Flower arranging and designing will help you make more profit from your greenhouse.
Some of the flowers and foliage you use can be grown in your greenhouse or garden—other material will have to be purchased—preferably from a wholesaler, if one is accessible to you. New Year’s Day, Valentine’s Day, Easter, Mother’s Day, Decoration Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas are the big holidays when cut flowers, arrangements, accessories, greens, and corsages are in greatest demand. But there is also year-round trade for birthdays, parties, showers, weddings, and funerals. And there are other special days, and weeks—Father’s Day, Halloween, Fourth of July, St. Patrick’s Day, Secretarial Week, and Sweetest Day (proclaimed sometime in mid-October). Your local Chamber of Commerce can fill you in on these dates.
If you have never made floral arrangements or corsages, it will pay you to take a course, locally or by mail. You might also do apprentice work at a local florist shop, and read books on this profit-making aspect of greenhouse operation. Your classified telephone directory will provide names of schools near you; correspondence schools advertise in national magazines and you will find a great number from using the internet.
A gardener in Washington who took a mail-order course in floral design for only 6 weeks, soon earned enough from sales of corsages, funeral sprays, and flower arrangements to pay for her course and show a profit.
Another in Georgia earns as she learns by specializing in arrangements for silver and golden wedding anniversaries and church weddings.
You might enjoy flower designing so much that you will want to go to work for a local florist and specialize in this phase of commercial floriculture. Florist shops offer wonderful opportunities for those who enjoy working with flowers and dealing with the public.
If your greenhouse is not large enough to grow the flowers you want for retail, and your town has no florist shop, you might try taking orders—that is, being the local agent for a florist shop in a nearby city. Many small towns have no florist, but still there is a demand for designs and arrangements for special occasions. An out-of-town shop will pay you a commission of 15 to 25 per cent of the selling price for handling their flowers.
Some authorities recommend cutting flowers in the early morning when stems and flower heads contain a large amount of moisture. Others recommend later-afternoon cutting. It probably makes little difference if no foliage is attached to the stem, as with gladiolus, narcissus, orchids, and many other plants. Where there is a lot of foliage, I like morning. Cut-flower customers prefer—and pay more for—long-stemmed roses, snapdragons, stock, and chrysanthemums. With corsage flowers— orchids, camellias, and gardenias—stem length is unimportant. Deep plunging of flowers into water immediately after they are cut reduces water loss from leaves, helps retain turgidity, and adds to life. Cut flowers should be kept out of bright sun and draughts, and humidity should be increased.
Petalife and other water-soluble preservatives make cut flowers last longer. You can stock these products either to sell or to give away with each flower order.
Flowers placed in sealed packages and kept in temperatures of 40 to 50 degrees will keep weeks longer than the same flowers placed in water and stored at the same temperatures.
Scrub all containers and keep them clean, for better appearance as well as to remove the bacteria which shorten the life of flowers.
For special occasions such as Valentine’s Day or St. Patrick’s Day, or to pick up a definite color scheme, you may have to color flowers red, green, blue, or some other color. You can do this by adding a dye to the water and leaving the flowers in the water for 24 or more hours. Then there’s a liquid dye for dipping them, and a colored dust for dusting them, both methods giving instantaneous color. A new aerosol spray can be used on all flowers, fresh or dried, to give them the color your customer wants. This spray is not harmful to petals or foliage.
If you want to brighten up leaves, use one of the colorless sprays such as Plant Shine. This gives the foliage of cut flowers or house plants a good sheen.
If your shop is large enough to have a display window, keep it interesting with well-designed arrangements and corsages, pot plants, and accessories. Try to have a theme. Especially try to arrange something appropriate for holidays, special days and, of course, the seasons.
Investigate the profit possibilities in supplying local businesses and stores with regular flower arrangements. Also, look into driftwood and dried-flower arrangements. You may be able to build a profitable volume by offering flower arrangement accessories and supplies to your customers. For this, and almost any other aspect of your business, a close contact with local garden clubs will prove extremely helpful.
A specialized—but big potential—venture lies in flocking wreaths, sprays, etc., for Christmas decorations in homes and offices. You can buy or rent flocking machines which simplify and accelerate production.
But operating a retail flower business, even in a small way, is not a thing to be considered in haste or in brief outlines of operation. You should then find out a great deal before you spend time and money to set up a retail business. There’s much to learn—much more than can be properly presented here. So consider my suggestions about books, schools, and practical apprentice training. The more you know the less risk you run of “getting burned,” and the quicker you will be able to establish a profitable operation.
With the help of a proper backyard garden protection guide, you can maintain your garden well and can also get tips for keeping your backyard ponds clean. In order to provide proper air and suncast to your plants, it is always advisable to use such types of sheds which in filters light rays. Fences and hedges should be used as backyard wall garden system which allows vines and sprawling shrubs to climb and look good.