Some of Donn F. Flipse's earliest memories are of him wielding a broom, sweeping up the fallen petals and snipped-off stamen that have gathered around the feet of the floral designers at his family's flower shop. Eight-year-old Donn eventually moved up in rank, escorting arrangements to their destinations in the delivery truck as soon as he got his license. When he graduated college, he almost turned his back on the flower business his father and his grandfather built, but after mentoring under one of the shop's floral designers, he realized, “It was in [his] blood.” In 1990, he opened Field of Flowers in Davie.
The rose, he says, continues to be the most popular flower, although different breeds take the crown every so often—the current favorite is the garden rose, a throwback blossom like what might flourish in a well-tended backyard. Donn's favorites are the rose-like lisanthius and the Canterbury bells, which look delicate but are sturdy and long lasting, much like a quarterback who takes ballet classes.
Field of Flower's team of designers compose striking arrangements using popular flowers as well as rare blooms such as orchids or birds of paradise. The team also crafts design pieces for celebrations, with past creations including a french poodle sculpted from flowers and a Spongebob Squarepants–themed arrangements in which blue gel simulated the ocean, submerging plants in an under-the-sea wonderland.
The Christmas Palace first opened as a seasonal business idea 20 years ago. Today, the expansive holiday department store receives waves of visitors year round who stroll amid more than 30 styles of faux Christmas trees, shelves full of elegant ornaments, and novelty items such as a 38-inch Santa swinging on a hammock. Collectors stock up on train sets and Department 56 village-collection pieces, and gift givers load their sleighs with goods from Fontanini, a business that began sculpting nativity scenes more than 100 years ago in Italy.