by Chrysa Smith

—is part of about a hundred shrubs or vines within the Rosaceae classification. That’s pretty botanically savvy, huh? Well, thank Wilkepedia for that one. Of course, one needn’t know any of that to select a great stem, appreciate the delicate scent or admire them from afar. But if you want some of the best around, whether it be Roses, Asiatic Lilies, Hydrangea, Tulips, Delphinium, Gerbera and varieties you’ve likely never seen nor can pronounce, you need to take a trip to Floribunda (tag line: life beyond mums and carnations), right behind Jules’ great flatbread pizza on Main Street in Doylestown. (Notice, it’s always about food with me)

Anyway, walk in and meet Dave—owner and botanical encyclopedia. Look behind him and to the right and see containers full of the most beautifully blooming beauties you can set your eyes on—–all fresh, all newly received, all waiting for their next home. Now, I met Dave while purchasing flowers for my church’s flower guild. But I fell in love with his shop long before that—when someone sent me a mixed arrangement. Let’s just say, not your FTD variety bouquet.

On my first buying trip there, I must admit, I felt more than a little dumb at first, saying, can I have four of these red flowers over here—what are they called? And then I’ll take two of the white lilies. He’d patiently give me the correct botanical name and I’d try to file it away for future reference. But just last week, I stopped in when Dave wasn’t busy with a wedding or dinner party, and we sat down and had a nice chat about his shop.

I learned that flowers can come from wholesalers (which I pretty well knew) or direct from the grower (which I might have guessed). What I didn’t know is that Dave can have you some stems from Thailand or Hawaii within two days; freshly picked from their soil. So that’s the secret, I thought to myself. That’s why these flowers look so much grander than what I see at most any floral outlet around. Dave is also a wealth of knowledge about care, arranging and what will be coming into season. He can tell you how many stems you’ll need to make your arrangement pop, what size heads will make an impact from a distance and why you won’t be able to get Asiatic Lilies in a couple years. He’ll tell you that he’s got an orange and pink wedding next week, so if you like those colors, come in and there’ll be lots to choose from. He’ll also sell you those cute little floral vases (not the standard, clear glass, female curve vases that line my garage), but stuff you can use for even candles or other chachkas—-for what they should really cost—-a few bucks.

Now, you might think that what I’m telling you is general florist knowledge—-NOT. I remember ordering flowers from another florist one spring and asked to have a few Forsythia branches included. I was actually asked, “Is that the yellow bush?” I’ve gotten arrangements that have dropped leaves within a day or two, or have sucked up so much water, you know they’ve been starved for nutrition for quite awhile.

With a Floribunda bouquet, I guarantee, you ‘ll have way more varieities in your bouquet, at least two varieties that you can’t readily name, a lovely scent, cut to arrange easily and beautifully presented—-they’ll last for well over a week and won’t cost but maybe a couple of dollars more for the effort.

So, step away from the ‘market bunch’ you pick up at the checkout stand (where you might bring home blooms that were sitting behind the juice boxes or in the meat department for a day), and step toward treating yourself and your friends and family to something truly special, something unique, something beautiful—even if it’s just three stems of something exotic. You deserve it.