Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Do you hire flowers?

I am often asked whether I am able to hire out flowers for weddings and events. “Of course!” I reply, but I have to qualify that statement. Artificial flower hire is available, but fresh flowers for vases, arranged in Oasis or made in to a bride’s bouquet have a limited life. If companies were to hire this type of flower display at a cost which is lower than the normal purchase price (which is what hiring is all about) then they would be making a loss on every contract! Beautiful flower displays at reasonable prices are available but this is on a purchase only basis. It is, however, possible to hire flower displays which are a slightly different kettle of fuschia. Sorry!

Flower displays are tropical plants, trees, and shrubs either placed in groups or planted in a suitable container with the addition of flowering plants. The flowering plants can be pot grown or can be added to the display by placing them in Oasis. Flower hire as described above is much more economical for a given quantity or volume when compared to fresh flowers, probably around a third to a half of the outlay. Apart from the cost of the actual flowers which are often imported (see below) the labour cost is high as it takes quite a bit of skilled labour to make an attractive flower arrangement. In some cases the completed fresh flower display has to be attached to posts, pillars and canopies and fixings and fittings are all costs on top of the flowers. Admittedly, the flower displays may not look as stunning as a large quantity of fresh flowers and if your budget allows go for the flowers. You will make the supplier very happy! The very fact that the word budget is mentioned means for most people that there is a limit on expenditure.

You don’t have to go with one or the other, of course, and you can have fresh flower arrangements for the tables and plants and flower displays placed around the outside of the room and in strategic places. Water features can often be added for great effect.

Mentioning imported flowers earlier, some flowers travel enormous distances. Examples are: carnations and roses from Venezuela ( 5000m ) and Chile ( 7500m), protea, roses and exotics from South Africa ( 6000m ) and orchids from Thailand ( 6000m ). Flowers are harvested in the cooler morning hours in order to give them a longer vase life. They are then cooled to less than 60F within the hour and stored at temperatures between freezing and 40F. Flower markets are often in the same location as fruit and vegetable markets. It is interesting to note that ethylene gas is produced by stored fruit and veg and this is detrimental to cut flowers, particularly carnations and delphiniums and so care is taken to store the fruit and flowers away from each other.

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