Sharing Love Through the Beauty of Flowers – Episode 16: Flower Shop Secrets

What can flowers teach you?

Neville MacKay from “My Mother’s Bloomers” in Halifax, Nova Scotia knows a thing or two about the power of flowers. He shares his knowledge in captivating stories on stage, television, and right here on this episode of Flower Shop Secrets. Tune in to discover how you can experience love, beauty, and celebration in the floral industry.

Quick Summary

Key Takeaways

  • Spreading Love Through The Power of Flowers
  • A Renaissance of Floral Design
  • “Enter-training”: Entertaining and Educating with Florist Stories

More About Our Guest

Neville MacKay’s understanding of the impact flowers have in our world was born at an early age. Childhood lessons from his parents about the power flowers can hold led him to his formal training with a German Master florist, where he learned the traditional elements of floral design, such as using chicken wire sans floral foam. All of which have shaped him into an amazing florist the floral industry is lucky to have. 

Today, his experience has blossomed from designing floral arrangements for the British Royal family, Elton John, Celine Dion, and The Rolling Stones to creating new treasured memories for local families. With hopes of getting back to normal, Neville looks forward to continuing to present floral programs on stage across Canada and the US. In the meantime, he appears regularly on local television and radio and has written for several magazines and published a book. Like flowers, Neville brings life to the party.

Full Episode Transcript

Here’s the thing, information tells, while a story sells, that’s what brings the joy and magic alive to flowers.

Unknown Speaker  0:00  

Here’s the thing, information tells, while a story sells, that’s what brings the joy and magic alive to flowers. And that’s that’s how I’ve done so well with with speaking publicly, both regionally and internationally.

Unknown Speaker  0:16  

Because I do tell stories with them because anyone can look something up on YouTube or, or whatever and say, I want to know how to make a centerpiece. Well, there it is. There it is. But you’ll listen to people who can tell a story behind it as well, and talk about the beauty of those flowers and show the passion and love that comes with them.

Unknown Speaker  0:37  

So the big question is this. How can small business owners like us in the float industry overcome the greed of order gatherers and bypass that the sefa games played by wire services?

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How do we market sell and deliver flowers online, so we may break free from these antiquated practices and earn our freedom?

Unknown Speaker  0:59  

Those are some of the questions we will answer on this podcast. I’m Joe Vega. Welcome to flower shop secrets streaming now on Spotify, Apple podcast, Google and more. What’s up everybody? This is Joe Vega and welcome to another flower shop suka podcast and today we have never McKay from my mother’s bloomers in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Nova Scotia. How you doing level? I’m fine. That was a mouthful, wasn’t it? It was.

Unknown Speaker  1:26  

So we have to ask about the name right off the bat. How did you come up with my mother’s bloomers for a name of a flower shop? Well, you know, Joe, my mum’s and she was an avid gardener. She’s 98. So she’s not doing a whole lot of gardening these days. But she was a big gardener in England. And when we grew up, she called us her little blooms or little petals or little blossoms. So man petals man blossoms man blooms rafted the garden to to do some gardening and after going through our garden, and so that always stuck with me. I was always one of those little blooms and a little bloomers. And when it came time to open up the flower shop 1000 years ago, it seems

Unknown Speaker  2:04  

that name sort of came to me I said, Oh my gosh, it’s got to be my mother’s glimmers because you know, you have to have a little bit of tongue in cheek sometimes, you know, and there’s so many flower shops and so many businesses that are flowers by so and so designed by section section, you know, pretty this and lovely that which is great. But

Unknown Speaker  2:22  

you’ve never been in my mother’s bloomers before until you’ve been in my mother’s womb. And that’s that’s just the tongue in cheek giggle Teehee nudge nudge, wink wink sort of thing. And that’s what makes people remember us as well, because we are unique.

Unknown Speaker  2:37  

It’s a great name. I mean, it’s a great marketing tool like AI itself. Does. I think that your your Photoshop name is everybody’s favorite.

Unknown Speaker  2:48  

Well, it’s you know, it’s it’s a it’s something you don’t forget, isn’t it? No, you did not. You know, once you

Unknown Speaker  2:55  

once you’ve been in my mother’s bloomers, Joe, you know, you’ve been someplace. And that’s the thing, you kind of have fun. You know, these days, times are tough. Business is hard. And people are difficult. So when you can have any amount of fun, have some fun. And if it comes down to making fun of the name of our flower shop, go right ahead. Go right ahead. I only have one lady, she called me first opened up she called and she said I’m calling long distance. And I said that’s nice. And she said, I just want to tell you that I’m disgusted. I said are you I said what’s wrong darlin? She said, that’s the name of that story. She said, It’s disgusting. She said, You should be ashamed, your mother should be ashamed. She said she must be ashamed of you. And I said, Well, you know, it was my mother’s idea. And then she hung up. So

Unknown Speaker  3:39  

but you know, again, again, those that like it do and those that get the joke do and those that don’t, don’t even bother, don’t even bother, you know, I don’t want to be something for everyone as much as as, as I want to be unique to us. And if you like that, that’s great. And if you don’t, you don’t I know I know. So how did you get started in the floor industry?

Unknown Speaker  4:01  

Well again, you know, growing up with with parents that that were very much into into nature and into plant life and gardening and and all things natural, it was just sort of a

Unknown Speaker  4:17  

natural progression to get into the floral industry I grew up knowing the the love that flowers can give and the power that they have from seeing my father come home from he worked at a fire tower and so is that observation and work for the lands and forest department very masculine man which of course is where I get mine from obviously. And he would come home from from from a day’s work with those metal lunchboxes. You know those ones that put lunch in when they open up there’s old fashioned man’s get those and when I saw him open that up and there’ll be filled with wild flowers or Cosmos or something because it’ll guide Murray worked for my mom. I thought that’s love and that’s what flowers do. You know, and I learned that so quickly. Then I got into the four H club

Unknown Speaker  5:00  

And got into floral culture with four H. And the next thing you know, I’m often doing my thing in a flower shop. That’s great. When did you open up my mother’s bloomers?

Unknown Speaker  5:11  

You just do have you count up the giggles? I gotta say, yeah.

Unknown Speaker  5:15  

I was waiting for that. My mother’s bloomers opened officially in 1992. So

Unknown Speaker  5:22  

people say How long have you had your business? I said, I always say since I had hair, you know, because I think I had a little hair at that point, but not much, but soon disappeared. But yeah. 1992. So it’s, it’s going on close to 30 years now. Wow. So you’ve seen a lot. But you’re also an educator right in the industry. So with you know, you have experience running floral programs. Can you talk a little bit about this? Well, you know, Joe, I think we’re all educators to one degree or another because I believe you can learn something off everyone if you allow yourself to think and learn, because you really can. But I’ve been very fortunate because I know when I first started in the industry, I was apprenticing with a German master back in the day. So I learned how to how to work with flowers.

Unknown Speaker  6:05  

That before floral foam was invented because she was she was an older lady then. So she taught me what it was like back in the day before floral foam with wire, chicken wire, and moss and all that sort of stuff and clay and whatnot. So I learned all those sorts of things. And I believe that you really need to, to know where you came from, to know where you’re going. And as an educator, I just I get such a charge out of seeing people

Unknown Speaker  6:30  

experience love through the beauty of flowers. And that’s such a glorious thing. So when I get to teach people

Unknown Speaker  6:37  

and show them that, that this is a wonderful art form that needs to be respected. But be Don’t be afraid of it. Because flowers can feel fear, you know, and when you do something with love in your heart to show those beautiful flowers, and remember that those flowers are going to be used for someone to celebrate love, or life somewhere along the line. And that’s a pretty big deal. So to to be able to get into doing some educating, and I work with Smith as a way since I’m on their design directors team. So I get to Well, I used to get to travel around and teach the latest in floral design and education. Flowers can smell fear.

Unknown Speaker  7:17  

Yes, do you know it’s the same as when you know when you make, I don’t know if you cook it off. But you know, when you make a stew, and you’re freaking you’re freaking a mess, and you’re freaking and mass and the more you freak with it the worst case, and yet someone else next to you can just throw a whole bunch of stuff in a pot, throw a little bit this and do a little bit of that. And it’s fantastic. Because they don’t mess around with it, they don’t mess around with it, they respect the ingredients, and they know what they’re gonna do, and let those ingredients do what they’re supposed to do. And that’s what I believe Joe flowers should do as well. Flowers, the more you muck around with them, they’re going to leave me alone, I already know what to do, I’m already beautiful. You don’t have to fiddle with me too much. So you’re seeing this, thank goodness, this, this Renaissance going with with floral design. Now, with that very natural letter grow with that flower is supposed to go that direction, let it go that direction, who says you can’t? You know, and that sort of thing. So we’re taking so many,

Unknown Speaker  8:10  

so many so much direction from nature now, which is such a glorious thing rather than trying to try them into certain ways, because that’s why I want you to go. And that’s when I say they can see fear and they can show ugly, real fast. You know,

Unknown Speaker  8:23  

that’s just let it be right? You can take the most beautiful flower and have an awful it’s the same as you can take the nicest piece of salmon, or the most beautiful bowl of vegetables and make them taste terrible. You know, because you’re not knowing what you’re doing and don’t respect the product and that sort of thing. As far as so they can show again, they can see here.

Unknown Speaker  8:44  

Definitely, I’ve never heard that before. But that definitely a learning lesson there. share any stories from your experiences on TV or on stage?

Unknown Speaker  8:56  

Yes, yes, there are many I can’t. There was a young gal came up on stage because I tend to drag some people up sometime or invite people up on the stage to talk with me. And I’ll say, listen, we’re just going to have a conversation. Don’t Don’t pay any attention to those people out there. We’re just going to have a conversation, especially when it’s a student, and I want to show them a little something. And it just gets them used to being on a stage. And there was one girl she was I’m so nervous. And I said this is what you have to remember. And this is something I always remember. And I try to even say it out loud sometimes because I have always I always shake I shake my belief always helps to have and stuttering matter. And when people see you doing that, and knowing that you’re nervous, it can make you even worse. But if you go out of the gate and say look, I’m so excited, I’m shaking, I’m so excited. I stutter I can’t even stand it. They’re excited for you. Because you’re excited. So you tell people and you tell the world and I’m excited, not afraid. I’m excited. I’m so excited. And you know you believe it because they believe it. And that’s a glorious thing. That’s a fun thing to do. But you know,

Unknown Speaker  9:59  

television is

Unknown Speaker  10:00  

Is, is a strange thing I’ve been on television for. There’s one particular show going on for over 20 years now. And

Unknown Speaker  10:09  

to say I get nervous, I wake up nervous in the morning because you never know what’s and I say that’s exciting. And it is. But television is such an odd thing, because you don’t have an audience in front of you. You know, so to say, well, it’s like us talking now. I don’t know, there might be six people gonna listen to this might be 600. Who knows? Who knows? I hope there’s more than six. But you know, but you don’t know. So I would say you, you pretend that they’re all in front of you. And so when you’re just looking at this lens or talking to someone back and forth, it can be quite daunting at first. But I remember doing a show in Wisconsin once it was a morning television show. And I was doing my shtick. And before I went on, I checked the house, I said, you have a pretty big audience. And she said, I just you know, I do regional television here we have, you know, 3040 50,000, sometimes 100,000 people depends on the show that I’m on, or the time of day. And so that’s a pretty good audience, sometimes even more than that. She said, yeah. She said, we have no, it’s not bad. She said, you know, we have about two and a half. Two and a half. What? Two and a half million. Oh, oh.

Unknown Speaker  11:15  

Well, that’s that’s nice. She’s Did I make you nervous? I said, No, I think it’s hysterical, hysterical. I said that that many people are gonna watch me do what I do. And that I was thinking so much fun. So much fun. I remember another story I was getting. I was on a plane going to Chicago to do a presentation. And I was sitting there and I, it struck me funny, because I’ve never been to Chicago. This is years ago, never been to Chicago. And it struck me funny. And I kind of giggle to myself. And the lady next to me. She said, what did you find so funny? And I said, Well, I said, I find it. What I find funny is that, you know I’m going to a city where they probably don’t, nobody will know who I am. They’ve never heard of Halifax, Nova Scotia, probably. And I’m going there to speak and teach them floral design. I’m from a little town in the middle of nowhere. And I’m teaching people in the great big city of Chicago.

Unknown Speaker  12:08  

And I remember speaking again to a gentleman from Holland, and he was one of the bigger designers in the world. And I was doing a presentation with him. And backstage when we first met, I said, I am so excited to get to work with you. I can’t believe I’m going to stand on the stage next to you. And he said, You know, he said I said the same thing about you. And I laughed and laughed. I said, don’t be server dickless. I said, you know your swords. Here’s the big designer, the world’s You know, he said How big was the town you came from? I said 3100 people? He said my town had 2500.

Unknown Speaker  12:41  

So he said I’m from a small town just like you. He said that I’m just a small town boy, who happened to patterns to love flowers, and gets to do what he gets to do. You know, like my father said, he said, Nobody said that big mouth is gonna take you places one day. It’s gonna get you in trouble, too. He was right on both.

Unknown Speaker  13:00  

So all these shows are these stages you always were teaching floral design.

Unknown Speaker  13:04  

Well, no, no, I speak outside of the floral industry as well. Because I talk about marketing, I talk about putting your best foot forward. I do a lot of emcee work.

Unknown Speaker  13:16  

I’m keynote speaking for for different events. I’ve spoken for nurses events and doctors and construction workers. That was a blast construction me. Were talking to a bunch of construction workers. It was hysterical. But you know, we all have a story. We all have a story we all have it have a have a

Unknown Speaker  13:36  

good and entertaining and a bit of education. And when I do the speaks with speaking engagements outside of the oil industry, I often talk about how flowers can be related with every industry there is because they do celebrate love happiness, like sex, the whole works. And they do celebrate all that. And I just tell my story. I get to speak to a lot of different people and everything from our lieutenant governor here to our Prime Minister and all kinds of people that I’ve gotten to do presentations for or close to.

Unknown Speaker  14:11  

It sounds like none of you love the floor industry of flowers in general. But your sounds like you You want to be able to spread the message to everyone else, including construction workers is that was what what was the topic then?

Unknown Speaker  14:25  

I think it was putting personality into your business. I think that’s what it was. Because you know,

Unknown Speaker  14:33  

I often talk about you get one chance to the first impression and don’t blow it. So if you’re if your office is your car, don’t have a mess and you go in and say excuse the mess, people are going to find it. It’s that sort of thing that I speak to speak about p&l. When I speak outside of the industry, I find try to find out as much as I can about people and their profession. I was giving a presentation for the federal government there was some market

Unknown Speaker  15:00  

Max down here. And they were doing this this convention and it was all about workplace appropriateness. And you know, I sat there and I listened to some of the speakers ahead of me and they drone on like old Hornets. Their doll is dry toast is awful, awful. This old man with his with really curly hair and, and his tie was too tight he was talking about so if Joe was talking to Sid and Joe said said God did a good job and parent said shoulder said my think that’s okay. But Betty down the hallway might have seen it. And Betty might not think that’s not a very good thing to do. So Betty can fill out a form number 643 to seven and report sit and Joe and they’ll have to go through it. And I said, Oh my gosh, you’re kidding me. Right? So it was again, it was all about being appropriate work. So 90% of these people didn’t have a clue who I was, or the name of my shop. So it gave me great pleasure to get up on that stage and introduce myself and I said I’ve got a flower shop called my mother’s bloomers. And I look right at the man with the tie that was to tighten the big curly hair on, sir, have you ever been in my mother’s bloomers?

Unknown Speaker  16:06  

What was

Unknown Speaker  16:08  

a stroke? I thought it was going to pick a stroke. All the local folks, you know, they went nuclear and sort of fell off the chairs at this point. And I said, Well, you know what I said he’s been in my mother’s womb. So she’s a couple of times, you know, and that’s how it started. And I said why don’t you loosen your tie a little bit. And that’s that’s the kind of thing that I do outside of the industry. You know, I’m hired a lot as a

Unknown Speaker  16:28  

as an entertainer in that respect as well I do a lot of flattery work and my husband is a guitarist and singer. So I will do a show a floral show and have his as entertaining as well. For whatever might be a bit you know, the AIDS coalition or the Kids Help Phone or whoever it might be.

Unknown Speaker  16:48  

That sounds fantastic. You want to label yourself think you mix the words entertainment and educator but then you call this something else What was that? I meant? I’m an entertainer, entertainer There you go. I gotta write that down. I’m not gonna get that again cuz

Unknown Speaker  17:06  

I remember this is old cow she’s still cow she had a little town in her hair and sensible shoes the whole works and she said my friends and I find you inappropriately amusing laugh so thank you I’ll take that she said yes. She said you are very inappropriately amusing

Unknown Speaker  17:24  

perfect. It was great. It was great you know they don’t forget me on now they well

Unknown Speaker  17:30  

could you share some any stories from your experience creating arrangements for like the royal family and elton john, you know, someone asked me if I’ve done flowers the queen and I said girl I’ve done flowers for many queens, elton john for example, which is really cool. You know? But you know it’s it’s been it’s been an incredible situation when when we get to do flowers for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip

Unknown Speaker  17:54  

you know we go through all the protocols and this certainly other but what she likes and doesn’t like Canadian grown flowers as much as possible in this setting the other and I remember going to the left hand and Governor’s house where which is her official home when she comes to our province and putting the flowers up and there’s flowers in the in the main entryway and by the staircase and in the dining room and then this and then I went to the bedroom, one bedroom that was

Unknown Speaker  18:20  

so so I I brushed sided dental school as much as it doesn’t joy a firm mattress

Unknown Speaker  18:28  

and look at the sheets.

Unknown Speaker  18:30  

Heavy thread cap glorious, sweat the pliers down, and then Joe Disney. And I get it again. I just think this is this is crazy. I’m just some guy from Shelburne, Nova Scotia. I’m doing flowers for her majesty was the I’m sorry, I went to the Royal bathroom. Oh, my heavens. So I get to put the flowers in the Royal toilet. Right. And there it is. There’s a throne, right?

Unknown Speaker  18:54  

So I’ve got my cell phone like this trying to get a picture, right. But as I’m pretending like like I’m almost sitting on the throne. And up in the corner, I saw a little bit like flash. Oh crap on a stick.

Unknown Speaker  19:08  

That’s the secret service or wherever people are. They’ve got this place bugged. And there’s a camera and somewhere in the bowels of this building. They’re looking at me. So I could do is go.

Unknown Speaker  19:20  

What are you gonna do right? Yeah, so another time I was doing I did flowers for Prince Charles and Lady Camilla. And a lot of people have their ups and downs about Camilla because she’s alright. So I got to meet them. So I’ve got a picture justice. And I had this jacket. I love this jacket, the jacket and I have a brooch I always quite often wear for sure pins, that sort of thing. And so this particular approach on that was a crown and I’ve got it from from one of the palaces doing when I was there, I spoke at this little camera, I loved it. So I have done and I’ve got a picture just as she’s holding her hand up at this and she said therefore I’m quite intrigued by your approach

Unknown Speaker  19:59  

and you know how things

Unknown Speaker  20:00  

Carry a mouse. I don’t know about you, but they just grab your mouse before you know we’ve set them. And anyway, so thanks My darling, every Queen needs crown.

Unknown Speaker  20:08  

And I thought shit, she’s not going to get one issue.

Unknown Speaker  20:12  

And all she did she went

Unknown Speaker  20:15  

and backed up away she went. And I thought, Oh, no. So joy there was standing behind one of her ladies waiting for a new new lover. I spoke with a few times. And I said, Oh, joy, what have I done? And she said, Oh, she said, the girls and I have so much to talk about on the plane. She says, This is marvelous, marvelous. And I said, Do you think I’ll ever be invited to do anything for them? Again? She’s, I wouldn’t really say.

Unknown Speaker  20:39  

So. So we’ll see.

Unknown Speaker  20:42  

You know, I can ask a million questions about those stories. They all I’m pretty sure they’re all entertaining. I mean, they’re entertaining right now.

Unknown Speaker  20:50  

One of the things I really appreciate about you is like you’re you’re you’re a wordsmith, man, you just fired him up all the time. And one of the things that I, the first time we talked, I remember, I used to thought I was unique, because I was using this term. It’s like, yeah, you know, flowers are the only thing that you need, you know, from the cradle to the grave and everything in between. And then when you got when you said back to me, I was like, wait a minute, that that sounds better. What was it that you said, You remember that? evening from the womb to the tomb? Exactly. I was like, Wait a second.

Unknown Speaker  21:19  

flowering. And by the way, you are unique. We all are unique. Yeah. And that’s, that’s one of our slogans on the store flowers as unique as you were, because that’s, that’s what men should do. You know, but you know, I always say flowers celebrate life in the womb to the tomb, whether you’re hatched, matched, or dispatched, Oh, look at that, you just made it better.

Unknown Speaker  21:36  

I gotta write this stuff down. But yours is mine. So yours is definitely better than yours, yours a little bit chinotto. When we talk about being unique, there’s one of the things that I use in my presentations outside of the forum industry, is I will make a boat, okay, just to hang tight, okay, and talk about how each of the flowers represent people in the audience. So I’ll talk about a rose, we all have classic beauties that we rely on that are there for us that give us such hope and inspiration and love and assurance. And then I’ll hold up some hydrangea and put in the book and said, Look, this is just a bunch of fluff with a big name. You know, like, we all work with someone who’s just a bunch of fluff, and then I’ll use some filler flowers and say there are people that are just fillers, and people that carnations that are just this is what kind of don’t expect him to do in the house. This is what a clinician does. And so I use that in, in, in my analogies for for making

Unknown Speaker  22:29  

a group feel more cohesive, because when you put them all together, they always make a great, okay, and they always made a group great bunch of people. So when you talk about being unique, we’re all unique. And that’s that’s that’s what’s so wonderful, nice, happy we’re all the same. Uh huh. probably pretty boring. So

Unknown Speaker  22:49  

so you do a tons of shows flourish shows specifically that and how do you I’m just curious, how do you get these gigs? I love to share the article floral design. I think, you know, we’ve all we’ve all sat in audiences and watch people that just go on and they drone on like little Hornet. Oh my gosh, I wish something would happen. Just something a little bit excited, even if someone breaks wind or something. So you all giggle because it’s so doubt. So doubt, because you know, here’s the thing, information tells, well, story sells. You know, and if you can tell a story about the floral arrangement that you’re making the the flowers that you’ve gotten, and haven’t get what it was like when you haven’t when you’re a child, or when you went to the farms in Colombia and help pick them or do all those sorts of things. So when you deliver that to a lady because her her her husband, when he was alive would always give her this particular flower for all those stories, tell all those stories, because that’s, that’s what brings the joy and magic alive to flowers. And that’s that’s how I’ve done so well with with speaking publicly, both regionally and internationally.

Unknown Speaker  23:58  

Because I do tell stories with them, because anyone can look something up on YouTube or, or whatever and said, I want to know how to make a centerpiece. Well, there it is. There it is. But you’ll listen to people who can tell a story behind that as well. And talk about the beauty of those fires and show the passion and love that comes with them. And that’s that’s passionate love that comes with them. I mean,

Unknown Speaker  24:22  

yeah, I’m good at what I do. Yeah, I know some stuff. And yeah, I’m pretty talented. But I don’t need to tell you all that. I just need to show you. So I want to show the beauty of the flowers. That’s the thing that I try to do more so than talking about how great I am. Because really, that kind of goes without saying, doesn’t it? I’m very I’m very humble Joe. No, in all seriousness, the flowers should always be the star of the show and the main focus on what we’re selling and whether it’s whether it’s flowers or whether it’s containers that the flowers are going to come in or versus any sorts of vessels that are or accessories that I work with.

Unknown Speaker  25:00  

Um, that I have to sell or have to promote, or like to promote.

Unknown Speaker  25:06  

I always make sure that they are the backup dancers for the main element, which of course is the flowers. Speaking of stories, every every,

Unknown Speaker  25:14  

all florists have interesting stories about, you know, customers sending flowers or buying flowers from them. Can you share any stories? Any interesting stories of why someone purchase flowers from your shop?

Unknown Speaker  25:30  

Yeah, yeah, I’ve got a bunch of them, Joe. And you know, I think about the young fella that were coming to the flower shop, and he was just a kid in school. And he would come out with a handful change and, and he would buy a rose for his girlfriend, and sometimes you’d have enough money. And sometimes he wouldn’t, then sometimes it just give him a flower. Because I felt sorry for him, just encouraging him because, you know, like flowers, we plant the seeds in the brow, you do the same with your clients. And I didn’t know it. But the day he came in and said, we’re engaged as Oh, that’s wonderful. Congratulations. Never. And she had a rock on that. I think she would have to put her hand in a sling at night, because it was so lovely. And I didn’t know but they were. They’re both wealthy, wealthy, wealthy families. It’s just, you know, he was on his own. And like, he just used his own money. He was just doing that on his own. And he said, You didn’t treat me like anybody else. I said, Well, I wouldn’t have anyway, I wouldn’t have, I wouldn’t have I don’t, you know, I always say it doesn’t matter. If you spend $2 in our store, or 200, you’re going to get treated the same. Because it’s that important that $2 is the best money you’ve ever spent. So I said that to those kids and I got a massive wedding out of which is wonderful, you know,

Unknown Speaker  26:41  

lady just just during the pandemic.

Unknown Speaker  26:46  

You know, I, I’ve seen a lot and I’ve been through a lot in the industry and seen some terrible things and seen some glorious things as any of us in the industry that have been around for a while have. And I remember this young lady called me and she said her mother was in palliative care at hospice. And she wasn’t expected to live more than a week. And she said I cannot go Sears because I’m isolated and can’t go and see her so I’ve never seen my mother again. And so I said she said can you get flowers I said girl out profit glass to get those flowers, which I didn’t have to obviously but I did send her flowers. But it was so heart wrenching to listen to that story. And

Unknown Speaker  27:27  

you know, that’s that’s when I know how important our industry is. Whether you’re cutting flowers at a farm in Ecuador, packing the flowers at Miami, shipping them out of out of style doing wholesaler in Ontario or here in my little flower shop for some reason Saskatoon or, or BC or whatever, you know

Unknown Speaker  27:48  

those flowers just they they console they give so much and when I heard her say that she called me up and thanked me for it you know that was a glorious then

Unknown Speaker  27:57  

there was a lady years ago there’s tools to old gals to sweet old gals, you know typical old lady’s walking arm in arm down the road. He had a cane and I stopped I looked outside and it was my desk is outside of our store and one was poking out one of the head discs with her cane and have a little story and I had to go out because I love a story from all I love listening to these old gals. So when I’m so what’s up ladies, what are you doing? Open up my plants? And she said well, she said my husband, my late husband, when he was courting me back in the day. She said when I was in Italy, she said during the war that as soon as the Second World War and she said he would pick me a hibiscus half the shrub just down the road. She said hit me and give me this flower every day. She said you know how this only last two days? Yes, they don’t. She said they wanted flowers on the last day. So every day Sammy would pick me this lovely flower. She’s an every time I see her this this I think of them. So needless to say Jo, I picked the hibiscus IV to those plants and gave them to the ladies and said you just enjoyed those today. Well, the tears roll down their faces and off they went was happy, glorious, or they really was anyway, fast forward or two or three years later. That’s kind of our practice. Yes, you know, do other things so forgotten about. I got a lovely message in the mail, a little note from a lady. And she said My mother

Unknown Speaker  29:10  

died last month. She said when I came to Halifax to clean out her apartment and clean up her things she said in her Bible was a pressed hypothesis. She said with a little note on it, saying it came from you and what you did and how you how she and then she said I remember the entire story about how my dad courted my mom. She said it’s absolutely wonderful. Isn’t that cool? That’s that shows the power of that little thing and that’s that’s a pretty big big deal. You know when you when you hear those sorts of stories that it’s a massive thing. Then you have the the people that you remember because they bet on it on the salty side. You know, sometimes people are just poison and they just want to give it to you because they’ve just had enough and I’m just I’m just so freakin ugly. I go get this poison office. I’m gonna hand it over to you. Because sometimes when people have

Unknown Speaker  30:00  

Things that are out of their control, like their the weather, or their pants don’t fit or whatever, something’s wrong because they’re having a big event and something’s not right. They can control how much strength they put around your throat when they choke it. Right? Because you didn’t get you didn’t get and they better be and if they’re not perfect, yeah, whatever, whatever. But you know, you just you just smile and know that, you know, it’s like I said to the young lady, one day that someone yelled at me really yelled at or it was an older guy yelled at this girl, and she could see tears dripping off the end of her nose as she was doing something on the table. I went over and whispered in her ear, it’s Never you mind. Jarrett and she’ll be dead long before you if you think so nice. Oh, yeah. Yes. And then she was fine. Wow. You know, that’s amazing. Yeah, these are amazing stories. I got I gotta, I gotta have a drink with you one day and just

Unknown Speaker  30:52  

great storytelling level. You know, you’ve been dealing with flowers and working with flowers for so long. Do you have any particular favorite flower that you always you know, this your favorite?

Unknown Speaker  31:03  

You know, Joe, that’s, that’s two questions that I get asked a lot. A lot.

Unknown Speaker  31:09  

Your What’s your favorite flower? And can you eat it? A lot of men say, yo, can you eat it? Sure you can if you’ve been shoved, chopped up and shut down either eat it Go right ahead. Should you eat it? That’s a whole different story. But back to back to the favorite flower part.

Unknown Speaker  31:24  

No, I don’t. I don’t. I embrace every flowers that comes along every flower as it comes along.

Unknown Speaker  31:33  

You know, in nature, we were given flowers at particular times of year. And then when the first krokus bloom in the spring and snow drops. They’re my absolute favorite, favorite. And those the last little pansies in the fall, late November that frost has gotten several times, but they’re still hanging on for dear life. Those are my favorites. You know, we can’t wait for the peonies to bloom with the lilacs to come into flower that the wild lupins are all distorted. They’re all my favorites. So to say, I have to have this fire on my life.

Unknown Speaker  32:07  

I’d be contempt anything. I really would. Because they’re also beautiful. If you if you open your eyes and let them be beautiful because they really are. So I always feel sad when I hear people say I hate a particular flower. You know, I’ve heard many people say, I hate carnations. And you know, Joe, that’s a generational thing. It is it is your kids wouldn’t hate Gen eight tarnish their hate creations. They got no reason hate carnations, but my generation

Unknown Speaker  32:34  

and a little bit older than me. That was the first flower that we jammed beside a funeral was a coronation. So like so many things in our lives where we are affected positively or negatively by things that happened between the age of two and 12. So any interactions, that’s why some people are scared of spiders or snakes or, you know, apples or whatever it might be, you know, but flowers in particular. So when I hear people say, I hate carnations, I say you must have been scared by alternation as a child, were you.

Unknown Speaker  33:05  

Because, you know, grumpy old fizz used to have carnations, not like her. She was mean, she used to pinch, you know, or whatever it might be. So we remember those flowers and good, bad and otherwise, you know, it’s like been, I’ve got a book on the go

Unknown Speaker  33:21  

at some point, but it’s flower stories. You know, we talked about stories. And so I go to anybody and say, tell me a flower and tell me the history of what’s your favorite flower? favorite flower? Why, what’s what’s the story behind it? And I’ll hear everything from lilacs because that’s what was at my grandmother’s hasn’t been raised to go there for the summer. We picked them and someone else would talk about, told me about the bird of paradise that she stole at a resort and Cuba. And I laughed about that. And another lady said she had she loves white carnations and yellow, calla lilies, because she’s white and she married a Chinese man. And his family did my career because she was white. And they her family didn’t like him because he was Chinese. So she makes white yellow flowers together and use them in a private Okay, haha.

Unknown Speaker  34:07  

Great, you know, so we have all those stories. So to have a favorite. No, no, I don’t. I don’t. I love a mixture of flowers. That one kind of flower. I love orchids. I love them all, you know, glorious Food for the Soul. And you know, we’ve been pretty hungry. nevel I could talk to you for hours. This has been wonderful. Thank you so much. 90% of this podcast right now is you telling stories so I’m just listening. I do not want to grab my popcorn and just just start eating them. Yeah, good because it’s great. But you know, Joe, it’s it’s it’s been a pleasure to sit down and spend some time with you and and of course the folks that are tuning in as well. And

Unknown Speaker  34:50  

I just I just want everyone to continue to share love to the beauty of flowers because that’s really an important thing. Really is an important thing.

Unknown Speaker  35:00  

We don’t realize how much power they have. And I think through the last few months in particular, we’ve seen how much power this that a little Bo K can have, you know, when when I, when I sent flowers around the neighborhood and just dropped a rose and everyone’s mailbox, 150 of them around, and just saw their smiles on their faces, when they come by they held this flowers do.

Unknown Speaker  35:22  

You know, it was just a silly little flower, but you know, silly little flower, nothing. It was a glorious thing to and to have and to see those power. And when I think of the 1000s and 1000s and 1000s, countless 1000s of people that have been helped

Unknown Speaker  35:37  

through this because of the power of flowers, and because of what florists in our world have done for them. I am forever grateful and I truly am truly have all the efforts as so many florists and so many people in our forum industry, including you have done to to help better other people’s lives. It’s a pretty big deal. It’s pretty big deal. Absolutely. I mean, we’re all lucky enough to be in an industry that is just full of this product that it’s you know, we have a physiological

Unknown Speaker  36:05  

response to flowers, flowers, it’s in our DNA, we love flowers. Flowers are just pure happiness overall. So the fact that we’re all working in this industry, I think we’re very lucky. So, you know, we’re pretty blacks. We really are Joe, you really are absolutely awesome. So Neville McKay from my mother’s bloomers in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Neville, where can people find you online? I do Instagram I my, my mother’s womb is on Instagram. So check us out, because I’m always posting things on there. I post all my videos from from television shows, they all go on their little clips of things that we’ve done, as well as all the photographs and things. And of course, we’re on Facebook, and we’re on Twitter as well. So and you have such a great name that you don’t even need to tell people like your URL or your domain. Your website is just my mother’s bloomers period. And you know, you’re going to get your Instagram there’s only one my mother’s boomers, right? So you’re going to get they’re going to find you

Unknown Speaker  37:02  

and there’s only one level to so look me up to Google. He has lots of fun.

Unknown Speaker  37:08  

Because it’s I forget sometimes I I google myself once in a while just to look back and just just for giggles Oh my gosh, I forgot I did that. Or I forgot I was writing for this magazine or that magazine. So it’s kind of fun to look back and see what’s what’s going on in the world. And that will you’re very inspirational. So thank you for Thank you. Take care of stay well and like I say share love to the beauty of flowers will do. Thank you so much for everything. All the best. All right, take care.

Unknown Speaker  37:39  

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