Monday, May 30, 2011

Martha Washington Geranium Care

Outdoor planting season is underway.  One of the best selling plant in our shop is the Martha Washington Geranium.  The colors are always amazing.  So how do you care for these beautiful plants?  Never fear, we can help with that.

When re-potting your geranium you should add some small rocks or gravel to the bottom of your pot to help with drainage.  The soil mix you use should mildly acidic, make sure that you do not pack it to tight.  Use a mild fertilizer during the blooming months, this will help your plant grow and give it more blooms.  

Your Martha Washington will flourish in direct sun.  South facing windows or patios are ideal.  

To avoid over watering make sure you allow the soil to dry out a little before watering again.  When you do water saturate the soil enough so that some water drains out of the bottom.  This will wash away impurities in the soil that your fertilizer will replace.

The best night temperatures are between 50 and 60 degrees.  

Your geranium will bloom over and over during the spring and summer months.  To encourage new blooms you can pinch off a few of the blooms, this will allow it to become bushier.  If it becomes unruly you can trim the sides and tops with pruning shears.

If you follow these care tips your Martha Washington Geranium should live a long happy life.  Remember that during the fall and winter months you do not have to fertilize but you should follow the watering tips above.  The following spring the blooms will return and you will have another season of beauty.  

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Rising Cost of Delivery

Just the other day we had a call from a very nice lady.  She wanted to send flowers to her daughter that lives here in town.  We told her that would not be a problem and we would be glad to help pick out the perfect gift.  She asked, "What do you charge for delivery?"  We stated our local delivery price of $8.99.  She then let me know that she had no problem paying good money for flowers but refused to pay that for delivery.  We hate to loose business, it's just not good to turn folks away.  In this case we had no choice, in order to keep our business running, delivery is something we must charge for.  So here is a little run down on why we charge what we charge.

We cover over 884 square miles of delivery area.  We deliver to Moweaqua, Dalton City, LaPlace, Blue Mound, Maroa, and even Illiopolis.  This is a very large delivery area.  We have a really nice formula that we plug in all of our information into and it spits us out a nice figure for delivery charges.  It takes into account:

Drivers Salary (no matter how hard we try, the van just refuses to drive itself).
Price Per Gallon - Miles Per Gallon
Vehicle Costs ~ Oil changes, new tires, brakes, and so on.
Vehicles worth and resale value (remember they are not worth as much the second they roll off that lot).

So when you figure a trip to say Illiopolis, you not only have to figure the gas prices you also have to figure out the salary you are paying the person behind the wheel.  Being a small shop we may even have to wait to deliver other orders until the van returns.  Or in some cases we will send out a second vehicle for in town deliveries.  The cost increases when you are using more then one driver and vehicle.  

This all being said, and probably boring you to death.  We take a long hard look at how we charge for things.  It would be easy to offer "free" delivery, but this would effect the cost of our other products.  That "free" has to be made up somewhere.  We believe that the cost of the things you purchase from us should not be inflated to cover delivery costs and the likes. 

We love delivering!  It is the best part of our day to see the big smiles and hear the compliments when someone receives our flowers.  Delivery is a convenience.  You do not have to take time out of your busy day, use your gas, and take your lunch hour to run flowers to your loved one.  Let us do that for you, it is our job and we enjoy it so much.  

Monday, May 23, 2011

Introducing "Blooms Of Love"

It's no secret that flowers say it best and with The Secret Garden's Blooms of Love we make it easier then ever.  Take care of four gift giving occasions with just one purchase.  You choose the occasions  you choose the recipients, we do the rest.  Send flowers for your anniversary, a birthday, or just because.  
After your purchase we will send you a form for you to fill out choosing your occasions and your recipients.  If you are not sure of the dates or when you would like them sent that is no problem.  We will keep track for you and let you know when you have reached your four purchases.  We will also email you before major holidays to see if you would like to send an arrangement then.
We will design your arrangements using seasonal flowers so that every arrangement will be unique.  Your arrangements may arrive in a vase, a basket, or in a seasonal container.  We will match the design of your arrangement based on the holiday you are sending for.  
The delivery fee is a one time $8.99 for local delivery.  The other 3 deliveries are complimentary.  
Deliveries must be local.  Decatur, Mt. Zion, and Forsyth only please.  If you have recipients that live out of town please contact us for pricing.  
To order visit our website or give us a call today.  875-9038

Friday, May 20, 2011

Memorial Day Tributes

Memorial Day is the time to reflect on memories our loved ones have left us.  We use this time to laugh about the good times and smile through the tears.  With our selection of grave saddles, canisters, wreaths, and easels The Secret Garden can help you honor your loved one.

Our grave saddles are all made on a thick wire frame that bends to fit headstones of all sizes.  They can also be placed on the ground and staked into place.  The flowers are made to withstand the elements, some fading will occur over time but the flowers will hold up well in all conditions.  We have customers that bring them back year after year to have them spruced up.  This shows that our saddles will last you for many years to come.  For graves that do not have standing headstones we can create a nice piece on a heavy brick.  The brick will weigh it down so that it does not get disturbed by the wind.  It also can be saved and used again in years to come.

Our canisters are made with the same long lasting flowers.  They simply stake into the ground by the stone.  

We also have standing easels and wreaths to place on them.  One of our best sellers is our cross, it can be seen here in our Facebook album.  

If you do not find what you are looking for we can create something just for you.  We have an entire section of the store dedicated to silk flowers.  You are sure to find what you are looking for.  It normally takes a few days for custom orders so make sure you place your order early.

If you are looking for a tribute to place at your home to remember a loved one consider one of our stepping stones.  Our stones are perfect for gardens, or can be placed on a stand and displayed in the home.  We have a nice selection to choose from and invite you to come in and take a look.

A few things to remember:

Check with the cemetery to see when you can place your memorial.  Some of them have rules about what can be placed on the ground and when.  With the mowing season upon them most care takers do not want items placed on the ground but will allow it for Memorial Day.  

Stop in today and see what we have to offer.  1215 E. Pershing Rd. or give us a call to place your special order 875-9038.  If you are out of town we also offer delivery to the cemetery for you for an additional charge. 

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Facebook 500 Fans!

We thank you all for making us feel like movie stars.  Reaching 500 fans is a great accomplishment for our small shop.  Posting to Facebook is one of our favorite things to do.  We love to see what you guys think of our arrangements, merchandise, and blogs.  Your comments give us some great ideas and we use this knowledge to improve our business.  Watching you all name our arrangements is so much fun, you are all so creative.  Giving away bouquets and other tokens of our affection puts a smile on our face.  We thank you from the bottom of our heart for spreading the word.

So to say Thank You we are offering you a special deal.  For the rest of the year you can save $5.00 off every purchase you make from The Secret Garden.  That's right, you can shop online, over the phone or in person.  It's simple just present the code below and save!  You don't have to bring in a coupon or print anything at all, just write down the code somewhere safe and use it when you need.
Save $5.00 off of any purchase you make on our website or any purchase of $20.00 or more you make on the phone or in person.  

This coupon code will be good through December 31, 2011. 

Here is that code you will need:  FBFAN11

So don't forget to mention it the next time you place an order or come in to pick up a great gift.  That $5.00 you save could even buy you a tank of gas!

Friday, May 13, 2011

May News You Can Use

Another month is past and this year seems to be moving in warp speed. I just can't believe it's time for Mother's Day already! It seems like we were just planning for Valentine's Day.

I hope that you are enjoying the warmer temperatures and sunny skies. After the rains in April we deserve a bit of sunshine.

~Lori Barrett & The Secret Garden Staff

May Flower of The Month ~ The Lily

With so many beautiful Lilies to choose from it would be easy to celebrate this flower all month long! Beautiful Asiatic lilies, Oriental lilies, and Alstroemeria lilies. We wrote an entire blog article about the different types of lilies, and even included growing tips. So this May be sure to take time and stop and smell the lilies. You will enjoy the scents and sights along the way. Oh and we're sure Mom would love to see Lilies in her Mother's Day flowers.

Sunshine Bouquets are Back~

Yes it's that time again. Back by popular demand are our beautiful sunshine bouquets. All spring and summer long you can stop in and pick up a bouquet of sunshine. You will receive 5 stems of brightly colored daisies, and/or daisy poms. These are all market fresh and will last and last.
Your price just $7.99. They make a great gift for anyone who needs a bit of sunshine!

Memorial Day Tributes

Memorial Day is just around the corner. It is a day to honor our loved ones who have passed on. Bringing flowers to the grave to pay tribute to them is one way to do this. At The Secret Garden we offer a variety of memorials and tributes. We have created an album that showcases some of these items.

We can also custom design a tribute for you. Just let our designers know what you prefer and they can custom design something just for you.

Recital Season Begins

We love to see all of the tiny dancers perform. They work so hard to make the day of the big performance perfect. So it comes as no surprise that flowers are tops on the gift giving list. 

We can create a beautiful bouquet for your little performer. You can come in and see what we have to offer. We invite you to create your own bouquet to present to her that day. Pick their favorite color, flower, or both. We will do the rest. Also be sure to ask us about our Tiny Dancer, shown on the right hand side.  You can read an article all about it here.

We hope you have enjoyed this months lesson.  Please stop in and visit us soon.  1215 E. Pershing Rd. or check us out online at

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Storing Bulbs From Blooming Plants

So that beautiful blooming plant has run it's course and now you are not sure what to do.  We can help with that.  Follow these steps and in the fall your bulb will be ready to plant!

Once the greenery has all died back your plant is finished for the season.  Do not fear, that beautiful bloom can be seen again next spring.

1.  Now because most bulbs look similar it is best to have labels ready for each type of bulb.  Sort your bulbs by plant type before storing to avoid any confusion in the fall.

2.  Remove your plant from the pot and take off as much soil as possible.  Cut the stem of the bulb.

3. Dry your bulbs before storing.  Lay them out on a counter, you can put paper or a towel down to protect your counter tops. 

4.  Do not store them in your refrigerator.  Fruits give off a 
gas, ethylene, that is harmful to flowers.  This gas can kill your bulbs and they will not bloom again.  

5. Find a pot or a dish to store them in.  Place sand or dried peat moss inside and keep them ventilated to remove humidity.  If the humidity builds up then they will become moist and could rot.

This fall we will discuss how to replant your bulbs.  Until then just make sure to keep them dry and safe from rodents.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Sunshine Bouquets to Brighten Your Day

Welcome back Sunshine ~ Welcome back Spring! 

Flowers have magical effects, okay not really magical but they sure do have positive influence on moods.  Yes it is true, read all about it here.  We can help you bring flowers into your home and not spend a lot to do it.

Sunshine Bouquets for only $7.99.  What is a Sunshine Bouquet you ask?  Well it is 5 stems of beautiful market fresh daisies wrapped in paper and ready to go home with you.

Visiting a friend, have a loved one in the hospital, or just need something to brighten someones day?  The Sunshine Bouquet does it all.

No coupon needed, just come in and ask for a sunshine bouquet today.
1215 E. Pershing Rd
Decatur IL, 62526

Friday, May 6, 2011

Recital Season Begins~

Recitals, oh the joy on all of those little faces.  They work so hard to learn all of the steps, get the timing just right, and make their parents proud.  All year long they practice their twirls.  Then the big night comes and the lights go up, and it's their turn to shine.  What do little girls love almost as much as dancing?  Well flowers of course!  

That is why The Secret Garden specializes in making those little dancing queens smile.  We stock up on multiple colors of pastel roses and flowers to fill a little bouquet just for them.  We showcase our wares every year at The Lincoln Theater when The Dance Centre has their recital.  Here are some shots from our booth last year.  

Our basic presentation bouquets can be custom made just for your little one.  You can choose the colors, the flowers, and let us do the rest.  This year we have added a new gift.  We call her "Tiny Dancer".  She is just $10.00 with a water pick on the bottom or $15.00 in a small glass vase.  You can call and order one and we will get her all made up for the big night.  

We also have stuffed animals, balloons, and much more.  Stop in and see our full selection at: 
1215 E. Pershing Rd. in Decatur.
Or give us a call at: 875-9038 so we can make something just for you.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

When April Showers Don't Bring May Flowers

We all know the old saying, April Showers Bring May Flowers. Well what happens when the April showers just won't quit?  The rains in Columbia have been coming down for sometime now, combine that with cooler then normal temperatures and you have the perfect storm.  

About a month ago we started to notice the quality of our Asiatic Lilies was poor.  They were coming in from the suppliers with water spots and brown edges.  We refused some of the shipments and even stopped ordering white Asiatics for a while.  Then we started asking questions.  "What is going on with the lilies?"  We found out then that Columbia was in for a long hard spring.

We order our Mother's Day flowers at the end of March.  So when we placed the order we were not really aware of the issue at hand.  We have been assured that everything that was pre-booked will be in on time and in very good condition.  We have begun receiving a few of our items and so far they are great.  We have ordered in a few things extra just in case some of the other items do not turn out as well as we are hoping for.  We will be on the lookout for any signs of damage long before the flowers make it into any of our arrangements.

What this means to you ~ Please do not delay this year, get your Mother's Day flowers ordered from your florist.  We have been told that getting additional flowers may be difficult.  We want to be sure that your Mom receives the flowers she loves.  If you call the store direct we can talk you through the available flowers and help you custom design the perfect arrangement for your mom.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

FTD Living Social Deal: Let Me Save You A Buck

While more than 100K buyers have  snagged’s offer on for a “get $35 in flowers for $15” coupon, they could have saved a real buck by simply bypassing the deal and ordering straight from the local flower shop who’ll actually make and deliver their Mother’s Day flowers.
The Offer’s Fine Print:  The FTD service fee for flowers for Mother’s Day Weekend is $20.99
Note: This is not a DELIVERY fee. The ‘delivery fee’ (approximatley $7) is bundled into the price of the florist-delivered flowers shown on the site. The $20.99 fee is just for forwarding the order to a local florist.
So your $20 ‘savings’ goes to a $20.99 fee that’s totally avoidable.
Mother’s Day Flower buyers can save that buck ($.99 actually) by simply shopping online, over the phone or in person direct with a local florist where Mom lives. Use Google Places, Yelp or your favorite review site to find a good local flower shop if you don’t know one.
Then you’ll know who’s actually handling their flowers, likely hear if your selection requires substitution, and know who is ultimately accountable to get Mom’s flowers right. No middleman. No delayed communication about where your flowers are.  No totally-avoidable service fee.
So save yourself some real money and order direct from a real local flower shop.
At The Secret Garden you will never be charged a "service fee".  It is our job to service our clients and we do not charge for that.  The only fee you will ever have to pay is our delivery fee.  This covers the cost of our vehicle, driver, and the ever growing cost of gas in the tank.  For local deliveries (in Decatur IL) your fee is just $8.99.
Your Mom will be so proud you REALLY saved and sent her beautiful, fresh flowers for Mother’s Day.
I would like to Thank for suppling local florists with this blog post.  Just another way shopping local can save you money!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Teacher Appreciation Week Begins!

Teachers Appreciation Week is May 2nd through May 6th. Teacher Appreciation Day is May 3rd.  This year we make celebrating that special teacher in your life easy.

Let's start with a little history lesson:
According to NEA this is how it all began.

History of National Teacher Day

The origins of National Teacher Day are murky. Around 1944 Arkansas teacher Mattye Whyte Woodridge began corresponding with political and education leaders about the need for a national day to honor teachers. Woodridge wrote to Eleanor Roosevelt, who in 1953 persuaded the 81st Congress to proclaim a National Teacher Day.
NEA, along with its Kansas and Indiana state affiliates and the Dodge City (Kan.) Local, lobbied Congress to create a national day to celebrate teachers. Congress declared March 7, 1980 as National Teacher Day for that year only.
NEA and its affiliates continued to observe National Teacher Day in March until 1985, when the NEA Representative Assembly voted to change the event to Tuesday of the first full week of May.

Here are a few of the things we are offering to show your appreciation this week.
Our famous peal and eat cake is a huge hit with teachers.  We will change out the balloon to say "Thanks!".  It features mini candy bars that can be pealed off and shared with all of the other teachers.  

Price ~ $34.99

You can order this here.
Our "Thanks to You" Mug makes a great gift.  Filled with fresh flowers it is so bright and festive.  Inside are a few pencils and they can use the mug for years to come.  Fits great on a desk too!

Price ~ $42.99

You can order this here.

Balloons!  Our balloon bouquets come attached to a bag of sweet treats.  We have "Thank You" balloons, "Your Appreciated", and more to choose from.  Make your teacher smile this week with a fun balloon bouquet!

Price Starts at ~ $25.50

You can choose a balloon bouquet here.

We all know how hard teachers work all year long.  They play and important part in our lives.  Here is a little poem that says it all.

One Hundred Years From Now

Author: (excerpt from "Within My Power" by Forest Witcraft)
One hundred years from now
It won't matter
What kind of car I drove
What kind of house I lived in
How much money I had in the bank
Nor what my cloths looked like
The world may be a little better
Because, I was important
In the life of a child.
So take a moment and order a special something for a teacher that has touched your life.  See our selection here


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