Tuesday, November 6, 2012

365 Days of Floral Education - Days 1-5

Parts of a Flower
As part of our 125th Anniversary celebration at Stein Your Florist Co. we are sharing a year of floral education, November 1, 2012 thru October 31, 2013. Each day we will post something new on our Facebook page to share our knowledge of our favorite things, flowers and plants and we'll be updating our blog every 5 days or so. No need for pencils and notebooks, just sharing some simple lessons in floristry.

 Day 1 - For our first day of floral education we thought we’d start with the basics, the parts of a flower. While we are primarily concerned with floral aesthetics here at the flower shops, the petals, sepal and stem, it is nice to review and remember the important role flowers play in nature. The biological function of a flower is to effect reproduction, they give rise to fruit and seeds, and many flowers have evolved to be attractive to animals, so as to cause them to be vectors for the transfer of pollen.

Cut Flowers on an Angle

Day 2 - You may have noticed that we cut our flower stems on an angle, but have you ever wondered why? Cut flowers are still living, which means that they are still drinking the water in which you put them. By cutting flowers perpendicular to the stem, it allows the stems to set directly on the bottom of the vase, impeding the ability for water absorption. An angled cut not only allows better access to the life-giving water, but also gives more surface area to the stems, allowing them to take in more water than a straight cut.


Day 3 - Sansevieria, also called snake plant or mother-in-law's tongue, is remarkable in its ability to convert large amounts of carbon dioxide into oxygen (which we need to breathe), as well as in its effectiveness at removing certain indoor pollutants from the air. Studied extensively by NASA scientist B.C. Wolverton and environmental scientist Kamal Meattle, sansevieria is shown to filter out benzene, a chemical linked to Sick Building Syndrome. Sansevieria is most effective at producing oxygen at night, making it a perfect plant to keep in the bedroom.

Day 4 - Gypsophila, commonly known as baby's-breath, is a genus of about 100 species of flowering plants in the family Caryophyllaceae, native to Europe, Asia and north Africa. Many species are found on calcium-rich soils, including gypsum, hence the name of the genus. Its botanical name means "lover of chalk", which is accurate in describing the type of soil in which this plant grows. We use thousands of bunches of "Gyp" at Steins every year.

Flowers for Allergy Sufferers
Day 5 - Flowers can be one of the most common allergy triggers around, though certain blooms have less or even no effect and these are the ones allergy sufferers should look for, so if you suffer from allergies it is not impossible for you to enjoy beautiful blooms. WebMD reports there are actually quite a variety of flowers out there that allergy sufferers can live in harmony with. Begonia, cactus, clematis, columbine, crocus, daffodil and geranium are some of the most allergy-friendly plants and flowers. Hosta, hydrangea, iris, lily, periwinkle, rose, tulip, zinnia and more are also known for being good choices.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Day of the Dead

We love Halloween around the flower shop. Some of our crew is dressed up today, we have a wolf, a baby and even some creative Day of the Dead makeup. So we got to thinking… why end the celebration with Halloween when we can enjoy Dia de los Muertos, Day of the Dead?

Day of the Dead, celebrated on November 1stand 2nd, is primarily a Mexican holiday that focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember lost loved ones.  
Traditionally those celebrating visit the graves of family members that have died to tidy them up and build altars honoring the deceased using decorative sugar skulls, marigolds and other flowers. They also leave the favorite foods and beverages of the departed as gifts.
Offerings for the souls of the dead.
The intent is to encourage visits by the souls, so the souls will hear the prayers and the comments of the living directed to them.

Elegant Skulls for Day of the Dead
While this may seem like a sad occasion, Dia de los Muertos usually takes on a jovial tone, as celebrants remember funny events and anecdotes about the departed. La Calavera Catrina, “The Elegant Skull”, is the most iconic image of Day of the Dead celebrations. Sugar skulls are elaborately decorated as offerings and senoritas paint their faces to portray elegant Catrinas as part of the celebration. Orange Mexican marigolds, sometimes referred to as Flor de Muerto or “Flower of the Dead”, are the traditional flower used to honor the dead.

All of the beautiful flowers and imagery of Day of the Dead are not totally foreign to us, we have done more than a few themed weddings for the occasion. So we took our inspiration from our Day of the Dead experience, Mexican traditions, and our love of flowers and headed to one of the local cemeteries to create an altar and shoot a few photos.

Jessi Rose, our floral design apprentice and resident dress up doll, was painted like a Catrina and given a beautiful bouquet of marigolds, roses, zinnias, asters, mums and calla lilies. We designed flowers for her hair in blooms to match with accents of blue hydrangea.

Our offerings included a bowl of fruit, a bottle of tequila (a popular offering for Dia de los Muertos celebrations) and skulls hand painted by our designers in iconic Mexican styling.

We brought along more flowers as well, a bouquet of gladiolus, another popular flower for the occasion, and another bouquet to match our model’s with more lovely marigolds and lots of yellow Jerry’s balls. These bouquets were left at the cemetery as offerings to Jessi Rose’s grandparents who are at rest there.

We hope everyone enjoys today’s haunting Halloween celebrations and that you embrace the fun, tradition, and remembrance of Dia de los Muertos!

Hurricane Sandy

Hurricane Sandy hit us hard! We lost power at our Burlington, NJ location until late Tuesday, roads were a mess, our iconic neon sign at our Philadelphia location was damaged, and our NJ sign blew down… again. Some of our employees are still without power.

But we didn’t let it stop us from having fun! We tried to make deliveries to our customers… It was more than a little breezy!

We hope everyone weathered to storm ok .  Stay safe!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Stop Bullying!

Almost everyone has been affected by bullying in some way. Whether you have been bullied yourself, have been a bully, or have witnessed bullying.
It is an epidemic that is sweeping our nation, causing pain, sorrow, and in the worst circumstances, death. Suicide as a result of bullying, known as bullicide, is an unfortunate reality that we hear about all too often on the news and in our communities.


October is Bullying Prevention and Awareness Month, so we thought it would be the perfect time to remind everyone that bullying is a real problem and it is not ok.

As in all things that we do, we always look to flowers to guide us, so we used a traditional technique for designing floral set pieces and created a floral plaque to convey our message:  Stop Bullying.

We then invited Stein’s employees, family, friends and neighbors to hold our sign and say something inspirational about bullying.

This created a rather touching and inspirational video. We hope you enjoy it and that you do your part to end the cycle of bullying, this month and always. Speak up, stand up, and don't let anyone be bullied.


Some statistics about bullying:
·         1 out of every 4 teens are bullied.
·         As many as 160,000 students stay home on any given
          day because they’re afraid of being bullied.
·         1 out of every 5 kids admits to being a “bully” or doing
          some bullying.
·         282,000 students are physically attacked in
          secondary schools each month.
·         80% of the time an argument with a bully will end up
          in a physical fight.
·         On the playground, a child is bullied every 7 minutes…
   o   4% of the time an adult intervenes,
   o   11% of the time a peer intervenes,
       o   85% of the time no one intervenes.
·         97% of middle schoolers are bullied while online.
·          33% of students have heard another student threaten
          to kill someone.

When we visited our neighbors at the convenient store we caught this young man off guard with our large sign and camera. When we told him what we were doing he was so moved that he opened up and said that he too had been bullied and would be happy to be in our video. Thank you for helping us spread this important message.

For more information about bullying prevention  visit

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Oppa Stein Your Florist Style, Our Gangnam Style Parody

Unless you’ve been living under a rock you’ve probably heard South Korean rapper Psy’s infectiously catchy hit song “Gangnam Style,” seen the awesomely entertaining and popular music video, and maybe even busted some of his signature horse-riding dance moves.

Patrick "Psy" Kelly poses with Steins designer Jennifer,
video editor and director, and our mystery
yellow suited dancer.
Gangnam is a district of Seoul, Korea that Psy has likened to Beverly Hills, CA, with lavish lifestyles and posh people. The music video is a comical antithesis of Gangnam’s actual swag with its humorous dance, fashion and lyrics. The song is about the perfect girlfriend who knows when to be refined and when to get wild.

"Psy" with one of his supporting actors
After seeing Psy’s live performance on the Today Show we found ourselves constantly dancing and singing around the shops (the English words as well what we are sure was an unfortunate butchering of the Korean ones). A week after catching the Gangnam Style fever with no cure in sight, we decided to film our own “Gangnam Style” parody, “Oppa Stein Your Florist Style!” Our flowers have a certain swag ;-)

The original video features scenes around the Gangnam district, while ours features our shops, staff, and, of course, flowers.

Patrick gets his unruly Elvis wig Gangnam styled.

Patrick, Stein’s owner and operator, took on the role of Psy, donning an Elvis style wig and some funky colored suit jackets from the local thrift stores. While his dance moves aren’t nearly as on point as Psy’s, he made up for it with lots of energy and beautiful flowers.
"Psy" posing with some of his
dance crew.

The rest of the Steins crew was excited to fill the supporting roles, help behind the scenes, design bouquets, film and edit our spoof. It’s amazing we captured any footage where we weren’t laughing!

Our mystery yellow suited dancer.
One of our top designers, who asked to remain nameless, dressed as the yellow suited dancer. The disguise was so good that people that know her didn’t even recognize her and passers-by stopped in their cars to take pictures.

"Christine" models with the other ladies while
"Psy" screams at his favorite thing... flowers.
We were short one female dancer the day we filmed our version of Psy’s yoga scene, so we convinced Chris, one of our newest employees, to dress as “Christine” in a cute black dress and big curly black wig to do a little bouquet modeling and dancing for us. He’s such a good sport!

Elevator dancer Pat C.
We would like to thank the extra dancers from the community that showed up on the scene while we were filming to do the horsey dance with us… We found ourselves to be attracting quite a crowd while dancing outside the store on the corner of Frankford and Princeton, we must have looked like a flash mob!

We had an amazing time filming our parody and we hope you enjoy watching it!! And be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel, you never know what we’ll be up to next!

Friday, September 28, 2012

The Humanization of Flowers

A few days ago we found a bag of googly eyes here at the shop.  You know, the little white plastic disks with the smaller black disk trapped under clear lens that jiggles and shakes when they move about.


No idea why we have them… we’re not making a bunch of pipe cleaner animals or anything here!

So we started sticking them on all kinds of silly things, our water cooler, a lamp, and then flowers… that’s when things got ridiculous.

Before we knew it we had eyebombed our own store. From roses to liatris, almost every flower in the shop had been humanized.
We set up our video camera and about 45 minutes of silly unscripted floral puppetry ensued.

Pom Pon

We always thought our crew was a bit wacky, but now we know for sure!

Some of our "performance" was slightly reminiscent of the talking flowers of Alice in Wonderland (without the lovely singing), but most was just absurd.

Calla Lilies
We’d like to say that no flowers were harmed in the making of this film, but that would be a lie. Our laughing orange lily didn’t make it (we didn't even get a picture of the poor guy)…
while twirling he lost 3 of his 6 petals, but he shall be forever immortalized in the archives of You Tube.

Rainbow Rose

And to think this was all part of a day’s work ;-P


Check out our video and let us know what you think!

Fuji Mum



Monday, September 17, 2012

On the Wings of Black Bowls

Stein Your Florist Co.,
the Phoenix florist.
Many of our long time customers know that 11 years ago we had a fire at our Philadelphia location that forced us to close our doors for almost a year. To catch up on that bit of Stein history check out this article that was in the Northeast Times shortly after we reopened.

It was a trying time, to say the least, and it is never too far from memory, but just a few weeks ago while rooting through some Stein storage we found a relic of our post-fire past, a box of black bowls.
A traditional arrangement
designed in a black bowl.
Remember when gas stations had those give-aways when you filled the tank? Well that’s what these black bowls were. From the gas stations hundreds made their way to Penn State Gardens, a greenhouse that Steins has a close relationship with (in fact, it used to be owned by Steins years and years ago). Paul, the greenhouse owner, eager to help us get back on our feet upon reopening with a mountain of post-fire debt (insurance is never enough) sold us the bowls at a generous 10 cents each!
A topiary arrangement
designed in a black bowl.

Sure, the bowls were filthy after being stored under greenhouse potting benches for 30+ years, but what’s a little dirt when you have a shop full of floral designers eager to return to their craft? We scrubbed the bowls, filled them with oasis floral foam and let our art take over.

A traditional arrangement
designed in a black bowl.
At a time when we were working in a building still partially under reconstruction and trying to get the word out to our wonderful and loyal customers that we were back (and better than ever!) these simple black bowls became the vessel upon which Steins stayed afloat. They allowed us to focus our resources on flowers and provide our patrons with what Steins has always been known for, beautiful lush arrangements at a great value.

Party centerpieces designed in black bowls.
These bowls are versatile enough to house designs from traditional to ultra-contemporary. We used them for almost everything:  party centerpieces, birthday arrangements, and beautiful everyday designs.

Now, we are happy to have returned to arranging in extravagant glass, impressive ceramic and stylish baskets, but we have found ourselves waxing nostalgic upon rediscovering these simple receptacles.

A kind customer likened our return after the fire to the legendary Phoenix, reborn from the ashes to live again. Thanks to these humble black bowls this Phoenix florist continues to soar.

Stein Your Florist Co., the Phoenix florist.

We would like to thank those that helped us through this difficult time… Our friends and family, our wonderful employees that stood by us, as we stood by them, Paul and everyone at Penn State Gardens, John Dorschug and Graebel Van Lines for your support, manpower, boxes and packing supplies, and all our wonderful and valued customers. Because of everyone’s support we have been able to practice our craft for 125 years! Thank you!