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Floral Design Newsletter Archives

Read more Flower Duet Newsletters from past years:

2020 Newslet­ter Articles

2019 Newslet­ter Archives

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2017 Newslet­ter Archives

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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.

Halloween Inspired Flower Decorating Ideas

Pumpkin flower design for Thanksgiving.

This Thanks­giv­ing arrang­me­ment would look great on a front stoop or porch or on a buf­fet table. We used orange Marigolds, red Ger­ber Daisies and Broom corn in a hol­lowed out nat­ur­al pump­kin. After hol­low­ing out the pump­kin, spray the inside with bleach to keep it fresh a bit longer. Flow­ers by Flower Duet. Pho­to by Kit Wertz.

Trick or Treat? We believe flow­ers are a Treat any time of year, the Trick is mak­ing them last and look nice. Above, Casey made this design a few years ago inspired by our mutu­al love of Peeps Marsh­mal­low treats. Black and Orange fab­ric inside a vase with some ghost­ly peeps, sets the mood to cre­ate some­thing a bit more on the whim­si­cal side.

Fall Flower Inspiration

Fall has offi­cial­ly arrived and shades of maroon, orange, dark pur­ples have flood­ed the flower mart (for more on Fall Flow­ers – check out our Sep­tem­ber 2010 Newslet­ter). It is a love­ly site. What to do with all these rich col­ors? How about plan­ning a Hal­loween Par­ty and mak­ing the per­fect flower arrangement.

Flower Duet rec­om­mends the best con­tain­ers are water­tight and eco-friendly…so how about a hol­lowed out pump­kin as a vase? A tall slen­der pump­kin could host a tall dra­mat­ic arrange­ment with white lark­spur and dark pur­ple car­na­tions, with some rust, maroon and orange mums.

Rich spooky col­ors are all apart of the sea­son as the days grow short­er and the nights fall faster. Black Mag­ic ros­es and Hocus Pocus Ros­es are a pre­fect mixed in with a spray of orchids which could look like a spi­der’s web.

Orange Asian Lilies are love­ly this time of year…but remem­ber if you want them to last — buy them closed, so they don’t bruise…however if you want them open for your event.…buy them early.

Cockscomb celosia looks like brains when clumped togeth­er. The col­ors are vibrat­ing pinks and reds…sure to spook your guests.

How to make five Halloween Flower Spiders

Flower Spider

We can just imag­ine how a few large faced sun­flower spi­ders would cer­tain­ly make an impres­sion to your trick or treaters head­ing up your walk­way. You could place these crawl­ing out of your pump­kin too.

What to Buy:

1 bunch of 5 Sunflowers

1 bunch of green­ery or cut green­ery from your gar­den like Pit­tospo­rum or box­wood or even leaves of a lemon tree (be sure to give your gar­den green­ery a good rinse before bring­ing them into the house to get rid of any real spiders!)

10 eyes from the craft store

10 black che­nille stems

10 green che­nille stems

1 red che­nille stem

10 Zots or a hot glue gun

5 small water-tight containers

2 bricks of wet flo­ral foam

Steps to Make a Sunflower Spider

Step 1: Soak flo­ral foam with flo­ral food mix­ture. See our June Newslet­ter on flo­ral foam to learn more about this tool.

Step 2: Cut foam in 6 equal pieces and place 1 in each con­tain­er. (You will have one piece left over. Place in Ziploc bag and put in the fridge to use for future – up to 3 months.)

Step 3: Remove yel­low petals from each Sun­flower and any green­ery from each stem.

Step 4: Cut stems down to a good height to fit in your cho­sen vase.

Step 5: Glue on eyes with our Sep­tem­ber’s tool of the month Zots or usa a hot glue gun. If you are mak­ing these with your kids, be sure to han­dle the glue gun and cut­ters yourself.

Step 6: Cut the black and green che­nille stems in half and placed them direct­ly into the sides of the face of the sun­flower to make legs.

Step 7: Cut the red che­nille stem in 5 equal pieces to make the mouth of each sun­flower and gen­tly tuck them in place for each mouth.

Step 8: Add green­ery around each spi­der sun­flower face and enjoy!

Dia de los Muertos Centerpiece How-To


We review a great book this month on Cen­ter­piece ideas – called Bou­quets – A Year of Flow­ers and Set­tings for the Table by Mar­sha Heck­man (see review at right) and the author cre­at­ed a design that was inspired by the Dia de los Muer­tos or Day of the Dead celebration.

Ms. Heck­man used Cockscomb Celosia and Marigolds in the design in the book. We sub­sti­tut­ed more acces­si­ble orange Spi­der Ger­ber Daisies (10 stems) and dark maroon Car­na­tions (25 stems) which turns out to be a sim­ple pur­chase of one whole­sale bunch each of each flower.

Ms. Heck­man also sug­gests find­ing a cute, water tight con­tain­er for this base of this design so Casey re-used a con­tain­er that had held yum­my fresh fruit from an Edi­ble Arrange­ments gift she had received from a client. The green was a per­fect col­or to add to the col­or block­ing tiers of col­ors. Using a half a brick of wet flo­ral foam, we placed it secure­ly in the bot­tom of the container.

  • First we placed the Ger­ber Daisies around the edge of the design, but we pre-poked hole around the edge of the foam using a chop­stick so each Ger­ber stem would slide in eas­i­ly with­out breaking.
  • Then we fluffed up each Car­na­tion (by pet­ting each bloom out gen­tly to coax the flower to open a bit more) before cut­ting the stems to form a mound design in the con­tain­er. Be sure to remove any green­ery off the part of the car­na­tion stem that will go into the foam.

TIP: If you start plac­ing each car­na­tion stem clos­est to the Ger­bers, then you can make a bet­ter judg­ment of how tall the stems will need to be in the mid­dle of the design by the time you are ready to fill that in. So always start this type of a design from the out­side in.

Libra Florascope — 23 September — 22 October — Rose

Rose (Libra) Traits

If you are a Rose (or Libra), you love being in love and are astute with finances. Good careers for Ros­es include envi­ron­men­tal­ists, diplo­mats, musi­cians, com­put­er graph­ic design­er, art deal­er or image con­sul­tant. Ros­es have a prac­ti­cal side and are will­ing to put words into action Rose chil­dren are nat­ur­al con­tenders in baby pho­to com­pe­ti­tions. Ros­es get along well with oth­er ros­es, cac­tus flow­ers, orchids, sun­flow­ers, tulips, pas­sion flow­ers and birds of par­adise. Famous Ros­es include Brigitte Bar­dot, Cather­ine Deneuve, Michael Dou­glas, F. Scott Fitzger­ald, George Gersh­win, John Lennon, Olivia New­ton John, Gwyneth Pal­trow, Sting and Cather­ine Zeta Jones.

About Roses — Botanical Information

A rose is a peren­ni­al flower bush of the genus Rosa, with­in the fam­i­ly Rosaceae, that con­tains over 100 species and comes in a huge vari­ety of col­ors. Ros­es that are grown for the com­mer­cial cut flower con­sumer in the Unit­ed States pri­mar­i­ly come from Colum­bia and Cal­i­for­nia. Most of the com­mer­cial ros­es sold today have lost their scent in favor of longer stems and long-last­ing blooms that are tol­er­ant to pests in the grow­ers’ fields. There are a few vari­eties you can still get that have a great scent – like the pur­ple Lavan­da rose.

Rose water, made from the rose oil, is wide­ly used in Asian and Mid­dle East­ern cui­sine and now is a pop­u­lar ingre­di­ent in cock­tails. We’ll be talk­ing about how to make your own rose water and how to make “flower cock­tails” in our hol­i­day sea­son newslet­ter in Decem­ber so look for­ward to that!

Rose hips (pic­tured at right) are occa­sion­al­ly made into jam or are brewed for tea, pri­mar­i­ly for their high vit­a­min C con­tent. They are also pressed and fil­tered to make rose hip syrup. Rose hips are also used in skin prod­ucts and some make­up products.

Rose Symbolism

Ros­es are ancient sym­bols of love and beau­ty and were sacred to a num­ber of god­dess­es includ­ing Isis and Aphrodite. The rose is often used as a sym­bol of the Vir­gin Mary. In Rome a wild rose would be placed on the door of a room where secret or con­fi­den­tial mat­ters were dis­cussed. The phrase sub rosa, or “under the rose”, means to keep a secret — derived from this ancient Roman practice.

When Buying & Arranging with Roses

Choos­ing the Best Ros­es: Buy Ros­es when the blooms are still most­ly closed and the green­ery live­ly and not dried out. Make sure you can see all the folds of a rose’s petals when you are look­ing straight down into the bloom. If you see just a ‘cone’ of petals, choose anoth­er bunch. The cone might not ever open. You can also gen­tly squeeze the base of the bud to see if it’s fresh. If the bud gives way in your fin­gers, the bloom is on its way to the com­post heap.

Pick­ing Ros­es from your Own Gar­den: Be sure to pick ros­es that are not too far open and pick them in the morn­ing before the heat of the day has dried out the stems and the blooms. Car­ry a buck­et of water and flo­ral food mix­ture with you into the gar­den. When you har­vest each stem, place it imme­di­ate­ly into the buck­et of water so the stem does not have time to seal up (less than 10 sec­onds). Blooms from the gar­den will not last as long as ones from the com­mer­cial grow­er, but by har­vest­ing them in the cool morn­ing with your handy flower food mix­ture, you should get a good 2–3 days out of the bloom in your home.

Remem­ber, we always rec­om­mend to use flo­ral food when you are arrang­ing with ros­es (or almost any flower for that mat­ter). See our August Newslet­ter on more about the ben­e­fits of using Flower Food in flo­ral design.

Flower Arranging Book Review

bouquets-book-heckman

Bou­quets – A Year of Flow­ers and Set­tings for the Table by Mar­sha Heckman

This is a love­ly book and was a gift to Flower Duet’s col­lec­tion from a client.

Pub­lished in 2005, it is a time­less guide to dec­o­rat­ing tables for sim­ple, ele­gant and grand events. Ms. Heck­man takes the read­er through the sea­sons, work­ing with flow­ers avail­able accord­ing­ly, and she also trans­ports us around the world with themes inspired by Mex­i­co, Asia, France, Hawaii and the USA.

She invites friends to find con­tain­ers in their homes to help build an eclec­tic col­lec­tion of cen­ter­pieces for a wed­ding and uses pho­to frames as a base for Old Glo­ry. This book Offers inspi­ra­tion to look beyond the usu­al con­tain­ers you may use for a vase and to work in what you might already have. Ms. Heck­man also worked close­ly with her sis­ter and mom on the design­ing. That is some­thing Flower Duet knows a lot about!

We were inspired by her sug­gest­ed design for Dia de los Muer­tos or Day of the Dead cel­e­brat­ed in Mex­i­co just after our Hal­loween hol­i­day. In most regions of Mex­i­co, Novem­ber 1st hon­ors chil­dren and infants, where­as deceased adults are hon­ored on Novem­ber 2nd. We made a sim­i­lar design to the one she cre­at­ed in the book to show you how nice and clear her direc­tions were to achieve this look. Check out the “Dia de los Muer­tos Cen­ter­piece How-To” in this newslet­ter (at left).

Floral Tool — Floral Wire

Floral Wire

Flo­ral Wire

The tool that is. Not wiring flow­ers to a client, but replac­ing flo­ral stems with wire. Wire gives you the chance to length­en stems to achieve the height you may need or to replace stems in a bou­ton­nière or cor­sage to pre­vent the design from get­ting bulky.

This thin and often long tool is the key to cre­at­ing bou­ton­nières and cor­sages, as well as incor­po­rat­ing stem-less blooms like orchids into a bou­quet or taller design. Wire is also used to secure green­ery to wreath forms or gar­lands – and will be handy for upcom­ing fall and win­ter designs.

Flo­ral wire is not used on its own to secure blooms to for a vari­ety of design pur­pos­es, but is teamed up with stretchy and sticky flo­ral tape to cre­ate a secure and wor­ry free combination.

The flo­ral tape not only hides the wire, but it also assists in hold­ing the mois­ture in the stem.

There are many types of flo­ral wire to choose from and we’ll talk about each.

Straight Wire in dif­fer­ent Gauges

We use the wire that comes straight and 18” long. We can cut it to the size we need, and it works well for any shap­ing we would need. It’s com­mon­ly sold in 12lb. box­es but some­times you can buy small­er amounts – depend­ing on the sup­pli­er. The num­ber of wires in each box depends on the gauge of the wire.

Wire is coat­ed with green enam­el to help pre­vent rust­ing and to help the wire blend in with the design.

It’s impor­tant to select the small­est gauge wire that will sup­port the flower while also keep­ing it in place.

Gauge 16–18 – Thick­est wire. Also called “Stub” wire, it’s very heavy, thick wire that does not bend eas­i­ly, these work well to extend stems as they won’t bend under pres­sure. Don’t use too large a wire for a del­i­cate stem or it will dam­age the flower and won’t be usable.

Gauge 20–22 – Medi­um thick­ness wire that is most com­mon­ly used. Great for cre­at­ing florists bows and bind­ing stems together.

Gauge 24–32 – Thinnest wire. The high­er the num­ber like 24 and 28 are much thin­ner and bend eas­i­ly. This size works well to build cor­sage com­po­nents. Giv­ing you the ease of plac­ing your pieces togeth­er close­ly and not add a lot of weight. Remem­ber though that if the wire is too thin, the stem won’t be sup­port­ed properly.

Paddle Wire

Trav­els well and is com­pact for your flo­ral toolk­it on site at venues. Pad­dle wire comes in dif­fer­ent gauge sizes as well. Remem­ber the high­er the gauge num­ber the more flex­i­ble and thin­ner the wire will be. We often use pad­dle wire for hang­ing wreaths by shap­ing it into loops and find it ide­al for secur­ing flo­ral mate­r­i­al to wreaths, forms or cre­at­ing garlands.

Cloth Covered Wire

The cloth allows you to grip it eas­i­ly, tie knots and hold stems secure­ly. We see it used in arti­fi­cial flower arrang­ing and for cake mak­ing and dec­o­rat­ing use. Cloth cov­ered flo­ral wire can be used as the stem when cre­at­ing roy­al icing flower dec­o­ra­tions on your cakes.

How to use Floral Wire Video

Flower Duet wired a few suc­cu­lents with a tech­nique called a sin­gle leg mount. Check out our free video here to see that technique.

Learn How to use Floral Wire during our Wedding Flower Workshop

If you are in the Los Ange­les area we are offer­ing a Wed­ding work­shop this month at our South Bay Stu­dio. We’ll be wiring a vari­ety of flow­ers dur­ing that class, as well as build­ing a bridal bou­quet! Don’t miss it!