Parent Q&A

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  • I've seen these at graduations but hard to find where to buy - any leads on where to buy beautiful flower leis for an upcoming graduation in Oakland, San Leandro or Alameda? TIA!

    Oakland Flower Mart. 821 Jefferson St, Oakland, CA 94607

    At least for Oakland Tech graduations, there are several flower vendors who line the street to the auditorium starting a couple hours before the event, selling leis for about $20.

    I think most florist shops have leis in May and June. Call around. 

    You might give Costco San Leandro a call. I’ve seen orchid leis in their flower case during graduation season.

    Costco is where we got our graduation leis.  

    Or J. Miller's on Piedmont and Pleasant Valley Road (enroute to the Mountain View Cemetary).

    Whole Foods usually gets them the week of graduations. Give the Oakland store a call to make sure they will be carrying them this year. 

    I've bought flower leis (and flower arrangements) at Montclair Florist. They do beautiful work.

  • I want to get my mom an orchid lei to wear at her birthday party, something pink and old-ladyish and not too flashy. Do you know of a florist near Berkeley where I could get a nice lei?

    Most of the florists in Berkeley have leis available  in May for students graduating from UC Berkeley. They could probably get them at other times of year. Just call around. 

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Florist for a wedding

May 2008

Florist: Monica Yee works out of her home. On the morning of our wedding around 4am she went to the SF flowers market, purchased then made all our beautiful flowers, drove them to our wedding site at the UC Berkeley Botanical Gardens, and took care of everything. We also had her decorate our wedding cake with flowers. She has an incredible gift for flowers, is very creative with a lovely touch, and she is inexpensive. You'll see all the photos on Andy's webpage 510-206-6108

March 2007

We're getting married at the Berkeley Faculty Club late May and we're looking for a florist. It's an informal ceremony (It's my second marriage, his first, we have teenage kids). I checked the postings and most are old. I'm not looking for traditional roses-type stuff. Maybe some wildflowers, etc. Got any ideas? Not a Blushing Bride

I loved my florist...Freshly Cut, off Hopkins Street near Monterey Market. I was the anti-bride and went with very non-bridal bouquet (no white, no roses, no giant price tag). They were excellent to work with! denise
I used the florist which is outside of Rockridge Rags in Oakland. Jill is the florist's name and her stand is called Spring Fever. You can call 510-658-6000 the address is 5711 College Ave in Oakland aniesha
You might talk to the folks at Meadows on College Avenue. Bloomies at Market Hall could probably do what you want but would charge an arm and a leg. The flower stands on and around Telegraph Avenue can do wedding flowers at very reasonable prices. Another option if you have some helpers is to talk to one of the flower vendors at the local farmers' markets about picking up a bunch of flowers the day of your event. Have a wonderful wedding!
Michela Maiden the owner of Bloomies in Market Hall in Rockridge did a beautiful job with our wedding flowers. She has a great design sense and does beautiful less traditional arrangements. We discussed the feel and colors that we were looking for and then gave her the discretion to work with what was available in the flower market. The arrangements were gorgeous and Michela was a pleasure to work with. The phone number for Bloomies is (510) 547-0444. Another Faculty Club bride
I highly recommend Sean Misaghi at Telegraph Flower in Berkeley. He is a great Florist with a lots of talent and experiences and also very sweet. He did my sister wedding flowers,everybody loved it. And he would do what you would like regarding your tast and size of your wedding and etc... I think he has another location in Berkeley which they work together. His work phone# is:510-548-2765 at telegraph flower. Good Luck Tamira
Feb 2007

We're looking for an affordable florist for our wedding in the East Bay -- any recommendations? anon

We used Albany Florist & Gifts (on San Pablo, close to Solano) for our wedding flowers a few years ago. I thought they did a fabulous job, were only moderately overpriced, and didn't try to convince me that I needed flowers in the bathroom, for the cousins of our attendants, etc. (I found the wedding-only florists to have all sorts of ridiculous ideas of what we needed to have for our wedding, and all sorts of ridiculous ideas about what I must have really meant when I gave them a budget.) Good luck!
Feb 2007

I am a Special Events Consultant and am looking for new Caterers, Entertainers/Bands, Florist, and Graphic Designers to recommend to my clients. I work with both non-profits and businesses in the Bay Area. I have two events in particular coming up in May that I am looking to book for. I would love to support small and new business.

I want to recommend a great Florist in berkeley to you. His name is Sean Misaghi and his phone number is:510-548-2765. He does a Fantastic work on wedding's Flower arrangement or for any party.I always buy my flowers from him and have him done flowers in some party that i had have. He is a sweet person,with a very fair price and you always get fresh flowers from him. I am sure you would like his touch in the flowers. His shope name is Telegraph Flower,in Telegraph Ave. Good Luck. Deanna.
Ellen Kim of Gingerleaf Floral, 510-406-2638, Beautiful and unique designs.

Corsages for the Prom

June 2004

Beautiful Corsages for Proms!

My son had previously gotten corsages for his dates at a florist close to Berkeley High School. However, for his senior ball he got the corsage from Sumito's Floral Design, 1708 Shattuck, Berkeley, 548-2344.

When he got the corsage he was most pleased. He noted that not only was the corsage much more attactively done, but also that the price was more reasonable for what you got. The people at Sumito's Floral Design were also very nice and thoughtful about fitting the flowers to the person.

I wanted to share this information since perhaps many may think [as I did!] that Sumito's is only a place to get flower arrangements & bouquets, and not a place that actually makes corsages, and very attractive ones at that!


A Good Berkeley Florist who delivers

May 2003

My sweet stepdaughter on the right coast sent me flowers for Mother's Day. Can anyone recommend a florist in Berkeley who's dependable and reasonably priced, has some aesthetic sense, and delivers? Melanie

A great Berkeley Florist is Muguet 510-528-2447. Ask for Maryam or Meena. They deliver and have great aesthetic sense. They are not cheap but if you give them your price they can work with you! They are my favorite flower place. Everytime I go to someone's home with one of their bouquets I get a lot of compliments. Gabrielle
Just today, we ordered probably our 30th arrangement from Sumito, 1708 Shattuck, Berkeley, 548-2344. They work with customers (in person, by phone) to learn about the recipient's taste, interests, etc., and unfailingly do just the right thing, exactly to the price you say you want. We generally do things in the $30 to $50 range. $7.50 for East Bay delivery. They also do the FTD thing, and still manage to work with the delivering florist in another state to do something better than 'usual.' John
It's been a while now, but I've had good experiences with University Flowers -- the one on the corner of University and Sacramento (Milvia?) with the big window display. Good prices for a full-service florist and really nice bouquets. anon
Barbara Efrani on San Pablo Avenue (just across Cedar and a couple doors up from Cafe Fanny) is very good. Rebecca
University Flower Shop (corner of University Ave. and Martin Luther King Jr Way) and Lee's Florest (University Ave. adjacent to Andronicos) fit your criteria. Both have been located in Berkeley for many years (50+). I have been well taken care of at both establishments. University Flower Shop no longer provides ''wire'' service as quality cannot be guaranteed. I am one who values a business relationship. I have had an ''account'' at University Flower Shop (not Visa, Master Card or the like) for 30+ years. The owner ''knows'' what is approiate for the occasion and remembers what family members prefer. I highly reccommend both. A VERY pleased customer!
Try Jutta's Flowers on Claremont--she's got a great touch-- doesn't do just the ''usual'' and she will deliver Julie
A florist opened at the location that used to house Tiddlywinks, at Gilman right by the BART tracks. They did a beautiful and interesting job for me, at a reasonable price, and are worth checking out.
Seulberger Florist in North Oakland makes other florists look shoddy. They are experienced, artistic, use only the freshest flowers and they deliver. Call them at (510) 451-7600. Ann Higgins
The best florist I've ever worked with is Monica at ''the Lily Pad'' which is located inside the Berkeley Bowl. Monica makes deliveries of fresh flowers, beautifully arranged. She has a great eye for color and texture and using what is gorgeous in season. Her prices are fair and her demeaner as cheerful and sunny as her flowers. Cynthia

Florist for Graduation Leis

April 2003

Can anyone recommend a florist who does leis for graduation? Preferably near UC. Thanks! Julie

The best place to get them is Lee's Florist on University next to Andronico's. They do carnation leis and orchid leis. The carnation ones look lusher than the orchid ones I think. Reasonably priced as well. Their phone number is 843-0502. They are the best florist in Berkeley from my experience!
Hi! There are a few options for leis. I've found the best quality (and surprisingly, price) is to have them fed-exed from Hawaii. I've used Cindy's Lei Shop a number of times and they are great. Their number is (808) 536-6538. You pay more for shipping than the leis if you order just one, but their prices are great. I recently ordered micronesian ginger leis for $12.50 each ($35 shipping). The other options are a woman in El Sobrante who makes them (she messed up the date for me last year and blew a major b-day party, so I haven't returned), a hawaiin store in mill valley that does just mail order now (micro ginger start at $65) and I believe a florist in Alameda. Google 'hawaiian leis bay area' and you'll find them. Aloha! Jen
I got a beautiful lei for my student assistant from the florist outside Avant-Card on Bancroft. I think the name of the place is Freedom Flowers but I don't think he has a phone. Anon.

Florist in Oakland or Berkeley

Jan. 2003

I was wondering if anyone could recommend good florists, in both Oakland and Berkeley? I haven't been very happy with the florists I've tried and didn't see anything about this on the web site. Sima

Try Kay Gjeltema of Making Arrangements Floral Design. Her number is 540-1931. She works out of her home but will deliver to all hospitals and local addresses. She is extremely creative and does beautiful arrangements. She will provide arrangements for weddings and other parties, as well as individual bouquets. Lucy Mattingly
I highly recommend *Orchid Florist* on Solano. They do specialize, in orchids but have many other flowers. The owner Felip is fantastic! He did all the flowers for our wedding a couple of years ago and they were amazing! angel

no one is better than Monica of Lily pad - she runs the little florist shop contained within the Berkeley Bowl. We have her delivering a weekly bouquet to the office, she offered us the best price for needs and has never disappointed, 4+ years running now. When calling around to shops asking what they could do, Monica was the most professional, willing to please, and all for areasonable price. After discovering her, she's done the flowers for at least 3 weddings I've attended, delivered get well, birthday, special occasions bouquets, etc. Sometimes you'll even see little Casey, her ~3 year old helping out (charmer!). Cynthia
A good florist is the Lily Pad, located in the Berkeley Bowl. The owner, Monica, is a really nice person who creates lovely displays. Toby St. John buddha [at]
We get inexpensive flowers at the Berkeley Farmer's Market, but when it's a special occasion, here's who we go to:

H. Julien Designs. They do very pretty arrangements, soft and romantic. 1798 Shattuck, Berkeley 548-7400

Erfani Floral Studio Very unusual, dramatic arrangements using branches, etc. 1523 San Pablo 525-3523

Freshly Cut Hopkins St. near Monterey Market Not inexpensive, but very nice selection of orchids and more unusual flowers 525-3751 Natasha

Barbara Erfani of Erfani Florists is on San Pablo near Cedar in North Berkeley. She is absolutely fantastic -- lots of experience, a bent toward the unusual and unique, and a keen sense of aesthetics/drama. She uses very unusual flowers and plants -- and whatever's freshest at the mart -- to create striking arrangements. She no longer does weddings, though. If you can trust her judgment and give yourself over to her aesthetics, you will be amazed at the final results. Noreen
Jutta's on Claremont Avenue is consistently good. She's not the cheapest, but her bouquets are always dependably beautiful. Linda
I recommend Myrna's, above Safeway in Montclair. My friend told me about this lovely little shop after they did a wonderful centerpiece for a party she threw. I described a bridal bouquet that I wanted for a very no frills bride. The requirements were natural, meadowy, wildflower-ish. It was lovely and aromatic and fit my description to a T. It was also about $25.00, much less than I anticipated. I've since relied on them to send arrangements to friends in the hospital. They called me immediately when someone was checked out early and delivered the arrangement to their home no questions asked. I am always charmed by their arrangements and selection, and then pleasantly surprised by their very fair prices. Give them a try. Jessica
I like Freshly Cut in the building at Monterey and Hopkins. I don't buy a lot of flowers (I mostly go there to sniff!) but when I do need some very special flowers, I nearly always go there. They take great care of their flowers, they have interesting stock, they are pleasant and they do lovely arrangements. Not cheap but well worth it for a special arrangement. suzanne
I'm not absolutely certain they are still in business, but Zuzu's Petals ''flowers by Linda Snyder''delivered the most amazing arrangement to me when I had my daughter in April of 2000. The flowers were fresh, original and deliciously scented. (Peonies, lilacs, tulips) They were arranged in a pretty and functional ceramic jug. Zuzu's petals is located in the East Bay. The number I have is (510)653-4501. Good luck! Hilary

Florist for 50th Wedding Anniversary Party

Feb 2002

I have taken on the (increasingly complex) task of organizing my parents' 50th wedding anniversary party. We are planning a dinner for about 25 people at Cafe de la Paz. (Gee, it sounds so simple when I write it out, and yet....)

Who are your favorite florists? You know, the ones who are easy to work with, creative, not outrageously expensive, and will use the best the season has to offer? Who bailed you out when you forgot YOUR anniversary and you'd like to return the karma to? Likewise, any tips on 'whatever you do, don't use so and so' would be appreciated, as well. I'm up against deadline! I sure hope someone will do this for us someday...

I highly recommend the Flower Outlet in Emeryville. They did a huge party (100 people) for us very reasonably and they can deliver. Ellen
Barbara Erfani (Erfani's florist on San Pablo at Ceder, near Fanny's Cafe and Kermit Lynch) is fabulous--really, really creative, artistic, nice, easy to work with and when we used her for our wedding 9 years ago, she was very reasonable. Someone photographed and made a poster out of our wedding flower arrangements, they were so beautiful. Anonymous
I use ''the Lily Pad'' 9 times out of 10. The Lily pad, 510/649-1781, is the little show located INSIDE the Berkeley Bowl. Monica is the Manager (owner?) and is delightful to work with; her little daughter Casey (~2yo) is also a charmer. Monica has done two weddings I attended, one rehearsal dinner, and sent bouquets for special occasions. When first seekign a florist when I moved to the area, I called multiple shops and Monica was the most professional and personable of the lot. Some shops have rude workers - I called a number on University Ave and was LESS than impressed with their customer service. a flower lover
We were very pleased with the flowers that Barbara Erfani ( did for our wedding a few years ago. She also happened to have the lowest prices of the four florists we considered. She's on San Pablo in Berkeley. Nomi
You should ask the people at Cafe de la Paz. I don't know what or where this place is, but they should have experience with this sort of thing. If that;s where you want to have it at, ask them about your concerns and for suggestions. You might be surprised that the simplest answer is right there. Make sure you explain all your concerns. If they don't make these arrangements for you, they may know who to recommend from past parties. marianne roberts
I too planned my parents' 50th wedding anniv. party. I used Barbara Erfani of Erfani on San Pablo Ave. in Berkeley. If you're interested in an FTD kind of arrangement, she is definitely not the one for you. She does unique arrangements using seasonal and unusual, yet beautiful flowers. She did our centerpieces and corsages. They had a wonderful relaxed, wildflower kind of look, yet were very sophisticated and interesting. I *highly* recommend her, she does outstanding work. Constance
Susie Skram is the best florist I know. She works out of her house in Oakland. Her arrangements are creative, inspriational and just plain awesome. (Sorry I can't find better words to describe them!) She can be reached at 510-530-0514. I can't recommend her highly enough. I am an event planner and I use her for all my events. In addition, she does the weekly flower arrangements we have at the office. She isn't cheap but will work with your budget. Even her small arrangements can take your breath away. Allison
for my wedding i used leslie rose at the meadows on college ave at claremont. she was an absolutely wonderful florist to work with (very laid back, open to your ideas yet reliable) and reasonably priced as well. our wedding and reception were both in san francisco, and she delivered everything exactly as she promised, as we planned together. she made my bridal boquet, the table centerpieces, several large arrangements, she decorated our wedding cake table with greens and leslie even touched base with our baker from la farine right down the block to arrange floral decorations for our wedding cake as well. her arrangements are very natural, and she can size them to fit your budget. leslie is an A+ in my book! have fun. jenny berten
Re: Florist recommendation. We have used Lee's Florist in Berkeley. They are very reliable and have beautiful arrangements. 1420 University Avenue, 510-843-0502 Ali
April 2002

The 50th anniversary party for my folks was great -- I thought I'd post some references and lessons learned as a way to thank all who shared their ideas:

Florist: Barbara Erfani (on San Pablo) handled everything over the phone. The arrangements were STUNNING. Each flower was at the perfect stage of bloom. Simple, gorgeous, unusual combinations (several types of protea combined with dogwood, roses and lilies -- who'd a thunk it?) and all coordinated perfectly with the room and event in terms of colors and style. She asked the right questions, like the color of tablecloths (white or off-white) and my mom's outfit. (I had to do homework to find out, but well worth it!) My grandfather was a hybridizer of camillias; grandma a florist, their son my uncle is a top landscape architect. This was a roomful of ''plant people'', and the flowers were the hit of the party. I couldn't be happier with how they turned out. Cost was reasonable given the exceptional quality (five arrangements, corsage and boutonniere for 200 bucks)delivery included. Outstanding reference, straight from this list! Thanks!

Cafe de la Paz -- great room downstairs. Russell is owner, and more into food than being organized. I felt fairly comfortable that everything would come together at the end, and I didn't worry about it too much (though my less creative, more-linear husband was a bit more nervous). The servers were terrific, welcoming, nice. But overall, not a good match for a party planner who is extremely detail-oriented, or for a super-formal event. Worked well for my crowd.

Having a party with kids and adults? Set up a separate project table. My plan was to have blank cards and card-making supplies that everyone could use to create romantic tokens of appreciation for 50 years of marriage. It ended up that the kids planted themselves there most of the night with the glitter glue, and only decorated the fronts, didn't write messages. But the guest of honor saved them all, and was still leafing through her pile of cards as she hit the road two days after the party. Kids from ages 2+ to 10 years loved it, and parents loved having the kids engaged in something that held their interest. I provided washable materials, and the restaurant didn't fret about the tablecloth or the floor. The grown-ups could actually hold conversations with each other! Worked great. Ann

More Recommendations

July 2004

Please update your records - Monica Yee, the wonderful florist who has operated out of Berkeley Bowl for years as ''The Lily Pad,'' is now operating independently. (Berkeley Bowl has decided to host their own flower stand.) Monica is still available (and as ever talented) to help you with your wedding and special occasion flowers. Please call her at 510-206-6108 for great service and to support a mom of two charming little girls! Cynthia