Friday's are my favorite days for a weekly flower program at any estate. There is something to be said for the staff putting in a hard week's work and the "cherry on top" of a good week of progress and production is when the flowers are brought in for the various locations throughout the home on a Friday afternoon. The finishing touch to that hard week's work is to place flowers in a pre-designated area for the homeowner's to enjoy while the staff is away (or staff is reduced) for the weekend. This is a reminder to the owners that everything is in its place and that it was well manicured before the housework was set aside for the weekend. In most estates, the weekends are for the owner's and their families with minimal household help until the hustle and bustle returns Monday morning, with staff and vendors keeping everything in line.
Why is this a topic I wish to address? Well, in my consulting practice, the moment I walk into an estate I can tell if they are happy with how the home is run (for the most part) by their fresh plant or flower program. No one would bring flowers in every week when things are in chaos, so it is an indicator to me if the homeowners are happy with how things are running if there is a weekly plant or fresh flower maintenance schedule. If there is not, I can tell that they don't want to "put a pearl in a sow's ear" and there is trouble in the operations of the estate! The owner's say to me, "well we (the staff operations) can't even manage the dishes, why would I bother them to refresh plants or flowers?!" Going into all the nuances of that question is far too much for one blog post...so let's skip to the fun part when everything is running as it should and the owner's wish to establish a fresh plant or flower program on the property!
There is more nuance to it then it may appear at first glance, so let us look at some determining factors on how to set up a fresh plant or flower program that is professionally managed on an estate. First, the owner's or owner's rep should decide if they want simple arrangements created by household staff or flowers done weekly by a florist. Next, the rep and the owner should walk around the property and determine which areas need to be accented by a plant or flower and if this area is to be managed in house or by an outside vendor and how often. These few questions will help to establish a monetary budget for the program and also the time allotment it will take for an internal staff member to manage the associated vendors, or arrange/care for the plants and flowers themselves. The most basic plan would be the grocery store errand shopper would pick up fresh flowers at the end of the week and then someone on site would cut them down and arrange them per vase and area. The most elaborate plans would be for an outside company to bring in flowers weekly/and or a plant company to care for indoor plants, etc.
Once these parameters are established, the types of vases to be used and flowers preferred are inventoried and kept in the household procedural manual under "flower/plant program" and all the particular items are listed per zone so that anyone who has a question as to the owner's wishes can look up the preferences in the manual. Then the designated staff member looks after them until the vendor is called for weekly maintenance or they are discarded and fresh are replaced. At it's simplest a housekeeper would just refresh the water of each vase making sure not to drip on the surfaces as they are working in delicate areas. A flower & plant program does not have to be expensive...I myself allocate $15 per week for fresh flowers out of my grocery budget and always keep a vase of fresh flowers on my kitchen/dining room island along with a few bud vases in the bathrooms from the same bunch...it's not hard, but it does show the care I try to maintain order and beauty in my home. How much more would this mean to someone who is paying staff to manage their property for them! If an owner does not feel that the team is performing well, these simple luxuries tend to go by the wayside. This is not rocket science, but it is above and beyond at so many estates because they can't even get the day-to-day basics right with underperforming staff. If your estate is struggling to run even the simplest of tasks correctly, please contact Luxury Lifestyle Logistics for a comprehensive estate operations analysis so we can help establish beauty and order in your life today!