2014 Chinese New Year Flowers: The Year of the Horse
by Flower Duet
Chinese New Year began yesterday (January 31, 2014) and marks the Year of the Horse. People born during the year of the horse are extremely active, animated and energetic. Horses love a crowd and entertainment and have a great sense of humor. Horses will take center stage and love to entertain audiences everywhere. They are trustworthy and friendly and love being surrounded by friends and relatives.
We are in the middle of the Lunar New Year for much of the world’s population. Here in Los Angeles, people of Chinese descent are celebrating with their families through festive meals and gatherings. We’ll tell you a little about this holiday and what types of flowers are traditionally used to help ring in the new year.
New Year is one of China’s oldest festivals and is the start of a new year and an agricultural season. Many traditions surround this celebration. Here are a few of them:
Before the new year, people clean their homes from top to bottom, but never during the 15-day celebration. If they sweep during that time, they’ll sweep out all the good luck for the year!
Red is the main color for the new year. Many people decorate their doors and windows with red banners in order to “ward off evil.” Many people will also dress in red clothes for good luck. Red flowers are a good choice for Chinese New Year flowers and we like to use red Roses, Carnations, and red Hypericum Berries in floral designs. Golden China Mums are popular choices for gift giving. Gold symbolizes wealth. So, if you want to wish someone good fortunes in the new year, you would give them gold flowers or a potted China Mum plant. See below for more Chinese New Year flower designs we’ve created in the past to celebrate the new year.
New Year’s Eve Food
This would have been celebrated on January 30th and in addition to dumplings and fish which are symbols of prosperity, many families include long rice noodles that symbolize long life. Children will receive gifts, including envelopes filled with money.
It wouldn’t be Chinese New Year without fireworks and fire-crackers. Traditionally they are set off on New Year’s Eve in order to bid farewell to the old year, usher in the new, and ward off any evil spirits.
Festival of the Lanterns
The last day (day 15) of the festival is known as the Festival of the Lanterns. Red paper lanterns of all shapes and sizes are hung in streets and from almost all houses. Children often make their own lanterns in order to light the way as they stroll through the streets with friends and family.
To say Happy New Year in Chinese, you’d say: “Gung Hai Fat Choi!” (gong-hey-fat-choy) ·
We taught this arrangement to a kids’ class for Chinese New Year during the Year of the Dragon. As you can see, the dragon head and tail are connected by a body of red Carnations. We also highlighted the design with lucky golden China Mums.
This Chinese New Year floral design features the three friends of winter. These are traditional flowers used in gift giving and decoration for Chinese New Year. They are Bamboo, Pine and Quince Blossom. These three are friends because the bamboo and pine are “evergreens” even in winter and symbolize life. The quince blooms in winter, so it’s a sign of new life. We added the Cymbidium Orchids to the design along with gold ribbon to offer good fortune to the recipient.
Red and gold are the primary colors used in Chinese New Year celebrations and the last day of the festival features a plethora of red lanterns. The design we taught in the image above featured red roses, gold mums, a bamboo stand and a red lantern. We also added pussy willow which is another traditional flower for Chinese New Year. To the Chinese people, Pussy Willows signify a new beginning, wealth and springtime. Pussy Willow is “yin liu” in Chinese which sounds like “money flowing in.” So, these plants are thought to bring good fortune in the new year.
In the Year of the Tiger, we taught a kids’ class and cut out decorative paper tigers and hid them in the grass of this fun design. We used bear grass for the grass and cut it at different heights. We added red hypericum berries for luck and a green trick dianthus to look like a tree for our tiger to have some shade.
International Students Continue to Take Flower Classes with Flower Duet
by Casey Schwartz
Students from all over the world come to our floral design studio to learn about the latest trends and techniques in floral design. Above is a monochromatic bridal bouquet which features the Pantone color of 2014 — Radiant Orchid.
We are delighted to have an international pool of students come through our design studio. Students from abroad have made travel plans to visit the Los Angeles area and have scheduled private lessons with Flower Duet. We have been able to offer a range of techniques in a short amount of time because it has just been one-on-one.
Many students want to learn how to create tall floral designs in a vase without any architecture in the vase. We can show them how to make a design like this in about five minutes. This features Larkspur, Pittosporum, Standard Carnations and Peruvian Lily (Alstroemeria).
The advantage of this bundling of techniques is to be able to work with a variety of flowers in different designs back-to-back to really experience the versatility of certain flowers. Maria, from Egypt, Ami, from Japan and most recently, Flavia from Brazil, custom designed their lesson plan based on a full menu of floral design techniques.
Pave style designs are not going out of style soon and while this looks simple to create in a vase, there are tricks to making it look tidy and professional. This design features just Roses and Wax Flower.
Our belief is to teach designs that provide a strong base for any floral designer to build upon. All of our students, foreign and local have little or no formal training, prior to coming to Flower Duet. We embrace the opportunity to teach good skills, not just the how-tos, but the whys, also.
Succulent rosettes paired with fresh flowers last a long time. We show students how to combine fresh cut flowers with succulents with style.
The entire year of flower arranging classes is scheduled. Take a look and see what interests you…if would like to learn something special, we can create a custom lesson plan for you, too.
This is an example of a classic go-to design for a florist. It’s pretty and light and airy without being fussy. It features Roses, Alstroemeria, and variegated Pittosporum.
Heart-shaped Flowers for Valentine’s Day
by Kit Wertz
We created this centerpiece for a wedding vendor professional networking group and called it, “Two hearts become one” to symbolize a couple who meets and then steps closer together until they become one married unit at their wedding. There are three pairs of white Anthuriums that start out far apart but get closer until the last pair is touching and ends in one single Anthurium leaning out to grasp the future. Since Anthuriums are heart-shaped, we thought it would be fun to use them in this way on a bed of cushion mums accented with purple pixie pins.
One flower that is a perfect fit for Valentine’s Day. It’s shaped like a heart. The tropical Anthurium makes an excellent choice for a sweetheart who loves going to Hawaii or other tropical locations. It’s also a great masculine flower and can be showcased in a cut floral arrangement mixed with other non-tropical flowers or just as lovely as a potted plant.
These are purple tulip Anthuriums.
These plants are actually native to Central and South American tropical rainforests. The colorful “flower” is actually a large leaf or “spathe” and the flowers are tiny flowers grouped along the long nose. On most varieties, the color of the flowers is yellow, but with the purple variety, the mini flowers are dark purple.
Red is the traditional color for these gorgeous cut florals. We think these are a good choice for any Valentine!
Anthuriums come in a multitude of colors and sizes of spathe from the classic red, to white, purple, pink and green. There are even bi-color Anthuriums that are truly gorgeous called Obake.
There are many varieties of Anthuriums. This image is from Hawaii Floral Products
These flowers are graded by size of the main leaf. From Miniature, Small, Medium, Large and Extra Large.
Flower Spathe Size:
- Miniature — under 3 inches
- Small — 3 to 4 inches
- Medium — 4 to 5 inches
- Large — 5 to 6 inches
- Extra Large — over 6 inches
Although we’ve featured this green Anthurium floral design in past newsletters, I just love it every time I see it and hope you do, too. It’s paired with Kermit mums to create a lovely monochromatic green floral design.
Floral Design Day is February 28th
by Flower Duet
Gather some friends in your dining room or backyard if it’s warm enough and celebrate “Floral Design Day” on February 28, 2014.
In 1995, Rittner’s School of Floral Design petitioned the governor of Massachusettes to proclaim February 28th Floral Design Day in 1995 in order to honor the school founder’s birthday. The idea is to celebrate the joy that flowers bring to people in all aspects of their lives. After all, we use flowers to celebrate births, graduations, weddings and to commemorate lives. We use flowers to brighten a room, as a symbol of love or a show of gratitude.
Flowers Actually Make People Happy and Keep them Happy
In 2005, Rutgers published a study that showed flowers have a positive emotional impact on people. “What’s most exciting about this study is that it challenges established scientific beliefs about how people can manage their day-to-day moods in a healthy and natural way,” said Jeannette Haviland-Jones, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology at Rutgers and lead researcher on the study.
A team of researchers explored the link between flowers and life satisfaction in a 10-month study. They found the following:
- Flowers make people happy. All study participants expressed “true” or “excited” smiles upon receiving flowers and this reaction was universal across all age groups.
- Flowers offer a long-term positive effect on moods. Participants in the study were feeling less anxious, depressed and agitated after receiving flowers.
- Flowers help make intimate connections. Just by having flowers around increased contact with friends and family.
“Common sense tells us that flowers make us happy,” said Dr. Haviland-Jones. “Now, science shows that not only do flowers make us happier than we know, but they also have strong positive effects on our emotional well being.”
Ways to celebrate floral design day are to take a floral design class (with Flower Duet), make a floral design at home, go to a museum and look at paintings of flowers (check out the Dutch Masters at the Norton Simon Museum) and take your local florist to lunch.
Make a Tic-Tac-Toe board out of Horsetail and Mum flowers. Play with the kids and have fun with flowers!
Flower Duet Provides Flowers for Sony Music’s Post Grammy Party 2014
by Flower Duet
We were happy to provide the flowers for the Sony Music’s Post-Grammy Awards party last Sunday at The Palm Restaurant in downtown Los Angeles. It was the third consecutive year we’ve created the flowers for this fun event. Attendees included Katy Perry, John Mayer, John Legend, Stevie Nicks, Bonnie McKee, Ian Axel, Chad Vaccarino, Sara Bareilles, Jack Antonoff, Mack Wilds, Salaam Remi, and Sony Music Entertainment Chairman and CEO Doug Morris.
We team up with Mabel, owner of Pradi’s Orchids, to create these custom designs for the party each year. This year’s theme was all white flowers in white ceramic cubes to go along with the white furniture brought in for the party. The linens used on the tables were a subtle gold sheen and we created over 75 arrangements for the party. While we unloaded the florals into the restaurant, we saw hundreds of Grammy Awards attendees walking by to enter The Staples Center in their super high heels, long (and really short) gowns and tuxedos. It was a very festive and fun atmosphere before the party got underway.
Security personnel were gathering outside to get wired up before the VIP guests arrived at the party. It was fun eavesdropping on their conversations. One of them had been an agent who guarded Prince William and Princess Kate while they were here in Los Angeles after their wedding.
Magazine Review: Flower Magazine
We’ve featured this magazine in past issues of our newsletter, but felt it was worth a new mention since it’s expanded its publication from quarterly to six issues per year. The editors at the magazine send us a large number of copies of each issue to pass out to the students who take our classes. This previous week, we passed out 38 copies to our students introducing them to this wonderful collection of DIY how-to, floral inspired jewelry and interior design, real-life wedding stories and more.
This magazine is classy from cover to cover and is filled with high-quality tips, tricks and photographs for the floral design enthusiast. Flower Magazine features top floral designers’ work and is the perfect fit for the flower design student.
Check out their online blog and we’re sure you’ll turn into a loyal subscriber!
A feature on floral jewelry from the January-February 2014 issue of flower magazine. Photo credit: flowermag.com
Floral Design Tool: Recycled Flower Boxes
We have a lot of flowers delivered to us in boxes. They are called “box lots” and after we’ve taken out the flowers to condition them, we don’t throw away the cardboard. We can use them in a variety of ways. Here are a few tips on how to use these valuable tools!
- First, we usually use just the top or the bottom of a box and place the florals inside.
- Then, we wedge some more cardboard or scrunched up paper between each vase or container so the flowers from each design don’t touch each other and so that the arrangements don’t shift when we are carrying them to and from the truck and when we are driving to the event.
- After the event, we put them outside our studio where cardboard recycler entrepreneurs come by and take them for us, or we give them to our neighbor Dave, who ships all types of tile around the world. He shreds the boxes to make padding for his tile shipments.
- If we don’t need them for an event, we sometimes will bring them back to our wholesale vendor who will use them to box up flowers for the next customer.