Interview: Natalya & Fiona of PYRUS

Attaching giant arrangements of flowers to buildings — today’s guests, Natalya and Fiona of PYRUS have done just that.  Their work for the Inspiring Impressionism exhibit will leave you breathless and with questions about how it came together, but the good news is, they’ll answer those questions.

Interview: Sarah from Poppy in Singapore

We are delighted to share Sarah's story with you via the Team Flower Podcast. Sarah has a bustling flower shop and flower school called Poppy in Singapore. Poppy offers unique experiences including a Flower Bar and Market Day which we will tell you more about on the podcast.

Video: How To Divide Dahlias

In this video we share how to divide dahlia tubers. Susan has been doing it for over 20 years, has tried all kinds of methods and is sharing her favorites. Jump in to learn about tubers, eyes, and dividing dahlias!

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Transcription:

Hi. My name's Kelly. And I'm here with my friend Susan from Shady Grove Gardens. Susan and her husband Brent grow wonderful dahlias up at their mountain farm. And so I asked Susan to come over today and tell us a little bit how to divide dahlias. And I also wanted to tell you a little bit about the dahlia workshop that she has coming up this July. Tell us a little bit about it. 

It's July 31st. And we're going to have one day of very intensive everything you need to know about dahlias. So it'll be planting, staking, dividing, design. We're going to spend a little bit of time with little tricks and tips on how to design. How to cut them, how to do disease control. 

They also get a lot of insects, so we're going to go over insect control, and the hard parts, planting and harvesting and digging them up in the fall, and then how do you store them. And today, we're going to do the division. But we're going to cover everything else at the workshop. 

Perfect. That sounds super fun. I bet you'll have like all the different varieties and kinds that you would recommend. So you're thinking you might want to start growing dahlias, there are all kinds of varieties out there. But Susan's been doing this for a long time and she knows the ones that really work well for her. So she'll be sharing all of that at the workshop, which is really exciting. 

So tell us what we're looking for and how we need to do this. These are Cafe au Laits from my little backyard garden. And I've never divided them before. I know that there's eyes and that that's important. 

Well, there are several different ways to do it. And I'm actually very conservative, because they're mine and I'm not shipping them off usually and I'm not trying to make hundreds out of it. So I might leave something like this for myself. But I start by clipping off all the little, what lot of people call as hairy bits. 

Get rid of all those hairy bits. 

And that makes it just a little bit easier to see. Now, you can divide the dahlias, either in the fall, right after you dig them up, which makes it a little easier to see the eye. 

Show us what the eye looks like over here. 

So the eye is these little tiny bumps here. 

Right around the kind of top. So this kind of looks like a little magnolia pod, doesn't it? And then, it's tiny. And then, you get this little bit of a bump right there. 

And it's always attached to the stem. So when you divide them, you always want a little bit of the stem to remain. So on this particular one, if you think there's two or three eyes in there, and you can also see, possibly, two or three eyes back here. So what you want to do is leave some piece of the stem, because that's where you think the eyes are going to be. 

So here, I'm cutting up through the middle of the stem. And this part isn't necessary. 

Goodbye stem piece. 

So then, if you really wanted to make three out of this, you could cut it again. But if you want to be conservative, you just cut it like so. So this has sort of this little neck here. And that's where I would expect the buds to come out. 

So the buds, or the new growth, is actually going to be coming out of that eye. 

All the growth will come out of there. And of course, it will form roots. 

So if we cut the eye off, then we just cut off anything that would be viable. 

Right. You can, if you have these here that are-- see how this is broken, what I would call broken, the neck's broken. 

Cracked. 

So these, most likely, will not do anything. So often, we will clip those off. But we'll keep this and that should come out. Now, this one's a little on the shriveled side, but it should be OK, if it doesn't continue to shrivel. We store ours-- we've gone through a lot of different trial and error, sometimes they'll rot, sometimes they don't. But this year we've decided that pine bark or the bedding that you use for pets-- 

Like hamsters? 

Like hamsters, like those little chips you buy at the store, those big bags, that seems to be our best bet for storing. So it doesn't keep them wet, it doesn't keep them any drier. We do have the whole bins all the sets of bins with the chips shavings in there, are all also surrounded with plastic so they don't lose-- you also want to store them about 40 degrees. Now, our garage is not 40 degrees. 

Yeah. This isn't either. 

So we try. 

Do they need a cold period? Or it's more or less for preserving them? 

Yeah. They're from the Andes. But they do not need a cold period. So think of them like a tomato. It's a tropical plant. It just needs a little rest, because in North America, it's too cold for them. 

That's interesting that it was a tropical plant. 

Yeah. So whenever people say like that it's too hot or that it needs that-- I guess, and you know this, because you're a Costa Rica girl-- the swing of the temperatures, like day to night, but people in Florida it just doesn't get cold enough for them, or if they're like they're on the coast. 

They're from the Andes. 

Educate me. 

The mountains, the cool summer nights, cool days, that's where they're the happiest. That's their origin. 

When you said tropics I immediately thought I'm going to the Bahamas now and I was like, wait a second. 

But that's where the wild ones are. So they probably originated somewhere near where potatoes originated and they act a lot like potatoes. 

Interesting. So this one here, would you say, if you do you have that broken neck, would you just leave it on and plant it? It's not going to do any harm, but-- 

Yeah. I probably would, just hoping that it might be OK. , Now, one that's really badly damaged, like this one, I'd probably clip it off. And I didn't used to do that. But just for storage space. And then, you don't want the rot. If it rots, you don't want it to spread to the rest of the plant. So ideally, you don't want them to shrivel quite that much. 

Show the bad example. 

But this will still have a good potential to sprout. I don't think I would divide it more, although some people might. You can clip the stem off, just don't clip down too far, because every once in a while, the buds will come out right here. 

Now, this one is more challenging. So you would need, probably, a sturdier knife and really cut into that. You could use clippers or even loppers. 

Yeah. This is hard. 

So that's another reason to maybe do them in the fall, when they're a little softer. 

Right. So basically, I dug these. I left them in soil and I kept them in a pot in a cool room of the house. 

Cool's good. Cool's good. And then, you want fairly high humidity so they don't dry out. And like I said, 40 degrees, 60 degrees. We start opening our garage windows if it gets above that and hope for the best in this warm weather. 

So recap. We're getting rid of the hairy bits. Step one. Step two-- 

Makes it a little easier to see what's going on. 

Yeah, it's easier to see what's happening. 

And you knock off the dirt. In my case, I'm knocking off rocks, because we have lots of rocks. And we're trying to get those out between the tubers. But the next step is what most people are afraid to do, is to really just go right on in there. And you are going to lose-- 

Look at this one. What's happening here? 

That is probably the mother. Actually this one's the mother. So that's the one you had last year. 

Oh, OK. 

So it's usually a little rougher, it could even be hollow. 

Will it produce again? 

No. So you could remove that and not miss it. 

Let's get a close up of what the mother looks like. 

So this one is the mother. So that's last year's tuber. And then, all of these formed over the summer last year. 

So then, usually, I'll go in with something like clippers and cut into the stem. But these won't do that. So we're just going to show you. 

Is there something else I can give you? 

Nah. I think maybe I could just switch to another. 

Yeah. We'll just switch to another one. And there's all kinds of different tools that you can use to get these going, even the little-- I'm not sure what it's called. 

It's like a Dremel tool. 

It's like a Dremel tool. 

Or those tiny Sawzall. And you can get small and large blades. We use a little narrow one, about the width of my finger. And it's heavy and it's not cheap, if you have a lot of dahlias, you're going to want to do it. So then, we go in and it just goes-- 

[BUZZING] 

--and it just cuts, like that. And then, it's a little easier. 

So here's one of your eyes. 

And you can see, it looks like it's like sprouting now, this little bit of green. 

Yes. It's starting to sprout, because we've had a little bit of a warm spell. So if you wanted to get them started early, you could put it in a pot. 

Put it in a pot and starting babying it a little bit. 

Yeah, but then you have to care for it everyday. 

Do you get an earlier bloom, or what's the benefit of-- 

Yeah. You get an earlier bloom. And then, those people that really want more dahlias can do cuttings. But that's a whole other project. 

So on this one, it's a little easier to see where you might cut it. And so you just cut in there. And you still have multiple buds. And on this one, hopefully, we still have multiple buds there. 

Yeah. Can you see this? You can see, up around this eye, how there's already even these little buds that are starting to pop out. So cool. So there's a plant. And here's one. And here's one. And here's one, maybe two? 

Yeah. Maybe two, if you're feeling brave. 

I don't have enough room, so I won't feel brave. I'll just-- 

Since these are Kelly's, I'm not going to cut it up more. 

And since I don't have a lot of room, I don't need-- look at all these. It's amazing how, this was three plants. So here and now we already have three more plants coming up this year. 

Especially if you're doing this in the fall, you want to let this sort of seal over before you were to put it in some-- 

To store it. 

Don't do what I did. Don't put them in Ziploc bags and store them. You will kill them. All mine rotted one year when I did that. So you do want to use some sort of loose bedding, newspapers, shavings, or something like that. But you also, just give it a day or two, like a potato that you've cut up and let it seal over and you should be good to go there. 

Well, Susan, thank you so much for coming to tell us and share what you know about the dahlias and dividing them. This has been really helpful. And now, all my dahlias are ready to get potted up and I guess to get an early bloom, get started out there. 

So thanks so much for coming. We look forward to seeing you. And for those of you who come to Susan's workshop, we can't wait to see you soon. 

Video: How to Grow, Hydrate and Hold Cut Hellebores

Susan from Shady Grove Gardens is joining us to share some information on growing, hydrating and holding cut hellebores! Susan has been working with flowers for 31 years and has been so gracious to come and share. If you've ever been captivated by the charm of the hellebore you are in for a real treat!

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Transcription:

I'm Kelly, and I'm here with my friend Susan from Shady Grove Gardens. She's a grower here in Boone, North Carolina! Susan, why don't you tell us a little bit about what you do up at Shady Grove Gardens? 

All right. Well, we're growers and florist. And we've been doing-- this is year 31. 

31, wow. 

We grow our flowers and use them for all our wedding designs. 

OK. 

So, we grow well over 300 different varieties, and we sell them to people like Kelly. 

Like me! Actually, to me! Yes. 

[LAUGHTER] 

And florist. 

So, I'm, like, nodding, like, oh, this is new information. But I of course know this, because Susan is one of the growers here in Boone. So, a lot of flowers that you saw whenever we were doing bunches of weddings and things like that, some of those things came from Susan's farm. 

Mhm! And we sell directly to brides, as well. 

OK, fantastic. So, before you started doing weddings and doing flowers just cut, you had a little bit of experience in landscape design. And then also tell us a little bit about your education. 

Well, I have a master's in Biology, and I have a Naturals degree and a Botany degree. And then I did landscape gardening, for about 20 years. And then we slowly transitioned into having a flower farm. 

So that's all we do, now. We have a flower farm and a nursery. We grow all our own seedlings. And I'm the grower, seedling, office mouse, designer. And Brent, my husband, is the main grower and farm manager. 

Yeah! Because they've got some flowers at their main place, where all of the seedlings and office work takes place. And they have a beautiful, you call it "The Peak," that's out-- just beautiful mountain views. I mean, one of the prettiest farms that I've ever been to. Fantastic views, great location. So, again, all of that then happens out at the Peak. 

Tell me a little bit about that Naturalist degree. What's included in that? 

Well, it's from Appalachian State. And, back then, we just did a lot of fieldwork. So it was all ornithology, mycology-- which is mushrooms-- 

You're going to have to tell me what-- so, mushrooms-- got it. 

Mushrooms and fungus, you know. So it was all fieldwork, as opposed to, like, learning how to do lab sorts of things. 

OK, sure. 

But I also took Plant Physiology and things like that, as well. 

Yeah, fantastic. Well, when it comes to hellebores, there are a few things that are really great that we want to share about keeping them hydrated. And one of them actually goes back to some of this plant physiology and some of those things that Susan's been talking about. 

And one of them is keeping the water that you're using-- having quite a full vase of water. Because having all of this water in here creates pressure that then pushes the water up through the stems! So that's one of the first things about hellebore hydration. And that would apply to a wide variety of plants, actually. 

So, it's great to have some deep water, whenever you're working with hellebores. We have several different types of hellebores here. And Susan really loves the ones that have their necks up, because they are a lot easier to use in arrangements. So, do you want to tell us a little bit about the ones that you brought today? 

All right. This one is actually a seedling, from my other hellebores around the yard. I will point out that it takes four years for them, at least, to bloom. And they don't move terribly well. 

So I love this one, and it's in a pot, so it's going probably back in my yard somewhere. 

OK, it's ready to go out. Uh-huh. 

This one is one that you can buy on the market. It's called Winter Thriller. There is a mix, and this one is Pink Ballerina. And it's a really nice ruffled double. 

But it does hang down a little bit. So, Kelly might be able to tell you how to solve that problem. 

[LAUGH] Yeah. Well, whenever they have kind of that natural facing, like, that their heads are moving down, sometimes what I'll do is take a branch-- like, for example, spiraea and quince are blooming at a similar time as the hellebore. And they both have, like, nice, branchy stems. 

So what I'll do is put this one-- you know, since this is a short stem, I put this kind of lower in the arrangement. But I would just, like, hook its little neck, here, onto one of those branches, or prop it over one of the branches, so that you could get that effect. And sometimes, too, seeing the backs of the stems, and the silhouettes that you get-- 

It just all depends what the point is, and what the purpose of that flower that you're using is, in your arrangement. Because this, even pointing down like this, I think, would be really lovely, depending on the lines and the shapes that you're using in your arrangement. But if you have some that are a little bit droopier, you can prop them up using those branches and things. 

So, love this. Pink Ballerina. Another one that's on the market right now, this one's called Pink Frost. And this is one-- I got a couple of these at Lowe's-- had them. 

I like the stiff stem on that one. 

Yeah. Very hardy. And that's what Susan-- as soon as Susan picked it, she's like, yeah, this is a really hardy one. And several years ago I visited Pine Knot Farms, which is where some of the research in this book took place. And I cut several different types from their garden. They were so gracious, to let me do that. 

And this was the variety that really held up well, comparatively. I mean, this went on for almost a month, I think, whenever I had it that first time. So I think this is a really great one, if you're looking to add some cuts to your garden. 

But really, most hellebores, I think, do hold up quite well. All of the progress that they've made in breeding and all those kinds of things, they're a great, strong plant. 

So, anyway, this one, I just cut from the garden, right before we came in to record today. So I'm going to give it a quick snip, exposing as much of this area as I can. And then I'm going to have some Quick Dip, here, from Floralife. And I'm just going to do a 1, 2, 3. [LAUGH] 

And then I'm going to put in that deep water. And then, same thing with this. And this one, I'm not 100% sure on what exactly this is called, but I got it here at Pine Knot Farms, if you really love it and you're looking for one that's similar. It's a very unique-- 

It doesn't have the picotee, like this Ballerina. I love the little spots. But this is more of a gradation in color, from white to this just really rich burgundy. And the back sides of the petals are so lovely, too. And a double, like the Ballerina that we have, here. 

And most of the hellebores on the market now are hybrids, so you just have to go by variety name and which ones you like. 

Yeah. There we go. OK. So those ones are in there, and they're ready to go. 

So, Quick Dip is one way that you can process your hellebore. And another way that you can do it, kind of an old-fashioned technique-- we just wanted to show a couple of different techniques that you could try out-- is to take-- 

And, Jessie, why don't we just get a close-up of this, if we can, here. We want to get water up into the stem as quickly as possible. So we're just doing a very small, gentle, super-gentle scoring of the stem. 

And that is also done with tulips, occasionally. And that just helps them get water into that-- what's it called? The xylem? 

Mhm. 

In the-- 

Yeah, in the xylem. In case you have a stem that's sealed off at the base, somehow, that allows more water uptake. And if there's air bubbles in there, like an embolism comes out. 

Mhm. So there we go! So, tell us a little bit about how the Quick Dip works. Because it serves somewhat kind of a similar purpose, when it comes to-- 

It does. 

--the air bubbles and the embolism-- things like that. 

In theory, you shouldn't have to do this on your own cuts. But with the ones that are shipped in, especially if you have them wilted, the Quick Dip, what it does is it changes the surface tension of the liquid and the water that you're trying to get taken up. 

So, it's acidic, and it's just-- that's all you need, is that few seconds to change that surface pH. 

So, the acid breaks down kind of the surface. 

Mhm. 

Mhm. And then it pops those bubbles and lets everything flow through freely! 

And that's similar to what you're doing with the slits. You're allowing the air bubbles to be dissolved, in one way or another. And you get more uptake. 

OK. Yeah, because sometimes with hellebores, we get those little, droopy necks at the top, especially when you're shipping them in wholesale. And for a long time-- Susan and I were just talking about how, for a long time, it was considered that hellebores just weren't a "good" cut flower. And how unfortunate that we lost that. 

But we moved into a season where a lot of our sourcing was coming from other countries. And we were doing a lot of shipping in planes and all those types of things. And so, comparatively, in the world of flowers, it was a little bit more complicated to get hellebores going, and because of their bloom season being whenever it's cooler-- things like this-- maybe flowers weren't as much in demand. 

So there was sort of this little period of history, in the cut-flower world, where they disappeared. But whenever we were doing cut flowers using things that were in our own backyard, before, you know, airplanes and all those types of transportation methods were a piece of it, this is something that you'll see in floral history and in art and different things. You'll see these being used. 

Well, the hybrids certainly have made them more popular, because there's nicer colors, better stems. But yes, back in the '40s, when people grew their own flowers as a florist, they used them. 

And then, the tropics, they don't do well in the tropics. They have to have that cold period. They bloom in the snow. They're Lenten roses. So, now that there's more North American growers, we have more hellebores. 

More hellebores. Yeah, and how lucky we are, because just the variety that's available, now. And Pine Knot Farm has done so much work in pushing us forward, in terms of just the interesting types and colors and, you know, all the doubles and picotees and all those beautiful gradiations in the colors of the petals. I mean, it's just fantastic. They have such a great variety, there. 

Tell us, Susan, a little bit about these little rubber-band guys. 

[LAUGH] 

We were talking about when the best time is to cut them. In the summertime, we, of course, whenever it's warmer, we want to cut them early in the morning or late in the evening. But what's interesting about hellebores is, they are blooming whenever it is freezing, unlike most other flowers. So you actually have to pay attention to, is it frozen? [LAUGH] 

Well, these were cut last night, at 11 o'clock at night. And they were frozen solid. So, I had my doubts about bringing them over to Kelly. But, sure enough-- 

Yeah, pull them out! 

--every single one of them-- 

Wobble them around a little bit. 

--looks just fine. They're a little more wilty than the ones I cut the day before, before the freeze, but not much. 

So here's day before the freeze, what we're looking at, here. 

And this one's not too terribly much different. 

I don't see a huge, like, visible difference. What do you think? 

I don't! Now, what you're going to notice, especially if you're getting ones from your own yard, is the buds probably will never look good. They may turn brown. 

If they were frozen. 

Or the immature ones, that stem might decline much faster. But the bigger ones, they will be fine. 

Mhm! 

Now, it does depend on how long they stay cold, and whether it's windy and they have wind chill and dehydration. But a short spurt of snow or deep cold, they are OK! 

Mhm. Yeah, and that's something else that's important to consider, is, what-- and, a lot of times, with cuts, when you're having things, if you're someone who's having things shipped to you, there is a whole life that that flower lived before it even landed at your doorstep. And so, you might be doing all of the by-the-book right things to do but still be like, but these never opened, or these just kind of-- you know, whatever. 

They had a whole life. They could have not been hydrated properly, whenever they were a plant in the ground. They could have been malnourished. It's like, how strong was that plant before it was actually cut? 

And so, one of the great things about hellebores, I think that they are-- it's something that I think everybody should have in their-- I think everybody should have these in their garden. They're very easy, once you've got them in the ground. 

They're easy. 

A very easy plant. And tell us a little bit about when you think the best time is to cut them. Like, you would water them two days before or-- 

Yeah, about-- 

--what do you think? 

You know, just make sure it's either rained, or you watered, about 48 hours out. And then you should be able to cut them early in the morning, as long as they're not frozen, is probably your best time. And bring them in immediately, and put them straight into water. Where you could go wrong is leaving them lay around, like I did with the one. 

Yeah, yeah! 

[LAUGH] 

But, even so, look at how-- I don't remember exactly which one it was, but there's only three to choose from. 

It's the one I cut with the knife. 

Oh, yes, this one. 

It's this one. So this one accidentally got left out overnight in freezing-cold weather. And I didn't pick it up till that afternoon. The next day, and it is perfectly fine. 

Yeah, look at this. 

And I didn't put it in anything. This just went into water. So that's a tough plant. You know, it's almost an evergreen. Now, you'll also notice on these blooms, here-- I think it's on this one-- you can see where there is some freeze damage from the past freeze. 

OK. Here, let me hold that out, so Jessie can see it really well. But, if you can just kind of get rid of this-- you good, Jessie? You see that OK? I mean, you can just pinch this out-- 

Right. 

And it's still perfectly fine to use. 

And I use them like that, because people love green flowers. 

Mhm? 

And so, these will all turn green in a few months. And that's generally when I use them. Because my brides are getting married in May and not in February or March. So, even the burgundies turn towards a green color. 

Yeah. They all sort of fade, a little bit, as they're aging. And-- good grief-- OK, so, this starts coming out-- well, I know, we're up in the mountains. It's a little bit cooler longer. But the amount of time that this stays on the plant is really fantastic-- that it's usable as a cut. I mean, you really have, I would say three-- 

Into June. I use them into June. 

--solid three months! 

Mhm. 

Yeah. So, their color tones and things are going to be changing throughout that period. And the look of them, of course, will change. So-- let's see. Do we have any where the seed pods are maybe a little bit more developed? 

A few. And there is a reason why it's called "Lenten rose." It's at its peak during Lent, which is now. 

Which is now, mhm. 

There was-- I think one of the white ones has a pod on it. 

OK. 

Because they're a little earlier. So, some of these will come in at different times. So you have to kind of look at the ones that work for your yard. 

Mmm-- I feel like this one might be kind of as close as we're doing to get-- 

Oh, that's right. 

--in terms of time period, right now. But these will actually swell out. So, this is the female part of the plant. Right? Yeah? 

Mhm. That's your ovary forming, there. 

Mhm! And then these are the male part of the plant. You can see the pollen popping off of them. So the pollen's popping down in here and then going down in. And these are going to, then-- these little parts, right here, Jessie. They're very small right now. 

Mmm. It's right here. Can you see that? That's going to swell. 

Mhm. And make seeds. That's the ovary, and that's where the seeds will come on and live. So, there's lots of different stages, so you can have it where it's, you know-- actually, in this book, there's tons of pictures in there I could show. 

There's a green seed pod. And they're very usable with the green seed pod on them. 

Mhm. Yeah, absolutely. So, here's a picture of the life stages of the hellebore. And here is the part where-- you know, this is what it's going to look like late in the season, once the seed pods have developed and ripened on the plant. 

But tell us a little bit, Susan, about this life cycle that we're looking at, here. I know you mentioned four years to bloom, on this. 

So, if you're growing them in your yard, and you let the seed pods drop the seeds-- which you can barely see in the photo, there-- you should, in theory, have seedlings the next year. But they're going to be tiny. They're going to be like these little seedlings you see here. 

Now, you can move them. And probably the best time to move them is when they're that small. 

Oh, OK. 

They don't especially like being divided. They don't especially like being moved. 

OK. 

But the other important thing is, once they get really big and mature, they make a better cut flower. So maybe that first year or so, you might not really expect those flowers to be great and hold up well. 

Kind of like a peony, maybe. Like, you know, that kind of three-year mark. Well, for a lot of-- you grow a lot of perennials. And three years is when they kind of have established and they're doing well. 

So, as far as bloom goes, for those little guys that you might be wanting to do yourself, don't expect to see anything for about four years. 

Yeah? [LAUGH] Patience, big-time. 

And that's why hellebores are not that commercially available or that inexpensive, if you're buying. 

Right. They are a more expensive plant, and there's a lot of time that's involved in babying those things, unlike some of these annuals that you can pop up pretty inexpensively, at Lowe's or different things. Like this one, here, the Pink Frost, I think that that was maybe $16 or $18, compared to some of the other, kind of, quick annuals that they have or biannuals that they have that are coming and going. 

Yes I saw some at Lowe's, just yesterday, day before. $17 for just the standard Lowe's gallon pot. 

Yeah. Yeah, exactly. But they're great when you can get them going and established. There's nothing else really happening in the garden at that time. 

That's true. 

So it is that kind of like-- I guess I think I plant them more for myself, because it's like, oh, here's something! 

[LAUGH] 

You know, spring is here. Anything else that you wanted to share? 

I started growing them because all my brides were asking for green-- 

Oh, OK! 

--and green flowers. 

Right, right. 

So, I needed something green, and there's only so many green flowers. And in June, and in May, perfect green flowers. 

Yeah, yeah. 

I also use the leaves. 

Mhm! Yeah, I love these. Mhm. These are so great. I'm not sure how you use them, exactly, but I like to use them low in arrangements, over the rim of the container, to frame some of the larger flowers. 

And the leaves you can use all season long. I might be-- am I destroying my plant by clipping from the leaves after they've bloomed? Maybe a little bit. [LAUGH] 

If it's a big plant, I think they can handle it. 

They can handle it? Mhm? OK, great! Well, I just wanted to share, again, this book. It's called Hellebores, a Comprehensive Guide. Burrell and Tyler are the authors on this. And it is one of the American Horticultural Society award-winning books. 

And you hop over-- this was at the Royal Horticultural Society gardens, in England. Whenever I was there, they have-- this is one of the ones that they have in their library. 

But it's a comprehensive guide. And there's all kinds of great resources in here and a lifetime of several people that are kind of summarized in here. And also, what we've got is, there's a plant trial, back here, that John Dole from NC State headed up, in the appendix-- which I guess I don't-- there's a little nutrient study, here, in C. 

Back here, in Appendix D of this book, there was a study that Fanelli and John Dole from NC State, the Department of Horticulture Science, put together-- a little experiment using hellebores as a cut flower. And their results-- and you can see all of, you know, what their control was and their temperature and all those kinds of things. 

But 17 and 1/2 days is where they landed. They were experimenting with cut-flower preservatives. So, like, not the Quick Dip specifically, but those kinds of hydrating solutions and holding solutions, versus when you're cutting the plant. Because, for almost-- a lot of people-- and Susan, you know, I would consider one of them-- that cutting them later, you know, finds that there's really not a whole lot of problem, once they've got those seed pods on them. 

So, that's what he was testing. You know, was there a notable difference between if the seed pods were developed versus if they weren't? And he didn't seem to find a major-- in this study, he didn't see a major difference. But it doesn't mean that there might not be for someone else. 

Like, this one's starting to form a seed pod. So I would prefer to use one like that, because it's a little more leathery. 

Sure, mhm. 

And I would assume that it would last longer than one that still has all its anthers. 

Very delicate and soft. Mhm. Exactly. 

John was using a hydrating solution and a holding solution. A holding solution is a professional solution you can get from Floralife, is the one he uses. 

Oh, and I think he did-- actually, in this experiment, I think he used-- 

And Chrysal. 

Yeah, I think he used both-- like, the kind of equivalents of both brands-- and didn't see a big difference. 

Basically, they have less sugar in them than the standard Floralife that you would get in the little packets. So that's really the main difference. The hydrator is just a solution you leave them in for several hours. And it's similar to Quick Dip-- 

Mhm, but the plant just sits in it for a while. 

--just a different brand. 

OK. Why do you think people-- why do you think that, like, higher sugar content that you would get in a packet, if you were buying flowers from a florist or something, why wouldn't it be the lower sugar count, if that actually makes them last longer? 

Yes. Because, when you give somebody regular Floralife, with a lot of sugar, that's carbohydrates. So that feeds the flower, and it also makes it continue to mature. 

OK. 

So, if you're a flower grower or a florist, you just want to hold that in stasis. So you just barely want to feed it. You don't want it to continue to mature, and you don't want to feed the bacteria. Of course, there's things in there to keep the bacteria from growing. But that's why they give it very little sugar. 

OK. 

And then the home person gets the product with the sugar. 

Right. So then they're really seeing kind of the best parts of the plant, and the rest of the life cycle of it, I guess. 

And most flowers are cut in bud, so you want them to stay in bud till they get to where they're going. 

Right And then that extra sugar lets them open. 

Mhm. 

Perfect! Well, thank you so much, Susan, for popping on to join us, today, and to talk about hellebores a little bit. This has been really fun. And we're excited to share these beautiful things with you. 

So, best of luck on your hellebore planting that you have coming up. And you let us know if you have any questions. 

Finding your Instagram branding

We have the joy of being able to work with flowers every day, yet I know I am not alone when I say that I feel like I didn’t measure up just based on how my Instagram feed looks. That is just not right! Here I'm sharing my journey as I discovered what worked for me on Instagram.

Interview: Natalie at Native Poppy

In this episode we're talking with Natalie from Native Poppy. We're discuss leaving corporate world for flower work, the differences of owning an event studio and retail store. You'll enjoy learning about Natalie's flower subscription services.

Interview: Erin from Floret Flowers

I'm delighted to have Erin from Floret Flowers with us this month!  In this article we’ll discuss soil testing, amendments, cover crops and how much to charge for the flowers you grow. If you’re a florist, you’ll enjoy learning how you can source local flowers and tips to start a small, productive garden at home. Erin is also sharing her #1 tip for growing a flower related business. You can read on or hop on the podcast to listen...

Video: Solomon's Seal and Poppies

Watch as Kelly puts together a simple two ingredient arrangement. Poppies and Solomon's Seal are a sweet late-spring pair. This design is perfect for dressing up a windowsill at home, wedding bar or guestbook table on the fly!   

Transcript

Hey, I'm back, excited to share an arrangement with you that this time only has two ingredients. I have Solomon's seal and poppies. I also have a message for you on the upper side of my camera. And it is that you are awesome. OK, have a flower frog in my container. This is also [INAUDIBLE] decor, if you're looking for one. Have my pieces of Solomon's seal are arranged by size. I have one that's long, and then two that are more of a smaller/medium size. 

Gonna start with this one. We're going to go straight up. Going to be fun. And I'm going to clip it down just a little bit. Got a frog in here that's raising my levels. Whenever you're not using a lot of flowers, mention frogs are great, because they're just kind of pretty to look at. I think they look nice in an arrangement. 

So I have to be as conscious about covering-- kind of the point is to show negative space in the arrangement. We're using the principle of design of radiation in this arrangement. Everything is going to-- all the lines are going to come out from one point with this base material that we're working with. 

And for balance, I'm wanting to keep this as my center point, and then same amount both to the right and left. And what I'm doing with these pieces, I'm kind of moving around in this circle a bit, and I'm creating a little house for the poppies to live, making room for them. 

So this is where we are. This is the front side of the arrangement, and my poppies are going to live in this area here. So we created the general shape, the general size, that goal of level one. We're not going to worry about covering the base. And this sort of is just another part of that. And then we're going to use the poppies as both level two and level three. We're going to have them work together to create a resting point for the eye. But then we're also going to use them to create movement through line. 

Now, a lot of the times I like to use gradation in size whenever I'm arranging, but my smallest poppy has the shortest stem, so we're going to reverse that. This is probably technically-- let's see here. One third, it looks a little bit-- yeah, the poppy is a little bit too high proportion wise. So I'm going to let him come down a little bit. 

I was reading somewhere that poppies like to drink through the little hairs on their stems. So getting them this way, you singe the ends to seal off that little wound, and then put them in deep water till they're properly hydrated as these ones are. 

OK, so those are going to be my bottom two. With poppies, too, I think they're really pretty if you could just have their faces pointing in different ways as you work. They're all looking straight at you, staring you down, making you feel a little bit uncomfortable. Poppy etiquette. 

So this is something that would be fantastic for a guest book table or bars, anywhere to add a little extra thing, only 10 stems, 10 stems, two ingredients. Big, the whole way down to small. We're doing this kind of trickle, faces up, faces out, moving in and out throughout the arrangement. OK. Be back with another one for you. 

Video: Should I do mockups?

Should you do mockups when in the consultation process with a client? It's a popular question and Kelly weighs the pros and cons in this video. She'll also share how you can use a mockup internally to help in the process, even if you never show it to the client.

Transcript

We're here today to talk about mockups. Mockups are something that occasionally clients will ask for. Sometimes clients, depending on your business model and who you are serving, they may ask for them frequently. It might be something that you already offer or include in your packages. It might be something that you don't and you're wondering how can I handle this? When is it a great time to do a mock-up? When is it really not a great idea to do a mock-up? 

So I think that what we're looking at here today is for an event that's happening later this month. And while it's really difficult to copy something exactly, this is a really great way for me just to get an idea of how much time it's going to take to complete the project. An idea for this piece, in particular, it's being suspended from a tent ceiling. So I wanted to have a general idea of how much it will weigh so that our rigging and all of those kinds of things are safe and and thorough. 

I also wanted just to test and see how full things could get. The ingredients that I'm using are a little bit different than the photos that the client and I had reviewed and looked at together. So I just wanted to take a peek and see, well, can we actually maximize their budget by just adjusting some of the flower varieties, choosing things that open wider than maybe what was pictured. 

So this event is a larger scale event. And whenever I'm doing something that is bigger, it's great to get those recipes down perfectly. Because if you overshoot, you overshoot by quite a lot. If you undershoot, you undershoot by quite a lot. So in this case, for me, it's really helpful to get an idea of exactly what these things could look like. 

So I had some flowers left from the wedding that we did previously. And whenever I'm experimenting and putting things together, a lot of times after a wedding's over if there's flowers that they didn't want to use or that were being discarded, I'll just pull them together and put together just a quick little mock-up. 

This was something that I haven't had a need to do before. So I wanted just to test it out and see so that I felt really great about it. It's a win-win, because now I know how many people I want on the project and I know exactly where the Oasis will go and just a little tweaks that can make that will make things so much easier on event day. 

Something that I noticed when I was putting my pieces together for this one was that the candles that I had chosen, even though I bought the holders and the candles from the same place, they don't fit into the holders properly. So now I know I can save a lot of time on event day by just taking some Saran Wrap now and wrapping that around the base of the candle. And then this gives us some stick and a little extra body whenever it goes into the candle holder. So you just get that tidied up. And now it fits down in there and there's no wobbling around. It's a nice, easy little fix. 

I also took note that I wanted to have some flat leaves that went underneath each of these candle holders. So that just in the event that there was some wax that dripped, I want to keep that away from linens as much as possible. So I'm just going to underlay each place that there's a candle with the foliages. 

One more a little candle tip that I picked up somewhere from a friend, but I thought oh goodness, I'm going to get out those white gloves. That's a great way to save some time and to up the ante a little bit. But back in the day I was little tea party queen. And so I have all these fancy little white gloves. 

And these I see at antique shops all the time. And I'm sure you can get them. I'm sure you can also just get them on Amazon. 

But now whenever you're pulling these glass hurricanes out of boxes and putting them into place and maybe you see fingerprints or a smudge or something, right here, you don't have to carry around a bottle of Windex. You can smooth them and take care of it right there. So you're avoiding getting fingerprints on your glass in the first place. And then, if you happen to see a little smudge or something that you want to clean up, you can just take care of it with your magic gloves. So those are a few things there. 

I'm going to go ahead and take apart this so that you can see the behind the scenes of what's together. It's not perfectly manicured and put together since it is a mock-up. I just did like the front half of everything. And then I can easily multiply. So that's a way to save some costs if you did want to mock something up. 

Another little tip like these things here, once they come out, then they can go in and they can test out fullness for another type of arrangement for an arbor or something like that. So you can really reuse, reuse, reuse and get a great idea of what the pieces will look like for the full event 

And it's also a great opportunity to snap some photos for your Instagram or some other things that could be helpful to grow your business. Maybe after it's all apart, you want to take some of these things apart and donate them to the hospital or you want to take them to a local business with your card or something like that. So there's a lot of ways to use and to make the most of these blooms even if they aren't being sold. You can use it in some of those ways as well. 

So what I've done here, whenever I do the actual event, I'll have some pre-made garland coming in, just a base that will go the whole way down the table. For today, I was pulling some things out of the yard that I could use, again to save costs on the mock-up. 

So I am going to show you. What I have here is a little block of Oasis wrapped in chicken wire. And I have all of my flowers for the garland tucked in here. And then I'll also do a little bit of foliage in here on event day. 

So this piece I'll be able to make an advance. And then whenever I arrive on site, I can take my garland, have it run down the tables and then just simply attach each of these little blocks of flowers. They're all in water and ready to go. So that makes for a really quick and easy install. 

But what I have done just for the mock-up here is I have taken just bundles of foliage like this. And I've wired them together. And I've laid them down the length of the table to get that garland base. And the ingredients that are in here, I have some forsythia, oregonia and oak leaves is what I had pulled for that. So that's same thing that's happening here. Just multiplied down there, down the side of the table. 

Now let's talk about what's going on up here in terms of mechanics and what this looks like. Whenever the event is actually taking place, there is a custom box that the rental company has built that is 32 feet long by 16 inches deep. And the most similar thing to that I have available to me is a simple lattice from the hardware store. So we'll take this apart so you can see what's in there. 

Let me just get rid of these little glass pieces. And I'll be right back. 

All right. I'm back to pull this apart. Here is my trusty StepRight ladder by Werner. This is my favorite ladder. It looks so rough because it's been loved so well. But there's a little spot here you can put a little mini bucket to have your zip-ties, and your scissors, and all those kinds of things in. And the steps really wide. So it's nice whenever you get up onto the top step, you have like room to work. 

So I'm going to pull this apart just in the reverse order of how I put it together. My finishing foliage in this arrangement was the smilax. And I did smilax in the beginning and in the end. So I weaved it through the arrangement right there at the end to soften things a bit. So I'm just going to pull that out so you know that that was in and that came out. 

And then the next thing that I had, reverse order, so the last after that what I put in was a bunch of spray roses. I did a few at the end and a few at the beginning. So it's really nice to have a base and to get that color spread out among the length of the piece. And then it's nice to also go in there and like finish it with a couple ones that come out even further than the main focal point roses, just to soften it a little bit. So I'm going to pull a couple of those out. 

OK. Next thing. These roses, I used two varieties, quicksand and wedding spirit. And I put in quick sand first. I made a little line with them. And then I followed them. So each little area had a little pair like this that followed along in the line just to add some fullness, body, different shape. And I really love how those two color tones work together. So I like that a lot. 

These wedding spirits, if you give them just a little bit of help, they can open to be really gigantic. So this is easy to do whenever they're a little bit older, softer. And the pedals need to be moisturized. So a little crowning glory or a spritz of water on top makes it easy. And just gentle, gentle hands so that they aren't bruising. 

Can't do it with every variety of rose. But I mean hello, look at that. This is our little before was. So you can see that really makes a gigantic difference. 

So I had like a concentrated moment here, and then a little puff here a little puff here. And then on the table below, I had kind of a medium size that came down right in between these two to help puzzle piece the whole look together. Since they're going to be seen together. OK. 

I have a couple that trailed down underneath. Also had a few dahlias in here, but those don't hold as well as the roses for something like this where I was using flowers for a couple of days. So they've gone on. They've had their moment. 

And I wasn't real concerned about getting all of these into a water source. I will on the event day. There's a little piece of Oasis here. One in the center here that will be used for the top both front and back. And then there will be another little Oasis square back here. 

So we have flowers that are concentrated that start here and go out. And then at the top, that's our way of getting things to come up, but to be centered and balance back in the middle. And then also to have room for a little couple of things to come out under here. 

So just like whenever you're doing a simple table arrangement, that physical balance is really important. So that's why we have Oasis, Oasis on the end, those two ends, and then one right in the middle. So we don't have like wonky weight happening. 

And then some of these connector pieces that you saw in here. I might add just a tiny, tiny little piece of Oasis in here, or use little water picks. Or if it's happening like right away that day, and like those wedding spirit roses, and even the quicksand, they're so tough. They don't even necessarily need to be in a water source for that kind of event work where it's something that's happening. 

As long as the pedals are moisturized, they do quite well out of water altogether. If you think about how they're shipped to you, dry. They are kept cold. But if they're well-hydrated before they go in, they've got time before they go down. 

So I have two varieties of hydrangea in here. I have the little tardiva. You also will hear it called like quickfire or pink diamond, the cone-shaped, lacy hydrangea. And I have one here and here. And then a set of, there's technically four, and then this little guy was up just little bit higher. So there's five, six, seven. This is a nice way to get some texture into the arrangement and to start building color out to the side. So that's the function of this piece. I love this ingredient. Take it big, take it little. 

If you're looking for some things to plant at your house or to have in a cutting garden, I think this is a really great investment. They're not an inexpensive plant, but they give a lot. And they can be used in a lot of different ways. 

Forsythia, that you see in here as well, this is another great one. This can, late in the season, does really well out of water. So none of the forsythia that you see here, this has been used and in and out of water for a week now. So it's very hardy. We also have this southern smilax which is great out of water as well. 

These are a little limelight hydrangeas. And by little, I mean they're actually quite large. This is one of the things I keep both of these kinds of hydrangeas in the garden. But these can get even bigger than this. And you can cut them apart and use the top in one place and the bottom in another place. Great coverage. OK. 

Got all the flowers out, that second round of spray rose I had mentioned. I'll take the smilax out. And this I have weaved among the lattice to stay in there. And it's great because it creates a net, all of the vines, and moving around it, creates a net and adds support to the arrangement. So whenever you are using water tubes, and that kind of thing, the flowers have a place to stick and to live. 

I think Jesse's grabbing this back side. So you can see how the back I didn't finish that out, but I'll just multiply by two to get my weight and to get my flower quantities. OK. 

Last thing is the forsythia that I have in here. It is zip-tied and tucked into Oasis. So bundled it up and just zipped it right on there. All right. Off because that Oasis piece. This one I had secured in three spots so it wouldn't twist on me. 

There you have it, the little lattice piece that we created everything on. So maybe you don't have little stands like this. These were something that we had dad put together for me for a friend's wedding long, long time ago. Ah, man. How long have they been married? Probably 8 or 10 years now. Anyway. 

So if you don't have that, another thing you could do is just set up two tables. And you could create it right here at this height. And you could have a table here and a table here to balance it out for you, saw horses, really anything that you can just suspend this on and to have a little flat place to work. 

Now something I was thinking about whenever I put it together. I put it together as it would be so. I left it up here this way. And I did the top. And then I kind of crawled underneath a little bit and did the bottom. Depending on the design that you're eventually trying to get to, with this having some more drape foliage and that kind of thing on it, I think it was helpful to do it this way. 

However, whenever I put the forsythia on next time, I think my preference would be to have it upside down and line the whole thing with forsythia and then flip it over and start doing my Oasis up here and adding in the forsythia coming down the sides and more of the shape of it. But for coverage, as I was doing it, I was like next time I'm going to flip that. I'm going to flip that over, cover the whole bottom so that that's all taken care of and covered in and then flip. If I did something like that again and was like picking up and delivering. 

This all, since this isn't the structure that I'll be using or suspending from since we have another one that's coming in, all of that will be done on site. So we will be assembling it like right there in the air. It'll be hung at about chest height and we'll go from there starting with the forsythia and the smilax and working in the Oasis and the spray roses, and the regular roses, and back to the spray roses. And we'll have-- oh, and all of the hydrangea, of course, too, before the roses go in. 

But anyway that's a little undo of the mock-up. And I hope you enjoyed it and it helps you whenever you're trying to decide, should I do a mock-up, should I not? Putting together a big piece, how should I go about that? Here's just a few ways that you could do that. 

Just another quick word on mockups. I think that whenever you do anything in your business, it really does need to be win-win for you and for your clients to keep you in a place where it's sustainable and you're moving forward. If you started offering mockups every time and you did it for free, it would be helpful to you, it would be helpful to them. But your profit margins are going down. So that's kind of a minus one for your side of the thing. Now if they paid for it, then OK. Then there you go. So you get something that's working and that's moving around the whole way and that it works for both parties. 

Every situation's a little bit different. I don't typically do mockups, but since this was a place that I'd never gone before on a scale I haven't, I thought it would be really helpful and wise just to invest a little bit on the front end. My client didn't ask for mockups, but she'll be excited to have them. 

With timing on mockups, something that I think is a little bit of a risk, is showing somebody something the month of their wedding. I know that the flowers are probably a closer fit and all those kinds of things whenever you're doing it really close in. But if there's something that pops up, there's just a lot of stress going on. So they might be like oh, I hate everything. And you don't want to be in a place where you're like redoing everything. But actually if you showed up on event day and it was there, it would be fantastic. 

So that's something to think about and just to gauge like is my client-- how is my client feeling right now? Is this something that's actually going to help them or will it make them doubt their decisions? Or will it make all of us feel great? So that's something to consider whenever you're thinking about if you want to offer it and the timing for that as well. So those are my thoughts. Thanks for watching. We'll see you soon. 

Video: Long Lasting Spring Arrangement

Watch a video tutorial on how to make a long-lasting, inexpensive, and cheerful springtime arrangement. I use fresh-cut daffodils (often available for $5 a bundle or less) and a handful of potted bulbs. Container aside, you’re looking at about $12 in supplies for this piece!

Transcript

Hey, I'm Kelly Perry. And I'm here to show just a quick little fun with flowers segment. I was out picking up some groceries and saw these hyacinth bulbs for a dollar. And I was like, well, let's do something fun with those this afternoon. So I'm here. 

And had some rocks left over from another project that I was working on and I thought we'll just do a little hybrid potted plant/fresh cut flower arrangment. So I'm going to put a couple rocks in the bottom of this to help with drainage since there aren't any drainage holes in this container. And then I'm going to add a little bit of potting soil. And then I'm going to go ahead and put in-- I had these left over from another project as well, so I'm going to pop these in-- little tulips. 

And we'll put in the hyacinth in here as well. I love hyacinth in the spring. It is the smell of spring to me. 

They're also really fun to make hairpieces out of. I was at a class recently in New York, and Shane Connelly was the teacher. And he does flowers for the Royal Family. 

And it was really fun to hear his perspective and take on things. And he loves using potted flowers. And so we have that in common. 

And then he taught us how to wire hyacinth flowers to use in bouquets and things like that. And that got me thinking about hair crowns and just all the versatility and things that we could do with those. So anyway, just a little tidbit there about the hyacinth. So once these bloom, I might pop them out and practice doing some more wiring with them. 

OK, got these potted in here how I like them. I pulled some moss out of the backyard. I'm going to put that in here just around. I'm going to not do the whole way around quite yet, because I want to add some of these fresh things with water tubes. But we can just kind of get this base started so we have a better idea of what it will all look like when it comes together. 

Perfect. OK, these are water tubes. I'm going to just pop them open and I'm actually going to just snip the ends off these. I'm using these little daffodils and their stems are hollow. So I don't want to upset them. 

I'm just going to pop these inside. 

In this arrangement, I'm just going to like a mass of spring flowers. No particular consideration to lines or anything like that. I just want it to look like it is just happening. 

So all the different stages of the flowers are in. Perfectly fine, because that's how they are outside. Some are high. Some are low. 

So do this with whatever you have in your garden. Maybe you have some of those really pretty magnolia branches blooming. Or a few little cherry blossoms. Whatever you have, go for it. 

I have this dogwood that I think I'd like to put in. And this will open up over time. It's not open at the moment, but it will be. Actually, let me give that just a quick little fresh snip so it can have an easier time hydrating. 

[HUMMING] 

I want to add just two more flower tubes. 

And I'm going to be adding the moss in so that will cover up-- oh, these are poking up through the soil right now. That'll take care of that. And these little tubes of water you'll want to keep an eye on if you're trying to keep your arrangement fresh for a particular day. Just keep an eye on those little tubes. They don't hold a lot of water. 

And I'm putting about two daffodils in each. So they'll drink that up pretty quick. Keep a little eye on that. OK, we'll fill in and cover up those tubes with the moss. And then we'll be all ready to go. 

The hyacinth already had quite a bit of moisture in the soil so I'm not worried about giving those a fresh drink just yet. But I'll keep an eye on that in the coming days. 

But once those start shooting up through the soil, and these tulip bulbs that are in here start blooming, it'll really fill this arrangement out. And it will be very, very sweet. Lots of longevity to this. 

If you do weekly arrangements for maybe a business or some type of office setting, this would be a great way to offer something with a lot of longevity to it. 

All right, there you have it. Just give this a little dust around the edges and we'll call that done. 

Thanks for watching. If you'd like to see more like this, you can visit Teamflower.org/free. I'm Kelly. Thanks for watching. 

How To Hire and Work with Freelancers

In this article, I will address a few of these questions and give you my experience both as a business owner who has hired help and as a working freelance designer. Many questions can arise such as — where do I find people? How do I best manage them? How do I give over my creative and process? We'll focus on the aspect of being a business owner and hiring and managing freelance designers.

Video: Mechanics for a long table runner

I took some supplies you would find at your local hardware store and made an 8 foot long beautiful centerpiece. In this arrangement you'll find bunny grass, yarrow, love in a puff vine, tiny hands (Japanese foliage), standard peonies, tree peonies, spray roses, standard roses, ranunculus, acorns, scabiosa, bay leaves, heptacodium, amaranth, and finally lepto pods!

Transcript

Hi, it's Kelly with Team Flower. I wanted to pop in and show you the mechanics behind this table runner that we've created for a styled shoot recently. It's driven with me all the way back from Atlanta. It's still in one piece. It's looking a little tired. But I still wanted to bring it on and talk about it for just a minute, because I thought it might help you with a future project that you're working on. 

So what we have here-- I'm always trying out new mechanics for how I can-- different materials that I can use and ways that I can put things like this together. So you may have seen another video where I did something similar to this, where we used garland and oasis. And we had a little system for working like a floral garland that way. 

Well, this is actually, underneath-- I'm going to flip it up so you can take a quick peek. This is a piece of molding for a house. And Jessie, if you can get a little close up right here, you'll see underneath I have oasis bricks lined with a little bit of chicken wire under here. So that is there. And then I have just connected it with tape the whole way down. 

So I'm going to pull one little section of this apart so you can see underneath. Is this a good section, Jessie? OK. So I'm going to pull these little guys out of here. And then I'll just tell you what's in here, too, in case if you see an ingredient that you like for a project you've got coming up. 

These flowers came from Cut Flower in Atlanta. Really loved shopping their cooler. Alex helped me with my order that day and was super friendly. 

So if you're looking for a source in that area, you have a project coming out, I highly recommend them. Beautiful cooler, one of the best coolers I've ever walked through. So Cut Flower Atlanta for these materials. 

But you can see here-- can you see that, Jessie? What I've done is I've taken one piece of oasis and I've cut it into four pieces, but lengthwise. So it's nice little skinny pieces. They fit into this piece of molding from Lowe's hardware perfectly. 

And then the little cup shape of the molding, you can see it just has a little dip here. That catches all the little bits of water under the oasis. So whenever we put this together, I could just tip the water off the edge. 

And that kept it easy for traveling in the car. I didn't have water in my car. And whenever we set it onto the eight foot table with the linens and everything, it stayed nice and clean and dry. So I was really happy with how this piece performed. I liked it a lot. 

I put just this little bit of chicken wire over here. I like to do that with oasis. Just in case, if you're repositioning stems quite a bit, sometimes it can break on you or just pop off. And so I just have just a little piece over the top of it to keep it all together. 

This does take two people to move. It's eight feet in length. If you just have one person that was moving things, I'd recommend just snipping in half and doing four foot sections and working those together. But I loved the convenience. 

If you just have a buddy going with you, you can just grab here and here. And they can grab there and there. Fits perfectly into the back of one of the U-Haul cargo vans. Or I have a Sienna minivan that it fits straight up to the front whenever you take all of the seats out or fold them down, however your car works. 

In terms of ingredients in this piece, this is for like the blushy fall bride. I really love this palette a lot. I have some yarrow in here that I used low for coverage of the oasis. And I also brought a little bit of it out higher for some texture in the arrangement. 

I have a little bit of bunny grass in here. It's what it was labeled as. It's a little bit different than the bunny grass I typically get, so I'm not sure if that's actually-- I'm not sure. 

I'm not completely convinced that's exactly what it is. But it might be just maybe a different variety of that. But some type of grass. I've also seen grass that looks similar to this called foxtail grass. So it might be that. 

I have some like love in a puff foliage down here. This foliage here is called tiny hands. It's from Japan. I have, of course, these big pretty peonies, spray roses. 

A couple of these little-- I think this is-- I want to say this is cappuccino. They were unlabeled. But I have seen something very similar to this labeled and cappuccino is what it was called. So that's what I'm thinking for that. 

These are beautiful tree peonies. These are from Japan as well. So peonies are now becoming available more year around. The tree peonies less frequent than your standard ones here. 

But it's so interesting. They're coming just from different parts of the world throughout all of the growing seasons. And with shipping and just the logistics that they have available to them now, we're able to see and have these different things that are happening in different parts of the world, which is fun. 

So we've got that. I have some of these pretty ranunculus scabiosa. Have a couple little acorns here. And I think I got almost-- I think got it all-- oh, bay leaves. That's what we used for our base coverage there. 

So I'm back with my list. I forgot a couple of things, so I wanted Jessie to add this in at the end. But I missed this ingredient here, just pretty, blushy, real deep, and again nice texture and coverage low. And I'm going to spell it for you H-E-P-T-A-C-O-D-I-U-M, $9.50. 

I also missed the amaranthe that I had pulled out. So this is the rose amaranthe. It's pretty. A lot of local growers have this now. So it's something that you can check around with if you're in an area where you have a couple local growers. 

And then this leptopods-- they're very small, hard. They almost don't look real in a way. And I'm sure they would dry really well. But, yeah, little leptopods. 

And these are porcelina. These and these came from Mayesh in Charlotte on the way down. So I picked those up along the way. And I think that handles all of it. Ranunculus are from Chile, in case you're interested. Yeah, that's all. 

OK, just wanted to make sure you have this. Thanks, so much, for popping in. I hope that this inspires you for one of the projects, and maybe just makes your burden a little bit lighter. Thanks, so much, for watching. Have a great day. 

Video: Using floral mechanics in creative ways

In this video I show how to use netting, foam and a tape grid together to support floral elements in a creative way! Some flowers, containers and designs are best suited for netting/chickenwire. Other flowers work best with tape and yet some others need the firm support of foam.  What happens when you want to use flowers who need different levels of support?  What if you have an idea for a design that needs firm support in one area and loose support in another?

Transcript

Hey, I'm Kelly. Welcome to "Team Flower." Today, I'm going to create a winter arrangement with you, and I have just five simple ingredients, golden raintree, and I have some of the pieris japonica, foxtail lilies. I have some grass. This is the grocery store grass just from the little field beside the grocery store, and a poinsettia from the grocery store. So all things that-- this is probably if you're going to go out there and practice an arrangement that's similar to this, this is probably going to be the thing that you might have a little bit of trouble finding, but you really don't need this specific type of thing. You just need something that's long and reaching and has a little bit of a bend to it. 

So I'll talk about the purpose of the ingredients. The purpose is really the most important part. You can substitute with anything that fills a similar purpose and recreate a similar look. 

Now, in terms of mechanics for this arrangement, I'm working in, I guess this is what I like to call the sailboat shape. But if you can come around here and just get a close up of how we have this set up. A lot of times I talk about wire, wire foam, and frogs and tape. There's lots of different ways to put together the mechanics for your arrangement. 

And I like to choose those things based on the ingredients that I'm putting in the arrangement, not just what my preference is because I think sometimes people get locked into, well, I only use frogs or I only use foam or those kinds of things. But not all flowers perform really great in foam, but some flowers really need that really strong, stable thing. This container doesn't allow me to have a frog in here, at least not the shape. I just have the round ones in the studio right now. And just the way that it's shaped, it's difficult to really secure a frog in there really well. 

So I thought through, well, how is the end of the design going to look? What are the components for mechanics that I can use to put together so that every flower's need is taken care of? So usually my technique for mechanics is a little bit simpler than this, but for this arrangement, in particular, I think it's important to have these different components. 

So I'm going to fill this up too tall so I can tip and show, but you'll see I have a layer of chicken wire in here deep inside the bowl. And then I have a little piece of foam over here on my right-hand side, and then I have some tape grid over top of that. So this foam is important for the foxtail lily, which is really heavy and has a very thick stem. 

The chicken wire, we can easily handle. The pieris can go in that. And this grass, I didn't put the foam to the edges on both sides because I need a little bit of room for the grass to go right into that chicken wire. 

So I just wanted to share that with you as you're thinking through arrangements that you could be making. You can configure these in any type of way to meet the needs of the flowers, the ingredients, the end place that it's going to really serve your client best and meet their needs. And this one is just going in the house, so I'm not concerned about water sloshing in the car or anything like that. And if I was, I would just tip out water and refill whenever I got to my destination. 

But without any further ado, let's go ahead and get started. I am going to begin with the pieris as the base in my creation here today. And right now, we're establishing the shape and the size of the arrangement. And this ingredient, while I am going to use the foxtail and the grasses are going to play an important role in shape and size as well. 

This is really that low piece that the other flowers can be supported by, but it's also a pretty important shape component as well. So rather than just only using it to cover it down here in the rims, I see it being a pretty prominent piece. 

So before I got started, I surveyed all the ingredients that I had, and I thought in my mind how would I like to go about arranging them, what are their strengths, how can I showcase them the best. And with the pieris, I really love the idea of it being dominant on one side, a little bit heavier on one side, but still having a little touch of it over here because I imagine these foxtail lilies shooting up in this area. So that's going to add some visual weight and balance it out over there. 

So this is what we're looking at over here right now. And I'm designing this. I think if I have extra ingredients, I might go back in and finish up the back side, but I'm imagining this arrangement with what I have available to me just being one sided and being placed up against a wall and show cased in that light. So it's a silhouetted end use is what I have in mind. When we're really focusing on, the lines that are being created here, not as important that we have a finished back in this case. 

So there's the main shape and silhouette that I have going with the pieris, and I'm going to add some of the grasses. The grocery store grass is next. I want those to shoot up and flow out over to the right side. And these are something that necessarily need lots of water right now. They're already pretty dry. 

So what I'm going to do is do a little bit of a measure here, and then I'm going to bind them together so that they stay hanging out as a club whenever they get mixed in here with the rest of the flowers. And if the position isn't quite right and we need to pull the binding apart, that's no biggie. But that's what I think will perform the best, which you don't know until you get going. Every arrangement is different. Every flower group is different. 

So now I've just got those together. Now, they're all one stem as opposed to being many, and that makes it easy to get it situated in here. Drama. Drama. Grass drama. Pretty fun. 

So these foxtail lilies I saw as being really the backbone of this arrangement, so I'm going to add those next, nice and tall and reaching that uppermost point. And I thought it be a fun contrast with these really light grasses. The grasses really give us quite a drama moment too. But these add that touch of stability, and they have so much personality with their little curves. 

And this tall one, if I just only use the tall one and I have a thing. I have naked stems very much. Sometimes they're fine, but for this, I like using the two pieces to work together to keep the flower beds going the whole way down into that base. And I think I'm going to stop with those for now. There could be another one. It depends what suits you, gives it a heavier look. 

See whenever they're here at the same angle, they look like little-- I'm going adjust that a little bit. I don't know what littles they look like, but you just need to adjust the height of them so they don't look like, we'll call them ears. So that gives us a little stair step. 

And the last ingredient, well, we have two more. We've got the raintree yet. And this I thought would be this pretty coming down and spilling out along with the pieris, little accent for that. 

And since these don't need to be in water at all, you can use that pieris to tuck them in. Since some of them have shorter stems, you can touch them in and support them in and among the pieris. And you'll see I do have there is lots of open space in here. The mechanics are totally visible right now. That's something that we'll address. 

But whenever you're doing something that is a little bit more sculptural, you need the negative space deep down inside here. So if you start filling that up too quick, too fast, then you really lose the interesting silhouette of the foxtail lily and things like that. So under here, this is an opportunity where just some light layering of moss can go in, trachelium, things like that that are very flat. 

And in this case, I'm probably going to do a little bit with the poinsettia, just a leaf over top of the mechanics. Very, very subtle. So it's around Christmas time up here in the mountains, so the grocery stores, the poinsettias are out in the masses right now. 

I love to get this poinsettia right in the water, directly in the water. Poinsettia does have the white sap. And so whenever that bleeds out, it will bleed out and will form little scab. The sap will eventually stop coming out of the plant, so it's important when you create an arrangement like this with a flower that has that, some people recommend clipping it, putting in water, letting it all run out and then switching it into a new bucket. So they say cut them at the length that you would want when you go in the arrangement. Well, sometimes when you're making the arrangement, you're not quite sure how long you need it to be. 

So when you're planting, you can clip and let it sit in a little vase beside you and test it out, and then let it drain out and put it back in. What I'm going to do today is I'm going to put it in, I'm going to let it drain, and I'm going to flush the water. Just want to keep the water clean. But all of these plants are being clipped, and they're taking that first drink. So you if did do that, I'd recommend adding this one in a little bit later after they've already had a chance to get some of their water out. 

But I could also just clip and pop them in my little vase here as well. So that is up to you. You can do some experiments and see what kind of difference it makes. 

Now, we're just adding those poinsettias in there. I think I really could have stopped before, but these are that nice little focal point, and by little I mean big. Focal points are big, but I think with this, with the emphasis that we had on the shape and the way that the lilies came up and out, I think it could have easily been done before. 

So we're at that matter of preference point. It's all a matter of preference, actually, but the principles are what help guide us. So we can interpret them a lot of different ways. So my dominant principle before I added the focal point could have just been the line of the foxtail lily. It works both ways. 

All right. So that's what I've landed with and where I'm going to hang out and quit. But I am going to just go back over with some of the poinsettia and the raintree and just do some low coverage in here at the bottom to cover mechanics. But that's all, nothing really interesting to see there with that. 

So here you have it with the poinsettia, and I will pop these out so you can see and get a visual again if the line was going to be the dominant principle, how that would change the overall composition. So there you have it. Thanks for watching.