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

Fleur Friday

Hello Flower Friends!

I’m doing a twist on Fleur Friday this week, thought it is about time I do a little catch up with what I’m up to here in the Beautiful Pacific Northwest.

I’ve been keeping busy since returning from Florabundance Inspirational Design Days & the Chapel Designers Conference in Santa Barbara, held January 20-23. (That was a month ago already?!?!)

On February 1st I taught a hands-on design workshop in downtown Seattle. The Bridal Bouquet & Pricing Workshop was held at Yesler Studios and hosted by Debra Prinzing. We had so much fun designing bouquets, and after our design session we all discussed how to price our bouquets correctly – a very eye-opening session!
I really enjoyed teaching the class and plan to do more of these in the future!!

Pike Place Market in Seattle, Alm Hill Gardens display of Tulips

Picked up Peach Parrot Tulips from Alm Hill at Pike Place Market for my Bouquet Workshop.

Alicia Schwede's Floral design Workshop in Seattle

Preparing stems for my bouquet making demonstration.

Washington and Oregon Grown fresh flowers - garden roses from Peterkort, anemones, viburnum, poppies.

Some of the pretty flowers we used in the bouquet making class!

February 5-9 was the Northwest Flower & Garden Show in Seattle. I’ve heard about this show for awhile and was so pleased to finally get to attend it! I went two days in a row as there is so much to see.

NWFGS Ravenna Gardens Display

Ravenna Gardens display at the Northwest Flower & Garden Show, I’ll definitely be visiting this shop in Seattle very, very soon!!

NWFGS display by Pot Incorporated of Vancouver, Canada

Great colors in this garden design by Pot Incorporated.

Hellebores from Swanson's Nursery of Seattle Washington

Hellebores from Swanson’s Nursery.

I had planned to go to NWFGS on its opening day, February 5th, however you may have heard that the Seattle Seahawks won the SuperBowl? I thought it best I avoid downtown Seattle on Feb. 5th since the victory parade was held that day – 700,000 people showed up to the parade!
I decided I’d be better off to go on a road trip to Portland and visit with two of my favorite flower people – Francoise Weeks and Janet of Floral Verde. Janet was in town taking a 3 day private workshop with Francoise and they were working on Botanical art pieces. Oh, it was fun to see what those two were creating!!

Francoise Weeks Botanical Couture Workshop, Janet of Floral Verde designs her flower head piece

Janet of Floral Verde working on her floral head piece at Francoise Week’s Studio

Valentine’s Week I freelanced for Patty of Brittany’s Flowers in Kirkland, Washington. Freelancing is so fun and interesting, I love getting perspective on how other people run their businesses and create their art. Patty has a top-notch reputation in her city of Kirkland and she is very, very busy!
While at her shop we had a visit from Tosh. I’ve heard about Tosh ever since arriving in Washington, everyone told me I have to meet him. “he lives in the mountains, off the grid, no electricity, gathers amazing fresh product, will show up at your door” I’ve been soooo intrigued by these mentions of Tosh – and then there he was! Sure enough he had a van full of all kinds of goodies – branches, foliages, etc. (Alex – you would die over his Pieris Japonica, I asked him if he’d ship to Chicago!!)

Floral Design in Kirkland, Washington - Patty of Brittany's Flowers with Tosh.

Patty of Brittany Flowers with Tosh. Tosh has just pulled up with his van filled with fresh cut goodies!

This week I freelanced for Flora Nova in Seattle. Christiane had all kinds of design work to get done and I quite enjoyed helping out.
I could get used to this freelancing lifestyle!

Woodlands floral design Seattle

A sneak peek at one of the designs I got to create at Flora Nova.

Also, made a trip to Northwest Wholesale Florists this week, getting used to this new routine of wholesalers in Seattle. I had to pick up flowers for an order, but also *had* to pick up these ranunculus for myself!!

Pink and Peach Ranunculus

Ranunculus for me! Yes, I buy flowers for my own enjoyment 🙂

OHHH… and that Peach Rose Color Study? Quite possibly the most popular post we’ve ever had in our almost 4 year history!!
On Facebook it was seen by ~15,000 people and the post had 122 shares! wow!
I’m thrilled to know so many people enjoyed the post! In case you missed it – click here.

All-In-All, a great few weeks here in the PNW – I can feel spring is coming and all kinds of good stuff is popping up – including Crocus all over the back lawn!

Fabulous Florist :: Sophisticated Floral Designs, Portland, Oregon

Portland Oregon Wedding Florist

Your name: Lora Losinger
Your Business name: Sophisticated Floral Designs
Your Location: Portland, Oregon

purple orchid bridal bouquet

How did you start your business?
I was first introduced to floral design as a young 14 year old freshman in high school. My school had an in-house floral shop where I gained my initial design experience doing daily arrangements, prom and homecoming flowers, as well as holiday orders.
This was when I made up my mind that retail floral shop was not for me. I wanted to specialize in wedding and event design out of a private studio. No walk-in traffic, meant I would have the time to focus on what I did best; which is weddings.

I continued my floral education at Floral Designs Institute in Portland, OR. Graduated in 2004 and two years later ventured out on my own and started Sophisticated Floral Designs out of my little apartment with a rental garage at the time. Looking back, I am amazing at the volume of designs that came out of that tiny place. “Where there’s a will there’s a way.”

green textured bridal bouquet

How many years have you been in business?
6 years.

What is your design aesthetic?
Overall, I am very versatile in my designs, but I tend to gravitate more toward the Sophisticated, Formal, Lush and Elegant look.

yellow craspedia wedding arch

© Evrim Icoz Photography

How do you create your style and where do you draw your inspiration?
I enjoy being very versatile and trying new styles and flower varieties. I love using unique, seasonal and locally grown flowers, foliages and pods, as they add so much interest and texture to any design.

black and plum bridal bouquet

What are the trends, flowers & colors that are unique to your region?
In the Pacific Northwest, we have an abundance of locally grown flowers, foliages, branches and moss.
As far as colors; I had quite a few purple/lavender weddings last season and going into this season still seeing a lot of purples.
Blush pink and coral/peach is also pretty dominant color palette.

green textured compote flower arrangement

Are you a retail shop, studio/warehouse or home based?
I am blessed to have a spacious home studio space devoted strictly to my design work. I also share a meeting space in Portland with several local wedding professionals.

blush and gold bridal bouquet

Do you offer any services in addition to floral designs?
I have rental items available such as arbors, pillars, vases, candles, etc.
I also offer styling help on as needed basis. Some clients just want that extra help in selecting linens, props, etc. to make their event truly special.
In the end, I am happy to mostly focus on floral design as that’s my true passion.

burgundy floral crown

What tool in your toolbox can’t you live without?
My knife and oasis glue

What’s your favorite flower?
I can’t say I have a favorite flower. It always changes based on the season. Top favorites are garden roses, ranunculus, succulents, dahlias, jasmine, orchids, ferns, unique textures-pods, berries, etc.

large white floral designs for wedding ceremony

Anything else you’d like to share with Flirty Fleurs followers?
I love learning new styles and taking floral design courses from the best designers in the industry. I am very excited to be a part of Chapel Designers and meet everyone in New York City this coming year.

burgundy and green wedding ceremony

Your contact information:

cake decorated with lots of flowers

© Mosca Photo

pink and blue wedding reception

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!

Portland International Rose Test Garden

Last week as we meandered our way from Washington back to Northern California we decided to stop at the International Rose Test Garden located in Portland, Oregon. Located in Washington Park in Portland’s West Hills, this garden includes more than 10,000 plantings of over 500 varieties of roses. (what can I say? some people stop at rest stops, I find rose gardens..) We had a lovely time walking along the pathways, ohhing & ahhing over the beautiful roses. Sure enough it was raining, but that didn’t stop us!

“There are over 7,000 rose plants of approximately 550 varieties. The roses bloom from April through October with the peak coming in June, depending on the weather. New rose cultivars are continually sent to the garden from many parts of the world and are tested for color, fragrance, disease resistance and other attributes. It is the oldest continuously operating public rose test garden in the United States and exemplifies Portland’s nickname of the City of Roses.” – Wikipedia

portland international rose test garden

portland international rose test garden

rose garden


peach garden rose

“Carding Mill” English Garden Rose

peach garden rose

“Carding Mill” English Garden Rose

portland international rose test garden

portland international rose test garden

pink garden roses

“New Zealand” Hybrid Tea

pink garden roses

“New Zealand” Hybrid Tea

trellis covered in roses

pink roses

pink roses growing on a trellis

pink fuchsia

yellow roses

portland international rose test garden

rose garden

rose garden

rose garden

rose garden

rose garden

apricot orange garden roses

rose garden

red roses

Johann the Pekingese

Johann quite enjoyed his walk through the rose garden!

Read more about the history here
Contact Information:
Portland International Rose Test Garden
400 SW Kingston Avenue
Portland, OR 97205
(503) 227-7033

Visiting Flower People in Oregon..

I cannot adequately express how much I love Oregon and all that it has to offer. If I weren’t so happy to be home in California, I’d head up to my northern neighbors and move in! This state is beautiful and full of kind people – who love flowers and nature.

In addition to spending three great days with Francoise Weeks, I also got to visit a few other people, shops, and greenhouses!

One morning Francoise took Janet and I to the Portland Flower Market. I only snapped a few pictures, was too busy looking at everything…

A whole display of Begonias! I’m such a fan of begonia leaves in design work, they add so much dimension and color:

Peterkort doesn’t only sell roses! (you’ll see more about them further down in this post)
peterkort roses grows lilies

Sooo… I will admit that I’m absolutely tickled pink when I see Bella Bouquets Book on display!!!!!!!
Here it is at Frank Adams:
bella bouquets book
And over at Floral Supply Syndicate:
bella bouquets book

While I was at the Portland Flower Market I was talking to Sandra from Peterkort and she suggested I go visit Emerald Petals Flower Shop.
I did go visit, and what a cute flower shop!! Hilary is awesome and talented. I enjoyed perusing all the nooks and crannies of her shop and I did pick up a nice white milk glass goblet. Definitely visit her shop if you are ever on Mississippi Avenue in Portland! Look at how cute her shop is:
Flower Shop Portland

Flower Shop Portland

Eco Florist Oregon

narcissus arrangement

Flower Shop Portland

Flower Shop Portland Oregon

Eco Flower Shop Portland

Also, while down on Mississippi Avenue (there are a lot of cute shops on that street!) I did wander over to Ink & Peat, a shop I’ve followed for quite sometime online:
ink and peat

ink and peat flowers

Now get ready .. next I toured Peterkort Roses!!!!! I love touring greenhouses, as you probably all know by now. That feeling of excitement when I pull up to a row of greenhouses and wondering what is growing inside them….
greenhouse Oregon

Rows and rows of lilies were growing, some were taller than me!
growing lilies

My visit to the greenhouse was a bit too early for rose production, they were just getting the greenhouses ready for the upcoming wedding season:
Orange rose in the greenhouse

My favorite greenhouse was this one … Cattleya Orchids and Maidenhair Ferns, felt like I had walked in a jungle, so cool:
maiden hair fern and cattleya orchids growing

They grow absolutely stunning Cymbidium Orchids:
growing cymbidium orchids

growing Cymbidiums

growing cymbidium orchids

Just a few terracotta pots:
terracotta pots

Great graphics on their trucks!!
delivery truck

peterkort roses delivery truck

Last but definitely not least, I visited Enchanted Florist in Ashland, Oregon!! I only snapped one photo, as I walked in the doors…
I’ve ‘talked’ to Brandon for years over social media, and he’s my go-to guy when I have a question about technology for florists. I really enjoyed my visit with Brandon and his wife, Leslie. They have built an impressive business in Ashland, Oregon and have a beautiful shop.
Florist Ashland Oregon

Also, a huge thank you to Carol of Celebrations Floral in Corvallis, Oregon. Carol invited me to stay at her home while I was traveling in Oregon – thank you for a lovely visit!

To one of my flower girls, Liz of Fleur:ology – sorry I missed this time around! Hopefully next time I’m up north we can visit 🙂

Designing with Francoise Weeks at the Woodland Design Workshop

Janet of Floral Verde and I spent three glorious and inspiring days designing with Francoise at her adorable studio. It was a perfect experience in beautiful Oregon.
Francoise shared with us how she creates her designs, the intricate and sturdy mechanics behind the various pieces and the inspiration she finds in her Pacific Northwest surroundings.
You will notice that Janet had a theme with all of her designs, can you tell what it is? Meanwhile, I’m all over the board, each design was different.

Here’s my first design, the long Woodland inspired centerpiece. I used so many little trinkets .. moss, lichens, mushrooms, leaves, twigs:
woodland arrangement

woodland centerpiece

Janet’s first arrangement, she picked out the wood slab and then designed around it – so very intricate & interesting:
wood centerpiece

centerpiece by floral verde

Next we both selected a piece of drift wood and designed around it.
This is the piece of wood I selected and the arrangement that I designed:
drift wood

branch arrangement

The beautiful piece of drift wood that Janet selected, I couldn’t wait to see what she would design with it!:
drift wood

branch flower arrangement

icelandic poppy

Designing in Francoise’s style for bridal bouquets was very interesting. I usually design loose hand-tied bouquets so it was a good learning experience to use a holder and cover the mechanics:
making bridal bouquets

My bouquet:
bridal bouquet

bridal bouquet

Janet’s bouquet, I love the bottom of her bouquet with the eucalyptus leaves:
flower bouquet

woodsy bridal bouquet

janet floral verde

The boutonniere I designed with furry leaves & succulents with a twig:
succulent boutonniere

Janet’s boutonnieres:
succulent and orchid boutonniere

succulent boutonniere

Two more of Janet’s bouquets, be sure to check out the stem wrap, it’s created out of bark pieces – impressive!
woodsy bridal bouquet

succulent bouquet

woodsy bouquet

Love this cute little flower basket that Janet designed:
woodsy flower basket

The wreath that I created, there are so many little and intricate bits in it:
woodsy wreath

woodsy wreat

How gorgeous, simple and elegant is this orchid arrangement that Janet designed?!:
lady slipper orchid arrangement

I felt like designing something big! I was crushing on the maiden hair fern, had to have it in this arrangement:
green flower arrangement

green flower arrangement

I had fun with the colors in this one, combined begonia leaves & fuzzy succulents with maiden hair fern:
woodland flowers

What do you think? It sure was fun and different .. so glad I took Francoise’s Workshop! I’m such a fan of studying with others, learning new techniques and opening my eyes to different thoughts. I do really look at all foliages now!!

Thank you, Francoise, for a lovely time at your studio!

Visiting with Francoise Weeks, Portland, Oregon

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of taking a three day Woodland Design Workshop with the one and only Francoise Weeks! Tomorrow I will post the designs that I got to create in her class, today I just want to tell you a bit about Francoise and why I wanted to take her class.
I’ve followed Francoise for years, her work is so intricate, natural, different and unique. I’ve considered studying with her for awhile, it was a matter of deciding which workshop would push me out of my normal designing. Her website has a few different workshops profiled, but it was the Woodland Design Workshop that caught my eye. Using branches, sticks, moss, lichens, leaves, pods, mushrooms, berries to create an arrangement is so intriguing:

flower classes portland oregon

Jamie Bosworth Photographer

So it was decided, I would take her Woodland Design Workshop, plus it just seemed so right for the Pacific Northwest! I drove up the California Coast into Oregon, feeling inspired by the towering Redwood trees, ferns growing alongside the road, and waves crashing into the coast. I arrived in Portland on a Sunday and stayed at the Bluebird Guesthouse (recommend!), awaiting the arrival of my friend, Janet of Floral Verde. I felt so lucky to be taking Francoise’s class with Janet, Janet is the Queen of designing with succulents!

succulent and rose bouquet

Designed by Janet of Floral Verde

Janet and I quite enjoyed the neighborhood we stayed in, just a few blocks from Francoise’s studio. We patronized the local small restaurants and found the shopkeepers to be so friendly and enjoyable. We’d walk to Francoise’s studio and stopped at each yard to look at the mosses, flowers and trees growing, such a pretty neighborhood.
Walking up to Francoise’s studio was awesome! I couldn’t wait to see it in person and I have decided that I want to build a studio just like her’s!

flower studio
floral design studio

Stepping inside her studio was absolutely delightful, on one wall were benches filled with buckets full of an assortment of flowers, branches, and foliages:
assortment of flowers

assortment of foliages

Plants and foliages

Little bits to use in our designs, so much to look at & so inspiring:
mushrooms and brussel sprouts

furry succulent

I thought this was really cool, Francoise’s husband created this for her – it’s a corsage design bar!
corsage bar

Francoise showing us how she starts her designs, Janet and I were enthralled watching Francoise work. Her mechanics are impressive, these arrangements are not going to shake out of place during transport!
florist at work

This was just a little tidbit of my time in Oregon and spending time with Francoise .. tomorrow I will share the arrangements that Janet and I designed!

Floral Design classes with Francoise Weeks, Portland, Oregon

Portland Oregon Floral Design Class

Upcoming classes:
Mon, Tue & Wed
October 15, 16, 17,
9:00 AM – 4:00 PM

Mon, Tue & Wed
December 10, 11, 12,
9:00 AM – 4:00 PM

Sign up for the Woodland Design Workshop Here.

Floral Design Classes Portland Oregon

Upcoming Class:
Mon, Tue & Wed
November 12, 13, 14,
9:00 AM – 4:00 PM

Sign up for the Botanical Couture Workshop class here.

wedding design floral classes

Upcoming Classes:
Mon, Tue & Wed
October 8, 9, 10
9:00 AM – 4:00 PM

Mon, Tue & Wed
November 5, 6, 7
9:00 AM – 4:00 PM

Mon, Tue & Wed
December 3, 4, 5
9:00 AM – 4:00 PM

Sign up for the Wedding Design Workshop Here.

Check out Francoise’s beautiful floral designs here: