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Belle Fiori Florals-Quality Flowers from a Quality Source

Posted on by BelleFiori

Many people ask what the difference is between buying fresh flowers from our store or at their local grocery store. At Belle Fiori we pride ourselves in knowing we only use the very best florist-quality flowers that are professionally designed and hand-delivered to the Milwaukee area. Flowers come to our store world-wide from places such as South America and Holland. 

One of the leading growers we receive flowers from at Belle Fiori is Esmeralda Farms located in various different regions of South America. Esmeralda Farms is committed to delivering the freshest and highest quality fresh cut flowers in the floral industry. They are a market leader in innovation, quality and consistency due to their state-of-the-art production methods and dedicated staff. The diverse growing regions in Central and South America where their farms are located enable them to take advantage of the different climatic conditions and soil compositions. Everyday, Esmeralda is working towards total biological control by using minimal quantities of pesticides in their farms. When chemicals are used excessively, an unattractive residue builds up on the leaf surface, reducing vase life, and can also be harmful to humans and pets. Esmeralda, however, uses 75% less pesticides than an average flower farm and only uses chemicals that are certified and approved for use by the EPA, FLP and Florverde. Esmeralda Farms recieved the International Silver Rose Award as Eco-certified grower of the year for their use of responsible and sustainable horticulture. 

Esmeralda Farms also takes different environmental initiatives through different programs such as Florverde and FlorEcuador. Florverde is an internationally recognized program created by the Colombian Association of Flower Exporters that betters the social and environmental conditions of the Colombian Flower Industry by continuously striving to achieve the highest standards at the farms and for its workers on multiple levels. FlorEcuador is the socio-environmental program of Expoflores, Ecuador’s National Association of Flower Producers and Exporters, which promotes social responsibility, improving work conditions of flower growers, seeks sustainable production with optimal resource and energy management, and increases the use of biological and alternative pesticides. 

We hope the next time you buy flowers, you choose Belle Fiori to ensure you are getting only the best premium fresh-cut flowers!
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Join Us at Milwaukee’s Magnificent Bride-March 1st

Posted on by BelleFiori

Attention all you brides and grooms to be! Belle Fiori is gearing up for another of Milwaukee’s highly anticipated bridal shows. On March 1st, our florists, along with several of Southeastern Wisconsin’s finest wedding professionals will be on hand for Milwaukee’s Magnificent Bride Wedding Show. Couples will have the opportunity to see the latest in bridal fashion, photography, catering, and much more!

Check out the details below, and by clicking here!

Milwaukee’s Magnificent Bride

Sunday, March 1, 2015
11AM to 3PM
The Pfister Hotel
424 East Wisconsin Avenue
7th floor

“Milwaukee’s Magnificent Bride Wedding Show has been making wedding dreams come true for eight years!  We would like to thank our wonderful group of wedding artisans and our show partners. They are what makes this show the premiere wedding experience in the state of Wisconsin. Southeastern Wisconsin’s most exclusive wedding artisans will inspire the planning of your special day. Join us for an afternoon of champagne, fabulous food, and the latest trends in wedding design.”

Ticket Price: $25 in advance, $35 at the door, plus tax

This year, you’ll also be able to participate in a bridal brunch with David Caruso of Dynamic Events!

Milwaukee’s Magnificent Bride: Save the Date – March 1, 2015 from CAPTIVATE // ONE FINE DAY on Vimeo.

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Join Nationally Award-Winning Wedding Planner and Designer, David Caruso, for a special Wedding Brunch at 9:30 AM – 11:00 AM in The Rouge.  You don’t want to miss David’s dynamic presentation about wedding trends and how to make your wedding uniquely your own.  Seats are limited to this exclusive event so purchase upgraded tickets right away!

Belle Fiori Employee Feature-Meet Jo Ann!

Posted on by BelleFiori

This week more than ever, I have to give a big shout out to Belle Fiori’s entire staff, including those extra special helpers with us during Valentine’s day. It’s a crazy time, and I’m ever grateful for the dedication and incredible customer service our team displays when preparing and delivering your floral bouquets and arrangements throughout the Milwaukee and Southeastern Wisconsin area. Roses or lilies, your design or ours, Belle Fiori’s florists love making your holiday a special one.

So, thank you to our staff this week and always, and say hello to this week’s employee feature, Jo Ann…

Name: Jo Ann Bishop

How long have you worked at Belle Fiori? Started mid-September 2014

What is your position? Administrative Assistant

When you were 10 years old, what did you want to be? Eleven, I think.

What is your favorite season? I love the fall with the changing temperatures and crispness of the air.  It reminds me of back-to-school time and a re-organizing of a schedule of life after a more loosely paced summer.  

If you weren’t in the field of floral design, what would you be doing? Living in a villa in Italy and preparing and eating delicious, local food.  Surrounded by beautiful flowers, of course.  

What is your favorite part about living in Milwaukee? I recently moved to the Lower East Side and enjoy the convenience of walking to work, the theater, movies and Lake Michigan  One of my favorite things to do in the neighborhood is walk my dog along the lake and bask in the energy and ever changing colors of the water.

What would I find in your refrigerator at home? A staple in my refrigerator is cooked greens of various kinds, a pot of soup, hummus and almond butter.  And, an assortment of organic vegetables from our CSA at Tipi Produce. 

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Order Early for Valentine’s Day!

Posted on by BelleFiori

It’s almost here…Valentine’s Day! The national holiday which celebrates love is the perfect time to send your special someone an arrangement of beautiful flowers.

At Belle Fiori, we believe you shouldn’t feel limited to red roses. We encourage you to break the mold and consider one of our gorgeous, custom floral designs.

Why not surprise your sweetheart with a delivery at work on Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday? The sweet gesture is sure to put a smile on their face and set the tone of romance for the weekend.

Before the orders come rushing in, call our Milwaukee area shop at 414.272.2234 to place your order for delivery. One of our floral experts will help determine a combination of florals your loved one will adore!

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Ask the Expert: Orchids

Posted on by BelleFiori

This week’s Ask the Expert feature focuses on one of the most common gifted plants around. Our florists at Belle Fiori are often asked about the care and maintenance of the delicate orchid, and we’re always happy to advise…

Nichole Asks:

Orchids….how do I get new blossoms? I put a few ice cubes in it each week, but no success after 1 1/2 years! Although the plant is growing, there are no flowers. What should I do? -Nichole S.

My Answer:

Different  varieties of orchids have different needs to re-bloom in a home.  The best starting point is to think of where and how the plant will grow in it’s native setting. I’m going to assume that you have a Phalaenopsis orchid, this is the most commonly available.

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The most common reason for any orchid not to bloom is insufficient light. Move your phalaenopsis plants to a window where they will receive strong, but indirect light.  Remember, in it’s natural setting, an orchid will have lots of light but could be underneath a bigger tropical tree for indirect light. I personally have good luck with a bay window in my kitchen. Try to get 2 of 4 directions for natural light, north & west or south & east, etc.. Also, “indirect” means soft, diffused, or filtered light, so avoid hot, direct sun or use a sheer curtain to act as a shade cloth.   You might also try lighting your plants with a fluorescent light fixture placed about 1-2 feet above the foliage, but this is challenging in a home.

The next reason to consider is nutrition.  Are you feeding your plant?  This can come in two different forms-potting soil or fertilizer.  If the plant is still in the original medium, a re-potting can help (sphagnum moss or bark chips are most common options).  Look for the same type of medium that your plant is currently in (several brands are readily available).  Carefully remove the plant from the original container and take this time to wash and scrub the container to remove any bacteria or mold spores.  Discard all of the original medium and fill the container half-full with new medium, then place the roots and plant in the pot. Finally, work more medium on top and between the roots to fill the pot and hold the plant in place.  This will take some wiggling, shimming and shaking to get around all those squiggly roots, but keep carefully working at it until the plant feels sturdy in the pot.  Give the new potting medium a thorough watering. After 30 minutes, drain away any standing water by slowly tipping the pot and pouring the extra out into the sink.  It will take a few weeks to see the effect, but this new soil is yummy to your plant.  Lastly, consider adding a fertilizer to your plant watering regimen. Following the directions for each brand is best as the proportions and potency vary.

I personally do not like the ice cube method for watering a tropical plant.  If you grew up in Hawaii would you want ice cubes on your feet? No way! The only benefit the ice cubes give, is to avoid over watering by only providing a few tablespoons of liquid when they melt. Try switching to a consistent measurement (4-8 oz. for a 5″ diameter pot/weekly) of tepid water.  If you plan to use fertilizer, use it every other watering. Too much fertilizer is like too much rich food and will upset your plant. In good ole’ Southeastern Wisconsin, we are challenged with limited daylight and often low humidity from dry homes in the winter.  You can expect a Phalaenopsis orchid to bloom once a year with the stem of blossoms often lasting almost three months from the first open bloom to the last.  A dormant time of low light will occur in November, December and January.  As the days get brighter and longer your orchids will be encouraged to send up a new stem and bloom.  Hopefully a few of these changes will show the fruits, …er blooms, of your labor.

Good luck!

Belle Fiori Employee Feature-Meet Jen!

Posted on by BelleFiori

It’s time to introduce another member of Belle Fiori’s Milwaukee team. It’s people like Jen that make coming to work everyday a fun and pleasant experience. We’re so glad she joined us, and we hope to have her as part of the Belle Fiori family for years to come!

Meet Jennifer!

Name: Jennifer Nolan

Nickname: Jen

Tell us a little bit about your self: I am an almost-retired dance teacher of 15 years who has discovered a new passion for flowers courtesy of Emily and the amazing designers of Belle Fiori! I love helping people put together that special combination of flowers for their friends and family. I also have a 23 year old son named Sean, and a 20 pound cat named Larry.

How long have you worked at Belle Fiori? 14 months

What is your position? I do a bit of everything…you can find me in flower processing, setting up weddings, taking orders and making arrangements.

What sparked your interest in floral design? I am an artistic person by nature and have always loved painting and drawing flowers. 

When you were 10 years old, what did you want to be? One of the Beatles…I had the haircut and everything!

What is your favorite season? Oh, the Fall….I love cooler weather, and the air smells so good this time of year.

If you weren’t in the field of floral design, what would you be doing? Yoga teacher

What is your favorite part about living in Milwaukee? Living on Lake Michigan and the ease of getting around without a car. I can easily bike to work!

What is your favorite floral trend? The use of herbs and berries in arrangements, along with locally sourced and seasonal flowers.

If you could have 1 super power, what would it be? Flight.

What would I find in your refrigerator at home? Greek yogurt, apples and almonds, gotta have almonds!

bellefiori

Ask the Expert: Do Plant Food Packets Really Work?

Posted on by BelleFiori

Our florists at Belle Fiori field a lot of questions about how to prolong the life of a fresh cut floral bouquet. Last week, we gave you some tips about how to preserve your arrangement, and this week, we want to answer a question from one of our Milwaukee clients more specific to plant food.

Michelle asks:

I’ve got one for you that I was just thinking about this weekend. When I buy flowers (or they are bought for me) they come with that plant food packet. Does that really make a difference in how long your flowers will last? What should I do to maximize the life of my table arrangement? -Michelle D.

My Advice:

There are a few different manufacturers of “flower food” packets, but no matter what, the brand name the product is by far the best option for extending the life of fresh cut flowers in a vase of water. Old wives tales include; aspirin, pennies, clear soda or bleach just to name a few, none of these work as well as a professionally balanced solution. “Flower food” has been developed by experts in both botany and chemistry, it provides the perfect blend of what a plant needs to continue it’s life cycle after being removed for the mother plant.  This blend contains a sugar element to feed the flowers, an acidic element to prevent bacteria from growing in the water and an absorption enhancer to keep the stems drinking fresh water.  Don’t just toss those packets in a junk drawer, mix them with fresh water and enjoy a long lasting vase of happy flowers!

Check back in the coming weeks for more ‘Ask the Expert’ features, and remember, professional flower food is the way to go. Trust us!

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Flower Care for Fresh-Cut Arrangements

Posted on by BelleFiori

Everyone loves receiving a fresh bouquet and our florists here at Belle Fiori love helping clients select the perfect arrangement of flowers for friends and loved ones. Brightening the Milwaukee area with gorgeous florals has been our privilege for years, and we’re always happy to give tips on how to make your flowers last.

Many people are often frustrated by how short-lived a bouquet may be once they get it home. They may forget that fresh cut flowers are still living entities that can be encouraged to last much longer under the right conditions. The following tips will help make your flowers last longer.

Tip #1:

Replenish the water frequently.

Flowers drink a lot of water! It is not uncommon for a large flower arrangement to suck up all the water in a vase within the first day or two you have it at home. Keep the vase full to ensure the flowers do not dry out and wilt. Flowers are also highly susceptible to bacteria that builds up as stems sit in the water.  Keep adding fresh clear water, include “flower food” packets according to the packet directions if possible.

Tip #2:

Trim at least a half inch of stem off your flowers before you put them in a vase and each time you change the water.

As flowers sit out of water on your ride home, the ends of the stem dry out and the cells die, making it difficult for the flowers to absorb water. By cutting the stems just before placing them in water again, you expose fresh tissue that can suck up the water much more efficiently. When you trim stems when you change the water in the vase a few days later, you remove tissue at the tips that may be breaking down and once again expose fresh tissue that absorbs more water.

Tip #3:

Keep your flowers away from heat and bright light.

Sometimes people think they should set their vase of flowers in a sunny windowsill since that is where a plant would be happiest. However, cut flowers are actually the opposite of potted plants. They are at their peak of perfection. Sun and heat will encourage them to “mature” and thus quicken their demise. Instead, keep your cut flowers in a cool dark spot if you would like them to last as long as possible.

Tip #4:

Avoid sitting your flowers beside ripening fruit or vegetables, especially bananas and apples.

Ripening fruit gives off an odorless invisible gas called ethylene. This gas is harmless to humans, but rather deadly to flowers. The science behind it is as such: in the plant world, flowers are the precursor of fruit. Once a flower is pollinate, it begins to develop into a fruit so it can form seeds and start the plant life cycle over again. Ethylene is the gaseous hormone in the plant that induces that flower to drop its petals and become a fruit. As the fruit matures, it continues to give off ethylene. When you sit your vase of flowers next to ripening fruit, you’re exposing them to this gas and they will decide they’d better drop their petals the way Mother Nature intended.

Tip #5:

After you throw out your last arrangement, be sure to wash the vase/container very thoroughly in hot soapy water or, better yet, in your dishwasher.

Bacteria build up in dirty vases and do not go away just because the vase dries out. As soon as you add water again, the vase will once again be full of bacteria and your new bouquet will be subjected to the same bacteria that killed the last bouquet. Give your flowers a fresh clean environment free of bacteria and they will last much longer.

Tip #6:

Use “flower food” for most flowers.

While changing the water every other day or so is often just as effective for making flowers last longer, adding those flower food packets that come with packaged flowers are beneficial as well. This is especially true if you’re forgetful/lazy about adding water regularly. In addition to “feeding” the bouquet, these food packets contain a bactericide that keeps the water fresh for days longer.

Tip #7:

Use sharp scissors when cutting.

If you use dull old scissors or snips to trim your flowers, you are often smashing, and thus damaging, the tissue/cells at the end of the stem. Damaged cells cannot absorb water as effectively as healthy cells. Sharp scissors ensure a clean cut that leaves cells unharmed (except the poor few that inevitably get sliced).

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Source:www.lovenfreshflowers.com

Post-Holiday Sale at Belle Fiori!

Posted on by BelleFiori

Happy almost New Year! Our staff at Belle Fiori hopes you’re all having a safe and festive holiday season. We also want to remind you about our Post-Holiday Sale!

Our Milwaukee area shop is now offering all Christmas giftware at 50% off, while supplies last! Ornaments, silk flowers, wreaths, candles, and other giftware are all available at a great discount*. It’s the perfect opportunity to stock up for next year!

Make sure to stop in and pick up your favorite gifts and decor!

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*Excludes live plants and fresh flowers.

Featured Milwaukee Wedding-Andrea & Matt

Posted on by BelleFiori

We have another taste of warmth for you this winter season-Andrea and Matt’s Southeastern Wisconsin wedding!

In the Boerner Botanical Gardens you hardly need flowers to make it feel romantic. It’s a huge outdoor space with lots of beautiful natural elements that make the perfect backdrop for a Milwaukee wedding. However, Andrea and Matt took it to the next level by adding a lush backdrop of their own for the ceremony.

Belle Fiori offers a rental arch that is customizable for each unique couple. Andrea and Matt chose a billowing white fabric draped across the arch, with three lush, garden style arrangements along the top.

Their reception was held in a more intimate space, their parent’s backyard, which was lovely and bright. The pastel color flowers were a romantic and youthful palette that complimented the sea-foam green vintage candy dishes filled with sweets.

Check out some images from the wedding by Ann Parks Photography!

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