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Floral Design Newsletter Archives

Read more Flower Duet Newsletters from past years:

2019 Newslet­ter Archives

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2012 Newslet­ter Archives

2011 Newslet­ter Archives

2010 Newslet­ter Archives

Each month, we cov­er a cur­rent event in the flo­ral trade, flo­rals from real wed­dings, our lat­est flower adven­tures and endeav­ors, design tips, cur­rent flo­ral trends, flo­ral design class­es and work­shops, book rec­om­men­da­tions and flo­ral tool tips.

Since 2010, we’ve cre­at­ed a hot list of what’s on for flo­ral design in and beyond South­ern Cal­i­for­nia. As guest speak­ers inside and out­side of Cal­i­for­nia, we know what clients need in the wed­ding and event indus­try. We are your trust­ed resource for flo­ral design tips and tech­niques for all lev­els of the flower enthu­si­ast.

We are Kit Wertz and Casey Schwartz, the sis­ter design team of Flower Duet. We are com­mit­ted to edu­cat­ing our stu­dents and fans since we start­ed our flo­ral design busi­ness in 1999.

We don’t share our email list with any­one! So, you can rest assured, your email is safe with us.

Halloween Inspired Flower Decorating Ideas

Pumpkin flower design for Thanksgiving.

This Thanks­giv­ing arrang­me­ment would look great on a front stoop or porch or on a buf­fet table. We used orange Marigolds, red Ger­ber Daisies and Broom corn in a hol­lowed out nat­ur­al pump­kin. After hol­low­ing out the pump­kin, spray the inside with bleach to keep it fresh a bit longer. Flow­ers by Flower Duet. Pho­to by Kit Wertz.

Trick or Treat? We believe flow­ers are a Treat any time of year, the Trick is mak­ing them last and look nice. Above, Casey made this design a few years ago inspired by our mutu­al love of Peeps Marsh­mal­low treats. Black and Orange fab­ric inside a vase with some ghost­ly peeps, sets the mood to cre­ate some­thing a bit more on the whim­si­cal side.

Fall Flower Inspiration

Fall has offi­cial­ly arrived and shades of maroon, orange, dark pur­ples have flood­ed the flower mart (for more on Fall Flow­ers – check out our Sep­tem­ber 2010 Newslet­ter). It is a love­ly site. What to do with all these rich col­ors? How about plan­ning a Hal­loween Par­ty and mak­ing the per­fect flower arrange­ment.

Flower Duet rec­om­mends the best con­tain­ers are water­tight and eco-friendly…so how about a hol­lowed out pump­kin as a vase? A tall slen­der pump­kin could host a tall dra­mat­ic arrange­ment with white lark­spur and dark pur­ple car­na­tions, with some rust, maroon and orange mums.

Rich spooky col­ors are all apart of the sea­son as the days grow short­er and the nights fall faster. Black Mag­ic ros­es and Hocus Pocus Ros­es are a pre­fect mixed in with a spray of orchids which could look like a spi­der’s web.

Orange Asian Lilies are love­ly this time of year…but remem­ber if you want them to last — buy them closed, so they don’t bruise…however if you want them open for your event.…buy them ear­ly.

Cockscomb celosia looks like brains when clumped togeth­er. The col­ors are vibrat­ing pinks and reds…sure to spook your guests.

How to make five Halloween Flower Spiders

Flower Spider

We can just imag­ine how a few large faced sun­flower spi­ders would cer­tain­ly make an impres­sion to your trick or treaters head­ing up your walk­way. You could place these crawl­ing out of your pump­kin too.

What to Buy:

1 bunch of 5 Sun­flow­ers

1 bunch of green­ery or cut green­ery from your gar­den like Pit­tospo­rum or box­wood or even leaves of a lemon tree (be sure to give your gar­den green­ery a good rinse before bring­ing them into the house to get rid of any real spi­ders!)

10 eyes from the craft store

10 black che­nille stems

10 green che­nille stems

1 red che­nille stem

10 Zots or a hot glue gun

5 small water-tight con­tain­ers

2 bricks of wet flo­ral foam

Steps to Make a Sunflower Spider

Step 1: Soak flo­ral foam with flo­ral food mix­ture. See our June Newslet­ter on flo­ral foam to learn more about this tool.

Step 2: Cut foam in 6 equal pieces and place 1 in each con­tain­er. (You will have one piece left over. Place in Ziploc bag and put in the fridge to use for future – up to 3 months.)

Step 3: Remove yel­low petals from each Sun­flower and any green­ery from each stem.

Step 4: Cut stems down to a good height to fit in your cho­sen vase.

Step 5: Glue on eyes with our Sep­tem­ber’s tool of the month Zots or usa a hot glue gun. If you are mak­ing these with your kids, be sure to han­dle the glue gun and cut­ters your­self.

Step 6: Cut the black and green che­nille stems in half and placed them direct­ly into the sides of the face of the sun­flower to make legs.

Step 7: Cut the red che­nille stem in 5 equal pieces to make the mouth of each sun­flower and gen­tly tuck them in place for each mouth.

Step 8: Add green­ery around each spi­der sun­flower face and enjoy!

Dia de los Muertos Centerpiece How-To

We review a great book this month on Cen­ter­piece ideas – called Bou­quets – A Year of Flow­ers and Set­tings for the Table by Mar­sha Heck­man (see review at right) and the author cre­at­ed a design that was inspired by the Dia de los Muer­tos or Day of the Dead cel­e­bra­tion.

Ms. Heck­man used Cockscomb Celosia and Marigolds in the design in the book. We sub­sti­tut­ed more acces­si­ble orange Spi­der Ger­ber Daisies (10 stems) and dark maroon Car­na­tions (25 stems) which turns out to be a sim­ple pur­chase of one whole­sale bunch each of each flower.

Ms. Heck­man also sug­gests find­ing a cute, water tight con­tain­er for this base of this design so Casey re-used a con­tain­er that had held yum­my fresh fruit from an Edi­ble Arrange­ments gift she had received from a client. The green was a per­fect col­or to add to the col­or block­ing tiers of col­ors. Using a half a brick of wet flo­ral foam, we placed it secure­ly in the bot­tom of the con­tain­er.

  • First we placed the Ger­ber Daisies around the edge of the design, but we pre-poked hole around the edge of the foam using a chop­stick so each Ger­ber stem would slide in eas­i­ly with­out break­ing.
  • Then we fluffed up each Car­na­tion (by pet­ting each bloom out gen­tly to coax the flower to open a bit more) before cut­ting the stems to form a mound design in the con­tain­er. Be sure to remove any green­ery off the part of the car­na­tion stem that will go into the foam.

TIP: If you start plac­ing each car­na­tion stem clos­est to the Ger­bers, then you can make a bet­ter judg­ment of how tall the stems will need to be in the mid­dle of the design by the time you are ready to fill that in. So always start this type of a design from the out­side in.

Libra Florascope — 23 September — 22 October — Rose

Rose (Libra) Traits

If you are a Rose (or Libra), you love being in love and are astute with finances. Good careers for Ros­es include envi­ron­men­tal­ists, diplo­mats, musi­cians, com­put­er graph­ic design­er, art deal­er or image con­sul­tant. Ros­es have a prac­ti­cal side and are will­ing to put words into action Rose chil­dren are nat­ur­al con­tenders in baby pho­to com­pe­ti­tions. Ros­es get along well with oth­er ros­es, cac­tus flow­ers, orchids, sun­flow­ers, tulips, pas­sion flow­ers and birds of par­adise. Famous Ros­es include Brigitte Bar­dot, Cather­ine Deneuve, Michael Dou­glas, F. Scott Fitzger­ald, George Gersh­win, John Lennon, Olivia New­ton John, Gwyneth Pal­trow, Sting and Cather­ine Zeta Jones.

About Roses — Botanical Information

A rose is a peren­ni­al flower bush of the genus Rosa, with­in the fam­i­ly Rosaceae, that con­tains over 100 species and comes in a huge vari­ety of col­ors. Ros­es that are grown for the com­mer­cial cut flower con­sumer in the Unit­ed States pri­mar­i­ly come from Colum­bia and Cal­i­for­nia. Most of the com­mer­cial ros­es sold today have lost their scent in favor of longer stems and long-last­ing blooms that are tol­er­ant to pests in the grow­ers’ fields. There are a few vari­eties you can still get that have a great scent – like the pur­ple Lavan­da rose.

Rose water, made from the rose oil, is wide­ly used in Asian and Mid­dle East­ern cui­sine and now is a pop­u­lar ingre­di­ent in cock­tails. We’ll be talk­ing about how to make your own rose water and how to make “flower cock­tails” in our hol­i­day sea­son newslet­ter in Decem­ber so look for­ward to that!

Rose hips (pic­tured at right) are occa­sion­al­ly made into jam or are brewed for tea, pri­mar­i­ly for their high vit­a­min C con­tent. They are also pressed and fil­tered to make rose hip syrup. Rose hips are also used in skin prod­ucts and some make­up prod­ucts.

Rose Symbolism

Ros­es are ancient sym­bols of love and beau­ty and were sacred to a num­ber of god­dess­es includ­ing Isis and Aphrodite. The rose is often used as a sym­bol of the Vir­gin Mary. In Rome a wild rose would be placed on the door of a room where secret or con­fi­den­tial mat­ters were dis­cussed. The phrase sub rosa, or “under the rose”, means to keep a secret — derived from this ancient Roman prac­tice.

When Buying & Arranging with Roses

Choos­ing the Best Ros­es: Buy Ros­es when the blooms are still most­ly closed and the green­ery live­ly and not dried out. Make sure you can see all the folds of a rose’s petals when you are look­ing straight down into the bloom. If you see just a ‘cone’ of petals, choose anoth­er bunch. The cone might not ever open. You can also gen­tly squeeze the base of the bud to see if it’s fresh. If the bud gives way in your fin­gers, the bloom is on its way to the com­post heap.

Pick­ing Ros­es from your Own Gar­den: Be sure to pick ros­es that are not too far open and pick them in the morn­ing before the heat of the day has dried out the stems and the blooms. Car­ry a buck­et of water and flo­ral food mix­ture with you into the gar­den. When you har­vest each stem, place it imme­di­ate­ly into the buck­et of water so the stem does not have time to seal up (less than 10 sec­onds). Blooms from the gar­den will not last as long as ones from the com­mer­cial grow­er, but by har­vest­ing them in the cool morn­ing with your handy flower food mix­ture, you should get a good 2–3 days out of the bloom in your home.

Remem­ber, we always rec­om­mend to use flo­ral food when you are arrang­ing with ros­es (or almost any flower for that mat­ter). See our August Newslet­ter on more about the ben­e­fits of using Flower Food in flo­ral design.

Flower Arranging Book Review


Bou­quets – A Year of Flow­ers and Set­tings for the Table by Mar­sha Heck­man

This is a love­ly book and was a gift to Flower Duet’s col­lec­tion from a client.

Pub­lished in 2005, it is a time­less guide to dec­o­rat­ing tables for sim­ple, ele­gant and grand events. Ms. Heck­man takes the read­er through the sea­sons, work­ing with flow­ers avail­able accord­ing­ly, and she also trans­ports us around the world with themes inspired by Mex­i­co, Asia, France, Hawaii and the USA.

She invites friends to find con­tain­ers in their homes to help build an eclec­tic col­lec­tion of cen­ter­pieces for a wed­ding and uses pho­to frames as a base for Old Glo­ry. This book Offers inspi­ra­tion to look beyond the usu­al con­tain­ers you may use for a vase and to work in what you might already have. Ms. Heck­man also worked close­ly with her sis­ter and mom on the design­ing. That is some­thing Flower Duet knows a lot about!

We were inspired by her sug­gest­ed design for Dia de los Muer­tos or Day of the Dead cel­e­brat­ed in Mex­i­co just after our Hal­loween hol­i­day. In most regions of Mex­i­co, Novem­ber 1st hon­ors chil­dren and infants, where­as deceased adults are hon­ored on Novem­ber 2nd. We made a sim­i­lar design to the one she cre­at­ed in the book to show you how nice and clear her direc­tions were to achieve this look. Check out the “Dia de los Muer­tos Cen­ter­piece How-To” in this newslet­ter (at left).

Floral Tool — Floral Wire

Floral Wire

Flo­ral Wire

The tool that is. Not wiring flow­ers to a client, but replac­ing flo­ral stems with wire. Wire gives you the chance to length­en stems to achieve the height you may need or to replace stems in a bou­ton­nière or cor­sage to pre­vent the design from get­ting bulky.

This thin and often long tool is the key to cre­at­ing bou­ton­nières and cor­sages, as well as incor­po­rat­ing stem-less blooms like orchids into a bou­quet or taller design. Wire is also used to secure green­ery to wreath forms or gar­lands – and will be handy for upcom­ing fall and win­ter designs.

Flo­ral wire is not used on its own to secure blooms to for a vari­ety of design pur­pos­es, but is teamed up with stretchy and sticky flo­ral tape to cre­ate a secure and wor­ry free com­bi­na­tion.

The flo­ral tape not only hides the wire, but it also assists in hold­ing the mois­ture in the stem.

There are many types of flo­ral wire to choose from and we’ll talk about each.

Straight Wire in dif­fer­ent Gauges

We use the wire that comes straight and 18” long. We can cut it to the size we need, and it works well for any shap­ing we would need. It’s com­mon­ly sold in 12lb. box­es but some­times you can buy small­er amounts – depend­ing on the sup­pli­er. The num­ber of wires in each box depends on the gauge of the wire.

Wire is coat­ed with green enam­el to help pre­vent rust­ing and to help the wire blend in with the design.

It’s impor­tant to select the small­est gauge wire that will sup­port the flower while also keep­ing it in place.

Gauge 16–18 – Thick­est wire. Also called “Stub” wire, it’s very heavy, thick wire that does not bend eas­i­ly, these work well to extend stems as they won’t bend under pres­sure. Don’t use too large a wire for a del­i­cate stem or it will dam­age the flower and won’t be usable.

Gauge 20–22 – Medi­um thick­ness wire that is most com­mon­ly used. Great for cre­at­ing florists bows and bind­ing stems togeth­er.

Gauge 24–32 – Thinnest wire. The high­er the num­ber like 24 and 28 are much thin­ner and bend eas­i­ly. This size works well to build cor­sage com­po­nents. Giv­ing you the ease of plac­ing your pieces togeth­er close­ly and not add a lot of weight. Remem­ber though that if the wire is too thin, the stem won’t be sup­port­ed prop­er­ly.

Paddle Wire

Trav­els well and is com­pact for your flo­ral toolk­it on site at venues. Pad­dle wire comes in dif­fer­ent gauge sizes as well. Remem­ber the high­er the gauge num­ber the more flex­i­ble and thin­ner the wire will be. We often use pad­dle wire for hang­ing wreaths by shap­ing it into loops and find it ide­al for secur­ing flo­ral mate­r­i­al to wreaths, forms or cre­at­ing gar­lands.

Cloth Covered Wire

The cloth allows you to grip it eas­i­ly, tie knots and hold stems secure­ly. We see it used in arti­fi­cial flower arrang­ing and for cake mak­ing and dec­o­rat­ing use. Cloth cov­ered flo­ral wire can be used as the stem when cre­at­ing roy­al icing flower dec­o­ra­tions on your cakes.

How to use Floral Wire Video

Flower Duet wired a few suc­cu­lents with a tech­nique called a sin­gle leg mount. Check out our free video here to see that tech­nique.

Learn How to use Floral Wire during our Wedding Flower Workshop

If you are in the Los Ange­les area we are offer­ing a Wed­ding work­shop this month at our South Bay Stu­dio. We’ll be wiring a vari­ety of flow­ers dur­ing that class, as well as build­ing a bridal bou­quet! Don’t miss it!