Summertime’s Sensational Sunflowers

Sunflowers are admired in floral arrangements for their warm and inviting beauty and are known to symbolize loyalty, adoration, and longevity. They are used in the floral industry to express feelings of happiness and energy, but the wondrous sunflower is so much more than just a pretty flower.

While admired for their simplistic beauty, sunflowers are also some of the world’s most versatile agricultural crops. In addition to the large daisy-like petals that add excitement and intrigue to fresh-cut floral arrangements, they are an excellent source of food and edible oil. Along with its nutritional seeds, sunflowers are commonly used for industrial applications such as biofuel and livestock feed.

Here are some fun facts that will make you take a second look the next time you see a sunflower:

  • Sunflowers are primarily native to North America and were a common crop among Native Americans who not only used the ground seeds for food but also the flower for textile dyes and the stalks for kindling.
  • Sunflowers are rugged flowers that are tolerant of both high and low temperatures making them easy to grow.
  • Belle of the Ball Bridal Bouquet by Alfa Flower & Wedding Shop

    Sunflowers can grow up to 16 feet in height and some varieties can produce over 2,000 seeds per flower.

  • Among their many industrial applications, sunflowers are used to extract toxins from contaminated soil and were used to aid in the cleanup from the Chernobyl and Fukushima nuclear disasters.
  • There are over 70 different varieties of sunflowers in a wide range of sizes with petal colors ranging from vibrant yellow to deep oranges and browns.
  • Sunflowers are among the fastest growing plants and can reach maturity and heights of 8 to 12 feet in 90-100 days.
  • Sunflowers are often associated with renowned Dutch artist Vincent van Gogh who depicted the flowers in two series of still life paintings. One of those paintings was purchased for $53.9 million in 1987.

Be sure to take a closer look the next time you see one of these magnificently versatile flowers and consider including some of these cheerful favorites the next time you send flowers. Click here to check out some of Alfa Flower & Wedding Shop’s designs featuring the sensational sunflower.

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Celebrate July 4th with Alfa Flower & Wedding Shop

Independence Day is just around the corner and Alfa Flower & Wedding Shop is ready to help you celebrate a long weekend full of fun activities like picnics, parades, and fireworks to mark the 243rd anniversary of our nation’s independence!

It’s a day to celebrate our freedom and reflect on the history of the country we call home. It’s also a perfect time for flowers!

Summer’s Salute by Alfa Flower & Wedding Shop

Whether you’re looking for a gift for the host of your barbeque or trying to find the perfect way to decorate your 4th of July party, we have you covered in red, white and blue.

One of our most popular items this time of year is our Patriotic Beauty. This festive delight is sure to turn heads at your holiday gathering. Our Summer’s Salute is also a top seller and is delivered with an American flag.

It’s not the 4th of July without the fireworks, and it’s certainly not a proper celebration unless food is involved. Leave the grilling to someone else this year while you sit back and enjoy the festivities knowing that your Patriotic Fruit and Gourmet Basket from Alfa Flower & Wedding Shop is the hit of the party.

Speaking of food, did you know that more than 155 million hot dogs are consumed each year on the 4th of July? That’s enough to stretch from Washington D.C. to L.A. five times! Last year, 74 of those hot dogs were consumed in just 10 minutes by competitive eater Joey Chestnut at the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest which is held every year in Coney Island, New York.

Here are a few more interesting facts you may not have known about Independence Day:

  • Patriotic Beauty by Alfa Flower & Wedding Shop

    The Declaration of Independence was signed by 56 men from 13 colonies. The average age of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence was 45. The youngest was South Carolina’s Edward Rutledge, 26, and the oldest delegate was 70-year-old Benjamin Franklin. The lead author of The Declaration, Thomas Jefferson, was 33.

  • Benjamin Franklin was displeased that the bald eagle was chosen as the national bird – his choice was the turkey. In a letter to his daughter, Sarah Bache in 1784, he said of the bald eagle, “He is a bird of bad moral character. He does not get his living honestly.” He claimed that the turkey was “a bird of courage” and was far “more respectable” than the “lazy” bald eagle.
  • In 1776, there were 2.5 million people living in the new nation. Today the population of the U.S.A. is over 327 million.
  • Gatlinburg, Tennessee wastes little time in getting their celebration underway. The Annual Gatlinburg Fourth of July Midnight Parade steps off each year at 12:01 a.m. This year’s parade is the 44th annual installment and is expected to draw an estimated 80,000 spectators.
  • Due to concerns about cracking the iconic Liberty Bell, it has not been rung since 1846. Instead, the 2,000-pound bell is tapped 13 times each year on Independence Day.
  • Over 14,000 professional firework displays light up the skies in the United States each 4th of July according to The American Pyrotechnics Association.
  • The United States isn’t alone in celebrating its independence on July 4th. Both the Philippines and Rwanda also celebrate July 4th as a day of liberation. In Southeast Asia, it is known as “Republic Day” and Rwandans celebrate “Liberation Day.”

From our family at Alfa Flower & Wedding Shop to yours, we hope you have a safe and happy 4th of July! Give us a call today to help get your party started off right.

Celebrate Summertime With Bold and Beautiful Tropical Flowers

With Memorial Day upon us, it’s time to dig out those flip-flops and start dreaming of the beach! But if a tropical vacation isn’t in your summertime plans, Alfa Flower & Wedding Shop can help bring the tropics to you! Tropical flowers add bold color, magnificent height, and curious drama to any setting, and just scream ‘summertime’ the way no other flowers can! These large, exotic flowers effortlessly transform any home or office into a beautiful island oasis. In addition to being easy to care for, these gorgeous tropical flowers come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and colors. Here are few of our favorites:

Bird of Paradise – These exotic flowers are also known as crane flowers and are native to South Africa. They symbolize freedom and magnificence. Inspired by their bright blue and orange flowers fanning from green bracts like a colorful bird in flight, they grow between three and five feet in height and typically have three to five “birds” inside each bract that bloom in succession.

Heliconia – These magnificent tropical flowers feature big vibrant bracts in pink, red, orange, or yellow, rising from sturdy towering stalks that can grow up to 20 feet tall. Native to Guyana, Costa Rica, Belize, Ecuador, Peru, and Brazil, heliconias symbolize great returns. Unlike bird-of-paradise, heliconias have tiny hidden flowers that won’t emerge from the cut stems – their beauty is in color and silhouette of the dramatic bracts.

Ginger– Native to the Pacific Islands, Malaysia, and Taiwan, ornamental gingers have large cone-shaped blooms that symbolize strength and pride. Although they come in a variety of colors, the red ginger flower is the one most often associated with the tropics. Because of their fragrance and beauty, the ginger flower can often attract bees, butterflies, and a variety of wild birds.

Anthurium – With their large open heart-shaped face, anthuriums have come to symbolize hospitality and a deep romantic attraction. Originally from Columbia, they were brought to Hawaii in 1889 and have since become virtually synonymous with tropical islands. These lovely red flowers have a long vase life and thrive on the moisture and heat of a tropical environment. Although often seen in red with a bright yellow spadix, they’re also available in white, pink, peach, magenta, and green.

Protea – These flowers are named for Proteus, the Greek God who could change his form at will. Proteas are an extraordinary group of flowers originally found in Australia and South Africa. Proteas symbolize transformation, diversity, and courage, and are available in a variety of sizes, shapes, and colors – from pin cushions to imperial crowns in white, yellow, orange, and rose to crimson, magenta, and burgundy.

Let Eastern Floral deliver a slice of paradise to you this summer! You can find these tropical delights in a variety of different designs, or we can create something special just for you! Give us a call today at (414) 475-7080 or stop in to see us!

Mother’s Day Around the World

In the United States, we celebrate Mom every May with flowers and gifts, and perhaps treat her to a meal at her favorite restaurant. Sure, Mother’s Day is celebrated around the world, but other countries have their own spin on Mom’s special day too. Here are few of the more interesting ways that mothers are celebrated across the globe.

Australia

Janet Heyden started the first Mother’s Day in Australia in 1924. She began the tradition by asking school children and businesses for gifts to cheer up lonely and forgotten mothers at the Newington State Home for Women. Chrysanthemums are traditionally thought of as Mother’s Day flowers in Australia since they are naturally in season during May and end in “mum,” an affectionate term for “mother” in Australia.

Belgium

Belgian children celebrate their mothers by making little presents at school to give to their mothers in the early morning of Mother’s Day. The father will typically buy croissants and other sweet pastries that are served to her while she is still in bed at the beginning of a day filled with pampering. While most of Belgium celebrates Mother’s Day on the second Sunday of May, many Belgians consider August 15 to be the classical Mother’s Day and view the May observance as one started strictly for commercial reasons.

Egypt

Mother’s Day is celebrated on March 21 in Egypt to coincide with the first day of spring. It was first introduced by journalist Mustafa Amin in 1943. The idea was largely either ignored or ridiculed at the time by Egyptian politicians, but it was eventually adopted in 1956. When Amin was arrested and accused of being an American spy in 1965, unsuccessful attempts were made to change the name of “Mother’s Day” to “Family Day” to prevent the observance of reminding people of its founder.

Ethiopia

Mother’s Day is a three-day long celebration in Ethiopia, where it is celebrated in mid-fall at the end of the rainy season with a feast called “Antrosht.” Children bring the ingredients making a traditional hash recipe. Girls bring butter, cheese, vegetables and spices while the boys contribute a bull or lamb. Unlike many places where mothers needn’t lift a finger on Mother’s Day, in Ethiopia, the mom prepares the hash. Afterward, mom and daughter put butter on their faces and chests as part of the celebration ritual.

Nepal

In Nepal, Mother’s Day is known as “Aama ko Mukh Herne Din” which means “day to see mother’s face.” Many Nepalese people honor their late mothers by making a traditional pilgrimage to the Mata Tirtha ponds in hopes of seeing their deceased mother’s face. Pilgrims believe they will bring peace to their mother’s souls by visiting that sacred place.

Taiwan

Mother’s Day in Taiwan is held on the second Sunday in May to coincide with Buddha’s birthday and the traditional “washing the Buddha” ceremony where devotees pour fragrant water over Buddha statues as a way of symbolizing a fresh start in life.

No matter how we choose to celebrate, the day is all about mom. Let Alfa Flower & Wedding Shop help you treat her to something special this year and make her day one that she won’t soon forget.

Know Your Flower Etiquette

We all know that flowers make wonderful gifts for a variety of different circumstances. It’s hard to go wrong with choosing flowers as a gift, but there are a few rules of etiquette that should be followed when giving flowers on certain occasions.

Choosing the right flowers

  • While there are no definitive rules about what kind of flowers to send, certain types or colors of flowers may be inappropriate depending on the circumstance. A dozen red roses typically suggest romance and may send an unintended message if you are giving them to a co-worker or casual acquaintance.
  • White or light yellow flowers are usually the best choices for sympathy flowers. You certainly will want to avoid bright colored flowers in most instances.
  • Bright colored flowers, however, are almost always appropriate for happy occasions or milestones such as birthdays, anniversaries, congratulations, or thank yous.
  • When thanking someone, choose their favorite flower or favorite color instead of the cheapest option, the extra effort on your part will be appreciated and it makes your gratitude appear more personal and genuine.

Timing is everything

  • Some hospitals prohibit flowers, so check to make sure they’re allowed if you are sending them there. The local florists should know which hospitals accept them, and which do not. If the recipient’s hospital visit is brief, consider sending them to the home after they are dismissed.
  • While many people prefer to send sympathy flowers directly to the funeral home, it is perfectly acceptable to send them to the family’s home afterward. It’s even okay to wait a week or two in order to let the family know you’re still thinking of them.
  • Birthdays, holidays and anniversary are obvious occasions for sending flowers, but giving flowers “out of the blue” or “on a whim” are more impactful, especially if the recipient is not expecting a gift.
  • If you are late hearing about an occasion, but still wish to send flowers, be sure to mention that to the recipient – otherwise, the timing may seem odd to them.

Consider the recipient

  • Size matters, so consider where the flowers are going and what will happen to them after they’re delivered. Designs that are too small may not send the appropriate message you wish to convey, but larger gifts may be intrusive in small offices or rooms – especially if they’re shared with other people.
    Putting yourself in the recipient’s shoes and asking yourself how you would feel receiving the gift should give you a good idea of what is appropriate.
  • Do some research when sending flowers to people from different cultures. Some cultures have stigmas against certain colors or flowers, and you don’t want to misconstrue your message or create an obligation to reciprocate.
  • Sending sympathy flowers If a family specifically asks for donations in “lieu of flowers” is a breach of etiquette, even if you mean well. In circumstances such as this, a fruit basket or other memorial item may be appropriate if you would still like to send a gift.

Flowers are such an excellent way to convey a personal sentiment, so it’s important to consider the message you are wishing to express. When in doubt, give us a call and let us know the circumstance and we’ll help you select the perfect gift!

Alfa Flower and Wedding Shop is your One-Stop Destination for Prom Flowers

Midnight Wanderings Boutonniere by Alfa Flower and Wedding Shop

Prom season is one of our favorite times of year at Alfa Flower and Wedding Shop. We love working with excited (and sometimes nervous) students who may have never experienced buying flowers from a professional florist. We know that can be a daunting task for teenagers who may not know a lilac from a lily, but fortunately, we’re here to help!

Prom flowers can take many forms but usually consist of a corsage for the ladies and a boutonniere for the gentlemen. Traditionally, the colors and flowers used in the corsage and boutonniere were matched to the color of the prom dress; but like most rules, this one was made to be broken.

Modern corsages and boutonnieres are limited only by the imagination and the flowers available to the florist. However, it’s important to keep in mind that prom night is centered about dancing, so the flowers should not only be beautiful but functional enough to withstand an entire evening of festivities.

How do I know what to choose?

Sunset Beauty Wristlet by Alfa Flower and Wedding Shop

Ideally, the corsage and boutonniere should be purchased together to ensure the colors and styles match, but this isn’t a necessity as long as the florist has enough information from one of the parties. Some prom-goers even bring their dress or a swatch of fabric with them to help the florist get a better idea of what to design.

The first decision when choosing a corsage is: what kind? You may think that all corsages are the same, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. It used to be tradition for the gentleman to pin the corsage to his date’s dress prior to departing for the evening. But prom dresses have evolved to feature spaghetti straps or even no straps, making the ceremonial pinning no longer practical. Instead, many ladies opt for the wrist corsage that can be worn like a piece of jewelry.

Options aren’t limited to the wrist, however, as modern corsages can be worn in other places, such as around the waist or in the hair. It behooves the gentleman to find out which style his date prefers since she will be the one wearing it all evening.

The ladies have it easier when choosing a boutonniere because there are fewer decisions to make. Since boutonnieres are traditionally pinned to the lapel of the tuxedo or suit jacket, the main decision is the color and types of flowers. Since those two elements are usually dependent upon the style of the corsage, it’s usually just a matter of trusting the florist to know what works best.

What kinds of flowers do I want?

Red Carpet Romance Corsage by Alfa Flower and Wedding Shop

There are many different options when it comes to choosing the flowers for your corsage. Roses and spray roses are always a popular choice and can usually be matched well to the dress. Many people opt for carnations which are available in nearly every color imaginable, and some people prefer more bold options like orchids, lilies, succulents, and even birds of paradise.

While some people know exactly what they want, there are plenty of others who don’t even know where to begin when it comes to choosing flowers – that’s where we’re happy to help. In fact, most customers find they end up with the best result by simply giving us their dress color and letting our designers do their thing. We have years of experience with prom flowers and stay on top of the latest styles and trends. Depending on the budget, we can add special features such as jeweled beads, feathers, and lace to truly make each corsage one-of-a-kind.

Prom night is often one of the most important and memorable nights of a young person’s life and the memories from that special night can last a lifetime. We like to think of prom flowers as the icing on the cake, and we’re excited to help create that perfect look to fit every style.

With Mother’s Day quickly approaching as well as wedding season and other special events, the spring and summer seasons are a busy time, so we urge our customers to order their prom flowers as early as possible to ensure that their order is filled on time. Give us a call today at (414) 475-7080 or better yet, stop in to see us!

Discover the Incredible Mood Power of Flowers

Everyone knows that flowers make people happy and enhance people’s moods, but the mood power of flowers may be even greater than we realize. Science has proven time and again that flowers play a powerful role in our lives, but their positive effect on our mental health is nothing short of incredible.

A study conducted by Rutgers University found that every single one of its 150 test participants expressed happiness upon receiving even one flower. The reaction was universal throughout all age groups and included both men and women. The study confirmed the possibility that flowers may, in fact, affect brain chemistry.

Studies show that besides making us happy, flowers are also proven to:

  • fuel creativity and quick thinking
  • make employees more productive
  • help with stress reduction
  • increase focus
  • feed compassion
  • lower blood pressure
  • trigger memory
  • boost energy levels

Giving is receiving

What really sets flowers apart from other gifts is that the act of giving may actually be more beneficial than receiving. A study by Texas A&M concluded that givers were perceived as caring, successful and emotionally intelligent people who possess the ability to not only express their own feelings but to take the time to understand the feelings of others.

Studies have also shown that a person can actually influence and change what others think of them in a significant way through the gifts they give, and perhaps no other gifts have the ability to evoke such positive feelings and perceptions as flowers.

Find the right mood

When a person sends flowers – or purchases them for their own enjoyment – the types of flowers they choose may play a significant role in enhancing a particular mood. Warm color flowers in reds, yellows, and oranges boost energy and stimulate the brain, making people more alert and creative. On the other end of the spectrum, cool color flowers and plants in greens and blues tend to create a more soothing effect by slowing the production of stress hormones to aid in relaxation.

No matter what the occasion, flowers are indeed the perfect gift of happiness and positive vibes – they are a potent mood elevator and a natural source of pleasure. Call Alfa Flowers today and let us help you experience for yourself – the incredible mood power of flowers.