Field to Vase Flowers vs Wholesale Flowers

by Flower Duet

Villa Growers
Vil­la Grow­ers whole­sale flower ven­dor at the South­ern Cal­i­for­nia Flower Mar­ket (in the build­ing between Wall and Maple Streets).
It’s Spring and a beau­ti­ful time of year to vis­it your local flower mar­ket. Whether you have a whole­sale mar­ket like we do in Los Ange­les or per­haps a local farm­ers’ mar­ket, spring is full of lots of blooms from all kinds of bulb flow­ers to peonies!

Field to Vase Flowers

In the April 22nd edi­tion of the Wall Street Jour­nal, jour­nal­ist Ali­na Dizik pub­lished an arti­cle about the lat­est trend in flow­ers, from Field to Vase. This trend encom­pass­es the slow flow­ers move­ment where florists in the U.S. are design­ing with flow­ers direct­ly from a local grow­er instead of using import­ed blooms.

CA Grown LogoFlower Duet is for­tu­nate to be locat­ed in Cal­i­for­nia, America’s best source for high-qual­i­ty cut flow­ers, and is able to take advan­tage of the pletho­ra of grow­ers and whole­salers who spe­cial­ize in local­ly grown flow­ers. In fact, Cal­i­for­nia grow­ers account for 75 per­cent of all domes­ti­cal­ly grown cut flow­ers in the Unit­ed States. Many diverse types of flower grow­ers are locat­ed with­in 100 miles of Los Ange­les.

When a con­sumer pur­chas­es Cal­i­for­nia cut flow­ers, they are buy­ing flow­ers that:

  • Meet the strictest grow­ing stan­dards in the world.
  • Were raised in a world-class, year-round envi­ron­ment per­fect for grow­ing hun­dreds of vari­eties of flow­ers includ­ing ros­es, orchids, mums and oth­er spe­cial­ty botan­i­cals like pro­tea and the increas­ing­ly pop­u­lar suc­cu­lent plants.
  • Were most like­ly in the field only 24 – 48 hours pri­or to pur­chase as opposed to 1–2 weeks with import­ed vari­eties.

Even the White House was on board with a state din­ner on Feb­ru­ary 18, 2014 when Pres­i­dent Oba­ma host­ed the pres­i­dent of France which fea­tured food and flo­rals grown in the Unit­ed States. The flo­ral arrange­ments dis­played at the din­ner includ­ed:

Flow­er­ing quince branch – Mis­sis­sip­pi

Weep­ing wil­low – South New Jer­sey

Scotch Broom – Vir­ginia

Iris (blue and pur­ple) – Cal­i­for­nia

Alo­ca­sia – Apop­ka, FL and Zell­wood, FL

Equi­se­tum – East coast Flori­da, De Leon Springs

Nan­d­i­na – East coast Flori­da, De Leon Springs

Green Liri­ope – East coast Flori­da, De Leon Springs

The flo­ral indus­try in the Unit­ed States con­sists of more than 60,000 small busi­ness­es, such as grow­ers, whole­salers, retail­ers, and dis­trib­u­tors. Accord­ing to the White House, every U.S. state has access to local­ly grown fresh flow­ers which sup­ports the U.S. econ­o­my with jobs and oppor­tu­ni­ty. See more at

Mattel FlowersIn past newslet­ters, we’ve cov­ered a great many ideas on how to design eco-friend­ly flow­ers and just last month, Kit par­tic­i­pat­ed in an Earth Day cel­e­bra­tion at Mat­tel’s head­quar­ters in El Segun­do (pho­to of design detail at left; see below for more details). Buy­ing local­ly is the best way to design in an earth-friend­ly way. It low­ers our car­bon foot­print and sup­ports our local busi­ness­es.

Wholesale Flowers

As a pro­fes­sion­al florists who offer flow­ers for all cel­e­bra­tions from the small­est birth­day par­ty to an elope­ment on Man­hat­tan Beach to a wed­ding with 350 guests, we are very for­tu­nate to have our local Los Ange­les flower dis­trict which offers access to local­ly grown flow­ers and hard-to-find import­ed flow­ers. When we can buy local flow­ers, we do. Often they are of a supe­ri­or qual­i­ty and a great price. But some­times our clients request some­thing spe­cial that is not avail­able local­ly (like Peonies in Decem­ber), so we turn to our ven­dors.

Dur­ing our tours of the Los Ange­les Flo­ral Dis­trict, we are often asked by mem­bers of the tour group, “How do you know who is the best ven­dor?” We reply that every ven­dor is great and what mat­ters is which ven­dor has what you need for your design or your client! Of course, we’ve estab­lished favorites over the years. Many times, there are ven­dors who always seem to come through for us in a crunch with a spe­cif­ic flower.

Last sum­mer, Kit need­ed 45 extra stems of con­di­tioned white Hydrangeas and found a buck­et at Vil­la Grow­ers (see pho­to at top). A few weeks ago, Shi­ba­ta Flo­ral saved us with some spe­cial Den­dro­bi­um orchids. Over the years, Gilbert from Gilbert Whole­sale has per­son­al­ly gone out with the local grow­er to cut Dahlias for us.


Shi­ba­ta Whole­sale at the South­ern Cal­i­for­nia Flower Mar­ket in Los Ange­les.


Japanese Sweet Peas
Japan­ese Sweet Peas Pho­to by:

We always start our tours at Mayesh Whole­sale Florist, Inc. and the sup­pli­er is car­ry­ing some amaz­ing sweet peas from Japan these days. The flo­ral indus­try is very strong in Japan. Fresh cut flow­ers are com­ing to our shores from arti­sans of their ancient trade. Japan’s fresh cut flow­ers are pris­tine (even after being shipped over­seas). Due to many bar­ri­ers, export­ing Japan­ese flow­ers has been extreme­ly dif­fi­cult in the past.
Local­ly Grown Peonies! There are some new ven­dors we’ve been pur­chas­ing from late­ly with great results because they’ll deliv­er to our stu­dio and they are very nice in cus­tomer ser­vice. Next time you are in the dis­trict, stop by Mila­gra Grow­ers Whole­sale Flow­ers, which is run by a team of broth­ers. They car­ry Peonies, Hydrangea, Ros­es, Cym­bidums, Van­da Orchids, Hyper­icum berries, Hyacinth, Ranunuclus, Dahlias and a large vari­ety of oth­er botan­i­cals includ­ing Green Trick Dianthus. Here is a video they cre­at­ed last year at this time of year to pro­mote their Peonies.

Perfect Game Tulip
Next to Mila­gra is Fluer­am­etz, a flower whole­saler based in the Nether­lands, a recent com­er to Los Ange­les and estab­lished vet­er­an in New York City. The prod­uct is per­fect and they always dis­play prices which is nice and con­ve­nient. The pho­to at left is a Per­fect Game Tulip that they pro­vide for clients.
Mellano and CompanyAll ven­dors car­ry some local­ly grown flow­ers, but the ven­dor with the largest vari­ety of Cal­i­for­nia grown flow­ers is Mel­lano and Com­pa­ny locat­ed on Wall Street in the orig­i­nal Los Ange­les Flower Mar­ket’s build­ing. They have a very large walk-in cool­er that is open to the pub­lic, so you can get up close to their Ranun­cu­lus, Rice Flower and vast local­ly grown Pro­tea and green­ery selec­tion.

Troical USA
Trop­i­cal USA is the place to go for a vari­ety of Pro­tea, Orchids and oth­er trop­i­cal flow­ers. If you are look­ing for some­thing spe­cial or large vol­umes of Anthuri­ums, call ahead to place an order.

Dan Stamis
Dan Stamis spe­cial­izes in green­ery and branch­es. This is a reg­u­lar stop for us at the flower mart.

How to Choose Fresh Flowers

If you want to learn more about how to choose the best flow­ers from the flower mar­ket, take one of our tours. We offer group tours almost every month. Check out our sched­ule here: LA Flower Mart Tours. Learn more about the “Field to Vase” move­ment in our book review this month on Fresh from the Field Wed­ding Flow­ers.

Flower Duet’s Community Philosophy

by Flower Duet

Mattel Earth Day

Flower Duet’s dis­play table at Mat­tel’s head­quar­ters in El Segun­do, Calif. on Earth Day. Kit par­tic­i­pat­ed in the cel­e­bra­tion and we donat­ed a flo­ral design we cre­at­ed with local­ly grown flow­ers fea­tur­ing drought-tol­er­ant suc­cu­lents to one lucky employ­ee.

Scout Leaders Mom and Dad

Our par­ents pro­vid­ed a good exam­ple for us in their sup­port of the com­mu­ni­ties where we grew up. When we were in the Girl Scouts, (and our broth­er in Boy Scouts) our par­ents were vol­un­teers then troop lead­ers. They pro­vid­ed lead­er­ship and guid­ance when we vol­un­teered at nurs­ing homes, cleaned church­yards and orga­nized our back­pack­ing, camp­ing and raft­ing out­ings.

Pic­tured at left: Our love­ly par­ents in the 1970s as our Scout Troop Lead­ers. They are respon­si­ble for teach­ing us the impor­tance of help­ing your com­mu­ni­ty.

Our moth­er was a vol­un­teer for ten years in our high school Career Cen­ter help­ing stu­dents with job oppor­tu­ni­ties and nav­i­gate the col­lege appli­ca­tion process.

When our father retired from his forty year avi­a­tion career, he vol­un­teered for eight years with Habi­tat for Human­i­ty of North­ern Vir­ginia. He became a house leader pro­vid­ing instruc­tion and guid­ance to oth­er vol­un­teers and to the new home­own­ers who helped build their own homes.

Both of our par­ents have spent years as elec­tion offi­cials for local and nation­al elec­tions for many years. Dad has served for the past nine years since he retired and our moth­er served as a poll work­er for five years. Our par­ents showed us the val­ue and impor­tance of vol­un­teer­ing our time and skills to assist oth­ers in mak­ing a bet­ter com­mu­ni­ty.

Habitat for Humanity
Our Dad at left with Todd Phillips with Ameri­Corps on the Habi­tat for Human­i­ty North­ern Vir­ginia staff.

Giving Back to our Community

When we are approached by an orga­ni­za­tion to donate flow­ers or a gift cer­tifi­cate to a flower arrang­ing class, we dis­cuss how the orga­ni­za­tion is ben­e­fit­ting our local com­mu­ni­ty and how it fits into our own phi­los­o­phy. We have donat­ed to many char­i­ties, schools, clubs and cor­po­ra­tions since we start­ed our busi­ness and feel it’s a won­der­ful way to give back to our com­mu­ni­ty. If you are a flo­ral design­er or an event plan­ner and want anoth­er way to meet new peo­ple, donat­ing your time to a char­i­ty in your com­mu­ni­ty is a great way to net­work and give back.

We donate flower arrange­ments, our skills and flower arrang­ing class­es to a vari­ety of orga­ni­za­tions through­out Los Ange­les. Some of our past dona­tions includ­ed The Assis­tance League of San Pedro, The Friends of the Penin­su­la Sym­pho­ny, Rain­bow Ser­vices, Angel Light Acad­e­my and Food Find­ers food bank.

Teen Line

For some of the past few years, we’ve pro­vid­ed flow­ers for Teen Line, a vol­un­teer hot­line for teens to talk to oth­er teens when they need sup­port. Teen Line vol­un­teers have helped oth­er teens for over 30 years. Their mis­sion state­ment states that no prob­lem is too big or too small. We will be cre­at­ing over 50 designs for the upcom­ing Teen Line “Food For Thought” lun­cheon next week.
Teen Line

Pink and brown flo­ral cent­perieces we made for Teen Line in 2010 to match the choco­late on the tables that were give­aways.


St. Francis Designs for Dining

In Feb­ru­ary, we cre­at­ed a table top design for a local church in Palos Verdes Estates. The church, St. Fran­cis, cre­ates a schol­ar­ship fund for needy stu­dents and we donat­ed our time, flow­ers and skills to their annu­al fundrais­er, Designs for Din­ing.
St. Francis Designs for Dining

Here is a pho­to of our Designs for Din­ing table before we added the flow­ers.

Casey and Mom

Casey receiv­ing an award in Girl Scouts from our Mom, the troop leader.
Kit as a Brownie

Kit as a Brown­ie putting on her white gloves! We learned how to give back to our com­mu­ni­ty as Girl Scouts and con­tin­ue to do so today through our busi­ness. We have even taught a few Girl Scout Troops flower arrang­ing work­shops to help them com­plete their Flower Badges!

Floral Design Student Stories: Jennifer B.

by Flower Duet

Each month this year we will fea­ture our amaz­ing, tal­ent­ed flo­ral design stu­dents and how their rela­tion­ship with flow­ers has changed since tak­ing a work­shop or two with Flower Duet. Come to one of our flo­ral design work­shops and you can share your sto­ry with every­one!
More wedding work from a student of Flower Duet.

Bou­quets from Jen­nifer B., a for­mer stu­dent of Flower Duet who did her own wed­ding flow­ers and then went on to help her friends with their own wed­ding flow­ers.
A beautiful bouquet from a student of Flower Duet.

Since tak­ing a flower design class at Flower Duet, I have come to love work­ing with flow­ers!! My friends and I cre­at­ed all of the bou­quets for my wed­ding. Since then, my friends have asked me to do flow­ers at their wed­dings! Casey has been fan­tas­tic in answer­ing ques­tions for me, and assist­ing me with new and unique flower arrange­ments for these spe­cial events. Every time I look at my wed­ding pho­tos, I smile know­ing that I had the per­fect flow­ers for the per­fect day, thanks to Duet Flow­ers.”


Jen­nifer B., Inves­ti­ga­tor for Depart­ment of Jus­tice

Jennifer's work.

More of Jen­nifer­’s won­der­ful work!


Book Review:
Fresh from the Field: Wedding Flowers by Lynn Byczynski and Erin Benzakein

Fresh from the Field Wedding Flowers
We love the work of flower farmer and flo­ral design­er Erin Ben­za­kein of Flo­ret Flow­ers and as co-author of this book along with Lynn Byczyn­s­ki, a long­time flower farmer, we could not have picked a bet­ter book to inspire you dur­ing the upcom­ing grow­ing sea­son. Even though this book is geared toward wed­ding flow­ers, the com­bi­na­tions are won­der­ful for any cel­e­bra­tion.

The goal of this book is to make it easy for DIY brides and grooms to use local flow­ers for their wed­dings (we do have DIY grooms in our stu­dio, too!). This book is also a great guide to flo­ral design­ers who may not have tapped their local flower farmer for fresh blooms and for ded­i­cat­ed gar­den­ers who want to know what to grow for a wed­ding. This book is full of plant vari­ety rec­om­men­da­tions as well as grow­ing advice and har­vest tips.

Most of all, this book has gor­geous pho­tos of flow­ers with instruc­tions on how to make bou­quets, bou­ton­nieres and oth­er wed­ding flower designs.

Where to find: Kit ordered her copy of the book on her Kin­dle, but you can also pur­chase a soft­cov­er copy from — Fresh from the Fied: Wed­ding Flow­ers.

Floral Design Tool: Bamboo Skewers

Bamboo Skewers

Bam­boo skew­ers aren’t just for bar­be­ques. We use them to cre­ate a stur­dy stem for large head­ed suc­cu­lent rosettes. When a flo­ral design calls for a large Echev­e­ria head, we for­go the heavy gauge stub wire and sub­stitue a bam­boo skew­er.

Here is what you do to use it as a stem:

  • Cut the rosette from the pot and clean off the dirt.
  • Clean off any wilt­ed leaves under the rosette.
  • Stick the point­ed end of the skew­er into the base of the roset­te’s stem.
  • Secure with Oasis Bind-it Tape or flo­ral tape.

Now it’s ready to use!

You can pur­chase bam­boo skew­ers at your local gro­cery store!

Fake Succulent Stem
Fake Succulent Stem