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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.”


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.


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.”

We’re bringing ‘shabby chic’ to Columbus Weddings Show, Jan. 13-14

The HGTV series “Property Brothers” always starts with a couple oohing and aahing over a gorgeous home that, ultimately, they can’t afford.
Never fear, the twin-brother hosts help the couple find a fixer-upper that affordably mimics their dream home.
That dynamic is not unlike some prospective brides who come to us with photos of gorgeous photos they’ve found on Pinterest. Sometimes the flowers in those photos are more expensive than a wedding budget will allow.

Jill Elmore, Connells Maple Lee’s bridal consultant, is OK with that. She wants to know what brides envision for their dream wedding. If she ultimately must bring them back to reality, she said, she can do that.

Jill will bring that philosophy with her to the Columbus Weddings Show, Jan. 13-14 at the Ohio Expo Center, 717 E. 17th St. The show runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday.
You’ll find Jill and her Connells Maple Lee colleagues in Booth 102.
Jill has plenty ideas of her own to share. She said “shabby chic” is the current trend.
“It’s not really country,” she said, “but it’s not really elegant, either.”
It includes lots of giftware items that brides can incorporate into their weddings, Jill explained, such as wooden lanterns, chalkboards, whitewashed screens.
Jill said the elements also might include a variety of greens with hand-tied flowers, or garland running down a table, across a doorway or above a backdrop of latticework. Connells Maple Lee’s booth also will feature giftware that could be given as gifts to the wedding couple.
Jill encourages brides to share their visions. She can work with that, she said, sounding just as confident as those HGTV hosts in her ability to deliver the look they want at a price they can afford.
“I can give you the wedding you want but within Dad’s budget,” she quipped.

Our proposal: join us at the Bridal Spectacular on April 23 in Grove City

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The pleasure of your company is requested at the 2017 Bridal Spectacular.
The event will take place from noon to 4 p.m. April 23 at Aladdin Shrine Center, 1801 Gateway Circle, Grove City.
Connells Maple Lee will be among the vendors, showing a variety of bouquets for brides and attendants and table arrangements highlighting popular colors and trends for this year.
APRIL 2017
The Bridal Spectacular will feature wedding vendors and health and beauty experts from Columbus and the surrounding area.
Other offerings will include in-home job opportunities, food tasting, product demonstrations. More than 35 door prizes include a free outdoor ceremony package ($500 value) from Aladdin Shrine, complete with setup and an extra hour and a half of event time, and a grand prize of a free night’s stay for two at Candlewood Suites in Columbus.
Guests also may register to win a four-night/five-day honeymoon package, including roundtrip airfare to Blue Diamond Rivera Maya Resort.
You can join us for free by downloading and presenting this Bridal Spectacular 2017 ad. Aladdin Shrine Center offers abundant free parking.

Join us at April 24 ‘Wedding Experience’ show

Connells Maple Lee is tying the knot with Columbus Bride & Groom’s “Wedding Experience” show on Sunday, April 24.
It will be our first involvement with the show, which will take place from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. at Embassy Suites by Hilton Columbus Airport, 2886 Airport Drive.
We’d like for you to be our guest. Free tickets are available at our Grove City store, 2033 Stringtown Road, while supplies last. Otherwise, tickets are $12 each for pre-registration or $20 each at the door.
You’ll find our booth right inside the door of the New Albany ballroom, which will feature a summer theme. We’ll also have two tablescapes — one formal, one casual — in the center of the room to offer ideas for decorating guest tables.
More than 80 vendors will be on hand for the Wedding Experience, which will feature a “mini mock” wedding reception, complete with food and drink samples, including wedding cake.
A separate room will accommodate The Savvy Bride Resale Market, where former brides sell new or gently used items to brides-to-be.
Brides who pre-register (or avail themselves of our free tickets) will be eligible for a scavenger hunt and grand-prize drawing at the end of the show.
For more information about the show, click here.

Outdoor weddings, weather and having a Plan B

On this particular September wedding day, the misty weather presented some logistical challenges for the bride and groom.
The ceremony that had been planned for a beautiful garden had to be moved indoors on short notice. A ballroom had to be transformed into a beautiful garden setting, complete with an arch and flower-festooned aisle.
As they say, into every life some rain must fall. And it was a good reminder that weather is one variable that no one controls, no matter how good of a wedding planner he or she is.
If you want an outdoor wedding, it’s best to have a Plan B just in case. We all know how variable the weather can be in Ohio, after all.
A number of years ago, the Farmers’ Almanac solicited submissions for its “Worst Wedding Weather Contest.” After Texas and Florida, Ohio tied Pennsylvania and Indiana for the most submissions.
Couples from those states “have experienced the soggiest, snowiest, windiest, most hurricane-hampered and hail-ridden wedding weather,” according to the Farmers’ Almanac.
So what should you consider when it comes to creating that Plan B for your outdoor wedding? There are many factors, none more important than the safety and well-being of the wedding couple and their guests.
An article from wedding expert Nina Callaway offers “10 tips for the perfect outdoor wedding.”
Of course, we’re pretty protective of the flowers, too.
We were on hand for that misty September wedding mentioned above. Being a perishable product, flowers require a tender touch. While do-it-yourself can be tempting when it comes to flowers (and other aspects of a wedding), it’s also comforting when a professional is on hand, in good weather and bad.
A florist will ensure that your flowers look their beautiful best. Unlike the weather, this is an aspect of your wedding that you can control.

We’ll walk down the aisle with you on your wedding day

Talk about a night at the museum. Instead of historical figures coming to life, this is a story about a would-be florist providing flowers for a wedding at a museum.
She left the flowers overnight in the museum’s old refrigerator – and they were frozen solid the morning of the wedding.
Not only are we familiar with this story, we lived it. At least the part where the woman came to us in a panic, and we made all-new bouquets, corsages and boutonnières in time for the nuptials.
It certainly wasn’t the first time we repaired or made new bouquets on short notice for a bride who bought her flowers elsewhere and was disappointed. Nor is it the only way that we can help to make a wedding day a little more special.

Wedding packages

We’ve been fortunate to provide flowers to many big weddings, but the typical expenditure for wedding flowers is between $400 and $1,000. We also offer affordable wedding packages.
Typically, we deliver two hours before a wedding to make sure that everything is where it should be.

Nine-piece rose wedding package.
Nine-piece rose wedding package.

Wedding service

We also offer a wedding service – for a fee, in some cases – that arrives an hour prior to the exchange of vows and stays until the bride has walked through the door and down the aisle.
A trained wedding consultant helps everyone with their flowers – and brings along a toolbox to help with just about any other need that might arise:
• Such as the time that the flower girl gave an enthusiastic hug to the bride, who was left with a nice bright lipstick stain in the middle of the gown. No problem. Our consultant pulled out her stain stick and removed the blemish.
• Or the time that the bride’s gown zipper ripped just before the wedding. Our consultant reached for her needle and thread.
• And the icing on the cake with all of this? It was the time that our consultant helped to ice the wedding cake moments before the reception.

We did: photos from Columbus Bride: The Show 2014

We were there with bells on. Wedding bells, that is.
Thanks to everyone who stopped by Connells Maple Lee’s booth at Columbus Bride: The Show 2014, held Jan. 4-5 at the Greater Columbus Convention Center.
You’ll find more information about wedding packages and other wedding resources on our website. We look forward to assisting with your special day.
Meanwhile, please enjoy our scrapbook from The Show:

A Look at the DIY Wedding Flower Option

Flowers are a huge aspect to consider when you are planning your wedding. For some brides, wedding flowers have DIY potential. If you have a hands-on personality, you, together with the help of the florists at Connells Maple Lee Flowers & Gifts, can create your own fabulous wedding flowers. If you’re interested in creating your own wedding masterpieces, consider:
Consulting with a Florist
If you want your flowers to be fresh, radiant, and beautiful, order your flowers from Connells Maple Lee Flowers & Gifts. This way, you’ll have fresh flowers, but you will still be able to maintain the ability to arrange them yourself. Moreover, you’ll also have the expertise of our florists to draw from as you consider your flower choices.
Signing Up for a Wedding Flower Design Class
A great way to combine your desire for DIY wedding flowers and your desire for beautiful, professional results is to take our Pre-Wedding Design Class. Learning how to make bouquets, boutonnieres, and centerpieces before your big day can give you the confidence to arrange your flowers exactly how you desire.
Booking a DIY Floral Studio
When you’re ready to get started on your wedding flowers, you can take advantage of the commercial coolers, floral tools and boxes, and the workspace here at Connells Maple Lee Flowers & Gifts. This can save you money while ensuring that your flowers will be safely and properly stored before your wedding. With this option, you can have fun creating your wedding flower arrangements with your bridal party and family. A florist will be with you to help guide your designs, giving you confidence that you’ll have professional quality flowers that you’ll be proud of on your wedding day.
At Connells Maple Lee Flowers & Gifts, we can help you have the beautiful wedding flowers you want. We can guide you as you create your own floral arrangements, or we can take care of all of the floral details for your big day. To learn more about your options for your wedding flowers, call us at (614) 808-1693.