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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.

Eco-Friendly Floral Design

by Kit Wertz

Spring Tulips

Top 20 Ideas for Being an Eco-Friendly Florist

Last month we hon­ored the plan­et with Earth Day. We’d like to focus this month’s newslet­ter on eco-friend­ly flo­ral design in order to keep the con­ver­sa­tion going!

Here are some things to think about when mak­ing flo­ral designs to help keep the plan­et a lit­tle greener.

1. Avoid using floral foam

The wet flo­ral foam used in mod­ern designs can­not be com­post­ed since it’s a petro­le­um-based prod­uct. There are oth­er options to use instead of flo­ral foam to secure stems inside a vase or con­tain­er. Below are some of our top tips for under­wa­ter archi­tec­ture that do not use foam.

2. Design with Chicken wire

Take a piece of chick­en wire that is big­ger than the con­tain­er you are going to use for flow­ers (only works for opaque containers).
Care­ful­ly bunch up the wire so that it fits inside the con­tain­er in a rough dome shape. Poke in stems in the holes of the chick­en wire. As more stems are added, oth­er stems can be held in place.

3. Design with Floral Frogs

These have been used for cen­turies and come in a vari­ety of shapes and designs. Many peo­ple actu­al­ly col­lect these and there is a book just for col­lec­tors called Flower Frogs for Col­lec­tors. These tools are often used in Ike­bana designs and oth­er more min­i­mal­ist design. If you have an old tooth­brush hold­er, you have a type of “frog.” Just clean it out and add flowers!

4. Use Curly Willow for Underwater Architecture

This is a type of “green­ery” that can be bunched up into balls and added to a vase so that it cre­ates an under­wa­ter archi­tec­ture that is pret­ty to look at and use­ful to add stems of flow­ers. Cut curly wil­low can also be plant­ed into the ground and will put out green leaves!

5. Have Fun with the Gather Drop & Fill Technique

This is a tech­nique that we teach in our work­shops and pri­vate lessons that looks sim­ple to do, but takes prac­tice. For more infor­ma­tion on this tech­nique or any described here, 
con­tact us
and we’ll show you how!

6. Add Glass Marbles to your Vase Water

Add mar­bles to the vase — be sure to add water first so you don’t break the glass. Re-use the mar­bles for your next design.

7. Use Floral Wire for Stem Support

This is a sim­i­lar idea to the curly wil­low. You can choose to have it show or not. The eco-friend­ly part about using this wire is that it is alu­minum, can be recy­cled and can be reused over and over again. See our April 2010 newslet­ter for more on this type of Alu­minum Flo­ral Wire.

8. Use the European Wrap Technique or Hand-Tied Bouquet Technique

This tech­nique is also called a hand-tied bou­quet, but it can be put into a vase with­out being tied. We teach this in our
flo­ral design DVD that is for sale from our web­site. We also teach this in our work­shops and pri­vate lessons and parties.

9. Design in a Vase Using Other Stems for Support

This is anoth­er time­less and clas­sic tech­nique that we teach in our work­shops and class­es. You build in the vase in such a way that the stems hold the design place.

10. Compost all Floral Cuttings and Leftover Arrangements

Just be sure not to include any flo­ral foam in the compost.

11. Use Electronic Invoices

We send out invoic­es via email instead of pre­sent­ing it upon deliv­ery. Saves us the cost of ink and paper, too!

12. Avoid Using Plastic and Tissue Paper Presenting Bouquets

Use nat­ur­al raf­fia ties to tie up stems in a pret­ty bow.
We don’t use cel­lo­phane or tis­sue paper when pre­sent­ing bou­quets to clients for wed­dings or oth­er orders. We often deliv­er the designs in a glass vase of water and then re-use the vase if the client does not wish to keep it.

13. Recycle Paper and Plastic

We throw our paper, card­board, and plas­tic in which our whole flow­ers are shipped into the recy­cling bin.

14. Re-use the Flower Shipping Cardboard Boxes

We recy­cle flower box­es.  Or, we have our flow­ers sold to us in buck­ets from the whole­saler and then we return the buck­ets when we get our next order of flowers.

15. Cluster Deliveries to Clients

If you are a florist with a deliv­ery ser­vice, this is essen­tial. Espe­cial­ly now with high gas prices.

16. Use Plants that Can be Replanted

Pic­tured below are suc­cu­lent Echev­e­ria plants that are often used in mod­ern flo­ral designs. After the blooms fade in the design, these can be popped into a pot or the ground and will grow eas­i­ly and prop­a­gate new plants.

17. Shop Locally for Flowers from Farmers’ Markets

See below arti­cle about Five Eco-Friend­lier Ideas for Cut Flow­ers for more ideas on where to buy eco-friend­ly flow­ers and plants.

18. Shop for Flowers that are in Season in Your Growing Area

Ranun­cu­lus flow­ers like these are in sea­son now in the spring and are preva­lent at the mart and the farm­ers’ mar­kets in South­ern Cal­i­for­nia. You can also grow these your­self in your own gar­den from a bulb!

19. Clean Vases and Buckets with Vinegar and Other Non-toxic Cleaners

from Sev­enth Gen­er­a­tion .

20. Use Recycled Glass Vases or Other Old Containers

Look in your own cup­boards and cab­i­nets for a cute con­tain­er like this one I found. It’s an old sil­ver cream­er con­tain­er that is the per­fect ves­sel for some Martha Wash­ing­ton Gera­ni­ums and Aeo­ni­um blos­soms from my garden.

Five Eco-Friendlier Ideas for Cut Flowers

by Casey Schwartz

If you don’t live near a whole­sale mart, and just have to have flow­ers con­sid­er these options:

Order from

From their site – “Organ­ic Bou­quet is com­mit­ted to send­ing flow­ers that not only offer the finest, most bril­liant blooms, but are afford­able and eco-friend­ly, too.”

Order from

From their site — “These flow­ers may not be cer­ti­fied organ­ic, but Ver­i­Flo­ra™ con­sid­ers envi­ron­men­tal con­cerns as well as com­mu­ni­ty involve­ment, fair wages, and work­ing conditions.”

Look for the Veriflora label

I found flow­ers today at Trad­er Joe’s which had the Ver­i­flo­ra label on it. What does it mean real­ly? From the Ver­i­flo­ra web­site it reads – “The Ver­i­Flo­ra Cer­ti­fied Sus­tain­ably Grown label is your guar­an­tee that flow­ers and pot­ted plants have been pro­duced in an envi­ron­men­tal­ly and social­ly respon­si­ble man­ner and with high-qual­i­ty stan­dards. — The farm­ers, dis­trib­u­tors, whole­salers, and florists who grow and han­dle Ver­i­Flo­ra flow­ers and plants are com­mit­ted to deliv­er­ing only the high­est qual­i­ty prod­ucts, pro­duced with rig­or­ous envi­ron­men­tal account­abil­i­ty while at the same time address­ing the health and well-being of work­ers, their fam­i­lies and communities.”

Buy Local

Farm­ers’ Mar­kets usu­al­ly have one or two flower ven­dors. These are in neigh­bor­hoods and cities all over the US. Go and have some fun, buy flow­ers you may not nor­mal­ly pur­chase and try them out. I bought some fresh Stock flow­ers once from the grow­ers, and the flow­ers still had the dirt and roots on them. They last­ed for two weeks. If you have ques­tions about care and conditioning…ask. If they are the grow­ers they will want to share as much as they can, so their flow­ers will last and you will come back.

Plant now for a great summer garden

Take a walk through your gar­den cen­ters and buy what you like. Read the direc­tions so you know where you need to plant what. Buy seeds and plant in con­tain­ers so you can place them in ide­al spots. Great cut flow­ers are: Snap­drag­ons, Alstroe­me­ria, Lia­tris, Sta­t­ice, Del­phini­um, Stock, Sun­flow­ers, Sweet peas are just a few which have grown and bloomed beau­ti­ful­ly for hun­dreds of years in many parts of the world. Make your world won­der­ful and plant some flow­ers. Our par­ents did and look what hap­pened to Kit and me – We are Flower Duet and we love every flower that is out there. Learn more about how to grow your own flow­ers organ­i­cal­ly by check­ing out this month’s book review on The Flower Farmer: An Organ­ic Grow­er’s Guide to Rais­ing and Sell­ing Cut Flow­ers, Revised and Expand­ed by Lynn Byczynski

I know we touched on our wed­dings April Newslet­ter; how­ev­er, I have this tid­bit to share. For our favor to our guests, we gave them flower seeds (A rather eclec­tic mix). I wrote these words on the envelopes:

It’s extra­or­di­nary what hap­pened when we threw togeth­er a col­or­ful col­lec­tion of char­ac­ters into our garden.

Hap­py shin­ing faces smil­ing up at us. Thank you for being here. (I was refer­ring to our guests)

Throw this com­bi­na­tion into your gar­den to see what col­or­ful char­ac­ters appear.(I was refer­ring to the seeds)
I still have some pack­ets in a very spe­cial place. I will take my advice and plants some this weekend!

May Floral Events


Is there real­ly a Mayflower….besides the one the pil­grims sailed aboard? Yes, there is! It is also known as Trail­ing-Arbu­tus and it is the state flower of Massachusetts.
The flower clus­ters which are pink waxy blos­soms, which appear from March to May, have a del­i­cate fragrance.

Southern California Spring Garden Show – April 28 – May 1

South Coast Plaza, Cos­ta Mesa

Over 75 spe­cial­ty gar­den ven­dors offer­ing exot­ic plants, unique gar­den acces­sories, and more. Land­scape gar­dens designed by lead­ing land­scape archi­tects and design­ers. Sem­i­nars and children’s events includ­ing gar­den projects, crafts and exot­ic bird shows.

Keys Creek Lavender Farm in San Diego county — April 29th opening day.

Acres of laven­der, gift shop and FREE walk­ing tours Fri­days, Sat­ur­days and Sun­days at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. in north­ern San Diego Coun­ty. If you love laven­der soap or oils, this is the place for you. The farm is San Diego’s coun­ty’s only USDA cer­ti­fied organ­ic laven­der farm. Dur­ing the sum­mer bloom­ing sea­son (May and June) the farm is open free of charge, 10–5 every Sat­ur­day and Sun­day.

Blossomtime Festival in Michigan — May 1

The Bless­ing of the Blos­soms starts activ­i­ties off and then they have a event called Run/Walk for the Buds – how great to run with your buds and cel­e­brate the bud­ding blooms as well. This is their 32nd annu­al run.

Cupertino Cherry Blossom Festival — April 30 — May 1

Annu­al fes­ti­val hon­ors the anniver­sary of Cuper­ti­no’s sis­ter rela­tion­ship with Toyokawa, Japan. Memo­r­i­al Park, across from De Anza Col­lege, Stevens Creek Blvd., Cuper­ti­no. Call: (408) 940‑5287.

The 63rd Annual Albany Tulip Festival – May 7 & 8

Very Eco- Friend­ly as the Tulip Fes­ti­val will be pow­ered by 100% wind.

Tulip Time Festival in Pella, Iowa — May 5, 6 & 7

The first fes­ti­val was in 1935 to hon­or Pella’s Dutch Her­itage, but there were no tulips! A local car­pen­ter made 124 four-foot tulips to cel­e­brate. Lat­er that year, in the fall, the town plant­ed 85,000 bulbs to ensure there were tulips for the next fes­ti­val. So if you are Dutch or part Dutch or Dutch for the day, this sounds like a fun time.

Book Review

The Flower Farmer: An Organ­ic Grow­er’s Guide to Rais­ing and Sell­ing Cut Flow­ers, Revised and Expand­ed by Lynn Byczynski

Orig­i­nal­ly pub­lished in 1997, The Flower Farmer: An Organ­ic Grow­er’s Guide to Rais­ing and Sell­ing Cut Flow­ers, Revised and Expand­ed is the revised print from 2008 by Ms. Byczyn­s­ki on this very top­i­cal subject.
It is a very good guide to grow­ing flow­ers organ­i­cal­ly for your home or the cut flower busi­ness at your local farm­ers’ mar­ket. It offers great advice on what flow­ers you can grow for cut flo­ral designs and even has a chap­ter on flower arrang­ing. The pho­tos are won­der­ful, as is the writ­ing. Even if you are not inclined to sell flow­ers at a mar­ket, this book is great for the flower hob­by­ist. If you want to learn more, check out her web­site as well:

Floral Tool — Recycled Glass Vases

Recycled Glass Vases with gathered openings

Recy­cled Glass Vas­es from Pot­tery Barn. Pho­to:

We love an inex­pen­sive, water­tight con­tain­er to hold our flow­ers. They come in all shapes, sizes and col­ors. A set that has caught our eyes recent­ly are the recy­cled glass containers.

Dur­ing our tours at the Flower Mart, we always end at a flo­ral sup­pli­er. We have seen more and more styles of recy­cled glass. They have a touch of green to them, a bit like the old Coke glass, but not near­ly as thick, in fact, they are rather del­i­cate. Here are some online ven­dors to order recy­cled glass containers:

Flo­ral Sup­ply Syndicate

Couronne CO

Pot­tery Barn

World Mar­ket