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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.
Tournament of Roses Parade
by Casey Schwartz
Members of Pasadena’s Valley Hunt Club first staged the parade in 1890. Since then the parade has been held in Pasadena every New Year’s Day, except when January first falls on a Sunday. When it comes to the Rose Parade, it’s all about flowers. Parade rules dictate every square inch of a float’s surface is covered with flowers or “other natural botanical materials.” This is, after all, a parade begun more than a century ago as a way to showcase Southern California’s balmy winters to the people shoveling snow in the January cold back East. Fully decorated, the average 50-foot float contains more flowers than a typical American florist will sell in five years. Eighteen-million stems are estimated for this year’s parade.
Jim Hynd and Scott Lamb have a combined 60 years of Rose Parade float-building experience. They are floral directors at Fiesta Parade Floats and Phoenix Decorating Co., two of Pasadena’s largest float-building companies, Hynd and Lamb oversaw the production of 32 separate floats featured in this year’s Rose Parade.
Rose Parade rules require every inch of float surface is covered with “flowers or other natural botanical materials.” According to Jim Hynd, floral director for over 32 floats in this year’s parade, natural botanical materials are defined as substances that “have grown, are growing or will grow.” So flowers, seeds, mosses, barks, dried leaves, vegetables, and grains can all be placed on floats as long as they’re used in their natural color. Dyeing is not allowed.
“We’ve developed coverage formulas for each flower,” Scott Lamb, floral director at Fiesta Parade Floats and Phoenix Decorating Co., two of Pasadena’s largest float-building companies, says. “For example, we know that it takes 16 gerbera daisies to cover one square foot of surface.” Lamb can also rattle off exactly how many roses, Brussels sprouts, lima beans and sesame seeds it would take to cover a square foot of float.
As early as April, floral directors place their massive orders with numerous flower vendors. Sometimes 400 to 500 different flower varieties from every continent on Earth, except Antarctica will be ordered. So millions of fresh blooms arrive in Southern California, all of which need to be delivered within a week or even days of the parade.
Every year, tens of thousands of people from all over the country volunteer for the privilege of decorating Rose Parade floats. High school bands, Kiwanis Clubs, Girl Scouts, and other organizations to work on floats the final 10 days before the parade. One of Flower Duet’s students, Catherine, of Palmdale has worked on the floats. We are looking forward to hearing how it went this year.
Flowers are affixed to floats in various ways. Some, like roses, hydrangeas, and irises, must be placed in individual water-filled tubes (see our tool-of-the-month feature) to prevent droop and death. Blooms that can survive without water, like marigolds, strawflowers and mums, are mounted on thin metal picks and stuck into floral foam. In a technique called “petaling,” flower petals are stripped from the blossoms by hand and glued one by one onto the float. Dry flowers are often placed into blenders and reduced to a fine powder for shading sculpted forms on the float. It takes on average, sixty volunteers working ten hours a day for ten days to decorate a single float.
About the Flowers Used on Floats
Of course, roses are a mainstay of the parade; their showy blooms have flaunted the paradisiacal qualities of balmy Pasadena since the parade’s inception. Roughly one and a half million roses will be used to decorate this year’s fleet of floats.
Strawflowers are a float designer’s best friend. These South African natives are used on floats after they’ve been dried, so they can be ordered as early as six months in advance of the parade with no risk of the blooms perishing
Glad petals are also used to approximate flesh tones on the faces of human float figures. The tall, spiky South African plant is also left intact on floats to create dramatic floral designs.
When a float design calls for a naturalistic woodland setting, floral designers reach for tulips. While Holland traditionally has supplied most of the tulips used on floats, many of today’s more interesting varieties now come from the Pacific Northwest, which also makes them less costly to use.
Volunteers strip the petals off tens of thousands of these California-grown flowers by hand and apply them one by one to floats. marigolds don’t lose their color after they have dried, float designers dehydrate the petals, making them easier to work with and long-lasting.
Orchids are flown from Thailand, Singapore and Hawaii are used in stem, bloom and petal form. Beloved for their amazing color palette that moves from white to deep magenta to tiger-striped, orchids are used for many applications, and they hold their color very well.
Mums aren’t used on floats as extensively as they once were; they’re being replaced by less costly flowers such as carnations. “Mumming,” the term for gluing the large, pompon-like blossom onto floats.
Because carnations are hardy and long-lasting, they are ideal for use as boutonnieres and corsages. This quality also makes them indispensable for float decoration. The full flower and lush, showy bloom make a dramatic statement when used to decorate large surface areas on floats– they cost one-third as much as roses – makes them an economical coverage material.
This rare blue flower is indispensable when it comes to creating the blue of the American Flag. Though native to Europe, statice thrives in dry-climate Southern California and Mexico, the origin for most of the statice blooms now used on floats.
Where to See Floats after the Parade
How to Volunteer Next Year Wreaths
How to get tickets for Next Year’s ParadeWreaths
by Casey Schwartz
Winter Flowers in White
It’s snowing across most of the northern hemisphere bringing us a show-stopping and stunning scene. So, embrace the chilly weather and create your own “Winter Wonderland.” Capture the look of lacey snowflakes with Queen Anne’s Lace, then add some snowballs with giant China Mums, and then add some icicles with some sprays of Dendrobium orchids.
White-on-white is purely elegant and appropriate for ringing in the New Year and always a winning combination for weddings. Mixing textures and shades of white, even some creams and ivories is so inviting to the eyes. Adding silver and gold to white makes an even more festive bouquet! To add a natural silver look to a bouquet, try Berzelia berries – like in the bridal bouquet shown below.
White flowers mixed with greenery gives a refreshing look and very appropriate to give to men.
Our favorite magazine for the floral design enthusiast, flower, has a gorgeous white arrangement on the front cover of their Winter issue. They are also offering a great holiday subscription deal.
Color Trends for 2011 — Pantone: Honeysuckle is Color of the Year
by Kit Wertz
Pantone LLC, is the world-renowned authority on color. For more than 45 years, Pantone has been inspiring design professionals with products, services and leading technology for the expression of creativity. Pantone named “Honeysuckle” as the color of the year and says it “…emboldens us to face everyday troubles with verve and vigor. A dynamic reddish pink, Honeysuckle is encouraging and uplifting.”
“In times of stress, we need something to lift our spirits. Honeysuckle is a captivating, stimulating color that gets the adrenaline going – perfect to ward off the blues,” explains Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute®. “Honeysuckle derives its positive qualities from a powerful bond to its mother color red, the most physical, viscerally alive hue in the spectrum.”
Eiseman continues, “The intensity of this festive reddish pink allures and engages. In fact, this color, not the sweet fragrance of the flower blossoms for which it was named, is what attracts hummingbirds to nectar. Honeysuckle may also bring a wave of nostalgia for its associated delicious scent reminiscent of the carefree days of spring and summer.”
Learn more about colors for 2011 — 2011 Women’s Fashion Colors for 2011.
A flattering hue for wedding attendant apparel and accessories, Honeysuckle is now one of the nearly 200 PANTONE WEDDING Colors available from Dessy, a manufacturer of bridesmaid, social-occasion and flower-girl dresses. PANTONE WEDDING from Dessy provides a collection of color tools for brides to achieve color-coordinated weddings. See the Wedding Color Planner for more information.
In 1963, Lawrence Herbert, Pantone’s founder, created an innovative system for identifying, matching and communicating colors to solve the problems associated with producing accurate color matches in the graphic arts community. His insight that the spectrum is seen and interpreted differently by each individual led to the innovation of the PANTONE® MATCHING SYSTEM®, a book of standardized color in fan format.
Garden Design Magazine
Kit loves this magazine. Almost every issue features a great floral design. Now the magazine has been redesigned for the January/February issue. This is worth the subscription and checking out the website — which also gets a makeover starting January 4th. If you love gardens, landscape architecture and cutting-edge floral designs, you’ll love Garden Design magazine.
Floral Tool — Water Tubes & Picks
Floral tubes or water picks are used for holding fresh flowers. Fill with water and place flower in the hole on the top. If you are putting more than one stem into a tube, be sure to place one at a time. Then the tubes of flowers can be placed into a garland or a wreath. Water tubes are often shipped with stems of orchids to ensure freshness and can be reused after a good washing and rinsing with a bleach and water solution.