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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.

Winter White Flowers

Hydrangeas and Ranun­cu­lus blooms make up this sim­ple vase design that is great for a win­ter white flo­ral dis­play. Flow­ers by Flower Duet. Pho­to by Kit Wertz.

August Floral News

A Trip Back in Time — Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello Flower Garden

Pho­tos and Sto­ry by Casey Cole­man Schwartz


Casey’s sons Will and Sam gaze out a win­dow of the his­toric home of Thomas Jef­fer­son, Mon­ti­cel­lo, locat­ed near Char­lottesville, Vir­ginia. Pho­to by Casey Cole­man Schwartz.

Dur­ing the sum­mer, 240 years ago, our nation was evolv­ing and stretch­ing its legs and get­ting a good foot­ing in what was con­sid­ered the New World. As we con­tin­ue to shift and adjust to mod­ern times as a coun­try to con­tin­u­al­ly gain new foot­ing and new per­spec­tives, my two sons and I trav­eled with my mom back in time to one of our most famous found­ing father’s homes.

On our vaca­tion to Vir­ginia, we vis­it­ed Thomas Jef­fer­son­’s estate, Mon­ti­cel­lo, which means “lit­tle moun­tain.”  We dis­cov­ered more about the man who served as our third Pres­i­dent, U.S. Ambas­sador to France and as the main author of the Dec­la­ra­tion of Inde­pen­dence. He was also an inven­tor, archi­tect, farmer, lin­guist and ama­teur botanist.

The veg­etable gar­dens and flower beds on the grounds today reflect much of what he plant­ed and grew over 200 years ago.  He was pas­sion­ate about many things and found every­thing inter­est­ing. “There is not a sprig of grass that shoots unin­ter­est­ing to me,” Thomas Jef­fer­son wrote to his daugh­ter in 1790.

Dur­ing Jefferson’s time, his daugh­ters and grand­daugh­ters cared for the flower gar­dens and the smooth lev­el lawn was a favorite place for the chil­dren to play.

Upon clos­er inspec­tion of the flower gar­dens at Mon­ti­cel­lo, I was amazed to see that we use many of the same flow­ers in our mod­ern sum­mer bou­quets. As I strolled through the gar­dens, I wished to myself that I had a cut­ting gar­den this vast and love­ly. Accord­ing to the his­to­ri­ans at Mon­ti­cel­lo, Jef­fer­son grew over 105 vari­eties of herba­ceous flow­ers. Here are some of the flow­ers that caught our eyes dur­ing our vis­it.

Cockscomb Celosia

Thomas Jef­fer­son not­ed the plant­i­ng of seeds of “Cockscomb, a flower like the Prince’s feath­er” in 1767. In 1811, Jef­fer­son wrote McMa­hon: “I have an exten­sive flower bor­der, in which I am fond of plac­ing hand­someplants or fra­grant. Those of mere curios­i­ty I do not aim at.” When we use a Cockscomb flower in a flo­ral design, we are often asked what that flower is by admir­ers … so we would argue that it is still a plant of curios­i­ty. The exact geo­graph­ic ori­gins of all types of Celosia in the wild are unknown, although spec­u­la­tions include the dry slopes of Africa and India as well as dry stony regions of both North and South Amer­i­ca. Wher­ev­er they first came from, we have been grow­ing and enjoy­ing them in the Unit­ed States since Jef­fer­son­’s time.


Cockscomb Celosia in front of Mon­ti­cel­lo on a hot sum­mer day in 2016. Pho­to by Casey Cole­man Schwartz.

Globe Amaranth

Globe Ama­ranth (Gom­phre­na glo­bosa) is native to Cen­tral Amer­i­ca and does well as pol­li­na­tor plants for bees and but­ter­flies. Often nick­named Clover, these cut­ting flow­ers come in a range of pinks, pur­ple and white and work well as dried plants. To dry the stems, har­vest and tie stems togeth­er after remov­ing the leaves and hang upside down in a cool, dry place.

Globe Amaranth or Clover Flower

Three dif­fer­ent col­ors of Globe Ama­ranth cov­er the flower beds at Mon­ti­cel­lo. We call these flow­ers “clover.” Pho­to by Casey Cole­man Schwartz.

Black Eyed Susans

Black Eyed Susan (Rud­beck­ia hir­ta) is a favorite native peren­ni­al wild­flower which grows in open mead­ows and sun­ny sites through­out east­ern North Amer­i­ca. Its bright-yel­low blooms attract but­ter­flies and are use­ful as cut flow­ers. Black-eyed Susan plants require min­i­mal care dur­ing the fall and win­ter. Old flow­ers left on the plants form seed heads.

Black Eyed Susan in full bloom at Monticello

Black Eyed Susan flow­ers were locat­ed on the West Lawn of Mon­ti­cel­lo. Pho­to by Casey Cole­man Schwartz.


Strawflower was intro­duced from Aus­tralia to Eng­land in 1799. It is also known as Ever­last­ing Flower for the long-lived col­or of its flow­ers when dried. A half-hardy annu­al that with­stands light frosts, it offers a wide selec­tion of col­ors, rang­ing from sil­very pas­tel pink and white to fiery red and rusty, ter­ra­cot­ta brown. We love using these in sum­mer and fall bou­quets.

Straw Flower

Strawflow­ers cov­er part of the West Lawn flower beds at Jef­fer­son­’s home. Pho­to by Casey Cole­man Schwartz.

Amaranthus Tricolor

Jef­fer­son includ­ed the Joseph’s Coat in a ship­ment of seeds from Paris to his broth­er-in-law, Fran­cis Eppes, in 1786. The vibrant yel­low and red foliage of this bright­ly plumed ten­der annu­al pro­vides an eye-catch­ing dis­play of col­or. Its edi­ble leaves have a wal­nut-like fla­vor and can be eat­en raw in sal­ads or steamed. Joseph’s Coat grows to four feet and likes a warm, sun­ny expo­sure.

Tricolor Amaranth

Joseph’s Coat Tri­col­or Ama­ran­thus at Mon­ti­cel­lo. Pho­to by Casey Cole­man Schwartz

Echinacea — Cone Flower

In 1805 Lewis & Clark sent Jef­fer­son spec­i­mens of this plant from Fort Man­dan. They referred to it as ‘Mad Dog Plant’ in their pack­ing list and stat­ed that it is “high­ly prized by the natives as an effi­ca­cious rem­e­dy in the cas­es of the bite of the rat­tle snake or mad dog.” The pur­ple flower petals don’t last long in a cut flower arrange­ment, but the orange and black cone is a gor­geous addi­tion to an herbal wreath or gar­den bou­quet. If you want to keep the pur­ple petals on the stems, wait until the last minute to har­vest stems for your bou­quet.

Cone Flower at Monticello

Cone Flower or Echi­nacea was sent back to Jef­fer­son by Lewis and Clark. Pho­to by Casey Cole­man Schwartz.

Black Eyed Susan Vine

This annu­al vine was intro­duced to Britain from India in 1823 and was often list­ed as an ever­green climber for hot hous­es in ear­ly 19th-cen­tu­ry cat­a­logs.

The vine is includ­ed in a charm­ing book, The Par­lor Gar­den, which Jef­fer­son­’s grand­daugh­ter Cor­nelia Jef­fer­son Ran­dolph trans­lat­ed and edit­ed from French in Eng­lish and pub­lished in 1861. The book notes: “The Thun­ber­gia lays hold of any thing that is with­in its reach, with­out ever ris­ing very high. It becomes cov­ered with charm­ing flow­ers, of a fine nan­keen yel­low, set off with a black spot in the mid­dle. You find it, as well as the pas­sion-flower and the Man­dev­illes, at all the green­hous­es.”

Black Eyed Susan Vine at Monticello.

Black Eyed Susan Vine locat­ed on the Wind­ing Flower Walk at Mon­ti­cel­lo. Pho­to by Casey Cole­man Schwartz.

Rose Mallow

Jef­fer­son is not known to have grown Rose Mal­low at Mon­ti­cel­lo. How­ev­er, in his Notes on the State of Vir­ginia, he does include “Syr­i­an mal­low Hibis­cus moschen­tos” among the state’s med­i­c­i­nal plants that “would prin­ci­pal­ly attract notice.” It is an herba­ceous peren­ni­al that is native to low, marshy sites in east­ern North Amer­i­ca.




In 1808 from near­by Edge­hill, Anne Cary Ran­dolph wrote her grand­fa­ther, Thomas Jef­fer­son, that, “we have plen­ty of the two kinds of Marigolds that you gave us.” This sug­gests the French Marigold, often grown in colo­nial gar­dens, was cul­ti­vat­ed at Mon­ti­cel­lo.


Marigolds at Mon­ti­cel­lo! Pho­to by Casey Schwartz.


While Jef­fer­son took great inter­est in plants, such as sesame and olive trees, that pro­duced use­ful oils, there is no indi­ca­tion that he rec­og­nized such a ben­e­fit in the Sun­flower. His list­ing of it as one of the “Hardy peren­ni­al flow­ers” sown at Mon­ti­cel­lo in Sep­tem­ber 1771, seems to show that he grew it for its large and strik­ing flower, a qual­i­ty that keeps it in orna­men­tal gar­dens today.


Sun­flow­ers are native to North Amer­i­ca. Here is a mas­sive bloom at Jef­fer­son­’s Mon­ti­cel­lo locat­ed in the Veg­etable Gar­den. Pho­to by Casey Cole­man Schwartz.

Botany I rank with the most valu­able sci­ence, whether we con­sid­er its sub­jects as fur­nish­ing the prin­ci­pal sub­sis­tence of life to man & beast, deli­cious vari­eties for our tables, refresh­ments from our orchards, the adorn­ments of our flower-bor­ders, shade and per­fume of our groves, mate­ri­als for our build­ings or medica­ments for our bod­ies,” wrote Thomas Jef­fer­son to Thomas Coop­er on Octo­ber 7, 1814.
“No occu­pa­tion is so delight­ful to me as the cul­ture of the earth, and no cul­ture com­pa­ra­ble to that of the garden…But though an old man, I am but a young gar­den­er.” — Jef­fer­son to Charles W. Peale, August 20, 1811.

Día De Los Muertos Flowers at The City Club Los Angeles

Pho­tos, Flow­ers and Sto­ry by Kit Wertz


We are often invit­ed to show­case our tal­ents for an indus­try event or to help pro­mote an event venue and last month we cre­ate a fes­ti­val of flow­ers for an evening at an exclu­sive club in down­town Los Ange­les. At City Club LA, we worked with Events by Hol­ly Gray and 3Wishes PR to pro­mote the fan­tas­tic event space of the City Club LA as well as amaz­ing food by Chef Sebas­t­ian Heil.

We worked close­ly with Hol­ly to cre­ate flo­ral designs and mini cac­tus gar­dens to align with her theme burnt sien­na, fuch­sia and teal col­ors. Our flower palette took its cues from the tra­di­tion­al Latin Amer­i­can Día de los Muer­tos — or Day of the Dead cel­e­bra­tions which are held on Novem­ber 1st. Día de los Muer­tos hon­ors the dead with fes­ti­vals and live­ly cel­e­bra­tions, a typ­i­cal­ly Latin Amer­i­can cus­tom that com­bines indige­nous Aztec rit­u­al with Catholi­cism, brought to the region by Span­ish con­quis­ta­dores.

The Fies­ta in the Sky was host­ed by City Club LA, Chef Sebas­t­ian Heil and 3 Wish­es PR. Here are all the won­der­ful ven­dors who spon­sored the event and sup­plied their tal­ents and wares for this fab­u­lous sum­mer evening:
Event design by Hol­ly Gray
Food: Chef Sabas­t­ian Heil
Flo­rals: Flower Duet
Pho­tog­ra­phy: Joan Fuller Pho­tog­ra­phy
Video: Mis­sion Visu­al
DJ: Senor Amor
Live Enter­tain­ment: The Repli­cas Music
Rentals: CMC Event Rentals
Vin­tage Fur­ni­ture: Nineteen27 Vin­tage
Light­ing by: Pacif­ic Event Light­ing
Paper Flow­ers: The Bleu Dahlia
Hair & Make­up: faceit­sug­ar
Menus & Paper: Cecile’s Paper Co.
Papal Pic­a­do: MesaChic Par­ties
Pho­to Booth: The Booth & Bus Co.
Dessert Design: Two’s A Par­ty
Desserts: Baked Goods Unlim­it­ed

Here are the flo­ral designs for the event that we cre­at­ed in our stu­dio and Kit styled on site for the din­ner. We used Cras­pe­dia, Marigolds, Asters, Dahlias, Spray Ros­es, Bougainvil­lea, Cockscomb and Plumosa Celosia, Ger­ber Daisies, Pineap­ple, Fire­crack­er, Pro­tea, Leu­ca­den­dron, Rus­cus and Camel­lia leaves. We also cre­at­ed mini cac­tus gar­dens as part of the tablescape designs.

Summer Wedding featuring a Floral Hair Wreath

Flow­ers by Flower Duet 

Pho­tos by Gina Cel­la Pho­tog­ra­phy

Here is a flash­back to last sum­mer for a wed­ding at Sad­dle Rock Ranch in Mal­ibu. We cre­at­ed a love­ly two piece hair wreath out of wax flower and spray ros­es in which the bride wore both pieces for her cer­e­mo­ny and just the rear flo­ral hair wreath for the recep­tion.


Flower Duet’s two piece hair wreath which the bride wore for the cer­e­mo­ny looks like a full flo­ral crown. Flower Duet Flo­rals. Pho­to by Gina Cel­la.


Flower Duet’s two piece hair wreath the bride wore for the cer­e­mo­ny looks like a full flo­ral crown from the back view as well — a nice com­ple­ment to her dress detail. Flower Duet Flo­rals. Pho­to by Gina Cel­la.


For the recep­tion, the bride’s for­ward part of Flower Duet’s hair wreath was removed and just the rear part of the “crown” was left for dra­mat­ic effect. Flower Duet Flo­rals. Pho­to by Gina Cel­la.

Casa Del Mar Ballroom Wedding

Flow­ers by Flower Duet

Here is a love­ly wed­ding inside a great venue in San­ta Mon­i­ca. Sim­ple and ele­gant Chup­pah by Lev­el Wed­dings and Events with our flo­rals.


Casa Del Mar Hotel Ball­room. Casey stands by as Kit’s takes a pho­to! Pho­to by Kit Wertz. Flow­ers by Flower Duet.


Casa Del Mar Hotel Ball­room ceil­ing: Flower Duet’s Chup­pah decor close­up fea­tures hydrangea, spray ros­es, rus­cus and peach hyper­icum berries. Pho­to by Kit Wertz. Flow­ers by Flower Duet.


Pale peach ros­es stand out in a bed of hydrangea, rus­cus, tree fern and has a fun accent of green Cym­bid­i­um orchids in this wed­ding cen­ter­piece at The Casa Del Mar Hotel. Pho­to by Kit Wertz. Flow­ers by Flower Duet.

Flower Book Recommendations

By Flower Duet


Mason Jar Sal­ads is a book that caught Casey’s eye at the Mon­ti­cel­lo gift shop.

Mason Jar Salads

While Casey and her sons were at Mon­ti­cel­lo last month, they stopped at the gift shop and these books stood out. The first was called Mason Jar Sal­ads and More: 50 Lay­ered Lunch­es to Grab and Go by Julia Mirabella.Discover the coolest way to pack a tasty, healthy lunch!


Mason Jar Sal­ads and More shows how to pre­pare on-the-go meals that are packed with fresh pro­duce and whole foods.The tasty recipes and gor­geous full-col­or pho­tos in this book will show you how to cre­ate amaz­ing dish­es, includ­ing:
•Pome­gran­ate and pear sal­ad
•Pesto tortelli­ni with cher­ry toma­toes
•Crunchy Asian sal­ad
•Spinach, blue­ber­ry and blue cheese sal­ad
•Cur­ried chick­en sal­ad
•Kale and avo­ca­do sal­ad
•Porci­ni mush­room risot­to
•Overnight oat­meal with fruit
•Green bean and feta sal­ad”

Thomas Jefferson’s Flower Garden at Monticello


Thomas Jef­fer­son­’s Flower Gar­den at Mon­ti­cel­lo


The restora­tion of the flower gar­dens at Mon­ti­cel­lo in 1941, spon­sored by the Gar­den Club of Vir­ginia, was the result of Edwin Betts’s schol­ar­ly research and Hazle­hurst Perkin­s’s prac­ti­cal gar­den­ing skills. Thomas Jef­fer­son­’s Flower Gar­den at Mon­ti­cel­lo presents the evo­lu­tion of Jef­fer­son­’s orna­men­tal gar­den­ing efforts with an analy­sis of the flower gar­dens as they were planned, plant­ed, and ulti­mate­ly restored.No ear­ly Amer­i­can gar­dens were as well-doc­u­ment­ed as those at Mon­ti­cel­lo, which became an exper­i­men­tal sta­tion, a botan­ic gar­den of new and unusu­al plants from around the world. Betts and Perkins com­mu­ni­cate here the nature and sources of Jef­fer­son­’s intel­li­gent ven­ture into orna­men­tal gar­den­ing.

The third edi­tion of Thomas Jef­fer­son­’s Flower Gar­den at Mon­ti­cel­lo by Peter J. Hatch includes a revised plant list, anno­ta­tion of the more than 100 species cul­ti­vat­ed in the flower gar­den, and new illus­tra­tions.”


From a Colo­nial Gar­den offers ideas on how to dec­o­rate and cook from a time close to Jef­fer­son­’s.

From a Colonial Garden: Ideas, Decorations and Recipes writes:

Colo­nial Williams­burg’s renowned gar­dens have always played a major role in the life of the town. Their beau­ty and boun­ty inspired From a Colo­nial Gar­den by Susan Hight Roun­tree . The author har­vests a wealth of clear­ly writ­ten and illus­trat­ed enter­tain­ing and dec­o­rat­ing how-to’s and recipes from these famous gar­dens. From a Colo­nial Gar­den, with its myr­i­ad of ideas, deserves a spe­cial place on the book­shelf of any host, host­ess, or gar­den­er.”

Flower Tool: Waterproof Floral Tape for the Grid Method

By Kit Wertz

Grid Method Floral Design

Here is a flo­ral design Kit taught to a group which fea­tured the “grid method” as a way to hold the stems in place. Pho­to by Kit Wertz.

Green waterproof floral tape

Green water­proof flo­ral tape

A few weeks ago, I taught a group of preschool Moms how to make a flo­ral design using sum­mer hydrangea and gar­den ros­es along with some care­ful­ly placed umbrel­la ferns in a low cylin­der glass vase (see above pho­to).

There are a few tricks to keep the stems in place even though this type of con­tain­er has a large open­ing and short height.

Clear waterproof tape works well for glass vases

Clear water­proof tape works well for glass vas­es

The trick is to cre­ate a grid of water­proof flo­ral tape across the top of the con­tain­er and then fill it with water before you start plac­ing your stems into the design. The key is to put the tape on when the con­tain­er is still dry.

The big “ah-ha” moment for every­one in the class was the type of tape we used to cre­ate the grid. It needs to be a spe­cial water­proof tape that is made for the flo­ral design indus­try. Oasis is a brand we use and you can pur­chase it at a flo­ral sup­ply store or online. We use clear tape when cre­at­ing grids for glass vas­es and the white or green tape when secur­ing flo­ral foam into con­tain­ers that won’t show the tape as eas­i­ly.

Clear Tape by Oasis
Green Tape by Oasis

How to create a tall arrangement using the Grid Method

Casey appeared in a great video with Sheryl Bor­den of Cre­ative Liv­ing TV a few years ago on how to design with this method.

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Flower Duet Online Floral Design Classes

In-Person Floral Design Classes

Class­es are usu­al­ly in per­son. Here is our 2020 Sched­ule*

*May’s class will be a hybrid where stu­dents will get their flow­ers for class at our curb­side pick­up, watch pre-record­ed videos for the les­son, then meet via Zoom with Kit & Casey.

Saturday Flower Arranging Classes & Optional Flower Mart Tours:

  • Jan­u­ary 11, 2020 — White Botan­i­cals
  • Feb­ru­ary 8, 2020 — Flo­ral Gift Box­es
  • March 21, 2020 — Wav­ing Ranun­cu­lus — Can­celled (California’s #SaferAtH­ome)
  • April 18, 2020 — Tremen­dous Tulips Can­celled (California’s #SaferAtH­ome)
  • May 16, 2020 — Pock­et Full of Posies — Will be held through Video Con­fer­ence
  • June 13, 2020 — Ros­es + Peonies 
  • July 18, 2020 — Trop­i­cal Flow­ers
  • August 22, 2020 — Hap­py Dahlias
  • Sep­tem­ber 19, 2020 — Antiqued Flow­ers
  • Octo­ber 17, 2020 — Pump­kin Crafts
  • Novem­ber 21, 2020 — Fall Flow­ers for Cel­e­brat­ing
  • Decem­ber 12, 2020 — Hol­i­day Flo­ral Wreaths

Wednesday Night Wedding Series Workshops:

  • Jan­u­ary 22, 2020 – Bou­quet & Bou­ton­nière
  • Feb­ru­ary 26, 2020 – Cen­ter­piece & Table Accents
  • May 20, 2020 – Bou­quet & Bou­ton­nière — Will be held through Video Con­fer­ence
  • June 24, 2020 – Cen­ter­piece & Table Accents
  • Sep­tem­ber 23, 2020 – Bou­quet & Bou­ton­nière
  • Octo­ber 21, 2020 – Cen­ter­piece & Table Accents
Book a Class