Floristry 101 - Processing Flowers (class no. 3b - hollow, jointed & woody stems) | Deb Jasinski | Skillshare

Floristry 101 - Processing Flowers (class no. 3b - hollow, jointed & woody stems)

Deb Jasinski, Floral Designer #flowerobsessed

Floristry 101 - Processing Flowers (class no. 3b - hollow, jointed & woody stems)

Deb Jasinski, Floral Designer #flowerobsessed

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5 Lessons (37m)
    • 1. What is Processing Flowers?

    • 2. Processing Hollow Stems

    • 3. Processing Jointed Stems (carnations)

    • 4. Processing Woody Flower Stems

    • 5. Processing Woody Foliage Stems

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About This Class

Once a flower shop receives flowers from their supplier, it's all hands on deck!  The flowers must be unpacked, cleaned, and hydrated straight away.  This crucial step needs know-how and speed.  Enjoy this two part series on how to process flowers, where you will learn to look for quality product, choose the correct cutting tool, and prepare flowers differently according to their final destination

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Deb Jasinski

Floral Designer #flowerobsessed


Hello, I'm Deb.  I've worked in the floral design industry for nearly thirty years.  You could definitely say that I am flower obsessed!  I am most passionate about teaching floral design.  Sharing with students how to open their creative eyes to all that nature has to offer is an integral part of my teaching practice.  It's essential to get outdoors and really notice our natural surroundings on a more macro and intimate level in order to mimic nature in a floral composition.  Join me on this flower journey and become flower obsessed too!

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1. What is Processing Flowers?: everyone, Welcome to processing flowers. If you've worked in the flower industry before, you know exactly what I mean. When I say processing flowers, this this step is new to you. Basically, when we receive our flowers in the floral industry, whether it's for an event or just to sell in a flower shop, they come like this. So they're all package stuff in plastic. They're all bundled together. They're still leaves on them. They are not in a state where they're sellable, so we have to just dive in there and get them all cleaned up and hydrated so that they're ready to go into the retail or event world. Um, it's not the most glamorous job. I believe I mentioned this in several of my videos so far, but it is a job that has to be done, and every position in the flower shop has to be willing and ready to do it. It's really an all hands on that kind of job, because when the flowers arrive, getting them out of that plastic and hydrating into nice, clean water is essential to the longevity of their life. So when the flowers come in, everybody has to drop what they're doing and get cracking. So this video, I'm going to divide it up into different segments. Um, according to the type of flour and the type of stem that we're dealing with. 2. Processing Hollow Stems: all right, we're gonna talk about carnations. Carnations have got a really bad rap, I think, because back in the day there were very few colors. Um, and it just became considered that cheap flour that you know, nobody would get because sort rather Onley people would get because that was all that they could afford. It was kind of like the poor man's rooms. However, over the years, carnations have become credible flower source, particularly in bridal design, because the colors that are available now compared to that typical red, white and bubble gum pink colors from decades ago, the colors are fantastic. We're talking about, you know, the dusty roses and the beiges and the deep, deep purple. There's even a new variety that was elevate eloped about maybe 10 years ago in a company I believe they're in Australia, called Foraging, where they were able to actually create a bluish purple shade as opposed to that typical red reddish purple shade that we're most familiar with on DSO that is a serious called the Moon Siri's. They're a little bit smaller, and the colors are really rich and beautiful, so carnations are definitely making a comeback as a florist. I love them because they're reliable. I know that I can use them on a hot summer day, and they are not going to show any signs whatsoever of dehydration. I know that that I could get them from anyone at any time. I know that they are going to be stable in terms of the pricing and that I can use them in a okay that say, filled with extremely expensive flowers. But I need something to give it a little bit of girth, a little bit of size, eyes and just don't have the budget. So carnations are definitely a florists best friend, and they have longevity. Let's not forget that, too. So the only problem with carnations is that they do take a little bit of time to process because they're probably one of the biggest bacteria contributors in terms of bucket nastiness. So it's very important that all of the foliage that might fall below the water line is completely removed. Carnations come to us in bundles 25 on there, like the roses, and that they come staggered and they're in a bunch. That's just one great big puffball like this. OK, so you'll notice that the paper is very is very serrated, like there's all sorts of necessary perforated. There's all sorts of little fools in here because it's very important for air to pass through carnations. They can't. They can't be enclosed the way it rose can like that, or they will immediately start to go rotten, gooey, so they have tohave airflow out of so other than that, let's open this up and see what's going on. So again, there's an elastic at the top, keeping them together, elastic at the bottom, keeping it together. I'm just going to remove this paper. Red carnations air probably like the most traditional classic color. What people think of carnations. I know it's my mom's favorite flower of all time is the red carnation, so you can see that these carnations are pretty tight. They have this really Dustin kind of red color to them. They can work with something that's even on the pinky side, the reddish side, very versatile flower, but we need to get them cleaned up so that they last for the weeks that they're supposed to . And like I said, they can make a bucket smell horrific because they can produce a lot of bacterium's. You want to make sure that you get rid of anything that is going to cause bacteria. So I'm gonna pick out this guy here and you can see that there are leaves all the way down . And we want those leaves off, because if they go into the water, they're going to create some seriously yucky slime. Okay, so we're gonna get rid of all these little bits. Okay, then we're going to inspect it and pull off any leaves that maybe don't look especially great. Okay. And then we're going to give it a nice fresh cut. Okay? There's little joints all the way up on carnations, and these were very tender points. So you're not gonna want cut on that joint. You want to cut between the joints? These guys here are very susceptible to breakage. Just like I talked about with the Rose. Remember how I said the rose has a little nodule or a little joint between the bloom and the first section of the of the stem? Carnations have that, too. Okay, so there's a weak point there, but carnations have week points all the way down so you'll notice how easily baking crack perfectly at all of these spots. Okay, so you have to be careful when you're handling incarnation that you don't give it the death grip because if you do, it can pop off really easily, so they are fragile in that regard, um, steps. The flowers, however, are not fragile. Compare to say, for example, arose or ridiculous or any of these really tissue tissue We flowers typically arose. You wouldn't want to touch the pedals because the oils from your skin can peacefully get on their brown them, or you can bruise them and that sort of thing. Whereas there carnation is really fun, because when they come to you really fresh, they're usually quite tight, like here's an example of one that's quite quite tight. It's not wide open yet. Um, if you are in a bit of a hurry and you need them to be open, you can actually manipulate these guys. I'm gonna show you how, by simply taking the bottom and squeezing it so that you're actually breaking down that cellular structure a little bit and helping it unfurl a little bit more quickly, and it's not going to affect the longevity of the flower the way. What if you did that to Rose, and then you can literally just slowly and gently take the pedals and pull them back. And suddenly you've got this big, beautiful, full carnation. So let me show you that again. See, this guy super tight just rules around squeezing him. I don't know if you can hear and you can see already starting to unfurls, and you can let these pedals open up. And now you've got this big, beautiful carnation. Okay, so in terms of processing, these guys definitely clean up the bottoms, get rid of any yucky stems and then you're gonna put them in a vase. Um, they don't have to drink with just their feet wet. They can have a decent amount of water in there. Although having said that because they are dirty flour and you're having to change the water frequently, I would say Save your water And don't bother filling it up too high, because then it's just that much more scum on the inside of your base to clean. Okay, so again, you can really use a stripper to do this kind of thing. because you run the risk of snapping them off in any of these spots. Okay, If there's any sort of beauty bits on the bottom, you can definitely knock them off with your knife and then fresh cut and into the water. Okay? Again, You have to be careful that you don't do something quick and immediate with them, because then that's gonna happen very, very easily. Okay, so there we go. That IHS that is the deal with carnations. I do encourage everyone show carnations love because as you enter into the professional floral industry, you will find that they are tried and true and you can't go wrong with Carnation. 3. Processing Jointed Stems (carnations): all right. So another, another genre of flowers that it's important that you know how to properly process are flowers that have hollow stems. Um, I don't know if you've ever heard that term before if you're familiar with it, but it literally means exactly what it sounds like. The stems are hollow inside, as opposed to say, for example, arose, which is solid. Okay, see how that sold. So probably the most common flower that everybody knows about that has the hollow stem, which is why I have them. Here are the Gerber daisies. I'm not a fan of Gerber Daisies, but I'm using them simply because, um, I feel like I could teach a lot with them. So hollow stems have a lot of problems simply because they are hollow and so therefore they have a whole sort of special type of problem. So they are extremely susceptible to bacteria because they are hollow on, and the water is is so easily able to get up the steps. They're very susceptible to rotting because generally when a flower is hollowed, the stem is also accompanied by being very, very fleshy and soft, and so they can rot. Really easily, um, that the heads have a tendency to flop really easily on a hollow stem. You're probably familiar with Gerber daisies as being this kind of flour. And, um, the bacteria can grow so easily along that hollow stand. That's what causes the head to fall on in the hall of stem to flower. So I'm just going Teoh, get some Boss is here. They're actually Mason jars. You need to be extremely picky about the cleanliness of your water when you're working with follow steps because they are because they're very flashy. They're exceptionally susceptible to like I said, bacterian rot. So you want to make sure that start off good with really fresh water. Okay, so this is a bunch of Gerber daisies. They come in this thing we call a vertebra racket because they are very, very fragile. In fact, anything that has a hollow stem can bend so incredibly easy Gerber Daisies in particular on . And so therefore they get packaged up like this. Now, this this bunch here again was gifted to me by a wonderful supplier who provides me with product for teaching purposes. So I'm going to show you the proper way to unpackaged Gerber daisies. In case you ever do have the need to work with them. Um and then we will take a look at some of the problems. So again, they're very fragile. So we're just going to cut off that plastic very gently. It's often stuck on there so that it doesn't slide off. There's usually a little piece of adhesive, so we're gonna take that off recycling. Then what we're gonna do is we're gonna cut the young, the elastic off, and you can see that these guys have a lot of slime and rot going on on them, which I'm going to address in just a moment. So much easier to address issues when you can actually see the issues. So a lot of times, I don't find that beneficial to show you one. That's brand spanking new, because you could get a hold of those any time. Okay, So once you cut that off, then what you need to do and I need to back up here just a little bit is you need to allow stems to fall downward, okay? And so you've essentially got this little tray of Gerber daisies and their stems are dangling just behind. So then what you need to do is just scoop your hand gently underneath and slowly take them out one at a time and lay them on your table. You can see how laborious this could be imagined that you have on event that requires hundreds and hundreds of these. It's very time consuming, and there's no way around it. There is no there's no quick cheat method when it comes to processing Gerber Daisies. It just takes patients or you'll end up breaking them. Okay, it's just gonna get these guys out of here very gentle down crush each other just the way they were staggered here. And then this little racket here can just go in recycling. We're really lucky here in interior because we actually have one of the biggest Gerber Daisy growers in Canada. In fact, it might even be North America because we do have some really great greenhouses in the Niagara region, so that's where a lot of these products come from. So I usually feel pretty confident about the fact that they are nearly or 100% chemical free. They are not certified organic, even though they probably never come into contact with any sort of chemical, simply because on occasion there is a need to use something in a spot treatment of an area in a greenhouse. And so therefore the entire crop can never be labeled as organic. But chances are these are organic. They just can't say so. All right, so a couple of things to notice here. So the bottoms of these stems are looking kind of slimy way they are. In fact, do we squishy? Look at that coming at the bottoms. Okay, these guys have been in water. Look at that slime on my finger. He's been a water way too long. Dirty water, I should say. And so therefore, the chances are there's bacteria somewhere along lines here. If you feel the head, you could feel that it is really, really floppy. Which means that there's probably just a really small little channel making its way up to this giant Gerber Daisy head. It's a big head. It needs a lot of water, and so it is going to be flopping If I take this out and just put it in a vase as is now that it's out in the warmth instead of refrigeration, it's gonna flop. OK, so I'm going to cut this slimy part off on a nice angle here so that you can see that in fact, it is hollow inside. You could literally stick a wire or something right up inside. Okay, often what we will do when we have an event. And we know that there's a chance that it could become dehydrated is, well, actually soak e pipe cleaner, which is a nice wire and absorbent. And we will stick the pipe leader up the stem of the Gerber Daisy just to provide it with extra extra hard Asian extra hydration. Okay, so this guy here, he's feeling a little bit floppy. If it's a brand fresh spanking new one and bacteria got into it, then you could cut it because chances are the bacteria blockage is in the lower part. Okay, these guys air old, I would never sell them. Neither would my my supplier. I would never use them either. That's what he's given them to me for free. But again, you need to be very generous with the amount that you cut off the bottom of these things because, like I said. The chances are no matter what stage they're in. If there's any bacteria, it's going to be housed in the 1st 2 to 3 inches. Okay, so you want to make sure that you give them a nice, really fresh, clean cut. I would recommend using a knife if you're trained in it, because sometimes when you're using cutters, you'll notice that it kind of it kind of squishes thumb. Unless you're cutters or super sure, it sort of. It's sort of pushes down on them a little bit breaking that cellular structure, whereas if you can use a knife, you're gonna give it a nice, fresh, clean cut. Nothing's going to get squished. None of the cells, nothing's going to be broken, and it's going to allow the water to go up. OK, so hollow stems. This is what you do. One other thing that's extremely important when it's hollow stems because again, remember, we talked about how it's very, very fleshy, very mushy, very fibrous, whereas say, for example, of roses very, very Woody, Um, it is very susceptible to rotting, so when you put water in your vessel, this is way too much water. The secret to these kind of flowers is you want what we call in the industry getting their feet wet, so you're going to just have a little bit of water in the bottom. So that area at the bottom is what's drawing the water up and none of the rest of the stems in water. So I'm going to dump out a really large portion of this water. So they got just maybe I see but two inches of water in there, and then we're gonna cut this guy nice fresh on an angle and put it right in there so you can see that it's really just getting the bottoms wet, okay? And then that way we're preventing that stem from getting on a bacteria ridden. Okay, so that's basically what it is all about when you're doing flowers with hollow stems, some other flowers with hollow stems would be ridiculous on enemies. Delfin iam lurks for bells of Ireland. These air flowers that are very fleshy and very hollow and therefore don't like a ton of water. Okay, so hollow stems. You have to treat them very, very differently. 4. Processing Woody Flower Stems: Okay, so processing flowers with woody stems. I don't know if that's a term that you've ever heard of before, but I think when I show you, it's pretty self explanatory. So thes are Berries and their stems basically look like little branches kind come from a shrub of some sort. That kind of thing we're cutting them with a knife would be very difficult. Okay, so these guys here are actually high parapet Berries. These Berries are from the ST John's Ward family, and they would be what I classify as a woody step. Here's another fantastic flour. We use a lot in the floral industry. It's called wax flour, and again it is coming from a bush of some sort where the stems are woody. Okay, on the reason I like to divide up the differences between the roses and then the stems that are hollow, that carnations. These guys all have different stem types, and so therefore they need to be treated very, very differently. You can't apply the same information to each one, so these guys there's not much to it. Simply, I want to point out that it's important in your case to use. Um cutters instead of a knife because these air so woody that you really do run the chance of hurting yourself or dulling your knife. Because basically, you're cutting branches with a nice, beautiful sharp night. They want to keep sharp so that you're able to cut things that have hall of stems, and they're much flesh here, so use these kind of things. Sometimes even you might want to go one step further, depending on the thickness. Andi, use a printer's garden printers or something that you would use to prune a tree. So I'm going to show you what these guys look like on the inside process is exactly the same. So we're gonna away all the elastics, and you will see that these are completely beautiful and they have nice foliage all the way up. You want to make sure that there is no water happening. No water coming into contact with any of the leaves, usually with high Perricone Berries. It's pretty clean already, and all they do, you would think, would be to, um, require just a nice fresh cut. Now, with high Perricone Berries, they are a bit of an exception simply because the leaves will prepare. Come Berries go black, they go black well before the Berries themselves have perished and people often, and it's just sort of the process, and it has nothing to do with them being old. It's just sort of what happens. And so people see a black black leaf, and they automatically assume that the flowers are not fresh. So I like to sort of preemptively strike that that complaint with people by simply removing all of the leads except for the ones at the very, very top. Okay, there are no thorns on high parent and Berries, so they're really, in my opinion, is no need to use a special stripper. Your hand is guarantee to do way less damage than anything, anything that's going to you to strip away thorns. So it's actually pretty during quick. We're just gonna do this over each one. It's actually pretty pretty satisfying what they come up so beautiful, clean, just like that. That way as well, all of water can focus on going up the stem and providing for the Berries as opposed to the leaves that are down there. OK, do you need to cut them one at a time? Not really. If you've got a huge amount of stuff to do, you've stripped them all. There you go. You're gonna be using cutters anyways, These air not called bunch cutters for nothing. Although, because they're so woody, it's probably difficult for you to cut the whole bunch of time. So I'm just gonna go along and cut each one of them or two at a time, depending on my thing grabs. Come on. A nice, sharp angle. Make sure they're nice and clean. And then into the vase they go. So there's nothing touching the bottom of the water. There's no bacteria encouraged to grow from there. And then we have the wax bar, which is a little bit more high maintenance because there are these little leafy that's all the way down, and they just can't go in the water. They just cannot, or else you're gonna have bacteria. The flowers are not gonna last a long time, so these little guys have to come off. But just because they come off doesn't mean that you have to throw them away. So I always like to have a little boss on the side that I call a slush vase or a slush bucket. And all these little bits and pieces will go in there because there are definitely styles of arrangements that can use things. No problems. So I'm just gonna go along. I'm gonna pull off all these little guys, that bottom saving them for another time, please, just like that. So that we've got a nice, fresh, leafy, free bottom, and then you can see a ragged The bottoms are You want to give them a nice fresh cut on an angle clean, and then they can go in the boss along with the wax, along with the high Perricone Berries. And as you can see, there is nothing going on in that water except for stents. Okay, so that is how you would go about doing any, Um, any sort of woody type stem? Um, that's flower. 5. Processing Woody Foliage Stems: Okay, so now we're going to talk about Woody stems that are attached to greenery. We handle them pretty much in the same way. Um, however, there's a few extra steps that we like to take. So I have in front of me here the 2/10 of greenery that I prefer to use the most. But here's actually called solo S A L E l, or sometimes as a l A l depending on the supplier. And the reason why I love this is because it actually comes from British Columbia. So it's considered sort of a local product. It grows, um, the forest floor. So it, uh, it just has this really great shape to it. The leaves air large, where you're able to cut them off and use them for smaller project like individual pieces or a great big long branches. But they do come to us in a box. They have been out of water for probably a month. I don't know how long they sit in these boxes. They do have water. Missed it on them within the box because they're a tougher, thicker leaf. Your green, the concern for rot the way we have with roses is not really there. Once in a while, we do get something that have got black mitts on it, but that's rare. But we want to make sure that these guys get appropriate cuts on every single stem. Because once they're taken out of that box where they're all sealed up and in cold refrigeration, other out in the warmth, they need to be drinking water for sure. And so the bottoms of stems come to us in a really kind of crazy old really, really sort of way. So you can see that And some of them are up high, some of her down low. So I can't simply just go along and cut because chances are there some up here that I'm gonna this so literally have to go through each section at a time and make sure that they have been cut fresh, each one like so and then put into water. Now the buck water. My instruction to either work with or students is to fill that bucket of water as high as you possibly can simply because we're gonna jam a lot of flour A lot of sel l in this bucket, something because we can. It's not like flowers where they will rot. They're in contact with each other. We can put a lot of greenery in there, and it's not gonna get damaged because it's nice and thick and resilient. However, because the pieces are not just single branches, but they're often they often split off into multiple pieces. When you go to pull one out of the bucket, you're likely going to catch a whole life to see how they're all kind of coming out like that, and then you're gonna just pushed them all right back in. However, if you only put a little bit of water in the bottom, chances are when you pull about the whole much command and then you go to push them back in there, they're not all going to be in the very, very bottom. Um and so if you have the water right to the very top, you don't have to worry about that happening. So you're just gonna go through, get a little bunch, bring all of this stems to the point where they're the same length hot. These cut old got a fresh cut and then get them in. Hey, don't do this one time, but you really can't do a whole bunch of time, either, because you're bound to miss something. This is where definitely, muscles in the hand gets stronger and stronger. This'd also called Lemon lee. Some people call it London leave. I've seen that in Martha Stewart's magazine. She comes likes to call it that it's a great plan use on trays or on buffet tables because , like I said, it usually comes from the forest floor, and so it's not necessarily going to be covered in pesticides. Will wanna wash it occasionally. Get in and there will free birth poop. Or maybe the on slug or Caterpillar in there. But in terms of safety, you don't have to worry too much about chemicals. So there we go. So I got that here. In my book. It is super full, super full bucket water, super fulsome. But if I do a pull up and others come up with it, don't worry just launching anything from so that's That's one. I love working now because I put it in warm water. It is going to start drinking. However, it needs a little bit of help sometimes because Like I said, it's been in a box and it hasn't necessarily had anything to drink for. It could be a month, literally. It could be a month. So I also like to have a spray bottle with water where I can just help increase help, increase the level of humidity, let it sit out for a little while maybe a whole days, so that it has the opportunity to drink. And then it can go in the cooler if you don't have refrigeration. And refrigerators for florists are usually very humid. If you need to leave it out in the open, then you want to make sort of a little cooler on your own. And by that I mean getting a plastic bag, putting the plastic bag right over and tying it after you spray it. So you're creating a little bit of, ah, greenhouse effect in there and a nice and moist Okay, so I definitely wanted to that with soul l, especially if you're not going to be putting it in the refrigerator. Another one of the greenery that I really love to work with his actually eucalyptus, and it comes in so many different forms of this particular one is called seated Eucalyptus , and I think it's pretty obvious why it's called seeded eucalyptus. It's got all these beautiful a little seed pods on top. These ones right now are a beautiful sort of burgundy purple color of the greenish ones Mixed in this'd is typically a really great time here in order to order in eucalyptus simply because so right now it's winter here in Canada, which means it's summertime in Australia. So the seeds air really beautiful and prolific. Eventually, when we need it, which is the summertime, it's their winter time, and then it's not so available. So it's unfortunate for people that are getting married that really want this because they often have to pay a bit of a premium for it. It is available right now. Now, having said that, we do have some really horrific weather going on down in Australia right now with fires and whatnot. So I was actually quite surprised that I was able to get some Australian product, given that so much of the landscape is burning, so this is actually a real treat. I feel very honored to be able to having this in my hands right now, Um, so you'll notice it's been bundled in one great big chunks. So clearly this is not sold by the stem. It's more sold by weight or the girth of the bunch. Because here we only got, you know, like 1233 big chunks and then a couple of little babies off to the side. You can never really count on eucalyptus to be sold to you in stem. Nor can you be as well with this allele again. It's more like the size in the weight than anything. So we're just gonna cut off this song. It's tricky to get off. There we go. Cut that off and then I'm going to cut it up, removing any little bits that are hanging around the bottom, keeping them, of course, for my slush bucket. Thes little bits are so Dear way, don't watch. Screw them from being in a beautiful design just cause they're short, I just want to make sure that they're not below the water line. Thank you, and you can notice how black bottoms of stems are. We want to give them a fresh cut so that there's a nice, beautiful white fly showing some of these stems can be really, really big. And sometimes it's hard on the hands to cut them. And if that's the case, an old trick that you could do with big, thick wooden stem like this is to actually smash it with a hammer. What you want to do is you want to be exposing that nice fresh wood on dso by smashing this with a hammer, you're gonna break it open, and you're gonna expose some of that would. It's not like a fresh, tender flower where you'll be crushing cellular structure thes guys can handle. I'm going to no, cut it on a nice, big, big angle and exposed some really nice fresh wood there so that I know that it can drink Ah lot. Okay. And again, this came in a box with no water. So we need to treat it with a lot of care pop talking with handle, that crowding, Okay, and I'm gonna spritz it with water a way around. Then I'm going to get a great big, huge plastic garbage bag, put it around, tie it off so that we can have a nice little human green house. That's going to be providing these guys with the moisture that dehydrate. Okay, so that's everything that I have to say about what he stepped. Um, as you can see, everything needs to be treated a little bit differently according to what kind of stem or flower head that it has.