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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.”

Great Prom Night Flower Tips And Suggestions

If you’d like to learn more about prom flowers or floral preservatives, you’ll enjoy the following resources. Call Connells Maple Lee Flowers & Gifts at (614) 808-1693 to order your flowers today.

  • This webpage offers excellent tips for ordering and selecting prom flowers.
  • Read this article to learn why ordering prom flowers early is important.
  • Did you know corsages have been worn since the time of ancient Greece? Read about the fascinating history of corsages at this website.
  • Learn more about extending the life of fresh flowers and using floral preservatives by reading this article from the University of Minnesota.
  • Check out this article to learn about the types of prom flowers available.

Make Her Feel Beautiful on Prom Night: How to Pick the Perfect Corsage

After the dress, your date’s floral corsage is one of the most important elements of her prom night attire. An elegant corsage should be just the right size and compliment the color and style of her dress. Read this guide for choosing the perfect corsage so your date will feel like the prettiest girl at prom:

  • Ask Questions: Find out what color and style your date’s prom dress will be. If possible, get a picture of the dress or a sample of the fabric to take to your florist. By doing so, you can be sure you’re getting flowers and ribbon that match the dress perfectly.
  • Discover Her Tastes: Some girls love roses while other girls prefer carnations or more exotic flowers. Prom flowers are not limited to the traditional sweetheart roses. You can get corsages with orchids, daisies, alstromeria, and even hydrangeas. Ask your date what her favorite flower is, and then talk to your florist about incorporating that flower in an appropriate color.
  • Order Early: Certain flowers are in high demand at prom time and others must be special ordered. Speaking with your florist a couple weeks ahead of time will ensure you get exactly what you want.
  • Add Some Glitz: Ask your florist about pearls, beads, crystals, or rhinestones that can be added to your corsage. These accents give the flowers an extra special touch and add an element of elegance to your date’s ensemble.

If your prom date wants to surprise you with her dress, you can still order a stunning corsage. White or cream-colored flowers will go well with almost any dress, as will sheer iridescent ribbon.

For the perfect prom corsage this year, contact Connells Maple Lee Flowers & Gifts. We’ll be happy to help you select the right corsage for your date. Give us a call at (614) 808-1693 for more information about how to order.

When Should You Send Flowers to a Person You are Dating?


Sending flowers is a nice gesture when you are dating someone. You may be wondering when you should call the florist to schedule a flower delivery. Watch this video to learn all you need to know about dating and flowers.

As the dating coach in this video explains, you can almost never go wrong with sending flowers, even after a first date! Popular holidays like Valentine’s Day are also good flower giving opportunities. You can really make your sweetheart’s day by sending flowers for no particular occasion. Don’t forget to vary your flower choices to keep your special someone guessing!

Call Connells Maple Lee Flowers & Gifts to order flowers for your flame. We can create the perfect arrangement for any holiday or occasion. To order, call (614) 808-1693 today.

4 Tips for Choosing an Excellent Easter Plant Gift

Easter is a great time to send the gift of growing plants and fresh flowers to your friends and family members. Many wonderful kinds of plants are available at your local florist, and each one is beautiful and unique. Here are some tips for picking the perfect Easter plant:

  1. Symbolic Plants
    Consider the meaning of the plant you are sending for an extra personal touch. Easter lilies, peace lilies, and palms have religious symbolism, making them great gifts for pastors, church leaders, or family members with a deep spiritual connection to the holiday. Lilies in general are symbolic of hope, peace, purity, and innocence, and are universally recognized as appropriate flowers for Easter gifts.
  2. Practical Plants
    You may want to consider an Easter plant gift basket that will keep on giving long after the holiday. Herbs not only make beautiful gifts for your loved ones, but can also be used to spice up their favorite dishes for months (and possibly years) to come. Some great herbs to give as gifts at Easter include mint, thyme, sage, and rosemary.
  3. Outdoor Plants
    If the recipient of your gift loves to garden, send a plant that can be grown outside, like an azalea. Azaleas are beautiful gifts that herald the spring blooming season and can be planted outside to continue growing and thriving for years to come. In some areas, palm or bonsai trees can also be planted outside.
  4. Colorful Plants
    Decide if you want to send a plant that blooms with stunning color. Gardenias, lavender, kalanchoe, and cyclamen all have amazing flowers that will bring a splash of spring color to your gift. You can even find some bonsai plants that bloom, giving your loved one the best of both worlds—color and greenery.

At Connells Maple Lee Flowers & Gifts, we have beautiful Easter plants that are perfect for giving this holiday. Call us at (614) 808-1693 to order your flowers or Easter plants today.