Even with simchas being postponed because of COVID-19, event florist Joan Rubenstein of Flower Design by Joan still manages to have her hands full arranging flowers.
Rubenstein, the sister-in-law of Balloons Over Atlanta’s Gail Rubenstein, decided to focus on home deliveries during the pandemic. “What I’ve done is decided I would be doing individual arrangements for birthdays and parties at home, baby namings, Mother’s Day – whatever’s going to be happy,” the florist said. “Because flowers bring joy to everybody. Just to have a bowl of flowers in the house cheering you up, especially at a time like this, I think is delightful. But of course, I’m prejudiced!”
Rubenstein advertised a bit for Mother’s Day arrangements, and it was a big hit, she said. She had many orders and was able to get the flower arrangements to clients by either delivering to their homes – with safety precautions including wearing a mask and using hand sanitizer – or people came to her door and picked up the flowers. “That was the one really big change,” she said.
For all her arrangements, Rubenstein said she uses premium flowers bought directly from specific wholesalers. “I know that when I do that, they’re absolutely fresh,” she said. “They come from all over the world, the flowers. … It’s a very interesting market.”
Flower arranging includes artistry, and Rubenstein loves choosing flowers that convey different feelings and colors. “Sunflowers are very, very popular, because they just smile at you,” she said. “Hydrangeas are loved by everybody.”
Peonies are another popular flower. “People love peonies. But they only flower now, like May and a little bit in June,” she said. “It’s really the queen of flowers.”
Rubenstein also talked up a lesser-known flower, called stock, that she enjoys adding to arrangements to complete the look. “It’s a lovely flower, stock, and it’s got quite a strong fragrance, and the colors are lovely. Lavender, purple, pale pink.”
While she loves roses, not all customers are fans. Sometimes people will specifically ask for no roses in their arrangements. Carnations are another controversial flower, Rubenstein said, but she enjoys them, as they come in many colors that are more difficult to find, such as deep burgundies and purples.
Alstroemeria is another useful flower, she said. They “are wonderful. They come in a lot of colors and they can be used together with a bowl of flowers just to finish them off. And they last for a very long time.
“Daisies are delightful,” she added.
Rubenstein normally teaches flower arranging classes and demonstrations, which have been on pause since the pandemic began. She is planning on starting them up when the pandemic is over, albeit with some modifications for safety.
“I can only do that if people are prepared to get together,” she said. Zoom is an option, but she decided she really didn’t want to teach over the internet, as she feels it takes away from the class. “I might be limited to, I would say, I could do five people without a problem. It’s a one-on-one class and it’s fun.”