Why don’t my flowers cost the same as those from the supermarket?


25 July 2016

With respect to the previous post – I thought I would do a little social experiment today.

I surveyed and photographed various flowers available from 2 of the leading general retailers in South Africa – to see what you get for your money

I bought a bunch from a more upmarket retailer, that looked fresh and was pretty.
it contained 15 stems of flowers and greenery/filler: 3 roses, 3 gerberas, 1 ornamental cabbage, 3 stems of greenery, 3 stems of purple filler (statice) and 2 stems of blue thistle.
The stems were a reasonable length, but not very long, making them suitable for certain types of arrangements, but not for use in a ceremony arrangement for example or a tall flower arrangement, that needs longer stems.


These haven’t been placed in a vase or container yet – and who agrees, that dropping them straight into the vase doesn’t look nearly as good as they looked in the bunch – because they need arranging still.
They didn’t have to be ordered (to get the right colours and types of flowers for your event), or discussed with the client to make sure they suit your event, and they haven’t been transported to a venue, or yet placed on a guest table…
The only value added, was someone choosing to put them together (the mix, colour and value) and cleaning the stems a little, and wrapping them in a plastic/paper cover.

I also bought 2 bunches for a more middle of the range retailer that was the freshest they had, but was far from appealing…

R120 total.
Foliage – R45 for 8 stems (in case you didn’t know foliage is NOT FREE) AND R75 for the protea bunch.


the protea bunch had 3 short stemmed dyed proteas, 2 natural colour banksias, 8 stems of kol kol (filler/foliage) and 1 stem of a fynbos foliage.

again – these had not yet been arranged, were not inclusive of a container, or oasis, or anything else needed to turn them into something worthy of a wedding centrepiece of bouquet.

Next steps – to arrange them into containers or bouquets and show you the size/results.

the flowers will end up looking smaller as the stems have to be trimmed according to the container used.

Watch this space…

27 July 2016

We all have days where things don’t go as planned. I hoped to do the arrangements with the retailer flowers yesterday but finally got around to them today.

First up – the bright and prettier/fresher looking bunch from an upmarket retailer.

The images show what was in the bunch and then what i did with them:

Style 1 – i chose a footed glass bowl, as is often used in the current botanical arrangements – however, without loose, wispy foliage, it’s not possible to create a very botanical arrangement – there was hardly any foliage in the bunch (and again, foliage is NOT FREE), and the shape of these flowers suited a bunch, rather than a free flowing arrangement that is botanical in nature.

Style 2 – to follow

What would you pay for this arrangement for a wedding or other special event?

Adding the greenery, and the large focal kale flower
adding the filler and focal flowers – but see how much space there still is – you can see the oasis visible
see the amount of oasis still visible and nearly all the flowers have already been added
nearly done – all the filler flowers added
I used some of the stripped kale leaves to fill in spaces – but see how there aren’t enough focal flowers to have a good front and back – the back looks more empty
I removed the kale leaves (that I had stripped from the stem) and see the gaps it leaves behind, as there wasn’t a lot of foliage in the bunch
still lots of gaps – not enough foliage
And I didn’t like that the oasis was still visible through the sides/base of the stand but there wasn’t enough product to cover it in the bunch
The finished product – to make it anything like today’s botanical arrangements, it would require a lot more flowy kind of foliage, not flat flowers like gerberas and quite probably a few more focal flowers – as well as a greater variety of fillers with different colours and textures to add more interest into the arrangement

Bunch 1 from upmarket retailer – but style 2.

I decided to rearrange the same flowers in a different style and containers, to show another option, but with exactly the same flowers. Sometimes spreading flowers across smaller containers creates the illusion of bigger flowers, as the container becomes more integral in the arrangement and overall, the arrangements fill more space on the table.

Even so, there were not enough focal flowers for each arrangement to be viewed from all sides – there was definitely a front and back to the arrangements, which is fine for a home, but not quite so fine for a wedding, where the flowers are usually viewed from all sides.

Just a reminder, this bunch cost R180 from a leading retailer, and often this is what florists pay via their flower agents or wholesalers – we can’t compete on price with the big retailers, as they wrap up contracts for the sale of flowers through every outlet across the country…

A florist would still add vase hire (where the price will vary depending on the size, exclusivity, value of the vase), oasis or other mechanics to hold the flowers in place, conditioning liquids, and then still labour for making the arrangements. And something for overheads

Prices would still exclude delivery and setup.

What do you think this arrangement/setup should cost?

Image may contain: plant and indoor

3 coloured, hand blown glass vases used to ‘spread’ out the flowers – again the flowers in the bunch were not would we would typically use to fill vases like this

The focal flower on 1 side, but not enough focal flowers for the other side of the vase and the reverse side below
this vase had another focal flower on the other side, but due to their flat round shape, the gerberas give a strange overall shape to these arrangements. again, i would not typically use flowers like this in a vase like this
Kale and 2 roses as focal flowers, but not enough for more focal flowers on the other side