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.
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Hydrangeas and Ranunculus blooms make up this simple vase design that is great for a winter white floral display. Flowers by Flower Duet. Photo by Kit Wertz.
November Floral News
Flower Duet Floral Design Classes for 2017 Schedule
Focus On Locally Sourced and American Grown Flowers & Greens
By Kit Wertz
Flower Duet’s focus for 2017 Floral Design Classes will be on American Grown and California Grown Flowers. Design techniques will cover current trends from full “field to vase” garden looks to clean lined elegance.
Embracing our Local Flower Farmers
It’s been a wonderful year where Casey and I have really embraced our locally grown flower farm resources.
California grown Protea will be a feature flower in July’s floral design class. Photo by Kit Wertz.
Our year began when I spoke at the San Francisco Flower & Garden Show and gave three on stage floral demonstrations featuring American Grown Flowers. In April, we were the featured floral designers for American Grown Flowers Field to Vase Dinner (F2V) at The Flower Fields in Carlsbad. We are members of SlowFlowers.com, a nationwide online directory to florists, shops, and studios who design with American-grown flowers.
As a result of this past year of eye-opening experiences to the fantastic variety of blooms and greens we can source from our own state of California, Casey and I will devote many of next year’s floral design classes to support our local flower growers and American flower farms.
This year we will offer more monthly flower arranging classes at our studio in Torrance as well as our exclusive tours of the Los Angeles Floral District on Saturday mornings and are excited to announce more Wednesday evening Wedding Floral Design Classes throughout 2017.
We’ll offer a monthly series of classes. These will concentrate on three areas of wedding flowers: bouquets, centerpieces and personal flowers.These classes are geared toward those who want to increase their awareness of wedding flowers and work with tricky wedding techniques. It can be useful for casual flower arrangers who want to round out their floral skills.
All of our classes will be taught by Kit Wertz or Casey Schwartz, the sister design team and owners of Flower Duet.
Pink Ranunculus will be a locally grown feature flower for our March class. Photo by Kit Wertz.
Sunset Magazine hosts American Grown Flowers Field to Vase Dinner at new Test Gardens in Sonoma
Flower Duet Attends; Homestead Collective Designs
By Kit Wertz
Kit and Casey of Flower Duet pose in front of the Sunset Magazine’s succulent sign at the entrance to their test gardens at Cornerstone Sonoma. Photo by Kit Wertz.
The American Grown Field to Vase Dinner tour, designed to place seasonal locally grown and sustainable American Grown flowers at the center of the table, returned to California last month at Sunset Magazine’s new test gardens in Sonoma. In attendance were top representatives and owners of California flower farmers and floral vendors as well as the doyenne of the “Slow Flower” movement, Debra Prinzing. The dinner also featured locally grown food, distilled spirits, and wine and was served by a farm-to-table chef.
Flower Duet had the honor of being featured florists for the April dinner held at The Flower Fields in Carlsbad. In Sonoma, Casey and I were introduced at the dinner as VIP guests and alumni designers of the tour. We were pleased to bring our mom along as our guest and expose her to the wonderful flower world surrounding this exquisite dinner event.
The site of this fall dinner was the Sunset Test Gardens at Cornerstone Sonoma, a wine country marketplace featuring a collection of world-class shopping, boutique wineries and tasting rooms, artisanal foods, art-inspired gardens and live music. The Sunset Test Gardens span a quarter acre, where they can experiment and share learnings with their readers. Designed by Homestead Design Collective, the test gardens are divided into rooms: the Cocktail Garden, the Farm Garden, Gathering Space, Backyard Orchard, and the Flower Room. The Sunset Test Gardens are separate from the Cornerstone Gardens, but adjacent to each other. Entrance to the marketplace and Sunset’s gardens is free and open to the public.
Before the F2V dinner on the grounds of Cornerstone in the Tyge Williams Barn, guests were treated to a tour of all five garden rooms. Featured floral designer, Alethea Harampolis designed beautiful floral arrangements from blooms found in Sunset Magazine’s Flower Room, as well as from Certified American Grown flower farms.
Johanna Silver (left), Sunset Garden Editor talks about the Test Gardens at Cornerstone Sonoma with Stefani Bittner (right) of Homestead Design Collective who helped design the gardens with co-founder Alethea Harampolis. Photo by Kit Wertz.
Kit (in white jacket) with Casey (in mint jacket) and our mom listen to Johanna Silver of Sunset Magazine and Stefani Bittner of Homestead Design Collective during the tour portion of the dinner. (Photo credit: American Grown Flowers)
Basil blooms over custom designed trellises in the Sunset Magazine Test Gardens at Cornerstone Sonoma. Photo by Kit Wertz.
Each garden room has an explanation as to the goal for the space — a design collaboration between Sunset Magazine and Homestead Design Collective. Photo by Kit Wertz.
Late season Echinacea (Coneflower) in the Flower Room display their beauty with and without petals. These are wonderful additions to any fall design and pair well with herbs in a floral design. Photo by Kit Wertz.
Snapdragons and Delphinium are heavy from rain in the Flower Room at the test garden. All flowers in the space were planted with featured florist Alethea Harampolis input on which flowers worked well for her design aesthetic which also included many varieties of scented geraniums. Photo by Kit Wertz.
Dinner participants walk through the Flower Room after the tour prior to dinner service. Photo by Kit Wertz.
Hops grow on the trellis marking the entrance to the Cocktail room in Sunset’s Test Gardens. Photo by Casey Schwartz
Blooms designed by Alethea Harampolis for the Sunset hosted dinner in Sonoma. Photo by Kit Wertz.
Here is my name card for the dinner and place setting! It was so nice to be at the dinner as a guest after being one of the featured designers with my sister back in April earlier this year. Both white wine and red wine were offered with dinner to pair with the fish course and pork course. Photo by Kit Wertz.
All Field to Vase dinners feature flowers and greenery that is locally grown near or on the property where the dinner is held. The food served, such as this salad course featuring carefully prepared mushrooms and radish chips, is also locally sourced produce. Photo by Kit Wertz.
Here is one of the garden inspired bouquets designed by featured florist Alethea Harampolis, co-owner of Homestead Design Collective. Photo by Kit Wertz.
At the conclusion of dinner, Kit and Casey chatted with Sunset Magazine’s Garden Editor, Johanna Silver. Photo by Casey Schwartz.
All guests received goodie bags filled with seeds, premium floral shears and materials promoted by the sponsors who made the evening possible by donating their time and talents to the cause of supporting American farmers and food producers. Photo by Kit Wertz.
Stargazer Barn Among Top Quality Sponsors for Dinner
Pictured are Stargazer Barn Tulip and Iris bouquet giveaways at the American Grown Field to Vase dinner in Sonoma in October. Photo by Kit Wertz.
Stargazer Barn is a flower vendor in Northern California who grows lilies, iris and tulips. In addition to flowers, there is a small vineyard on the property where winemaker Wil Franklin makes small batch wines. Stargazer Barn offers Gift Collections which combine wine and flowers! What’s more to love?
These are great gift ideas for the holidays and for any special occasion. American Grown flowers and wine in a pretty box.
We received these wonderful bouquets of tulips and Irises at the dinner at Cornerstone Sonoma. The flowers did really well on our 7‑hour car drive back to Los Angeles and lasted very well for about a week at home! It was so amazing to have spring tulips and irises in a kaleidoscope of colors.
Here is a fun promo video from Stargazer Barn:
Other delicious treats during the evening included a cocktail, “Sonoma Wildflower,” crafted by Prohibition Spirits and wine tastings provided by Dry Creek Winery. Chef Kyle Kuklewski of Ramekins Culinary School, Special Events, and Inn created an amazing dinner with locally sourced Sonoma faire. Appetizers included Artisan Cheese and Charcuterie, and 5th Street Farm Root Vegetable Chips. Grilled vegetables were served family-style along with grilled salmon and Niman ranch bacon-wrapped pork tenderloins with apricot mostarda. Dessert was a scrumptious pumpkin mousse served with a butter cranberry shortbread, and topped with bourbon and pecan infused caramel.
A Visit to an Epic Historic Estate on San Francisco’s Peninsula
Filoli: A Historic Treasure of Flowers, Gardens and Artwork
By Kit Wertz
Filoli, an National Historic Trust Site, is filled with flowers, sculptures, artwork and more! Photo by Kit Wertz.
On my most recent trip to San Francisco for Flower Duet, I took my mother to a National Historic Trust Site called Filoli, a well-preserved estate from the early 20th Century on San Francisco’s Peninsula.
This estate features a 16–acre formal Garden, historic House, nature hikes, art exhibits, and educational opportunities including floral design.
Filoli was built for Mr. and Mrs. William Bowers Bourn, prominent San Franciscans whose chief source of wealth was the Empire Mine, a hard-rock gold mine in Grass Valley, California.
The front courtyard entrance to Filoli. Photo by Kit Wertz.
Mr. Bourn arrived at the unusual name Filoli by combining the first two letters from the key words of his credo: “Fight for a just cause; Love your fellow man; Live a good life.” Words that we should all strive to live by today!
Completed in 1917 and located in the northern Santa Cruz mountains in Woodside, California, Filoli is an example of the Golden Age of American garden design and country house architecture.
Floral designs for the House at Filoli are created by volunteers and replaced weekly. Flowers are sourced from the property’s cutting garden. Photo by Kit Wertz.
From Filoli’s Website:
Opened to the public in 1976 as a site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Filoli features a 36,000 sq. ft. home and a 16–acre English Renaissance Garden. In addition, Filoli’s property includes a 6.8 acre Gentlemen’s Heritage Orchard and a trail system that transverses five different ecosystems for docent–guided nature hikes and visits to the Sally MacBride Nature Center. Filoli is recognized as one of the finest remaining country estates of the early 20th century and is a cherished resource for the community valuing education, volunteerism and diversity.
Filoli’s Dining Room Changes with the season. Photo by Kit Wertz.
Filoli Family Room. All the rooms on display fearure fresh floral designs. Photo by Kit Wertz.
Each floral design inside the house at Filoli is designed by a volunteer from flowers grown on the property. Zinnias were in season during our visit. Photo by Kit Wertz.
Today, Filoli offers a plethora of educational opportunities including a Home Floral Design Certificate Program. Students gain an understanding of flower arranging through hands-on instruction with courses in techniques, color theory, arrangement shapes and how to make designs in different vases and containers and special occasion arrangements. A Certificate of Completion is given to all students completing all required classes and three elective classes of their choosing.
Students who receive their Certificate of Completion are qualified to volunteer on the Friends of Filoli Floral Design Committee and may apply to become a House Flower Arranger. I have become friends with one of the designers, Katherine Glazier, who teaches many of the flower arranging courses at Filoli and Casey and I were so delighted to share dinner with her at the Field to Vase Sunset dinner in Sonoma. So, if you are looking to take a great class up at Filoli soon, make sure you look into classes taught by Katherine Glazier!
The back view of the house at Filoli. Photo by Kit Wertz.
A garden pot on the grounds of Filoli. Photo by Kit Wertz.
Yew allée at Filoli. Photo by Kit Wertz.
Lichen on a branch near the former tennis court at Filoli. Photo by Kit Wertz.
My mother joined me on my trip to Sonoma which included a side trip to Filoli. Here she is enjoying the gardens between light rain showers. Photo by Kit Wertz.
Knot gardens are traditionally made with herbs and this one at Filoli is just that! Photo by Kit Wertz.
Here I am enjoying the beautiful gardens at Filoli!
Floral Arranging Guest Speaking and Demonstrations
by Casey Schwartz
Kit hosted a group at the our studio for a fun evening of flowers, wine and appetizers!
Casey shows a guest at the South Coast Botanic Garden’s 53rd Annual Meeting and Foundation Dinner how to make a floral fascinator. Photo by Kristina Lee Photography
Kit and I are often asked to speak at garden clubs and for private groups. We offer a variety of ways to bring flower arranging skills to all interest levels and abilities. From Girl Scout troops to the Long Beach Garden Club, we cater to each group’s passion for flowers.
For three years, Kit has been the guest floral demonstrator for “A Day in the Garden” at the Banning Museum and Casey speaks at a different garden club in the Los Angeles area about once a month.
Enlist a group of volunteers to help you with the making and transporting of flowers for your event. Perhaps your mom’s local garden club can lend a hand? They have years of experience and expertise to offer!
We also cater to private groups and host them at our studio with a custom class curriculum. Over the summer, Kit taught a group of professional hair dressers how to create live floral hair wreaths and how to wire accent flowers in order to keep them fresh in their client’s hairstyle.
We bring all the supplies to your group. Here is a set up in a meeting room at the JW Marriott at LALive near the Staples Center. Photo by Kit Wertz
Whether your group wants to offer a perk for its employees or a new take on an old topic, Kit and Casey work closely with your group to customize a hands-on class, workshop or live demonstration with raffle options!
So, if you are looking for a fun way to spend a morning, afternoon or evening with friends, contact Flower Duet and we’ll offer you a new flower skill you can take to the next level!
A mom and daughter leave with leftover flowers after Kit’s fall floral design lecture and demonstration at The Banning Museum in September. The daughter was going to apply what she learned in the demo to finish her Girl Scout Flower Badge! Photo by Kit Wertz.
Book Recommendation: Foraged Flora
Foraged Flora: A Year of Gathering and Arranging Wild Plants and Flowers
by Louesa Roebuck and Sarah Lonsdale
Roadside fennel, flowering fruit trees, garden roses, tiny violets; ingredients both common and unusual, humble and showy, Foraged Florais a new vision for flowers and arranging. It encourages you to train your eye to the beauty that surrounds you, attune your senses to the seasonality and locality of flowers and plants, and to embrace the beauty in each stage of life, from first bud to withering seedpod.
Organized by month, each chapter in this visually arresting and inspiring book focuses on large and small arrangements created from the flowers and plants available during that time period and in that place, all foraged or gleaned nearby. The authors reflect on surprising and beautiful pairings, the importance of scale, the scarcity or abundance of raw materials, and the environmental factors that contribute to that availability.
Whether picking a small tendril of fragrant jasmine, collecting oversized branches of flowering quince, or making a garland of bay laurel, Foraged Flora is an invitation to seek out the beauty of the natural world.
Floral Tools: Grapevine Wreath Forms
Grapevine wreath forms are a fantastic choice for fall wreaths that can be adapted into holiday wreaths easily by changing out floral accents.
Grapevine wreath forms can be covered completely with greenery or just accented on 1/3 of the wreath in an upper or lower corner to accentuate a holiday season.
These wreath forms are natural, but can be re-used for many years. Apply materials using floral wire instead of hot glue to make it easy to change out decorations.