November 2010 Newsletter

Floral Trends - Volume 7

Flower Duet on Televsion – Creative Living

by Casey Schwartz

Flower Duet TV

Flower Duet was asked by Creative Living Host Sheryl Borden earlier this year to appear as a guest on five television segments for her national show carried by PBS. We accepted. The studio and the show are based in Portales, New Mexico, which are in the eastern part of the state. So like any event that we are hired to do, there was a lot planning involved.

Planning First of all, my sister and partner Kit would not be able to accompany me as she is about to have twins! So, I recruited our Dad who is always up for a road trip to meet me in Albuquerque via a plane ride from Virginia and then we would drive around the state of New Mexico for a flower arranging adventure and then we’d visit relatives in other parts of the state, too!

For supplies and flowers, Flower Duet has all its favorite vendors in Los Angeles, but this was new territory, so I had a bit of research to do. I knew I could pack some things, but I would need to find fresh flowers, and supplies as well as a nursery that sold succulents, as we were going to incorporate those into an arrangement.

To my delight I found a wonderful wholesaler in Albuquerque, New Mexico, who was able to fill my order perfectly and in water-filled buckets I could borrow. This was essential as we were going to be driving four hours across the state in 90 degree heat.

Prepping So after meeting Dad in the Albuquerque airport, we were off to DWF Wholesale Mart. The flower quality was top notch, the order was complete and the staff so helpful. I was also able to supplement my order for that last minute buy…just in case!

Then it was off to Rehm’s Nursery & Garden Center who had assured me that they would get a shipment of succulents in over the previous weekend. It was Tuesday and the selection was vast and just what I needed. We had a car full of flowers and plants and I felt very happy with our purchases. Were finished with Albuquerque and on to Portales.

We stayed at the Holiday Inn in Portales and the staff was kind enough to let us use the conference room for all my prepping. I needed to create one of each of the five arrangements I would be demonstrating on the show the next day, as well as prep as much of the materials as possible ahead of time. I practiced my teaching of each technique to the empty room or to my Dad if he happened to pop in and check on me. I was happy with the techniques Kit and I had decided upon and felt ready for the following morning on set.

At the Studio We visited that afternoon with the host Sheryl Borden and toured the set and found where we would be setting up. Sheryl could not have been nicer or more welcoming to us, which made our trip there that much more fun. We took the rest of the day to literally pop over to Texas and tour the surrounding area.
Casey Arranges with Succulents
The day of filming arrived and we arrived on set to find we were the second guests. I was given specific directions: Don’t look at the monitor, or at the camera or out at my Dad! It was to be as if I were giving Sheryl a private lesson. That was easy, as I have been giving a lot of those lately.

We blasted through the segments with only one take on each one which was a relief since I was expecting to hear “CUT! Do it again please,” but we got through each design very quickly. This really was fun as we actually got into a nice rhythm and I know I can make a nice arrangement in about 9 minutes!

Casey arranges Paves

We filmed the selected segments on September 30 and they will be played throughout the 2010/2011 season. Our requirements were to create five 5-9 minute segments for the viewer to be able to comprehend and recreate. We chose flowers that were available year round, and techniques that did not need a lot of supplies.
The techniques I taught on the show included: Dozen Roses in a Vase, Gather-Drop and Fill, Bundle and Place, a Pavé and How to Combined Succulents and Fresh Flowers.

We have been invited back for next season, and I am glad to know I have a great set of suppliers and a nice place to stay. I was happy to give the The Holiday Inn two of the arrangements to thank them for accommodating us so nicely.

Visiting Family In addition to this wonderful experience, the rest of my trip with my Dad included a visit with family in Las Cruces, more family in Santa Fe and the mass ascension of over 500 hot air balloons on the 2nd day of the Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque the morning of our departure! It was great timing and a fun experience.

Creative Living with Sheryl Borden. Look for it on your local PBS station. If you are in the Los Angeles area, you can find it on KVCR at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday mornings.


How-To Centerpiece: Gather, Drop and Fill

Gather, Drop & Fill
One of the techniques that Flower Duet taught on Creative Living was called “Gather, Drop and Fill.” It is a simple concept that can be done short or tall. It can also be called the “Headstart Arrangement.” We like to use a face flower (rose) a spray flower (Alstroemeria ) and a filler (misty blue). At left, you’ll see we also added about seven stems of dark purple calla lilies to this design.
These would also be considered “face flowers.”

Vase: A cube vase or low cylinder

Flowers: 12-15 face flowers, 10 spray flowers and 8 stems of filler (20 stems)


VASE: Use a low vase that is opaque. A metal cube vase would work that is about 4 inches x 4 inches. Fill the vase with water and floral food about ¾ full.

PREP: Prep the flowers – condition them.

CLEAN: Clean the flowers. Take off all the greenery. Most of the stems will be below the water line inside the vase.

GATHER: Gather ½ the total stems into one hand – alternating stems – like you are making a small bouquet in your hand.

DROP: Measure the stems and cut them a little longer than you think you need. Place them in the vase and let them fall where they may. At this point, you may need to re-cut the stems a bit shorter.

FILL: Using the rest of the stems of flowers, fill in the gaps in the arrangement, taking care to alternate flowers so that you don’t have any Roses touching each other and so that they are the main focal flower in the design.

MAKE IT LAST: Fill the vase every 2-3 days with fresh water combined with floral food.

Scorpio Florascope – 23 October – 21 November – Cactus Flower

Cactus FlowerCactus Flower (Scorpio) Traits

If you are a Cactus flower (or Scorpio), you are capable of mastering the miracle of transformation. Good careers for Cactus flowers include archaeologist, lawyer, private eye, psychiatrist, brain surgeon, hotel manager, or racing driver. Cactus flowers are hardy and can endure extremes in temperature. Cactus flower children are loyal friends and family members. Cactus flowers get along well with bird of paradise, mums, poppies, lotus, tulips, roses and other cactus flowers. Famous Cactus flowers include Hillary Clinton, Christopher Columbus, Sally Field, Jodie Foster, Bill Gates, Grace Kelly, Robert F. Kennedy, Claude Monet, Pablo Picasso, Teddy Roosevelt and Andy Warhol.


About Cactus Flowers – Botanical Information

With a few exceptions, cacti are succulent plants and, like other succulents, they have a variety of adaptations that enable them to survive in hot and dry environments. Every type of cactus will flower and bloom.

Growing Cactus

Christmas Cactus
Christmas Cactus Flower

A very pretty flowering cactus is available around this time of year and is commonly called the “Christmas Cactus.” Shown at right is the delicate bloom that is on the Christmas Cactus.

Another very accessible flowering cactus this time of year is Kalanchoe.

Growing Cactus Indoors: Indoors, the best place is a sunny window or a greenhouse in fast draining potting mix. Succulents are not good plant options for Terrariums.

Growing Cactus Outdoors: In warm climates, succulents can be planted in the ground or outdoors in pots year round.

Succulent & Cactus Care Basics: Keep watering and fertilizing at a minimum. Let soil dry between waterings. Succulents tend to collect debris. You can clean them with paintbrushes, long tweezers, or even a vacuum cleaner using the crevice attachment. Most succulents are pets and disease free. But they can get mealybugs, wipe them with cotton swabs dipped in alcohol. If aphids appear, wash the plants with a focused stream of water. These methods will keep you from rubbing away the waxy bloom that gives some succulents their distinctive color. To avoid getting pricked, display the plants away from high traffic areas. Just because you can’t see the spines doesn’t mean they aren’t there. Some cacti have tiny barbed spines that can bury themselves in your skin.

Arranging Fresh Flowers with Cactus or Succulents Flower Duet is teaching a floral design class this month that will incorporate non-spiney succulent plants with fresh flowers for a long-lasting design that will be very suitable for your Southern California Thanksgiving table. Sign up for the class today!

Succulent Bridal Bouquet How-To

Flower Duet combined succulents to create a gorgeous bridal bouquet in this FREE flower arranging video.

Flower Arranging Book Review

Bouquets Book

Ikebana Style
by Keiko Kubo
Flower Duet loves this new book by floral designer Keiko Kubo who really makes the art of ikebana accessible to all. “Ikebana” is the Japanese art of flower arrangement and has different schools of design that many people devote years and years of practice to perfect. This can be a very intimidating style of floral design, but Ms. Kubo makes it very easy. She takes you step-by-step through 20 different arrangements and shows you how to create ikebana-inspired designs.

What makes these designs different from traditional ikebana is that each design is suitable for gift giving as each design is portable like most of Western floral designs. Traditional “Ikebana arrangements are,” Ms. Kubo explains, “ordinarily created to adorn a specific site. Traditionally, ikebana was considered art to be displayed along with other artwork in the tokonama (or alcove) in the Japanese home, where guests were received.”

So, this really is a perfect book to get for this time of year if you are looking for gorgeous inspiration to create your own unique DIY gifts to give to your friends.

If you like this book by Ms. Kubo, you’ll also like another book that Flower Duet has in its library from her called: Keiko’s Ikebana: A Contemporary Approach to the Traditional Japanese Art of Flower Arranging


Floral Tool – Floral Picks

These little pieces of green wood with their delicate piece of copper wire attached are very powerful tools. They come in two sizes, 6-inch and 3-inch and the wood actually expands once wet so they hold well in floral foam.

Uses: The most common use for these picks is to bundle stems together that can manage to be out of water. Once the stems are bundled, they can be placed easily into a garland or a wreath to add color and different texture. Flower Duet has taken evergreen wreaths and garlands and have bundled stems of misty blue, seeded eucalyptus and bright white and purple status and place them all around the evergreen pieces.

Wiring the pick to the stem of a bunch of grapes offers you the ability to easily add those to an arrangement or floral spray.

In addition to using the wire end, the pointy end of a pick can be driven into a pomegranate or persimmon, giving them a stem, and then they can be placed into a floral foam arrangement. We have glued the pointy end to the flat end of the Walnut and then added them to a centerpiece, too.

Longer Picks: There are also longer picks, up to 12-inches, made of just wood than can be used to put an apple or pear on the end and inserted into a taller arrangement.