Wednesday, October 13, 2010

White Orchids

I send white orchids.  It’s just what I do when I need to send flowers.  I must admit I stole the idea from a very chic friend of mine.  White orchids go with any interior and are beautiful and elegant. 

The orchid solution became a best practice for me, especially during my New York years.  It was one of the first things a new secretary had to learn when they started in my office.  Until then, I always struggled with Mother’s Day presents.  I never liked to send basic cut flowers or some other expected gift.  Not only does the orchid last for months, but it’s especially a good thing for my Mother since she’s a plant person.  Also, she has an incredibility bright kitchen where she was already growing African Violets and the like. 

But here’s my advice when ordering. 

The first year I sent the white orchid it was a huge hit.  I was lucky.  I stopped by a local NYC florist pointed to the type I wanted, paid my $100, and a couple of days later a two stemmed bud loaded plant showed up on the Mom’s front steps.  Success! 

The next Mother’s Day I called a local florist in South Carolina where my Mother lives and placed an order for a white orchid to be delivered.  I was very specific that it had to be completely white with large blooms, none of those little one inch things.  It was shockingly inexpensive compared to the previous year, but I wrote that off to paying a NYC premium price the year before.

On the afternoon of Mother’s Day I called my Mom, and the conversation went something like this.

“Happy Mother’s Day.”
“Well thank you,” she said.
“Did the flowers get there in time? I was a little late in ordering.”
“Oh yes, it was delivered on Saturday morning,” says mom.
“Is it white?” I inquired.  “I told them I wanted solid white.  And big blooms.”
“Yes, it’s white.  Completely,” she answered.  “And the blooms are at least three inches across. They’re huge.”
“Great.  You never know what you may get when ordering sight unseen.”  I was relieved. 
“Oh it is really beautiful,” she added.  “All the ladies at church this morning commented how gorgeous it was.  I told them you had sent it for Mother’s Day.”

There was a long, very long pause on my end of the conversation.  First, let me say that my mother is a very young sixty-something.  Think Sally Field in Steel Magnolias.  She runs, goes to the gym and works-out couple of times a week.  She regularly plays golf.  She’s current and a snappy dresser.  So, quickly blazed in my mind, was an image of my mother walking into church in one of her fashionable suits carrying a huge potted plant.  I knew she very much respects my design aesthetic, but this was going too far.

“What do you mean, ‘the church ladies loved it”?  I asked.  “Why would you take the orchid to church.”
“Well what else was I supposed to do with it, baby.  It’s Mother’s Day.”
“Well I thought you’d put it on the kitchen counter.”
“For what?”
“To look at.”
“But, it would just die. And I wasn’t going anywhere else today, except church.”  She stated.  “I guess I could wear it to work tomorrow, but that might be a bit much.”
“Wear?” I asked.  Then another long pause.  “Wait a minute.  Are we talking about the same thing?  Is this orchid in a pot?”
“Of course not,” she answered.  “Why would I carry a potted plant to church?  It’s a corsage.”

After ten minutes of me ranting and apologizing she did finally admit that she was a little surprised I would send her a corsage. 

She did not wear it to work the next day.

Room design and photo credit (in order of post):
Life and Work:  Malene Birger Life in Pictures
Australia Vogue Living John Hay
Kelly Hoppen Design
Pheobe Howard Design
Ron Marvin
Brown Designs
Thomas Pheasant

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