Debra Prinzing

Debra Prinzing is a Seattle and Los Angeles-based Outdoor Living Expert. As a writer and lecturer, she specializes in interiors, architecture and landscapes. Debra is author of seven books, including Slow Flowers: Four Seasons of Locally Grown Bouquets from the Garden, Meadow and Farm (St. Lynn's Press, 2013); The 50 Mile Bouquet: Seasonal, Local and Sustainable Flowers (St. Lynn's Press, 2012) and Stylish Sheds And Elegant Hideaways (Random House/Clarkson Potter, 2008). Her articles have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the San Diego Union-Tribune, Country Gardens, Garden Design, Metropolitan Home, Sunset, Better Homes & Gardens and many other fine publications. Here's what others say about her:

“The local flower movement's champion . . ."

--Ken Druse, REAL DIRT Podcast

“. . . an impassioned advocate for a more sustainable flower industry."

--Bellamy Pailthorp, KPLU-FM (NPR affiliate)

“The mother of the ‘Slow Flower’ movement, Prinzing is making a personal crusade to encourage people to think about floral purchases the same way they may approach what they eat: Buy locally grown flowers or grow them yourself.”

--Debbie Arrington, The Sacramento Bee

“Debra Prinzing . . . has done more to celebrate and explain ethical + eco-friendly flowers than I could ever hope to.”

--Grace Bonney, founder of Design*Sponge

Lola Creative, A Floral Design Studio’s Innovative Business Model (Episode 168)

November 19th, 2014

Emily Ellen Anderson of Seattle's Lola Creative.

Emily Ellen Anderson of Seattle’s Lola Creative.

Today’s awesome podcast guest is Emily Ellen Anderson, a landscape architect and sculptor-turned floral and event designer.

Emily brings a fresh, remarkable, and out-of-the ordinary point of view to the work of her Seattle area-based studio, Lola Creative.

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Sculptural (and eco-friendly) taxidermy by Lola Creative.

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A Lola Creative Event Venue.

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Emily Ellen Anderson LOVES Sticks!

Wowzer - a beautiful, edible centerpiece by Lola Creative.

Wowzer – a beautiful, edible centerpiece by Lola Creative.

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A Kokedama Hanging Moss Chandelier by Lola Creative

Lola Creative
I’ve been on the road for the past two weeks. Speaking about and promoting the Slow Flowers Movement has taken me to Rhode Island, Colorado and New Mexico. In addition to racking up a lot of valuable airline points, I’m so thrilled that in each destination, I’ve connected with America’s flower farmers and the floral designers who value their unique, homegrown blooms, botanicals and foliage.

The Slow Flowers design workshop at Blithewold Mansion, Gardens & Arboretum in Bristol, Rhode Island - a fantastic burst of creativity.

The Slow Flowers design workshop at Blithewold Mansion, Gardens & Arboretum in Bristol, Rhode Island – a fantastic burst of creativity.

A huge bouquet of gratitude goes to Julie Christina, Kris Greene and Gail Read of Blithewold Mansion in Bristol, Rhode Island, for inviting me to speak at their fundraising luncheon – and to teach a hands-on floral workshop on the grounds of this illustrious American architectural treasure.

READ MORE…

ASCFG #2 Design Basics and Beyond with Jennie Love and Sullivan Owen (Episode 167)

November 12th, 2014

Gorgeous, local, seasonal and simply sublime: Sullivan Owen's lovely urn arrangement.

Gorgeous, local, seasonal and simply sublime: Sullivan Owen’s lovely urn arrangement.

I’ve lots to share with you, so before introducing today’s episode, let me jump right into the Flower News of the Week:

COVER.The_Wreath_Recipe_Book._HIGH_RES First off, the winner of our drawing for a free copy of Alethea Harampolis and Jill Rizzo’s beautiful new project, The Wreath Recipe Book, is Jen Beck, a professor, nonprofit consultant, and artist based in Austin, Texas.

Thanks to the people at Artisan Books for sending this info-packed prize her way- and thanks to everyone who took the time to comment about their favorite seasonal and local wreath ingredients.

Next, I am so pleased to announce that flower farmer Sid Anna Sherwood of Annie’s Flower Farm in Sequim, Washington, reached her funding goal for an interest-free loan via an innovative nonprofit program called Kiva. When I posted a bonus interview with her on October 29th, Sid Anna she still needed to raise close to three-quarters of her goal.

Thanks to listeners of the Slow Flowers Podcast and to the amazing way that news spreads on Facebook, that huge amount of money – more than $7,000 of crowd-lending, was raised in 9 days! Every penny will be paid back over the course of three years and Sid Anna’s customers will continue to benefit from her lovely local flowers, grown on a new piece of leased farmland on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula.

I also want to give my personal congrats to two previous guests of the Slow Flowers Podcast. First, to Erin Benzakein, owner of floret flowers, for being one of the winners of Martha Stewart’s American Made Awards, given to her in person by Martha this week in NYC. Bringing local and domestic flowers to the consciousness of Martha’s followers is super important. I hope this award inspires everyone to think about the origins of their flowers and the people who grow and design with them.

Next, a huge shout-out to Farmgirl Flowers and creator Christina Stembel for reaching their 4th anniversary this week. Stay strong and flourish, my friend!

S-L-O-W   F-L-O-W-E-R-S in pink and white dahlias

S-L-O-W F-L-O-W-E-R-S in pink and white dahlias

Earlier this week, I received a wonderful email from Slowflowers.com members Kay Studer and Susan Studer King of Buckeye Blooms in Elida, Ohio. We recently met in person at the ASCFG Conference and they thoughtfully followed up to tell me about a recent effort to reach out to potential bridal customers. After their consultation, Susan and Kay sent her a note like this one:

We hope you have had a great fall so far and that plans for your wedding are proceeding smoothly!

We just wanted to follow up with you to confirm if you would like to contract our flowers and design services for your wedding. We are planning our spring flower crop now and are actually able to custom-grow flowers exclusively for you! As both a flower farm and a floral design studio, Buckeye Blooms is able to provide the very freshest, sustainably-grown flowers possible for your special day. We offer numerous varieties of flowers not available to traditional florists, which means your bouquet will be unlike any other!

Whether you decide to go with Buckeye Blooms or not, we do hope you will consider requesting seasonal, locally-grown or at least domestically-grown flowers for your bouquets. Incredibly, over 80% of flowers used by traditional florists are imported–primarily from Ecuador and Colombia where environmental and human health regulations are lax (I–Susan– used to live in Ecuador and can tell you stories of what I saw….).

Seasonal, locally-grown flowers arrive to you fresher and more fragrant, plus you help to support local farmers and the local economy. You can learn more about the local flower movement at fieldtovase.com and slowflowers.com.

We have found that brides love telling their guests that their flowers were grown in Ohio and came a field not far away– and that they know the farmer that grew them. This can really add a special, personal touch to your wedding day.

Educating consumers about their choices in flowers is something we are passionate about, so whatever you decide we do hope you will consider locally-grown flowers!

This is worth a hip, hip, hooray – Buckeye Blooms, I love your efforts at outreach and education. I know that it will inspire other flower farmers to convey similar messages to their existing and potential clients. Many thanks for your leadership in the Slow Flowers Movement!

Jennie Love of Love 'N Fresh Flowers

Jennie Love of Love ‘N Fresh Flowers

Today’s guests are none other than Jennie Love of Love ‘n Fresh Flowers in Philadelphia, and her friend, fellow designer and frequent flower customer Sullivan Owen of Sullivan Owen Floral & Event Design, also of Philadelphia.

The two shared the stage at ASCFG last month in a packed ballroom where they designed with gorgeous local flowers and discussed their craft in a talk called “Design Basics.”

Even though this interview is audio-only, I believe what you’ll hear will stimulate you to think about floral design and seasonal and locally-grown flowers in a new way.

Sullivan and Jennie have a lot to share and even their casual asides are packed with juicy information that will help you in your own floral business, be it growing, designing – or both!

Here’s a little more about them both:

Huge audience! ASCFG's "Floral Basics" with Jennie and Sullivan drew a crowd.

Huge audience! ASCFG’s “Floral Basics” with Jennie and Sullivan drew a crowd.

Owner and creative director at Love ‘N Fresh Flowers, Jennie Love is a trained professional horticulturist and an experienced, life-long farmer.

Jennie has led numerous workshops over the past five years, including the sold-out Seasonal Bouquet Project LIVE series and classes for Longwood Gardens’ Floral Design Certificate program.

Sullivan Owen at the ASCFG floral basics workshop.

Sullivan Owen at the ASCFG floral basics workshop.

She has also presented to many garden clubs and other groups throughout the Mid-Atlantic area.

A charismatic and passionate flower farmer, Jennie found her natural niche as a ‘farmer florist’ for wedding and event design, becoming a recognized leader of the local flower movement.

She was recently featured in the New York Times for her farm-to-centerpiece efforts. Her distinctively lush and textural floral designs have been used in hundreds of weddings as well as for numerous photo shoots, magazines, style blogs and books. Jennie is a board member for ASCFG and write a regular column for The Cut Flower Quarterly.

Sullivan Owen is the owner and creative director of Sullivan Owen Floral & Event, her eponymous floral design studio, located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

She is sought after for her lush and fashion-forward style, and is a trendsetter whose work is regularly featured in wedding publications, and most recently in Martha Stewart Weddings. Her business acumen and background in marketing and branding have made her just as passionate about running an excellent business as she is about creating gorgeous designs. She loves working with the best flowers available and loves to get to know the growers behind the amazing products they cultivate.

Jennie's hand-tied bouquet features All American flowers from her farm and others'.

Jennie’s hand-tied bouquet features All American flowers from her farm and others’.

If you haven’t started following Jennie or Sullivan on their various social platforms, you can follow them at these links:

Jennie on Pinterest

Jennie on Facebook

Jennie on Instagram

Sullivan on Facebook

Sullivan on Twitter

Sullivan on Instagram

 

Next week’s guest is event designer Emily Ellen Anderson of Lola Creative in Seattle. Then, you’ll hear another presentation recorded at the ASCFG Conference. . . so I promise lots of good stuff in the coming weeks.

On another note, a few weeks ago I dedicated an episode to a little girl named Shylah who faced many challenging health issues. Blessedly, your prayers, thoughts, meditations and good wishes have been felt. She’s out of the hospital and back at home. And while there are months and months of treatment ahead, everyone around Shylah feels optimistic about her recovery. Among others, this floral tribe has gathered around her and I thank you for sharing in my best wishes for this little one’s swift road to good health.

Listeners like you have downloaded the Slow Flowers Podcast more than 25,000 times. If you like what you hear, please consider logging onto Itunes and posting a listener review.

My personal goal is to put more American grown flowers on the table, one vase at a time. I promise that when you tune in next week, you’ll hear another insightful and educational episode of the Slow Flowers Podcast.

The Slow Flowers Podcast is engineered and edited by Andrew Wheatley and Hannah Holtgeerts. Learn more about their work at hhcreates.net.

 

 

 

SLOW FLOWERS Podcast: Studio Choo’s Jill Rizzo and Alethea Harampolis on The Wreath Recipe Book (Episode 166)

November 5th, 2014

Jill Rizzo (left) and Alethea Harampolis (right).

Jill Rizzo (left) and Alethea Harampolis (right).

I’m so pleased to welcome Slow Flowers Members Jill Rizzo and Alethea Harampolis. Floral designers and founders of SF-based Studio Choo, they have a carefree, nature-inspired design philosophy that touches everything they create.

As a floral design shop, studio and boutique, Studio Choo focuses as much as possible on locally-sourced flowers and plants, styled with a nod to the wild and untamed.

You have a chance to win a free copy of their newest project, The Wreath Recipe Book, courtesy of publisher Artisan. To enter, please post a comment below about YOUR FAVORITE wreath ingredient from nature, the woodland, the garden or flower fields.

You must post a comment in order to enter a drawing to win a free copy of this lovely new book. The drawing will take place at 5 p.m. Pacific Time on Saturday, November 8th and I’ll announce the winner on the Nov. 12th episode of The Slow Flowers Podcast.

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Alethea and Jill originally met and worked together at an esteemed flower shop in San Francisco. Their shared passion led them to found Studio Choo in 2009.

After many weddings, deliveries and penning their first book, The Flower Recipe Book, Studio Choo expanded into a new studio space in South San Francisco last year. The Flower Recipe Book took them across the nation, teaching design classes in massive markets, quaint shops and beautiful farms. When they returned home, they worked tirelessly to turn their studio into a unique expanse devoted to design classes, an apothecary, a workspace for weddings and events, a well-curated shop and a place to honor the love of flowers that started it all.

Late winter-early spring: A camellia branch with a swag made of 65 little hyacinth blooms.

Late winter-early spring: A camellia branch with a swag made of 65 little hyacinth blooms.

I’ve gotten to know Jill and Alethea over the past few years, reviewing The Flower Recipe Book for Sunset magazine, hosting their book-signing presentation for florists at the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market, and inviting them to the stage when I produced the floral design workshops at the SF Flower & Garden Show last March. But due to the fact that we live and work in different cities, I simply had not been able to record a Studio Choo interview.

Welcome to the Studio Choo shop.

Welcome to the Studio Choo shop.

Last month, I took a last minute trip to SF and while there, I invited myself to visit the new Studio Choo space. *Thanks Christina Stembel of Farmgirl Flowers for the lift – I’m so glad you got to stop by, too.

Even though it was a Friday and flowers for a few weddings were in production, Jill and Alethea were so sweet to take a half an hour and talk about their latest project — JUST OUT — “The Wreath Recipe Book: Year-Round Wreaths, Swags, and Other Decorations to Make with Seasonal Branches”

A wistful spring wreath uses flowering dogwood branches, sheet moss and earthy mushrooms.

A wistful spring wreath uses flowering dogwood branches, sheet moss and earthy mushrooms.

Using the same recipe-like approach to seasonal branches that they presented with cut flower arrangements in the Flower Recipe Book, this time Jill and Alethea employ the same clear format in explaining how to make wreaths, table settings, napkin rings, package toppers, wall hangings, and other branch-based decorations.

A gorgeous garland with cotoneaster branches, pomegranates, purple sage and strawflowers.

A gorgeous garland with cotoneaster branches, pomegranates, purple sage and strawflowers.

Divided into Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter, and based on when the main plant “ingredients” are available. Ingredient lists and step-by-step photographs give readers a starting point for trying these recipes and adapting each to one’s own aesthetic and style.

Here's that amazing Tahoe wreath Alethea just made, using foraged material from her recent vacation.

Here’s that amazing Tahoe wreath Alethea just made, using foraged material from her recent vacation.

I know you’ll enjoy our conversation about Studio Choo, and how Jill and Alethea blend their unique point of view as designers with a dynamic business model that takes them in some very unexpected places. Alethea has just launched her own scent collection called Snake Face and together the two are cooking up workshops and other creative endeavors for the year to come.

Bittersweet wreath with fall chrysanthemums, marigolds and safflowers.

Bittersweet wreath with fall chrysanthemums, marigolds and safflowers.

And here’s some background on this dynamic duo:

Studio Choo BFFs.

Studio Choo BFFs.

Alethea spent her time before Studio Choo as an estate gardener in Seattle where she managed the wet and wild rolling hills of the city’s rich and famous. After working in other boutique flower shops perfecting her art, she returned to her native Bay Area to settle back in.

Jill grew up with her mother, aunt, and uncle all running their own flower shops, so it now seems only natural that she would do the same. After spending her childhood in Rhode Island learning the difference between roses and ranunculus, she graduated with a degree in illustration from Parsons School of Design and moved to San Francisco to try life out west.

Studio Choo started with a sneeze. Jill’s tiny sneeze, to be exact. It was so small Alethea remarked upon this tiny sneeze and thus “Choo” became a shared nickname between the two. They remained friends when Alethea left the Bay Area, and they dreamed of starting a business together one day. Upon Alethea’s return a few years later (early 2009), they finally took the plunge to open their floral studio and the eponymous Studio Choo was born.

Studio Choo's Friday deliveries, ready to go.

Studio Choo’s Friday deliveries, ready to go.

Jill and Alethea encourage their readers and customers alike to bring the outdoors into our homes and celebrate the special qualities of each season.To find inspiration in plants that are in season wherever you to live — I wholeheartedly endorse this philosophy because it’s at the heart of what the Slow Flowers Movement is all about.

Listeners like you have downloaded the Slow Flowers Podcast nearly 25,000 times. If you like what you hear, please consider logging onto Itunes and posting a listener review.

My personal goal is to put more American grown flowers on the table, one vase at a time. I promise that when you tune in next week, you’ll hear another insightful and educational episode of the Slow Flowers Podcast.

The Slow Flowers Podcast is engineered and edited by Andrew Wheatley and Hannah Holtgeerts. Learn more about their work at hhcreates.net.

A visit to Flower School New York and a lesson with Emily Thompson

November 4th, 2014

“So much of design is done in selection of materials. I want a flower arrangement to feel like you’ve dug through the wilderness to find a treasure.”

Last month at Flower School New York, the Emily Thompson workshop was abuzz with beauty and creativity.

Last month at Flower School New York, the Emily Thompson workshop was abuzz with beauty and creativity.

flower-school-ny-logo I spent a few days in NYC earlier this month and today I want to share one of the highlights of that visit.

Lots of amazing goodness came from my 55 plus-or-minus hours in New York, but one of the BEST experiences was my visit to meet the folks at Flower School New York.

As pretty as a flower shop, the Flower School New York is located on West 14th Street in NYC.

As pretty as a flower shop, the Flower School New York is located on West 14th Street in NYC.

Look what I found in the front window display!

Look what I found in the front window display!

If you have a trip to NYC planned at any time in the future, I recommend checking the class schedule at Flower School New York. I did just that about two months ago, as I began to plan a series of meetings with editors and Slowflowers.com members in the city. Turns out, on Oct. 23rd, the amazing Emily Thompson was scheduled to teach a workshop on sculptural floral design.

I signed up immediately. And lucky for me, I grabbed one of the 25 or so spaces in the 2-hour class.

Emily Thompson (left), Flower School founder Eileen Johnson (right). In the background you'll notice the rest of the leadership team.

Emily Thompson (left), Flower School founder Eileen Johnson (right). In the background you’ll notice the rest of the leadership team — Calvert Crary, Beth Was Horta and Brittany Bosch.

The staff at Flower School New York knew I was going to be there that night and they created a surprise window display featuring my book Slow Flowers.

They also had copies on display in the charming retail area just inside the storefront that faces West 14th Street. A huge bouquet of thanks to Founder Eileen Johnson, as well as Executive Director Calvert Crary, Operations Manager Brittany Bosch and Instructor Beth Was Horta for making me feel incredibly welcome.

And then, there was Emily.

What a great workshop - and great instruction from Emily Thompson!

What a great workshop – and great instruction from Emily Thompson!

You know how you are dying to meet someone you admire and THEN, miraculously, they kinda want to meet you, too? That delightful scenario happened to me years ago with a writer I idolize, Scott Calhoun.

The same thing took place when Emily and I were introduced. What? I couldn’t believe it! We were destined to meet sooner or later, but Flower School New York facilitated it.

Emily at work, using bittersweet to create a matrix for her design (NO Foam!). Note, she's wearing one of Janna Lufkin's "Raw Materials" aprons, which I love!

Emily at work, using bittersweet to create a matrix for her design (NO Foam!). Note, she’s wearing one of Janna Lufkin’s “Raw Materials” aprons, which I love!

I loved studying with Emily. Every single word out that comes out of her mouth is inspiring. It made me feel as if I was taking a Master Class in a MFA program. Emilyisms:

“I want to make things that are impractical. That are surprising to me.”

“The proportions I design with are more akin to the natural garden or landscape. I’m looking for powerful contrast, for things that resist one another. That draw the eye in and push it away.”

I’ve got some great news: Emily invited me to visit her brand new shop on Beekman Street, so the following morning we squeezed in a shared cup of tea/coffee and a tour of the new digs. I asked permission to turn on the recorder (natch) and Emily agreed. So stay tuned for an Emily Thompson podcast episode later this year! And Flower School New York’s Eileen Johnson has promised to let me interview her in the coming year, too!

For now, just enjoy my photos from that magical evening.

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Here’s how to stay in touch witn Flower School NY

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A sweet Slow Flowers vignette.

Here's my arrangement, what fun!

Here’s my arrangement, what fun!

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Made-in-USA work aprons from Janna Lufkin’s “Raw Materials” are ready for purchase at Flower School New York.

The secret garden at Flower School New York.

The secret garden at Flower School New York.

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A beautiful fall urn.

“I love to work with seasonal flowers, with things of our landscape. And then I’ll add bits of the exotic.”

SLOW FLOWERS Podcast: Bonus Interview with Sid Anna Sherwood of Annie’s Flower Farm

October 29th, 2014

Sid Anna Sherwood of Annie's Flower Farm in Sequim, Washington

Sid Anna Sherwood of Annie’s Flower Farm in Sequim, Washington

I wanted to quickly post this audio interview with Sid Anna Sherwood, of Annie’s Flower Farm in Sequim, Washington.

Why?

Because she’s in the middle of an innovative crowd-sourcing campaign to save thousands of perennial plants and purchase the equipment and infrastructure that she’s been leasing from a now-closed flower farm in her area.

This isn’t a “crowd-funding” campaign, but a “crowd-lending” campaign. Money that you “lend” will be paid back!

I can’t think of a better way to invest in domestic, local, organic and seasonal cut flowers! Here’s her post about “Moving Annie’s Flower Farm.”

Sid Anna sent me this email earlier in the week to share more about her efforts:

“I have followed your work and books since I took over an established flower farm her in Sequim, Washington, two years ago. They have all been very helpful to me.

I took over the established one acre flower farm (at The Cutting Garden in Sequim) when the Mixes wanted to close it. I leased it from them.

Now they are turning it back to pasture but they are selling the hoop house, greenhouse, irrigation and perennials to me. I am moving everything four miles further west to more leased farmland.

A beautiful, local and seasonal bridal bouquet grown and designed by Sid Anna Sherwood of Annie's Flower Farm.

A beautiful, local and seasonal bridal bouquet grown and designed by Sid Anna Sherwood of Annie’s Flower Farm.

To raise the money to do this I am micro financing a crowd-lended loan through Kiva.Net.org. Kiva is a nonprofit that supports entrepreneurs with zero interest loans.

I was endorsed for the loan by The Greenhorns, an outfit in upstate NY that supports new farmers.

I currently have 110 “lenders” and I have raised about $3000 with $7000 to go.

I need a lot more lenders and only have fifteen days to finish funding the loan. (Like Kickstarter, it has to be completely funded–unlike Kickstarter, it is a loan so it gets paid back).

I found out about this loan opportunity through the Washington Agricultural Extension local newsletter.

My invitation link is here.

It has all of the information about the loan and what it is for.

I sell to florists, have a CSA, do floral design for weddings, DIY weddings, sell bouquets at grocery stores, dothe floral arrangements for a local restaurant that promotes locally grown food, sell seeds, participate in the Clallam County Farm Tour and have a u-pick/u-cut which is on the honor system. My wedding business is growing and this summer I had twenty-two weddings.

I am an organic gardener. Last September my flower farm was mentioned in Sunset Magazine.

Can you think of any ways I could get more people involved in my Kiva Loan?

I was hoping you might post something to let more people who are interested in the local flower movement know about the support I need.”

Thanks so much,

All the best,

Sid Anna Sherwood
Annie’s Flower Farm
Sequim, WA 98382
360 809 3959

PLEASE help if you are able! A $5 loan up to a $500 loan will help Sid Anna as she continues to grow flowers for her community!

As of today, she’s 33 percent to her goal, but there are only 8 days left to raise about $6,500. Check it out and join the effort if you can help a flower farmer!

SLOW FLOWERS Podcast: ASCFG #1 Getting Florists Onboard with Lisa Mason Ziegler (Episode 165)

October 29th, 2014

The Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers 2015 conference theme: "Growing GROWERS"

The Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers 2015 conference theme: “Growing GROWERS”

Last week, more than 300 American and Canadian flower farmers and floral designers gathered at the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers national conference in Wilmington, Delaware. “Growing GROWERS” was a fabulous event and a privilege to attend.

Slow Flowers (that would be me) attended as a media sponsor. In the coming weeks, you will hear several episodes from expert panels and presentations recorded during the conference. I know you’ll be inspired and informed to hear them — it will be almost as good as having been there!

I want to congratulate the ASCFG conference committee and program co-chairs. Lynn Rapp of Cultivating Joy and Marsha Swezey of Suburban Blooms joined ASCFG staff Judy Lauschman and Linda Twining to plan the sold-out conference. Jennie Love of Love ‘N Fresh Flowers and Becky Devlin of Roots Flowers and Designs developed an extensive lineup of workshops and speakers. Kudos to you all!

The Gardener's Workshop Cut Flower Farm: Lisa Ziegler and her family and crew.

The Gardener’s Workshop Cut Flower Farm: Lisa Ziegler (front left) and her family and crew.

Gardeners_Workshop_Logo It was only a few weeks ago that I hosted flower farmer Lisa Mason Ziegler of The Gardener’s Workshop Cut Flower Farm to talk about her new book Cool Flowers.

But today you’ll have a chance to hear her excellent presentation: “Getting Florists Onboard and Keeping Their Business.” Lisa is nothing but 100 percent forthcoming about how she developed close ties with florists in the Newport News, Virginia, marketplace. Perhaps her story and business insights will prompt you to adopt some of her savvy marketing and sales practices.

Here is the outline for her presentation:

Getting Florist Onboard and Keeping their Business! 

The beautiful bounty, just picked, local and fresh - from The Gardener's Workshop Cut Flower Farm.

The beautiful bounty, just picked, local and fresh – from The Gardener’s Workshop Cut Flower Farm.

  1. Break the image of farmers gone by! Be professional from the get go.
    1. Consistence pays.
    2. Drop-off generous samples and a business information packet.
    3. Packet contents: your contact information, website, what you plan to grow, how they order, delivery schedule, how they will pay you.
    4. Follow-up, again and again.
    5. Words about social media—keep it all professional.

      Babs, the farm dog, is Lisa's secret weapon on social media.

      Babs, the farm dog, is Lisa’s secret weapon on her farm’s social media pages.

  2. Grow for standing orders.
    1. What is a standing order?
    2. Build trust with consistence high quality supplies of staple flowers.
    3. Make your flowers their staple flowers, example: zinnias in place of gerberas for summer.
    4. Sunflowers each week will not only float a bouquet business but your florist will love them.
    5. Then one day it will happen—you realize that your flowers are filling their daily orders.

      When florists see and smell these tuberoses -- they want a standing order during harvest time.

      When florists see and smell these tuberoses — they want a standing order during harvest time.

  3. Sell on the phone once customers established.
    1. Email / fax list and follow-up with a call
    2. This allows the customer to see exactly what you have, how many bunches and the price.
    3. Early morning contact works well for busy shops.
    4. I send lists one at a time: first customer sees all, then after their order, I update list, and send to next customer until all sold—about 2 hours of phone work.
    5. This allows us to pack the truck in the order of deliveries for speedier deliveries.
    6. Swap plastic flower boxes for the easiest deliveries. Pick up empty boxes on each deliver for the next week. This also allows us to wash their grimy boxes and fill with conditioned water (#2 holding tea bags.)
      Gorgeous rudbeckia = sales at the flower shop.

      Gorgeous rudbeckia = sales at the flower shop.

      Quantity and Quality is expressed in these snapdragons!

      Quantity and Quality is expressed in these snapdragons!

  4. Getting paid
    1. In your initial drop-off business information you should make it clear about payment.
    2. C.O.D. always for the first year.
    3. Then consider 30 day terms if they ask for those customers buying weekly with increasing orders.
    4. Attend to late payments immediately—its business not personal—don’t avoid it.
    5. If you take credit cards remember you are paying a fee—some folks have a cc handling fee which is complete fair.
      Stocked for deliveries.

      Stocked for weekly deliveries.

      The Gardener's Workshop Supermarket Bunches.

      The Gardener’s Workshop Supermarket Bunches.

      Premium flowers: Hellebores that florists gobble up!

      Premium flowers: Hellebores that florists gobble up!

  5. Grow your business
    1. Invite your commercial customers over once a year in season. Have a little food and listen. I normally learn about some flower or shrub or a stage of growth of something here on the farm that I have undervalued. You will learn something and they will appreciate you!
    2. Other customers: cruise lines, resorts, government agencies, event planners, garden share program, subscription drop-offs. Think outside the box.

HERE’S THE AWESOME VIDEO LISA REFERS TO: The Bed Layer attachment 

I hope you gained as much value from Lisa’s incredibly detailed presentation as I did. And be sure to follow her adventures by liking  the Cool Flowers Facebook page.

Listeners like you have downloaded the Slow Flowers Podcast nearly 25,000 times. If you like what you hear, please consider logging onto Itunes and posting a listener review.

My personal goal is to put more American grown flowers on the table, one vase at a time. I promise that when you tune in next week, you’ll hear another insightful and educational episode of the Slow Flowers Podcast.

The Slow Flowers Podcast is engineered and edited by Andrew Wheatley and Hannah Holtgeerts. Learn more about their work at hhcreates.net.

All photos provided, courtesy (c) The Gardener’s Workshop/Lisa Mason Ziegler