by Kit Wertz
Pictured above is a closeup of small branches of Baby’s Breath flowers, also known as, Gypsophila.
Baby’s Breath Takes on the Starring Role in Recent Weddings
Baby’s Breath has long been known exclusively as a “filler flower,” but we have been using it as the starring flower a lot lately. When many of the stems are massed together, they create a lush, yet airy look that can only be described as lovely and delicate. Even though Baby’s Breath is thought of as a more affordable option for event flowers, keep in mind that with any type flower that is “massed” together, it can get expensive because you’ll need to purchase more to create the full look.
In December, we created flowers for back-to-back weddings which featured Baby’s Breath as the main focal flower. In one wedding, the bride’s bouquet was made up of Baby’s Breath and some small wired succulent rosettes tucked into the delicate and airy stems. Read on to see photos of our recent events and get some ideas on how to work with this very endearing and everlasting flower.
Pictured above are three tall centerpieces made with just Baby’s Breath flowers for a wedding we did in December 2012. The entire wedding from bouquets to hairwreaths to cocktail tables to centerpieces featured Baby’s Breath!
History of Baby’s Breath
Gypsophila, commonly known as Baby’s Breath, is a genus of about 100 species of flowering plants native to Europe, Asia and north Africa. The name of the species is inspired from its love of calcium-rich soils, including gypsum. Baby’s Breath is also heat, drought and soil tolerant.
During Victorian times, it was revered because it symbolized purity and everlasting love in the Language of Flowers. During that time, Americans admired Victorian gardens that featured these as border plants. Now considered an invasive plant in parts of the United States, this flower is a staple is most floral shops across the country. Baby’s Breath is a perfect compliment to a delicate ladies corsage, but is now taking center stage in many events.
Special Purchase, Care and Handling Tips for Baby’s Breath Floral Designs
- Choosing the Best Blooms Purchase bunches that are filled with open and closed buds where half of the buds are open. Avoid any bunches with blooms that show signs of browning.
- Hydration Stems are dry packed when you buy in bulk, so it’s essential to give them time to hydrate before you work with the flowers.
- Breakage Baby’s Breath is a very hardy and long lasting filler, but is senstive to ethylene gas. Use floral food and clean vases to cut down on this hurting the flowers.
- Asthma Warning Drying Baby’s Breath generates very high levels of ethylene gas has been known to cause Asthma issues with florists who work with it as a dried flower. Work with any dried Baby’s Breath in a well-ventilated area and keep any drying blooms away from other flowers.
General tips include: Check that the blooms are not dropping and not breaking. Baby’s Breath stems should be thin, wiry and green. Flowers should be fluffy and white, and the bunches should be loaded. Prior to putting in hydrating solution, spread out the stems and shake a little to loosen the product and get air flowing through the bunch.
Baby’s Breath Centerpiece setting up.
Large Baby’s Breath Design for Church Altar.
Side view of Altar Baby’s Breath Designs.
Baby’s Breath Accents Bridesmaid’s Bouquet along with Dusty Miller, White Mini Calla Lily, Lisianthus and Misty Blue.
Baby’s Breath boutonniere.
(At left above, Baby’s Breath accents grandmother’s corsage. (At right above), Baby’s Breath cocktail table design in smaller vases that are similar to the tall vases used on the dining tables in the reception area so the theme is complete.
Types of Baby’s Breath
One of our preferred vendors in Los Angeles, Mayesh, features eight different kinds of Gypsophila. Here are our descriptions of some we’ve worked with in the past.
- Million Star New to the market, Million Star features many, many small delicate blooms on each stem and its strong stem structure makes separating stems much easier. It’s higher price largely reflects the cost of royalties which growers must pay to the breeder.
- Mirabella Larger blooms than Million Star, Mirabella is a new variety being introduced as an alternative to New Love, Mirabella has strong stems and very bright, pure white blooms. Mirabella is a more pest resistant variety, requiring less pesticides and is being marketed as a more “environmentally friendly” gyp.
- New Love This new “Perfecta-like” variety from the breeder Danziger in Israel boasts whiter blooms, “Million Star” stem structure, easier stem separation and up to 20% longer vase life.
- Overtime New extra large bloomed variety of Gyp from Esmeralda Farms.
- Perfecta The long-standing staple white filler of the floral industry. Perfecta has largely been replaced starting in 2010 by New Love and Mirabella by most growers.
Other Baby’s Breath Designs
by Casey Schwartz
We touched on white flowers two years ago in a our January 2011 floral newsletter as they are so appropriate to design with in winter. Most of the Northern Hemisphere is chilly, and snow can be seen throughout this zone. Even here in Southern California I could see the snow capped San Gabriel Mountains which are the back drop of downtown Los Angeles and they looked so pretty. Therefore, we are going to feature white flowers again this month and go a little more in depth than we did back in 2011. Happy Winter!
Winter wonderland wedding: A white and sliver bridal bouquet we made in December using white Hydrangea, white spray roses, white mini Calla Lilies, Dusty Miller and silvery Brunia berries.
Pure as the driven snow, white flowers are full of impact and come in all shapes and sizes. The traditional rose, moppy Hydrangea, tropical Anthurium and the wild garden look of Veronicas all come in shades of white.
White Vendela Roses are a go-to creamy large-headed and hardy rose suitable for any occasion.
There is no risk of clashing when all types of white flowers are combined to give a textured arctic landscape. Some of our students are not sure what goes together when starting out in floral design. We suggest white. Go with all white, you can not mess that up. White is not really a color, but reflects color, and white does go well with any color. Green is a good add-in option, or silver, or pink. Just one more color to white is lovely.
White Roses and White Spray Roses accented with dark blue Delphinium are great partners in this bridesmaid bouquet.
White Roses and Orchids were our suggested flowers for this destination wedding we created in St. John, USVI.
White Phalenopsis Orchids make this wedding gazebo elegantly wonderful.
White Ranunculus used to be only available in the springtime, but now we see them almost all year long!
When bunched together, white Carnations look like one massive bloom. But be careful using these in a design for someone from some cultures as they associate white Carnations with death.
White Anthurium will be the star flower in our January 19th Floral Design Class at our studio in Torrance. Learn how to join it with orchids and Calla Lilies to make a long-lasting elegant design for the New Year!
All white is really where the impact is made when it comes to floral designs during the wintertime. Wedding bouquets that are all white are breathtaking. A winter white theme wedding sets that winter wonderland feeling. A fresh blanket of snow is calming and pristine, so is a perfectly arranged combo of white flowers.
White Hydrangea is always available and always wonderful! Learn how to keep it looking that way in this month’s floral tool feature: Quick Dip®.
White flowers will glow in a dark room, so if your event is going to have low lighting, go light or white to be able to see the flowers as the sun goes down and the votives start to glow. This is also true in a summer garden, as dusk falls, the white flowers, maybe Impatiens or Petunias will look like little lights in the garden. Let it glow, let it glow, let it glow and join us for our Winter White Floral Design Class where we indeed mix a variety of white flowers to create a lovely, pure as the driven snow arrangement.
Pictured at left is a small boutonniere for a gentleman made with yellow button mums and green trick dianthus.
Casey Schwartz of Flower Duet has appeared on Public Television’s Creative Living with Sheryl Borden the past two seasons and returned to Portales, New Mexico to film another set of five shows for the 2012-2013 season.
This month, we feature a video on how to wire basic flowers. You can use this technique as the start for boutonnieres, corsages, hair wreaths and even the occaisional floral dog collar!
Subscribe to our YouTube channel: fashioningflowers so you’ll know when we’ve uploaded a new show of our own!
Bringing Nature Home: Floral Arrangements Inspired by Nature by Ngoc Minh Ngo
Kit spotted this book at Crate and Barrel during her holiday shopping and thought is was a beautiful book to add to our growing floral library. This book is again on the bandwagon of using flowers, branches, grasses and other foraged items from the area in your own garden or close to your home.
While we purchase many flowers and bunches of greenery from our local Los Angeles Floral District and love the variety of blooms and foliage we can obtain there, we know that not everyone has this type of selection available. So, this book is for those of you who have a wonderful selection of flowers and foliage right outside your door (yes, even in winter). You can make these designs with flowers you can grow or trade with your neighbor.
Here is a snippet from Amazon.com:
“Unlike most flower-arrangement books, which rely on expensive and often nonseasonal flowers from florists, Bringing Nature Home presents an alternative that is in line with the “back to nature” movement. This is the first volume to showcase how to be inspired by nature’s seasonal bounty and bring that nature into the home through floral arrangements.”
When most of us think of a “quick dip,” we think of a swim in the pool or whipping up some sour cream and onion soup mix. As much as I love both, I have certainly come to truly love and appreciate the Quick Dip® 100 made by Floralife®. Since Kit and I at Flower Duet are all about long lasting arrangements, this item has become a staple in our supplies. Sitting along side the Floral-life Flower Food, I found that I grabbed the quick dip as often as the flower food this past year.
It is a ready mixed solution that super hydrates flowers, reduces bent neck and droopy stems, wilting and encourages quick water intake. Many of the flowers we order in bulk, which means they have been traveling in boxes and are most likely out of water completely. Our job is to rehydrate them.
Besides having our water bins ready for the flowers with flower food, the best in between step is a quick dip in the Quick Dip® 100.
The process :
- Pour some into a separate cup.
- Give the stem a clean cut at an angle.
- Dip into a cup of the solution for 1-2 seconds.
- Continue their path to the floral food enriched water.
- Let sit for an hour or two to regain strength before arranging.
Who benefits the most besides our clients and our reputation, the flowers of course!
We have had many weddings this past year which included Garden Roses and Hydrangea. Both are challenging, and both benefitted from the Quick Dip® 100
Video Demo from Quick Dip – Japan
I first saw this video about a year ago and think it really demonstrates the qualities of this florist tool. You don’t need to read the Japenese to understand how the product works.
Click image below to watch video
The most notable event in using quick dip was this summer when I had created five Hydrangea wedding bouquets on the hottest August afternoon in Newport Beach. They were out of water for more than six hours by the time they were carried down the aisle and they looked as full and perky as they did when I had handed them over to the bride. It’s best not to skip a step if you are going to work with flowers that need to last. Order your Quick Dip® 100.
Read study published by the maker of the product: Efficacy Test on Floralife Quick Dip®
Hydrangea Treated with Quick Dip® after one whole week. Was out of water all day (during a wedding) and it still lasted through the week with no drooping or brown spots with just a clean cut of the stem and back into a fresh vase.