As the leaves change colour, the weather cools and the calendar turns towards the holiday season, Tracy Bell is feeling grateful.
The owner of Surrey’s La Belle Fleur Floral Boutique marks 20 years in the community this year, supported by family, friends and customers.
“We’re all like family here, as are our many customers who have been with us for so many years. Many will stop by just to say ‘Hi’ and see how we’re doing,” Bell says. “We’re very, very grateful to be here.”
Joining Bell at the store are her “extended family,” including Susanne, who has been with her for 18 of the shop’s 20 years, Lily, who celebrates six years at La Belle Fleur, and Merissa, the “newcomer” approaching three years.
The opportunity to be part of people’s lives at so many important milestones is rewarding in itself.
“I don’t take that for granted,” Bell says. “A lot happens in people’s lives over 20 years – babies, weddings and losses – and we’ve had the privilege of being part of these special events.”
On a personal level, the floral artists are grateful to be able to bring beautiful floral arrangements into people’s lives. “We get to do what we absolutely love to do every day,” reflects Bell, past-president of the Canadian Professional Floral Designers’ Association.
Feeling thankful with flowers
For those planning to include a floral centrepiece as part of their holiday table, Bell offers a few helpful tips:
- Give it time. While La Belle Fleur will have some pre-crafted centrepieces and arrangements available, for custom orders it’s best to allow ample time, Bell says. Most of their flowers are locally grown, and those that come from overseas are vetted for sustainability.
- Design matters. For those wanting a special arrangement for their table or home, photos of the setting, fabric samples or other helpful tools can ensure the perfect arrangement, suggests Bell, also a floral design educator.
- Take care. Despite significant advancements in longevity, some flowers still last longer than others and choosing a variety can provide ongoing interest. “We use only the best-quality flowers and we do a lot behind the scenes to ensure they last,” Bell notes. “We get some really nice phone calls saying ‘I can’t believe how long it’s lasting.’” Once home, add a preservative to fresh water and showcase flowers in a cool location. Trim stems every two days and ensure the water level is maintained.
Visit La Belle Fleur Floral Boutique in Boundary Park Plaza at 6350 120th St. in Surrey. Visit on Facebook or online at labellefleursurrey.com, or connect via Twitter and Instagram at @labellefleur97.