June 2011 Newsletter

Floral Trends - Volume 16

Father’s Day Flower Ideas

by Kit Wertz

fathers day succulents
Here are two plant and flower design ideas for you to give to the special dad in your life. We know from our survey last year, that men like to receive flowers that they can plant in the garden, so this first idea is a mini garden that will flower eventually.

How to Make a Succulent Garden

You can design your own mini succulent garden, buy a kit to make one or buy one for about $20 all put together from your local garden center. If you do decide to go for it yourself, here is a succulent garden recipe for you to create. Start with something tall in the center and surround with shorter types of succulents and then put cascading type plants around the outer edges like burro’s tail.

Tall succulents: Jade, Kalanchoe, Aeonium, Crasula Ovata or Giant Green Coral (sometimes called “Shrek Ears”)

Low succulents plants: Echeveria, Sempervivem (Chicks and Hens)

Trailing succulents: Burro’s Tail, Sedum

Here is a great site that shows all types of succulents with their names so you can recognize the plants when you get to the nursery.

About Containers & Soil

One would think that a low container would be best for these drought-tolerant plants, but in my experience, I prefer the look of a tall container. You can use terracotta, ceramic, metal, or plastic containers, but make sure that it has a drainage hole. Before you add soil to the container, be sure to cover the hole with some type of screen so that the soil won’t spill out easily. A cheap way to do this is to buy some scrubbers at the grocery store (near the kitchen sponges) and just plop it into the bottom of your pot over the hole.
drainage hole cover
Plant with well-draining soil or purchase a special cactus mix for this project. A good choice is Cactus & Succulent Soil Mix. If you want to order the plants online, too, here is a succulent collection you can order to make lots of pots. Check out this
mixed succulent collection.
Or you can purchase a potted succulent garden all done for you:
Succulent Garden

NOTE: If you live outside the desert zone of Southern California or other places were cactus survives outside all year round, you’ll want to keep this in a pot so you can bring it inside during the winter months.

A Lawn He Never Has to Mow

drying rack flowers

If the “dad” of the house is the main dish washer, here is a great little gift with a bit of whimsy thrown in. You can purchase this cute little dish drainer that looks like a mini lawn.
boon rack
The Boon Inc. Grass Countertop Drying Rack (shown here) is great for drying glasses. We use it for baby bottles right now (our twins are almost 7-months-old).

To make this into a fun flower design, fill the bottom with water and cut some stems of different flowers in manly colors like blue, red, dark purple or bright yellow. (Think of your guy’s favorite sports team colors.) Arrange the stems in the spikey green grass that acts like a huge floral frog. Make sure the stems reach the bottom where the water is sitting.

Place it on the counter so when the dad in the house wakes up in the morning to make coffee, he will be greeted with his own little Happy Father’s Day Flower Arrangement. After the flowers have faded, be sure to give this a good wash with some white distilled vinegar or in your automatic dishwasher.

Hopefully, this will be a gift that gives back to you and encourages dad to do the dishes more often!

Tips for Arranging Flowers with Citrus

by Kit Wertz

lime vase

Have you seen those lovely cheerful flower designs with cut citrus slices in the vase water and wondered how it was done? While there are many ways to accomplish this look, we have found that the best way is to use a little heavy-duty cellophane combined with Oasis Rainbow Foam to help hold stems in place. The cellophane keeps the foam from getting mixed into the water with the citrus and looking sloppy. Also, using this method, you will not see any stems behind the citrus slices. Low cube vases or round cylinder vases seem to be the best choice for this design.

Tip 1: Try to use lemons, limes or oranges with thick skin and few seeds.

Tip 2: Cut the citrus in thick ¼-inch slices so they will be easy to insert into the vase between the cellophane and glass.

Tip 3: Shape the foam so that it fits inside the vase, but leave enough room for you to slide in your citrus slices.

Tip 4: After you’ve soaked your foam, place it on top of a large sheet of thick cellophane and place the foam covered in the cellophane into the vase. Cut the extra cellophane so it’s just a little bit taller than the top of the vase.

Tip 5: Slide in the citrus slices carefully creating a pattern that is pleasing to the eye. Arrange your chosen flowers in the foam on top and be sure to make sure flowers hang over the lip of the vase to hide any cellophane. Keep the foam watered.

If you want to know how to get entire limes or lemons to help hold your stems in a vase, Pottery Barn has a quick how-to on this. Check out how to design with whole citrus fruits in the vase water.

We’ll be teaching many ways to incorporate citrus into floral designs, including how to keep cut slices looking fresh in an arrangement, during our June 11th workshop at The Huntington in San Marino, California.

Essential Tools for the Floral Designer

by Flower Duet Editors

flower tools header

If you are just getting started in floral design and think you need a cupboard full of vases, foam, glue, ribbon and floral design books, think again. There are really fewer than ten items you need to get started.

Floral Design Books:

We have about 30 design books in our library and a plethora of magazines to refer to for our clients and when we need a little inspiration. But, before we started filling our bookshelves, we spent a lot of time at our local library and scouring the Internet for ideas.

Top Vases for Floral Designers:

The best vase for your design is one that the client pays for! But, if you are looking for a few basic vases to have in your home for design, we suggest a low opaque watertight container, one short and one tall glass cylinder vase, a pedestal compote or urn and of course one or two different sized bud vases for those small cuttings you always should have left over when you design.

Good Cutters or a Floral Knife:

If you are just starting to arrange flowers, it’s best to use some safe sharp cutters like the ones we sell (see lower right on this page). We’ve used these in our workshops for over 10 years. Keep them clean and only use them for flowers. Use wire cutters when you cut wire so you don’t dull the blades. Move onto using a florist knife when you are comfortable handling all types of stems.

Floral Food:

This is an essential tool for keeping flowers fresh a long time.
When the cut flowers have the chance to drink up this mixture of flower food and water, the stems “harden” and firm up in order to hold up those heavy heads. Every few days, you should change the water in your arrangements, but be sure to include the Cut Flower Food and water mixture so that the flowers last longer. Read more about this tool in our July 2010 newsletter and keep a ready supply on hand.

Floral Wire:

This tool comes in many different thicknesses called gauges and is the key to creating boutonnières and corsages, as well as incorporating stem-less blooms like orchids into a bouquet or taller design. Floral Wire can also used to secure greenery to wreath forms or garlands – and will be handy for 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. Read more about it in our October 2010 newsletter.

Floral Tape:

There are a few different types of floral tape that you should have in your tool kit. First, the paper floral tape that gets sticky when you stretch it out is very useful when creating corsages and other wired flowers. Next you’ll want to have two types of waterproof tape. One type is clear and is useful to create grids on top of vases to help stems stay in place. The other type is Waterproof Green Floral Tape and has the look and feel of duct tape, but is much thinner. This is used to secure foam to containers or to reinforce wreath foams. Watch our video we created for creating a succulent bridal bouquet where we demonstrate how to use wire and floral tape in our October 2010 newsletter.

Floral Foam:

In a blog entry in February, Casey wrote about the need for a case of Standard Brick Floral Foam. If you are creating for clients, it is good to invest in a case because it keeps the cost down per brick of foam. Be sure to store it in a safe place, away from children and dogs. The dust from the dry foam is not good to breathe.

June Flower Events

June Flower Events

Sunset Magazine Celebration Weekend in Menlo Park, California – June 4th & 5th

Sunset Magazine Celebration

Mackinac Island Lilac Festival in Michigan – June 10-19th

Lilac Festival


Flower Duet teaches How to Design with Citrus at The Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, California – June 11th

Citrus Flower Arranging Class

World Flower Show in Boston, Massachusetts – The World Association of Flower Arrangers – June 15-19th

This floral expo will feature 600 flower arrangements, 12 lectures by acclaimed speakers, dozens of national and international exhibitions, design demonstrations, a gala banquet, opening and closing celebrations, an awards ceremony, and more.
World Flower Show

The Genzano Infiorata Flower Festival near Rome, Italy – June 18-20th

A tradition that is over 200 years old continues when floral artisans cover an entire street with flowers in beautiful images on a theme.
Infiorata Flower Festival

Lompoc Valley Flower Festival in Lompoc, California – June 22-26th

Lompoc Valley Flower Festival

The Newport Flower Show, Rhode Island – June 24-26th

Newport Flower Show

The Ranch Open House at The Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, California – June 25th

Open houses on the Ranch will be offered on the fourth Saturday of every month from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Ranch Open House

Book Reviews

Great Citrus Book

This month we are featuring two books on citrus in honor of our citrus flower arranging tip, summertime and our class at The Huntington on June 11th. The first book, The Great Citrus Book is all about citrus and has wonderful recipes. So if you have fruit trees and have run out of ideas of what to do with all that fruit, this is a great resource for you.


The Great Citrus Book: A Guide with Recipes (Great Series) by Allen Susser

Citrus History Book

The second book we recommend this month is, Citrus: A History documents where citrus came from, some of its folklore and how it became a golden crop in Florida and California. If you love food history, this is a good read.

Citrus: A History by Pierre Laszlo


Floral Tool – Cellophane

Cellophane is sold in large rolls. It does not stretch and can come in a variety of weights. Many florists use this to wrap flower bouquets or as a mobile vase for a hand-tied bouquet. We have used it to line containers that are not watertight and to accent the water of a tall cylinder vase to add an interesting texture to the design.

This month, since we are featuring how to design with citrus, we’ve outlined a way for you to use cellophane to keep slices of lemons or limes separate from the floral foam in a vase. Check out our article on desinging with citrus in this newsletter for more details. Order from Amazon.com:
Clear Cellophane Wrap Roll

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