by Casey Schwartz
Photo: USPS.com Forever Flower Stamps
Buy your U.S. Postal Service (USPS) seed packet stamps now and send flowers forever and ever to all you love. You can brighten everyone’s day with these beautiful stamps and send more letters and cards to all whom you love.
The current Forever Stamps are a variety of beautiful flowers. These images on the stamps are vintage seed packet designs that represent the ideal flowers to grow in summer in your great cutting garden or cutting containers.
Many of these flowers are also available as cut flowers at wholesale marts around the world. All but three of them have been spied at the Los Angeles Flower Mart. Our great grandparents were planting these flowers in their gardens over a hundred years ago, which is inspiration enough to buy the stamps and go and buy the seeds and start planting!!!
Flowers featured on the stamps:
Calendula – Known also for medicinal properties
Pinks – Related to Carnations
Cosmos – Smell good and last a long time
Aster – Classic old flower
Phlox – Lots of flowers on each stem
Zinnias – Get a ton of color in your garden
Digitalis – AKA: Foxglove
Linum – Also called Flax
Alyssum – This is a great border plant
Primrose – Grows well in Southern California
by Kit Wertz
Last month we featured a green monochromatic floral design for our sold out May floral design class. Here are some of the design ideas and tips we shared if you could not make it to the class.
A monochromatic design uses one hue of color, but should vary in tints, shades and tones to make it interesting. The visual effect should be unified and harmonious and make use of different types of flowers and greenery to really make it appealing.
Here are some more ideas on what type of flowers and greenery you can combine to create some lovely monochromatic designs. Keep in mind that the green, red, orange, yellow and white ideas make great Father’s Day flowers. While most Dads prefer something to plant in the garden for a flowery Father’s Day gift, we have not had many men upset over receiving flowers that are thoughtfully picked out and arranged just for them. Here are some monochromatic flower recipe ideas (see image inspiration at Pinterest.com/flowerduetla)
- Green: Kermit Mums, Green Trick Dianthus, Ruscus
- Red: Freedom Roses, Red Hypericum Berries, Red Cockscomb Celosia
- Orange: Orange Unique Roses, Orange Cockscomb Celosia, Orange Tulips
- Yellow: Gold Strike Roses, Billy Balls, Yellow Ranunculus
- Purple: Purple Hydrangea, Purple Trachilium, Purple Artichoke, Dahlias
- Pink: Pink Peonies, Pink Astilbe, Mini Pink Calla Lilies
- White:White Hydrangea, Veronica, Orchids, Dusty Miller, Brunia Berries
Flower Duet’s Own Green Flower Design Recipe
See this month’s book recommendation, “The Flower Recipe Book,” for a collection of flower recipes that are getting a lot of buzz in the floral design publishing world. Here is our version of that – see photo above for details on which flower is which just like in the book!
- 4 Mini Green Hydrangea
- 4 Green Trick Dianthus
- 3 Green Hypericum Berries
- 5 Super Green roses
- 7 Green Jade cuttings
- 2 large stems of Lemon Geranium leaves
- Container: Wood 7.5 inches square by 3.5 inches high
- Liner: 7 inch diameter by 3 inch high plastic round bowl
- Foam: ½ brick Oasis Floral Foam
Container and Liner for Green Monochromatic design.
by Kit Wertz
Flowers in buckets at the flower market.
It’s happened to all of us. We purchase or receive a lovely bouquet of flowers for a special occasion and the next day, some of the flowers in the vase look a bit wilted. It’s very disappointing when this happens, so here are a few tips on how to first avoid flowers that will wilt quickly and also on how to revive a few different types of flowers.
Roses packed in bunches of 25 stems at the wholesaler are ready for inspection.
In our classes and on our tours of the LA Floral District, we teach you how to select fresh flowers from the wholesale vendors. Here are a few of those tips so you can pass them on to the person who buys you flowers.
Here is Casey inspecting flowers at the mart with a bride, groom, mother-of-the-bride and wedding planner. We offer group tours of the LA Flower Mart each month for $20 per person. As part of our wedding package, we offer an free optional tour of the LA Flower Mart to our brides and grooms.
Buying Tip 1 – Don’t buy late in the day at the mart unless you want a good bargain and only need the flowers for that night. This is because the vendors are pushing the product out to make room for the fresh arrivals. Best bargains are had on Saturday mornings, but beware, most of it is older that what you’ll see on a Monday after the trucks arrive with the week’s first delivery.
Buying Tip 2 – Look for any wet drips on flowers in the buckets. This happens when someone else takes out flowers in a careless way and drips onto the flowers below. When this occurs, the flowers which were dripped on will most likely develop brown spots. They may look okay that day, but in a few days, you’ll see the problems.
Buying Tip 3 – Know your vendors. Develop a good relationship with your vendors and they will give you the best product.
Buying Tip 4 – Inspect greenery below the water line of a wholesale bucket and make sure it’s fresh and green and does not have any moldy or mildew spots.
Buying Tip 5 – Shake out blooms like Chrysanthemums to see if any petals fall off. If so, move on to another vendor or bunch.
These open Stargazer Lilies would be great for an evening event the same day as purchased. Note that even the pollen has been removed. These have been on the floor for over a week.
Buying Tip 6 – In general, buy flowers that are budding and just barely opening. These signify the freshest flowers. In the case of flowers like Gerber Daisies that are already open, give a gentle tug at a petal to make sure it’s hanging on tight. If you damage any flowers during your inspection, please buy them anyway.
In our classes and tours we talk about lots of different techniques for conditioning specific types flowers. For example, some flowers do really well with a treatment of Quick Dip (Hydrangeas). Other flowers need to be conditioned in boiling water before arranging them (Dahlias).
Here are the general guidelines for conditioning flowers you buy at the wholesaler, farmers’ market or grocery store.
Dahlias need special treatment for conditioning to help them drink water.
Re-Cut – When you first receive flowers, re-cut the stems at a 45-degree angle under water if possible. Set the flowers in water treated with floral preservative for an hour before arranging into your design.
Remove – Remove excess foliage that would fall below the vase water-line. Decaying leaves and foliage left on stems contribute to bacteria build-up in the water.
Use real flower food. It has a food for the flower and an anti-bacterial agent to help flowers last in a vase.
- Feed – Use a commercially-prepared floral preservative to ensure long-lasting flowers.
- Display – Display your arrangements in cool spots in your home. Avoid drafts, hot spots and television sets. Never store ripening fruit and flowers together.
- Clean – Use a clean vase or container and check the water level daily. Every 2 or 3 days, re-cut the stems and change the water for maximum flower life.
- Extend – As some flowers fade in the arrangement, don’t throw out all of the flowers! Take apart your arrangement and toss out the old flowers. Rinse and re-cut the stems of the fresher flowers and put them in a clean vase.
NOTE: A florist has done the conditioning steps for you. The only thing you would need to do when you get home is if the bouquet is out of water, cut off the bottom two inches of the stems before quickly placing them in your vase of water and flower food at home.
Wilted Hydrangea Fix – Just after a Hydrangea head starts to de-hydrate and looks slightly limp, place the entire head upside down in a bucket of plain cool water. Leave until the head is full again, which can take up to 24 hours. Gently remove the head from the water and shake it off. Re-cut the stem and replace in the vase.
Spring Tulips are always cheerful, but will grow after they are placed in a vase. This causes the blooms to droop. Here is a tip on how to get them to stand tall again.
Droopy Tulip Pickup – Tulips naturally droop in a vase after they’ve been arranged and this is because they continue to grow up to three inches! We like that effect, but if you don’t you can perk up a Tulip’s head by slightly pricking the neck with a pin just below the bloom. This will cause the flower to try and repair the damage, thus sending energy to the injury and as a result, should make it stand tall again.
Drunken Gerber Daisies – Gerber Daisies are water hogs and they droop because they don’t know how to stop drinking when placed in a vase full of water. The best bet is to limit how much water is in the vase with Gerbers, but keep adding water as needed. When they are mixed with other flowers, hopefully the other ones can give them the support they need!
Mopey Dusty Miller – Dusty Miller is gorgeous when it stands up, but can really benefit from a treatment with Quick Dip. If you need it to last out of the vase in a bouquet, this is an essential step. Cut two inches of stem off, dip in Quick Dip for 3 seconds and then place in a vase with flower food for 24 hours.
Hanging Rose Heads – Rose heads droop because they were not conditioned properly after receiving them from the wholesaler. The stem got blocked before it could fill up with enough water to support the heavy head. In order to remedy this problem, fill up a sink of water so you can submerge the stems lengthwise. You may have to cut off some of the length of stem to fit into your sink. Weigh down the stems with a pot of water (as shown here) and leave in the sink until they perk up again. Some of these roses were ready to go back into the vase after an hour and others needed to stay in the sink for four hours.
These were roses my husband gave to me for Mother’s Day. Out of the dozen, eight of the roses needed to be revived using this method. I am happy to report, I was able to enjoy them for a week instead of just a few days by using this submerging technique. Above left: The rose head is drooping due to lack of water. Above right, submerge entire stem in water to help the rose revive.
Each month we like to feature a video how-to that we have created. You can subscribe to our YouTube channel: fashioningflowers so you’ll know when we’ve uploaded a new show of our own!
We are behind in video production, so here is a video from the Japanese branch of the Smithers Oasis Floralife company. It shows how quickly that wilted Dusty Miller can be revived with the product Quick Dip. Check it out. I first saw this video about a year ago and think it really demonstrates the qualities of this florist tool. You don’t need to read the Japenese to understand how the product works.
Book Recommendation: The Flower Recipe Book
We are always on the lookout for a flower design book that gives away all its secrets and this one fits our requirements and then some! The founders of Studio Choo, a San Francisco-based floral design studio, created this new handbook for floral design and it’s worth a spot on your bookshelf.
This book will not collect dust as you will be referring to it for fresh ideas each season. As referenced by the book’s title, each design featured in the book is paired with a visual flower recipe. This allows you to be able to identify the hard to recognize and less common floral design materials.
The requirements of being a successful floral designer is really knowing your materials and this book helps you with that task by including many of the new and non-traditional flowers and greenery we see in our wholesale market.
We always love a new vase and we just found out about this collection of lovely designs that you just won’t find at your local design chain store.
Chive’s elegant vases are a complement to any setting and add whimsy and elegance to any home, business, wedding or event.
Using a versatile array of media, including glass, plastic, aluminum, porcelain and ceramic, Chive’s collections debut biannually.
Based in Ontario, Canada, they ship to the US and Canada and soon to the UK. Here is a little about their philosophy from their own Web site:
“Our fresh, new-school designs coupled with our unpretentious, old-school approach to customer service are what sets Chive apart. We are real people with mild phone addictions and an unparalleled appetite for diners, dives and barbecued anything.”