, noted that garden roses don’t have to be limited to weddings and other special events.

They “can be used for anything including home décor, vase work, etc.,” according to the grower. “The garden roses grown at Alexandra Farms were bred and selected for longevity, as well as beauty. They are hardy and work well for any use.”

Living with flowers results in ‘significant decrease’ in stress levels and improved moods: study

Working, commuting, paying bills, tending to family demands.

How do I stress thee? Let me count the ways.

If there’s too much on your to-do list, you might want to scrap it altogether and start over with a single item: get flowers.

Recent research from the University of North Florida revealed that the presence of flowers can reduce stress, according to the Society of American Florists, of which Connells Maple Lee is a member.

“The findings show that people who lived with flowers in their homes for just a few days reported a significant decrease in their levels of stress and improvements in their moods.”

One-third of people are stressed every day; women are particularly affected, with one in four of them experiencing stress multiple times daily.

“Our findings are important from a public health perspective,” said lead researcher Erin Largo-Wight, associate professor in the university’s department of public health, “because adding flowers to reduce stress does not require tremendous effort to generate a meaningful effect.”

Helpful tips

The Society of American Florists offered these tips for using flowers “to help relax and rewind”:

Experience flowers: Walk into your local florist and take a look around. Just the sight and smell of the natural beauty of flowers will put you at ease. Ask your florist to show you what’s in the cooler so you can learn about new varieties, colors and design styles.

Find peace: If you are having a bad day when it seems like nothing is going right, try flowers in soothing, tranquil colors, such as blues, lavenders and pale greens. Place a small arrangement on your nightstand or in your bathroom, so you can experience the stress-relieving benefits of flowers right before you go to bed, and right when you get up to start your day.

Help others: Sometimes the best way to relieve stress and the pressures of the day, is to do something nice for someone else. Here’s an idea: Go to your florist and buy two bouquets. Keep one for yourself, then take the other bouquet and “petal it forward” to a stranger on the street. You’ll be amazed at the reaction to your random act of kindness.

Give yourself some joy: One great way to reconnect with joy and feel less stressed is to surround yourself with simple things that make you feel happy and loved, like a colorful bunch of flowers or a blooming plant. Flowers have the power to open hearts, and when your heart is open you are more likely to focus on the positive points in your day.

Be a friend: Do you have a friend or loved one who could use a boost? Have flowers delivered unexpectedly to their door, and watch their ordinary day become extraordinary. It will make you smile, too.

Color your world: Color therapists say colors really do affect our moods. The happiest color? Orange. It promotes optimism, enthusiasm, and a sense of uplift. Choose orange flowers — roses, gerberas, lilies, ranunculus, alstroemeria, tulips — to put on your kitchen counter or your work desk, and see your mood soar.

Pepper your house with small doses of calm: When bringing home flowers from your florist, have a couple of small vases and containers available so you can place a few flowers in different parts of your living space. You’ll be amazed how many small arrangements you can get out of a single bunch of flowers, and you’ll have constant reminders to “stop and smell the flowers.”

The 2018 research from the University of North Florida builds on other university studies suggesting that flowers can help make people happy, strengthen feelings of compassion, foster creativity and boost energy.

 

Connells Maple Lee introduces fresh gathered bouquets

Do it yourself doesn’t mean you have to go it alone.

A case in point: Connells Maple Lee’s new fresh gathered bouquets.

Available in 13 different options (with the promise of more to come), the bouquets sell for $19.99 or $29.99 including delivery. They arrive in a brown craft paper sleeve tied with raffia, giving the package a “rustic, farmers market feel,” said Cheryl Brill, our chief operating officer.

The small ($19.99) version of the Tuscan bouquet, for instance, comprises mini green hydrangea, alstroemeria, daisy poms, viking poms, carnations, mini carnations, caspia, and tree fern. The larger ($29.99) version adds two roses to the mix.

Increasingly, flower buyers like to purchase loose bouquets they can arrange themselves, often using favorite containers, Brill said.

Hands-on

Yet customers can take comfort in knowing that each fresh gathered bouquet is professionally designed with complementary colors and textures (caspia and tree fern, for instance) in mind and then hand-assembled in our stores.

This removes some of the guesswork for customers while allowing them to be hands-on at home.

Brill said she took one of the bouquets home, trimmed the stems to the appropriate length, and dropped the bouquet into a vase.

“I couldn’t be happier with how that turned out,” she said. “And if customers can do that at home, I would think they’d be very happy with that, too.”

Many customers like to purchase for themselves. Of course, as with any other Connells Maple Lee product, the fresh gathered bouquets can be sent to someone as a gift.

While fresh gathered bouquets currently are available only in Connells Maple Lee’s market area, Brill delivered this tidbit: soon customers will have the opportunity to ship them almost anywhere in the United States.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Connells Maple Lee Kids Club celebrating St. Patrick’s Day with free event March 16 in all stores

They say that everyone is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day.

While that may be a wee bit of an overstatement, this much is true: On March 16, all Connells Maple Lee Flowers & Gifts stores are celebrating the holiday with a free kids club event.

Children ages 5 to 12 will have an opportunity to make an Irish Blessings arrangement, featuring a three-inch plant in a basket that can be decorated with green foil, satin ribbon and a glitter shamrock stick-in.

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

Registration is required by calling your nearest Connells Maple Lee store: 3014 E. Broad St., Bexley, 614-237-8653; 2033 Stringtown Road, Grove City, 614-539-4000; and 8573 Owenfield Drive, Powell, 740-548-4082.

The other 2019 kids club events are March 16, June 29, Aug. 17 and Nov. 2.