Flower Focus :: Hellebores

A few weeks ago I posted this photograph on Instagram & Facebook of freshly cut hellebores out of my garden-

Hellebores grown by Alicia Schwede of Flirty Fleurs Flower Blog

Quite a few people replied and asked how I could cut them so young and have them last? How long until they wilt?
(pretty sure under their breath they were saying – those are going to wilt!)

So here’s the deal. I look for one thing in each stem that I cut – the stem has to have at least one flower on it that has lost its stamens and is starting to go to seed. Check out the three images here, in each one you’ll see the bottom of the three blooms is without the stamens (yellow pollen). My friend Riz of RHR Horticulture shared with me awhile back that the key of getting hellebores to last is to wait to cut them until at least one flower per stem has started to go to seed. Riz is a well known horticulturist, especially here in Washington State.

harvesting hellebores

harvesting and cutting hellebores

when to pick hellebores
Ok, so after I sort through my plants I do a fresh, sharp cut on the stems I want and I immediately dipped the cut stems into QuickDip. In general I don’t use many flower aids/foods, etc. But I find with hellebores it sure doesn’t hurt to dip a fresh cut stem into QuickDip. That’s It!
I have had GREAT LUCK with these two simple steps. I cut the above hellebores two weeks ago for a design class that I was teaching — and guess what, I still have many of them in a vase on my desk!

Here’s one of my arrangements re-using the hellebores I had used in my class demonstration –

Bella Fiori Washington; arrangement of hellebores, ranunculus, viburnum

Here’s another example of how well the hellebores aged.
This is an arrangement designed by Amanda of Alluring Blooms
Designed by Amanda of Alluring Blooms, Wisconsin while at a Flirty Fleurs Floral Design Workshop in Seattle, Washington

Ten days later I took her arrangement apart, check out what was left of the flowers –
dead flowers, hellebores are still alive
Crazy, right?? The hellebores still looked great! A few tulips were trying to hang in there. The anemones, hyacinths, pieris japonica, fritillaries and ranunculus were DONE!

So there you have it, that’s what I how I care for cut hellebores out of my garden!

Re-Cap of The Bridal Bouquet & Pricing Workshop

The Bridal Bouquet & Pricing Workshop happened this past Saturday in downtown Seattle. Wow, what a FANTASTIC day it was!
The day started with a morning session taught by Debra Prinzing, Seasonal Spring Floral Design. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to Debra speak about Seasonal Flowers, Care & Handling, and Eco-friendly design techniques. I’ve been in the floral industry for 15 years now, yet I learn something new every time I hear someone else speak. Did you know that Curly Willow has antiseptic qualities, therefor it keeps the water in the vase cleaner and prolongs the life of flowers?? Debra demonstrated how to create a centerpiece using Chicken Wire as the grid, then the students created their centerpieces — great fun working with everyone while they tried their hands at this design technique.

In the afternoon I lead the workshop The Bridal Bouquet & Pricing Workshop. This was my second time teaching this class and I find it quite interesting & informative. The session starts with me sharing how to design a European hand-tied bouquet, with flower handling tips. Next all the students created their bridal bouquets — room full of gorgeous bouquets!! After all the bouquets are finished and wrapped it is time for White Board filled with flower pricing to be revealed and as a group we write out our worksheets and calculate the pricing of each bouquet. Always a great conversation about pricing, seasonality, and flower types ensues when we calculate out the final price of each bouquet.

BTW – all the gorgeous flowers you are seeing in these photos are from Florabundance Wholesale. Can I just tell all of you that I was absolutely thrilled with all the flowers I received?! I spoke with Debbie about what flowers I might like to have for the workshop, but in the end told her – I’d like to have all American Grown Flowers and in season flowers, feel free to surprise me! (the beauty of workshops is we can be surprised, obviously can’t do that with wedding orders). The Coral Charm Peonies were out of this world, the Ranunculus were perfect, the garden roses from Rose Story farm had a scent that just filled the air, scented geranium which paired perfectly with the flowers, and the Lilacs?! Lilacs were insanely perfect. Topped off with my favorite Clematis. Thrilled. Absolutely thrilled.

BTW – Debra’s latest Podcast is an interview with Joost Bongaerts, owner of Florabundance. I highly recommend listening to Debra’s weekly Podcasts with various people in the floral industry (I was interviewed last fall) as they are all so interesting! Listen to Debra & Joost’s conversation here.

Now enough of me blabbing .. time to share the PRETTY!!

Flirty Fleurs - The Bridal Bouquet & Pricing Workshop - Seattle, Washington

Flirty Fleurs Floral Design Workshop, bouquet designed by Mary Ann Mary Ann Nguyen, Bridal bouquet of Coral Charm Peonies, White Garden Roses, Lilacs, Maiden Hair Fern

Designed by Mary Ann Nguyen

Flirty Fleurs Floral Design Workshop, Bouquet designed by Shawn Chamberlain, Bridal bouquet of Coral Charm Peonies, Viburnum, White Garden Roses, Dusty Miller, Scented Geranium, Mint.

Bouquet designed by Shawn Chamberlain

Flirty Fleurs Floral Design Workshop, Bouquet by Lisa Krauter, European Hand-tied bridal bouquet of coral charm peonies, purple clematis, anemones, white garden roses, cymbidium orchids, lilacs, scented geranium

Bouquet by Lisa Krauter

Flirty Fleurs Floral Design Workshop, Bridal bouquet of coral charm peonies, green viburnum, white garden roses, lilacs, dusty miller and clematis

Flirty Fleurs Floral Design Workshop, Bridal bouquet of coral charm peonies, green viburnum, white garden roses, lilacs, dusty miller and clematis, panda anemones

Florabundance, Purple Sweet Peas

Sweet Peas

Rose Story Farm White Garden Roses

Garden Roses from Rose Story Farm. Just last week I was reading about Rose Story Farm on Debra’s Blog, this week I receive roses from the farm!

Florabundance Wholesale - Purple Lilacs

Purple Lilacs

Florabundance Wholesale - Cut Clematis


Florabundance Wholesale - Mint, Green & White Parrot Tulips, Purple SweetPeas, Burgundy Ranunculus, Panda Anemones, Dusty Miller and Green Cymbidium Orchids

Mint, Green & White Parrot Tulips, Purple SweetPeas, Burgundy Ranunculus, Panda Anemones, Dusty Miller and Green Cymbidium Orchids

Florabundance Wholesale - Panda Anemones, Black and White Anemones


Florabundance - Mint


Florabundance Coral Charm Peonies

Coral Charm Peonies

Florabundance Coral Charm Peonies

Coral Charm Peonies

Fresh Cut Flowers from Florabundance - Viburnum, Liliacs, Ranunculus, Mint, Sweetpeas, Anemones

Viburnum, Liliacs, Ranunculus, Mint, Sweetpeas, Anemones

Florabundance Wholesale - Lilacs, Clematis and Viburnum

Lilacs, Clematis and Viburnum

Florabundance Maiden Hair Fern

Maiden Hair Fern

Florabundance Green Viburnum and Purple Clematis

Clematis and Viburnum

Florabundance Burgundy Ranunculus

Burgundy Ranunculus

Announcement :: Floral Design Workshops in Seattle!


Bridal Bouquets from the Flirty Fleurs Workshop

2 Workshops + 1 Saturday = Flower Filled Day
When: May 3, 2014
Where: The 95 Yesler Collective Studio, 3rd floor (Seattle)
Who: Debra Prinzing & Alicia Schwede

Workshop #1 – 10:00-12:00
Seasonal Flowers with Debra Prinzing
What: A seasonal, hands-on floral design workshop for gardeners, DIY designers and flower lovers alike.
When: 10-12
Who: Debra Prinzing, Slow Flowers advocate and author of The 50 Mile Bouquet and Slow Flowers. Debra is an award-winning writer, editor and speaker. She has spoken and/or led hands-on floral design workshops at major botanical gardens and for leading garden clubs including the Dallas Arboretum, Denver Botanic Garden, Chicago Botanic Garden, Los Angeles Arboretum, Pasadena Garden Club, Seattle Garden Club, the Garden Club of Santa Barbara, and more. She was the 2014 Floral Curator for the San Francisco Flower & Garden Show. Learn more about Debra at www.debraprinzing.com
Seasonal Flowers introduces students to of-the-moment flowers for growing and arranging as each reflects her/his personal style and creative muse. Taught in a 2-hour session, the workshop is formatted as follows:

    • Introduction of seasonal flowers, foliage and other botanicals
    • Discussion of growing methods and popular cultivars
    • Discussion of harvesting/post-harvesting treatments
    • Principles of color and elements of design that relate to specific floral ingredients
    • Eco-friendly design techniques and care tips

You’ll take home a custom floral arrangement or bouquet for your home, along with a resource handout.

A la carte Price: $95 per student; or take advantage of the bring-a-friend price of $175 for two

Supply fee per student/per class: $15 (includes vase, tools and floral design supplies)

Designed by Debra Prinzing, bouquet of peonies, sweet peas and hydrangea

Lunch Break – 12-1pm, lunch on your own.

Workshop #2 – 1:00-4:00

The Bridal Bouquet & Pricing Workshop with Alicia Schwede
What: A hands-on floral design workshop with a discussion and learning session about pricing designs.
When: 1:00-4:00pm
Who: Alicia Schwede, owner of Bella Fiori & editor of the Flirty Fleurs Floral Designer Blog. Alicia is the author of Bella Bouquets Book, which will be available for purchase at the workshop.
The Bridal Bouquet & Pricing Workshop is a hands-on workshop where you will learn how to design luscious hand-tied bouquets. After we design a beautiful bridal bouquet we will have a discussion and learning session about pricing our designs. All instruction and fresh flowers are included, please bring your own tools.

Investment: $195.00


Please note: You may choose to take one or both of the workshops. Either way, the workshops must be paid for separately.

Register for Debra’s Workshop

Register for Alicia’s Workshop


Questions? Send Alicia an Email
Or send Debra an Email


flirty fleurs floral designer workshop in Seattle

Hello 2014!

Hi Flower Friends,

Well, here we are – 2014! I hope you all had a nice holiday break with your family and loved ones. I could tell from Facebook, Twitter and Instagram that many of you stayed very busy with weddings and holiday orders – loved all the images of beautiful designs that I saw posted.
We had a nice break and took some time to explore more parts of Washington State. It snowed one day and my Mom, who was visiting from California, just loved it!
alicia linda schwede

I do feel refreshed and ready to tackle 2014; I’ve been blogging away and have some GREAT posts in the queue — if you want to hear about pricing of flowers you are about to be thrilled, I have a bunch of posts about Aisle Decor ready to roll out. Plus, the responses from the last Content Call will be shared this month, I think my favorite one is everyone’s take on dealing with Online Reviews.

Now before we start in with the New Year, I would like to take some time and reflect on the passings of two industry greats in the past few weeks.

Our beloved Cathy Walsh of Sprout Flowers in Worcester, MA succumbed to cancer on December 26th.
There are not enough words to describe how I feel about Cathy. She and I met on Twitter, and were fortunate enough to meet in person two times. (my brother lives just 30 minutes away from her shop). The times I spent with her and talked with her were filled with inspiring thoughts and a deep passion for flowers and this industry. I will cherish those memories forever and only wish we had more time together. I am going to miss her so much.
Worcester Magazine wrote a lovely piece about her – read here

Sprout Mass florist

Cathy Walsh

Guenther Vogt, partner to BJ Dyer and owner of Bouquets in Denver, Colorado passed away on December 23rd.
I was deeply saddened to hear of his sudden passing. I had the pleasure of meeting Guenther when I moved to Denver in 2003, a kind and friendly man. What I remember of Guenther is that whenever he’d see me at an event he’d come over and say Hi. Heck, when I attended an AIFD symposium many moons ago I remember him coming right over to chat – I felt so cool that he’d say Hi to me, everyone knew him and I was just a shy youngster back then. Guenther, Thank You!
Joanne Davidson wrote up a nice piece about Guenther in the Denver Post – read here
Guenther Vogt

Oh my gosh, as I write this the Luke Bryan song just came on and it is about the good ones passing on way too early…. I have goosebumps

Play Date in Portland!

In keeping with the theme of yesterday’s blog post about the importance of having friends in the floral design industry, I’d like to share with all of you what happened last week in Portland, Oregon. I asked a few of my fellow Chapel Designers if they’d like to get together and visit, create some designs, eat some yummy food – they all said yes! So that’s just what we did! We met at Francoise Week’s design studio in Portland, all of us bringing a variety of treasures from our yards and the local flower wholesaler. Peggy & Carol brought the delicious lunch, the most yummy chicken & bean chili ever!
Oh, so first I’ll share who was there – me/Alicia, Francoise Weeks, Liz of Liz Rusnac Floral Design, Peggy & Carol of Celebrations Floral Design, Annie of Floral Sunshine and Lora of Sophisticated Floral Designs. Francoise, Liz, Peggy, Carol and I all know each other thru Chapel Designers. We were happy to have Annie & Lora join in on our little flower party.
So here goes … this is what happens when a bunch of ladies get their creative on:

floral designers

Carol, Liz & Peggy

florists at Francoise's workshop

Liz, Peggy, Carol, Annie and Lora watching Francoise make a mask, of course I’m behind the camera!

Annie Chen Florist

Annie demonstrating how she works with wire

floral designers working

Annie, Peggy and Liz getting creative

Francoise Weeks Studio

Francoise and Carol

Peggy of Celebrations Floral

Peggy creating a mask, this is the mask that Liz modeled.

flower designers in Portland

Lora and Carol

Francoise Weeks

Francoise creating one of her masks

Francoise Weeks Floral Designer

Francoise works on one of her masks.

Francoise Weeks floral designer

Looking over Francoise’s shoulder as she designs a mask.

Francoise Weeks Portland Oregon

Francoise could be a spokeswoman for Oasis glue products!

face mask

This is the base of my yellow leaf mask.

Alicia Schwede florist

me modeling the start of my yellow leaf mask

yellow leaf mask

the mask I created, yes it did look like a bird!

florist with mask on

Alicia with the Yellow Leaf Mask

Liz Rusnac

Liz models a mask designed by Peggy

Liz Rusnac

I love how Liz looks like a flower super-hero here!!

Liz Rusnac

Liz’s other flower super-hero look! She created this mask.

Liz Rusnac

The side view, gorgeous fall colors

Liz Rusnac

There were so many textures to this mask.

Francoise Weeks looking like another flower super-hero! Check out that purple bell vine weaved into the mask, I brought that little special vine from my garden just for Francoise.

Francoise Weeks looking like another flower super-hero! Check out that purple bell vine weaved into the mask, I brought that little special vine from my garden just for Francoise.

Lora Losinger

Lora’s flower super hero look! Love Lora’s mask and how the Fuchsias and string of pearls drape down.

Lora Losinger

fall flowers on the hair

Annie Chen Florist

Annie modeling her mask

Annie Chen Portland Florist

Annie modeling her hair piece

Lora Losinger

Lora modeling her beautiful head piece, so many textures & elements

Lora Losinger

Lora with her head wreath

Francoise's and her awesome red & green mask

Francoise’s and her awesome red & green mask

purple and green flower corsage

Peggy’s wristlet corsage

fall colored wristlet corsage

Carol’s gorgeous wristlet corsage

fall flowers upclose

Liz mixing it up and getting creative, she wanted to try a loosely styled centerpiece

magenta fall color palette

Liz’s design, we wanted to work on creating large, urn style arrangements.

fall flowers with gold and peach

Alicia’s design, I needed some fall flowers!

Tanner Weeks the dog

Meanwhile, Tanner supervised the activity in the studio and kept us all in line.

There you have it – this is what happens when seven floral designs get together just for the fun of creating! It was a great day with great friends!