June 2012 Newsletter

Floral Trends - Volume 27

Early Summer Flowers In Season From California

by Casey Schwartz

Summer Dhalia
In a global world of flower growers we florists are lucky to have many flowers available year round. So, we are now inclined to be able to buy any type of flower whenever we need it. It’s pretty rare to hear from our vendors that a flower is not available. For example, our favorite filler Waxflower is now out of season, but it’s still easy to get spring Tulips at the flower mart. To help you know what is REALLY available as we head into each season, we’ll be adding a regular feature to our newsletter.

Some flowers you just know are in season as you drive around neighborhoods and see certain flowers popping up or exploding everywhere. Hydrangeas have been leafing up their bushes for the past few months and to see them now with huge colorful blooms is so rewarding. These are a great cut flower, but remember don’t cut the bloom for your vase as soon as it appears on the bush, as it will droop within 2-3 days. Let it strengthen on the bush longer and get its nutrients from the plant for a week or so. It will last so much longer in the vase.

According to The California Cut Flower Commission, almost 80% of all flowers grown in the United States are grown in California. Here are a few flowers that are in full availability this June for the cut floral industry:

Agapanthus – also known as Lily of the Nile. Round balls of little flowers burst like fireworks in purples, blues and whites atop a long clean stem. The vase life can last 6-10 days and the individual flowers can be used for wiring into corsages or bouts. The greenery at the base of the flowers can be used for lining vases as well. A very giving flower.
Billy Balls
Billy Balls – known familiarly as the “billy button” or “drumstick,” Craspedia is a member of the daisy family and is a native wildflower of New Zealand, Australia and Tasmania. This flower has actually been in the gardens of the US for over 20 years, but we have only started seeing it recently for the cut flower industry. They only come in bright yellow, and are perfect accents to green and silvery arrangements. The vase life of these darling balls of yellow is 10-12 days and do wonderfully out of water. Ideal for boutonnieres and corsages and bridal bouquets.
Celosia Brain

Celosia – There are two versions of this variety. They are referred to as Cockscomb and Plumosa. The Cockscomb resembles brain coral and the Plumosa reminds me of dancing flames. The colors that these flowers come in are so vibrant and have a nice range. Deep reds, oranges, yellows, and purples, as well as neon green and pink.

celosia plumosa
The stems and leaves look like celery and they grow to heights of 2-3.5 feet. The vase life of these velvet beauties is 7-10 days. They are very hardy in heat so ideal for an outdoor event’s centerpiece. These are currently available at nurseries to plant in your own garden.
A design combo that would be fun would be the Billy Buttons and the Celosia. Vibrant for summer, long lasting in the vase and gives us a wide range of texture.

Cafe Au Lait Dahlia

Dahlias are making an early appearance in a full range of brilliant colors, however the whites are not quite in full production yet. The Café Au Lait Dahlia is one of the most in demand and they are scheduled to make themselves available sometime this month.
California Grown Roses, which in the past tended to be a bit more on the smaller size head variety, have both small and large head varieties in a wide range of colors.

Tecate Ranunculus which are grown by a few California Flower Farms are coming into bloom just in time to pick up where the Tecolote Ranunculus left off. They are in a full range of colors and full of petals…did you know they share the same genus of Peonies?

TJ Peonies

Peonies Wedding Season is upon us so Garden Roses and Peonies abound. I popped into Trader Joes over the Memorial Weekend and there the Peonies were in all their massive glory at a really great price. I saw them one month ago selling for $5.00 per stem wholesale and now they are selling at Trader Joe’s $6.99 retail for five stems! That is a for sure sign of a flower being “in-season.”
Pink Peonies
Peonies have a long history dating back centuries in Asia and Europe and were mainly grown for their medicinal properties. Here in the US they were mostly grown for their ornamental value. Their meaning is “Happy Life and Happy Marriage” and we feel Peonies are very appropriate for the June bride.

The vase life is a short 5-7 days, but the joy of the blooms in unsurpassed. They come in white, pink, red, burgundy, yellow and coral.
Do not remove the hard green outer leaves holding the ball of petals together, as this is the architecture which will hold the bloom. Keep the petals dry, as they will get moldy easily and keep those stems in water. The do not do well out of water. Buy them closed, or just about to open, a term called cracking.


To check more flowers which are in season, go to the
California Cut Flower Commission
and click on this month, hundreds of flowers will fill your screen and fill your life with joy.


Where to See California Flower Growers in Action

Flower Fields
Knowing that 80% of our fine nation’s flowers are grown in California, wouldn’t it be nice to meet the farmers who grow your flowers?

I remember when I first moved to Los Angeles and went to my local Farmers’ Market. I bought some white and purple Stock that was being sold by the growers. The Stock was fragrant and the roots were still on the stems and so was the dirt. These were some seriously fresh flowers. I recall the grower wrapping up my purchase and stuffing 3-4 packets of flower food into my hand with my change. (Use flower food, it will help your flowers last longer.) They want the flower to last so I would buy from them again. I thought to myself, “What a joy to buy from the passionate grower!”

Flower Farmer
Just up the coast from Los Angeles this past April, some of the California Flower Nurseries based in Carpenteria had tours. Ever-Bloom, who just supplied me with 100 perfect pink Gerbers for the Mother’s Day brunch at the Portofino Hotel in Redondo, had a tour of their operation. They shared the entire growing process from start to finish and sold Gerbers and Anthirium to attendees. It was such a success that they already have the 2013 Carpenteria Flower Grower Tour on the books.

This month on Saturday June 16, 2012, a bit further up the coast (but a great destination to consider), the Monterey Bay Greenhouse Growers are hosting an Open House.

If you are not in California or can’t make an open house, there are ways to meet California flower farmers. The California Cut Flower Commission has a regular feature on their website where you can meet a farmer online. This site is full of inspiring stories that will make you want to go right out and look for the California Grown label on your flowers.

One of the largest growers in California is The Sun Valley Group and they hold an open house every year. They haven’t set the date yet – so check their website, sunvalleyfloral.com.


How-To Create Succulent Wall Art with Flower Duet’s Pop Boxes

by Kit Wertz

We mentioned these Pop Boxes back in April and now they are available for purchase. Here is a how-to on how easy it is to make a wonderful piece of wall art for your outdoor room or patio.

How-To Design Succulent Pop-Boxes

You can make this succulent wall art using our own Pop Boxes which are available to purchase from our online store.

Supplies Needed:

pop box empty
Pop Box – Buy from our store

cactus mix
Cactus Mix Soil

succulent cuttings for pop box
Approximately 60 small succulent cuttings

Poker of some kind

Make Your Own Pop Box Steps:

Add Soil

Step 1: Add soil through the top of the box.

Shake Soil

Step 2: Shake soil so it’s distributed.

Pat Down Soil

Step 3: Pat down soil and make sure the grid is showing. Make the soil even with the grid. Make sure the soil is moist at this point before adding the succulent cuttings.

Cutting Example

Step 4: Make sure each succulent stem cutting is only about one inch long. It’s best to cut the succulent stems a few days before assembling the Pop Box. The stem needs to callous before it’s placed in wet soil. This will help prevent the stem from rotting.


Step 5: Figure out where you want to place your cutting and pre-poke a hole. This will allow you to insert the stem easily into the soil.

place cutting

Step 6: Place cuttings into the pre-poked holed gently.

start pattern
Step 7: Start pattern.

Final Pattern
Step 8: Continue pattern until you fill it all in.

Step 9: Give the box a good watering and keep the finished and planted Pop Box on a flat surface for 1-2 months to allow all the cuttings to take root. After that, use the built-in hanger hole on the back of the box to hang on a wall.
Caring for your Succulent Pop Box Water the planted Pop Box on a flat surface and make sure the stems are thoroughly soaked and the box is drained before putting back up onto the wall. Succulents in a small planted container like this should be fertilized monthly. Use a fertilizer like Cactus Juice and follow package instructions for application.


FREE Video: How to Design a Long Centerpiece in Floral Foam

Check out the latest video in our YouTube channel

We continue to add more free videos to our YouTube channel. Casey appeared on behalf of Flower Duet for the 2010/2011 and 2011/2012 seasons of Creative Living, which air on PBS stations across the country. We are able to air these segments with the permission of Creative Living via our channel on YouTube!

This month, Casey shows Sheryl Borden from Creative Living how to create a long centerpiece in floral foam. This is a great design for a dining table for your next dinner party!

Subscribe to our YouTube channel: fashioningflowers so you’ll know when we’ve uploaded a new show!


Book Review: Petal and Twig

Petal and Twig

Petal & Twig: Seasonal Bouquets with Blossoms, Branches, and Grasses from Your Garden by Valerie Easton

This is an inspiring floral design book for those of you who have a garden filled with branches and just a few flowers and want to design with something right out of your garden. It has lots of photos to help you create your own vision.

From The New York Times

“Almost any flower, leaf or branch can look good in the right vase. The combination is a study in texture, color, shape, the reflection of light. Valerie Easton, a Seattle-based garden writer, discusses the art of growing and arranging cut flowers in “Petal and Twig: Seasonal Bouquets With Blossoms, Branches and Grasses From Your Garden” (Sasquatch Books; $16.95). Written as an informal diary, with photographs of arrangements from her own container garden, and tips on cutting and keeping flowers fresh, the book inspires ideas not only on what to grow but on how to combine (or not) those beauties inside.”

The author Valerie Easton is a long-time garden columnist for The Seattle Times and author of four books.

Floral Design Tool: Living Art Pop Box

Pop Box

Make Your Own Living Art

In April, we talked about our new product, “Pop Boxes” and we are excited to make them available for purchase now from our online store. In this month’s newsletter, we show you how to create one of these living art beauties step-by-step.

Our exclusive Pop Boxes are hand-made in the U.S.A. by our crafty father whom we all call “Pop.” So, the boxes are named after him as well as the fact that you just “pop” in the soil, “pop” in your plants and then “pop” it up on the wall after the plants have taken root!

Living Art Pop Box Specifications:

  • Outside Box Dimensions: 8-inches wide square by 2.5-inches depth.
  • Box Opening Dimensions: 6-inches wide square.
  • Wood frame is made from Cedar. Cedar is durable in weather, will turn naturally gray.
  • Wire mesh grid features 1/2 inch openings to allow for different size stems to fit.
  • Wire mesh is galvanized to protect against rusting (although some rust may appear in time).
  • Backing is waterproof.
  • Back includes built-in hanger hole for easy hanging.
  • Can hold up to 60 small succulent cuttings or 12 medium to large cuttings.


Order online:

$30.00 (plus shipping)

usually ships within 1-2 days



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