Field to Vase Dinner — The Flower Fields, Carlsbad, California
By Kit Wertz
This photo shows how we had just moved the vases to the tables and had yet to move them into final places for our ombre effect for the 2016 Field to Vase dinner Carlsbad — Photo by Kit Wertz
Flower Duet Designs over 125 Vases for 2nd Annual Field to Vase Tour to Promote American Grown Flowers
On April 13, 2016, Casey and I were in Carlsbad, Calif. surrounded by a rainbow of blooming Ranunculus flowers dining on splendid dishes, wine, beer and coffee that were all grown locally. We were two of 145 guests seated for the 2016 American Grown Field to Vase Dinner Tour and we were the floral designers for the event!
The setting: The Flower Fields owned by the Ecke Family and farmed by Mellano & Company.
The occasion: 2016 American Grown Field to Vase Dinner Tour.
The cause: These nation-wide dinners are being held to build brand awareness to the general public that there is a diverse coalition of U.S. flower farms representing small and large entities across the country. Together, we want to give consumers confidence in the source of their flowers and assure them that the bouquets and bunches they purchase come from a domestic flower farm. The American Grown Flowers coalition’s goal is to create an identifiable, iconic and amazingly beautiful brand that communicates the domestic origins as well as the high quality, freshness and consistency of the flowers and foliage they grow.
Floral Designers: Flower Duet
Chef: Terra Catering
Beer: Bagby Beer Company
Wine: Matucci Winery
Coffee: Good Land Organics
Flower Sponsors: Mellano & Company, Dramm & Echter, Resendiz Brothers
Vase Sponser: Syndicate Sales
Sponsors: SlowFlowers.com, AmercianGrownFlowers.org, California Cut Flower Commission
Kit (left) and Casey (right) of Flower Duet being filmed for the Field to Vase Dinner Tour promotional video at The Flower Fields in Carlsbad, Calif. Photo by Adrienne Sorg.
Here are just a few of the thousands of stems of fresh flowers we had waiting for us when we arrived at the Flower Fields to start designing for the Field to Vase Dinner in Carlsbad. All flowers were donated by local farmers: Mellano & Company, Dramm & Echter and Resendiz Brothers. Photo by Kit Wertz.
We had three folding tables on lifts in the trailer which was insulated to keep us and the flowers cool. Jess Williams of Mellano prepared the truck with lights and a generator for us. Casey is on the left and Jason on the right in the foreground. Julie and Adrienne are near the entrance which had a gorgeous view of the Pacific Ocean. We loved our temporary on-site studio by the sea! Photo by Kit Wertz
Here are the finished vases packed in boxes at the end of our design day on Tuesday. The buckets of flowers in the background were more flowers we used to create larger statement pieces for the cocktail hour decorations which we created Wednesday morning. Photo by Kit Wertz
Flower Duet’s Theme
We had a plethora of flowers to integrate into our design theme. In addition to the fabulous Ranunculus from the actual Flower Fields in which we were designing and dining, we had many generous donations from other local flower growers.
I took a cue from the fields themselves and decided to make an ombre effect with the flowers using only the bright colors of yellow, pink, orange and red. We used three sizes of vases donated by Syndicate Sales to create an undulating effect of flowers down the 18 dining tables for 145 seated dinner guests.
We wanted the flowers to mimic the waves of colored flowers in the field as well as the waves of the Pacific Ocean which were in view during our entire designing days on the farm and throughout the dinner into sunset.
With a magnificent supporting cast of locally grown flowers from Mellano and Company, Dramm & Echter and Resendiz Brothers, our team made over 125 designs in about 8 hours working in a trailer on the farm!
Each vase held a collection of a single color and could be a combination of Ranunculus, Gerberas, Proteas, Ruscus, Wax Flower, Spray Roses, Alstroemeria and Hypericum Berries. We also had Rice Flower, Ranunculus Seed Pods — a new product from Mellano — and Boxwood — all grown locally!
Jason Chen, a botanical artist from San Diego of JC Botanical Designs, helped us on Tuesday and Wednesday with the designs and installation! Photo by Julie Kennedy.
Our Field to Vase Team was from left, Julie Kennedy, Kit Wertz, Adrienne Sorg, Jason Chen, Casey Schwartz on the farm at The Flower Fields. Casey had the shirts made to match the colors of our design theme.
Julie (left) and Adrienne put some finishing touches together outside the trailer on the morning of the dinner. Photo by Kit Wertz
Design Day & Prep
It was heaven on earth for a floral designer to have access to flowers that are just out of the field and ready to place into our vases.
We brought a team of volunteers with us and a volunteer from San Diego.
Our team included Casey, my sister and partner in Flower Duet, our longtime freelance designers, Adrienne Sorg and Julie Kennedy, a San Diegan Botanical Artist and Landscape Architect, Jason Chen and myself.
We arrived at the fields to a trailer full of fresh flowers and greenery and I could not believe how amazing it was to see!
We created all the 100+ vases for the dinner on Tuesday with a break for lunch with our farmer foreman, Jess Williams of Mellano who created a fantastic work area for us right in the middle of his production operations! I even showed Jess how to make one of the vases for the table which he gamely designed. We also dined with Kasey Cronquist, Executive Director of the California Cut Flower Commission and Kathleen Williford, Field to Vase Dinner Tour Coordinator and Event Planner who walked us through the entire planning for the event.
Casey goes for a ride on the tractor to transport the flowers up to the dining tables in the fields. Photo by Kit Wertz.
This is my perspective of the tractor ride through the fields to the barn area with the display flowers and bucket of flowers for the DIY wreath and flower demonstration for the cocktail hour. Photo by Kit Wertz.
A perspective of the flowers on the tables as well as the ribbon streamers we created and placed on top of 12-foot light poles. Photo by Kit Wertz
We placed the flowers around 2:00 p.m. and this sharp shadows created a neat pattern on the table. Do you see the lovely pincushion Protea shadow? Photo by Kit Wertz
Our view of the fields from our ‘on-site’ floral design studio. Photo by Julie Kennedy.
Dinner Day Prep
On the day of the dinner, we were back on the farm early in the morning to make the display pieces for the cocktail portion of the dinner. We made three oversized floral baskets full of flowers and greenery as well as two floral sprays and other accent pieces.
We also prepared buckets and supplies for a DIY Floral Crown Station that was supported by Mandie Thompson of Mellano so guests could make their own floral crowns to wear for the dinner.
After all the pieces were ready, we had to transport them over 10 acres of flower fields to the dining tables. We had packed each vase into boxes so they would not tip on the tractor ride through the fields. With Jess’s guidance, we loaded them onto the tractor trailer that they use to harvest the actual Ranunculus flowers. It was amazing to see the amount of work that goes into getting flowers to market, not to mention all the work it takes to grow them successfully!
Casey rode the tractor up to the dinner spot which was carved out of the fields and unloaded them so we could add them to the tables a little later. When she came back, we loaded up the rest of the flowers for the cocktail hour and rode the tractor over to the barn area of the farm to set up the cocktail area and the dining tables.
Each design featured flowers from three local San Diego farms. This vase features golden and yellow Ranunculus, spray roses, Pinchusion Protea, Gerber Daisies, Leucadendron, Wax Flower and Alstroemeria. Photo by Kit Wertz.
Guests place their name cards on the table and snap a few photos of our flowers before the dinner. Photo by Kit Wertz
Bagby’s beer set up at the fields on the right and Matucci Winery on the left. We created baskets of flowers as decoration and two floral sprays for the trailer. Examples of the vases we created for the tables line the floor of the trailer for the cocktail hour. Photo by Kit Wertz
Here is one of the baskets we created for the event which emphasized the rustic farm feel. It featured boxwood, Protea, Wax Flower, Gerbers and Alstroemeria.
Casey and I are smiling during our demonstration we held at the Field to Vase Dinner. Photo by Debra Prinzing.
We added ribbon streamers to the top of the light poles that mimicked the colors of the flowers and the fields. We set the table for the event and then went back to our hotel to get ready in less than 30 minutes for the big event!
The Carlsbad Field to Vase Dinner!
Casey and I held a live floral demonstration during the cocktail hour so guests could learn how we made the dinner vase designs and we shared our design philosophy with the group of flower enthusiasts, farmers, designers and fans alike!
Mike Mellano, the farmer who farms the land of the Ecke family at the Flower Fields in Carlsbad talks about the farm and his workers. Kasey Cronquist looks on. Photo by Kit Wertz
Kit and Casey seated at dinner where they designed the flowers for the 2016 Field to Vase Dinner Tour.
Jess Williams, our farmer and fantastic host for the two days we camped out in his trailer and on his fields. Thanks Jess! — Photo by Kit Wertz.
My table setting for the dinner. Photo by Kit Wertz
Dinner was lovely, surreal and went by too fast. We heard talks from Kasey Cronquist of the California Cut Flower Commission, Mike Mellano — the flower farmer, Chef Jeff Rossman of Terra Catering, Jeff Bagby of Bagby Beer Company and local coffee grower, Jay Ruskey. Debra Prinzing of SlowFlowers.com introduced us as the final speakers to the guests about our using locally grown flowers in the designs.
Julie and Adrienne enjoying dinner! Photo by Kit Wertz
Chef Jeff Rossman of Terra Catering talks about the locally sourced fish, steak, vegetables and fruit of our fabulous dinner! Photo by Kit Wertz.
The sun sets on a gorgeous evening during the Field to Vase Dinner in Carlsbad. Photo by Kit Wertz.
Debra Prinzing of Slow Flowers introduces us to the dinner guests. Photo by Julie Kennedy.
Casey takes the mic during our talk over fresh local food, wine, beer and flowers at the 2016 Field to Vase Dinner in Carlsbad. Casey and I both spoke about our design and source philosophy and thanked our hosts. We had a lovely time. Photo by Julie Kennedy.
Each guest received a swag bag full of floral cutters, seeds and a bouquet of Ranunculus as well as a box of succulents. We also let guests know they could take all the vases on the tables and we have never seen centerpieces disappear so fast! One of the coolest comments we heard over and over again by the farmers from the different farms who attended the dinner was how lovely all the flowers looked all mixed together in the dinner centerpieces. It was great to see all the pride that goes into creating such beautiful results and we loved being part of it all for one magical evening by our beloved Pacific.
It was a magical two days and a fantastic experience as brand ambassadors for American Grown Flowers. Be sure to look for the label for locally grown flowers at your local market. To find out where you can purchase locally grown flowers near you, use the free website directory, SlowFlowers.com.
Flower Duet at The Huntington Library in San Marino, Calif. for Woodlands Floral Design
Photos and Text By Kit Wertz
In our Woodlands-theme class, we used American Grown flowers in this vase like Ageratum, Ranunculus, Helleborus, Geranium Leaves, Maidenhair Fern and Tree Fern.
Every student’s finished design had a mini birds nest!
To keep with a woodlands theme, we used a wooden container that was lined with a plastic liner. We added a plethora of greenery — at least five kinds of greens as well as lichen covered branches and blooming Sweet Huckleberry!
For the children’s floral design class at The Huntington in April, we showed our students how to make mini floral terrariums.
Flower Duet Hosts Wedding Industry Event at Terranea Resort in Rancho Palos Verdes
By Kit Wertz
Flower Duet is proud to be a member of a wedding and event vendor think tank who meets to educate each other and our peers, to network with colleagues and develop professional relationships. We call our group the Wedding & Event Heroes and we held our 3rd Annual “Hero” Event on April 19 2016 at Terranea Resort in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif.
We named our group Wedding & Event Heroes because we feel it’s important to be able to save the day and save the event in case any unusual circumstance arises. We believe in sharing best-in-class ideas about how to work together, plan and create a perfect event with our vendor colleagues.
This year’s theme was the “Wedding & Event Heroes Master Class” where we all shared keys to building a successful business in our industry. Our past events focused on saving the day during a particular event, but this year, we wanted to share how to build a wedding and event industry business successfully.
During the brunch our guests dined on scrumptious food prepared by Terranea’s excellent chef and catering staff, we had three mini breakout sessions where guests learned some new hands-on skills.
At Flower Duet’s station, we teamed up with Ida Gardner to talk about the importance of teamwork — especially when oftentimes one works with new vendors every week for different events.
Dish Wish and Miki & Sonja Photography were on hand to show event planners how to style a table using a plethora of dish options to make Instagram-Worthy Tablescapes.
And, when guests arrived, they had an opportunity to learn how to take their event social with a viral photo booth by Smile Lounge Photo Booth.
During the presentation hour of the “Master Class” five of our WEHeroes presented key takeaways for our guests to help protect their businesses and help them grow.
From how to hire employees that fit your business model from VOX DJS, to how to evolve a partnership from Copper Willow Paper Studio. Made By Meg presented the essentials for food safety for on-location events and Design Visage explained the difference between an employee and an independent contractor. VIPS Entertainment talked about the importance of protecting your Intellectual Property to insure that what is yours, stays yours.
Learn more about our #WEHEROES members and their wedding & event businesses:
Video of the event that gives you a little taste of what each guest learned that day by Impressive Creations:
Flower Duet Sponsors WIPA Masters Event at The Skirball Center
By Flower Duet
Flower Duet was asked by the chairwoman of the Southern California Chapter of the Wedding Industry Professionals Association (WIPA) to create flowers for a spring luncheon at The Skirball Center on April 7, 2016. WIPA SoCal members engaged in a roundtable discussion and had the opportunity to discuss topics with masters in the wedding industry. From a celebrity wedding planner to a renowned wedding photographer to one of the top publishers, attendees had the chance to pick their brains on problems they are facing in their own business or dream up new, innovative concepts together.
Wedding Masters who spoke at the Event
CEO & Founder, The Hidden Garden
Owner of Tres LA, Carondelet House & the Ebell of Long Beach
Principal & Creative Director, Sterling Engagements
Senior Sales Director, Vibiana
Co-Founder of Junebug Weddings
Owner & Photographer, Callaway Gable
Creative Director, Brooke Keegan Special Events
Director of Catering & Conference Services, Montage Beverly Hills
Founder, The Bridal Bar
Catering Sales Manager, Wolfgang Puck
Principal Planner, LVL Events
Beautiful Day Photography & Wanderlust by Laura Grier
Owner, The Party Goddess
President & Founder of Sacks Productions
Walt Sheppard | Publisher & Founder of Inside Weddings[/one_half_last]
Here are some photos of the event by Luminaire Images Photography
Sponsors of the Event
Luminaire Images Photography
Premiere Party Rents
DJ & LIGHTING & PHOTOBOOTH
Vox DJ’s — KC Campbell & Jack Farmer
Del Lago Trio
Copper Willow Paper Studio
The Sugar Party by NYFC
Flower Duet Designs for Teenline’s 35th Anniversary Luncheon
By Flower Duet
For the past five of six years, Flower Duet has been the floral sponsor for the annual TeenLine Food For Thought Luncheon.
TEEN LINE was created in 1980 by a group of mental health professionals who, through their personal work with teenagers, realized that a more inclusive approach to adolescent mental health was needed. After extensive research and consultation, TEEN LINE – a teen-to-teen hotline with community outreach services – was born.
In honor of the 1980s theme of this year’s anniversary luncheon of the first call taken on Teen Line, Flower Duet designed a neon color palette of yellow, orange and hot pink surrounded by light Baby’s Breath which was de rigueur by 1980s floral design standards.
The luncheon took place on April 14, 2016 at The Beverly Hilton Hotel and since Kit & Casey were still in Carlsbad after the Field to Vase Dinner, we asked one of our regular freelance designers to make the flowers and deliver them to the luncheon.
Here is the fabulous result that our long-time freelance designer, Judi Corfino, created for TeenLine this year. Well done, Judi!
Flowers for Teen Line’s 35th Anniversary Food for Thought Luncheon at the Beverly Hilton took on a 1980s theme with neon roses and Baby’s Breath. Photo by Judi Corfino.
Judi Corfino’s work executing Flower Duet’s design concept for the 1980s tribute to Teen Lines first phone call featured an ombre of neon inspiration in rose colors as well as fluffy throwback Baby’s Breath. Photo by Judi Corfino.
Steps to Make a Floral Crown Fascinator
By Flower Duet
Floral crowns can be impactful with just a few blooms. Photo by Kit Wertz.
For the Field to Vase Dinner we designed in Carlsbad, we were tasked with creating an easy DIY floral crown station. There were lots of people who took advantage of the fresh flowers provided by the local San Diego farms who donated for the dinner included Dramm & Echter, Mellano & Company and Resendiz Brothers.
Here are just a few photos to give you an easy DIY floral crown and a PDF download so you can print out your own instructions for your own DIY Floral Crown for your next bridal shower, birthday party or girls night out event! Head to your local farmer or grocery stores and pick up the supplies!
Stems should be no more than 2 inches long, don’t need to be wired and can be attached with either binding wire or floral tape. Add each element separately and overlap them slightly. Photo by Kit Wertz.
Here is a closeup detail shot of the final crown. The spray rose was attached first, then the wax flower and then the ruscus leaves. The green floral tape blends in with the covered wire so it’s not distracting from the flowers in the design. These types of crowns can be created quickly with just a few blooms and are designed to be worn just off center. Photo by Kit Wertz.
How to Make a Floral Pocket Square In Lieu of a Traditional Boutonniere
By Flower Duet
Ed Westwick of Gossip Girl fame sports a lovely pocket square.
If you are looking for an alternative take on the traditional floral buttonhole or boutonniere, then an option might be a floral pocket square. This would not only replace a need for the boutonniere, but also the need for an artfully folded pocket square worn so gracefully by the likes of Fred Astaire, Cary Grant and by Ed Westwick who played Chuck Bass on Kit’s old favorite TV show, Gossip Girl.
NOTE: Only suits with fairly narrow lapels will accomodate a floral pocket square, so before you design, make sure you have first-hand knowledge of the suit!
First step: Measure the pocket depth and width and note the lapel width.
Next: Cut a firm piece of card stock or plastic to fit into the pocket. Keep height even with the top of the pocket opening.
Assemble: Glue flowers and greenery to the top of the pocket square cardboard/plastic piece using floral adhesive and allow to dry. Stick with flowers and greenery that do well out of water. Refer to our boutonniere, how-to for a list of types of flowers that will work or just experiment.
Finish: Cover glue with tape. We used clear tape to show how to insure that no glue will mar the suit pocket — especially if its a tuxedo rental. Another option would be to cover with a duct tape that matches the color of the suit. The main goal here is to cover the glue so it doesn’t stick to any fabric.
Clear floral adhesive by Atlantic dries quickly and doesn’t have a strong odor. Photo by Kit Wertz.
After cutting a piece of card stock that matches the suit color and fits into the pocket, start attaching flowers and greenery using the floral adhesive. Just a little bit of glue on the stem. Wait a few seconds to let it get tacky and then place onto the card stock. Photo by Kit Wertz.
Let the glue dry for about 30 minutes and then cover with tape. You can use any type of tape as long as it covers the glue so the glue won’t stick to the fabric of the suit. We used clear tape here to show you the final stems, but to make a neater presentation, use colored duct tape or floral tape. that matches the suit color or complements the flowers. Photo by Kit Wertz.
The finished floral pocket square features Eryngium, an almond pod and wax flower. Photo by Kit Wertz.teen
Flower Tool: S‑Shaped Hooks AKA S Hooks
By Flower Duet
S Hooks are an essential element for hanging floral sprays and garlands in a flash during wedding setups.
Metal S‑shaped hooks are an essential tool to help hang up floral sprays and garlands in a flash on a Chuppah, Arch or other structure.
Always have a bunch of these in your floral kit you take with you to have on site during a floral installation.
These also come in handy if you have to throw a ribbon or rope over a tree branch or beam to hang something from. They make the perfect weight to attach to the end of rope to lasso your way to a successfully decorated event.
How to Use:
- First, attach a zip tie to the structure where you want to hang garland or floral spray a little higher than you need the flowers to hang.
- Hang S‑hook onto the zip tie.
- Hang the garland twine or floral spray notch onto the S hook and “voila!”
Floral sprays are easy to attach using zip ties and S Hooks. Photo by Kit Wertz
Flower Book: The Flower Chef by Carly Cylinder
The Flower Chef Book
We are so pleased to endorse a new book by a fellow Los Angeles floral designer colleague, Carly Cylinder.
Her new DIY flower arranging book, The Flower Chef, is full of wonderful tips and tricks for the flower enthusiast who needs guidance on how to get started making beautiful modern floral designs.
Carly’s warm personality shines through in her 200+ page book. I had the pleasure of meeting Carly in person at the San Fransisco Flower & Garden show in March after years of email correspondence. Carly shares our passion to share the knowledge of flowers and floral design and her book proves it!
“THE FLOWER CHEF is a modern, comprehensive guide to floral design that caters to all readers–from beginners who have never worked with flowers before and are looking for a new creative outlet, to decorators, party planners and photographers looking to liven up their spaces. Even professionals will find ways to update their techniques! This book teaches you everything you need to know about flower arranging including tips on how to buy and care for flowers, how to cut and prepare them, and how to use floral foam, vases, and various other decorative elements in your arrangements. Filled with beautiful photographs and easy-to-follow instructions on how to create over 80 different arrangements, this is the go-to guide to floral design that every flower lover will want to add to their collection.”
Where to purchase: At your local bookstore or online.