The standing ovation at our January meeting said it all! Bruno Duarte, a Toronto designer wowed a full house with his signature, structural floral designs. Constructing an aperture, a form, from a toolbox of wires, grasses, or perhaps palm fronds, he then strategically inserted just a few flowers, usually tropicals, building ten unique eye popping designs. “Ohs” and “ahs” filled Kapnick Hall as iPhones waved and shutters clicked. “My husband won’t believe this,” my neighbor said, “so I have to take a picture.” We all rummaged for our raffle tickets, hoping to posh up our abodes with an arrangement worthy of the Ritz. One design destined for the Gift Shop could be yours for $500, a bargain really as it would easily fetch twice that in NYC. Far from modest home arrangements, his were colossal, elegant structures that made our jaws drop.

Clearly, structure is to Bruno, what line is to many a floral arranger. He’s a builder first, a designer second. Imagination aside, the most valuable tool in his toolbox are his nimble, flying fingers. He weaves, plaits, braids, bends and otherwise manipulates wires, or steel or flexi grass, areca palm fronds and all manner of materials, creating a foundation—a framework— for the flowers. Watching him work, chatting away and rarely checking his progress was impressive. And that’s an understatement.

After a single demonstration, you may not be quite as adept at braiding as our presenter, but many were inspired to try. And you can order the magnificent flowers he uses from Green Point Nurseries in Hawaii and all manner of floral arranging goodies from the supplier to the stars (Bruno!) online from Jamali Garden Supply in NYC. Their store, on 28th Street, is like a candy store for those of us into flowers. You’ll want most everything. 

Bruno’s demonstration will prove to be a highlight of the 2018-2019 season. We are lucky to have had him here, thanks to our partnership with the Naples Botanical Garden.