I buy flowers regularly, but as its mostly for my home, I buy from the supermarket or the local florist. I read a load of Fifty flowers reviews before I decided to carry ads for their products on my site, but I’ve never really had a chance to use their service until today. Full disclosure, Fifty Flowers sent me flowers for free in exchange for, well, nothing at all. So here is my review of the service and the flowers I chose for my green theme, green parrot tulips.
When the order was placed I was told the flowers would have to be signed for and would be dispatched on Tuesday for a Thursday event. I made sure someone was available and the flowers duly arrived on Tuesday morning. Minutes later my phone rang, but I didn’t get to it on time, Fifty Flowers had left a message saying the flowers had been delivered. A few minutes later the phone rang again and this time I got the call. I had the opportunity to to talk to someone about the flowers but didn’t need to. I followed instructions and opened the box.
The flowers were, as expected, very tight and rather ‘sleepy’ looking. Worried by one old review I’d read for green parrot tulips, I checked the blooms over. Not one was blemished, they were all perfect as you can see from the picture below.
Following instructions I removed the tulips from their box but not from their cellophane wrapper. There were three bunches which I placed in a large vase filled to the top with cold water. The instructions said to leave them in the water for four to eight hours. I left them overnight in my kitchen. By the following morning the flowers had opened very slightly. I topped up the water and left them alone.
Following various videos I’d seen on youtube, I then worked on the tulip candle centerpiece, bending the stems very very gently with warm hands. Tulip stems are surprisingly flexible and I was truly surprised at how easy this was to make. The arrangement looked great on Thursday and still looks great today. Next time I try this, I’ll try using more flowers to see how it looks, but in a ten inch bowl I think you’ll agree the four flowers I used look enough. I was surprised at the difference the glass pebbles made. The arrangement looked good without them, but the green color picked up the green of the flowers and the foliage and on a table in candlelight they glisten. I’d say glass gems or pebbles are a must.
It was Thursday before things started to go wrong. I’d already selected vases to make things easy for me; the first was a simple glass candle bowl I use on a regular basis, the second was a collection of three cylinder vases in different heights. I’ve had success with this in the past, placing a simple hand gathered bunch in each cylinder and grouping them together to make a centerpiece. Not this time. As I took out the cylinders my fingers slipped and two broke. I had one cylinder left, so what could I do? I decided to use it to create a simple submerged tulip to be used with a floating candle. Yes, this would have looked much better as a group of three, but what can I say? I’m clumsy.
Incidentally – can you see the red blur in the background of the picture? They are my valentines roses a gift from my husband and still going strong over a week later. Want to know how it’s done?
Moving on, and without the three cylinder vases I’d intended to use, I decided to make a simple arrangement of tulips in a rectangular glass vase. To be sure they stayed hydrated I filled the vase with water pearls which also had the effect of hiding the stems. I love the arched stems of the tulips and hoped that when placed in my warm dining room the tulip flowers would open so I could see more of those spectacular fringed petals. I loved the foliage on the tulips so I didn’t strip it off. But truth be told, the arrangement was a disaster.
By the time I was finished with the flowers I’d noticed some of the flowers in the water pearls were drooping. I thought that perhaps I’d had them out of water for too long as I arranged them and expected that the water pearls – famous for keeping flowers hydrated, yes? – would solve the problem. I put the flowers on the table and left to begin writing this post. When I went back for dinner to display my work to the family, the tulips were wilted and looked thoroughly dead. You’ll have to take my word for it though, I was so horrified I forgot to photograph them.
This is a picture my husband took a couple of hours before our dinner. You can see how droopy the flowers (on the left) are, but don’t worry, I solved the problem!
I had always assumed tulips were delicate flowers and looking at them, all droopy in the vase, I thought it was true, but then I looked at the other flowers. The one submerged in water was fine, but the water was holding it up. The flowers bent round the inside of the candle bowl were fine, perhaps because they were supported? No. I touched them and found they felt entirely different. The flowers in the water pearls felt totally limp. The flowers in the candle bowl had substance and one more item, a posy I created just to see how difficult it was to make a something like a bouquet, was in perfect condition.
The solution turned out to be simple. Dump the water pearls! I took the tulips and submerged them in a good clean cool water, they began to recover straight away, that is to say within 15 minutes or so. By the time everyone turned up for dinner my flowers looked perfect.
My last adventure as part of my review was to try and create a posy, the sort of thing that could sit in a vase or be used by a bridesmaid. Working with the tulips turned out to be surprisingly easy. I stripped off nearly all the leaves leaving one set to us as a contrast in the center. Then choosing one flower to use as a central starting point, I added flowers one by one, holding them tightly just below the flower and winding them together with florists tape. I used nine flower in all, the process took only a few minutes. When I was done I wound round some more tape and covered it with some pale green tulle. For my purposes the posy was to sit in a small vase, so I filled the vase with water and added some more green glass gems to the bottom. As you’ll see from the pictures, the posy was very pretty and got even better as the flowers opened creating the same sort of ‘frilly’ effect you get from bouquets of peonies.
The Parrot Tulip Posy as originally created
The Following day, the flowers are more open and the effect is more 'frilly'.
I learned some important things
- Don’t put flowers in water pearls unless you are very careful. I have used water pearls/beads before without a problem but after searching the web for an explanation, I’m fairly sure the pearls were not fully expanded when I added the tulips. You really only need a tiny amount of water pearls to fill a vase -less than a teaspoon in many cases. I think mine where still busy growing and absorbing water, so they drew all the water out of my tulips. I will use water pearls again, but next time I’ll leave them to absorb water for a lot longer and I’ll keep a close eye on the flowers.
- Be careful handing vases with wet hands, and have a small vacuum on hand – its really useful!
- Tulips are a lot more robust than they look. Other flowers, I’m thinking specifically of roses, would not recover so quickly, and might not recover at all from water deprivation.
- Flowers open more when they are warm. You can encourage them to open with your fingers and/or place the stems in warm water.
- Some arrangements, such as the candle bowl arrangements are so easy to do I’m ashamed its taken me so long to try it!
My overall Fifty Flowers review:
Dealing with Fifty Flowers was straightforward and the person I spoke to was friendly. I got the impression she cared. I did not have to go back to Fifty Flowers for any reason, the flowers arrived when they said they would and the instructions they gave me were excellent. My flowers lasted well and are still going strong.
With regard to the green parrot tulips specifically they were even better than I expected. Often when you buy flowers in a supermarket or even from a florist one, or even two in a bunch won’t be quite as good as the rest, but every single one of my blooms behaved perfectly. I almost killed them by using water pearls, but this was my idea and my idea alone. It’s a testimony to the quality of the flowers that they recovered within minutes, and today, a day after the event they still look fantastic on my table.
Personally, I wish I hadn’t made so many mistakes, but you realize, that’s just between you and me, if you’d been here for dinner you’d never have known that I broke my major vases, spent most of the day picking up broken glass and that only an hour before my flowers had looked completely dead. So lets just keep that our own little secret.
Update: Saturday Morning – my flowers arrived on Tuesday, today Saturday they still look fantastic as you can see – this posy sits on the side of my desk and so far as the flowers have opened it has just looked better every day. The candle bowl and vase arrangement are the same. At this point I’m feeling confident they will last a full week.
I would not hesitate to use Fifty Flowers for any event.
- What's your latest flower project? How did it go? Any questions?
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