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June 2015 Floral News

Wedding Arches & Floral Decoration

Know the Terms, Techniques and Tips

By Kit Wertz

Wedding Arch - Chart House

Favorite pho­to from one of our wed­dings at the Chart House in Redon­do Beach — on the beach! This arch was dec­o­rat­ed with a gar­land made of Salal and accent­ed with fresh Den­dro­bi­um orchids.      Love­ly cou­ple! Love­ly day! ‪      Pho­tos by: Lin & Jir­sa Pho­tog­ra­phy Wed­ding Plan­ning by: No Wor­ries Wed­dings Venue: Chart House

We have had a very busy wed­ding sea­son this year and thought we’d share some of our recent flo­ral designs for arch­es, arbors, gaze­bos, per­go­las and Sofrehs (Per­sian Wed­ding Spreads).

Many wed­ding cou­ples have been request­ing all types of gar­lands and vari­eties of flo­ral accents. Here are some tips and tricks on types of flo­ral accents we use to attach to all types of struc­tures.

Netted Oasis Garland

Net­ted Oasis Gar­land

Know your Floral Terms

It’s impor­tant to know the right term for the type of accent for an arch or per­go­la.

Gar­lands: Usu­al­ly made of bunch­es of green­ery that are strung togeth­er on heavy duty twine. These types of gar­lands lack a water source, so it’s impor­tant to keep the gar­land as fresh as pos­si­ble before an event. Keep it cool and mist­ed before it needs to be attached to the cer­e­mo­ny struc­ture. Some­times gar­lands are made of flow­ers. When that is the case, it’s best to use Oasis Flo­ral Foam Net­ted Gar­land to keep flow­ers fresh. This net­ted foam works for all types of flow­ing arrange­ments for stair­cas­es, fire­places and table top designs.

Flower Duet Floral Spray

A flo­ral spray can be large or small. This large spray was attached to the left side of a birch pole arch on the beach. Pho­to by Casey Schwartz.

Flo­ral Sprays: Flo­ral sprays can be large or small. Some­times the flow­ers can sim­ply be gath­ered and placed onto the struc­ture, but most often, they need to last a long time, so it’s safer to add flow­ers to a wet Oasis flo­ral cage or raque­tte. If you are more ecocon­scious, you can soak sphag­num moss and enclose it in a cage of chick­en wire. Use chop­sticks to poke holes into the moss to make it eas­i­er to add stems. NOTE: Using this moss method can be drip­py, so you may still need to use wreath wrap around the chick­en wire cage to keep the mois­ture inside. Wreath wrap is plas­tic and can be recy­cled.

Flower Accents: We attach sin­gle blooms and stems of flow­ers in a vari­ety of ways. Del­i­cate flow­ers like ros­es, hydrangea and orchids will need a water source while on the gar­land. We use dif­fer­ent sizes of water pik vials to attach them to the gar­land using flo­ral adhe­sive or wire.

It Takes a Team

Flower Duet's Design Team

Flower Duet’s design team: From left, Julie Kennedy, Judi Corfi­no, Adri­enne Sorg and of course — Casey. Kit is not pic­tured but is also part of the team! Pho­to by Kit Wertz

Many of our recent arch­es were designed by our team of design­ers which includes our intern — turned assis­tant, Adri­enne Sorg and two for­mer design stu­dents Judi Corfi­no and Julie Kennedy. Adri­enne joined us as an intern last fall and is a plea­sure to work with and shows nat­ur­al tal­ent with her designs. Judi and Julie are our design stu­dents with fine art back­grounds, who start­ed to come to our class­es in 2013. Julie’s com­pa­ny, Cal­i­fame, cre­at­ed our new team T‑shirts which the ladies are mod­el­ing in our pho­to above. We could not have the suc­cess and joy of our busi­ness with­out our won­der­ful team.

This design was made of three “flo­ral sprays” unit­ed by oth­er flow­ers and a base of three gar­lands. Casey, Judi and Julie made these pieces and attached them to the per­go­la for a fes­tive wed­ding at the Bel Air Bay Club. Pho­to by Casey Schwartz.


Details from our per­go­la flow­ers for a wed­ding at the Bel Air Bay Club. Pho­to by Casey Schwartz.

Flower Duet Los Verdes Golf Course Arch

Flower Duet cre­at­ed this lush design for a wed­ding at Los Verdes Golf Course in Ran­cho Palos Verdes. Pho­to by Kit Wertz

Hotel Maya Wedding Pergola

For a recent wed­ding at the Hotel Maya in Long Beach, Casey and our team dec­o­rat­ed this Per­go­la. The struc­ture and fab­ric drap­ing were designed by Lev­el Wed­dings.


This struc­ture on the wed­ding lawn at the Hotel Portofi­no in Redon­do Beach offers an ocean view. We used two gar­lands and lots of blooms to dec­o­rate it. Pho­to by Kit Wertz.


Flower Duet’s team dec­o­rat­ed this gaze­bo at Trump Nation­al Golf Club with two salal gar­lands and tons of ros­es and orchids for a per­fect blue-sky day wed­ding. Pho­to by Kit Wertz.


Our team of design­ers attached this asym­met­ri­cal Hydrangea spray to the large gaze­bo on the Upper Mead­ow of the South Coast Botan­ic Gar­den. We used two gar­lands as a foun­da­tion. Pho­to by Adri­enne Sorg.


This wed­ding Sofreh set up at the Los Verdes Golf Course was accent­ed by Flower Duet with two large flo­ral sprays as tie backs on the front of the struc­ture. We also designed two tall designs that went inside the struc­ture with the tra­di­tion­al Per­sian Wed­ding Spread as well as the dec­o­ra­tive petal treat­ment for the aisle. Pho­to by Kit Wertz.

Ooh La Love Arch by Flower Duet

Flower Duet cre­at­ed this arch using our own birch poles for a mock-wed­ding bridal show, Ooh.La.Love, at the South Coast Botan­ic Gar­den on May 7th, 2015. Pho­to by ©Jean­nie Mutrais Pho­tog­ra­phy.


For an evening wed­ding at The Redon­do Beach His­toric Library, Flower Duet attached two large sprays to the lat­tice per­go­la.  Pho­to by Kit Wertz.

Casey set up Flower Duet’s birch pole arch at a pri­vate home for an inti­mate wed­ding. The peach rose accent­ed flo­ral sprays are mim­ic­ked by the flow­ers and green­ery at the base of the arch. Pho­to by Casey Schwartz.

Our assis­tant Judi helped Kit attache these two flo­ral sprays to a struc­ture at Calami­gos Eques­tri­an in Grif­fith Park. Pho­to by Kit Wertz

Mentoring High School Students with Floral Design Lessons

by Casey Cole­man Schwartz

A local High School sci­ence teacher, who teach­es a hor­ti­cul­ture class for the Los Ange­les Uni­fied School Dis­trict (LAUSD), con­tact­ed Flower Duet and won­dered how flo­ral design tech­niques could be incor­po­rat­ed into his les­son plan. I gave him my usu­al response, when approached with an idea, ”Let’s fig­ure it out.” He wrote a plan for a grant to fund the project, which was approved. After learn­ing how to become a ven­dor for the LAUSD, we were on our way.

This spring, I taught flo­ral design to a class­room full of 17-and 18-year-old high school stu­dents, boys and girls, none of whom had ever done flo­ral design before.

Before this high school class, I had taught flo­ral design to Girl Scout Troops, a large col­lec­tion of 7‑to 12-year-olds at The Hunt­ing­ton Library and hun­dreds of 20-to 90-year-olds in var­i­ous venues around the coun­try. How­ev­er,  I had not taught at a high school before, nor had I been in a high school since my sis­ter Kit’s grad­u­a­tion. Hav­ing two sons in ele­men­tary school, their class­mates are my usu­al cir­cle of young peo­ple and I was not quite sure what to expect.

High School Horticulture Class

Flower Duet taught a spring semes­ter of flo­ral design to a LAUSD Hor­ti­cul­ture High School class. Stu­dents pose with their last les­son. Pho­to by Casey Schwartz.

They were delight­ful­ly recep­tive and were very help­ful while set­ting up. Some helped dis­trib­ute flow­ers to class­mates who loved all the col­ors and were excit­ed to get start­ed.

We only had four ses­sions on the cal­en­dar for this semes­ter, so I want­ed to be sure to pack in a lot of flo­ral knowl­edge dur­ing each hour I had with them. We cov­ered three styles of cen­ter­pieces, with two only need­ing a vase (any water tight con­tain­er) and flow­ers and mini rub­ber bands. We did the “Gath­er, Drop and Fill,” and the “Bun­dle and Place” tech­niques which are both avail­able to view on our YouTube chan­nel.

We used flo­ral foam for a fun, easy arrange­ment. They were amazed at how the stems stayed in place and looked great. Last­ly, if a prom or spe­cial occa­sion were in their future, we made cor­sages and bou­ton­nières. Once one learns the wiring tech­nique the com­bi­na­tions are end­less.

The stu­dents were espe­cial­ly cre­ative in choos­ing their own col­or com­bi­na­tions and were sup­port­ive of each oth­er’s designs which turned out great. We were all delight­ed with the results. Mr. Steuw­er joined his stu­dents, num­ber­ing as many as 18, in tak­ing the lessons, too. It was a plea­sure for me to return each week to my new friends who stat­ed they now look at flow­ers dif­fer­ent­ly. All of our stu­dents have said  the same. This par­tic­u­lar class was the high­light of each week for the past month and a half. I was eager to see the stu­dents and share a fun life skill with these won­der­ful teens. I wish them well as they move on to their next adven­ture in life and if any take the class next year.….I will be there.

Giving Flowers Has Its Yummy Rewards

By Kit Wertz

Neighbor returns favor with food

Our love­ly neigh­bor cooks us tra­di­tion­al dish­es from her native Nicaragua. Our lat­est exchange: I gave her a bou­quet of ros­es and hydrangea and she offered us rice and beans with home­made Pico de gal­lo and Tostones (friend plan­tains). It was deli­cious. Pho­to by Kit Wertz

Giv­ing a few flower arrange­ments to our neigh­bor has been a won­der­ful way to estab­lish an infor­mal barter arrange­ment. Our neigh­bor  is a grand­moth­er, orig­i­nal­ly from Nicaragua and the aro­mas emit­ting from her kitchen were intox­i­cat­ing. One day, I men­tioned to her how won­der­ful her cook­ing smelled while we were in our dri­ve­ways and a few moments lat­er, with a knock on my door, she offered me eight fresh­ly made and deli­cious empañadas.

Flowers for my neighbor

Here is the most recent flo­ral design I gave to my neigh­bor. In return, she made us fresh fried plan­tains, rice, black beans with home­made Pico De Gal­lo sal­sa. Pho­to by Kit Wertz.

As a thank you, I gave her a flower arrange­ment I made for her from flow­ers we had at our stu­dio. She was so pleased. Since then, she’s brought me her own rice and beans, pico de gal­lo, bar­beque chick­en (melts in your mouth), home­made tostones (fried plan­tains), rosquil­las, and a huge sweet milk cake. She’s also made a pletho­ra of home­made cin­na­mon buns which have the soft­est dough I’ve ever tast­ed.

In return, I’ve brought her flower designs with pro­teas, hydrangea, ros­es, suc­cu­lents and flo­ral wreaths. She does not speak much Eng­lish, and I don’t speak a lot of Span­ish, but you know when you’ve touched some­one’s heart (or stom­ach) through any lan­guage bar­ri­er.

Giv­ing flow­ers is a great way to to bridge any lan­guage or cul­ture gap. We have a won­der­ful rela­tion­ship and I know it will only get stronger and yum­mi­er!

Wedding Floral Design Series Continues This Month

By Flower Duet

Flower Duet Peony Class Arrangement

Here is last mon­th’s Peony work­shop arrange­ment we did at our stu­dio. This mon­th’s wed­ding series fea­tures a bridal bou­quet. We’ll fea­ture the hand-tied style tech­nique. Pho­to by Kit Wertz.

We’ll con­tin­ue our Wednes­day night Wed­ding Flo­ral Design Series this month. Over the next three con­sec­u­tive months, you can learn how to cre­ate bou­quets, cen­ter­pieces and per­son­al flow­ers like cor­sages, bou­ton­nieres and hair flow­ers. Each class is in the evening and caters to the DIY bride, moth­er-of the-bride or groom, or wed­ding plan­ners who want to learn more about flow­ers for their clients. This is a also a great way to come to a flo­ral class if you are busy on Sat­ur­days and can’t make a week­end work­shop.

Learn more on our Wed­ding Work­hops page or click a link below to sign up:

Series II:

June 24, 2015 — Wednes­day Wed­ding Series — Bou­quets

July 22, 2015 — Wednes­day Wed­ding Series — Cen­ter­pieces

August 26, 2015 — Wednes­day Wed­ding Series — Per­sonal Flow­ers

Please Spell “Bouquetière”

By Casey Cole­man Schwartz

Suss Painting - Woman Selling Flowers

Josef Wen­zel Süss (Aus­tri­an artist, 1857 – 1937) A woman sell­ing flow­ers. This woman may have been referred to as a Bou­quetière in the ear­ly 1900s.

One of the final words in the 2015 Spelling Bee with the dual win­ners over Memo­r­i­al Week­end in Wash­ing­ton, D.C. was this word: Bou­quetière.

When I saw this word list­ed in the Los Ange­les Times as one of the final words on the Nation­al Spelling Bee List, I thought it meant a com­bi­na­tion of a bou­quet and bou­ton­nière, and thought that would be quite awk­ward to wear.

Alas, it means a gar­nish of veg­eta­bles as the first def­i­n­i­tion.

The ori­gin of the word actu­al­ly does have a rela­tion­ship to flow­ers. Accord­ing to the Mer­ri­am-Web­ster online dic­tio­nary, the word’s ori­gin is French,

(à la) bou­quetière, lit­er­al­ly, in the man­ner of a flower sell­er; French bou­quetière woman who sells flow­ers, fem­i­nine of bou­queti­er flower sell­er, from bou­quet bou­quet + -ier ‑eer. First Known Use: 1906.”

Learn to Create a Succulent Floral Garland

By Flower Duet

huntington-class-june-2015This month, we’ll return to The Hunt­ing­ton Library, Art Col­lec­tions and Botan­i­cal Gar­dens for two flo­ral design class­es fea­tur­ing liv­ing suc­cu­lent plants. We’ll show the adult stu­dents how to cre­ate a gar­land suit­able for an indoor or out­door table that will fea­ture var­i­ous suc­cu­lents, green­ery and flow­ers. We’ll dis­cuss dif­fer­ent meth­ods for design­ing with suc­cu­lents and fresh flow­ers as well as how to re-plant the suc­cu­lents after the blooms have fad­ed.

kids-treasure-chestsFor the kids class, we’ll cre­ate trea­sure chests filled with mini suc­cu­lents and flo­ral blooms. Kids will dec­o­rate their trea­sure chests and fill them with flo­ral and suc­cu­lent jew­els.

Date: June 27, 2015

Adult Design Class (Age 13+): 10 a.m. to Noon
Kids Design Class (Ages 7–12 with an adult): 1 to 2:30 p.m.

The Hunt­ing­ton Library, Art Col­lec­tions and Botan­i­cal Gar­dens
1151 Oxford Road
San Mari­no, CA 91108

Sign up through The Hunt­ing­ton’s Brown Tick­et Sales web­site.

Brown Paper Tick­ets Reser­va­tions:

Adults Class

Kids Class

Flower Book Review: The Flower Farmer’s Year

By Kit Wertz

Flower Farmer's YearI was excit­ed to check this book, The Flower Farmer’s Year, out of the library to see what it would take to be a flower farmer and sell bou­quets of flow­ers that I’ve grown myself instead of procur­ing through the won­der­ful ven­dors we have close to our stu­dio. This book is writ­ten by a Georgie New­bery, a woman who start­ed her own flower farm with her hus­band in Som­er­set, Eng­land.

Flower Farmers Year DahliasThey cre­at­ed Com­mon Farm Flow­ers and sell bou­quets through­out the UK for 12 months of the year. She takes you through step-by-step how to cre­ate a farm, the types of flow­ers that grow well (in her geo­graph­ic area) and how to har­vest and sell flow­ers.

She also offers a real­is­tic view of the amount of work (a lot) it takes to be a flower farmer and the amount of mon­e­tary return (not a lot) you would receive for your efforts.

It’s beau­ti­ful­ly pho­tographed, well-writ­ten, and hon­est. It offers won­der­ful insights on how to care for some trou­ble­some flow­ers (like Dahlias) after they’ve been cut and an alter­nate phi­los­o­phy to treat­ing flow­ers after they’ve been cut.

Unless you are in the UK with a patch of land, The Flower Farmer’s Year is not a book that you’ll use as a guide to grow your own flow­ers, but I still think it’s worth a read for any bud­ding flo­ral design­er. It has won­der­ful infor­ma­tion on hun­dreds of flow­ers that are very pop­u­lar in today’s bou­quets and cen­ter­pieces around the world and it helps you appre­ci­ate the won­der­ful flower farm­ers of the world who bring us such beau­ti­ful prod­ucts for our enjoy­ment and plea­sure.

Flower Tool: Funnels for Vases with Small Openings

By Casey Cole­man Schwartz

Small Vases at The Portofino

Casey’s old­er son Will holds two vas­es with small open­ings at The Portofi­no Hotel, one of the venues we ser­vice week­ly with fresh flow­ers. Pho­to by Casey Schwartz

Fun­nels are a genius tool.

They are used for var­i­ous rea­sons in all sorts of trades, but for us they are the per­fect tool to fill that tiny lit­tle open­ing of a vase, bot­tle or con­tain­er for that clus­ter of vas­es which is cur­rent­ly trend­ing at wed­dings and events.

Small openings vases

Vas­es like recy­cled wine bot­tles pose a chal­lenge for fill­ing with water. Fun­nels to the res­cue!

Funnel Set

Plas­tic fun­nels work best for vase-fill­ing. No rust and no chip­ping vas­es!

Cre­at­ed some­time before 1927 by an Ital­ian Ento­mol­o­gist, Antonie Berlese who cre­at­ed it orig­i­nal­ly to be used to fil­ter bugs.  We are so grate­ful for this sim­ple tool.  I was advised just this past week­end at the last minute (2 days before qual­i­fies) that I was to fill vas­es that the bride was pro­vid­ing, with var­i­ous flow­ers to fit the theme on site. I knew noth­ing about the vas­es, besides the wed­ding planner’s advice that they have very small open­ings. I grabbed my fun­nels and stashed them in my “flo­ral kit” that we bring with us, (the con­tents are ever chang­ing), to every flo­ral instal­la­tion job.

I arrived at the venue, pro­cured the vas­es from the plan­ner and my job was super smooth with the fun­nel sys­tem of fill­ing all the cobalt blue vas­es pur­chased on Craig’s List just days before the wed­ding.

Fun­nels can be found for sale any­where from the gro­cery store to the hard­ware store to

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Flower Duet Online Floral Design Classes

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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
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