Flower Arranging Summer Camp
Flower Duet is in kicking off our fourth year of teaching Floral Design at The Huntington Library & Botanical Gardens in San Marino, California. We started adding a children’s class to the existing children’s’ program almost two years ago and have been amazed and delighted with the reaction and the results. The age range is 7–12 years old and we draw both boys and girls to our fun classes.
Planning the Camp
Each child is accompanied by a grown-up, who we have come to call their assistant. We have seen these young designers take control of their floral foam, cutters and the toughest thorny rose stems. The creative juices start flowing with a usual preference not to have the adult too involved. We give them all the same materials and they see the same demo, but the end results are a range of amazing creations. This is a great age to introduce things to children. They can handle it and they do it well and have no fear.
This past spring, one of our regulars, Aspen, was asked by her mom, what she would like to do during the summer. Her response was that she would like to attend Flower Camp with Flower Duet. Her mom asked me if that could be arranged and our reply was: “Of course.”
Aspen’s mom, Patty, and Casey of Flower Duet coordinated this “Day of Flower Arranging” to include, a trip to the flower mart in downtown Los Angeles to pick out their flowers and containers. And then, we returned to their home on the backyard patio to condition the flowers and start the arrangements which were a hand-tied bouquet and flower puppy.
Getting Started Bright and Early
On a Monday morning at 7:30 a.m., an effervescent group of girls ages 7–12 and Patty met Casey at the Los Angeles Flower Mart where we also offer group and private tours to anyone. This group of five, four of whom had attended our classes at The Huntington this past year, fearlessly navigated rows of mums, roses, hydrangea, and Hypericum berries. The girls waltzed through the mart, easily blurting out the names which they had learned over the two years of classes.
They recognized the delphinium and the statice from the “Treasure Box” class we taught them in the spring and proficiently squeezed the base of the bud of roses to ensure freshness. They learned the etiquette, protocol and the routine of working with the vendors. They discussed color and texture with ease and decided which options would be best for the hand-tied bouquet. We were also planning to make flower puppies out of mums and carnations. Each girl took turns pulling bunches of white carnations and checking for perky greenery. We loaded our cart and headed to the floral supply store, to choose our container for the puppy and our vase for the hand-tied bouquet.
Once we picked out everything we needed we headed back to the venue for us to create a hand-tied bouquet and these puppy dogs. The young designers helped empty the car, filled buckets with floral food and water, trimmed stems, popped everything in buckets, soaked floral foam and set up our workspace. While we took a morning snack break, another floral designer camper joined us. The flowers had a chance to condition and we discussed our plan. It was just 9:30 a.m.
Next, the six girls, followed my lead with clean and trimmed flowers, placing them just so into the floral foam to create the puppies pictured above. Then we pulled the roses out and Emily asked eagerly if the stems had thorns on them. The answer was yes, and she jumped for joy and grabbed her cutters ready to tackle the job.
Designing with Ease
Once all the flowers were cleaned and ready, they again were immediately ready to tackle the next design. They had their hand-tied bouquets of roses, Alstroemeria, and mums in perfect mounds in record time. Their small hands holding 20 stems with comfort and admiration. A quick trim of the stems and they were popped into their vases. When all said and done all the young ladies had finished their designs before 12 Noon!
We could not have been prouder of our flower campers and are happy to be teaching a range of ages the art of flower arranging. We have a series of classes this fall for children, and we approach them knowing that the young designers will embrace and delight in whatever we present.
Flower Camp was a great experience for all of us. Thanks, Aspen, Alexis, Savannah, Samantha, Emily and Abby…and Mom Patty, too!
There are certain signs in nature that trigger the feeling of fall: A chill in the air, a blustery day and wonderful vibrant color in nature. Color is a big indicator that the brightness of summer flowers are fading and the warm tones of Autumn are appearing. There are certain flowers that especially look like they are in the fall floral category and some that are only available in those months that follow September.
We grew up with “mums” being planted in our garden after the pool closed and when school started. We have come to appreciate them as a great cut flower. The colors that are only available in the fall are by far the richest of maroons, coppers, burgundies and oranges. They are all you need to make an impact for a fall-themed arrangement. This one pictured is a large China mum, sometimes referred to “Football Mums” because they make popular corsages during Homecoming games. We only see this mum available for purchase at the floral mart in the fall months.
In the same family as one of our favorite greeneries called “Green Hanging Amaranthus,” but this is a bronze, amber color that is a bit more full and more upright. This works well as a cut flower as its stem sturdy enough to hold up in an arrangement and the flower will last for several days. These also do well in a low vase or container to add volume and provide an unusual texture.
Part of the Protea family, this is also called Leucadendron or Safari Sunset. It is a rich leafy, strong-stemmed greenery that adds rich color, not usually found in flowers or greenery. Leucadendron also comes in a lighter green as well. It has a long vase life and is fun to add to tropical arrangements.
Native to Africa, Celosia is brilliant in appearance and have two looks. One is a striking flame-like flower head and the other has a flower head referred to as cockscomb, which also looks like brain coral. The plant is well known in East Africa’s highlands and is used under its Swahili name, Mfungu. We recently combined celosia and succulents in the arrangement. It would be a great arrangement to place for a late outdoor summer event, as it would not only last but enjoy the heat.
Hocus Pocus Roses
Hocus Pocus is a rose and a band! Love these!
Actually available year round, however, we first saw them around Halloween and thought they were fun. We used them for a bride and bridesmaids in a fall wedding mixed with other red roses and yellow roses. They tied the theme together like “magic”.
Virgo Florascope — 23 August — 22 September — Tulip
Red tulips are a great choice all year long!
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.
Tulip (Virgo) Traits
If you are a Tulip (or Virgo) you care for others deeply are a perfectionist and can easily save money while others splurge. Tulips keep a tidy closet and are never late. Tulip children are shy but can blossom when giving the proper attention.
Tulips get along well with roses, cactus flowers, mums, magnolias, sunflowers, and other tulips.
Famous Tulips include Ingrid Bergman, Sean Connery, Richard Gere, Gene Kelly, Sophia Loren, Greta Garbo, Otis Redding, and Peter Sellers.
About Tulips — Botanical Information
Tulips originally hailed from the Turkish region and have a colorful past — and we’re not just talking about the variety of colors and shapes they come in. If you want to learn more about them, read our April 2010 newsletter article All About Tulips. As bulb flowers, they are abundant in the Spring and are easy to grow in your home gardens. Fall is the time of the year to plant Tulip bulbs, so head out to your local nursery and pick out some bulbs. You can even grow them in pots which Kit likes to do in Southern California. If you are going to do that in a warm climate, you’ll need to condition the bulbs in the refrigerator before you plant them. Place the bulbs in a paper bag and put them in the crisper section of your refrigerator for about six weeks before planting them by November in order to have spring blooms.
When Buying Tulips
Buy Tulips when the blooms are still closed and the greenery is about the same height as the blooms. If the blooms are taller than the greenery, they’ve already been cut from the bulb for a little while. Tulip stems continue to grow even after they’ve been harvested, so make sure you think about that before you design and makes sure you keep the water in your vase clean and mixed with flower food to promote longevity. See our August Newsletter on more about the benefits of using Flower Food in floral design.
Flower Arranging Book Review
Flower by Flower: A Practical and Inspirational Guide to the Art of Flower Arranging
by Tadhg Ryan
This book was published way back in 1998, but we still feel it has lots of helpful and relevant information. It may be hard to find new, but you can order it from independent sellers on Amazon or maybe even find it at a book sale.
Flower Duet wants to recommend this book because it offers timeless flower recipes by season. It talks about flowers that are available in the Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter and shows a collection of designs to replicate for each season as well.
It also offers a techniques section in the back of the book, covers lots of different flower tools and offers a detailed chart on each flower that is featured in the book. You’ll learn the average height of each bloom, if it offers a scent, the colors it comes in, what type of foliage it offers, what to look for when you are buying the flowers at the mart or florist, how to care for them right after you get them home from the mart and how to care for them to keep them lasting in the vase and finally, the average life span in a vase.
It also offers a section on greenery in the back to complement the flowers in the rest of the book. It’s a definite positive addition to your flower arranging library.
Floral Tool — ZOTS
This product is made by a company called Therm-o-web. They have revolutionized crafting, especially scrapbooking, however, the floral industry has found them also very handy.
Clear Adhesive Dots
Zots bond instantly and adhere to paper, glass, and ceramic which are the usual vessels we use for vases. We have used Zots on a variety of materials to either cover a vase or decorate it. The slippery satin ribbon stays where you want it to with Zots when decorating the smooth finish of a glass cylinder vase. It’s easy to attach a fresh, green Ti leaf on the outside of a glass cube vase to add a nice tropical look to a design. Adding moss and bark to a paper maché container is a breeze with Zots.
Easy-to-Use and Easy-to-Remove
The ease in which Zots bring to decorating and securing materials is equal to the awkwardness and risk in dealing with hot glue. They come in different sizes and thicknesses and they have them in strips, too. The other great thing about Zots is that they remove easily, so you can reuse a glass or metal container again and again after removing the outside decoration.