You might think the job of a floral designer is singular – to surprise and delight by creating beautiful flower arrangements. When the designer is Rene van Rems, you’d be wrong. Van Rems was the floral designer for the recent American Grown Field to Vase Dinner at Resendiz Brothers Protea in Fallbrook, California. But his efforts went far beyond arranging flowers. He started by visiting the site with flower farmer Mel Resendiz to help select the perfect location for the dinner. Photo by Carrie McCluskey Photography. Since proteas are grown on steep hillsides, this was no small feat. But van Rems knew what he was looking for – a hilltop surrounded by other flower-adorned hills that would provide a sense of warmth and intimacy for dinner guests. Beautiful farm fresh flowers adorned the tables, welcoming guests to a night of food, wine and flowers. Photo by Carrie McCluskey Photography. Next up, van Rems determined a theme for the arrangements that would adorn the long banquet tables and selected containers from Field to Vase Dinner Tour sponsor Syndicate Sales . He decided to create three variations of a floral design that featured pincushion proteas and he created them in reverse proportion. “We draped everything down while featuring the pincushions. This way, the flowers are looking at the diner and the diner is looking at the flowers. The flowers were the star and the materials we put with them were very botanical and were from the surrounding landscape. It was a real execution of ‘field to vase.’” Photo by Carrie McCluskey Photography. For the containers, van Rems selected brushed glass vases with similar designs and textures in colors that provided contrast with the flowers and surrounding landscape. The amazing part – the 180 arrangements needed for the dinner were created by 15 students who were part of a workshop van Rems led in advance of the dinner. Not only did they learn floral design skills, participants got a hands-on experience in event execution. “The event became a lesson plan,” van Rems explains. “The students learned what you can’t learn in a book or on YouTube; it was truly experiential.” Floral designer Rene van Rems was responsible for the beautiful tablescape and floral design installations. Photo by Carrie McCluskey Photography. Beyond special events, van Rems regularly holds workshops at his state-of-the-art training center in Carlsbad, California. His two-, three- and five-day programs cover floral trends, advanced floral design techniques and business basics. As for the reviews of the first stop for the 2018 American Grown Field to Vase Dinner Tour – van Rems shares what guests told him: “Everyone loved the experience because it was beyond their expectations. People had no idea what to expect and they were blown away by a beautifully executed dinner. The No. 1 wow was the site and the flowers were a spoke in the wheel of an amazing experience.” We couldn’t agree more.