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In January, it’s a tip-top time to tip-toe through the tulips


Tulips arrived in Western Europe in the late 1500s from their native Turkey, looking unlike anything else on the continent.

As an import, they “commanded the same exoticism that spices and Oriental rugs did,” according to Investopedia.com.

And by the first part of the 1600s, the rarest bulbs traded for as much as six times the average annual salary. This phenomenon came to be known as “tulip mania.”

The allure of tulips remains strong centuries later. Connells Maple Lee celebrates tulips every year at this time. Our annual tulip promotion runs through Jan. 31 with a combination of specials and everyday value.

10 stems for $8.99

For $8.99, you can pick up a 10-stem “grower’s bunch” that’s regularly priced at $14.99. Two bunches are $16.99.

Handful bouquets with free local delivery

The tulip promotion also includes free delivery on our hand-tied handful bouquets, available with 15 tulips ($25) or 25 tulips ($39.99) and accents of limonium.

$59.99 shipped anywhere in continental U.S.

There are places called Tulip in seven states, but you can send 15 boxed tulips anywhere in the continental United States for $59.99 as part of our direct-ship program.

New Vintage Tulips collection

Our new Vintage Tulips arrangements are available in four sizes and come with three (pink or purple vase), 10, 20 or 40 mixed color tulips (colors will vary). New this year, each arrangement features accents of dusty miller and wax flower for a more vintage/Victorian feel compared with the country look of previous years.

Emily Mallis, Connells Maple Lee’s marketing manager, noted that dusty miller “is soft and slightly fuzzy and is a lighter green with some silver tones or maybe a white dusting.” Wax flower, she said, “has a beautiful fragrance when cut or touched.”

The Vintage Tulips line ranges from $16.99 to $89.99 and can be picked up at our stores in Bexley, Grove City or Powell or delivered within our market area.

As a hardy, affordable symbol of perfect love, tulips also are a popular option for Valentine’s Day.

Perhaps you’ve heard the entertainer Tiny Tim, singing in a falsetto and strumming a ukulele, performing “Tiptoe Through the Tulips.”

The lyrics include:

“Knee deep in flowers we’ll stray
We’ll keep the showers away
And if I kiss you in the garden
In the moonlight, will you pardon me?
And tip-toe through the tulips with me”

Design your own bouquet at Jan. 11 Connells Maple Lee Kids Club event

A new year, a new Connells Maple Lee Kids Club event.

On Jan. 11, children ages 5 to 12 will have an opportunity to choose from a selection of flowers to create their own bouquets.

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.

We can’t promise eternity, but here’s how to make your evergreen wreath last longer

We see them on doors and fences, windows and walls.

Some are even attached to the fronts of cars and trucks.

The evergreen Christmas wreath is a ubiquitous holiday adornment. So much so, perhaps, that it’s easy to overlook its rich symbolism.

“The evergreen wreath — its circular shape an emblem not only of perfection and unity but also of the warm, enduring sun — later became a Christian symbol for Christ’s suffering and ultimate triumph over death,” according to a 1988 New York Times article. “It is believed that the holly wreath, with its sharp, pointed leaves, first represented the crown of thorns worn by Christ on the cross, the little red berries symbolizing drops of blood. Later wreaths were formed from a variety of pines and firs, with evergreens embodying eternal life.”

The tradition of bringing evergreen trees into homes dates to the 16th century, according to a Time magazine article, crediting Germans specifically. Pruning trees to make them fit or more shapely left “pieces of greenery” that lent themselves to wreath-making.

“These people were living in a time when everything in their lives was used until it was gone,” said Ace Collins, author of “Stories Behind the Great Traditions of Christmas.”

Wreaths had other associations prior to Christmas, however: as “a prominent emblem of victory and power in ancient Greece and Rome.” Victorious athletes were crowned with wreaths of many sorts, including olives, laurel, wild celery and pine. Wreaths also were worn by priests, by brides and by guests at a feast.

‘Representation of eternal life’

In the context of Christmas, wreaths originally served as tree ornaments.

“They were formed into a wheel-like shape partially for convenience’s sake — it was simple to hang a circle onto the branches of a tree — but the shape was also significant as a representation of divine perfection,” Time wrote.

Similarly, evergreen trees were revered for their ability to survive winter.

“Together,” Time noted, “the circular shape and the evergreen material make the wreath a representation of eternal life.”

While you can’t make an evergreen wreath last forever, you can get the most out of one by following these simple tips:

–Fresh wreaths will get dry over time, but spray-on products such as Wilt Pruf seal moisture in (it works on garland and Christmas trees, too). Be sure to do this away from your door and before hanging the wreath to avoid making a mess.

–Wreaths can cook if placed between a door and a glass storm door, so hang them on an outside door exposed to the elements.

–Keep wreaths out of direct sunlight if possible, such as on a door under a porch roof.

 

Shedding holiday light on the mystery that is mistletoe

Oh, ho the mistletoe
Hung where you can see
Somebody waits for you
Kiss her once for me
 

–“A Holly Jolly Christmas” 

Even if you’ve never seen mistletoe, much less smooched beneath it, it may have been a part of your holiday tradition since childhood.

That’s because the 1964 Christmas special, “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” features Burl Ives, in the voice of narrator Sam the Snowman, singing “A Holly Jolly Christmas.” All the while, prospector Yukon Cornelius hoists a tower of four elves hanging mistletoe and Rudolph gives the doe Clarice a peck on her cheek.

The poinsettia may be the most popular Christmas plant, but mistletoe seems to have the edge when it comes to appearances in Christmas songs. Everyone from Ives and Perry Como to Michael Buble and Alan Jackson has covered “A Holly Jolly Christmas.” Justin Bieber has a song titled, simply, “Mistletoe.”

For many of us, however, mistletoe is a mystery. Connells Maple Lee sells fresh poinsettias by the hundreds, in various sizes and varieties, but a much smaller quantity of preserved mistletoe, offered in a four-inch cluster with a bow packaged in a box.

“It’s a novelty more than anything now,” said Cheryl Brill, Connells Maple Lee’s chief operating officer. The typical customer is a young guy.

Not to be eaten

Yet while mistletoe is associated with kissing and Christmas, its role in nature is anything but beneficent. In fact, it’s the Grinch of holiday plants, an honest-to-goodness parasite.

“Mistletoe is an evergreen pest that attaches itself to trees, plants and shrubs, stealing their nutrients and water,” a CBS News story noted. “This can weaken or disfigure the host plant, and eventually even kill it.”

The genus name for North American oak mistletoe, the most common species in the eastern United States, is “phoradendron,” which is Greek for “tree thief.”

Mistletoe is difficult to remove because its seeds sprout and grow through the bark of trees and into their tissues, extending up and down within the branches.

“The most effective way to fight it is to remove an infected branch or limb entirely,” according to CBS.

Mistletoe has a misanthropic side, too. A person eating any part of it may experience drowsiness, blurred vision, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, weakness or seizures. These symptoms are caused by phoratoxin, which can be found in mistletoe berries and especially in the leaves. (Several types of mistletoe can be poisonous to pets, too.)

“Throw in the fact that some species are poisonous, and mistletoe starts to seem less like something you’d spy mama kissing Santa under and more like something Krampus would plant on your Christmas tree,” an article on the National Geographic website noted.

Krampus is a half-goat, half-demon in folklore that punishes children who misbehave, in contrast with St. Nicholas rewarding well-behave children with gifts.

‘Mystic branch’

But in this season of giving, it seems only fair to consider mistletoe in a positive light. Because it steals water and nutrients, mistletoe stays green year-round and is a symbol of fertility to some people.

“The plant’s parasitic nature is probably why people began to think mistletoe was special enough to kiss under in the first place,” according to National Geographic.

In Europe, according to the U.S. National Cancer Institute website, “mistletoe extracts are among the most prescribed therapies for cancer patients.” However, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not approved the use of mistletoe as a treatment for cancer or any other medical condition.

Ancient Anglo-Saxons noticed that mistletoe often grows near bird droppings, according to the National Wildlife Federation. Hence, its name derived from “mistel,” which means dung, and “tan,” which means twig. Therefore, mistletoe means “dung-on-a-twig.”

Studies suggest that when certain species of mistletoe were removed from ecosystems in Australia and Mexico, birds suffered.

As it matures, mistletoe can grow into thick, often rounded masses of branches and stems that can reach as big as five feet wide and 50 pounds and sometimes called “witches’ brooms.” Some birds, including wrens, chickadees, mourning doves and pygmy nuthatches, nest in these witches brooms.

Some butterflies lay their eggs in mistletoe, their young eating the leaves and adults (and some native bees) feeding on mistletoe nectar. Mistletoe’s white berries are a no-no for people, but they are favored in the fall and winter by the likes of deer, elk, squirrels, chipmunks and porcupines.

Clearly mistletoe endures as a symbol of Christmas joy and wonder. Charles Dickens, in the “Pickwick Papers” in the 1830s, called mistletoe the “mystic branch.”

The Hallmark Channel carries on that tradition with movies bearing titles such as, “Moonlight and Mistletoe, “The Mistletoe Promise,” and “The Mistletoe Secret.”

Of course, the happy ending is always sealed with a kiss.

Connells Maple Lee Flowers saluting veterans with free red, white and blue bouquets Nov. 11

Connells Maple Lee Flowers & Gifts will salute military veterans on Nov. 11 by giving them red, white and blue bouquets.

The offer is available in-store only at any of Connells Maple Lee’s three Columbus-area stores: 3014 E. Broad St., Bexley; 2033 Stringtown Road, Grove City; and 8573 Owenfield Drive, Powell.

Non-veterans may purchase the bouquet for $3.99.

“Royer’s is grateful to the brave men and women who have served our country so that we may continue to enjoy freedom,” said Tom Royer, CEO of Connells Maple Lee Flowers & Gifts. “It’s our privilege to recognize our veterans in this small way.”

Connells Maple Lee collecting holiday cards and coloring pages for service members and veterans in November

Connells Maple Lee Flowers & Gifts is collecting holiday cards and coloring pages for service members and veterans throughout November in each of its stores.

Connells Maple Lee will present the collected items to the American Red Cross “Holidays for Heroes” program.

Cards and coloring pages may be dropped off at one of Connells Maple Lee’s three Columbus-area stores during normal business hours. Free coloring pages can be downloaded at cmlflowers.com/heroes

The Red Cross offers these guidelines for preparing cards:

  • Use generic salutations: “Dear Service Member” or “Dear Veteran”
  • Be thoughtful with messages, expressing reasons why you are thankful for the service members/veterans; if you have a personal connection, such as a family member who served, consider adding that
  • Try not to be overtly religious, but messages such as “Merry Christmas” or “God Bless You” are acceptable
  • Do not include inserts such as glitter, photos, business cards
  • Do not include personal information such as telephone number, address or email
  • Sign your name

The American Red Cross prevents and alleviates human suffering in the face of emergencies by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors.

Connells Maple Lee Kids Club making patriotic arrangement at Veterans Day event on Nov. 2

The Connells Maple Lee Kids Club will salute Veterans Day with a free event on Nov. 2 in all Connells Maple Lee Flowers & Gifts stores.

Children ages 5 to 12 will have an opportunity to make a patriotic arrangement that includes an American flag.

Participants also may decorate a coloring page for the annual Holidays for Heroes event, for which Connells Maple Lee works in conjunction with the American Red Cross to honor veterans and active military.

Children are encouraged to wear their Halloween costumes to the Nov. 2 event.

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.

Sizing up six new arrangements for fall

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Several sure signs of the season: cooler temperatures, candy corn on grocery store shelves and the arrival of our fall menu.

Emily Mallis, Connells Maple Lee’s marketing manager, shared her insight on six arrangements making their debuts.

2820/Foliage Terrarium:

A tilted pedestal container gives a unique, updated look to our everyday dish garden while retaining its vintage feel.

2838/Rectangle Succulent:

Succulents are in, and we are keeping them trendy with this stylized design. This two-plant dish garden gives an earthy feeling, with the stone container and moss as finishing touches.

3768/Darling with Spray Roses, Extra Large:

Charmelia adds height and removing the lilies and gerbera daisy makes for a fuller look in shades of purple and pastel pinks. Ginger spray roses add a finishing touch.

3780/Triple Rose Bud Vase:

This new style of triple rose vase, with its wider lip, enhances a shift to more of an all-around look that’s a great size for an office desk or end table in the home.

3788/Baby Girl Steps:
The new L- shaped, three-quarter round design replaces the all-around look from last year. The increased height and width give it a more impressive look, with pink or blue carnations instead of an overall garden color.

3795/English Garden Vase:
We wanted to increase the number of $125 vase selections. This English garden vase was redesigned to be fuller. It no longer includes curly willow and uses stock, roses and other value flowers in place of lilies and gerbera daisies.

If you haven’t received a copy of the fall menu in the mail, you can pick one up at any Connells Maple Lee store.

And the winning arrangement name is … Tranquil Blooms

Karen Reif said her close friend received an email from Connells Maple Lee Flowers & Gifts about this year’s name-the-arrangement contest.

“She saw it [and said], ‘You’re the creative one not me, so here you go,’ ” said the Westerville retiree.

Her friend’s hunch paid off as Reif submitted the winning entry, Tranquil Blooms. Reif entered names most days of the online contest, which ran Aug. 1-15.

“It was whatever I was feeling each day when I looked at it,” she said.

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.

Reif will receive a Tranquil Blooms arrangement as her prize. The arrangement will debut in September.

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.