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Orient resident wins Connells Maple Lee name-the-arrangement contest

Orient resident Diana Hendricks’ 25-year relationship with Connells Maple Lee Flowers & Gifts has achieved a new high. You might say it’s sky-high.

Hendricks’ entry, “Azure Sky,” won this year’s Connells Maple Lee name-the-arrangement contest.

She said she entered just once, her entry playing off the arrangement’s blue vase. Hers was among more than 100 online submissions between late July and Aug. 6.

Participants saw a photo of the arrangement and a list of its components: the vase filled with a rose, blue hydrangea, white stargazer lily, daisy poms, carnations and eryngium.

Hendricks said she has been a Connells Maple Lee customer for 25 years, starting when she placed orders as a church secretary but also including her mother’s funeral and other occasions.

“They always did a nice job,” she said.

For winning the contest, she will receive an Azure Sky arrangement as a prize.

You name it, you win it: Connells Maple Lee’s new arrangement

Every year for various reasons, Connells Maple Lee Flowers reworks approximately half of its arrangements.

This year, one of those makeovers is the focus of Connells Maple Lee’s annual name-the-arrangement contest.

This design features a cobalt blue vase filled with a rose, blue hydrangea, white stargazer lily, daisy poms, carnations and eryngium. It’s only lacking a name.

To view the arrangement and enter the contest, visit cmlflowers.com/contest. Limit one entry daily per email address, through Aug. 6.

The person who submits the winning name will receive the arrangement (retail value $59.99) as a prize.

Entries due July 15 for this year’s Connells Maple Lee Kids Club birthday card contest

The winning design in 2020

Just in time for summer vacation, the Connells Maple Lee Kids Club has a challenge for children ages 5 to 12.

We’re looking for our next birthday card design, one that all kids club members will receive in the year ahead.

As a reward, the designer of the winning entry will receive a free bouquet delivery on his or her birthday.

To enter the contest, which begins June 14, pick up an entry form at our stores in Bexley, Grove City or Powell or download one here.

Entries must be dropped off at one of our stores by July 15.

Good luck to everyone. We can’t wait to see what you come up with!

Brighten up your back yard with rugged outdoor canvas art

Sue Pappas needed a name for her business that was free of any potential trademark issues.

She settled on West of the Wind.

“I don’t know why, and it’s a very odd name,” she allowed, but it was one she thought no one else in her industry would have.

Winds of change would blow, however. Within months of the 2007 launch of the Durant, Okla.-based company, Pappas and her two partners at the time realized that the market for indoor wall décor was saturated.

Turning their gazes outward, literally, they saw a void in the outdoor décor realm. They sought to fill it by offering giclee canvas prints for outdoor use.

Beginning with one size and 50 images in 2008, West of the Wind now wholesales more than 550 images that are available among three canvas sizes.

The pandemic has kept Americans in their own back yards, prompting a consumer splurge on outdoor decor. Seizing on that, Connells Maple Lee Flowers & Gifts began carrying the vibrant, high-quality West of the Wind products this year.

Protection from UV rays and water

Connells Maple Lee offers the canvases in two sizes – 24 by 24 inches and 30 by 40 inches – for $99.99 and $199.99, respectively. They can be purchased in-store or online.

Approximately 80 percent of the designs are based on paintings, with photographs comprising the other 20 percent, Pappas said. West of the Wind has licenses with the artists, who provide digital files to the company from high-resolution scans of their original artwork.

Pappas’ team then crops or makes any other necessary changes before sending the files for printing. Giant Epson inkjet printers (giclee is a French word meaning “to spray or to squirt with a nozzle”) transfer the design onto canvas. A proprietary lacquer is applied to the front and back to protect the canvas from harmful UV rays and water damage.

The canvas is gallery wrapped, meaning that the image appears on the sides of the frame as well as the front. The canvas is attached to vinyl stretcher bars that aren’t affected by moisture, cold or heat. Stainless steel staples, which can’t corrode, attach the stretched canvas to the stretcher bars.

Each print comes with hardware for outdoor installation. Two L-shaped hooks can be screwed into stone, stucco, brick, wood or aluminum. Brackets on the back of the canvas slide over the hooks. The hanging system is designed to withstand 60 mph winds.

West of the Wind guarantees its products for two years. But in these uncertain times, perhaps the best the outdoor canvases can do is help you do a better job of living in the moment.

 

CONNELLS MAPLE LEE FUNDS 13,500 MEALS WITH $3,000 DONATION TO MID-OHIO FOOD COLLECTIVE

From left, Craig Truax, corporate engagement manager, Mid-Ohio Food Collective, and Andrew Royer, vice president of Ohio operations, Connells Maple Lee Flowers & Gifts.

Every dollar donated to the Mid-Ohio Food Collective can provide up to $9.50 in groceries or enough food for up to 4.5 meals to a family in need.

By those measures, Connells Maple Lee Flowers & Gifts’ $3,000 donation to the Food Collective will fund $28,500 worth of groceries or 13,500 meals.

Connells Maple Lee’s stores are at 3014 E. Broad St., Bexley; 2033 Stringtown Road, Grove City; and 8573 Owenfield Drive, Powell.

Tom Royer, president and CEO of family-owned Connells Maple Lee, said the donations reflect the company’s gratitude for the support it has received during the pandemic.

“We had to reinvent our company, and at times it was a painful process,” Royer said, “but we’ve become more agile and more successful. Thanks to the unwavering loyalty of our customers, we’re able to give back to our communities and help families that are struggling to put food on the table. It’s our privilege to do this.”

Mike Habash is president and CEO of the Food Collective, which is based at 3960 Brookham Drive, Grove City, and serves 20 counties.

“This donation comes right at a time when many of our neighbors are still bravely navigating through this pandemic,” Habash said. “We are so thankful to have a wonderful partner such as Connells Maple Lee that is helping us continue our work toward ending hunger.”

For more information about the Food Collective, visit mofcollective.org.

Need help sorting out clovers from shamrocks? You’re in luck

 

I’m looking over a four-leaf clover that I over looked before.

Most of us have heard the song by that name, which also happens to be its first line. But you’re in rare company if you’ve actually come across a four-leaf clover in the wild.

Your odds of finding one? One in 10,000, according to The Old Farmer’s Almanac. They’re so rare because they are an unusual mutation of a three-leaf clover.

Of course, we commonly associate the three-leaf clover with St. Patrick’s Day and Ireland. It’s also known as a shamrock, which comes from an Irish word that means “little clover.”

St. Patrick is said to have explained the holy trinity – father, son and holy spirit – by using a shamrock.

Here’s a way to keep things straight: All shamrocks are clovers, but not all clovers are shamrocks. That is, if a clover is a shamrock with three leaves, by definition it can’t have four leaves.

A shamrock is not associated with any specific clover species, of which there are hundreds. One of the plants that is called shamrock is oxalis, also known as wood sorrel or “love plant.” Connells Maple Lee obtains its oxalis plants from Canada.

Oxalis also is called a “false shamrock” because it’s not actually in the shamrock family but is better suited to the indoor environment than clover species are.

The oxalis plant is photophilic, meaning that its leaves and flowers close at night and open in the morning. Oxalis likes bright light, including full afternoon sun in the winter.

HOW TO LOVE YOUR LOVE PLANT (OXALIS)

  • Keep the soil barely damp, allowing it to dry slightly between waterings.
  • Cool temperatures are best, especially during blooming: 50 to 65 degrees at night, 70 to 75 degrees during day.
  • When the plant is actively growing in the winter/spring, feed it liquid fertilizer once per month. When it stops blooming, fertilize every other month until it goes dormant.
  • In the summer, oxalis will go dormant. When it starts to fade, stop watering and store the plant for two to three months in a cool, dark place. for a few weeks to three months. After this period, bring the plant back out and resume watering.
  • The plant can be repotted and/or divided, although it can remain in the same soil and pot for several years. To divide while the plant is dormant, look for small, bulb-like structures just below the soil surface. Gently pull these apart and pot in small groups.

Flower and gift ideas for all of your valentines

#2167 Masterpiece

Ravishing red roses rightfully rule Valentine’s Day, but they’re among many great options for conveying love and respect to the important people in your life, from family members to friends to valued community members.

Better still, Connells Maple Lee Flowers & Gifts offers arrangements and gifts at a wide range of price points to accommodate any budget. Here are some of our favorites:

For Partner

#2167 Masterpiece

This upgrade on a traditional dozen red roses features a handblown vase, stargazer lilies and curly willow to give a lavish loving look.

For Child

#2106

#2106 Sweet Hugs Bud Vase

Perfect for children of any age, it includes two roses in a red vase with a heart ribbon accompanied by a soft, huggable teddy bear and Hershey’s Kisses.

For Parent

#2114

#2114 Heart of Hearts

A lovely blend of pink and red flowers to show your love – straight from the heart.

#1959

#1959 Always figurine

Add a special gift for mom with this heart-tugging figurine, which comes boxed with a note saying, “I feel the strength of your love.”

For Grandparent

#2136

#2136 Love’s Garden

For the grandparent with a green thumb, this will continue to sprout love well after Valentine’s Day.

#2101

#2101 One True Love

For the grandparent with a small space, a beautiful vase arrangement featuring white hydrangea, red rose and pink alstroemeria. It’s simple, delicate, beautiful and perfect for a bedside or small coffee table.

For Sibling

#2112

#2112 Sent with Love

A vibrant mix of Dutch tulips perfect for a sister or brother.

#2185

#2185 Pound of Chocolates

Make your gesture extra sweet with a gourmet mix that includes caramel, chocolate-covered pretzels and buckeyes from Ohio’s Waggoner chocolates. 

For Friend

#2162

#2162 Dozen Yellow Roses

Yellow roses are a traditional sign of friendship, joy and caring. The pandemic has made it more difficult to enjoy time with friends; here’s a way to let them know how much you value them.

#9235

#9235 Your Journey Heart Bracelet

From Demdaco, this beaded bracelet features a heart pendant and comes with a message gift box that reminds us to “nurture loving moments with our favorite people.”

For Neighbor

#544

#544 Chocolate Lover

Good neighbors deserve a basket teeming with a delicious gift selection of chocolate treats.

For Teacher

#2137

#2137 Love Grows

What better way to recognize the hard work of teachers, whether in the in-person or virtual classroom, with this easy-care succulent plant?

Healthcare Worker

#2111

#2111 Love’s Garden

A bright and cheerful mix of garden flowers are the perfect prescription for thanking health care workers for their selfless devotion to public wellness.

For Employee

#2182

#2182 Milk Chocolate Pretzel Bag

Reward an employee’s hard work and dedication with this 6.5-ounce bag from Asher’s Chocolates.

Of course, you will find dozens of items from which to choose at royers.com and in our stores.

It’s easy to let your love flow to all of your valentines!

 

A dozen facts about roses to share with your Valentine’s Day recipient

 

If you’re giving flowers this Valentine’s Day, odds are they will be roses.

That generous gesture alone is likely to impress the recipient. But maybe you really want to wow that special someone with your knowledge of the national flower (see below).

For you, we offer a dozen facts about roses that will help you demonstrate an even deeper commitment to your gift-giving.

1. Red rules
Because they symbolize love and romance, red roses are the runaway most popular color at Valentine’s Day, accounting for 69 percent of sales. In 1800, roses from China were bred with European roses to create the first true red rose. Rounding out the top 5 colors are white (38 percent), pink (37 percent), mixed (31 percent), and yellow (29 percent).

2. Color meaning
Other rose colors convey different meanings, giving you other options depending on your relationship with the recipient. For instance, you can send a message of friendship and cheer with yellow roses. Pink is a sign of appreciation, white of reverence.

3. Sweet smell
Rose oil is a popular floral scent and used in many women’s perfumes. It takes 2,000 roses to produce just one gram of oil.

4. 13,000 varieties
The cultivation of roses began around 500 B.C. Today, there are some 100 rose species and 13,000 rose varieties. And you thought there were a lot of mustard options at the grocery store!

5. Enduring
Roses are among the oldest flowers: rose fossils found in Colorado in the late 19th
century were 35 million years old. The oldest living rose is 1,000 years old and grows on a wall at Hildeshein Cathedral in Germany.

6. George Washington, no lie
The Father of His Country chopped down a cherry tree, according to folklore, but Washington planted roses at his Virginia home, Mount Vernon, and hybridized a variety that he named the “Mary Washington” after his mother.

7. 200 million roses
Each Valentine’s Day, Americans give approximately 200 million roses. The bulk of those roses come from South America. In the three weeks leading up to Feb. 14, the Washington Post reported in 2019, 30 cargo jets travel from Colombia to Miami each day.

8. From South America with love
Connells Maple Lee works directly with rose farms in South America to ensure that our flowers are of the highest quality. We visit those farms each year in the days leading up to Valentine’s Day to check on the crop and then follow the shipment through U.S. customs in Miami and onto a refrigerated truck destined for central Pennsylvania.

9. White House Rose Garden
Established in 1913 by the wife of Woodrow Wilson, the Rose Garden borders the Oval Office and the West Wing. It has been redesigned several times, as recently as 2020.

10. National flower
In 1986, standing in the Rose Garden, President Ronald Reagan declared the rose the national flower of the United States.

11. Stories and songs
Authors and songwriters have long been inspired by roses. To wit, in “Romeo and Juliet,” William Shakespeare wrote: “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose/By any other name would smell as sweet.” By one count, more than 4,000 songs are dedicated to roses.

12. Make them last
With the right care, your recipient’s roses can last for a week or longer. It is important to water the flowers and to keep them away from heat sources. If the water gets dirty, remove the flowers, re-cut the stems and put them back in the vase with fresh water.

Between gifting roses and learning more about them here, clearly you have put all of your heart into Valentine’s Day.

But if we can help with anything else, please let us know.

Sources: bhg.com, hgtv.com

We want to tell a love story, perhaps yours

 

Let’s get to the heart of the matter: With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, we want to share a family-friendly love story on our blog, perhaps yours.

We’re holding a contest to find that story. The winner, who must live within Connells Maple Lee’s delivery area, will have his or her story professionally written and will receive three monthly flower deliveries (valued at $29.99 per month) courtesy of Connells Maple Lee’s new subscription program.

To submit your story, look for our pinned Facebook post on Jan. 20 and respond in the comment section of that post by midnight Jan. 22 (UPDATE: This has been extended to Jan. 26.)

In two or three sentences (approximately 50 words), tell us what is unique and compelling about your love story. Maybe it’s how or where you met, or when you realized you were in love, or a sweet tradition you share.

The winner, who will be chosen on Jan. 25 (now Jan. 29), must be willing to participate in a phone interview that week. We’ll share the story in early February.

We hope you’ll put your heart into this. Good luck!

Here’s a handy guide to your Christmas poinsettia

Poinsettias have been called the lobster flower and flame leaf flower. By any name, they are the Christmas flower, although their flowers actually aren’t the colorful parts for which they are known.

But like an eager child who hasn’t made a wish list yet can’t wait to open gifts on Christmas morning, we’re getting ahead of ourselves.

First, some poinsettia background:

  • Native to Mexico, poinsettias are perennial shrubs that can grow 10 to 15 feet tall.
  • Poinsettias were introduced to the United States in 1825 by Joel Roberts Poinsett, the first U.S. ambassador to Mexico.
  • Dec. 12 is National Poinsettia Day in America, marking Poinsett’s death in 1851.
  • Poinsettias were first successfully grown outside Mexico by Bartram’s Garden in Philadelphia, a 50-acre National Historic Landmark that still operates.

Some people pronounce it “poinsetta” (three syllables), and others say “poinsettia,” (four syllables). We’re not sticklers either way. It’s more important that you enjoy your poinsettia and get the most out of it.

Grown in all 50 states

But while there’s leeway when it comes to pronunciation, there are strongly rooted facts about poinsettias:

  • The colored parts of poinsettias aren’t flowers but bracts (leaves).
  • Poinsettias come in more than 100 varieties, from traditional red and white to pink and burgundy, marbled and speckled.
  • Poinsettias are commercially grown in all 50 states.
  • Ninety percent of all poinsettias are exported from the United States.
  • Contrary to popular myth, poinsettias are not poisonous, to humans or pets: An Ohio State study found that a 50-pound child who ate 500 bracts might have a slight tummy ache. Some people with latex allergies have had skin reactions to the sap that comes from poinsettia leaves.

Poinsettia care

Connells Maple Lee offers decorated and undecorated poinsettias in multiple color and size options.

Poinsettias are happiest in conditions that approximate their Mexican origin: as much bright light as possible, warm and never sitting in water. Like humans, they don’t like wet feet.

The plants can suffer from droopy leaves, a condition known as epinasty, if they are exposed to cold temperatures or experience a build-up of ethylene gas.

If you’ve ever shopped for poinsettias at a big-box retailer, you may have seen a rack of them still in their protective sleeves. What you’re really seeing is those plants being ruined because the sleeves trap ethylene gas. An experienced florist knows to remove the sleeves as soon as possible.

By any name or pronunciation, poinsettias are a beautiful and safe holiday tradition, a gift of Mexican origin that keeps giving to the world nearly two centuries later.

Additional source: University of Illinois Extension