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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”

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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.”

Use hairspray to preserve your holiday wreath

A natural Christmas tree eventually loses its needles, but giving it daily drinks of water will dramatically slow the process.
Unfortunately, you can’t do the same with a natural Christmas wreath.
But here’s the next-best thing: seal in the wreath’s moisture using hairspray, which acts like glue and holds the needles on.
To avoid any messes, do the spraying before you hang the wreath on a door, window or wall.
The result will be a wreath that looks shiny, green and full throughout the holiday season.

National Poinsettia Day is Dec. 12 and other facts about the most popular holiday plant

We typically think of the North Pole when it comes to Christmas, but the most popular holiday plant originates with our neighbor to the south.
Poinsettias are native to Mexico and were introduced to the United States in 1825 by Joel Roberts Poinsett, who was the first U.S. ambassador to Mexico.
In fact, Poinsett’s death in 1851 is commemorated every Dec. 12 as National Poinsettia Day.
Some other facts:

  • The colored parts of poinsettias aren’t flowers but bracts (leaves).
  • Poinsettias have been called the lobster flower and flame leaf flower.
  • Poinsettias are not poisonous, to humans or pets.
    • An Ohio State study found that a 50-pound child who ate 500 bracts (leaves) might have a slight tummy ache.
  • Poinsettias are commercially grown in all 50 states.
  • Ninety percent of all poinsettias are exported from the United States.


Here’s how to extend the life of your Easter blooms

Even after the Easter Bunny has visited and the last eggs are hunted, Easter plants will bring beauty and color into your home. In fact, you can make the flowers last a lot longer by following some easy steps.
What’s more, after your bulb plants – such as daffodils, hyacinths, tulips, crocus and narcissus – have finished blooming, you can transplant the bulbs into the ground and watch the flowers come up next year.
The key to making the flowers/blooms last longer – perhaps twice as long – is to keep the plants in a cool place, such as at night. This will stall the normal aging process, extending the life of the blooms.
While you’re sleeping, place the plants in your garage or out on your porch (but don’t let them freeze), and then bring them back inside your house in the morning. For smaller plants, such as a single-bloom hyacinth, you might even have room in your refrigerator.
Of course, it’s also important to keep the plants watered.
Once the blooms peak, let the plant die back into itself, nourishing the bulb. Keep the bulb in its pot and store in a cool, dark place. In early fall, separate the bulbs and plant them in your garden in anticipation of their blooming again next spring.

Decorate hyacinth basket at free Connells Maple Lee Kids Club event on March 16

The Connells Maple Lee Kids Club will get the Easter season hopping with a free event on March 16 at all Connells Maple Lee stores.
CML Kids Club hyacinth basketChildren ages 5 to 12 will be able to decorate a hyacinth basket for Easter. They can take the plant home and watch it bloom. Participants also will receive a balloon.
Time slots are available at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.
Registration is required by calling your nearest Connells Maple Lee 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.


Local florist bests big delivery sites in Yahoo! ‘Savvy Spender’ comparison

Yahoo!’s “Savvy Spender” set out to review four of the top floral delivery sites:,, Teleflora and FTD.
But at the end of the day — or approximately 2:40 of this video clip — it was a local florist that outshone the big online retailers.
“To see how a local florist compares to the online experience, we ordered a dozen roses from our neighborhood florist,” said Savvy Spender host Vera Gibbons. “It was by far the most impressive arrangement with the longest stems, the most vibrant roses, and beautiful accents.
“Remember, roses travel all the way from South America, and it takes a professional florist to rehydrate them properly.”

From South America with love

Come mid-winter in mid-Ohio, the thought of soaking up the sun’s rays and 70-degree temperatures in South America sounds like a great vacation.
But for Tom Royer, traveling to Bogota, Colombia, is work.
Tom is senior vice president and chief operating officer for Connells Maple Lee Flowers. For the past 30 years, Tom has been making regular visits to flower farms near Bogota.
One of those trips comes every year in advance of Valentine’s Day, which is the floral equivalent of the Super Bowl. Tom visits South America in order to check on the quality of the product that will wind up in our customers’ homes and workplaces.
“It’s a product of the way we do things,” Tom said. “We’re very detailed about a lot of things we do. Flower-buying is just one of them.”
Bogota sits on a plateau, giving it year-round fall temperatures that are ideal for growing flowers.
Back in the early days, Tom remembers, construction of a bridge was cause for celebration in Bogota. Roads leading to the flower farms would wash out. Today, much to Tom’s delight, Bogota is a modern city.
Then as now, the purpose for going to Bogota is simple.
“We want the best possible flowers we can find,” Tom said.
By visiting the farms, Tom can inspect the latest crop in the field. He makes sure that the farms cut the flowers at the right maturity. He always carries his measuring tool to ensure that he’s getting the right length and head sizes for the flowers that Connells Maple Lee buys.
Tom’s work doesn’t end in Colombia. After several days on the farms, he then flies to Miami, where the flowers will arrive via cargo plane from Bogota. Until the flowers clear customs, they will be stored in refrigerated warehouses. Tom will inspect the flowers again to make sure that they fared well on the flight.
Finally, the flowers will be loaded on a refrigerated tractor-trailer destined for Connells Maple Lee’s distribution center in Grove City, which will receive some 60,000 roses and carnations, among other flowers, just for Valentine’s Day.
With so much fragile product involved, Connells Maple Lee has its schedule down to a science. Flowers can’t arrive too early, lest they wilt before the holiday. They can’t arrive too late or Connells Maple Lee won’t have enough time to create all of the arrangements that will be needed.
When the tractor-trailer arrives from Miami, it will be unloaded immediately, the flowers cut under water to maximize their moisture intake. The Connells Maple Lee team will be geared up to make thousands of arrangements.
“The goal is trying to eliminate any product issues when the flowers arrive in Grove City, because we cut the schedule tight,” Tom said. “We have it very well orchestrated.”
It’s that tight schedule – and Connells Maple Lee’s control of it from farm field all the way to consumers – that ensures the best quality possible.
The big online retailers can’t say the same thing. They don’t actually make their arrangements, instead contracting out that work. The result is much longer lead times – and a commensurate variation in quality – when compared with Connells Maple Lee.
“And from a competitive standpoint, we have to do that better,” Tom said. “That’s the way I look at it, is that we have to be better than anyone else. We have to have fresher stuff. It has to be much nicer.”

Poinsettia Care Tips for this Christmas and Next!

Tartan Poinsettia #
A 5+ bloom red poinsettia wrapped with a gold wrap and decorated with gold balls and a plaid bow.

Keeping your poinsettia looking great this Christmas takes two easy steps, but did you know with a few more steps you can have a wonderful poinsettia next Christmas as well?
This Christmas
1. When the surface of the soil is dry to the touch, water the plant.
2. Keep the poinsettia in a room with temperatures between 60 and 72 degrees. Keep the plant out of hot and cold drafts, such as those from a heating vent or open door.
Next Christmas
1. When leaves begin to drop, let dry slightly between watering.
2. In late spring (early May) cut back plant to 6 inches, shake free of soil and repot in new potting soil, then resume regular watering. Fertilize with a 30-10-10 fertilizer twice monthly. Stop fertilizing November 1st until December 30th.
3. Place outdoors in a warm sunny location when the temperatures are consistently over 60 degrees.
4. Pinch the tips of new shoots when they reach 6 to 8 inches long until late July. Continue to fertilize every two weeks.
5. Bring indoors before cold nights (early September) and place indoors in full sun. Three to six hours of sunlight is needed.
6. In order for poinsettias to bloom, they must have 14 hours of uninterrupted darkness each day for 40 days (late September through October). Place in a dark place such as a closet or cover with a bag from early evening and remove the next morning so that the plant is in total darkness.
7. When #6 is followed, your poinsettia will bloom at Christmas, but remember, it only takes 10 minutes of light per day during the time it was dark and your plant won’t bloom until January or February.