Floral Design Institute to Award Student Scholarships

Floral Design Institute Portland Oregon - Green bridal bouquet


David and Leanne Kesler, co-owners of Floral Design Institute in Portland, Ore., are pleased to announce that they will be offering student scholarships to state and allied floral organizations throughout the United States in 2017. 

Says David Kesler, “As we approach the 50th anniversary of Floral Design Institute, we wanted to make a significant and lasting contribution to floral design education.” 
“The community of floral organizations and their support of floral design education in America has been critical to the success of the floral industry,” states Leanne Kesler. “Through the creation of this scholarship program, we seek to support floral organizations in their offerings of educational opportunities for their members and their member employees.” 

Floral Design Institute Portland Oregon - bridal bouquet classes

Floral Design Institute was founded in 1969. In 1986, Leanne began teaching at the school, and she purchased the school in 1988. Her husband, David, joined her in the business in 1994, and together they have built Floral Design Institute into one of the most respected floral design schools in the world. Through their classroom and online certification programs plus advanced seminars and workshops, they now train hundreds of students each year. Their online floral design training videos are viewed by over 1.5 million viewers each year.

“It is so wonderful to be able to do this.” says Leanne. “Like so many floral designers, my career path hasn’t always been easy, and I know how hard it is for some students to come up with the tuition for school. When I bought the school, I was training only 45 students a year. I had to supplement my income with freelance design work and odd jobs. I lived in a single-wide trailer, ate a lot of ramen noodles and did all of my shopping at thrift shops. When times were hard, I used to tell myself, ‘At least I’m Doing Something I Love’, a phrase that I still use today.”

Floral Design Institute Portland Oregon - Green bridal bouquet

Education has been a cornerstone in Leanne’s life. Her mother was an elementary school teacher for 53 years. Leanne discovered her love for floral design in a high school horticulture class and was encouraged to excel by an inspirational teacher, Dave Lambert. ”Throughout my career, his example has driven me to be the best teacher possible, to help students set and achieve their highest goals.” 

Each selected state and allied floral organization will be given a $1,000 scholarship to be awarded to a member or member’s employee of the organization’s choosing. The scholarship may be applied to any Floral Design Institute class, seminar or workshop including certification programs and online programs.

Floral Design Institute Portland Oregon - wedding floral design in compote

Leanne Kesler, AIFD PFCI or David Kesler, AIFD PFCI
Floral Design Institute
Portland, Ore.

Floral Design Institute Portland Oregon - floral design classes

October Schedule of Floral Design Classes

The Bridal Bouquet & Compote Centerpiece Workshop

Floral Design Workshop Seattle Washington

Class will begin with a Bouquet Demonstration. Think airy, assymterical, Instagram-esqe style bridal bouquet; this is the bouquet we’ll be designing with a lovely assortment of fall flowers! We’ll embellish this beauty with elegant ribbons.

The afternoon session we will create compote styled floral centerpieces. A lush and textured ensemble of autumn’s best, including dahlias, roses, berries & rich foliages.

All instruction and fresh flowers are included, please bring your own tools.
Please plan to bring a sack lunch or snack as we’ll take a brief break between the bouquet and centerpiece sessions.
(This class is normally $450, but I’m offering a $100 discount as an end of the flower season last hurrah!)

Date: Saturday, October 1, 2016
Location: Seattle Wholesale Growers Market, 5840 Airport Way South, Suite 201, Seattle, WA 98108
Time: 10am to 3pm
Investment: $350.00 per person
Register: HERE

The Corsage & Boutonniere Workshop

Flirty Fleurs Class

Beautiful things often come in small packages! In this floral design class we will work on creating the little works of art that are boutonnieres and corsages! Solid mechanics are imperative for creating boutonnieres and corsages that will last a full wedding day. In this class I will share how to wire a variety of flowers, a fundamental floral technique. We will also review gluing techniques to create stylish, elegant corsages.

Would you like to learn more about designing corsages & boutonnieres? Then join us for this hands-on class where we practice the art of wearable flowers.

please note, this class is scheduled from 9am to noon, but it does have a tendency to run long and may last longer than the scheduled three hours depending on the skill level of students

Date: Saturday, October 8, 2016
Location: Seattle Wholesale Growers Market, 5840 Airport Way South, Suite 201, Seattle, WA 98108
Time: 9am – Noon
Investment: $200.00 per person
Register: HERE

DIY Gold Pedestals for Floral Centerpieces

For a recent wedding I wanted to have 15 floral centerpieces all set on gold pedestal bases, but I wanted those bases to all be a little bit different. First I searched the thrift stores and antique stores and grabbed a few pieces from Floral Supply Syndicate, but I still didn’t have enough variety so I decided to make my own pedestals.
A visit to Goodwill and I grabbed a few mismatched brass candlesticks. Next, I pulled out a few 6″ Lomey Dishes from my supply stash. These Lomey dishes were glued onto the brass candlesticks and painted with Design Master’s Antique Gold. One note, make sure the binding glue is completely dry before spray painting or adding flowers.
Voila, I have new & unique compotes for my floral designs.

Flirty Fleurs DIY Gold Pedestal

Flirty Fleurs DIY Gold Pedestal

Flirty Fleurs DIY Gold Pedestal

Bella Fiori Wedding Flowers Washington State - green and pink floral centerpiece on gold pedestal

Bella Fiori Wedding Flowers Washington State - green and pink floral centerpiece on gold pedestal

A Tip when designing with Citrus Fruits

Fiori Floral Design, Seattle

Quick Tip today —
Do you ever use fresh fruit in your arrangements and wonder how to keep them looking fresh?! Check out this tip that I learned from Miles at Fiori Floral Design

Lemons in an arrangement

Cut the citrus fruit to the desired size and then spray it with Leaf Shine! Next insert a pick and insert into the arrangement. The leaf shine seals the top of the fruit and keeps it from getting that dried out look! Yep, that simple!!

Leaf Shine

Care & Handling of Hydrangeas

Hydrangeas .. the flower that instills fear into so many floral designers.
Quite often in my design classes people will ask for tips on how to keep this flower alive in flower arrangements. Personally I love hydrangeas and have used tons of them over the years .. even in bridal bouquets, in July, in Colorado — think hot, hot, hot!

Here are my steps for processing and caring for hydrangeas –

When the hydrangeas arrive from the wholesaler the first thing I do is remove all the plastic wrap on their blooms.

Hydrangeas when they arrive for processing

Hydrangeas when they arrive for processing

Next, the important step — I submerge all hydrangea heads into a tub full of water!
I soak them for 20-30 minutes. Sometimes I forget and they end up soaking for an hour, no biggy.
I find soaking to be an extremely important step in the care of hydrangeas.
1) It washes all the dirt off their petals, it’s amazing how much dirt comes off – the water is always murky after the soaking.
2) Soaking rehydrates the flowers. Any bit of wilting is cured.
3) Soaking helps to fluff up the blooms, especially the hydrangeas shipped in from South America.

Hydrangeas Soaking

Hydrangeas Soaking

After the hydrangeas have been soaked I give their stems a fresh cut, removing about 1-2″ of the stem (and the little baggy if they are from South America) and immediately place them into a bucket with fresh water.
I do not use floral food, no particular reason why – I really just never use floral food with any of my flowers.

I leave the buckets of hydrangea out until the blooms are completely dried off from their soaking.
Once dry I place them in the cooler to harden off.
Overnight in the cooler and the next day they are in a great shape to use in designs. You’ll notice how firm the blooms are after this treatment.

Yes, I do use hydrangeas in bouquet work!! I spray a good amount of Crowning Glory on the hydrangeas.
It is important to spray the hydrangeas with the Crowning Glory and then leave them out for the CG to dry. Once it has dried the bouquets can be placed back into the cooler until it is time to deliver them.

Bella Fiori - bouquets of hydrangeas

Designed by Bella Fiori
Hydrangea Bouquets + July + Colorado!

Everyone has a different take on how to treat Hydrangeas, this treatment is what has worked for me over the years.

Flower Focus :: Daffodils

Design by Bella Fiori of Daffodils


Typically December thru April, sometimes they last until May.
Yellow, White, Peach, White with Orange centers; Doubles and Single petals.

  • Daffodils are ethylene-sensitive
  • Daffodils release sap that can shorten the life of other flowers
  • Clip the stems to the length you’d like to design with, set the  flowers in a vase and leave them alone for at least 6 hours
  • After 6 hours the stem should no longer secrete the sap and the flowers can be placed in your arrangement
  • Do not re-cut the stems when placing in arrangement or the sap will start oozing again!
  • Daffodils prefer to be placed in shallow water
  • The sap can cause Dermatitis for some people. Washing hands with soap after working with Daffodils is highly recommended.



Gaillardia vs Craspedia

What happens when Craspedia (billy balls) isn’t available? Or perhaps your client likes the idea of a fun texture like craspedia, but the yellow is a bit too bright. Maybe you are concerned about the amount of pollen on the craspedia and allergies?
Laurie of Fleurie Flowers has a solution! She does a bit of work on the gaillardia flower & Voila, a faux Craspedia!

gaillardia flowers

gaillardia flowers

gaillardia flowers

gaillardia flowers

Fleurie Flowers, Reedley, California

Fleurie Flowers, Reedley, California - Wedding Flowers

Pretty clever, right? I like how it ads a softer touch than the craspedia would have to the bouquets.

Thank you, Laurie!

Fleurie Flowers
Reedley, California

Floral Design 101 :: A Tulip How-To

Awhile back I was freelancing at Flora Nova in Seattle and we were discussing how to stop tulips from growing in bridal work. I’m sure most of you have experienced this phenomenon, right, of the Tulip growing out of your arrangements? Ok, so it isn’t really a phenomenon. Tulips are phototropic – meaning they grow and move in response to searching for light. Of course, this is partially what I find intriguing about the tulip, a floral design changes daily as the tulip moves and grows. Yet, this is not necessarily something I want to happen when including tulips in my bridal/bridesmaids’ bouquets. Christiane of Flora Nova showed me a trick she had been taught, to slice the stem right below the bloom to slow the growth of the tulip. I was skeptical, does it really work? Plus, you all know I like a good test/challenge — so here goes! I picked up 20 stems of extremely fresh & tight tulips from the wholesaler and tried out this technique.
See what happens —

Flirty Fleurs - yellow tulips in sleeves

Two bunches of tulips fresh from the wholesaler. I will mix the two bunches and divide them evenly for the test.

Flirty Fleurs - Yellow Tulips

Tulips all stripped of bottom foliage and cleaned with fresh clips on stems.

Flirty Fleurs, How to stunt the growth of tulips

How do you stunt the growth? Simply cut under the bloom with a sharp knife. Be sure to not go all the way thru the stem! I sliced about 1/3 of the way into the stem.

Flirty Fleurs - How to stunt the growth of tulips

Another angle, you can see I slightly push down and slice below the bloom – this slows the growth of the tulip.

Flirty Fleurs - Yellow tulips in blue jars

Freshly processed tulips are place in clear water (no flower food)

Flirty Fleurs - yellow tulips how-to care for tulips

Day 3 – Cutting the stems does work! You can see the 4 tulips on the right side are smaller than the 3 on the left.

Flirty Fleurs, Tulip Treatment

Tulips on Day 6, You can see the bottom 4 are smaller than the top 3. The bottom 4 are the tulips which were cut.

Flirty Fleurs - Tulip How-To Test

Day 6 – Top 3 have not been cut, bottom 4 are cut.

Isn’t that something? From what I can see with all the tulips it looks to be best to slice the tulip when it gets to the stage where you want to slow the growth. A few of the really green, tight tulips that I sliced are not growing and opening – the good side of that is that I’ll have tulips to enjoy for at least two weeks at home!

Measuring Aisle Petals

I decided to get a second use out of all those peach roses we used for the Peach Rose Color Study and do a study on how many roses it takes to line the aisle. I measured out a 12 feet long space and made the width 10 inches. I used to say the lining of the aisle would be 6″ wide on each side, but when I actually pulled out my measuring stick I realized it is closer to 8-10″ wide!

The Aisle Measurement - 12 Feet Long by 10 Inches Wide

The Aisle Measurement – 12 Feet Long by 10 Inches Wide

measuring aisle petals

1 Rose Per Foot

measuring aisle petals

2 Roses Per Foot

measuring aisle petals

3 Roses Per Foot

measuring aisle petals

4 Roses Per Foot

measuring aisle petals

5 Roses Per Foot

measuring aisle petals

6 Roses Per Foot

measuring aisle petals

7 Roses Per Foot

measuring aisle petals

8 Roses Per Foot

measuring aisle petals

100 Roses spread over 24 inch wide by 12 foot long space.

Lessons Learned:

  • It takes at least 3 roses per foot to make an impact on the aisle (this is for lining the aisle, and not scattered down the center)
  • Looks better to layer the colors instead of doing all one color as it adds depth

  • How To :: Wire a Tulip

    how to wire a tulip

    Have you ever tried to wire a tulip? Doesn’t work too well, does it? Well, Holly Chapple taught me a new trick! Start with your tulip of choice…

    how to wire a tulip

    Cut the tulip at the desired length, leave enough stem to work with..

    how to wire a tulip

    Typically what happens when you try to wire a tulip is that it’ll rip through the stem or snap the stem. The solution is to tape the stem first!

    how to wire a tulip

    Next take the wire through the tulip, the base layer of tape will hold the wire in place

    how to wire a tulip

    The wire is securely in place ontop of the tape

    how to wire a tulip

    Tape over the wire and finish the tulip off