You've heard it before: "They're too expensive." "They're already dead when you buy them." "I can get them cheaper at the Big Box store." "It's so expensive to send flowers out of town." "You never know what you're going to get."
Would you like to know the truth?

They're too expensive
Some flowers are more expensive, but most are within reach of just about any budget. If you are just looking at the cost, you're missing the bigger picture. When you give flowers, you are giving much more than just the arrangement: You're sending love, congratulations, sympathy, greetings, or thanks.


Your local florist has the training and experience to make the arrangement reflect the special message you're sending. Florists are also experienced in helping you make a good impression without spending an arm and a leg. We understand budgets - we live with them, too. So don't be embarrassed if you don't have an armload of money to spend. Just let us know what you'd like to spend, and we'll make an arrangement that will deliver your message in style.


Sometimes an upscale design is the way to go. Arrangements done in a "high style" fashion can actually cost less than a traditional design. Ask your florist to suggest designs that are cost effective and trendy.

They're already dead when you buy them
Not true. Some flowers, such as tulips, will actually continue to grow (increase their stem length) even after they are cut and arranged!
In general, flowers are bred to last longer once they are in the arrangement. When you buy by the stem (not in a vase), you need to get the flowers in water as quickly as possible, obviously.


If your flowers are going to be out of water for a long time (an hour or more), ask your florist for water tubes. These are short, plastic devices that hold a small amount of water and are designed to fit over the cut end of the stem. They will help keep your flowers fresh when you can't put them into a vase right away.


Some flowers, such as roses, will drink up the water in the tube much faster than others, so be sure to watch the water level in the tube and refill them when needed. Other flowers, such as alstromeria, absorb water at a slower rate, so the water tube needs to be refilled less frequently.


If your florist doesn't offer it, be sure to ask for food for your cut flowers. This usually comes in a small packet and should be dissolved in a quart of warm water, about 80 degrees F. When you're ready to put your flowers into a vase, be sure make a fresh cut on the stem about one inch from the end. Use a sharp knife and cut the stem at an angle. Cutting at an angle helps preserve the capillary tubes in the flower stem so water can be absorbed more efficiently.


When you buy a basket arrangement, the flowers will be assembled in a special floral foam. This foam is designed to keep water close to the cut end of the stems, allowing the flowers to drink, and provides the needed support to hold the shape of the arrangement. Basket arrangements need to have fresh water added daily to maximize the flower life. Flower food will have been already added to the arrangement, but use the flower food packets the same way as you would in a vase arrangement.
In a vase arrangement, be sure to change the water about every third day. Hold the flowers securely and dump the water in a sink, then refill with fresh water that contains flower food.


In all cases, if you want your flowers to open, use warm water and set them in a warm location. If you want them to hold, use cold water and set them in a cooler location. Always avoid extremes of heat and cold. Trimming faded blossoms will keep the arrangement looking fresh.

I can get them cheaper at the Big Box store
You get what you pay for. You may be able to buy an arrangement at a low original price, but chances are, it won't last more than a day or two. You will pay about $9 for a bunch containing five to seven stems, so to get a nice bouquet, you will have to buy three or more bunches.
You will spend about $30 and you still don't have a vase. You won't get the flower food and advice florists usually provide free, you won't be able to send them out of town, and you'll get a substandard design (or no design at all). Don't even think about buying flowers for a wedding or funeral at the discount store.

It's so expensive to send flowers out of town and you never know what you're going to get
Dealing with traditional flower wire services directly, such as Teleflora, FTD or 1-800-Flowers is an expensive proposition. Not only are you paying for the arrangement, but also a pretty hefty service fee. You will be speaking with an order-taker who is probably not a florist, so if you want ideas or advice on your arrangement, you probably won't get it.


The order-taker will send your order to a random florist in the delivery area, and you will have no idea who is actually arranging your flowers or when they will be delivered.


Further, the order-taker will pay the filling florist only about 73 percent of the value of the order. Yes, the florist on the other end will only get about $36 to fill your $50 order. And the delivery/service fee the wire service charges? The florist doesn't get a penny of it.
So for a $50 arrangement, you could end up paying well over $70 for an out-of-town delivery. The florist gets $36 and the wire service gets $34 just for taking your phone call.


It's better to deal directly with the florist. Online resources, such as yellowpages.com, are a good way to locate a florist in your recipient's area. If you don't have access to the Internet, ask your local florist for assistance. We can establish a relationship with the out-of-town florist, so the next time you send flowers to that area, we know whom to call and you can be assured your recipient will receive a quality product.
So there it is. The long and the short of it. You win with a local florist every time. No "buds" about it.

Dan Hamilton is the owner of Blumen Garten Florist