California Dreaming: McQueens Flower School in the USA

McQueens school team remember with fondness a whirlwind adventure with a very warm and welcoming team at the Russian River Flower School in Healdsburg, California and a magnificent group of students we met during an intensive one-week course. Head tutor Guiseppe led the course, ably accompanied by McQ social media director Duncan McCabe, who documented the trip…

Russian River Flower School founder and McQueens head tutor Guiseppe Puddori and social media manager Duncan McCabe
Russian River Flower School founder with McQueens head tutor Guiseppe Puddori and social media manager Duncan McCabe

‘The students here this week are going to get the most incredible experience,’ says Dundee Butcher, founder and director of the Russian River Flower School. ‘It’s one I’m just beyond excited to be able to offer. They are getting McQueens – who are absolute professionals at what they do – and coming here to California where we have this incredible weather and we have all these California-grown flowers. So it’s this wonderful combination of the formal and the informal. They’re going to get everything they could possibly get in one week – and more!’

Hands on practical projects on our collaborative course at Russian River Flower School
Hands on practical projects on our collaborative course at Russian River Flower School

Here are some of the responses from the students on the course.

Hilary Clark

‘It has been such a pleasure to be in California where the local and the sustainable are such a priority in the way we resource our flowers. It’s just great to be in a room full of like-minded individuals who love flowers, who love the art of flowers, and who love sharing that with people.’

Chelsea Hughes

‘The experience of coming into something and not really knowing anything, but having these instructors that are the best of the best explain it in such patient and kind terms – it’s been great.’

Krisjohna Kane

‘I came into this experience trying not to have any expectations other than knowing that ultimately this was going to be a game-changer for me, and the direction I go in. I just want to spend the rest of my life doing this. I don’t want to do anything else but play with flowers!’

Heather Coughlin

‘I chose this course because of both Dundee and McQueens. I had first listened to an interview with Dundee and fell in love. She is amazing; she brings so much light, bright, freshness to the industry, and I knew she would be a wonderful teacher – and  McQueens is absolutely legendary. I wanted to learn the basics. I wanted to learn technique, structure, composition, balance – things that I don’t necessarily know off the top of my head. It was something that I needed to learn, that I wanted to learn, from the best.’

Terri Yang

‘I didn’t know what to expect, but it’s been a lot of fun!  It’s a lot of work and there is so much information to take in, but you’re working with other creative like-minded people. It has been a wonderful experience.’

Beverly Gardner

‘To me, it’s therapy. Working with flowers is the experience of your eye, your hand, the fragrance and the camaraderie.  It’s the creation of a beautiful thing that God has given us to work with. So it’s just joy and therapy – I love it!’

Jenna McEachern

‘The people have been marvellous and the teaching is simple enough for me to understand, but it’s detailed enough for the professionals to still be interested and to gain something.’

‘It occurred to me how blessed I am to be part of this school. Not just with Dundee but with the expertise and style that McQueens brings. So the whole thing has been fun for me.’