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Operation Lend a Helping Hand

Join us in an effort to help the Ecuadorian community. The 7.8 magnitude earthquake that struck on Saturday, April 16th, 2016 has left many families in devastation. Hundreds of people have been confirmed dead, and thousands of victims are injured. Virgin Farms will be collecting items to help with relief efforts in Ecuador. If you wish to donate, please drop off items at our facility this week until Friday, April 22nd, 2016. (Address: 8475 NW 66th Street, Miami, FL 33166.)

Basic Items:

  • Blankets
  • Batteries/flashlights
  • Towels
  • Inflatable beds
  • Tents
  • Sleeping bags
  • Toiletries (toothpaste, toothbrushes, soap, deodorant, etc.)
  • Clothing
  • Medical supplies, First Aid Kits
  • Plastic bottled water
  • Non-perishable food (canned items only)

Babies/Infant Items:

  • Diapers
  • Wipes
  • Non-perishable baby food
  • Powdered formula

Any help will make a difference. If you think of other items not listed that will aid the communities affected, please donate. Thank you for your effort!

Ecuadorian Earthquake Relief Lend A Helping Hand

Ecuadorian Earthquake Relief Lend A Helping Hand

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Choosing a Wedding Bouquet Style

Wedding season will be at its peak beginning the month of April. Brides-to-be will be walking down the aisle holding the second most important element of their special day: the wedding bouquet. When deciding on a color palette and varieties to use for a bouquet, there are some factors to consider.

Spring Bouquet by Marathon Florist

Spring Bouquet by Marathon Florist

What season is the wedding date?
A wedding in the fall would call for earth-toned colors, and certain floral varieties may not be available year-round. It’s always a good idea to communicate to your clients, and inform them on which varieties are feasible for the particular wedding date. (download floral season chart)

What color are the bridesmaids’ dresses?
It’s important to choose colors and varieties that will contrast well with the dresses the bridesmaids are wearing. Once you know the color swatch, it will guide the process of planning the aesthetics of the bouquet. If you need color swatch inspiration a good website is Color Palettes. Pictaculous is also useful—it allows you to upload a photo and generate a palette based on colors in the photo.

What bouquet style does the bride prefer?
Does the bride like a classic cascading bouquet or the modern round bouquet? Depending on the shape of the bouquet, certain floral varieties would be more appropriate. For example, a cascade bouquet would look great with hanging amaranthus, calla lilies or ivy vines.

Asking these questions will help to guide the process of choosing colors and varieties to compose a bouquet for the bride and her bridesmaids. What is your technique and approach to create the perfect wedding bouquet? What questions do you ask? Share your comments with us!

Wedding Resources
Posters: David Austin Garden Roses; Virgin Farms Garden Roses

Follow us on Pinterest for wedding inspiration!

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Why is the shamrock a symbol of St. Patrick’s day?

Do you know why the shamrock is a symbol of St. Patrick’s day? It all began in the 5th century when 16 year old Patrick was kidnapped from his aristocratic home in Britain and enslaved in Ireland as a shepherd. He spent seven years overseas and in solitude, and found refuge in religion, eventually embracing Christianity.

According to legends, Patrick heard a voice in his dream urging him to flee Ireland. He managed to escape on a ship back to his homeland, and was reunited with his family. Patrick studied Christianity for 15 years and became ordained as a priest. Ironically, he returns to Ireland and dedicates his life to converting pagans to the Christian faith. It was not an easy mission, and he was often beaten and harassed by opposers.

Sadly in A.D. 461 on March 17th, the priest passed away. His story lived on in Irish legends and folklore, and centuries later he was named the patron saint of Ireland. On March 17th, 1762, St. Patrick’s day was officially celebrated in commemoration.

So, how does the shamrock relate to the holiday? The three-leaf clover, and not the four leaf clover as the holiday often suggests as lucky, was used to represent the holy trinity: the father, the son & the holy ghost. St. Patrick incorporated Irish customs and rituals to smoothly introduce the Christian ideals to pagans. Three-leaf Clovers are wild and germinate in the spring.

St. Patrick's Day Floral Varieties

St. Patrick’s Day Floral Varieties

Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with green flowers! Some varieties to inspire the Celtic spirit are Bells of Ireland, the novelty rose Limbo, green ball dianthus, green ranunculus, kale and succulent plants. You can make a terrarium and recreate the story using figurines like sheep, and celtic crosses to place inside like a scenery. They make cute gift ideas, and a conversation piece at your Irish feast while guests chug a pint of Guinness and eat corned beef and hash!

Follow us on Pinterest for party inspiration & Irish-themed floral decor!

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Flower Fact Friday: Ecuadorian Roses

A rose is not just a rose, it’s a brand. If you mention Ecuadorian roses to the flower saavy, they would agree on two characteristics that classify them: sturdy, long stems and big, flowering heads. These qualities are what set Ecuadorian roses apart from competitors in the rose-growing industry.

Farm Cultivation (Virgin Farms)So why are roses from Ecuador so robust? The myth is that roses grow straighter on the equator, but science has proven otherwise. Most nurseries are situated near the Andes mountains at 2,800 meters. Favorable weather conditions such as year round sunlight allows for longer growing cycles even throughout winter, as well as nutrient-rich volcanic soil.

Interesting Fact: Cold nights produce spectacular color variations and contrasting hues on the edges of the petals.

Cultivation of roses and exportation is a process. They are harvested and each stem is classified to meet five criteria:

Length
Size of Bud
Aperture/ Cutting Point
Color
Health/Condition of foliage

To export the roses while maintaining the freshness involves a cold chain process. When the flowers are harvested, they are taken to a facility for sorting and classification. The bunches are wrapped in cardboard with insulation to protect the buds and the stems are covered in plastic sleeves. The wrapped bunches are then taken to a pre-cooling area at 32 degrees Fahrenheit to halt the flowers from blooming, preserving them before they are shipped to their destination. The flowers are then hydrated with high-quality floral preservative for 7 hours. These facilities are also equipped with ethylene removing units that purify the air to prevent premature aging and floral diseases.

The United States is the top importer of cut flowers from Ecuador. In 2013, Ecuador exported 35% of their cut flowers to the U.S. valued at $279 million. Miami International Airport is one of the top distribution hubs–flowers arrive in cargo planes and are then transported to their destinations on refrigerated trucks.

Virgin Farms is a nationwide distributor of roses from Ecuador and other products from around the world. We import roses from Ecuador and garden roses from Columbia. All other varieties such as tulips, hydrangeas, and mini callas are mainly from Holland, home of the Aalsmeer Dutch Auction.


 

Sources:
http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/eb5114d6-d846-11e4-ba53-00144feab7de.html
http://atlas.media.mit.edu/en/visualize/tree_map/hs92/export/ecu/show/0603/2013/
http://www.ittsresearch.org/blog/?p=1239

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Valentine’s Day & The Language of Flowers

In about two weeks, sweethearts everywhere will be celebrating Valentine’s Day. Although delectable chocolates, romantic flowers, and poetic cards have become symbolic of the holiday, it actually did not originate as a celebration of love at all.

Back in the third century in Rome, Emperor Claudius II held the notion that young, single men made the best soldiers because they had no ties to wives or children. To enforce this, he outlawed marriage to this group. A young priest named Valentine saw how unfair this was and defied the Emperor by performing marriages for young lovers secretly. Eventually the Emperor discovered Valentine’s betrayal and demanded that he be sentenced to death. During Valentine’s imprisonment, he fell in love with the jailer’s daughter. Before his death, he sent a letter to his love signed, “From your Valentine.” The young priest was executed on February 14th, 270 AD. Eventually Valentine was named a saint, and later in the 5th century Pope Gelasius declared February 14th St. Valentine’s Day.

The tradition of sending flowers began much later. In the Victorian era it was against moral conduct to reveal feeling towards one another. In the 18th century, Charles II of Sweden began the custom of exchanging floral bouquets. Each flower had a meaning, so bouquets were given to one another to send non verbal messages. If you gave a flower with the right hand it meant “yes” and in the left hand meant “no.” Roses are the choice flower for Valentine’s Day, and in particular, red roses since it was the flower of Venus the Goddess of Love, as well as the color of the heart.

Language of Flowers Valentines Day

Language of Flowers-Valentines Day

 

 
Now that you know the meaning of flowers and colors, you can get creative mixing varieties to convey hidden messages just like in the Victorian era!

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Valentine’s Day Tips and Floral Specials

It’s the season of love and stress! In the floral industry, January is preparation month for Valentine’s Day. At Virgin Farms we begin planning as far back as December. We look at trends and statistics from previous years to project this year’s goals, make improvements, and prebook inventory with our farms. We always recommend florists to book as early as possible throughout January. As we draw closer to February, the colors or varieties you may need will be limited.

Tips for Valentine’s Day 

  • Book your flowers early.
  • Return your order confirmation form promptly.
  • Start advertising! Consider Facebook ads, as they are effective and inexpensive.
  • Clean up your shop and order your supplies.
  • Hire seasonal staff for deliveries, cashiering, or designing.
  • Plan your delivery routes. It saves time & gas!
  • Relax! Even though Valentine’s Day is a stressful season make the best of it. Take breaks every 90 minutes if possible. Stay hydrated & eat healthy snacks that boost energy. Drink plenty of vitamins to keep your immune system strong under stress.
Floral Expressions Box 2016

Floral Expressions Box 2016

Floral Expressions Box

Our most popular boxed floral package is ‘Floral Expressions.’ This box contains assorted varieties of fillers and focal flowers to create unique designs that express love in a myriad of ways. Most of the varieties such as kale, hyacinth, callas, lisianthus and such are from our partner farms in Holland, which have been in the floral industry for years and supply the freshest and highest quality flowers internationally.

If you are interested in the Floral Expressions box or any other floral special, please call 1.888.548.ROSE.

Floral Expressions Box (Click to Download):
(FOB Miami)
(FedEx)
(HI & AK)

 


For inspiration and design concepts for Valentine’s day floral arrangements, follow us on Pinterest! Our friend at Marathon Florist styled flowers for a beachside photoshoot courtesy of Care Studios. Pin our latest additions to your boards to keep those ideas in mind when you’re designing.

Pinterest: Virgin Farms Direct

Pinterest: Virgin Farms Direct

 

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Holiday Magic begins with Fresh Cut Flowers

It sounds cliche, but the holidays really are the most wonderful time of the year. The decorations, the Christmas music, traditions and holiday spirit all combine to make it a joyful season.

At Virgin Farms, holiday magic begins with fresh cut flowers! We always offer the most exotic floral varieties from roses to novelty spray glittered fillers to make dazzling arrangements. Back for a limited time, we have two prepackaged combos.

Contact our headquarters to place your orders for the season. These holiday floral packages can be combined with other flowers. For instance, you can order the Bling Bling Box with roses or dutch flowers and we’ll package it all together in a large box.

White Craze Box
For an all white winter theme, we recommend the White Craze box. You get an assortment of varieties including daisies, alstroemeria, snapdragons, stock, gyp, cushions, spider mums, cremone mums and green button poms and more.

Shipping Schedule:
November 30th, 2015 – December 21st, 2015

Bling Bling Box
This box includes craspedia, ruscus, wax, hypericum and gyp, sprayed in glitter in the colors silver, copper, red and gold. Whether you are using them in floral centerpieces or holiday wreaths, these fillers add sparkle and pizazz!

Shipping Schedule:
December 7th, 2015 – December 28th, 2015

(Click to view & download flyer)

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Chilean Peony Season 2015

Most floral designers can agree that peonies are the highly regarded. A majority of brides dream of a lush, luxurious bouquet, and usually peonies are on the wish list. One detail to keep in mind is that peonies are seasonal. At Virgin Farms, we source peonies from three countries allowing us to offer them frequently throughout the year. The Chilean peony season is November through early January. Israeli season is Mid January through March, and peonies from Holland are available April through July.

This year, the first shipment of peonies from Chile arrives October 26th. Production has a significant effect on the varieties that will be available. Tentatively, we will have coral peonies for October 2015. As the weeks progress into November, other varieties will surge: Festiva Maxima, Kansas, Red Charm, Gardenia and Pecher. In late November, we should also have Mother’s Choice, Red Sarah, Sarah Bernhardt, Karl Rosenfield, Gilbert Barthelot, and Shirley Temple.

We have two useful charts for your reference. Download and keep them handy:
Chilean Peony Photo Chart
Chilean Peony Production Program 2015/2016

Follow us on social media for updates and photos!

Coral Charm Peony Virgin Farms

Coral Charm Peony

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Flower Fact Friday: Hypericum

Hypericum is mainly used for ornamental purposes, but did you know it also has medicinal properties?

Hypericum flower (St. John's wort)

Photo credit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypericum

Why is hypericum called St. John’s wort?

More commonly referred to as St. John’s wort, hypericum has tiny yellow star-shaped flowers used as an herb. Its nickname is derived from the feast honoring St. John the Baptist on June 23rd, which is widely celebrated in the Christian and Catholic communities. It is tradition to pluck the herb on the night of the feast, and take it to church to receive a blessing. The herb was believed to have special powers to ward off evil spirits.

Origin & Characteristics

The hypericum plant is native to the mediterranean region of Europe, and also North Africa, the Middle East, and West Asia. The plant has leafy stems that are 24 to 36 inches in length and has round berries in clusters at the top. There are more than 400 cultivars of hypericum, and in a wide range of colors such as red, brown, ivory, pink, and burgundy for example. One third of those cultivars are used as ornamental cut flowers.

Medicinal Properties

Almost 2,400 years ago, Hippocrates, the father of medicine, recommended St. John’s wort to treat nervous unrest. The medicinal properties lie in the black dots along the margin of the blossom, which contain hypericin. The chemical makeup of hypericin is believed to produce sedative and pain relieving effects. In the Roman era, St. John’s wort was used to treat wounds from the battlefield. Hypericum is thought to treat mild depression, insomnia and anxiety. Used externally, it is used to treat wounds, mild burns, skin disorders and bruises. 

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Seasonal Floral Packages for Fall

Autumn is a delightful season, and the earthy color palette always brings a sense of warmth and comfort. During the fall, the floral varieties are also visually radiant. Every year we create seasonal floral packages with popular varieties to make your designs a sensation.

To order any of these specialty items, contact your account manager. These packages will be available throughout the season until November.

Novelty Fall Pack Chrysanthemums

Novelty Fall Pack

Novelty Fall Pack (Chrysanthemums)
At Virgin Farms we officially welcome autumn with a tray of assorted chrysanthemums. The bronze and gold colors of the daisies, cushions, spider mums and disbuds are always popular among our floral designers. This tray of poms is packed with other product of your choice within a larger box.

Availability Schedule:
September 28th, 2015 – November 23rd, 2015.

(Click to view & download flyer)

 

Fall Garden Rose Box

Fall Garden Rose Box

Autumn Garden Rose Box
Garden roses are probably the most desired flower besides peonies, due to their luxurious essence. Our partnership with Alexandra Farms has given us access to the most exquisite quality of garden roses grown in Colombia.

This year we wanted to offer something different for floral designers seeking to add warm tones and nostalgic fragrance to fall engagements.

Availability Schedule:
Weekly, beginning September 28th, 2015

(Click to view & download flyer)

 

Pincushion Protea Tray

Pincushion Protea Tray

Pincushion Protea Tray
Pincushions are more prominent in floral designs adding a boho style and textural characteristic to an otherwise traditional design.

This tray is also packed in a tray in addition to other flowers of your choice. It includes assorted pincushions in red, yellow, and orange.

Availability Schedule:
September 14th, 2015 – November 2nd, 2015

(Click to view & download flyer)

 

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Launching Our New Mobile Website

We are proud to announce the launch of our new mobile website! The web design boutique, Cultura Interactive, has applied their expertise in customized websites built on the WordPress platform, to make the Virgin Farms Direct website responsive. What is this terminology? Responsive means a simplified version of the website adjusts, or responds, to fit the screen size or orientation of any mobile device. So whether you are on your smartphone or tablet, our website will appear the same, whether you’re viewing it vertically or horizontally.

Features on Mobile Site

Menu Tab
Located on the top left corner, you can access our complete website menu: Our Company, Our Flowers, Shop, Care & Handling, FAQs, Blog, and Contact. At the top of the menu, you can search for flowers or any topic. For instance, you can type ‘Freedom’ and the results will show the red rose. You can also type ‘shipping’ and all related topics will appear.

One-Column Display
A different view from our desktop site, the responsive mobile site displays in one column. This makes it easier to scroll and access the information you need with ease. No more zooming in or clicking tiny links!

Toll Free Speed Dial
On the top right corner of our mobile site, you can tap our toll free number. Your phone will prompt you to proceed calling our headquarters. This is a handy feature if you are already browsing the Virgin Farms website, and you want to call to place an order with your account manager.

Mobile Site Screenshot - Our FlowersOur Flowers
Access our floral catalog and navigate by category. If you click on ‘Roses,’ you will then be directed to categories so you browse varieties by color. For example, if you click on Bi-Yellow Roses you will see photos of Circus, High Flame and High Magic.

Track Your Order
At the top of the home page, you can quickly access the FedEx site to track your order. Click Track Your Order and on the FedEx site input your 12 digit tracking number. You will see the last location of your box, or the time it was delivered.

Featured Products From Our Farm
Shop for online-exclusive floral packages. Shopping is much easier on the responsive site, now that everything is displayed in one column. Choose a product, the shipping date and checkout.

Share your comments and thoughts about our new mobile friendly website!


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Flower Fact Friday: Sunflowers

Did you know that sunflowers always face the sun? Heliotropism is a diurnal behavior of plant parts that move in the direction of the sun. Sunflowers are native to North and South America and were domesticated around 1000 B.C. In greek the word ‘helios’ means sun and anthos means flower.

The sunflower is a large blossom made of a disc and surrounded by ray florets, which are usually yellow, but depending on the variety can be maroon or orange. The head consists of about 1,000 to 2,000 petals. These radiant flowers are cultivated mostly for their seeds and as fresh cut flowers. The seeds are refined to produce sunflower oil, and accounts for 14% of the world production of seed oils. Sunflower seeds have excellent health properties, especially zinc, which is accountable for functions in the immune system. Other nutritional properties include fiber, calcium, vitamin E, iron, and selenium.

At Virgin Farms we generally bring in the mini sunflowers from Ecuador. Sunflowers are popular around harvest time, and especially for Thanksgiving. They symbolize adoration, loyalty and longevity. When processing your sunflowers, remove the leaves below vase level and cut the stems at a sharp angle. Be sure to use a vase strong enough to support the weight of stem and bloom.

Mini Sunflowers

Mini Sunflowers

 

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