Debra Prinzing

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Episode 337: Fortunate Orchard’s Hannah Morgan, printmaker to floral artist

February 21st, 2018

Love this adorable pic of Hannah Morgan, snapped at one of her workshops for The Field Trip Society

It’s wonderful to turn the page, post-Valentine’s Day, and focus on the soon-to-arrive spring season. When I visited today’s guest just last week, her front garden border displayed gorgeous hellebores in full bloom, and lots of the trees were already budding and ready to unfurl.

Despite a still chilly and wet climate, we still see sections of gorgeous blue sky behind the parting clouds and the always welcome rare ray of sunshine.

The place I visited is called Fortunate Orchard, and it is home to a floral studio and garden situated in a quiet corner of south Seattle.

Owner and lead designer Hannah Morgan holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in one hand and a pair of pruning shears in the other. Her designs are deeply rooted in the seasons of the Pacific Northwest and she sources primarily from the West Coast — often from the Fortunate Orchard garden, steps away from her work table.

Hanna’s “Fortunate Orchard” garden at the peak of the season!

Using blooms and branches grown nearby ensures that her designs are unique, of this place and a bit wild. She has built a team of makers and doers who contribute their own expertise to each project, bringing creative and ambitious designs to fruition for events large and small. Fortunate Orchard collaborates with clients who exalt in the natural world and who embrace unorthodox, unexpected beauty.

Hanna with her recent plant installation at the new Floret restaurant at the Seattle Tacoma International Airport

A beautiful arrangement at Lark Restaurant in Seattle.

Hannah has a keen understanding of the types of floral installations required by restaurants and eateries, which is how she actually caught my attention a few years ago when Bruce and I enjoyed an anniversary meal at Lark, one of the Pacific Northwest’s premier, artisan-focused restaurants.

As you hear us discuss, Hannah was the restaurant’s accidental florist who was tapped for filling large vases on the hostess table and elsewhere, perhaps because everyone there knew of her amazing and eclectic city garden.

Three years later, Hannah is creating a distinct niche for herself and I am so pleased we were able to sit down at her kitchen table, share a cup of tea and talk flowers, floral design, developing one’s aesthetic and style.

Learn more about Hannah and her artistic philosophy in this video interview (above) that I conducted with her last year at the Slow Flowers Creative Workshop held with Anne Bradfield of Floressence and documentary videographer Jason Miller.

A seasonal peony arrangement a la Fortunate Orchard’s semi-wild aesthetic.

Find Hannah at these social places so you can follow along as the season unfolds for Fortunate Orchard.

Fortunate Orchard on Instagram

Take a class from Hannah at The Field Trip Society.

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 285,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for downloading, listening, commenting and sharing — it means so much.

As the Slow Flowers Movement gains more supporters and more passionate participants who believe in the importance of the American cut flower industry, the momentum is contagious. I know you feel it, too. I value your support and invite you to show your thanks and with a donation to support my ongoing advocacy, education and outreach activities. You can find the donate button in the right column of our home page.

Thank you to our sponsors who have supported Slow Flowers and all of our programs including this podcast, American Flowers Week, the Slowflowers.com online directory to American grown flowers, as well as our new channels, Slow Flowers Journal and the 2018 Slow Flowers Summit.

They are:

Florists’ Review magazine. I’m delighted to serve as Contributing Editor for the new monthly Slow Flowers Journal section, which you can find in the pages of Florists’ Review. It’s the leading trade magazine in the floral industry and the only independent periodical for the retail, wholesale and supplier market. Take advantage of the special subscription offer for members of the Slow Flowers Community.

Certified American Grown Flowers. The Certified American-Grown program and label provide a guarantee for designers and consumers on the source of their flowers. Take pride in your flowers and buy with confidence, ask for Certified American Grown Flowers.  To learn more visit americangrownflowers.org.

Arctic Alaska Peonies, a cooperative of 50 family farms in the heart of Alaska providing high quality, American Grown peony flowers during the months of July and August. Visit them today at arcticalaskapeonies.com

Seattle Wholesale Growers Market, a farmer-owned cooperative committed to providing the very best the Pacific Northwest has to offer in cut flowers, foliage and plants. The Growers Market’s mission is to foster a vibrant marketplace that sustains local flower farms and provides top-quality products and service to the local floral industry. Find them at seattlewholesalegrowersmarket.com

Longfield Gardens provides home gardeners with high quality flower bulbs and perennials. Their online store offers plants for every region and every season, from tulips and daffodils to dahlias, caladiums and amaryllis. Visit them at longfield-gardens.com.

Syndicate Sales, an American manufacturer of vases and accessories for the professional florist. Look for the American Flag Icon to find Syndicate’s USA-made products and join the Syndicate Stars loyalty program at syndicatesales.com.

Johnny’s Selected Seeds, an employee-owned company that provides our industry the best flower, herb and vegetable seeds — supplied to farms large and small and even backyard cutting gardens like mine. Check them out at johnnysseeds.com.

Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers. Formed in 1988, ASCFG was created to educate, unite, and support commercial cut flower growers. It mission is to help growers produce high-quality floral material, and to foster and promote the local availability of that product. Learn more at ascfg.org

(c) Missy Palacol Photography

I’m Debra Prinzing, host and producer of the Slow Flowers Podcast. Next week, you’re invited to join me in putting more American grown flowers on the table, one vase at a time. And If you like what you hear, please consider logging onto Itunes and posting a listener review.

The content and opinions expressed here are either mine alone or those of my guests alone, independent of any podcast sponsor or other person, company or organization.

The Slow Flowers Podcast is engineered and edited by Andrew Brenlan. Learn more about his work at soundbodymovement.com.

Music Credits:
Feathersoft (long form); Molly Molly
by Blue Dot Sessions
http://www.sessions.blue
https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/
In The Field
Music from:

audionautix.com

Valentine’s Day Messages from Slow Flowers Members

February 15th, 2018

We’ve been collecting video clips to share this Valentine’s Day Season!

First up, a video featuring Maura Whalen of Casablanca Floral in Seattle, who invited me into her beautiful studio to record this pre-Valentine’s Day clip.

We filmed the segment last October (with digital genius Andrew Brenlan, whose name is familiar to Slow Flowers Podcast listeners). Our idea: To promote local and American-grown flowers that viewers around the country can order and send for V-Day.

A publicist with whom I often work shopped around the video — our target was The Today Show — but alas, producer there turned us down for an in-studio segment. Others picked it up, including Garden Design magazine, so I’m delighted and grateful that Maura donated her time and studio to help with the project.

Special thanks to our floral partners for providing beautiful product, including:

Stargazer Barn

CalCallas

Fabulous Florals

Urban Succulents

Farmgirl Flowers

and a custom arrangement by Maura Whalen of Casablanca Floral!

MORE Slow V-Day Goodness!

On Monday, February 12th, I was contacted by a producer for ABC World News Tonight who wanted to do a Feb. 14th segment on local flowers for Valentine’s Day.

Surprisingly, he asked me to round up “selfie videos” from several Slow Flowers members around the country in which they would speak directly to anchor David Muir and tell him what types of local flowers customers could find at their shops, stores and studios this Valentine’s Day.

Within 24 hours, six Slow Flowers members agreed to record clips and send them into ABC News.

The segment was slated for tonight, along with an in-person visit to Emily Thompson Flowers, a Slow Flowers member in Manhattan (and I learned that interview with Emily was actually filmed at her shop yesterday).

So we were all ready to go and then the horrifying news about the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, happened this afternoon. The producer contacted all of us and said the story had to be “held.”

Of course, this is what happens when “feel-good” news stories are bumped by sad and tragic news stories. My heart and prayers go out to the victims, students, teachers, parents and families whose lives will be forever changed by this insane act. As a response to the shooting, Slow Flowers is making a donation to the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, an organization that is challenging the National Rifle Association’s huge financial influence over our political landscape. I encourage you to join me or find a similar organization in your community to support.

We received permission from ABC World News Tonight to share the “unaired” video clips. I am doing this because I’m so impressed and grateful for the contributions of members who are committed to the Slow Flowers Mission and want to share their stories with the larger community.

See the great message from Jimmy Lohr of greenSinner in Pittsburgh above.

Here are more wonderful clips to enjoy. It would have been awesome to view these along with millions on tonight’s National News. That didn’t happen, but I’m confident we’ll have another opportunity in the future.

Thanks, Lisa Waud of pot and box — you shared a great message about your local community of makers, artists and growers!

Love the voluptuous floral scene in front of Michelle O’Brien’s Goose Hollow Flowers in Portland — and she sends an important message to viewers about her commitment to Oregon-grown and American-grown flowers.

Nichole Skalski, partner in California Sister Floral Design in Sebastopol, CA, values local flower farmers and also sources from farms across the state. She has a Valentine’s Day message for you!

Los Angeles-based Whit McClure of Whit Hazen shared her vision for sustainable and local floral design on Valentine’s Day and all year long. Love her message!

Our good friends at Field & FloristHeidi Joynt and Molly Kobelt — are flower farmers and floral designers. Here’s how they’re keeping it local at Valentine’s Day in Chicago!

Okay, that’s it for now! Thanks to all for being spontaneous. There’s a lot of value in being a Slow Flowers member — and one of those benefits is that I might just call YOU for a press opportunity next time!

Episode 336: Table and Vase, a rebranding story with Albuquerque-based farmer-florist Steven Hong Elder

February 14th, 2018

Kee-ju (left) and Steven (right) are the two partners behind the recently rebranded Table and Vase. (c) Jamie Jauriqui Photography 

Steven and Kee-ju Hong Elder are an Albuquerque-based husband-husband duo that love gardening, growing and arranging flowers, eco-dying and more! We love all things beautiful and natural, and hope to help you cultivate a more beautiful life. They describe their business as “Not quite a farm, but not quite a garden.”

Steven and Kee-ju are experienced growers, cultivating boutique, heirloom and unusual floral material for Table and Vase. Originally calling their studio the Hong Elder Floral Workroom, the men recently rebranded. They grow flowers for their own design work as well as to provided select florists with boutique floral material.

You’ll hear Steven discuss how growing gloriosa lilies is one of his passions in his Albuquerque “garden-farm”

They’ve been members of Slowflowers.com for more than a year and I have loved watching their Instagram feed filled with flower growing and floral design images. Visiting New Mexico again is on my list of destinations for 2018, mostly because my writing mentor Paula Panich now lives there, but also because of the burgeoning slow flower scene. You’ve heard from Emily Calhoun of Floriography Flowers, who’s shared her story in past episodes of this podcast – first about flower farming and most recently about opening a new retail venue in Santa Fe.

Emily Calhoun of Floriography Flowers on Episode 176

Emily Calhoun of Floriography Flowers on Episode 317

But now she has company, including a number of micro flower farms and farmer-florists who are helping boost interest and awareness in local and seasonal flowers. Together with Steven and Kee-ju, this community has also launched The New Mexico Flower Collective, a group of flower growers, farmer florists and other creatives who are passionate about locally grown, sustainably grown New Mexico flowers and supporting local businesses.

Floral design by Table and Vase with textiles by Desert Garden Silk. Photo credits: Maura Jane Photography (left image); Jamie Jauriqui Photography (right image)

Steven and Kee-ju also own Desert Garden Silk Ribbon, which they sell through an Etsy store featuring natural, plant-based, hand-dyed silk ribbons and textiles.

Here’s a little more about Steven and Kee-ju:

Steven Hong Elder, the “florist” side of Table and Vase

STEVEN, THE DESIGNER, has worked for years designing flowers for weddings and high end events. Inspired by color and seasonality from the garden, Steven combines his backgrounds as a horticulturist and floral designer to grow and create arrangements that are lush, full and grand.

He recently wrote that his first garden was an absolute mess, filled with zucchini, cucumbers, three types of pumpkins, scarlet runner beans, morning glory vines and a few sad tomato plants shoved into a raised bed in his parents’ front yard.

It was from that garden that Steven’s love of growing and plants first started. He went to school for horticulture, learning about xylem and phloem and tissue culture and greenhouse propagation. He learned how to identify trees, how to propagate tulips, and about breeding new species, loving every single moment of it.

After school, Steven accepted a position with the Lauritzen Botanical Gardens in Omaha, Nebraska. He was soon in charge of the Victorian garden, the peony collection, and an English perennial border. He also maintained the historical Crookhouse gardens and worked part time for floral designer, Kyle Robino, a friend and mentor.

Steven’s journey into floral design started as a creative outlet from gardening and horticulture, but soon grew into a way of life. He studied floral design in school, then worked for several years both with talented designers, and eventually striking out on his own as a freelance designer.

Kee-ju takes on the “farmer” role at Table and Vase; left image: (c) Jamie Jauriqui Photography

KEE-JU, THE FARMER, a hobbyist gardener, has a passion for growing plants that’s expanded into becoming a flower grower. Obsessed with nature since he was a little boy, his interest in nature and biology has evolved into his passion for gardening and growing. Kee-ju ensures that the flowers are grown with love and care.

He recently wrote about meeting Steven in Omaha when he was working at Lauritzen, saying “although a dentist by trade, in my off time I had been teaching myself how to grow flowers from what I had learned on the Internet – a lot of time spent on Dave’s Garden and poring over gardening blogs. When Steven and I met, our love of plants and gardening didn’t take long to surface. Although I tend more towards xeric and full sun and Steven tends more towards high moisture and shade, we got along well! We were married and moved to New Mexico within the year.

After our first year gardening in New Mexico, we had a discussion regarding flower farming. Both of us were avid followers of Erin Benzakein since her early days, and were enthralled with her fields of blooms as well as her very insightful tips for growing flowers. What would it be like to be growing not a dozen zinnias, but hundreds? Would we be able to handle thousands of seedlings as opposed to fifty? We decided definitively that yes, we wanted to do this and yes, we were more than capable of doing so.

Suddenly, our garden beds were not large enough for all the plants we wanted, so we prepared more. We found ourselves buying seeds and dahlia tubers and drip irrigation and digging and planting. It was terrifying and hard work, yet I had never felt more alive in my life.

I had found something that lit a fire within me staying up late reading information on how to grow and harvest sunflowers, scouring the Internet for tips on succession planting and harvesting, and dreaming of rows of flowers and big bouquets.

While I really enjoyed flower farming, I also realized that I did miss gardening without the intent to cut and harvest. Sometimes you just grow it because you want to grow it, not because it will be a good seller or hold up well in the vase. Steven and I made the conscious this year to return to gardening for ourselves.”

Left image (c): Jamie Jauriqui Photography

I know you’ll enjoy hearing from Steven — we’ll have to get Kee-ju’s voice in a future interview. Enjoy these photos and follow Table and Vase at these social places.

Table and Vase on Instagram

Thanks for joining me today! What a fun conversation — and I can’t wait to return to New Mexico to meet Steven and Kee-ju in person and soak in the beauty of flower farming in Albuquerque and beyond.

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 282,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for downloading, listening, commenting and sharing — it means so much. In fact, I want to report that the month of January ended with 11,222 downloads, our all-time high month of listenership. Isn’t that awesome!

As the Slow Flowers Movement gains more supporters and more passionate participants who believe in the importance of the American cut flower industry, the momentum is contagious. I know you feel it, too. I value your support and invite you to show your thanks and with a donation to support my ongoing advocacy, education and outreach activities. You can find the donate button at debraprinzing.com in the right column.

Thank you to our sponsors who have supported Slow Flowers and all of our programs including this podcast, American Flowers Week, the Slowflowers.com online directory to American grown flowers, as well as our new channels, Slow Flowers Journal and the 2018 Slow Flowers Summit.

Florists’ Review magazine. I’m delighted to serve as Contributing Editor for the new monthly Slow Flowers Journal section, which you can find in the pages of Florists’ Review. It’s the leading trade magazine in the floral industry and the only independent periodical for the retail, wholesale and supplier market. Take advantage of the special subscription offer for members of the Slow Flowers Community.

Certified American Grown Flowers. The Certified American-Grown program and label provide a guarantee for designers and consumers on the source of their flowers. Take pride in your flowers and buy with confidence, ask for Certified American Grown Flowers.  To learn more visit americangrownflowers.org.

Arctic Alaska Peonies, a cooperative of 50 family farms in the heart of Alaska providing high quality, American Grown peony flowers during the months of July and August. Visit them today at arcticalaskapeonies.com

Seattle Wholesale Growers Market, a farmer-owned cooperative committed to providing the very best the Pacific Northwest has to offer in cut flowers, foliage and plants. The Growers Market’s mission is to foster a vibrant marketplace that sustains local flower farms and provides top-quality products and service to the local floral industry. Find them at seattlewholesalegrowersmarket.com

Longfield Gardens provides home gardeners with high quality flower bulbs and perennials. Their online store offers plants for every region and every season, from tulips and daffodils to dahlias, caladiums and amaryllis. Visit them at longfield-gardens.com.

Syndicate Sales, an American manufacturer of vases and accessories for the professional florist. Look for the American Flag Icon to find Syndicate’s USA-made products and join the Syndicate Stars loyalty program at syndicatesales.com.

Johnny’s Selected Seeds, an employee-owned company that provides our industry the best flower, herb and vegetable seeds — supplied to farms large and small and even backyard cutting gardens like mine. Check them out at johnnysseeds.com.

Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers. Formed in 1988, ASCFG was created to educate, unite, and support commercial cut flower growers. It mission is to help growers produce high-quality floral material, and to foster and promote the local availability of that product. Learn more at ascfg.org.

(c) Missy Palacol Photography

I’m Debra Prinzing, host and producer of the Slow Flowers Podcast. Next week, you’re invited to join me in putting more American grown flowers on the table, one vase at a time. And If you like what you hear, please consider logging onto Itunes and posting a listener review.

The content and opinions expressed here are either mine alone or those of my guests alone, independent of any podcast sponsor or other person, company or organization.

The Slow Flowers Podcast is engineered and edited by Andrew Brenlan. Learn more about his work at soundbodymovement.com.

Music Credits:

In The Field; Back to the Wood
by Jason Shaw:

audionautix.com

Episode 335: On growing Farmgirl Flowers, with floral entrepreneur Christina Stembel

February 7th, 2018

Christina Stembel, founder and CEO of Farmgirl Flowers

I’ve known Christina Stembel since her early days of Farmgirl Flowers.

I used to say hers was the one business I regretted not being able to include in my 2012 book The 50 Mile Bouquet, because by the time we first met, virtually, through an email introduction, I had already finished writing and my publisher St. Lynn’s Press had already wrapped up the book’s production and sent it off to the printer.

When preparing this intro, I wanted to actually go back and figure out how Christina and I met, and as it turns out San Francisco-based food writer Sophia Markoulakis virtually introduced us by email on January 29, 2012 — about six weeks before the publication of The 50 Mile Bouquet. I knew that timing was close, but had completely forgotten about Sophia’s introduction. Sophia quoted both Christina and me in a  February 7, 2012 article for the San Francisco Chronicle, titled: “Locaflores? Eco-friendly florists think locally”. It’s just amazing to look back six years ago to the date of Sophia’s article, and consider all the strides we’ve taken to promote local, seasonal and sustainable flowers.

Christina appeared on this podcast as an early guest on Episode 108 in September 2013, and subsequently we recorded Episode 154 in July 2014 from Homer, Alaska, so longtime listeners of the Slow Flowers Podcast are familiar with her story.

As I wrote in the May 2017 profile about Farmgirl Flowers published in Florists’ Review:

Farmgirl Flowers’ founder Christina Stembel is not a typical Silicon Valley start-up darling. She isn’t backed by venture capital firms who have ponied up millions of dollars to fund her launch; she doesn’t have slick office space where the staff get to play ping-pong or video games after grazing on catered vegan lunches. She drives a hand me down car and lives in a rental house with her husband Neil Hiltz.
If all goes to plan, fortune may follow the fame she has received (as in great media attention and hundreds of thousands of loyal customers), but for now, there’s more grit than glamour in the life of this 39-year-old CEO.”

In the Q&A that followed, Christina spoke openly about the challenges of growth, including one of the most difficult ones that she faced a little more than a year ago — that of finding enough flowers to keep her customers happy.

Download a PDF of the entire “The Business of Flowers” article here: Farm Girl Flowers

FR: Earlier this year you announced to your customers and followers that you were going to begin sourcing flowers from outside the U.S. You posted a letter on your web site called “Our Heart” that explained your decision and what it meant to you and your team. You explained that you were faced with a challenge of sourcing enough flowers from domestic farms and that Farmgirl will now “source directly from farms abroad whose values align with our own.” And you said, We will continue to buy the majority of our flowers from US growers (at least 80% right now), and will be subsidizing with flowers we can’t get enough of here.” What has the response been to this announcement?

CS: I was really nervous. I knew I needed to write that letter to lay it all out there. I had to say, “This is the situation and this isn’t what I want to do. I’m sad about this but I’m just going to be honest and tell people why.” Then, we started getting emails and they were so positive. Everybody was so nice, so supportive, so thankful that I was honest with them. Customers who I had never met before wrote things like: “I’ve always bought from you because I love your aesthetic and I’m going to keep buying from you because I love your heart.”
We announced this on January 25th and we actually had a good transition. At Valentine’s Day, we only received between 20 and 25 percent of our confirmed domestic flowers, a lot due to the heavy winter rains in California. Had I not been able to use imported flowers, we would not have been able to fulfill our orders, which is what I feared and it proved (to me) that I made the correct decision.”

I asked Christina to join me again today to reflect on the past year of transition for her. One of the other reasons for this interview is to discuss the pain of growth and how all successful companies evolve due to unexpected market forces.

I was particularly moved to ask Christina to appear on the Podcast again after yet another round of comments that flooded Facebook groups, mostly populated by U.S. flower farmers, after a recent Forbes article about Farmgirl, which was published last December.

Here is a link to Christina’s “Our Heart” letter, which appears on the Farmgirl Flowers web site.

Farmgirl Flowers’ branding is some of the best in the industry.

I have to be honest — I was confounded by the number of assumptions and accusations being made about Christina in social media forums, and the conclusions to which people in the industry jumped, standing in judgment of a woman who has done incredibly amazing things to elevate the awareness of local flowers in our popular culture. At one point, Christina weighed in and offered to return to the podcast — and others on one of the threads were in support of it.

What you are about to hear is an honest conversation between two friends. I simply can’t be impartial and I make no apologies for it. It saddens me that people are critical of Christina’s choices. She speaks honestly about how tough those choices are and reveals, in fact, that she is still spending millions of dollars annually to buy American grown and local flowers for Farmgirl. I hope you listen closely with an open mind and heart. While you may not agree with Christina’s choices, I think you’ll definitely learn from her tenacity and big heart.

More from Farmgirl Flowers

Thanks for joining me today! I am grateful to Christina to opening herself to this kind of scrutiny and explanation. I respect her for even trying to set the record straight and sharing some insights into her decisions. Check out the beautiful USA-Grown Bouquet from Farmgirl Flowers, starting at $75 plus shipping.

If you have more to say, please say it to her directly rather than in a public forum like Facebook. She has offered up her email at farmgirl@farmgirlflowers.com and I know she will answer any respectfully posed questions with sincerity.

Despite my personal mission of changing the floral landscape through Slow Flowers’ outreach, promotion and content, I have also acknowledged that imports are here to stay. Yet, if we can even move the needle by a few percentage points away from the 80 percent import-20 percent domestic ratio, I will consider this movement a success.

I’m well aware of the compromises many feel they have to make sometimes to stay in business. The flower shops that have a secret stash of floral foam in the back room; the designers who don’t want to say “no” to a customer’s request for white hydrangeas from South America in January; the flower farmers who run a side gig with a farm in Baja. Don’t kid yourself. Not everyone is doing it but it happens. I was recently called out for leasing a Honda and slapping my “SlowFlo” license plate on it, or I’ve faced a crummy decision when the hard goods wholesaler where I shop runs out of USA-made glass vases and I’m forced to substitute with imported glass from China because I didn’t plan ahead. Degrees of sustainability face us all.

Let’s focus on what we’re doing that’s positive and continue to uphold, support and encourage one another to be transparent and honest in our actions. Cooperation over competition is the phrase I often hear. I’m hopeful you will receive this podcast today in that spirit.

If you’re able to attend the 2nd annual Slow Flowers Summit, coming up, June 29th in Washington, D.C., you’ll hear from Christina who will serve as our keynote speaker! Her presentation, “Scaling Your Floral Business to the Next Level,” will share great insights for floral professionals at any stage in their journey. Please visit the show notes for this podcast to find all the links and details to the Slow Flowers Summit. I’ll be featuring our speakers and more event details in the coming weeks.

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 280,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for downloading, listening, commenting and sharing — it means so much.

As the Slow Flowers Movement gains more supporters and more passionate participants who believe in the importance of the American cut flower industry, the momentum is contagious. I know you feel it, too. I value your support and invite you to show your thanks and with a donation to support my ongoing advocacy, education and outreach activities. You can find the donate button at debraprinzing.com in the right column.

Thank you to our sponsors who have supported Slow Flowers and all of our programs including this podcast, American Flowers Week, the Slowflowers.com online directory to American grown flowers, as well as our new channels, Slow Flowers Journal and the 2018 Slow Flowers Summit.

Florists’ Review magazine: I’m delighted to serve as Contributing Editor for the new monthly Slow Flowers Journal section, which you can find in the pages of Florists’ Review. It’s the leading trade magazine in the floral industry and the only independent periodical for the retail, wholesale and supplier market.

Certified American Grown Flowers. The Certified American-Grown program and label provide a guarantee for designers and consumers on the source of their flowers. Take pride in your flowers and buy with confidence, ask for Certified American Grown Flowers.  To learn more visit americangrownflowers.org.

Arctic Alaska Peonies, a cooperative of 50 family farms in the heart of Alaska providing high quality, American Grown peony flowers during the months of July and August. Visit them today at arcticalaskapeonies.com

Seattle Wholesale Growers Market, a farmer-owned cooperative committed to providing the very best the Pacific Northwest has to offer in cut flowers, foliage and plants. The Growers Market’s mission is to foster a vibrant marketplace that sustains local flower farms and provides top-quality products and service to the local floral industry. Find them at seattlewholesalegrowersmarket.com

Longfield Gardens provides home gardeners with high quality flower bulbs and perennials. Their online store offers plants for every region and every season, from tulips and daffodils to dahlias, caladiums and amaryllis. Visit them at longfield-gardens.com.

Syndicate Sales, an American manufacturer of vases and accessories for the professional florist. Look for the American Flag Icon to find Syndicate’s USA-made products and join the Syndicate Stars loyalty program at syndicatesales.com.

Johnny’s Selected Seeds, an employee-owned company that provides our industry the best flower, herb and vegetable seeds — supplied to farms large and small and even backyard cutting gardens like mine. Check them out at johnnysseeds.com.

Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers. Formed in 1988, ASCFG was created to educate, unite, and support commercial cut flower growers. It mission is to help growers produce high-quality floral material, and to foster and promote the local availability of that product. Learn more at ascfg.org

I’m Debra Prinzing, host and producer of the Slow Flowers Podcast. Next week, you’re invited to join me in putting more American grown flowers on the table, one vase at a time. And If you like what you hear, please consider logging onto Itunes and posting a listener review.

The content and opinions expressed here are either mine alone or those of my guests alone, independent of any podcast sponsor or other person, company or organization.

The Slow Flowers Podcast is engineered and edited by Andrew Brenlan. Learn more about his work at soundbodymovement.com.

Music Credits:

Fudge; That Old Harpoon
by Gillicuddy
http://freemusicarchive.org/music/gillicuddy/

https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/

The Jazz Piano

by Bensound
https://www.bensound.com/royalty-free-music/track/the-jazz-piano
In The Field
by Jason Shaw:

audionautix.com

Episode 334: Retail Comeback, 2018 with Lisa Waud of Detroit’s pot + box and Melissa Brown of Washington’s Flying Bear Farm

January 31st, 2018

Lisa Waud of Detroit’s pot + box

Melissa Brown of Flying Bear Farm, based in Langley, Washington

Today’s I’m excited to visit with two Slow Flowers members who have just opened new floral retail businesses.

pot + box’s new storefront in Detroit’s Fisher Building

This pivot to retail floristry that I’ve been documenting over the past 12 months continues and I think you’ll find today’s conversations entirely fascinating and enlightening.

One year ago, when I released the 2017 Slow Flowers Floral Insights & Industry Forecast, I declared the retail embrace a phenomenon of studio florists moving toward brick and mortar channels.

For 2018, I’ve added flower farmers jumping into the retail arena.

As I reported last year, If you rely only on mainstream financial analysis or census data for your intel, then the landscape for brick-and-mortar flower shops has appeared unpromising.


According to the November 2016 Dunn & Bradstreet industry report, the U.S. has about 14,000 floral establishments (single-location companies and units of multi-location companies) with combined annual revenue of about $5.5 billion. Flower shops had declined by about 40% since 2000. Dunn and Bradstreet cited a Society of American Florists prediction that the number of retail florists in the US is expected to continue to drop, although the pace is slowing gradually.

Yet we’re tracking Slow Flowers members who are opening brick-and-mortar flowers shops across North America. Today’s guests will add their personal journeys to the compendium of stories about independent and progressive florists (and flower farmers) who are signing leases and opening retail spaces in the same markets that have witnessed mainstream mom-and-pop floral storefronts being shuttered.

A peek inside the plant- and flower-filled pot + box

A pot + box corner where merchandising matters — plants, products, flowers.

First, you’ll hear from Lisa Waud of pot + box who has just opened a new retail space in a historic building in downtown Detroit.  Then you’ll hear from Melissa Brown of Flying Bear Farm on Whidbey Island, north of Seattle, who just opened a retail shop in nearby Langley, Washington, with her partner and husband Benjamin Corteau.

Be ready to take notes and get inspired. Retail isn’t for everyone, of course. But if you’re looking for inspiration, insights and straight talk about making retail work for you and your business, I think you’ll find it here.

Lisa Waud, presenting at the 2017 Slow Flowers Summit in Seattle.

Here’s more about Lisa Waud:

pot & box founder Lisa Waud has been enthusiastically steering the company’s horticultural goings-on since its founding more than ten years ago. She’s been arranging flowers in the soil and in the vase for 21 years now—from the volcanic slopes of Hawaii, the clay garden beds of the Pacific Northwest and across the great [lakes] state of Michigan.

In Lisa’s words: “I love to work with flowers blooming now and nearby, celebrating the richest hues, most fragrant blooms, the abundance of seasonality. I thrive on the uncommon and unexpected, applauding a determined weed growing out of a brick wall, the unusual variegation pattern on a peony’s petal, a tattooed bride’s arms cradling a delicate bouquet. I excel when tasked with realizing the visions of my clients, arranging stems to suit the celebration, bringing event decor ideas to life,  striving for the breathtaking gasp of elation.”

Lisa lives in Detroit, and when she’s not playing with flowers, you can find her scheming up field trips with her dogs or planning explorations in other inspirational cities. As listeners may recall from past episodes of this podcast, Lisa is also the creator of Flower House, a floral art installation in 2015, and the producer of the 2016 Detroit Flower Week.

Find pot + box at these social places:

pot + box on Facebook

pot + box on Instagram

pot + box on Twitter

pot + box’s VLNTNSDYMRKT event on February 10th.

Michigan Flower Growers Cooperative

Listen to Lisa’s first interview on the Slow Flowers Podcast, February 2015

Listen to Lisa’s Flower House Detroit preview interview on the Slow Flowers Podcast, September 2015

A locally-grown and designed bouquet from Flying Bear Farm

Inside the new Flying Bear Farm retail store in Langley, Washington on Whidbey Island

A recent floral jewelry workshop at Flying Bear Farm with local florist Tobey Nelson.

Benjamin Courteau, field harvesting for Flying Bear Farm.

Melissa Brown, also a past guest of this podcast, and her husband Ben are farmer florists who often draw on the talents of Melissa’s parents Molly & David Brown.

After several very successful seasons growing flowers and designing for wedding clients, the time came this past fall to enter retail. Flower farmers listening will want to hear what led to this decision and how Melissa hopes to strike a good balance between growing, designing and selling Flying Bear Farm’s flowers.

Find Flying Bear Farm at these social places:

Flying Bear Farm on Facebook

Flying Bear Farm on Instagram

Flying Bear Farm on Pinterest

Flying Bear Farm on Twitter

Listen to Melissa’s first interview on the Slow Flowers Podcast, December 2015

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 277,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for downloading, listening, commenting and sharing — it means so much.

Slow Flowers Journal now appears inside the pages of Florists’ Review.

As the Slow Flowers Movement gains more supporters and more passionate participants who believe in the importance of the American cut flower industry, the momentum is contagious. I know you feel it, too. I value your support and invite you to show your thanks and with a donation to support my ongoing advocacy, education and outreach activities. You can find the donate button at debraprinzing.com in the right column.

Thank you to our sponsors who have supported Slow Flowers and all of our programs including this podcast, American Flowers Week, the Slowflowers.com online directory to American grown flowers, as well as our new channels, Slow Flowers Journal and the 2018 Slow Flowers Summit.

And thank you to our lead sponsor for 2018, Florists’ Review magazine. I’m delighted to serve as Contributing Editor for the new monthly Slow Flowers Journal section, which you can find in the pages of Florists’ Review. It’s the leading trade magazine in the floral industry and the only independent periodical for the retail, wholesale and supplier market. Take advantage of the special subscription offer for members of the Slow Flowers Community.

Certified American Grown Flowers. The Certified American-Grown program and label provide a guarantee for designers and consumers on the source of their flowers. Take pride in your flowers and buy with confidence, ask for Certified American Grown Flowers. To learn more visit americangrownflowers.org.

Arctic Alaska Peonies, a cooperative of 50 family farms in the heart of Alaska providing high quality, American Grown peony flowers during the months of July and August. Visit them today at arcticalaskapeonies.com

Seattle Wholesale Growers Market, a farmer-owned cooperative committed to providing the very best the Pacific Northwest has to offer in cut flowers, foliage and plants. The Growers Market’s mission is to foster a vibrant marketplace that sustains local flower farms and provides top-quality products and service to the local floral industry. Find them at seattlewholesalegrowersmarket.com

Longfield Gardens provides home gardeners with high quality flower bulbs and perennials. Their online store offers plants for every region and every season, from tulips and daffodils to dahlias, caladiums and amaryllis. Visit them at longfield-gardens.com.

Syndicate Sales, an American manufacturer of vases and accessories for the professional florist. Look for the American Flag Icon to find Syndicate’s USA-made products and join the Syndicate Stars loyalty program at syndicatesales.com.

Johnny’s Selected Seeds, an employee-owned company that provides our industry the best flower, herb and vegetable seeds — supplied to farms large and small and even backyard cutting gardens like mine. Check them out at johnnysseeds.com.

Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers. Formed in 1988, ASCFG was created to educate, unite, and support commercial cut flower growers. It mission is to help growers produce high-quality floral material, and to foster and promote the local availability of that product. Learn more at ascfg.org

(c) Missy Palacol Photography

I’m Debra Prinzing, host and producer of the Slow Flowers Podcast. Next week, you’re invited to join me in putting more American grown flowers on the table, one vase at a time. And If you like what you hear, please consider logging onto Itunes and posting a listener review.

The content and opinions expressed here are either mine alone or those of my guests alone, independent of any podcast sponsor or other person, company or organization.

The Slow Flowers Podcast is engineered and edited by Andrew Brenlan. Learn more about his work at soundbodymovement.com.

Music Credits:
Cymbal Patter; Sylvestor
by Blue Dot Sessions
http://www.sessions.blue
https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/
In The Field
Music from:

audionautix.com

Episode 333: Flowers and Herbs with Xenia D’Ambrosi of New York’s Sweet Earth Co. and News about the PNW Cut Flower Growers Meet-Up

January 24th, 2018

Today’s guest is Slow Flowers member Xenia D’Ambrosi of Sweet Earth Co. Blooms & Botanicals

Xenia with her flowers . . .

I’ve met Xenia on a few locations – both in the PNW and here, at the November 2017 New England Farmer Florist Connection event.

Today’s guest is Xenia D’Ambrosi, owner of Sweet Earth Co. in Pound Ridge, New York – where the New York City suburbs transition toward the lower Hudson Valley.

I’ve invited her to share her story as part of my 2018 goal to zero in on the successful small business strategies of Slow Flowers members.

There’s so much creativity and innovation taking place in flower farming and floral design and we are a community of generous individuals who are incredibly eager to share their stories.

Whether it’s about extending one’s brand to related products and services or diversifying to reach a new market or changing up the channels through which you’re selling flowers — all is relevant and I want to hear about it!

Before we join my conversation with Xenia, though, I want to share a report from the Pacific Northwest Cut Flowers Growers upcoming meet-up. For the fourth year, flower farmers, farmer-florists and floral designers are gathering for an intensive day focused on the practices, crops and marketplace that makes this region dynamic and unique. The day’s keynote speakers, Ralph Thurston and Jeriann Sabine from Bindweed Farm will wow you. Listen to their 2016 appearance on the Slow Flowers Podcast here. 

Erin McMullen of Rain Drop Farms in Philomath, Oregon, is part of the planning team for the February 25th Meet-Up in Corvallis, Oregon. I’ve asked her to share a bit about the sure-to-be-sold-out event. Tickets are going fast and it’s time to grab yours if you’re thinking about joining this one-day session next month.

Details on the February 24th Oregon Small Farms Conference are HERE

Details on the February 25th PNW Cut Flower Growers Meet-Up HERE

A glorious seasonal bouquet from Sweet Earth Co.

More seasonal annuals, perennials and herbs from Sweet Earth Co.

Now, to our main guest of the day, Xenia D’Ambrosi of Sweet Earth Co.

Xenia D’Ambrosi has a passion for sustainable gardening and horticulture. Her company Sweet Earth Co. specializes in designing and maintaining sustainable gardens and natural landscapes, as well as crop planning and management.

Sweet Earth Co. was built around a mission –to help clients improve function, beauty and biodiversity in their landscape while mentoring and partnering with them to understand and practice the basic tenets of sustainable landscaping. Mixing function and beauty is something Sweet Earth does close to home.   

Having recently rebranded her business as Sweet Earth Co. Blooms & Botanicals , Xenia sustainably grows specialty cut flowers  and offers a flower and herb CSA, as well as produces a line of specialty herbal teas.  Visitors to the farm stand at Sweet Earth Co find local flowers, herbs, teas, honey, herbal products and garden gifts and decor.  

Xenia earned a Masters in Public Health and an MBA from Columbia University, as well as a certificate in gardening and sustainable practices through The New York Botanical Garden. She is the author of articles regarding sustainable gardening and has led various workshops and educational events about gardening and agricultural literacy.

The cutting garden at Xenia’s “farmstead” in Pound Ridge, NY

Sweet Earth Co.’s herbal tea collection ~ a diversified product from the farm.

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 274,000 by listeners like you. Thank you for downloading, listening, commenting and sharing — it means so much.

As the Slow Flowers Movement gains more supporters and more passionate participants who believe in the importance of the American cut flower industry, the momentum is contagious. I know you feel it, too. I value your support and invite you to show your thanks and with a donation to support my ongoing advocacy, education and outreach activities. You can find the donate button at debraprinzing.com in the right column.

Thank you to our sponsors who have supported Slow Flowers and all of our programs including this podcast, American Flowers Week, the Slowflowers.com online directory to American grown flowers, as well as our new channels, Slow Flowers Journal and the 2018 Slow Flowers Summit.

Thank you to our lead sponsor for 2018, Florists’ Review magazine. I’m delighted to serve as Contributing Editor for the new monthly Slow Flowers Journal section, which you can find in the pages of Florists’ Review. It’s the leading trade magazine in the floral industry and the only independent periodical for the retail, wholesale and supplier market. Take advantage of the special subscription offer for members of the Slow Flowers Community.

Certified American Grown Flowers. The Certified American-Grown program and label provide a guarantee for designers and consumers on the source of their flowers. Take pride in your flowers and buy with confidence, ask for Certified American Grown Flowers.  To learn more visit americangrownflowers.org.

Arctic Alaska Peonies, a cooperative of 50 family farms in the heart of Alaska providing high quality, American Grown peony flowers during the months of July and August. Visit them today at arcticalaskapeonies.com

Seattle Wholesale Growers Market, a farmer-owned cooperative committed to providing the very best the Pacific Northwest has to offer in cut flowers, foliage and plants. The Growers Market’s mission is to foster a vibrant marketplace that sustains local flower farms and provides top-quality products and service to the local floral industry. Find them at seattlewholesalegrowersmarket.com

Longfield Gardens provides home gardeners with high quality flower bulbs and perennials. Their online store offers plants for every region and every season, from tulips and daffodils to dahlias, caladiums and amaryllis. Visit them at longfield-gardens.com.

Syndicate Sales, an American manufacturer of vases and accessories for the professional florist. Look for the American Flag Icon to find Syndicate’s USA-made products and join the Syndicate Stars loyalty program at syndicatesales.com.

Johnny’s Selected Seeds, an employee-owned company that provides our industry the best flower, herb and vegetable seeds — supplied to farms large and small and even backyard cutting gardens like mine. Check them out at johnnysseeds.com.

Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers. Formed in 1988, ASCFG was created to educate, unite, and support commercial cut flower growers. It mission is to help growers produce high-quality floral material, and to foster and promote the local availability of that product. Learn more at ascfg.org

(c) Missy Palacol Photography

I’m Debra Prinzing, host and producer of the Slow Flowers Podcast. Next week, you’re invited to join me in putting more American grown flowers on the table, one vase at a time. And If you like what you hear, please consider logging onto Itunes and posting a listener review.

The content and opinions expressed here are either mine alone or those of my guests alone, independent of any podcast sponsor or other person, company or organization.

The Slow Flowers Podcast is engineered and edited by Andrew Brenlan. Learn more about his work at  kinetictreefitness.com.

Music Credits:
Sage the Hunter; The Wooden Platform; Yarrow and Root
by Blue Dot Sessions
Music from:

audionautix.com