Memorial Day

What does Memorial Day mean to you?  For so many of us, it means a long weekend, picnics and barbecues, big sales and pool openings.  The beginning of summer fun. 

Memorial Day used to be a solemn day of remembrance honoring those who paid the ultimate price for our freedoms. Businesses closed for the day. Towns held parades that ended at the cemetery, where speeches were made and prayers offered. People took the time that day to clean and decorate with flowers and flags the graves of those who died in service to their country.

The observance began as Decoration Day, first observed on May 30, 1868, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery.  After World War II it evolved to commemorate American military personnel who died in all conflicts.

 

Some think of the day as a time to recognize and pay tribute to all men and women who have served in the military, and it is very noble to honor them (Please see I did my part.) But those veterans would be the first to remind us that Memorial Day is a day of remembrance for the fallen – the friends and comrades that they served beside who gave their lives.

At Bo-Ty Florist, we will be closed for the holiday, and we will enjoy our time off and our activities that go with it.  But we will try to pause to acknoledge the importance of the day, and to cherish the memory of those  whose lives must be remembered.

Many of us may not have known someone who made the ultimate sacrifice, but we all know the freedoms and privileges for which we owe a debt of gratitude to those valiant men and women.

Take time, this holiday weekend, to reflect on the true meaning of the day.  We cannot pay the debt, but we can honor our duty to never forget.

Administrative Professionals’ Week

Before PCs and laptops, before Blackberry and iPhone, business people had secretaries to help with correspondence, filing, scheduling, and generally helping them to complete the job.  In the early 1950s a shortage of office clerical workers led to the creation of a special recognition of these persons in an effort to acknowledge secretaries for their contributions in the workplace.  The first “National Secretaries’ Week” was observed in 1952 with the objective to recognize “the secretary, upon whose skills, loyalty, and efficiency the functions of business and government offices depend,” and to publicize “the tremendous potential of the secretarial career.”

            The celebration became Professional Secretaries’ Week in 1981, and then Administrative Professionals’ Week in 2000, reflecting changes in the workplace regarding job titles and responsibilities of administrative support staff.

            It seemed to me that during that time we developed an attitude that secretary had become an undignified position.  Some didn’t value the qualities and importance mentioned above, and being “just a secretary” became unfavorable.  An “Administrative Professional” sounded more significant, more worthy.

            Sending flowers for Secretaries’ Day was big in the 1980s.  At Bo-Ty Florist, we planned on having “desk appropriate” gifts of flowers for the Boss to send to show appreciation. 

With the change in name, I think it became less clear just exactly who to recognize and what kind of gift was appropriate.  And then the electronic age changed the scope of office tasks and many more things could be handled or eased by computers.

            So, we don’t send as many flowers these days to recognize Administrative Professionals, and of course we wish we had more orders, but we understand the changing marketplace.  We are still ready to fill your needs for this week, and encourage you to think of that person or persons “upon whose skills, loyalty, and efficiency (you) depend” and show them your appreciation April 23-27.  And if you consider yourself a “secretary”, stand proud in the ranks of those who have kept the wheels of business rolling and on track for centuries!

Finding Ways to “Go Green”

At Bo-Ty Florist, we have worked for years toward being a green business.  Of course, we’re surrounded by green, with plants and flowers throughout the store, so perhaps that connection to the environment helps make us aware of the impact we make.

One of our first efforts was to take our cardboard to the paper recycling center, beginning probably over thirty years ago.  We stack up a van full and drive it up to the center where we get a few dollars for it (never really enough to defray the cost of taking it) but we are glad to be able to divert it from the landfill.

We have always had customers who would call and ask us if we could use the vases and other containers that are piling up in their closet or basement.  We’re happy to clean and try to re-use any that we can and some can be recycled with cans and bottles in Winston-Salem’s recycling program.

Our business isn’t ineligible for the city’s program, but for a long time we at Bo-Ty have kept a bin for cans and bottles that one of us will take home to add to our own recycling efforts.  The employees are glad to have that opportunity, and it’s a little bit more we can save from the landfill.

Bo-Ty Florist also can send statements, invoices and other correspondence via e-mail, for our customers who want to reduce paper clutter and enjoy the convenience of online communication.  We have quite a few customers who take advantage of this service.

We have been excited over the last year to have established a relationship with Gallins Family Farm and to be a part of their composting program.  A large portion of our waste is in stems and leaves, spent flowers, and plant trimmings, so we were happy to have the chance to recycle those items, reduce our dumpster use and have a share in all the good that recycling organic waste does. In that year Bo-Ty has collected 26 yards of material, or almost 2 tons. Had these not been composted the amount of CO2 that would have been released  would be the equivalent of emissions from 336 gallons of gasoline or 125 propane cylinders used for home barbeques.

While there is much more we all can do, Bo-Ty Florist is proud of the steps we have taken to reduce, reuse, and recycle.

It Was Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day has come and gone and while we are tired we are grateful that we were busy.  It’s the single biggest day of the year for florists and we prepare in advance, but it comes down to a few very long days because there is only so much you can do ahead.  We fill each order individually and try to provide fresh product and timely delivery.  We are very appreciative of our customers who order in advance, but that doesn’t mean we can fill their orders and shelve them for a week until time to go out; it just helps us plan and organize.           

We are also happy to try to accommodate the customers who call the day before and even on Valentine’s Day.  It’s just that we don’t want to jeopardize our level of service by over-extending, so we have to turn down some requests for delivered flowers, although we can usually create something for those who can come by.  For best choice, try to remember next year (and any time, holiday or not) to order early.

Our employees go above and beyond for us at the busy times, and we can’t thank them enough.  Long hours and the pressure to get it done can really pile on stress, but we seem to push on through with little friction.  Some of the folks who come in just at the holidays really enjoy being here and that cheerful attitude is appreciated.  We bring in food so we can keep on working and the employees seem to really be thankful for that little gesture.

We think we have the best customers and our employees are top notch. Thanks to all  of our Valentines!

The Perfect Gift

What do you give the person who has everything?  It’s an age-old question that pertains not just to the rich who have the means to have anything they could possibly want, but just as much to any of us who just don’t need any more “stuff” (and most of us have more “stuff” than we need).

Why not give the gift of beauty?  Flowers and plants are among the most wonderful of nature’s gifts and bring joy to both the recipient and the sender. At Bo-Ty Florist, our December is filled with bringing gifts and decorations to folks around the Triad. Poinsettias of many colors, amaryllis, paperwhite narcissus, Christmas cactus, and cyclamen are among the beautiful plants we have to offer. 

 

 

 

We make European gardens for the table by arranging an array of plants in a basket and dress them up with ribbons and ornaments perfect for Christmas.

 

 

 

 

It seems the season is not complete without evergreens in the home.  We can create fabulous arrangements of fresh fir, pine and holly with red roses, tulips, and carnations or a seasonal design in your favorite colors!  Enjoy the flowers for their time and you still can have an arrangement of greenery, pine cones, and ornaments after the flowers fade.  Outstanding specialty flowers like amaryllis, green Fuji mums, Star of Bethlehem, and oriental lilies can make an impression and brighten the season, taking care of that gift list and spreading cheer to everyone who sees them.

 

 

 

Fresh flowers and plants help make lasting memories of Christmas wherever you may roam.  So, for those last hard-to-shop-for people on your list, let Bo-Ty Florist deliver an exceptional surprise to help make their holiday special.

“I did my part”

I wrote this for Veterans Day 2011. I think it’s worth repeating.

Last Sunday, Parade magazine was a special issue in honor of Veterans Day.  The article “Six Wars, Six Vets, Six Stories of Courage” highlighted veterans of six different conflicts in interviews about what it means to be an American soldier. Yonas Hagos, who received a Purple Heart for injuries suffered in Iraq, was asked “Do you see yourself as a hero?”  His simple answer: “I went and served my country. I did my part.”

Most of our veterans would take the same attitude, I imagine.  They learn what many of us don’t completely understand- what it truly means to “pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America.”  To make a commitment to “Duty, Honor, Country,” with little regard to selfish pursuits.

There were a lot of us, for various reasons, who were relieved that we were able to avoid being drafted to go to Vietnam.  Looking back, I realize that wasn’t a very patriotic attitude. I have friends who served there to whom I am grateful.  Because as I read Private Hagos words, I was thinking “No, you did my part, too.”  They serve so that we can stay here and enjoy the freedoms and benefits that we take for granted.

I have friends and have lost friends who served in each of our nation’s wars in the last century.  My uncles were WWII heroes, at least in my eyes.  And my contemporaries who slogged through Vietnam are my champions, who stood for me when I didn’t have to.  We can’t do enough to say thank you to the men and women who have served valiantly, whether in the field of battle or in a non-combat assignment.

My colleagues at Bo-Ty Florist share my sentiments.  Their families have sent sons and daughters, sisters and brothers, Moms and Dads into the military, and know first-hand the sacrifices soldiers make. On this Veterans Day we offer our gratitude and admiration to all those who have offered themselves to defend this great nation.

The six veterans in the article all shared the same thoughts about Veterans Day.  Say “thank you for serving”; it means so much.

Amazing Autumn

Autumn is a time of notable grandeur
Etched in colors of red, yellow, and gold.
Each tree is dressed in a coat of splendor,
A vivid treasure to always behold.
               Autumn Grandeur by Joseph T. Renaldi

At Bo-Ty Florist, we’re excited when the seasons change and we begin to use the colors and flowers associated with each one, whether it’s the sweet pastels of tulips and daffodils in the Spring, bright colors of zinnias and garden roses in Summer, or the happy hues of Christmas followed by cheerful hyacinths and amaryllis in the Winter.

The Autumn brings its own palette of brilliant yellows, reds, oranges, and golds, and we enjoy all the varieties of chrysanthemums and sunflowers along with great choices in roses, fall lilies, and many other flowers available in beautiful colors of the season.

 

We really love to dress up plants and arrangements with
gourds and pumpkins and other fruits and vegetables of the harvest, as well as wheat, cattails, and colorful foliage.Croton plants, with their variegated  leaves in vivid fall tones are a particular favorite this time of year.

All the way up to Thanksgiving Bo-Ty Florist celebrates the cornucopia of Autumn’s produce, including fresh flowers and plants!  And we try hard not to let this magnificent season get overshadowed by Christmas, as wonderful and magic as it is.

Nathaniel Hawthorne said “There is no season when such pleasant and sunny spots may be lighted on, and produce so pleasant an effect on the feelings, as now in October.” 

Relish in this Amazing Autumn, and all the beauty it brings.

 

The Dixie Classic Fair

For many years local florists have participated in a design competition at the Dixie Classic Fair.  A professional class was established and each year there are six categories with four entries in each. The participants all belong to the Winston-Salem Florists Association, an organization of retail and wholesale florists including members from the surrounding area.

The theme of the fair this year was “Everyone’s a Hero.”  Categories for the competition were all built around this theme and included a sympathy tribute to a fallen hero, a corsage for a teacher, a bouquet for the wedding of a favorite super-hero, an arrangement for a new-born “future hero,” a plant and gourmet basket featuring Texas Pete and Green Mountain Gringo® food items, and the Della Stevens design, a floral interpretation of the American flag.

The designers at Bo-Ty Florist had seven entries this year because some of the WSFA members were unable to participate. We were excited to bring home two blue ribbons, as well as several third place ribbons.

The fair awards monetary prizes that go to the Association; it is our major fund raiser every year.  One of the main things we do with the funds is to decorate a tree for the Festival of Trees, a holiday tradition that benefits patients and programs at Brenner Children’s Hospital at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.