Did You
Yves Piaget can substitute for peonies in a bouquet.
Wild Boots
December 28, 2008
Blog PictureRachel from By the Bunch in Sellwood wore these wild & crazy boots on Friday at the flower market... A great day for boots in general as we were all slogging through the frozen slush.

Never were chains on our car for so many days...

Primitivo made it through snow, ice & sleet until on Christmas Eve on the way back to the greenhouse the truck slid off the road & got stuck. Hillsboro Towing had to come out on Friday and get it back on the road - $300 later...

Heard delivery tales from everybody; Mary from Herbst in Oregon City said they rousted out the chains and got everything delivered... Curt from Garside in Vancouver had a LOT of deliveries but they got them done. I'm sure there were many problems.

Jack from Rosto Garden in Washington made it out on Wednesday and took Kristin out to breakfast for her birthday.

Grant from Hubrich Farms said he and his family spent a lot of time (which they had originally planned to be inside playing board games) knocking ice and snow off the hoop houses where the tulips are growing. Jonathan of Northern Pacific Farms reported that some of his plastic houses collapsed from the weight of the snow...with expensive product inside...

Now on to New Years!!!!

Holiday Thoughts...
December 22, 2008
Blog PictureI was listening to "Christmas Blues" in the kitchen and making an apple pie for Sam, who demands baking parity with his older brother ("you baked a pie for HIM when he came home from college...")

This song, if you haven't heard it, talks about being alone at Christmas and how hard it is to get into shopping, presents, etc. when you have nobody.

And I thought...it's true - it's really all about being with your friends and family now. That's what's really so hard about the snow, over & above being awful for business, hard to get around, dangerous, etc. Some people are having a hard time getting home.

But sometimes your "family" is your neighbor, your friend from work, those people you see every day and rely upon in so many ways. If you don't have a family or are estranged, it's good to realize that you are surrounded by people who do care, if you give them a chance...

We have been blessed with neighbors like this.

In the house next door, where I literally look from my kitchen window into their kitchen window, three different families have lived there in the 25 plus years we have lived in our house.

First was Mrs. Walker, who lived alone but had a large family. Every Christmas she would invite us over for our holiday ritual with her. First, eggnog with brandy. Cookies. And the highlight was viewing her tree, and she would wind up the wonderful antique toy mouse band.

This was a mad toymaker creation of tin and wires, which when you wound it with its key, all the tin mice would play their instruments. I recall there was one that scraped a bow across a violin, maybe a drummer, and I think a piano player. Very old, shuddery and fragile, and fabulous.

She lived to 101!

Our next neighbors were the wonderful Manzis, a family from the east coast via Texas who brought joy to everybody, and from whom I learned a lot about friendship and community...We had King Cake and crawfish boils at their fabulous parties, and it was a total hoot at all times. They now live in England and we keep in touch.

Now Jeff and Marcie - with their two little girls. We're still getting to know them. The snow brings everybody out of their houses, so that's when you realize that there is beauty in it, in spite of the inconvenience...

Happy Holidays -

Needless to say the weather has messed up a lot of stuff, but Peterkort Roses is coming through with our orders - Primitivo arrived at the flower market this morning at 5:30 a.m. and he was the only one there! But others arrived, and customers who needed their orders got them.

If you need to make alternative arrangements for pickup, call and let us know... (503) 628-1005. Our market number is (503) 737-1245.

We are planning to be at the market as usual on Wednesday, December 24, and on Friday, December 26. The Portland Flower Market will close at noon both those days, and will be closed on Saturday, December 27.

Snow & Cold Hit Early!!!!
December 15, 2008
Blog PictureHere's how temperatures in the 20's play out:

1. Market Day (Monday). Get up extra early and bundle up like Ralphie from A Christmas Story. (2 pairs socks, long underwear, sweater UNDER ubiquitous sweatshirt, TWO vests, etc.). Waddle outside. Scrape car. Break ice scraper.

2. Arrive at market 5:30 a.m. Primitivo is already there, having gotten to the greenhouse at 3:30 to thaw truck, load up and head to Swan Island. How were the roads? "Lousy," he reports. Grant from Hubrich Farms is trying to clear ice and snow from front walkway. He's unhappy because the only shovel available is a spade. Try to cheer him up by helping with the salt.

3. Norm makes it to greenhouse. His report: Cold. But heat blankets operational, boiler heating, lights helping keep it warm. Nothing is frozen. Valves are leaking, and roses are going to be discouraged about blooming.

4. Customers? The stalwarts who showed up: Stuart from Jackson & Adolph; Ken from All Seasons, Harry from Jansen in Longview, John from Gustafson Wholesale. Marlys from Trinette's. Dan from Flowers by Donna. Plus others.

Most staff people show up. Everybody from OFGA is there: Renee, Molly, Kristin, and Susan. Susan says Vancouver area has no snow or ice. At wholesalers, delivery drivers are unfazed. Runs to Tri-Cities and Coast are cancelled due to horrible conditions.

It is decided to close down the market at noon today instead of 3. Portland Flower Market will be open normal hours Tuesday Dec. 16 2008 - 6 a.m. to noon.

5. Leave market at 8:15 a.m. Primitivo wants to hang out (where it's warm!) and wait for customers to arrive, then make his careful way back to Hillsboro.

Cold weather is no fun. More precip predicted for Wednesday and Saturday with no letup in the cold!

Poinsettia Parade Continues at the Flower Market...
December 8, 2008
Blog PictureThis year's holiday rush is on at the Portland Flower Market. One of my favorites this year is the stripey poinsettias. For a close-up view of their striped wonderfulness, click "News" at left.

Pictured with this blog entry is one of the arrangements I saw at the Hortifair this year in Holland. A popular attraction was the live floral demonstration stage where two designers were turning out pieces at a rapid pace. Their main sponsor was a magazine called "Fleur Creativ", a European magazine.

I loved this heart! Very pretty with lots of green.

We have noticed that the color GREEN is more popular this year for Christmas - more green roses (our Supergreen, for example) are selling.

We also note - in a more somber vein - the passing of two members of the floral community, Viktor Pache, longtime owner of Viktor's florist on N Mississippi Ave. Also Roger Martin of Astoria Florist.

Roger's mom, Dorothy, used to call me on busy market mornings with her rose order. She was a kick and it sounded sometimes like she was calling from bed! On a princess phone, of course.

Viktor told me stories about his war experiences - fighting in the German army! He was present at the final battle in Berlin, but his unit was smart enough to surrender to the Americans and not the Russians...

Holiday Market Insights from Hallmark
December 7, 2008
Blog PictureFrom the Wall Street Journal this week, here's some interesting information about market research from Hallmark:

Happy Holidays! But Don't Expect Too Much from Santa Claus

After Years of Glitz, Greeting Cards Seek a sober, Heartfelt Tone

by Ellen Byron

Months before the housing bubble burst, before unemployment surged and retirement funds shrank, American Greetings Corp. sensed that it might be time to tone down its cards.

An early clue to the new direction: During brainstorming sessions held late last year for the 2008 holiday collection, nostalgia for simple holiday traditions like cookie-baking, walks through the snow and tree-trimming kept coming up among the writers, artists and trend experts in attendance. Then, amid the glitzy festive tone that dominated last year's holiday-card designs, American Greetings noticed that traditional cards with heartfelt messages were selling surprisingly well.

By early this year...the company's research showed that customers, spending more time at home, were focusing on personal relationships and reminiscing about happier times together.

..."In the last few years we've had cards with lots of glitter, but that's just not the mindset anymore - people are more traditional now."

...One of the first changes: deeper reds and greens.

"Santa is a true, traditional red, instead of the cherry red we've used in the past...and instead of a shiny pattern on his coat, we're using flocking."...

...A definite no-no this year is expecting too much from Santa. "The cards with a lot of shopping bags or gifts piled high, the excess we thought was so cute last year, doesn't work now..."

...Nontraditional holiday shades, such as pink and light blue, are being used sparingly. "This year you could add accents of pink with red or green, but you need traditional icons, like trees or snowmen, to do it..."

Even snow is getting a lighter touch. On a card featuring a boy in pajamas peeking out a frosty window, artists adjusted the snowflakes. "Usually a lot of snow has a cool cast of blue, but we warmed it up..."

The card's message tries to convey this year's heightened sentimentality...The text is deliberately long-winded. Before, cards had shorter, snappier messages. "Now people want longer copy..."

A summertime study...dubbed "Voodoo," reassured executives. In Voodoo, small groups of women in three cities listened to soft music in a dimly lighted room and were asked to visualize the first time they felt that they "belonged." Afterward, they sat at workstations stocked with art supplies to create a picture of their memories.

"It was interesting that the images weren't about 'When I got this big gift' or 'When I was the superstar of something,'"...It was always about the warmth they felt with someone, and often showed them holding hands."

Handholding appears on many American Greetings cards this year, including one with a black-and-white image of a couple, seen from behind, walking down a snowy, tree-lined road.

Interesting article! I am always fascinated by the subtle nuances of color, and how these companies spend money to suss out what will appeal to people during different eras.

Meanwhile, you're probably wondering about the picture of the two ladies at the top! They were seen at this year's Aalsmeer Market show in Holland, greeting visitors. In Holland pretty girls are ALWAYS popular in the flower industry - it's extremely dominated by men over there!

Cute Kid!
December 1, 2008
Blog PictureI know I'm repetitious on this subject, but one of the wonderful things about Portland's Flower Market is the sense of community - like seeing everybody's cute kids. Here's India, daughter of Rachel, owner of Fleur de Lis in Portland.

India is a doll! Here she is dressed up in her Halloween costume. (I know I know it's December!)

Today the market was magically transformed to poinsettia paradise - all different colors plus stripes & spots. Red, white, pink, burgundy and combos... Plus the newest Christmas favorite, cyclamen. Evergreens in all their fresh scented variety made it smell heavenly in there, evoking memories...

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