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Based near the Beach in the South Bay of LA, Kit & Casey take you on a jour­ney each month to our events we cre­ate and share with you the hottest trends in flo­ral design.

As sought-after flo­ral design instruc­tors, you’ll learn the lat­est tips and tricks of the trade.

How to Buy and Arrange with Hydrangeas

by Casey Schwartz

Mop Heads Should Feel Like Basketballs

How do you know when to buy? Are they done or are they enter­ing the antiquing stage? Why are they blue on one side of the bush and pink on the oth­er? Will they last in a bouquet?

Hydrangeas can be loose­ly trans­lat­ed to mean “water bar­rel.” And, yes, they need tons of water. This is true for when they are grow­ing and also once they are cut and used in flo­ral arrangements.

I have been watch­ing this hydrangea bush across the street for the last 2–3 months and it is a dai­ly show. I chat­ted with the neigh­bor and he is equal­ly amazed at the pro­lif­ic blooms and how much they look and feel like bas­ket­balls. A good test of real­ly healthy hydrangea bloom is when you palm it like a bas­ket­ball, it should feel real­ly firm. It should not give way or be limp.

About Hydrangea Colors

There are some blooms that have been on the bush for a while and are just plain done and should be dead-head­ed (removed). There are some that are turn­ing a spot­ty pink with a green tinge which is what we call “antique sta­tus” and do won­der­ful­ly as cut flow­ers for bouquets.
Hydrangea antique

Then there are some that are fresh and flaw­less and final­ly there are still buds yet to reveal their col­or. The range of col­ors is pink, laven­der and blue all on the same bush. How is that pos­si­ble? The soil the roots sit in deter­mines the col­or of the blooms. The alu­minum and pH lev­els dic­tate the col­ors. Here is a link on hydrangea col­or changes that shares advice as to how to play with the soil to achieve the look you want.

White hydrangeas stay white on the bush until they start to antique with age, then they turn green.

Green ros­es, hydrangea and suc­cu­lent blooms offer a unique design to a bridal bouquet.

How to Care for Cut Hydrangea Blooms

It is hard to wait to cut them once they have final­ly bloomed and they will wilt before you can say, “Hydrangea-hydrangea.” It’s best to wait two more weeks and then cut the blooms. When you do cut them, do so in the ear­ly morn­ing, as they’ve been gain­ing strength all night, cooled off and gath­ered some morn­ing dew. They will do best with a fresh cut, green­ery removed (as they need a lot of water, too) and a plunge into water with flo­ral food. Let them sit for a bit before you start arranging,

One of our stu­dents, Andria, own­er of Divine Blooms and Designs, has recent­ly had vic­to­ry work­ing with a mas­sive amount of hydrangeas. For the wed­ding she worked with close to 200 stems of hydrangea. She had been test­ing some tech­niques and in the end and suc­cess­ful­ly let the hydrangea stems drink for about 24 hours and mist­ed them with a spray bot­tle a few times dur­ing that peri­od. She ensured the foam was com­plete­ly soaked by leav­ing them in water overnight. Here is an image of two of her cre­ations. She made 12 of these beauties.

Hydrangea Stem Wholesale Pricing

Pic­tured here is design we did a few weeks ago with laven­der and white hydrangeas. Whole­sale pric­ing for hydrangeas is pret­ty stan­dard. The white hydrangea are pret­ty rea­son­able through­out the year and most often avail­able. The price sits usu­al­ly around $1.50 a stem, and can go as low as $1.25 a stem. The nice thing is that you can paint them pink, blue or purple.

This sum­mer of 2011, the domes­ti­cal­ly grown blue stems are around $1.50 a stem, but when they are import­ed they can get as high as $4.00-$6.00 a stem. Pinks and pur­ples also can get that high and most like­ly drop to $2.50 a stem dur­ing the height of the sum­mer season!

Have fun with hydrangeas. Water them well and treat them well and they will give you joy.

How to Create an Herb Wreath

by Kit Wertz

Herb Wreath

By August, your herb gar­den should be in full bloom. If you have not plant­ed an herb gar­den, it’s nev­er too late to plant a few herbs to have for cook­ing or flo­ral design. Good choic­es that are easy to main­tain in pots and smell won­der­ful are mint, laven­der, rose­mary, and basil. Whether you have herbs grow­ing or not, this is a great time of year to make an herb wreath to dec­o­rate your table for your next din­ner party.

NOTE: When work­ing with flo­ral foam, it’s best not to eat any of the herbs that are in the arrange­ment. Flo­ral foam is not good to eat!

Sup­plies Need­ed for an Herb Wreath

  • 8 inch Oasis Flo­ral Foam Wreath Form
  • 9 stems echi­nacea seed pods
  • 3–6 stems orange or green hyper­icum berries
  • 6 stems mint
  • 12 stems lavender
  • 2 ‑3 stems rosemary
  • 4 stems green but­ton mums


Step 1- Soak the flo­ral foam in water and flo­ral food. Pic­tured below are leather fern, mixed herbs, mums, sea this­tle and statice.

Step 2 — Decide if you are going to “col­or-block” the herbs in groups in the design or do an all-round design. Below is a col­or block design.

Step 3 — Cut stems just before plac­ing them into the foam. This is so the stem does not seal up before you design. Pic­tured is a detail of an echi­nacea seed pod and sea thistle.

Step 4 — Com­plete the design by fill­ing the entire foam wreath. Be sure to cov­er the inside of the form as well. Add a can­dle in the middle!

TIP: When work­ing with mint or laven­der, keep the stems in a vase of water until you are just about to design. These herbs wilt eas­i­ly out of water.


Focus on Greenery — Variegated Pittosporum

by Kit Wertz

Greenery Saves Money in Floral Design

This is the sec­ond in a series we are writ­ing on green­ery for flo­ral designs. Use green­ery to fill holes in designs, as archi­tec­ture for stems of oth­er flow­ers when build­ing in a vase, and to accent wired designs like cor­sages and boutonnières.

Green­ery Type: Var­ie­gat­ed Pit­tospo­rum (also called mock orange)

Expense Fac­tor: $5–8 per bunch wholesale

Vase Life: 8–14 days

Var­ie­gat­ed pit­tospo­rum is a round­ed light green leaf with white accents. (Var­ie­gat­ed means two colors.)

Called “Pitt” for short in the flo­ral indus­try, this green­ery works well as a whole stem in long cen­ter­piece designs or tall vas­es, but it real­ly shines in small­er cen­ter­pieces as a filler or used as a col­lar. It works espce­cial­ly well for wed­dings in flo­ral sprays and for arch dec­o­ra­tion. The light green col­or goes with a lot of dif­fer­ent col­ored flow­ers and the white parts of the leaves help high­light the design and make it pop.

NOTE: Anoth­er good choice is reg­u­lar Pit­tospo­rum that just has green leaves with­out the white accents.

Book Reviews

Home­grown Herbs — A Com­plete Guide to Grow­ing, Using and Enjoy­ing More than 100 Herbs by Tam­mi Hartung

From Storey Pub­lish­ers who bring us an ongo­ing series on herbs, Home­grown Herbs can help you save some mon­ey by learn­ing how to grow your own herbs for flo­ral designs, cook­ing and fun per­son­al care herbal prepa­ra­tions. Ms. Har­tung cov­ers all the bases from design­ing dif­fer­ent types of herb gar­dens, to soil prepa­ra­tion and prop­a­ga­tion meth­ods. Did you know you can cre­ate new plants from the cut­tings of thyme?

The book also includes deal­ing with com­mon gar­den pests, how to har­vest herbs and how to dry them for lat­er use. She cov­ers how each herb has a med­i­c­i­nal use and what to expect from it in the garden.

My favorite parts of the book are the chap­ters on herbal prepa­ra­tions for med­i­c­i­nal use and per­son­al care and of course, the cook­ing recipes. Ms. Har­tung explains in an easy con­ver­sa­tion­al text how to cre­ate handy items like home­made insect repel­lent, sun­burn relief sprays and fra­grant body creams.

In the cook­ing sec­tion, she has won­der­ful recipes which include a “Flower Pow­er Sal­ad” that would look as good as it would taste and includes pret­ty flow­ers like vio­lets and nasturtiums.

So, grow your own herbs, have some fun in the kitchen and feel healthy with Home­grown Herbs!


Floral Tool — Florist’s Spray Paint

Get just the right color

You may have found the per­fect vase or con­tain­er, but it’s not the right col­or. Paint it!

Flow­ers are just not pink enough for your upcom­ing wed­ding. Go ahead and paint them.

One com­pa­ny has all the tools you need. Design Mas­ter has paint for glass, ceram­ic, bas­kets and for fresh and silk flow­ers. Flower Duet wants to ensure that our clients are pleased with the right col­ors to match the theme of their events and when we need­ed milk choco­late-col­ored cube vas­es, we found just the right size in black and eas­i­ly paint­ed 40 of them brown. It took three cans and one cool, dry day. For glass con­tain­ers, use a primer first for best results.

If you don’t have access to Design Mas­ter, you can use any spray paint for ceram­ic and bas­kets, but if you need to paint flow­ers you will need to use their “Just for Flow­ers” Translu­cent Spray. Can you spy the flow­ers that have been paint­ed in this flo­ral spray or centerpiece?



As Ama­zon Asso­ciates, we earn from qual­i­fy­ing pur­chas­es. Some­times we link to a prod­uct on Ama­zon in our arti­cles on

Read more Flower Duet News & Newsletters from past years:

2023 Newslet­ter Articles

2022 Newslet­ter Articles

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.

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