A Heartfelt Farewell….



Some of you may wonder what a photo of a dog is doing on a floral design school blog. However, Rittner people know that that when you graduate from our school you become part of our extended family of graduates that spans over sixty years. Our grads aren’t just customers. They are friends as well…..As this blog is one way we can communicate with our friends, it is appropriate to use it to share news, both good and bad……

We are sorry to report that our school mascot, Jean Tunney, recently passed on. 

Jeannie was the most recent in a succession of Boxer dogs that have had the position of “Official Rittner Floral School Mascot.” We have been fortunate to have some wonderful Boxers—Corporal, Pepsi, Tov, Kelley, Marvelous Marvin and Sugar Ray as mascots over the past sixty+ years. Many of you have fond memories of the problem solving pursuits of some of our mascots (like trying to get into the garbage), their gourmet tastes (attempting to “share” cake, cookies and ice cream) and their keen interest in our lectures (snoring).

We chose the Boxer Dog as our floral school mascot for we feel that the breed displays outstanding personality traits, many of which are important for people planning to be floral designers.

Jeannie exemplified every one of these traits.

She was friendly and outgoing. She enjoyed people and being with others. She made many, many friends. She was intelligent and warm hearted. She was a very optimistic animal and had a very positive zest for life. Jeannie, (like most Boxers) was smart and loyal and quite enthusiastic in all activities. She was creative in her play, always seeking new and different ways to accomplish things. She could be stubborn and tenacious, yet, at the same time, quite practical and adaptable. She was very unique with a very distinctive independent personality…..

Jeannie, we will all miss you.

Vietnamese-American Student Creates Floral Boat Tribute…


Once in a while, if we are lucky, we may encounter a floral design that is directly inspired by events in the floral designer’s life. It is even more moving if these events speak to pivotal moments in history. 

I encountered  one such design in a recent workshop/course that we offered at Rittners School of Floral Design in Boston. The assignment involved structure technique using simple materials.  I always feel blessed by having such talented students, and seeing what they come up with. This workshop was no exception. But one design of a boat stood out because of the context in which it was created. 

The student who created this piece and her family had tried to escape Vietnam several times by boat. Each attempt failed. Her father ( who had worked for the Americans during the Vietnam War ) was imprisoned. Eventually she and other family members were able to leave Vietnam by plane. 

Unfortunately, for health reasons, her father was never able to make the journey. This student’s floral design of a boat is both a tribute to her father and a symbol of freedom. 

She chose to incorporate white miniature carnations into her design. White is a symbol of death, memorial and sympathy in many eastern cultures. 

It’s amazing how all this came together in floral art with a boat motif.  This tribute to a father, to the desire for freedom and to the human spirit is both inspirational and moving.

Christine, thanks so much for sharing your art and your story and for allowing us to share it with a wider audience.