The Allied Florist

 Monthly Newsletter of the Allied Florists of Houston





 December 2017

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Cover photo is Donna Senter winner of the Top Designer Competition last month with AFH President Alan Masters.













AFH Quick Calendar of Events


No December AFH Meeting

 Dec 24

 Christmas Eve
 Dec 25

 Christmas Day
 Dec 31

 New Year's Eve  

2018

 Jan 1

 New Year's Day

 Jan 15

 Martin Luther King Jr Day

 Jan 16

 SAFD/AFH Program Featuring Alan Masters at Greenleaf Wholesale

No February AFH Meeting

 Feb 14

 Valentine's Day!

 Feb 19

 President's Day

 Mar  6

 Jim Johnson Cup at Pikes Peak of Texas

 Apr 10

 Houston Cup Competition at Pikes Peak of Tx








Jim Johnson Cup flyer






On Tuesday November 14, 2017 The Houston Top Designer competition took place at Greenleaf wholesale. This was the second time the contest has been presented by the Allied Florists of Houston. Ken Senter AIFD was the returning champion and was here to defend his title and take a shot at keeping the belt for another year.

The evening began with a delicious catered dinner by Oh So Elegant events. Lisa and Darryl served a delicious mashed potato bar that featured both regular and sweet potatoes which were amazing on their own, but served along with a tempting variety of toppings they became truly decadent. The savory toppings included smoked meat, ground beef, bacon, chives, cheese, butter and sour cream to name a few. The sweet potato toppings included candied pecans, marshmallows, butter and brown sugar. All this was served with a beautiful salad and delicious chocolate cake dessert. The AFH bar was there serving a traditional toast of beers, wine and a festive cranberry lemonade that was topped off with your choice of Prosseco or champagne.

Collage of Top Designer
Houston Top Designer Candid Shots

Guests enjoyed their dinner and mingled as singer David Legate Jr. provided live music entertainment for the evening. The meeting was called to order and Allied president Alan Masters AIFD TMF introduced the contestants. This year’s contest boasted some amazing talent. The contestants were Derek Woodruff AIFD, Donna Senter AIFD, Samantha Bates AIFD, Nicola Parker AIFD CFD TMFA, Fabian Salcedo and defending champ Ken Senter AIFD. The creativity in the room was absolutely electric.

The contestants were given a box containing everything they needed to create each category. They were not allowed to accessorize in any way, but rather they only brought cutting tools. The first category was a design for a day spa whose clientele was very stylish. Each designer created a design that was modern, stylish and absolutely stunning. It is truly awe inspiring how different each design was from each other.

What separates this competition from all others is that after each round, someone is eliminated. In this case, it was a double elimination. First designers chopped were Samantha Bates AIFD and Ken Senter AIFD. The following assignment was a hospital arrangement for a 20 year old millennial to be placed on a small side table. Again, the designs were fresh, well executed and visually stunning. Nicola Parker AIFD CFD TMFA was the next casualty.

Donna Senter AIFD and Fabian Salcedo and Derek Woodruff AIFD
Donna Senter AIFD and Fabian Salcedo and Derek Woodruff AIFD

The final round would also have a double elimination and decide a winner. The category was a presentation bouquet for a contemporary art museum curator. One of the curveballs thrown was the inclusion of a small bouquet holder to be used, or not, at the designer’s discretion. All but 1 designer chose to use the holder and it proved to be quite challenging. After all judges scores were tallied, in 3rd place, Derek Woodruff AIFD. In second place Fabian Salcedo. The winner of this year’s top design competition was Donna Senter AIFD. Donna gets to take the Top Designer belt home for a year, a beautiful trophy, a whopping $1,5000 in cash and bragging rights for 2018.

The judges for the contest were Mary McCarthy AIFD, Ace Berry AIFD and yours truly Alex Torres AIFD CFD TMF. I can honestly tell you that this competition was a nightmare to judge. Every piece was gorgeous, creative and impeccably composed. The caliber of design ability demonstrated was mind boggling. Each elimination made the judging even more difficult. Everyone there learned many new tips, tricks and techniques to take and use.

Last year's Top Designer: Ken Senter AIFD and this year's Top Designer: Donna Senter AIFD
Last year's Top Designer: Ken Senter AIFD and this year's Top Designer: Donna Senter AIFD



Kudos to the Greenleaf management and staff for their amazing hospitality and commitment to our industry. To everyone who makes these programs possible from the board to the volunteers, THANK YOU!! Most of all to the people who support these programs, we couldn’t do it without you !! To all the contestants, it was exciting and humbling to watch you put your hearts on the design tables. You are all sensational and we thank you for your willingness to share your expertise and talents with us. To Donna Senter AIFD Congratulations from all of us at the Allied Florists of Houston !!

Article by Alex Torres, AIFD CFD TMF



On November 7, 2017, Southern Wholesale hosted a very special design program at their Houston location. Susan Weatherford gracefully hosted a show in conjunction with AIFD as a benefit to raise funds for florists affected by Hurricane Harvey. The featured designer for the evening was Abel Mencio TMF. Abel is the National Director of Marketing and Design at ACOLYTE Designs, LLC and Floral Stylist / Creative Specialist at Granada Floral & Design. He is known all throughout Texas for his beautiful work with homecoming mums and spirit items.

Abel Mencio TMF



The evening began with delicious refreshments, desserts and adult beverages. The room was abuzz with excitement as guests anxiously awaited to see what Abel had in store for us to see. Abel was introduced and he came out to excited applause. Abel then proceeded to engage the attendees in a moment of silence in honor of those who lost lives, pets and property during the hurricane.

Abel began his presentation with some beautiful fall designs. Every piece he showed was gorgeous and saleable. One specific piece was a large cornucopia design styled from dried natural vines. The design was constructed in a way that allowed it to stand and have its abundance cascade down onto the harvest table. The florals used included roses, hydrangeas dried lotus pods and assorted grasses as well as fall leaves and ribbons. The crowd loved Abel’s fall designs.

Abel Mencio TMF collage

Next up was Christmas. Abel showed many beautiful and festive designs that were all admired by the attendees. One specific design showed a beautiful palette of pink roses and white freesia among other beautiful florals. The piece was presented in a container reminiscent of a hat and featured a festive bow made from shimmery ribbon as an accent. Abel made midollino stars and inserted them into the piece to simulate floating. This technique added great visual impact and heightened perceived value. Another great thing that Abel did was show not only large elaborate pieces, but also smaller versions that could be sold affordably for customers with a modest budget.

Another design shown was a Christmas piece that featured a phoenix like vertical thrust of blue delphinium. The piece was based with green antique hydrangea and featured carns, succulents, Christmas balls and peacock feathers.

Abel’s show stopping New Year’s Eve designs were a hit with the audience. They proved that Abel is a master at accessorizing. The pieces were done in a classic black and white palette and featured custom dyed black roses from Rio. The elaborately adorned masks made the perfect accessory for his midnight masquerade theme.

Abel Mencio TMF collage

Abel is a talented designer and he showed us many great ways to accessorize with lights, ribbons and other accoutrements. Houston really enjoyed his style and it was a pleasure watching him work his magic. A great big thank you to everyone at Southern and Susan Weatheford for hosting this fabulous event. All money raised will be donated to help florists affected by Hurricane Harvey. To Abel, thank you for sharing your talent with us, and to everyone who attended thank you for your support.





Hey guys, it is great to be back with the Boutonniere Diaries, several of you asked about the article the last couple of times that we met and I apologize for letting time pass without writing to you.  In this month’s issue, we have 8 designs to present to you, I hope that they are inspirational to you and that you can gain something from the article.

boutonniere 1
My first design is made from half moon shapes of wood, that are stained, five pieces are attached to a wire base in a chevron pattern, the valley of the chevron forms a perfect cradle for two blue thistles, a tuft of rosemary and a couple of dried leaves from a tillandsia xerographicas, the half moons seemed to be so appropriate, I used them three times throughout the fall season.

boutonnier 2

Second is two of the half moons left natural color, offset from each other and again glued to a wire base, with fuschia colored impatiens and dried seed pods directly centered.  It shocked me to find out that the impatiens lasted quite well for service that day.  It was about 5 good hours of life on the boutonniere that day.


boutonnier 3The third design was made for school one day.  We had an Alzheimer awareness day and as many of you know, their color is purple and symbol is a butterfly.  There were purple butterflies handed out at lunch for people to place on wall in honor or memory of someone that they knew that had this awful disease. Since I have had both Grandmothers pass away with alzheimers, I chose to create a wire butterfly our of purple 12 gauge wire and place it on a flat wire base.  A red gerbera daisy is deconstructed and the petals used to create the body of the butterfly with privet berries centered as an accent.  This design was worn on my shoulder to give the appearance that the butterfly had chosen to sojourn there for the day. 

boutonnier 4
The fourth piece goes back to the wood cut outs, five of them were staggered, again on a wire base and succulent leaves were used as a natural background. An acorn cap is used as the focal point with artificial berries tucked away inside and tillandsia (dried) leaves sweeping over the design. 

boutonnier 5
Next is probably one of my more popular designs, at least from the comments on facebook and Instagram.  Decorative 12 gauge wire is wrapped in brown bind wire until completely covered, not much concern given to neatness.  It created a very natural twig look, which was then manipulated into a winding and twisting knot like background.  Three acorns, which have been lightly touched with copper paint are glued into place and topped with dried antique hydrangea blooms and Ivanhoe greens.  A beautiful statement to the colors and textures of autumn.


boutonnier 6Sometimes you just need a little help with product.  This boutonniere is made using a “match stick” placemat, which is cut to size just using regular household scissors.  The colors of the mat were perfect for fall and so I was on the hunt for product to serve as the floral material and driving home from work one day I spotted these pods on bushes all along the roadside, one is dried and two are still fresh. I love the contrast between the dried and fresh of the same product.  Finally, three faux bittersweet berries are attached for added dimension in color and texture. 

boutonnier 7
The seventh piece goes back to my style a little bit deeper. I used protea foliage and glued it to a piece of sturdy plastic and trimmed it to a rectangle, which is then wrapped in bullion wire for more interest.  A piece of aluminum wire is manipulated, twisted and turned to create an interesting design to rest on top and two cymbidium petals are tucked in behind some of the coils of the wire.  Finally one of the throat portion of the orchid is attached in the front which added a great deal of depth to the design. 

boutonnier 8
Lastly, a piece of gold flat wire is wrapped loosely with a deep mauve colored yarn, privet berries are lined up at the bottom of the design just for the fun of it.  Tucked in and among the yarn are two speckled butter bean seeds and the flower itself is made of five lima beans and a privet berry.  As a final touch, adding some whimsy and movement, vines are wrapped through the yarn, twisting and turning giving a very organic feel to the overall finished piece.

Thank you all for you interest in the boutonnieres, for all your questions and comments. I look forward to seeing and hearing your thoughts each and every time.  Stay tuned for the next issue as there is a twist coming in one of the pieces and maybe even more than one.  I have people bring me things they think there is no way I can use in a boutonniere and put it to work, making sure that it is visible and a major part of the design.

As always, Keep bloomin, go out and make something beautiful today.

Alan Masters AIFD CFD





  Gord Fulton 1952- 2017

Gord Fulton
Gord Fulton competing in the Houston Cup 2014.

It is with deep sadness that I have to share the passing of Allied Florists of Houston’s friend Gord Fulton, Gord spent much of his time attending various AFH Competitions even though he was unable to win due to his Canadian Citizenship he knew that.., but was so excited to be able to compete and learn from the experience he did it anyway. That’s the kind of man he was. He had a passion for the floral industry and flowers in general that he had an insatiable thirst for educating himself to be the best that he could be.

Canada did not allow him some of the opportunities that Texas did so he came here often and longed for change in Canada. I know in my heart that had he not passed he would have brought this change to Canada. He had already started the mission after attending the AIFD Symposium X in Seattle in July 2017. I remembered a very sweet Facebook post that he wrote after the symposium was over and I copied it and have shared it with you below. Hopefully someone will pick up on Gords dream...

Last night I had the pleasure of reconnecting with some great friends from the great state of Texas. A big thank you to Nicola Parker, Sheri A. Jentsch Tmf, Ace Berry Aifd, and Mary McCarthy Aifd for giving me my first opportunity to compete and grow As a designer! As a Canadian, I am both impressed and sad by how much happens south of the border in support of the floral industry. There are regional chapters, local organizations, such as Allied Florists of Huston which support, advocate and provide opportunities to grow and succeed as a florist. It is time that we as Canadians stop sitting idle and start doing the same. In Canada we have amazing designers in our own right, such as Hitomi Gilliam Aifd, Neville MacKay, Bruno Duarte, Heather De Kok Aifd to name a few. But we lack connection and have become complacent to the needs of our industry. I wonder if it will ever be possible to develop the same kind of regional groups, competitions, conferences.

Rest in peace Gord you will be missed.




Message from the President

Greetings Floral Family, 

Wow, I can not believe it is alread Christmas time. As most of you know, this is my favorite season of the year and I, like the song believe that it is "The Most Wonderful Time of the Year". Many of you have begun with Christmas installs for customers, businesses, churches etc. and some may have even had time to start at home. In the Masters' house, we put up a total of 31 Christmas trees, around 100 antique Santas, 70 or so Gingerbread men and 20 plus Nativity scenes. Everything transforms to a Christmas wonderland (yes I am crazy in case you're wondering...actually, I just suffer from OCD "Obsessive Christmas Disorder")  

I hope that each of you has time this season to stop and relax, take some time with family and enjoy the season but I also hope and pray that this year will finish with a bang for all of your shops. I would love to hear reports that this has been your biggest year to date and that you can't believe how much increase you have had. We have talked about it for years and I know that many of you have put it into practice in your shops to "Work Smarter, not Harder". Find ways to increase your profits without adding more labor, often times it is just a price increase on the finished product because it looks like it is worth more than the total cost of goods plus labor. Charge for it, you are professionals and deserve to be compensated for your labor and talent. The customer can't do what we can, we are the ones with the knowledge, the years of training, the talent and the time invested to be the best we can be at what we do. 


Thank you for all of your support for Allied Florists of Houston in 2017 and I am looking forward to even better things in the coming year. I am looking forward to seeing each of you at our programs next year and celebrating your successes and hearing your stories. Enjoy your Christmas season and New Year Celebrations and we will see you all next year.

As I always say, Keep Bloomin, go out and make something beautiful today. 

Alan Masters AIFD, CFD




Become a Member of Allied Florists of Houston

To see all the benefits that membership provides go to the About Us page.

Dues can be paid online and fax your completed application to 281-360-1035 OR
Mail your check and completed application to:
Allied Florists of Houston
c/o: Taylor Wholesale
1601 W. 21st
Houston, TX 77008

Retail Membership Qualifications 
Retail shops actively engaged in the full time sale of flowers, plants, and related items and located within 100 miles of Houston qualify for this classification. 
The locations shall be clearly identified by an outside florist sign; shall have a separate sales area; a floral display refrigerator; and shall have a delivery vehicle.
At the time of application for membership, the retail shop shall have been engaged in the florist business for at least six months; have a commercial telephone listing; have a full time designer on duty at all times; and belong to at least one wire service.
~ Annual dues are $150 billed each July
~ Includes Voting Privileges
Download the Retail Membership Application.


Wholesale / Grower Membership Qualifications
Individuals, wholesalers or wholesale-grower firms who are actively engaged in the production and/or distribution of cut flowers and/or plants and/or related items and located within 100 miles of Houston qualify for this classification.
~Annual dues are $150 billed each July
~ Includes Voting Privileges
Download the Wholesale/Grower Membership Application.


Associate Membership Qualifications
Associate Members shall be firms or individuals engaged in wholesale or floral related businesses not qualifying for retail member classification.
~Annual dues are $150 billed each July
~ Includes Voting Privileges
Download the Associate Membership Application.


General Membership Qualifications
General Members shall be individuals employed within the floral industry or students or instructors of floriculture, landscape gardening, landscape architecture, or ornamental horticulture. 
~Annual dues are $50 billed each July
~ NO Voting Privileges.
Download the General Membership Application.



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