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Publication numberUS20030136696 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 09/941,996
Publication dateJul 24, 2003
Filing dateAug 29, 2001
Priority dateMay 3, 1994
Publication number09941996, 941996, US 2003/0136696 A1, US 2003/136696 A1, US 20030136696 A1, US 20030136696A1, US 2003136696 A1, US 2003136696A1, US-A1-20030136696, US-A1-2003136696, US2003/0136696A1, US2003/136696A1, US20030136696 A1, US20030136696A1, US2003136696 A1, US2003136696A1
InventorsDonald Weder
Original AssigneeWeder Donald E.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Floral sleeve with upper detachable portion
US 20030136696 A1
Abstract
A decorative cover or container which is a flattened sleeve which includes a lower portion having a base portion and a skirt portion with a plurality of portions extending from the base portion, and optionally an upper portion which is detachable via a detaching element, for example, perforations. Upon opening of the sleeve, the lower portion of the sleeve defines and encompasses an inner retaining space and in one embodiment conforms generally to the outer surface of a pot. The potted plant is disposed in the inner retaining space of the lower portion of the sleeve such that at least a portion of the pot is covered by the lower portion of the sleeve. The lower portion of the sleeve is detachable from the upper portion, when the upper portion is present, by tearing along the detaching element forming an upper edge of the lower portion of the sleeve. The upper edge may be non-linear. The lower portion may be tapered and may have a gusset in the lower end.
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Claims(10)
What is claimed is:
1. A tubular sleeve for containing a pot having a floral grouping disposed therein, and having a lower end, an upper rim, an outer peripheral surface, and an inner peripheral surface surrounding an inner retaining space, the tubular sleeve comprising:
a base portion having an upper end, a lower end and an inner retaining space for enclosing the pot;
a skirt portion comprising a plurality of portions which extend from the upper end of the base portion; and
an upper portion having an upper end and extending a distance from the skirt portion and detachable therefrom via a plurality of perforations and wherein at least a portion of said plurality of perforations is spaced a distance from the lower end of the base portion, wherein said distance is less than half of a length between the upper end of the upper portion and the lower end of the base portion, and wherein when the upper portion is detached from the skirt portion after the pot has been disposed within the base portion, the plurality of portions of the skirt portion extend beyond the upper rim of the pot.
2. The tubular sleeve of claim 1 wherein the base portion has an open lower end.
3. The tubular sleeve of claim 1 wherein the base portion has a closed lower end.
4. The tubular sleeve of claim 3 wherein the closed lower end has a drain hole.
5. The tubular sleeve of claim 1 wherein the base portion has a drain hole.
6. The tubular sleeve of claim 1 wherein the base portion is tapered.
7. The tubular sleeve of claim 1 wherein the plurality of perforations have a non-linear pattern.
8. The tubular sleeve of claim 1 wherein the upper portion is sized to substantially surround and enclose the floral grouping disposed within the pot.
9. The tubular sleeve of claim 1 wherein the lower end of the base portion has a gusset therein.
10. The tubular sleeve of claim 1 wherein the upper portion is adapted to enable the tubular sleeve to be supported on a support assembly.
Description
CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] The present application is a continuation-in-part of U.S. Ser. No. 09/665,541, filed, Sep. 19, 2000, now abandoned, which is a continuation of U.S. Ser. No. 09/197,111 filed Nov. 20, 1998 which is a continuation of U.S. Ser. No. 08/880,358 filed Jun. 23, 1997, now U.S. Pat. No. 5,842,569, issued Dec. 1, 1998, which is a continuation of U.S. Ser. No. 08/318,062, filed Oct. 4, 1994, entitled “FLORAL SLEEVE WITH UPPER PORTION DETACHABLE VIA ANGULAR PERFORATIONS”, which is a continuation of U.S. Ser. No. 08/237,078, filed May 3, 1994, entitled “SLEEVE HAVING A DETACHABLE PORTION FORMING A SKIRT AND METHODS”, now U.S. Pat. No. 5,625,979, issued on May 6, 1997. Each of these applications is hereby expressly incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0002] This invention generally relates to sleeves, and, more particularly, to sleeves used to wrap flower pots containing floral groupings and/or mediums containing floral groupings, and methods of using same.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0003]FIG. 1 is an elevational view of a sleeve having a detaching element constructed in accordance with the present invention.

[0004]FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the sleeve of FIG. 1 having a potted plant disposed therein.

[0005]FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a pot such as might be used with the sleeve of the present invention.

[0006]FIG. 4 is a perspective view of the potted plant disposed in the sleeve of FIG. 2 after an upper portion of the sleeve has been removed to provide a pot cover having a skirt.

[0007]FIG. 5 is an elevational view of a version of the sleeve of FIG. 1 with a gusseted bottom.

[0008]FIG. 6 is a partial cutaway, elevational view of an alternate version of the sleeve of FIG. 1 wherein a bonding material is disposed upon an upper end of the sleeve.

[0009]FIG. 7 is an elevational view of an alternate version of the sleeve of FIG. 1 having a folding flap.

[0010]FIG. 8 is an elevational view of an alternate version of the sleeve of FIG. 1 having a bonding material disposed on a portion of an inner surface of the sleeve.

[0011]FIG. 9 is an elevational view of an alternate version of the sleeve of FIG. 1 having a bonding material disposed on a portion of an outer surface of the sleeve.

[0012]FIG. 10 is a cross-sectional view showing the sleeve of FIG. 9 crimped about a pot.

[0013]FIG. 11 is a perspective view of the crimped sleeve of FIG. 10.

[0014]FIG. 12 is a cross-sectional view of the sleeve of FIG. 9 wherein a crimped portion is formed above an upper end of a pot.

[0015]FIG. 13 is a perspective view of the crimped sleeve of FIG. 12 wherein a crimped portion is formed above a pot.

[0016]FIG. 14 is an elevational view of another version of the sleeve of FIG. 1 having an extended portion serving as a support extension.

[0017]FIG. 15 is an elevational view of another version of the sleeve of FIG. 1 having an extended portion serving as a handle.

[0018]FIG. 16 is an elevational view of another version of the sleeve of FIG. 1 having an additional detaching element for enhancing the extension of a skirt portion of the sleeve after detachment of an upper portion of the sleeve.

[0019]FIG. 17 is an elevational view of the sleeve of FIG. 16 after the upper portion has been removed.

[0020]FIG. 18 is an elevational view of another version of a sleeve of FIG. 1 having notched perforated areas for enhancing extension of the skirt portion of the sleeve after detachment of an upper portion of the sleeve.

[0021]FIG. 19 is an elevational view of the sleeve of FIG. 18 after the upper portion has been removed.

[0022]FIG. 20 is an elevational view of an alternate version of a sleeve of the present invention wherein an upper portion of the sleeve is constructed of a different material than a lower portion of the sleeve.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

[0023] The present invention contemplates a plant packaging system comprising a combination of a protective sleeve portion and a decorative cover portion having a base and skirt for packaging a potted plant. The protective sleeve portion can be detached from the decorative cover portion of the plant packaging system once the protective function of the sleeve portion has been completed, thereby exposing the decorative cover portion and allowing the skirt to extend angularly from the base. The protective sleeve portion and decorative cover portion may be of unitary construction or may be separate components which are attached together by various bonding materials.

[0024] More specifically, the present invention contemplates a plant cover for covering a pot having an outer peripheral surface. The plant cover comprises (1) a base portion having a lower end, an upper end, an outer peripheral surface, and an area of excess material for allowing extension of a portion of the base portion and having an opening extending from the upper end to the lower end, and (2) an upper portion extending from the upper end of the base portion and detachable therefrom, and wherein when the upper portion is detached from the upper end of the base portion, the area of excess material expands causing portions of the base portion to extend angularly from the base. In general, the base portion is sized to substantially cover the outer peripheral surface of the pot. The upper portion may be detachable via a detaching element such as perforations, tear strips and zippers. The plant cover may have an extended portion extending from the upper portion for serving as a handle or support device.

[0025] More particularly, the present invention may be a plant cover comprising (1) a base portion having a lower end, an upper end, and an outer peripheral surface and having an opening extending from the upper end to the lower end, (2) an upper portion extending from the upper end of the base portion and detachable therefrom, (3) and an expansion element integral to the base portion and optionally integral to the upper portion, for allowing expansion of a portion of the base portion into a skirt portion extending angularly from the base portion when the upper portion is detached from the upper end of the base portion. The expansion element may be a plurality of vertical pleats, a plurality of vertical folds each having a Z-shaped cross section, a plurality of vertical accordion-type folds, or other similar types of expandable forms.

[0026] More particularly, the plant cover may comprise (1) a base portion having a lower end, an upper end, an outer peripheral surface, and having an opening extending from the upper end to the lower end, (2) a skirt portion attached to the base portion and having an upper end and extending a distance beyond the upper end of the base portion, (3) an expansion element integral to at least one of the skirt portion and the base portion for enabling at least a portion of the skirt portion to be extended angularly from the base portion, and (4) an upper portion attached to the upper end of the skirt portion and detachable therefrom, and wherein when the upper portion is detached from the upper end of the skirt portion, the expansion element enables the skirt portion to be extended angularly from the base portion.

[0027] The present invention further contemplates a tubular sleeve for containing a pot assembly, and having a lower end, an upper end, an outer peripheral surface, and an inner peripheral surface surrounding an inner retaining space. The tubular sleeve may comprise (1) a base portion having a lower end and an upper end and a retaining space for enclosing the pot assembly, and sized to substantially cover the pot assembly, (2) a skirt portion extending beyond the upper end of the base portion and continuous therewith and having an upper peripheral edge, and (3) an upper portion having an upper peripheral edge and a lower peripheral edge, the lower peripheral edge connected to the upper peripheral edge of the skirt portion and detachable therefrom and extending a distance therefrom, and sized to substantially surround and encompass a floral grouping, and wherein when the upper portion is detached from the upper peripheral edge of the skirt portion, the skirt portion extends angularly from the base portion.

[0028] The tubular sleeve may further comprise an expansion element integral to at least one of the skirt portion and the base portion for enhancing the angular extension of at least a portion of the skirt portion away from the base portion. The base portion and the skirt portion may be constructed from a first material and the upper portion may be constructed from a second material different from the first material.

[0029] The tubular sleeve may form part of a plant package when used in conjunction with a pot assembly disposed within the retaining space of the base portion of the tubular sleeve, the pot assembly having a floral grouping disposed therein, and wherein the pot assembly is substantially surrounded and encompassed by the base portion and the floral grouping is substantially surrounded and encompassed by the upper portion.

[0030] The present invention further contemplates a plant cover comprising, (1) a base portion having a lower end, an upper end, an outer peripheral surface, and having an opening extending from the upper end to the lower end, (2) a skirt portion attached to the base portion and extending a distance beyond the upper end of the base portion, and (3) an upper portion connected to the outer peripheral surface of the base portion and extending from the upper end of the base portion and detachable therefrom and substantially surrounding the skirt portion, and wherein when the upper portion is detached from the upper end of the base portion, the skirt portion is exposed allowing the skirt portion to extend angularly from the base portion. Further, the base portion may comprise a bonding material for bondingly connecting to the upper portion. Also, the base portion may comprise a bonding material for bondingly connecting to a pot disposed therein. Further, the upper portion may comprise a bonding material for bondingly connecting to the base portion. The plant cover may further comprise part of a plant package which includes a pot disposed within the inner retaining space of the base portion, the pot having a floral grouping disposed therein, and wherein the pot is substantially surrounded and encompassed by the base portion and the floral grouping is substantially surrounded and encompassed by the upper portion.

[0031] The present invention further contemplates a plant cover comprising (1) a tubular sleeve having a lower end, an upper end, an outer peripheral surface, and an inner peripheral surface surrounding an inner retaining space, and further comprising (a) a base portion for enclosing a pot, the base portion having an upper end and a lower end and sized to substantially cover an outer peripheral surface of the pot, and (b) an upper portion having an upper end and a lower end, the lower end detachably connected to the upper end of the base portion and extending a distance therefrom, and wherein the upper portion is sized to substantially surround and encompass a floral grouping disposed within the pot, and (2) a skirt portion positioned within the tubular sleeve and having an upper end and a lower end, the lower end attached to the inner peripheral surface of the base portion, the upper end of the skirt portion freely extending a distance beyond the upper end of the base portion and substantially surrounded and encompassed by the upper portion and wherein when the upper portion is detached from the upper end of the base portion, the skirt portion is exposed allowing the skirt portion to be extended angularly from the upper end of the base portion.

[0032] The base portion and the skirt portion of the tubular sleeve may be constructed from a first material and the upper portion constructed from a second material different from the first material. The base portion and the upper portion of the tubular sleeve may be constructed from a first material and the skirt portion constructed from a second material different from the first material. The plant cover may comprise a portion of a plant package which additionally comprises a pot disposed within the tubular sleeve, the pot having a floral grouping disposed therein, and wherein the pot is substantially surrounded and encompassed by the base portion and the floral grouping is substantially surrounded and encompassed by the upper portion.

[0033] These embodiments and others of the present invention are now described in more detail below.

[0034] The Embodiments and Methods of Use of FIGS. 1-20

[0035] Shown in FIG. 1 and designated therein by the general reference numeral 10 is a flexible bag or sleeve of unitary construction. The sleeve 10 initially comprises a flexible flat collapsed piece of material which is openable in the form of a tube or sleeve. The sleeve 10 may be tapered outwardly from the lower end toward a larger diameter at its upper end. In its flattened state the sleeve 10 has an overall trapezoidal or modified trapezoidal shape, and when opened is substantially frusto-conical to coniform. It will be appreciated, however, that the sleeve 10 may comprise variations on the aforementioned shapes or may comprise significantly altered shapes such as square or rectangular, wherein the sleeve 10 when opened has a cylindrical form, as long as the sleeve 10 functions in accordance with the present invention in the manner described herein.

[0036] The sleeve 10 has an upper end 12, a lower end 14, an outer peripheral surface 16 and in its flattened state has a first side 18 and a second side 20. The sleeve 10 has an opening 21 (FIG. 2) at the upper end 12 and may be open at the lower end 14, or provided with excess material at least sufficient to form a closed bottom of the sleeve 10 at the lower end 14. The sleeve 10 also has an inner peripheral surface 22 which, when the sleeve 10 is opened, defines and encompasses an inner retaining space 24 as shown in FIG. 2. When the lower end 14 of the sleeve 10 has a closed bottom, a portion of the lower end 14 may be inwardly folded to form one or more gussets for permitting a circular bottom of an object such as a potted plant 30 (FIGS. 2 and 4) to be disposed into the inner retaining space 24 of the lower end 14 of the sleeve 10.

[0037] The sleeve 10 is generally frusto-conically shaped, but the sleeve 10 may be, by way of example but not by way of limitation, cylindrical, frusto-conical, a combination of both frusto-conical and cylindrical, or any other shape, as long as the sleeve 10 functions as described herein as noted above. Further, the sleeve 10 may comprise any shape, whether geometric, non-geometric, asymmetrical and/or fanciful as long as it functions in accordance with the present invention. The sleeve 10 may also be equipped with one or more drain holes (59) or ventilation holes (not shown), or can be made from permeable or impermeable materials.

[0038] The material from which the sleeve 10 is constructed has a thickness in a range from about 0.1 mil to about 30 mils. Often, the thickness of the sleeve 10 is in a range from about 0.5 mil to about 10 mils. Preferably, the sleeve 10 has a thickness in a range from about 1.0 mil to about 5 mils. More preferably, the sleeve 10 is constructed from a material which is flexible, semi-rigid, rigid, or any combination thereof. The sleeve 10 may be constructed of a single layer of material or a plurality of layers of the same or different types of materials. Any thickness of the material may be utilized as long as the material functions in accordance with the present invention as described herein. The layers of material comprising the sleeve 10 may be connected together or laminated or may be separate layers. Such materials used to construct the sleeve 10 are described in U.S. Pat. No. 5,111,637 entitled “Method For Wrapping A Floral Grouping” issued to Weder et al., on May 12, 1992, which is hereby expressly incorporated herein by reference. Any thickness of material may be utilized in accordance with the present invention as long as the sleeve 10 may be formed as described herein, and as long as the formed sleeve 10 may contain at least a portion of a pot 32 or the potted plant 30 or a floral grouping, as described herein. Additionally, an insulating material such as bubble film, preferable as one of two or more layers, can be utilized in order to provide additional protection for the item, such as the floral grouping, contained therein.

[0039] In one embodiment, the sleeve 10 may be constructed from two polypropylene films. The material comprising the sleeve 10 may be connected together or laminated or may be separate layers. In an alternative embodiment, the sleeve 10 may be constructed from only one of the polypropylene films.

[0040] The sleeve 10 may also be constructed, in whole or in part, from a cling material. “Cling Wrap or Material” when used herein means any material which is capable of connecting to the sheet of material and/or itself upon contacting engagement during the wrapping process and is wrappable about an item whereby portions of the cling material contactingly engage and connect to other portions of another material, or, alternatively, itself, for generally securing the material wrapped about at least a portion of the pot 32. This connecting engagement is preferably temporary in that the material may be easily removed, i.e., the cling material “clings” to the pot 32.

[0041] The cling material is constructed and treated if necessary, from polyethylene such as Cling Wrap made by Glad®, First Brands Corporation, Danbury, Conn. The thickness of the cling material will, in part, depend upon the size of sleeve 10 and the size of the pot 32 in the sleeve 10, i.e., generally, a larger pot 32 may require a thicker and therefore stronger cling material. The cling material will range in thickness from less than about 0.1 mil to about 10 mils, and preferably less than about 0.5 mil to about 2.5 mils and most preferably from less than about 0.6 mil to about 2 mils. However, any thickness of cling material may be utilized in accordance with the present invention which permits the cling material to function as described herein.

[0042] The sleeve 10 is constructed from any suitable material that is capable of being formed into a sleeve and wrapped about the potted plant 30 or the pot 32. Preferably, the material comprises paper (untreated or treated in any manner), metal foil, polymeric film, non-polymeric film, fabric (woven or nonwoven or synthetic or natural), cardboard, fiber, cloth, burlap, or laminations or combinations thereof.

[0043] The term “polymeric film” means a material made of a synthetic polymer such as a polypropylene or a naturally occurring polymer such as cellophane. A polymeric film is relatively strong and not as subject to tearing (substantially non-tearable), as might be the case with paper or foil.

[0044] The material employed in the construction of the sleeve 10 may vary in color and may consist of designs or decorative patterns which are printed, etched, and/or embossed thereon using inks or other printing materials. An example of an ink which may be applied to the surface of the material is described in U.S. Pat. No. 5,147,706 entitled “Water Based Ink On Foil And/Or Synthetic Organic Polymer” issued to Kingman on Sep. 15, 1992 and which is hereby expressly incorporated herein by reference.

[0045] In addition, the material may have various colorings, coatings, flocking and/or metallic finishes, or other decorative surface ornamentation applied separately or simultaneously or may be characterized totally or partially by pearlescent, translucent, transparent, iridescent, neon, or the like, qualities. Each of the above-named characteristics may occur alone or in combination and may be applied to the upper and/or lower surface of the material comprising the sleeve 10. Moreover, portions of the material used in constructing the sleeve 10 may vary in the combination of such characteristics. The material utilized for the sleeve 10 itself may be opaque, translucent, transparent, or partially clear or tinted transparent.

[0046] It will generally be desired to use the sleeve 10 as a covering for the potted plant 30 (FIG. 2). As shown in FIG. 3, the pot 32 has an upper rim 34, a lower end 36, an outer peripheral surface 38, and an inner peripheral surface 39 which encompasses an inner retaining space 40 for retaining a floral grouping or plant 42. The lower end 36 of the pot 32 is closed but may have holes for permitting water drainage. The term “pot” as used herein refers to any type of container used for holding the floral grouping or plant 42. Examples of pots, used in accordance with the present invention include, but not by way of limitation, clay pots, wooden pots, plastic pots, ceramic pots, pots made from natural and/or synthetic fibers, or any combination thereof. The pot 32 is adapted to receive the floral grouping 42 in the inner retaining space 40. The floral grouping 42 may be disposed within the pot 32 along with a suitable growing medium described in further detail below, or other retaining medium, such as a floral foam. It will also be understood that the floral grouping 42, and any appropriate growing medium or other retaining medium, may be disposed in the sleeve 10 without the pot 32.

[0047] The term “floral grouping” as used herein means cut fresh flowers, artificial flowers, a single flower or other fresh and/or artificial plants or other floral materials and may include other secondary plants and/or ornamentation or artificial or natural materials which add to the aesthetics of the overall floral grouping. The floral grouping 42 comprises a bloom or foliage portion and a stem portion. Further, the floral grouping 42 may comprise a growing potted plant having a root portion (not shown) as well. However, it will be appreciated that the floral grouping may consist of only a single bloom or only foliage, or a botanical item (not shown), or a propagule (not shown). The term “floral grouping” may be used interchangeably herein with both the terms “floral arrangement” and “potted plant”. The term “floral grouping” may also be used interchangeably herein with the terms “botanical item” and/or “propagule.”

[0048] The term “growing medium” when used herein means any liquid, solid or gaseous material used for plant growth or for the cultivation of propagules, including organic and inorganic materials such as soil, humus, perlite, vermiculite, sand, water, and including the nutrients, fertilizers or hormones or combinations thereof required by the plants or propagules for growth.

[0049] The term “botanical item” when used herein means a natural or artificial herbaceous or woody plant, taken singly or in combination. The term “botanical item” also means any portion or portions of natural or artificial herbaceous or woody plants including stems, leaves, flowers, blossoms, buds, blooms, cones, or roots, taken singly or in combination, or in groupings of such portions such as bouquet or floral grouping.

[0050] The term “propagule” when used herein means any structure capable of being propagated or acting as an agent of reproduction including seeds, shoots, stems, runners, tubers, plants, leaves, roots or spores.

[0051] In accordance with the present invention, a bonding material may be disposed on a portion of the sleeve 10 to assist in holding the sleeve 10 to the pot 32 having the floral grouping 42 therein when the pot 32 is disposed within the sleeve 10 or to assist in closing the upper end 12 of the sleeve 10 or adhering the sleeve 10 to the pot 32 after the pot 32 has been disposed therein, as will be discussed in further detail below.

[0052] It will be understood that the bonding material may be disposed as a strip or block on a surface of the sleeve 10. The bonding material may also be disposed upon either the outer peripheral surface 16 or the inner peripheral surface 22 of the sleeve 10, as well as upon the pot 32. Further, the bonding material may be disposed as spots of bonding material, or in any other geometric, non-geometric, asymmetric, or fanciful form, and in any pattern including covering either the entire inner peripheral surface and/or outer peripheral surface of the sleeve 10 and/or the pot or pot cover. The bonding material may be covered by a cover or release strip which can be removed prior to the use of the sleeve, pot or pot cover. The bonding material can be applied by means known to those of ordinary skill in their art. One method for disposing a bonding material, in this case an adhesive, is described in U.S. Pat. No. 5,111,637 entitled “Method For Wrapping A Floral Grouping” issued to Weder et al., on May 12, 1992, which has been incorporated by reference above.

[0053] The term “bonding material” when used herein means an adhesive, frequently a pressure sensitive adhesive, or a cohesive. When the bonding material is a cohesive, a similar cohesive material must be placed on the adjacent surface for bondingly contacting and bondingly engaging with the cohesive material. The term “bonding material” also includes materials which are heat sealable and, in this instance, the adjacent portions of the material must be brought into contact and then heat must be applied to effect the seal. The term “bonding material” also includes materials which are sonic sealable and vibratory sealable. The term “bonding material” when used herein also means a heat sealing lacquer or hot melt material which may be applied to the material and, in this instance, heat, sound waves, or vibrations, also must be applied to effect the sealing.

[0054] The term “bonding material” when used herein also means any type of material or thing which can be used to effect the bonding or connecting of the two adjacent portions of the material or sheet of material to effect the connection or bonding described herein. The term “bonding material” may also include ties, labels, bands, ribbons, strings, tapes (including single or double-sided adhesive tapes), staples or combinations thereof. Some of the bonding materials would secure the ends of the material while other bonding material may bind the circumference of a wrapper, or a sleeve, or, alternatively and/or in addition, the bonding materials would secure overlapping folds in the material and/or sleeve. Another way to secure the wrapping and/or sleeve is to heat seal the ends of the material to another portion of the material. One way to do this is to contact the ends with an iron of sufficient heat to heat seal the material.

[0055] Alternatively, a cold seal adhesive may be utilized as the bonding material. The cold seal adhesive adheres only to a similar substrate, acting similarly as a cohesive, and binds only to itself. The cold seal adhesive, since it bonds only to a similar substrate, does not cause a residue to build up on equipment, thereby both permitting much more rapid disposition and use of such equipment to form articles and reducing labor costs. Further, since no heat is required to effect the seal, the dwell time, that is, the time for the sheet of material to form and retain the shape of an article, such as a flower pot cover or flower pot, is reduced. A cold seal adhesive binds quickly and easily with minimal pressure, and such a seal is not readily releasable. This characteristic is different from, for example, a pressure sensitive adhesive.

[0056] The term “bonding material” when used herein also means any heat or chemically shrinkable material, and static electrical or other electrical materials, chemical welding materials, magnetic materials, mechanical or barb-type fastening materials or clamps, curl-type characteristics of the film or materials incorporated in material which can cause the material to take on certain shapes, cling films, slots, grooves, shrinkable materials and bands, curl materials, springs, and any type of welding method which may weld portions of the material to itself or to the pot, or to both the material itself and the pot.

[0057] Certain versions of the sleeve 10 described herein may be used in conjunction with a preformed plant cover as explained in greater detail below.

[0058] As shown in FIG. 1, the sleeve 10 is demarcated into an upper portion 44 having an outer surface area 45 and a lower portion 46 having an outer surface area 47. The lower portion 46 of the sleeve 10 is preferably sized to contain and tapered to fit the potted plant 30 or pot 32. The upper portion 44 of the sleeve 10 is preferably sized to substantially surround and enclose the floral grouping 42 of the potted plant 30 disposed within the lower portion 46 of the sleeve 10. The sleeve 10 is demarcated into the upper portion 44 and the lower portion 46 by a detaching element 48 for enabling the detachment of the upper portion 44 of the sleeve 10 from the lower portion 46 of the sleeve 10. In the present version, the detaching element 48 is a plurality of generally laterally-oriented, alternatingly diagonally-oriented or non-linear (curved) perforations which extend circumferentially across the outer peripheral surface 16 of the sleeve 10 from the first side 18 to the second side 20. The term “detaching element,” as used generally herein, means any element, or combination of elements, or features, such as, but not by way of limitation, perforations, tear strips, zippers, and any other devices or elements of this nature known in the art, or any combination thereof, which enable the tearing away or detachment of one object from another. Therefore, while perforations are shown and described in detail herein, it will be understood that tear strips, zippers, or any other “detaching elements” known in the art, or any combination thereof, could be substituted therefore and/or used therewith.

[0059] In a preferred embodiment, as shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, the lower portion 46 of the sleeve 10 further comprises a base portion 50, and a skirt portion 52. The base portion 50 has a lower end which is the lower end 14 of the tubular sleeve 10 and an upper end 51. The base portion 50 comprises that part of the lower portion 46 which, when the pot 32 is placed into the lower portion 46, has an inner peripheral surface which is substantially adjacent to and surrounds the outer peripheral surface 38 the pot 32. The skirt portion 52 extends from the upper end 51 of the base portion 50 and comprises that part of the lower portion 46 which comprises a plurality of portions 53 which extend from the base portion 50 beyond the upper rim 34 of the pot 32 and adjacent at least a portion of the floral grouping 42 contained within the pot 32 and which is left to freely extend at an angle, inwardly or outwardly, from the base portion 50 when the upper portion 44 of the sleeve 10 is detached from the lower portion 46 of the sleeve 10 by actuation of the detaching element 48. In the intact sleeve 10, the skirt portion 52 comprises an upper peripheral edge congruent with the detaching element 48 which is connected to a lower peripheral edge, also congruent with the detaching element 48, of the upper portion 44 of the sleeve 10. In FIGS. 1 and 2, the upper peripheral edge of the skirt portion 52 is congruent with a series of alternatingly diagonally-oriented lines of perforations which together form a zig-zag and comprise the detaching element 48. The perforations of detaching element 48 may be non-linear (or curved).

[0060] In a preferred embodiment at least a portion of the plurality of perforations of the detaching element 48 is spaced a distance 55 a from the lower end 14 of the base portion 50 (also referred to herein as the lower end 14 of the sleeve 10) of the lower portion 46, wherein the distance 55 a is less than half of a length 55 b between the upper end 12 of the upper portion 44 and the lower end 14 of the base portion 50 of the lower portion 46, as shown in FIG. 1.

[0061] The upper portion 44 of the sleeve 10 may also have an additional detaching element 54 indicated as a plurality of vertical perforations for facilitating removal of the upper portion 44 and which are disposed more or less vertically therein extending between the detaching element 48 and the upper end 12 of the sleeve 10 (which is also the upper end of the upper portion 44). The upper portion 44 of the sleeve 10 is separable from the lower portion 46 of the sleeve 10 by tearing the upper portion 44 along both the detaching element 54 and the detaching element 48, thereby separating the upper portion 44 from the lower portion 46 of the sleeve 10. The lower portion 46 of the sleeve 10 remains disposed as the base portion 50 about the pot 32 and the skirt portion 52 about the floral grouping 42 thereby forming a decorative cover 56 as shown in FIG. 4 which substantially surrounds and encompasses the flower pot 32.

[0062] It will be understood that equipment and devices for forming floral sleeves are commercially available, and are well known to a person of ordinary skill in the art.

[0063] As noted above, the sleeve 10 may have an open or closed lower end 14. When the lower end 14 is closed the lower end 14 may have one or more gussets 60 formed therein such as that seen in sleeve 10 a in FIG. 5 for allowing expansion of the lower end 14 when an object with a broad lower end such as the pot 32 is disposed therein. In another version of the present invention, as shown in sleeve 10 b in FIG. 6, a strip of bonding material 62 may be disposed on the inner peripheral surface 22 of the upper portion 44 of the sleeve 10 b generally in the vicinity of the upper end 12 of the sleeve 10 b for allowing the upper end 12 to be sealed for enclosing the upper portion 44 of the sleeve 10 b about a floral grouping disposed therein. In another version of the present invention shown in FIG. 7, a sleeve 10 c comprises a flap 64 positioned at the upper end 12 which can be folded over and sealed with a flap bonding strip 66 to an adjacent portion of the outer peripheral surface 16 of the sleeve 10 c near the upper end 12 thereof. Other versions of the sleeve (not shown) may comprise ventilation holes or drainage for allowing movement of gases or moisture to and away from the inner space of the sleeve.

[0064] In another version of the present invention, shown in FIG. 8, a sleeve 10 d is exactly like the sleeve 10 but further comprises an inner strip of bonding material 68 disposed upon a portion of the inner peripheral surface 22 of the base portion 50 of the sleeve 10 d. The strip of bonding material 68 functions to enable the inner peripheral surface 22, or a portion thereof, to be bondingly connected to the outer peripheral surface 38 of the pot 32 disposed therein causing the sleeve 10 d to be bondingly connected to the pot 32.

[0065] In yet another version of the present invention, shown in FIGS. 9-13, a bonding material 70 is disposed on a portion of the outer peripheral surface 16 of the base portion 50 of a sleeve 10 e. After the pot 32 is disposed in the inner retaining space 24 of the base portion 50, the sleeve 10 e is manually or automatically crimped about the outer peripheral surface 38 of the pot 32 in the vicinity of the bonding material 70 thereby forming overlapping folds 72 in the base portion 50 which are bondingly connected together by the bonding material 70 to add structural integrity to the base portion 50 and to cooperate to hold the base portion 50 in the shape of a pot cover or for causing the base portion 50 of the sleeve 10 e to engage the outer peripheral surface 38 of the pot 32 and be held firmly thereabout. The bonding material 70 may be disposed on the sleeve 10 e at a position below the upper rim 34 of the pot 32 (FIGS. 9-11) or may be disposed at a position on the base portion 50 of the sleeve 10 e above the upper rim 34 of the pot 32 (such as shown in FIGS. 12-13) such that the overlapping folds 72 crimpingly formed are located in a position generally above the upper rim 34 of the pot 32.

[0066] In another embodiment, shown in FIG. 14, the sleeve designated as 10 f, may further comprise an extended portion comprising a support extension 76 which extends away from a portion of the upper end 12 of the sleeve 10 f. The support extension 76 has one or more apertures 78 disposed therein thereby adapting the sleeve 10 f to be supported on a support assembly (not shown) commercially available and known by one of ordinary skill in the art such as a pair of wickets for shipment, storage, assembly of the sleeve 10 f, placement of the pot 32 within the sleeve 10 f, or other functions known in the art. The support extension 76 may have a plurality of perforations 80 or other detaching elements for allowing the support extension 76 to be removed from the upper end 12 of the sleeve 10 f after the sleeve 10 f has been provided for use as described elsewhere herein. In another version of the invention, shown in FIG. 15, a sleeve 10 g has an extended portion comprising a handle 82 for carrying the potted plant package inside the sleeve 10 g. The sleeve 10 g may further comprise a detaching element 84 comprising perforations for removing the handle 82 at a later time.

[0067] Other versions of the present invention shown in FIGS. 16-19, may comprise additional perforated areas for enhancing angularity of the extension of the skirt portion away from the base portion after the upper portion of the sleeve has been detached. For example, sleeve 10 h in FIG. 16 comprises perforations 86 which extend vertically downward from the downward-pointing apexes 88 in the detaching element 48, comprising lateral perforations, which demarcates the upper peripheral edge of the skirt portion 52 of the sleeve 10 h. After the upper portion 44 of the sleeve 10 h is detached, the perforations 86 are open, allowing adjacent portions of the skirt portion 52 to be deflected at an increased angle to the base portion 50 as shown in FIG. 17.

[0068] Similarly, sleeve 10 i in FIG. 18 comprises notch perforations 90 which allow the removal of a notch of material 92 in the vicinity of the downward-pointing apexes 88 in the detaching element 48, comprising lateral perforations, which demarcates the upper peripheral edge of the skirt portion 52 of the sleeve 10 i. After the upper portion 44 of the sleeve 10 i is detached, the notches 92 are removed, allowing the adjacent portions of the skirt portion 52 to be deflected at an increased angle to the base portion 50 as shown in FIG. 19.

[0069] Sleeve 10 j, shown in FIG. 20, is an example of a sleeve constructed generally in accordance with the invention as described herein except the sleeve 10 j has an upper portion 94 which is constructed of a material different from a lower portion 95. The upper portion 94 and lower portion 95 are shown as bondingly connected along a sealed area 96. The upper portion 94, along with a portion of the lower portion 95 may be disconnected from each other via a detaching element such as perforations 97 and 98, as described earlier.

[0070] It should be further noted that features of the versions of the present invention shown in FIGS. 1-20 such as gussets, closure bonding areas, support extensions, apertures, handles, additional perforations and combinations of material may be used alone or in combination as elements of any of the embodiments described above herein.

[0071] Changes may be made in the construction and the operation of the various components, elements and assemblies described herein or in the steps or the sequence of steps of the methods described herein without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as defined in the following claims.

Classifications
U.S. Classification206/423
International ClassificationB65D85/52
Cooperative ClassificationB65D85/52
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Aug 29, 2001ASAssignment
Owner name: SOUTHPAC TRUST INTERNATIONAL, INC., NOT INDIVIDUAL
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:WEDER, DONALD E.;REEL/FRAME:012151/0622
Effective date: 20010814