Monday, February 16, 2015

We're Moving ~

We’re Moving!

Yes you read that right ~ we are MOVING!

After over 25 years at our Pershing location, it’s time for a change!  2015 will be a very exciting time at The Secret Garden ~
As of March 1st we will be in our new location.  After five years of steady growth we have met the capacity of our current location.  Our new location is currently Secret Garden Express and Waite’s Dry Cleaners at 664 W. Eldorado.  As many of you know, Waite’s Dry Cleaners uses that location for pickups and drop offs and they have not processed dry cleaning there for almost 20 years.  It has just been an empty warehouse.  We will be doing some major renovations to accommodate our floral customers.  Currently we have 1200 square feet, only 1,000 of that is actually usable for show room.  At the new spot, we will be utilizing about 2,500 square feet of the 4,200 square feet available there.  Our business can grow and expand within these walls for many years to come.  This is an amazing opportunity for us, and we’re excited for you to make the move with us.
Our new location will be at ~ 664 W. Eldorado St. in Decatur.  Our phone number will stay the same 217-875-9038. And you can still find us at
We are extending our hours as well.  Our new hours will be ~
Monday – Thursday 8:00 – 5:30
Friday 9:00 – 6:00
Saturday 8:00 – 2:00
We are also going to remain a pick up and drop off location for Waite’s Dry Cleaners.  Next time you are in need, we would hope that you will give them a try.  They would appreciate it and we would too. It may just earn you a free bouquet!
Thank you for being a long time customer of The Secret Garden!  We look forward to taking care of all of your floral & gift needs.  If you have any questions or concerns regarding this move, please contact Lori or Michael Barrett at the number listed above.

Lori & Michael Barrett and the Secret Garden Team,

Monday, May 5, 2014

Wanna know a Secret?

We are excited to announce ~ SECRET GARDEN EXPRESS will open on June 2nd 2014!!!

Our 2nd location will be located at 664 W. Eldorado inside Waite's Dry Cleaners.  You can still drop off your Dry Cleaning for the professionals to handle but now you can buy flowers too!

The Secret Express will be a "bucket" shop ~ We will offer Fresh Flowers FAST!  Co-Owner Michael Barrett will be manning this location along with the current staff of Waite's Dry Cleaner.  

You know that $5 Friday you know and LOVE from The Secret Garden?  Well Michael is going to have daily specials just like that! Secret Garden Express will carry ~
Crazy Daises
and MORE!  
All at everyday low prices.  Dozen Roses (Wrapped and Ready) for just $14.99 will be an everyday special.  Express will also have $5.00 - $10.00 - $20.00 bouquets wrapped and ready for pick up and go.  You will also find a nice selection of glass vases if you choose to have them arranged.  
We will also have seasonal silk wreaths and arrangements.

What we will not have ~ The Secret Garden Express will not be offering some of the services the main shop currently does ~
No Delivery
No Weddings
No Funeral Work
No Corsages or Boutonnieres 
No Custom Silk Arrangements at this time.

We are limiting our options to keep our prices as low as possible for our walk in clients.  You will find The Secret Garden Express's prices will compare to the local big box stores.  Our selection will change daily and we will have the FRESH flowers you have come to expect from The Secret Garden. 

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Double Duty ~ Budget Friendly Weddings Part 3

Part 3 of our Budget Friendly Wedding Series is about making your arrangements work for you.  

1. Your bouquet & the attendants bouquets.  All of our bouquets come in a clear glass cylinder vase.  These vases can be used on the head table at the reception to hold your flowers.  You can space them out between the attendants and place your bouquet in the center.  So if you had 4 Bridesmaids you could place 2 on the right side of the table, yours in the middle, and 2 more on the left side of the table.  This is a simple and inexpensive way to decorate your head table.

2.  Your altar arrangement.  If you choose to decorate the altar at your church you can find places at the reception to display them.  For example, a low long arrangement in a design dish would be perfect for a buffet table, or even the gift table.  A taller altar arrangement could be placed to welcome the guests as they enter the room.

These are just a couple of ways to make your flowers work for you. 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Wedding Checklist ~ What to know before you call your florist

This week we take a break from our budget bride series.  Today we will talk about what to know before booking your first consultation.

  • Brides dress selected - once you have your dress we can help you with your bouquet choices.  Some dresses have lots of detailing that you don't want to hide with a flowing cascade bouquet.  Others have small details that can be highlighted with certain flower types or looks.  For example if you have an Ivory tone for your dress you would not want to use white flowers, this has a tendency to make the dress look dirty.  Instead we could make a beautiful bouquet of mixed flowers in shades to match your wedding colors.
  • Bridesmaids dresses - Once these are on order we can get a better idea of what will look best with your selection.  We have had brides change colors or styles because it does not flatter a bridesmaid.  If we have already selected the perfect bouquet for the original dress it means lots of changes.  This could mean a change in flowers, colors, and even price.  It's best to have all of the dresses selected and ordered before the consult.
  • Grooms Attire & Groomsman Colors- You may not know the exact Tux or Suit he will suggest but basic colors are needed to select his boutonniere.  What may look great with a black jacket will not look the same against white or beige.  We do offer tuxedo rental so we can show you books to help you narrow down your selection. Also if you are going casual the shades of the shirts are important.  We want the flowers to stand out not blend in with what they are wearing.  Also you do not want to pair a very dressy flower like a Calla Lily with a dress shirt and tie.  That is better suited for a full tuxedo.
  • Wedding location - This is important when deciding altar flowers, pew decorations, and unity candle arrangements.  If it's outdoors vs indoors can also make a difference in containers, flowers, and more when we discuss what you want in the church.  It can also make a difference in what you carry down the aisle.  We would not want to put delicate flowers outdoors in the middle of summer heat.  
  • Wedding date - This one may sound a little odd but some brides plan a year or more in advance.  It is important to have a final date selected before you visit us.  We need to make sure that it does not fall on a major holiday such as Valentine's Day or Mother's Day before we agree to service the wedding. 
  • Number in wedding party - Though it's not really a must have this is good to know if you want an accurate quote.  We can tell you how much each one is and you can do the math at a latter date but we would rather give you a full quote when we send it to you rather than have you try to add and subtract as you go along.  We can always add or remove people at a later date as needed.
When you have these things in order it's time to meet with us.  Give us a call and we can help make your day the day you always dreamed of. 

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Your Floral "Footprint" ~ Budget Friendly Weddings Part 2

1.       Think about your floral footprint ~ Every flower has a “footprint”.  The footprint is the mark that flower leaves on your bouquet.  Think of the size of the bouquet you want.  Now picture each flower leaving a mark where it will go.  The larger the mark the fewer of that flower it will take to fill your bouquet.  The smaller the mark the more it will take to fill your bouquet.


        A hydrangea has a large “footprint” 

    Where a flower like ranunculus has a small “footprint” ~ 


      You may want to consider using fewer small blooms and more large blooms to get the size of bouquet you desire.   This could make your larger and more lush for a smaller price tag.  
      For example ~ Hydrangea blooms normally run between $6.00 and $10.oo a bloom.  Where a ranunculus can be as much as $3.00 - $5.00 a bloom.  It would take about 10ranunculus to cover the footprint of the hydrangea.  Even though ranunculus may cost a little less you would need more of them to capture the same amount of space.  

     Some great flowers with a large footprint are ~ Hydrangea, Fuji Mums, and Gerbera Daisies.  Some inexpensive flowers with a smaller footprint are ~ Carnations, Mini Carnations, Daisies, and Asters.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Budget Friendly Weddings ~ Part 1

Don't skimp on the greens ~ Foliage can add texture and fullness to your bouquet.  

Aspidistra can be curled to create a lovely base to a tropical looking bouquet ~ 

Tree Fern can be used to add flair.  Paired below with calla lilies it makes the bouquet look much wider than it is because of the way it spreads out from the flowers.

Seeded Eucalyptus is also a great addition.  Here you can see the tiny seeds around the bouquet to add texture and make the bouquet look fuller.  Also here we used Tree Fern to add even more texture and fullness. 

Foliage can add another dimension to your bouquet.  It can add texture, color, contrast, or make the bouquet look finished.  If you love the "wildflower" look greenery like Tree Fern, Seeded Eucalyptus, Pittosporum, Ming, and many others are for you.
For cleaner more structured bouquets try Salal leaves, Galax leaves, or Aspidistra.

This is a first in a series of articles that we will be composing for our Budget Brides.  These will help you find the right flowers for the right price. 

Monday, January 27, 2014

Buyer BEWARE this Valentine's Day.

The first call came in today.  "How much is 2 dozen roses."  We figured the price and the gentleman said.  "Well I'm getting them for $54 from XXX company."  I asked him about service charges and fees.  He said, "That's it just $54".  I wished him luck and hung up the phone. 

Here's why ~ 

#1 ~ COMPLAINTS.  Oh the complaints.  We see it every year on facebook and twitter.  They order from the big 800 companies and they fail to deliver on THE day.  Valentine's day is a major holiday for florists.  For most florists it's the busiest day of the year.  If you order through a 3rd party you are leaving it up to chance that you get the flowers where you need them when you need them by.  The 800 company calls local florists or sends the order out through a relay system.  The local florist receives the order and decides to accept it or reject the order.  If rejected the order bounces around the system from florist to florist until it is rejected by all in that area or someone finally accepts it.  

#2 ~ THEY MAY COME SHIPPED IN A BOX.  For some arranging their own flowers is fun and exciting.  For others not so much.  What does this mean for the flowers.  The flowers are transported from south of the border, through customs, through several major hubs, on trucks to their door.  Now sometimes they arrive fine.... others they sit outside in below freezing temps until the recipient comes home to find them dead.  So many complaints from these companies center around dead and wilted flowers.  It could be because of transportation or mishandling.  It could be because the people packing them at the farm just don't care.  But either way you go it leads to a disappointed Valentine. 

#3 ~ SIZE DOES MATTER.  A long  stem rose should measure 60cm or more.  This would be about 24" tall.  The ad I am currently looking at is for sweetheart roses.  These are SMALL roses.  The head of the rose will open to about 1 1/2" across vs 3 1/2" across with a standard rose.  The arrangement shown will be 16" tall vs 24" tall.  This is a HUGE difference when showing it off at the office.  Ours comes in a glass vase with baby's breath and long stem roses.  These come in a box with no baby's breath and little greenery.  Oh and some assembly required.  

I'm not saying that you will always encounter these issues.  But we have a 100% delivery rate for Valentine's Day.  We have missed people at work and delivered to the home.  We have tracked ladies down all around town.  We have delivered to the table at restaurants because she was not where she was supposed to be.  We go the extra mile.  We will do everything in our power to get them delivered.  The FedEx guy doesn't care if you are home or not.  That package says leave at door that is what he will do.  It's not his fault.  He did his job.  But it's not a job to us.  It's our passion.  We are here to create smiles and make hearts happy.  

The 100% satisfaction guarantee some of these companies have are a joke.  They will refund your money or give you money off your future purchase.  How does that help you when your wife is crying over a vase of dead flowers.  Or you are trying to convince her you didn't forget, the company just failed to deliver. 

When it looks like it's too good to be true, it probably is.  We offer fair prices for a quality product.  We are not the cheapest but we sure are very good at what we do.  


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