February 2018 Newsletter

///February 2018 Newsletter
February 2018 Newsletter2019-01-21T17:47:44+00:00

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We send out a month­ly newslet­ter — It’s free and has great flower arrang­ing ideas and tips includ­ing our upcom­ing flo­ral work­shop list, flo­ral design book reviews, how-tos, and more. We send it out each month and don’t share our mail­ing list with any­one.

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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 tooltips.

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

Kit Wertz and Casey Schwartz, the sis­ter design team of Flower Duet, have been 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.

February 2018 News

How to Make Your Own Kokedama Ball Designs

Flower Duet and an Art Installation

By Casey Schwartz

Kokedama by Flower Duet

Flower Duet cre­at­ed this set of Kokedama balls for a spe­cial event. Pho­to by Casey Schwartz

Kokedama trans­lates sim­ply from Japan­ese to Eng­lish as Moss Ball and is also adapt­ed from the bet­ter-known Japan­ese plant­i­ng tech­nique, Bon­sai.

Kyoto Kokedama Dis­play (Source: Wikipedia)

Late last year, Flower Duet was con­tact­ed to assist in cre­at­ing an event show­case to cel­e­brate Den­im Art for a Turk­ish Den­im company’s 30 year anniver­sary.

Since the event was going to be in Los Ange­les, Flower Duet was request­ed to help the Kokedama design­er who would be trav­el­ing from Italy along with her crew from Turkey. We were orig­i­nal­ly going to only help source the Kokedama mate­ri­als in Los Ange­les, but trav­el plans changed and so we were again request­ed to help even fur­ther to recre­ate the designer’s vision for her and then install it for the event.

Early Introduction to Japanese Culture

We have long admired the ancient botan­i­cal prac­tices of Bon­sai & Ike­bana. After all, our par­ents were mar­ried in Japan, our broth­er was born in Japan and so we feel an affec­tion and con­nec­tion to this cul­ture. We won­dered to our­selves, “Could we make an Arty-Mossy Japan­ese Ball whose ori­gins dat­ed back to the ear­ly 1600s?” Our response was,  “You Bet.” Or to put it into Google Trans­late for Japan­ese: あなたは賭ける (Ana­ta-wa-kakeru).

Coleman Family Japan 1964

Our par­ents pic­tured with our big broth­er in Japan in the back­yard gar­den of their house in Iwaku­ni cir­ca 1964. Our broth­er was born in Japan and our fam­i­ly shares a deep con­nec­tion to the peo­ple and its cul­ture. Pho­to: Fam­i­ly Archive

Tra­di­tion­al Kokedama is made with a com­bi­na­tion of soils includ­ing some­thing called “Akadama.” The Akadama is clay which has pores to hold water, but also pro­motes drainage so there is no root rot. It also helps to keep the plant hydrat­ed longer since it is usu­al­ly sus­pend­ed to cre­ate a hang­ing gar­den.

Our dis­play for the den­im com­pa­ny event was serv­ing a short life of only one day, so we did not add the Akadama to the 20 Kokedama. Our chal­lenge was to build these orbs in a man­ner that would hold the soil, not drip water, and allow us to weave long strips of frayed den­im on to the out­side.

Trial, Error & Success

Aluminum Wire Spheres

Dec­o­ra­tive Alu­minum Wire Spheres — We used these for the small­er Kokedama plant but were not able to pur­chase the large ones we need­ed for the cus­tom sizes.

After find­ing a very expen­sive pre-made Kokedama Kit at our local plant nurs­ery and then brain­storm­ing with Kit on how to exe­cute it on a more eco­nom­i­cal scale, Kit had sug­gest­ed we use wired dec­o­ra­tive spheres made for the flo­ral indus­try which were per­fect for stuff­ing in moss and then insert­ing a small plant. It was an auto­mat­ic ball shape that we sim­ply cov­ered with moss and then secured with the twine.

But we also need­ed ten larg­er ver­sions that were cus­tom sized and we could not pur­chase any pre-made wire balls. We need­ed to invent frame that would hold up.

First, we tried to make a few wire balls in a larg­er size, but this proved to take too long.

Back at the draw­ing board, I pulled a mem­o­ry of when I was in Girl Scouts in ele­men­tary school and made string balls with water-thinned glue over an inflat­ed bal­loon. I knew that once we let it the glue-soaked string dry and then popped the bal­loon, the string ball would stay in a round shape.

So, we set to work with this plan to make our remain­ing ten Kokedama frames from twine, glue, and bal­loons!

Frist Attempt

Our first attempt end­ed up with the wrong twine, not enough dry­ing time. Pho­to by Casey Schwartz

We had just two attempts that didn’t work due to not enough glue, and using the wrong type of twine which did not absorb the glue mix prop­er­ly.

2nd Attempt

Our 2nd attempt was not enough glue to water mix. Pho­to by Casey Schwartz

We arrived at the cor­rect ratio of glue to absorb­ing twine and let it set for 24 hours on the test bal­loon. Suc­cess!!!

Kokedama Balls

Our 3rd attempt was the charm of a per­fect glue ratio, twine choice and dry­ing time! Pho­to by Casey Schwartz

Flower Duet's Kokedama frames!

Here the fin­ished frames for our Kokedama! Pho­to by Casey Schwartz

After our twine-ball Kokedama frames were dry and ready, we added some dry Sphag­num moss to the frames — fill­ing the inte­ri­or walls and leav­ing space in the mid­dle for the plant’s roots and a bit of soil.

We then pulled the plants we pro­cured for our local whole­sale nurs­ery from their pots and left a lit­tle dirt on the roots. We wrapped damp­ened moss around the plants. and insert­ed them into the pre­pared twine spheres which already had moss in them.

With this tech­nique, we did not even need to add any addi­tion­al twine on the out­side. The gaps we left when wrap­ping were per­fect to weave in the den­im strips. We were set. All twen­ty were com­plet­ed in no time!

Kokedama installation half way by Flower Duet

Here is the struc­ture pro­vid­ed by the event team. We had hung about half of the Kokedama at this stage. Pho­to by Casey Schwartz.

Tall installation

The ceil­ings were high which helped make this instal­la­tion quite dra­mat­ic. Pho­to by Casey Schwartz

Randy hangs Kokedama

Casey’s hus­band Randy helped with the hang­ing of the fin­ished spheres. Pho­to by Casey Schwartz

Kokedama installation

Here is the final prod­uct: “Blue Lev­i­ta­tion” as exe­cut­ed by Flower Duet’s team. Pho­to by Casey Schwartz

All we had left to do was head to a ware­house-sized pent­house of a down­town venue over­look­ing the Sta­ples Cen­ter in Los Ange­les and hang them from a height of 10 feet…..with a vari­ety of lengths with fish­ing line.  Our instal­la­tion took a mere three hours and the design­er from Italy gave us her hap­py approval.

Kokedama final

Final look at the event.

We are so pleased to have this won­der­ful and ancient, yet mod­ern­ized tech­nique in our design port­fo­lio and delight­ed to share that we are going to be cre­at­ing more Kokedama in the near future for a new event. Stay tuned!

How to Make Traditional Kokedama

DIY Kokedama

Our first ver­sion we sent to the design­er for approval before mak­ing the addi­tion­al spheres. You can make these too! Pho­to by Casey Schwartz

Sup­plies Need­ed:

  • Plant
  • Sheet Moss (liv­ing sheet moss is more authen­tic; if you don’t have it, you can use Sphag­num Moss)
  • Sphag­num Moss
  • Peat Moss
  • Akadama (Bon­sai Pot­ting Soil Mix)
  • Weed Bar­ri­er Cloth (Option­al: not tra­di­tion­al)
  • Cot­ton Twine
  • Scissors/Shears
Kokedama on a tray

While they are nor­mal­ly used as hang­ing gar­dens, Kokedama make a fun dis­play on a tray, too. Pho­to by Casey Schwartz

Steps to a Lovely Kokedama

1 — Choose a plant that will work well! It must work well in the envi­ron­ment where it will be dis­played for exam­ple. Shade-tol­er­ant plants like ferns, ivy or pothos are a good choice to start.

2 — Use the right soil mix. Use a 7:3 ratio of peat moss and the Akadama (bon­sai soil). Mix and then add water slow­ly to make a paste-like mud which can be shaped into a ball. If you have the right com­bi­na­tion, it’s almost like clay. Set aside the mud ball.

3 — Soak your moss, then wring it out so its damp but not drip­ping.

4 — Pull the plant out of its pot and expose some of the roots while remov­ing a bit of soil. Wrap a lit­tle moss around the exposed roots of the plant. Secure with a lit­tle cot­ton twine, this will even­tu­al­ly biode­grade. Set aside this moss ball/plant and go back to your mud ball.

5 — Care­ful­ly cre­ate an indent in the top of the mud ball to allow your plant’s new­ly wrapped roots to fit inside. (OR  — if the root ball is quite large, try break­ing the mud ball in half, place the root ball on one half and then replace the oth­er half of the ball and shape.) Place the plant’s roots/moss into the inden­ta­tion of the mud ball. If you are strug­gling to keep the ball intact, you could cut a small square of weed bar­ri­er cloth to hold the entire ball togeth­er. Bind the cloth with a bit of twine at the base of the plant and trim the loose ends of the weed bar­ri­er (NOTE: Using the weed bar­ri­er is not tra­di­tion­al.)

6 — Select large sec­tions of the damp sheet moss and press them around the ball of your plant. Cov­er the dirt ful­ly. Start by wrap­ping the twine around the moss ball once and tie in a knot to secure it in place. Con­tin­ue to wrap around the ball up and down until it looks nice and feels secure. Set it on a dis­play tray or tie 3–4 lengths of twine to hang it from a hook or fence.

7 — To main­tain your ball, mist dai­ly and soak the entire ball week­ly.

8 — As the plant grows, you’ll need to take it apart to “re-pot” it into a new Kokedama!

Here is a pret­ty tuto­r­i­al from the ladies of BLOOM.

Or… watch the steps in a video by Bet­ter Homes and Gar­dens on How to Keep your Kokedamas alive.


Flower Duet’s Online Flower Arranging Classes Feature Lilacs, Orchids & Tulips this Month!

Students Are Signing Up for Our New Online Courses

Flower Arranging Fridays!

Kit is the instruc­tor for this week’s Flower Arrang­ing Fri­day class on Lilacs! These can be tricky flow­ers to work with.…watch the free pre­view to learn why!

We are Kit and Casey, the sis­ter design team and founders of Flower Duet in Los Ange­les. Wel­come!

Because Flower Duet is a flo­ral design stu­dio spe­cial­iz­ing in cus­tom wed­ding and event flow­ers in Los Ange­les AND we’ve taught flower arrang­ing to thou­sands of stu­dents over the past 18 years, we HAVE the flo­ral chops to show you just how it’s done.

We’ve built our own cer­e­mo­ny struc­tures, flo­ral ani­mals, designed a field-to-vase din­ner on a work­ing flower farm and more. We cus­tom pick our flow­ers by walk­ing the flower mar­kets, talk­ing to the local grow­ers and by order­ing fan­tas­tic flo­ral prod­ucts from our won­der­ful ven­dors from around the world.

Online Flower Arranging Classes

A selec­tion of the class­es we’ve uploaded for our online cours­es!

We per­form every task in our flo­ral busi­ness from mar­ket­ing to sales pitch­es to clean­ing water buck­ets, to design­ing and you can ben­e­fit from our exper­tise and unmatched expe­ri­ence. We’ve launched hun­dreds of flo­ral careers and we can help you to launch yours!

We post new class­es every week! Sign up today for your month­ly sub­scrip­tion!


Slow Flowers Summit 2018: Flower Duet Tapped to Speak at 2nd Annual Event

Event to Coincide with AIFD Annual Conference in Washington, D.C.

Slow Flowers Summit

What is the Slow Flow­ers Sum­mit?

Called a “TED Talk for Flower Lovers,” the SUMMIT is a one-day lec­ture series for cre­ative pro­fes­sion­als, thought lead­ers and pio­neer­ing voic­es in the pro­gres­sive Amer­i­can-grown flo­ral com­mu­ni­ty. Designed to stim­u­late curios­i­ty, exam­ine con­ven­tion­al assump­tions and explore con­scious and eth­i­cal prac­tices in the flo­ral indus­try, the Sum­mit agen­da asks speak­ers and audi­ence mem­bers alike to inquire, inform, include, insti­gate and inspire.

Debra Prinz­ing devel­oped the SUMMIT as a new “live” com­po­nent to the Amer­i­can Flow­ers Week cam­paign (June 28-July 4). AFW devotes a week of activ­i­ty via events and social media plat­forms to pro­mote domes­tic flow­ers, raise con­sumer aware­ness and unite America’s flower farm­ers with the U.S. flo­ral indus­try.

Kit attend­ed last year’s inau­gur­al sum­mit in Seat­tle and wrote a lengthy arti­cle about all the won­der­ful pre­sen­ters. It was a price­less day of con­nect­ing with like-mind­ed flo­ral design­ers and flower farm­ers.




JUNE 29, 2018
8 AM-5 PM
Marriott Wardman Park
Washington, D.C 20008


We are delight­ed to be involved this year with anoth­er fan­tas­tic group of design­ers and farm­ers! Here is a snap­shot of who is pre­sent­ing at The Sum­mit

2018 Slow Flowers Summit Speakers

We will be speak­ing about our busi­ness mod­el and how we blend pro­vid­ing flo­ral edu­ca­tion and design­ing event flo­rals. Here is a full list of the day’s sched­ule:

Slow Flowers Summit Schedule

In 2017, Debra Prinz­ing devel­oped the SUMMIT as a new “live” com­po­nent to the Amer­i­can Flow­ers Week cam­paign (June 28-July 4). This week devotes a vari­ety of events and activ­i­ty on social media plat­forms to pro­mote domes­tic flow­ers, raise con­sumer aware­ness and unite America’s flower farm­ers with the U.S. flo­ral indus­try.

READ MOREBehind the Scenes at the Slow Flow­ers Sum­mit 2017

The 2018 Slow Flow­ers SUMMIT is part­ner­ing with the Amer­i­can Insti­tute of Flo­ral Design­ers (AIFD), to co-locate and offer the Sum­mit as a bonus pro­gram tak­ing place the day pri­or to the start of AIFD’s Sym­po­sium. Reserve your space!

American Flowers Week — June 28 — July 4, 2018

American Flowers Week 2018
What is Amer­i­can Flow­ers Week?
Launched in 2015, AFW is a week-long cel­e­bra­tion of domes­tic flow­ers to raise con­sumer aware­ness and unite America’s flower farm­ers with the U.S. flo­ral indus­try. The dates coin­cide with Inde­pen­dence Day (June 28-July 4, 2018).

What is the pur­pose?
The goal of Amer­i­can Flow­ers Week is to engage the pub­lic, pol­i­cy­mak­ers and the media in a con­ver­sa­tion about the ori­gins of their flow­ers. As an advo­ca­cy effort, the cam­paign is timed to coin­cide with America’s Inde­pen­dence Day on July 4th, pro­vid­ing florists, retail­ers, whole­salers and flower farm­ers a patri­ot­ic oppor­tu­ni­ty to pro­mote Amer­i­can grown flow­ers.

Who can par­tic­i­pate?
Any­one who grows, designs, mar­kets, sells or just enjoys flow­ers can get involved to high­light domes­tic, local Amer­i­can-grown flow­ers. Par­tic­i­pa­tion ranges from indi­vid­ual flo­ral design­ers and flower shops to whole­salers and retail­ers. We are eager to doc­u­ment involve­ment through social media and par­tic­i­pants are encour­aged to use the hash­tag “#amer­i­can­flow­er­sweek” on Insta­gram, Twit­ter, and Face­book.

Stay tuned to our Face­book and Insta­gram pro­files to learn more about what we’ll be pre­sent­ing at this year’s Slow Flow­ers Sum­mit!

You can pur­chase tick­ets now from Eventbrite! Reserve your space!


Field to Vase Dinner Tour Dates and Farms Announced for 2018

Field to Vase Dinner by Flower Duet

The table from the tour we designed at The Flower Fields in Carls­bad, Cal­i­for­nia in 2016.

The Amer­i­can Grown Field to Vase Din­ner Tour has just launched its 2018 tour dates! We loved being a part of this incred­i­ble tour and high­ly rec­om­mend that you expe­ri­ence this award-win­ning flo­ral-focused din­ner event for your­self. Don’t wait. Take advan­tage of spe­cial tour launch pric­ing now!


It’s a new year for the love­ly and scrump­tious Amer­i­can Grown Flow­ers annu­al Field to Vase Din­ner Tour across the nation! They’ve announced their ini­tial set of farms for the year and it’s time to mark your appoint­ment cal­en­dar for the best din­ner par­ty you could ever attend!

We’ve been the flo­ral design­ers for one of these love­ly events and we’ve been guests at anoth­er and can tell you these are not to be missed!

Flower Duet Field to Vase

This din­ner is not to be missed…great food…great scenery…great flow­ers! Here is a pho­to of the din­ner we designed for in Carls­bad in 2016. This farm is fea­tured for the 4th time on the tour this year!

First Date is April at a Protea Farm in San Diego County!

You can be a design­er for this din­ner! Rene Van Rems will host a two-day work­shop where you get to help make the designs for this din­ner and then install it on the farm!

When: April 6 & 7, 2018

Where: Resendiz Flower Farm

What: Be hands-on for a flower work­shop for the din­ner tour! And enjoy a tour of the Pro­tea farm, too!

Cost: $275 plus sales tax per per­son

Learn more: Send an email to rene@renevanrems.com


Flower Books: How to Make Kokedama Books!

Hang­ing Kokedama: Cre­at­ing Pot­less Plants for the Home

Release Date: Mar 15, 2018

by Coraleigh Park­er

This book is not yet avail­able for sale (release date is March 15, 2018), so we are writ­ing about it with­out see­ing it first.

The pub­lish­er says: “Learn all about the Japan­ese art of cre­at­ing pot­less plants, known as Kokedama, from botan­i­cal extra­or­di­naire, Coraleigh Park­er.

In Hang­ing Kokedama, Coraleigh’s breath-tak­ing moss ball cre­ations, fea­tur­ing ferns, suc­cu­lents, herbs, orchids and even small trees, are sus­pend­ed in mid-air and sup­port­ed by noth­ing more than a series of strings or fish­ing lines, intri­cate­ly wrapped around a root ball.”

Kokedama: How To Cre­ate Stun­ning Kokedama Japan­ese Moss Ball Bon­sai Plants

by Takaya­ma Fuji

Here is an intrigu­ing book about the tech­nique and again, we have not seen it in per­son, but it is the right price and looks like it can give you some won­der­ful ideas on how to com­plete this look suc­cess­ful­ly!

From the pub­lish­er:

Kokedama For Begin­ners! Learn How To Cre­ate Stun­ning Kokedama Japan­ese Moss Ball Bon­sai Plants Are You Ready To Learn ALL About Japan­ese Kokedama Plants? If So You’ve Come To The Right Place… No expe­ri­ence with Kokedamas or any form of gar­den­ing for that mat­ter? No wor­ries! This book is suit­ed to the absolute begin­ner that’s look­ing to get start­ed with Kokedamas, whether this is for your own enjoy­ment and a sense of self-accom­plish­ment or per­haps even to make some extra cash as a side busi­ness… the choice is yours!”


Flower Tool: Kokedama Kit

You can skip all the glue and twine and just buy a kit to make a love­ly Kokedama! We pur­chased one of these kits to see how it was put togeth­er which helped us cre­ate our own ver­sion to make over and over again!

  • Build your own per­fect Kokedama!
  • Includes: 6″ Kokedama, twine, soil, & moss­es!
  • Long-last­ing Pre­served Moss
  • Fun to make & easy to main­tain
  • Sus­pend from a string or Place in a dish!

Cost: $29.99

Where to Pur­chase: Amazon.com or Arm­strong Gar­den Cen­ters

2019 Flower Design Classes

Flower Duet’s South­bay Stu­dio
Reg­is­ter for these class­es online. *LA Flower Mart Tours avail­able some dates also.

  • Jan­u­ary 12, 2019 — The Ele­gant Calla Lily
  • Feb­ru­ary 9, 2019 – Organ­ic Con­tain­ers
  • March 9, 2019 – Eccen­tric Emer­ald Flow­ers
  • April 20, 2019 – A Mod­ern Take on the Bas­ket of Flow­ers
  • May 11, 2019 – Tulips for Mother’s Day
  • June 15, 2019 – A Pock­et Full of Posies
  • July 20, 2019 – Large-Scale Flo­ral Design with Ros­es
  • August 17, 2019 – Too Hot Trop­i­cal Flow­ers with Orchids
  • Sep­tem­ber 14, 2019 – Suc­cu­lents & Flow­ers
  • Octo­ber 12, 2019 – Fall, Tall & Ter­rif­ic Flow­ers
  • Novem­ber 23, 2019 – Flo­rals On the Table Work­shop
  • Decem­ber 7, 2019 – Wreaths!

Wednes­day Night Wed­ding Series Work­shops:

  • Jan­u­ary 23, 2019 – Bou­quet & Bou­ton­nière
  • Feb­ru­ary 27, 2019 – Cen­ter­piece & Table Accents
  • May 22, 2019 – Bou­quet & Bou­ton­nière
  • June 26, 2019 – Cen­ter­piece & Table Accents
  • Sep­tem­ber 25, 2019 – Bou­quet & Bou­ton­nière
  • Octo­ber 23, 2019 – Cen­ter­piece & Table Accents

Hunt­ing­ton Library

Reg­is­ter for these class­es through brownpapertickets.com.

  • Jan­u­ary 19, 2019 — Herb Gar­den Flow­ers
  • March 2, 2019 — Bulb Spring Flow­ers
  • May 4, 2019 — Cin­co de Mayo Bright Flow­ers
  • June 1, 2019 — Ros­es

More in 2019 in the fall!

Autry Muse­um
Watch for Novem­ber Class in 2019!

Wedding Flowers

Fall Wedding Bouquet by Flower Duet

Flower Duet offers a gen­er­ous wed­ding pack­age includ­ing a trip to the LA Flower Mart and a mock­up design of the wed­ding vision. Check out the details on our Wed­ding Flow­ers page. If you are com­ing to the Los Ange­les area for your wed­ding, we are your Los Ange­les wed­ding des­ti­na­tion florist!