Surprise gifts are the best (minus the unwanted gerbal delivered to children while their parents are away or newly framed photos you actually meant to exile to rot when you put them in the garage and now someone's unearthed them...what? That's never happened to you?!).

Ahem, a bouquet of flowers, however, are a classic and treasured, evergreen gift for the any-hour.

Phoning up up a chain flower service may be easy, but you're gonna miss the care and customization you'd get from your local florist. Take Acadiana for instance. You can count on Leona Sue’s to provide zingy flower arrangements with careful attention to detail. This is mostly thanks to expert florist, Annie Taylor.

Here's the story, Morning Glory

Annie’s mother opened Leona Sue’s Florist in 1974. Annie grew up working in the shop with her mother, and she became a licensed florist in the state of Louisiana by the age of 15. While Annie learned a lot from her mother, she's also got classes in both floristry and wedding event planning in her toolbox. Just recently, Annie passed the test for American Institute of Floral Designers (AIFD) in Seattle. She'll be inducted in Washington, D.C. this year. This is a huge honor for a florist as the AIFD test is known to be extremely difficult. In fact, Annie is among the top ten florists from Louisiana ever to be inducted.

New Digs + Fresh-cut Ideas

“I love learning new things and I pay close attention to trends with flowers,” says Annie. She also loves to travel and bring new currents in floral back to Acadiana to share with her clients. In fact, something Annie loves about Acadiana is the fact that people are so open to new and different things. She also loves the loyalty that is so strong in this community. “I’ve had customers that have been with us since the first year my mom opened shop and are still with us. Some customers, we did their wedding flowers and now are doing their children's and grandchildren’s weddings,” Annie beams, loving the history of the place, the people.

Annie’s customers are not only loyal, but they also trust her to come up with unique and special designs. If a customer comes in with a specific theme or idea, Annie will follow through with a custom arrangement. “I had a customer who needed flowers that specifically went along with the International Festival theme. It needed to be tall and colorful. I was able to create a custom design for him. That’s totally different than what you would get from picking a picture off of a website,” says Annie.

Annie goes through a careful process when creating one of these works of art (big or small!). First, she’ll get an idea of the color scheme. “If the arrangement needs to say ‘get well’, then you’ll want colors that are sunny and bright,” speaks her years of expertise. Next, she’ll determine the size of the arrangement. “If it’s going in an office or cubicle, smaller will be more convenient. But if you’re trying to wow a girlfriend, then you’ll want something large."

The Powa of the Flowa

Annie also feels that emotional connection is important when creating a floral arrangement. “We all know roses say I love you, but I like to add things that give a feeling of romance and a message that says you are valuable and important and precious. I might add wine colors and orchids and hydrangeas. These are more expensive and exotic, and they add more to the emotion of the flowers than if I just stuck in the usual carnations and daisies."

This creator truly understands that flowers aren’t just pretty to look at, but can also affect people emotionally. “It’s a scientific fact that receiving flowers makes people happy, and so does giving flowers. That makes it a joy to come to work,” says Annie. It’s astonishing that Annie finds so much joy in her work, especially during busy seasons like Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day where Annie and her staff may work up to 100 hours in a week(!!!). 

Despite the time and work, Annie is committed to Leona Sue’s. “We have been the number one florist in the Times of Acadiana for the last two years. We’d love to continue to be trusted and capable of doing that for the people of Acadiana, earning a spot as number one, being a million-dollar shop,” says Annie. It was mint to be. 

Call Annie at her shop if you wanna make someone's day/month/life. (Or, make your own day/month/life -- what!? It's science.) Leona Sue’s Florist is there for you; in truth, they've been there for you.