The mother of all mail days is coming, and with it, bouquets. Few material things lift a mood more effectively than cut flowers. It is their beauty, colour, fragrance; it is the space they occupy in the Venn Diagram of Purchases between luxury/simplicity, art/design, living/inanimate.
This month our choices are mostly limited to imports as our local growing season is not yet swung. But choices remain. If artistry is the gift you want to give, then you need a floral designer. Gail French of Contemporary Florist, on Hamilton Avenue, is an expert in floral design. She has taught at the College of the North Atlantic and currently runs private classes on the art and industry of floral design. Perhaps your mom would rather the gift of career skills instead of the product itself? Either way, if you are looking for classic or modern, “high style” or singles, a professional like Gail (with years of experience on weddings, corsages, funerals, and holidays) brings a practiced eye and the resources for special orders.
St John’s florists mostly source through that perennial middleman, Toronto, in the form of The Clock, an auction centre with flowers from around the world. Orders are flown to St John’s multiple times a week to ensure freshness, making florists much like bakeries; come early for full racks. Many of the larger sellers (Walmart, Sobey’s, Coleman’s etc) go through Woodland Nurseries Ltd., Newfoundland’s only cut flower wholesaler. Flown from Columbia to Miami, then trucked up to St John’s, a box of 350 lipstick red carnations (for example) are unpacked, given a drink, and re-packaged with other flowers into the finished bouquets that tempt you on your way to buy diapers and eggplants. The workers at Woodland will be responsible for making, in one week, 15,000 of our Mothers Day bouquets. Leaving no excuse to neglect your mom.
And if you want to slow down? Find that floral gift with its own happy story? If you want to Portlandia the hell out of your next bouquet with a homemade letter press card detailing the emotional state of the blooms from seed to shears? Well… for that you will have to wait for next month’s Flower on Rock Part II: Locally Sprung.