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Read more Flower Duet Newsletters from past years:

2021 Newslet­ter Articles

2020 Newslet­ter Articles

2019 Newslet­ter Archives

2018 Newslet­ter Archives

2017 Newslet­ter Archives

2016 Newslet­ter Archives

2015 Newslet­ter Archives

2014 Newslet­ter Archives

2013 Newslet­ter Archives

2012 Newslet­ter Archives

2011 Newslet­ter Archives

2010 Newslet­ter Archives

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 tool tips.

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

We are Kit Wertz and Casey Schwartz, the sis­ter design team of Flower Duet. We are 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.

Flower Magazine: Written with You in Mind

We can­not say enough pos­i­tive things about flower mag­a­zine. It was found­ed in 2007 with peo­ple just like you in mind. Instead of being a mag­a­zine that is strict­ly geared to the flo­ral trade audi­ence of florists, grow­ers and whole­salers, this mag­a­zine is writ­ten for the “flower enthusiast.”

Great Stories & Photos

Each issue is pub­lished quar­ter­ly — fol­low­ing the sea­sons: Spring, Sum­mer Win­ter and Fall and fea­tures fan­tas­tic pho­tos from events like gar­den shows, show­case wed­dings, inte­ri­or design­ers and pri­vate gar­dens. Arti­cles are writ­ten for the casu­al flo­ral design­er and for more seri­ous flower arrangers like you. The 2010 sum­mer issue fea­tures two wed­dings, a how-to arti­cle, some great flower-inspired prod­ucts you can pur­chase, a tour of the Mem­phis Botan­i­cal Gar­den, a vis­it with an artist who uses flow­ers to inspire his art­work and moreflower Magazine

In Every Issue — A Variety of Floral Topics

  • Flower Shop: Fea­tures prod­ucts like vas­es, flower activ­i­ties and oth­er fun gar­den­ing tools
  • Out­side In: Inte­ri­or design­ers share how to arrange and place flow­ers for your home
  • Artist in Bloom: Artists pro­files who cap­ture the beau­ty of flow­ers and plants in their work
  • Flower Show: Get inspired by exquis­ite arrange­ments made by top-notch flo­ral designers
  • Flower Pow­er: Botan­i­cal gar­den tours
  • Not So Prim Rose: Penned by Rose Bush, Flower Mag­a­zine’s own irrev­er­ent columnist
  • Wed­ding Flow­ers, Favors & Food: Unique details and designs from sea­son­al weddings
  • Design School: Step by step flo­ral designs

In addi­tion, read­ers can find out what’s going on in the inno­v­a­tive world of flow­ers through an events cal­en­dar fea­tur­ing infor­ma­tion on lec­tures, flower shows, and design cours­es across the coun­try. Because there are a ton of arti­cles and not many adver­tise­ments in this mag­a­zine, we high­ly rec­om­mend sub­scrib­ing to this great mag­a­zine. All pho­tos in this arti­cle are copy­right­ed by flower magazine.

Floral Food vs. The Competition

Last month in our July Newslet­ter, we talked about how we always rec­om­mend that our stu­dents use com­mer­cial flo­ral food for flower arrang­ing. We are often asked if home reme­dies work and so we promised you a case study on home­made flo­ral preser­v­a­tives, plain water and com­mer­cial flo­ral food.

We gath­ered some of the recipes from the Web, but also referred to a book, called Did you know….? Wise Words & Advise for Gar­den­ers and Flo­ral Design­ers from Mem­bers and Friends of Nation­al Cap­i­tal Area Gar­den Clubs, Inc. Copy­right 2007.

We pur­chased a dozen red ros­es at the local gro­cery on a Sun­day after­noon. They passed our usu­al rig­ors of inspec­tion: firm bud base, pret­ty closed blos­soms, all lay­ers of the petals vis­i­ble, and perky greenery.

We picked six that were most sim­i­lar, removed the green­ery below the water line, trimmed a few thorns, but real­ly took the care and treat­ed each the same. How­ev­er, they were all about to jump into dif­fer­ent flo­ral con­di­tion­ing cocktails.

We used tap water that we let sit on the counter for a few hours in a con­tain­er in order to let most of the chlo­rine evap­o­rate out of the water and then made these six dif­fer­ent mixes.

1) Plain Old Water

2) Com­mer­cial Pow­dered Flo­ral­ife Crys­tal Clear Flo­ral Food and Water

3) Sugar/Water
1 quart water
1 Table­spoon sugar

4) Lemon Juice/Bleach/Sugar/Water
1 quart water
2 Table­spoons lemon juice
1 quar­ter tea­spoon bleach
1 Table­spoon sugar

5) Vinegar/Bleach/Sugar/Water
1 quart water
2 T white vinegar
1/2 tsp. bleach
2 Table­spoons sugar

6) Aspirin/Penny/Water
¼ cup warm water to dis­solve Aspirin – then fill vase with water
1 Aspirin
1 pen­ny – before 1982 — The cop­per in the pen­ny acts as a fungi­cide to pre­vent fun­gus growth on plant stems. Remem­ber, pen­nies mint­ed after 1982 are most­ly zinc with a thin cop­per coat­ing, so look for one dat­ed pri­or to 1982.

The ros­es were out of direct sun or drafts, all had the same water lev­el and we have not changed their water. Ros­es mix­tures are list­ed below in the order from left to right. For exam­ple: Plain Old Water is on far left and Aspirin/Penny/Water is on far right.

Day one – No change (Sun­day)

Day two – (Mon­day)
Plain Old Water – No Change
Com­mer­cial Flo­ral Food and Water– Start­ing to open
Sugar/Water — No Change
Lemon Juice/Bleach/Sugar/Water – Start­ing to Open
Vinegar/Bleach/Sugar/Water – No Change
Aspirin/Penny/Water – Start­ing to Open

Day three – (Tues­day)

Plain Old Water – No Change
Com­mer­cial Flo­ral Food – Start­ing to open
Sugar/Water — No Change
Lemon Juice/Bleach/Sugar/Water – Very Open
Vinegar/Bleach/Sugar/Water – No Change
Aspirin/Penny/Water – Start­ing to Open

Day four – (Wednes­day)
Plain Old Water – No change – flower not open­ing at all — Green­ery los­ing perkiness
Com­mer­cial Flo­ral Food – Open­ing nice­ly – Keep­ing a nice shape – Green­ery hold­ing strong
Sugar/Water — No change – Flower not open­ing at all — Green­ery los­ing perkiness
Lemon Juice/Bleach/Sugar/Water – Flower open – Neck droop­ing bit – Green­ery good
Vinegar/Bleach/Sugar/Water – Not open­ing at all
Aspirin/Penny/Water – Stalled and green­ery limp and turn­ing yellow

Day five – (Thurs­day)
Plain Old Water – No change – flower not open­ing at all — Green­ery los­ing more perkiness
Com­mer­cial Flo­ral Food – Open­ing nice­ly – keep­ing a nice shape – Green­ery hold­ing strong
Sugar/Water — No change – flower not open­ing at all — Green­ery los­ing perkiness
Lemon Juice/Bleach/Sugar/Water – Flower open – Neck droop­ing – Green­ery good
Vinegar/Bleach/Sugar/Water – Not open­ing at all
Aspirin/Penny/Water – Stalled and green­ery limp and turn­ing yellow

Day six – (Fri­day)

Plain Old Water – No change – flower not open­ing at all — Green­ery limp
Com­mer­cial Flo­ral Food – Still open­ing nice­ly – Keep­ing a nice shape – Green­ery hold­ing strong and neck is strong
Sugar/Water — No change – flower not open­ing at all — Green­ery los­ing perk­i­ness, neck drooping.
Lemon Juice/Bleach/Sugar/Water – Flower open – Neck droop­ing – Green­ery fad­ing and petals are get­ting limp
Vinegar/Bleach/Sugar/Water – Not open­ing at all – Neck drooping
Aspirin/Penny/Water – Stalled and green­ery limp and turn­ing yel­low, neck drooping.

And the Winner is.….Flower Food!

As you can tell from the results of our test, our trusty rec­om­mend­ed Flower Food with water com­bi­na­tion is the clear win­ner. Notice that it allowed the flower to drink the most water and the flower opened the most. The green­ery remained perky and fresh through­out the week. The next best bet would be just plain old water if you don’t have flower food — but change the water often. The flower won’t open, but you won’t have it droop or get wilted.

Real Sim­ple mag­a­zine did a sim­i­lar exper­i­ment with Tulips in an arti­cle titled:
Keep Cut Flow­ers Fresh.

Leo Florascope — 23 July — 22 August — Sunflower

About Florascopes

For years, astrologers have linked per­son­al­i­ty traits with the night sky. A fun book called Flo­ras­cope: The Secret Astrol­o­gy of Flow­ers offers a dif­fer­ent take on your every­day horo­scope. This is meant to enter­tain and if you are so intrigued, buy the book! It makes a great gift.

Sun­flower (Leo) Traits

If you are a Sun­flower (or Leo) you friend­ly and adore being cen­ter stage. Sun­flow­ers are so con­fi­dent, have stun­ning hair­styles and have a strong sex appeal. Sun­flow­er’s good looks and love of humor attract many admir­ers. Sun­flower chil­dren are cheer­ful, sun­ny and nev­er seem to run out of energy.
Sun­flow­ers get along well with tulips, ros­es, tiger lilies, pas­sion flow­ers, lotus and oth­er sunflowers.
Sun­flow­ers include Neil Arm­strong, Lucille Ball, Julia Child, Bill Clin­ton, Hen­ry Ford, Madon­na, Steve Mar­tin and Martha Stewart.

About Sunflowers — Botanical Information

Known also by Helianthus, sun­flow­ers are native to South Amer­i­ca but were cul­ti­vat­ed ear­ly for food in North Amer­i­ca. When in the bud stage, the flower heads fol­low the sun across the sky. This is called “heliotro­pism.” Once the buds have bloomed, the stems stay sta­t­ic and don’t “fol­low” the sun anymore.

It’s edible!

The flow­ers, seeds and oil are edi­ble. The seeds can be eat­en whole, with­out the shell or made into sun­flower but­ter as a sub­sti­tute for peanut but­ter. The oil is a cheap­er alter­na­tive to olive oil and some types con­tain a high­er lev­el of healthy monoun­sat­u­rat­ed fats in their oil than even olive oil.

In Floral Design

Sun­flow­ers look great in large bunch­es either in tall vas­es or in low vas­es. They look well mixed in with oth­er yel­low and orange flow­ers in the fall. Sun­flow­ers should be pur­chased when the blooms are still slight­ly closed if you want the blooms to last a long time. The yel­low petals can be removed to cre­ate a “brown” flower for a very mod­ern and cur­rent flo­ral design. See pho­to from an event we did use pink, white and “brown” flow­ers that we cre­at­ed by remov­ing the petals from a sunflower.

Flower Arranging Book Review

Suc­cu­lent Con­tain­er Gar­dens: Design Eye-Catch­ing Dis­plays with 350 Easy-Care Plants

by Debra Lee Baldwin

If you’ve been fol­low­ing our blog or come to any of our class­es in the past year, you know we love suc­cu­lent plants like Echev­e­rias and Aeo­ni­ums. If you want to have a gar­den that is low main­te­nance and does not need a lot of water, we rec­om­mend design­ing with these won­der­ful plants.

If you are look­ing for inspi­ra­tion on how to start your own suc­cu­lent gar­den, this is a per­fect book for you. Debra Lee Bald­win is the author of two books on suc­cu­lents and is work­ing on a third.

First, she walks you through how to pair plants with pots. Next, she talks about what plants do well in pots and how to fea­ture suc­cu­lents in oth­er designs like wall pots, top­i­aries, hang­ing bas­kets, wreaths and flo­ral designs. She also cov­ers essen­tials like how to plant, care for and prop­a­gate these ver­sa­tile cacti.

We think it’s a great book — espe­cial­ly if you want to use some suc­cu­lent plants in your flo­ral designs. We’ll be offer­ing a design class at The Hunt­ing­ton Library this fall — just in time for Thanks­giv­ing, where we’ll com­bine fresh flow­ers with suc­cu­lents to cre­ate a 
long-last­ing cen­ter­piece
that will look gor­geous on your har­vest table.

Floral Tool — Paper Maché Containers

We believe that great con­tain­ers are not made of sil­ver, ceram­ic or fine chi­na, but instead, water­tight, inex­pen­sive and low key. Flower Duet thinks that the flow­ers are the show­case in an arrange­ment, not the con­tain­er. How great it is that a con­tain­er that is made of recy­cled paper will hold water and flo­ral foam, with­out leak­ing. There are two main com­pa­nies based in the USA that make such a prod­uct: Kei­d­ing and West­ern Pulp.

About Kei­d­ing Kei­d­ing was the first com­pa­ny in the Unit­ed States to design and man­u­fac­ture paper maché con­tain­ers for flo­ral arrange­ments. Mr. Andrew Kei­d­ing, a chemist by trade, start­ed mak­ing paper maché flower pots in his kitchen in the 1920s. He sold these flo­ral con­tain­ers, made from old news­pa­pers and wax, to local church­es. He then found there was such a demand that he applied for a patent in 1934 for this type of con­tain­er for nurs­ery plants and flo­ral con­tain­ers. Their con­tain­ers are made from 100% post-con­sumer papers and are recy­clable, can be com­post­ed and biodegradable.

About West­ern Pulp West­ern Pulp came along a bit lat­er and tack­led the need for a west­ern based oper­a­tion to take care of the florists who were com­plain­ing about pay­ing too much for freight for such light­weight con­tain­ers so Ralph Chap­man opened West­ern Pulp in Ore­gon and start­ed man­u­fac­tur­ing paper pots for the west coast folks.
Here is the begin­ning of a mag­a­zine arti­cle about West­ern Pulp titled “Jack­pot from Paper Pots.” Sci­ence and Mechan­ics, 1954.
“Start­ing with a bushel of old mag­a­zines and $250 for home­made exper­i­men­tal equip­ment, Ralph Chap­man cre­at­ed a $100,000 indus­try, the largest of its kind west of the Great Lakes. Like most peo­ple with a new idea, Ralph was told the “days of gold­en oppor­tu­ni­ties” were gone and if it had­n’t been done before, it was obvi­ous­ly no good! But the idea of turn­ing old mag­a­zines into cash was too good to stop, and Ralph Chap­man did­n’t dis­cour­age eas­i­ly” Read entire article
The pots we know today are pret­ty much the same as they were in 1954, how­ev­er recent­ly West­ern Pulp has intro­duced a new line called ReCre­ations. This prod­uct has been wel­comed into the flo­ral indus­try as a new and inno­v­a­tive prod­uct. The pulp has been mold­ed in a way to mim­ic columns and ele­gant con­tain­ers, and in such an array of sizes and nat­ur­al col­ors, like Basil, Straw and Bark.
Flower Food
As per West­ern Pulp – “ReCre­ations are made with recy­cled paper, each ReCre­ations con­tain­er is infused with ingre­di­ents from the earth, from pale flecks of Field Straw to rich­ly tex­tured Nat­ur­al Bark to the ver­dant hues of Fresh Basil.” We used the Straw-col­ored ReCre­ation con­tain­ers at our most recent Trop­i­cal work­shop at the Hunt­ing­ton Library, we deliv­ered the bridal bou­quets in them at the wed­ding we did over last week­end and we are plan­ning to use the Bark-col­ored ones for our Sun­flower Top­i­ary in 
September’s Class at the Huntington.

Usage Tips:

  • Aside from stand­ing on their own, they are a great lin­er to pop into a bas­ket or for Grandmother’s Sil­ver bowl which may not be water­tight nor would you want it to have flo­ral foam residue on its insides.
  • You can also use hot glue to attach moss to the out­side of a paper con­tain­er to cre­ate a unique organ­ic look – see pho­to below from a wild­flower wed­ding we did in the sum­mer of 2009.
  • Don’t re-use the paper maché pots. They most like­ly har­bor bac­te­ria from the flo­ral arrange­ment that was housed inside and will keep your next arrange­ment from last­ing a long time.