#SlowFlowersSummit 2017 in Seattle is a Hit
By Kit Wertz
Mud Baron’s Flowers On My Head at the Slow Flowers Summit in Seattle on Sunday, July 2, 2017. Selfie by Kit — assisted by the #flowersonyourhead guru, Mud Baron.
I wrote in last month’s newsletter about the first Slow Flowers Summit in Seattle put on by the champion of local flower farmers everywhere, Debra Prinzing. Because of the wonderful generosity of my sister and business partner, I was able to attend the fabulous one-day floral event.
It was a whirlwind trip to Seattle, but I managed to fit in an early morning hike to Pike Place Market for a few yummy donuts and a few equally yummy floral bouquets.
Then, I was off to the Summit held at the SURF Incubator, a Seattle professional facility that supports startups, entrepreneurs and larger companies looking for office space or meeting space in Seattle.
First…a Visit to Pike Place Market
Local farms sell floral bouquets at Pike Place in Seattle. Photo by Kit Wertz
Sweet Peas for $5 a bunch. Fragrant and pretty. Known as “delicate pleasures” in the Victorian language of flowers according to Teresa Sabankaya of Bonny Doon Garden Company. Photo by Kit Wertz
I bought this little bouquet of sweet peas, bachelor buttons, calendulas, peonies and snapdragons for my hotel room. I left it with my cash tip for the housekeeper to enjoy! Photo by Kit Wertz.
Celebrating American Flowers Week
The inaugural Slow Flowers Summit was deemed a TED talk for flower lovers. I’ve listened to many TED talks and have been inspired often. This day of flower talks informed me on a multitude of floral fronts.
By meeting peony and dahlia farmers from Alaska and having dinner with the garden editor of Better Homes & Gardens, I was inspired to venture out of my Southern California bubble more often.
The theme and mission of the summit were to “Inquire. Inform. Include. Instigate. Inspire.” Here is what I took from the lovely day of listening, meeting and talking with flower lovers from all walks of life.
The master of ceremonies for the Summit was James Baggett, the garden editor of Better Homes & Gardens. He has been a garden editor and writer for more than 20 years. James added a lovely personal feel to the day and in addition to introducing each speaker and adding wonderful anecdotes of his travels and encounters with flower and garden icons throughout his life.
The SUMMIT marked the 10-year anniversary of Flower Confidential with a keynote presentation by New York Times bestselling author Amy Stewart.
CHANTAL AIDA GORDON, The Horticult
LESLIE BENNETT, Pine House Edible Gardens
RIZ REYES, RHR Horticulture
NICOLE CORDIER WAHLQUIST, Grace Flowers Hawaii
TERESA SABANKAYA, Bonny Doon Garden Company
EMILY ELLEN ANDERSON, Lola+Creative
LISA WAUD, POT + BOX, Flower House, and Detroit Flower Week
Inquire: Gather and share
I think the main message for the entire day was to keep communications lines open. Share with fellow designers the best resources and solutions to daily problems and work with local suppliers and growers as much as possible.
Inform: Learn about resources
Amy Stewart’s keynote message included the idea to see all sides of a situation. The flower business is global. Casey purchased flowers around the world when she worked on a cruise ship and had to create the floral designs for the ship. Some of these growers sell outside of their countries. This provides a good life for the workers and growers of these countries. My limo driver from my hotel in Seattle to the airport was from Ethiopia and his Aunt happened to be a flower grower in that country. We talked about the roses she grows and exports to Europe.
This summit was about supporting locally grown flowers in America and I really want to support my local growers as much as possible and educate the public about the American Grown Flower label. In my state, the CAGROWN label can be found on flower wrappers to show their point of origin.
On the flipside, I also agree with the thought that people who live in poor countries deserve a good life. This was a part of Amy’s message which really resonated with me.
While we are brand ambassadors and advocates for locally grown flowers and plants, it would be hypocritical for me not to admit that we still source flowers from around the world when necessary. We make it our mission to educate our students and customers of the benefits of seasonally, locally grown flowers. I am grateful today that I have an option to buy peonies from Alaska for my bride next week where as before, I might have had to purchase from a European country. If more farmers start farming close to home, I can do more of that for my clients.
Include: Include people from a variety of demographics into the flower business
The panel about inclusiveness regarding people of all races in the flower industry was informative in that it alerted the audience of the need to look at the flower business as an open opportunity for all. At Flower Duet, our classes are filled with people from all walks of life. We have people from different races and cultures, ages 5 to 95. Casey and I feel it’s important to teach flower arranging as a life skill. It’s something one can turn into a business, treat as a fundraising opportunity and brighten one’s life forever.
Instigate: Turn words into action
It seemed to me as I met many of the attendees throughout the day, that most everyone in the audience is a purveyor or supplier of locally grown flowers and produce. What I think this part of the mission statement means is that there is a balanced way to educate others on the importance of buying flowers from your local grower. I need to reach out to some of our local farmers and build more direct relationships.
We rely heavily on the wonderful wholesalers of the Los Angeles Floral District and they are great to show me the locally grown products, but after this summit, I see a huge value in getting to know my local growers. We have personal relationships with the growers of our succulents, ferns, landscape plants, Tillandsias and greenery from growers in our own town of Torrance. Now, we will keep building more relationships!
Inspire: Be creative and inspire others
The day was a series of speakers with side activities including adding flowers to an eco-friendly flower wall by the team of Lola+Creative or having flowers on your head by the one and only Mud Baron of Muir Ranch CSA.
The creativity of these two different producers of floral art is truly inspiring and I look forward to being inspired by their work in the months to come.
When I arrived, I received a fun swag bag full of seed catalogs and magazines and a glass bud vase made in the USA by Syndicate Sales, Inc.
The welcome for attendees of the Slow Flowers Summit in Seattle. Locally grown Sunflowers came from the Seattle Growers Market.
One of the many floral designs made by the speakers and volunteers for the Slow Flowers Summit. All flowers from the Seattle Growers Market. Photo by Kit Wertz
Debra Prinzing was the instigator in chief for the day! She put together the entire event! She is truly inspiring. Photo by Kit Wertz
New York Times bestselling author Amy Stewart spoke about her book, “Flower Confidential” on the 10-year anniversary of its publishing in a keynote speech entitled, “Where we’ve come from; Where we’re heading.”
There are three amazing facts about this flower wall. 1 — About 50 different people designed it by adding flowers throughout the day during the summit breaks. Look at how amazingly cohesive it looks? 2 — All the flowers are American Grown flowers from Seattle to Alaska! 3 — This flower wall contains no floral foam. It is made with sphagnum moss to keep the flower fresh! Wall by Lola+Creative. Photo by Kit Wertz
I was so excited to meet up with my friend Jason Chen of jcbotanicaldesigns.com! He was our volunteer designer with us for The Field to Vase dinner which we designed in Carlsbad at The Flower Fields in April of 2016. Selfie by Kit Wertz
Here is a great shot of all the speakers from the 2017 #slowflowerssummit. From left to right: James Baggett, Riz Reyes, Nicole Cordier Wahlquist, Chantal Aida Gordon, Emily Ellen Anderson, Teresa Sabankaya, Amy Stewart, Debra Prinzing, Lisa Waud and Leslie Bennett.
June Brides by Flower Duet
To quote one of our favorite musicals, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, “They say when you marry in June, you’re a bride all your life.”
Many clients have married this past June and here are a few images from recent weddings and wedding-inspired designs to enjoy in the hot month of July.
Red & White Tropical Wedding at Los Verdes Golf Course
This lovely photo captured by Figlewicz Photography highlights a fresh tropical wedding with pops of bright red and white flowers.
We designed a matching duo of tropical floral sprays for the ceremony which featured large Monstera leaves and palm fronds as well as white Dendrobium orchids.
Tropical foliage floral sprays for an ocean-view wedding in Palos Verdes. Photo by Casey Schwartz.
White & Dusty Gray Wedding
This lovely photo by our friends Miki & Sonja Photography captures the wonderful camaraderie between a bride and her besties. The white roses, hydrangea, and peonies were highlighted by the dusty miller to accent the beautiful dresses and ladies.
Coral Wedding Flowers and Garlands
We designed a pretty wedding with gray leaves in the form of eucalyptus and shades of coral roses for a dear friend with whom we worked for many years at The Huntington Library. Teaming up with Honeyfitz Events, the space at Calamigos Ranch was a fantastic location for a wonderful couple. Here are a few photos from that wedding in June and special thanks to Julie, Stu and Shari who helped us on the install!
California grown garland with large-headed roses adorns this long table for the coral-themed wedding. Photo by Kit Wertz
Silver Dollar Eucalyptus highlights this rounded centerpiece with coral and pink roses. Photo by Kit Wertz.
Sweetheart wedding reception table with garland. Photo by Kit Wertz
Extra garland is draped on the low coffee table for the outdoor seating at the wedding. Photo by Kit Wertz.
Styled Shoot Inspiration — Americana Flowers
Another view of a styled shoot we did for a magazine with Natalie Good.
Pink and Lavender Wedding
This wedding palette was so soft and airy and beautifully captured by Koman Photography.
Venue & Rentals @m_gardens
Flower Duet Wedding couple — Koman Photography
Pretty pink bridesmaids — Koman Photography
Wedding party of pink bridesmaids with lavender blossoms. Koman Photography
We are often asked by clients and planners to add fabric to help soften the structure and frame the couple for a ceremony or sweetheart table. Sometimes we elect to create a whimsical look that is asymmetrical or theatrical. Here are a few drapes from a recent wedding where the catering manager at the venue called Casey a “Draping Diva.”
More June Weddings
Coral-colored centerpieces for a garden wedding by Flower Duet.
Yellow peonies are paired with burgundy dahlias and yellow protea in this deeply colored June bouquet. Photo by Kit Wertz
Pink peonies and a green airplant are the stars in this greenery based wedding centerpiece. Photo by Casey Schwartz.
White roses and white hydrange are waiting to be placed on the tables.
Flower Workshops from June
We love our students. We taught a series of classes focused on roses for June. Starting at The Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, we taught a children’s and adult’s class two different arrangements featuring roses.
Flower Duet is honored and pleased to be celebrating its 10th Anniversary of teaching the floral design classes at The Huntington and have secured dates well into 2018 for the 11th year!
Casey’s son Will was Kit’s assistant for the Huntington classes and after we finished, we strolled through the Chinese, Japanese and herb gardens. Here, Will is looking at a lizard we spotted in the Herb Garden. Photo by Kit Wertz
In our children’s class for ages 7–12, we taught this posy in a mason jar with roses, larkspur, oregano, amaranthus, Ruscus and rosemary. Photo by Kit Wertz.
For the adult class, we highlighted the newly created coffee-colored rose and paired it with pale pink roses and spray roses as well as Larkspur, amaranthus, rosemary and two types of Ruscus. Photo by Kit Wertz.
Casey’s son Sam (in orange) and his Friday park play crew spent an afternoon at the studio learning to arrange carnations in pots. Photo by Casey Schwartz
The Friday Park Crew had a lesson in flower arranging at our studio in June. After the kids made their flowers and were playing ball games outside, the moms were able to make flowers, too! Photo by Casey Schwartz
Magazine Recommendation: Better Homes & Gardens
Each month we offer a book to read about flower arranging or gardening or both! This month, we can cover all bases with a magazine subscription recommendation.
It’s not often you get to meet your heroes, but in the past year, I’ve met the garden editors from my two favorite garden magazines!
Last weekend, I had the pleasure of dining with James Baggett, the garden editor for Better Homes & Gardens. It was lovely to hear his stories about gardens in places I know and in places I have yet to visit.
We shared books we like and flowers we like over a nice meal in Seattle. But, even if I had not met the garden editor, I would still recommend this fantastic magazine! I look forward to receiving it each month and devouring the pages of home design ideas, garden ideas, and recipes.
In July’s issue, Debra Prinzing (of Slow Flowers fame) wrote an article on one of the guest speakers at the Slow Flowers Summit, Leslie Bennett, owner of Pine House Edible Gardens in Oakland, California. (See our first story on this page for more information on the Summit.)
Leslie Bennett was a speaker on a panel for inclusiveness at the Slow Flowers Summit.
It’s exciting to open a magazine and know the people who put it together. I hope you enjoy it, too.
Order a subscription online at BHG.com or pick up a copy up at your favorite bookstore or newsstand.
Flower Tool: Crowning Glory Floral Spray
It’s July and it’s hot and we live in a desert.
Flowers dry out through their blooms even when they are in a full vase of water.
One way to keep them from drying out is to spray completed designs liberally with Crowning Glory Floral Spray.
This product is made for the commercial flower industry and is a must for flowers in heat and for flowers that will be out of water for hours at a time like corsages, boutonnieres and bridal bouquets.
- Use it at 100% strength.
- Spray until the drops are visible on all the blooms in a bouquet.
- Be liberal with the application.
Here is what the product line says about its use:
“Clear Crowning Glory® solution keeps arrangements fresher and customers satisfied. This easy to apply liquid shield holds in moisture which reduces water loss, keeping flowers more vibrant. Often used in delicate traditional wedding flowers, such as gardenias, stephanotis, roses, and lilies, where the arrangements are in no or little water, it’s the final hydrating step.
Clear Crowning Glory® solution can be used by all levels of the floral industry including Growers, Wholesalers, Bouquet Makers, and Retail Florists.
Clear Crowning Glory® solution is ready to use; no mixing or diluting required. Spray dries to a clear finish with no residue.”
The popular floral blog Flirty Fleurs did a great test. Check out their “The Testing of Crowning Glory” post. You will be amazed!
Purchase at your local wholesale floral supplier or online.