February 8, 2023

Wide Array of Arrangements, Bouquets, and More are Available at Wildflowers of Princeton Junction

FABULOUS FLORALS: “My arrangements are very personalized, truly one-of-a-kind. Everything is made in-house, and I always try to create something special for the customer.” Michael Piccioni, co-owner of Wildflowers of Princeton Junction, is pleased to create imaginative arrangements, such as those shown here, and he is proud of the firm’s exceptional and long-standing reputation.

By Jean Stratton

“To see a world in a grain of sand
And a heaven in a wildflower.”

—William Blake

Flowers are a gift on so many levels. Whether carefully planned as part of a backyard landscape, or blooming free and unrestrained in a meadow, or as artfully designed arrangements and bouquets created by professional florists, they are a continuing miracle of beauty and enjoyment

Especially appreciating this wonder of nature is expert horticulturalist Michael Piccioni. Co-owner with Ed Getty of Wildflowers of Princeton Junction, he has a long history in the floral industry.

Originally from Pottsville, Pa., he grew up in a family steeped in the natural world. “My grandfather, who emigrated from Italy, was a farmer, and I grew up surrounded by gardens, From the age of 10, I also helped out in my aunt’s flower shop, and it was all very natural to me.”

He went on to study horticulture at Penn State, and then worked in a flower shop in Philadelphia before he and Getty opened Wildflowers in 1985. Getty specializes in the administrative end of the business, as well as providing technical and lighting services at events.

Rural Setting

Initially located in Grovers Mill, the business later moved to its current location at 315 Cranbury Road in Princeton Junction. The rural setting appealed to the owners. The location was once part of a very large farm, and the 150 year-old building which houses their business was originally a cider mill.

“This area has a lot of history,” points out Piccioni. “Nearby was a depot where riders bought tickets to take the trolley to Newark and New Brunswick. Famous people, such as Woodrow Wilson, spent time here, and Grover Cleveland and the Marquis de Lafayette, of Revolutionary War fame, had houses near here.

“In addition, Grovers Mill was the site of the famous ‘War of the Worlds’ radio broadcast by Orson Welles in 1938.”

His fictitious story was so realistic that many listeners expected the imminent invasion of Martians; word spread rapidly, and Welles had to explain that indeed it was just a story!

“This is really an excellent location,” adds Piccioni. “We love the setting, and its proximity to Princeton is a plus. We get customers from all around the area, as well as from New York City and really all over. We have great word-of-mouth.”

Wildflowers is a full-service florist, offering superb arrangements, bouquets, baskets, and more.

Friendly Service

What is your pleasure? Roses? Tulips? Dahlias? Orchids? Wildflowers can provide whatever you desire, and with prompt, friendly service, including same day deliveries,

It is known for its unique, original, and imaginative arrangements that set it apart. The style, the technique, the use of color and texture are hallmarks of a Wildflowers creation,

“We always go the extra mile to make your floral gift perfect,” says Piccioni. “We are committed to offering only the finest floral arrangements and personal service. People can call us directly, and we’ll have a conversation. They know they can count on us to create something special.”

He adds that the name “Wildflowers” was appealing for their business. “We liked the natural idea of wildflowers. We grow some of our own plants, and we also forage for them, and often find something special and unusual. We also have access to local wholesalers with a large inventory.”

Wildflowers is set apart in many ways, as its longtime, loyal customers are quick to point out.

“I have never seen anything like this arrangement! It is gorgeous!” “Your arrangements are the longest-lasting I have ever had.” “The combination of color and texture is so vivid. Truly amazing!”

These are just some comments that typically describe customers’ pleasure after receiving a Wildflowers creation.

Mother-Son Team

Former Princeton resident and longtime owner of the popular Main Street restaurants, Sue Simpkins has had an ongoing relationship with Wildflowers. She and her son John Marshall were part of a mother-son business team, who enjoyed displaying the Wildflowers designs at the restaurants.

“We began with a consignment arrangement for their flowers at Main Street in Kingston, and we continued our relationship when we opened the Main Street Bistro in Princeton, where they provided weekly floral arrangements for us,” explains Simpkins.

“We discovered how very talented they were, and have been impressed with Michael’s natural artistic gift and ability to combine the flowers and create his own one-of-a-kind results. Not only are they gorgeous in the beginning, but they continue to extend their beauty over a long period of time.

“Although I have retired to Florida, every time I have reason to send flowers to Princeton, I always call Wildflowers. And everyone who receives an arrangement or orchid from Wildflowers never forgets it!”

Marshall echoes Simpkins’ comments, adding that he was so impressed with Piccioni’s expertise that he engaged Wildflowers to provide the floral decorations for his wedding.

He emphasizes the originality of Piccioni’s arrangements, so free of the commonplace aspect of the more commercial floral products. ”Michael’s creations are astonishingly, refreshingly innovative. He takes such care to make them personal and unique.”

Famous Names

Wildflowers’ many customers include people from all walks of life, and among them a number of famous names. The late Toni Morrison enjoyed Wildflowers’ creations, reports Piccioni. “Martha Stewart and Oprah Winfrey also were customers. We have had ongoing relationships with Princeton University, the Cranbury Library, Jasna Polana, many churches, restaurants, businesses, and hotels throughout the area.”

Farther afield, New York City’s Waldorf Astoria has also been a client.

Events of all kinds are a specialty, including weddings, parties, picnics, and also funerals. In addition, the firm provides weekly deliveries to individual residences, as well as to companies and institutions.

“We do home planters outside residences, which can be seasonal, with different plants at different times,” adds Piccioni. “Evergreens for winter, flowers for spring, for example. In addition, we decorate people’s houses for the holidays with Christmas wreaths, garlands, and trees, which come from Pennsylvania.

Piccioni is busy all the time with ongoing requests from individuals and companies. Whether it is a big display for an event, or individual arrangement, or a single rose, he gives each his careful attention and special expertise.

Valentine’s Day is one of the busiest times of all, he says, along with Mother’s Day and Christmas.

Beautiful Flowers

“We were also very busy doing the height of COVID. We did a lot of deliveries to people’s homes. Since they were not going out as often, they wanted to add beautiful flowers to their homes.”

Piccioni and Getty look forward to continuing the business they love.

As Piccioni says, “This is a special business for us. I’ve been in the flower business for 55 years, and I feel I am carrying on what my family did. I am really a conglomerate of everything I learned. I encompass everyone who taught me over the years. I learned from them all. My grandfather, my aunt and her flower shop, were all part of it. I feel I am continuing what they did, and it all comes together.

“And now, we have second generation customers, the children of our original customers, and their children. It is wonderful to continue this tradition, and we really have a special connection with our customers, who are truly friends and family. And our longtime staff members are so important to us. These connections are everything.”

Wildflowers is open Monday through Friday 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Online purchases are also available from the website: wildflowerspj.com. For more information, call (609) 275-6060.