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

NYC Event Maestro David Beahm Adds Flower Farming to His Repertoire (Episode 209)

September 1st, 2015

David Beahm (c) Heidi Chowen

David Beahm (c) Heidi Chowen

I was in New York City in late August for the fifth Field to Vase Dinner, held at The Brooklyn Grange.

DV Flora, a major floral wholesaler and an event sponsor, sent one of its top customers as a guest to Field to Vase.

I found out in advance that their guest was none other than David Beahm. I couldn’t resist. I reached out and invited myself to his studio, asking whether we could record an episode of the Slow Flowers Podcast. And, lucky for you, he said YES!

While I don’t really know David, we are somehow friends on Facebook, so I’m well aware of his creative endeavors.

I think we connected after I gave a presentation about the Slow Flowers Movement at the 2014 Chapel Designers Conference in NYC.

Holly Chapple, founder of Chapel Designers, has involved David in her conferences and during the year I was there, the 75-plus participants gathered at David’s giant production and prop warehouse in the Bronx where they created floral samples for The Knot Dream Wedding.

I watched David in action and was thoroughly impressed by the scale on which he works. Plus, he is just a gracious and kind human being. I watched that, too.

web_db_03-Experiences-V Black

David took our selfie at the Highline after our podcast interview.

David took our selfie at the Highline after our podcast interview.

So two weeks ago, I took a combination of two subways and a bus and ended up at the headquarters for David Beam Experiences, quite close to the now-iconic Highline Public Garden.

What was once Manhattan’s gritty meatpacking district is now populated by high-rent galleries, fine restaurants, designer shops and creatives like Mr. Beam. It was a heady experience just to walk past the Dianne von Furstenburg shop and the Whitney Museum of American Art.

I arrived and rode the elevator to the 11th floor of what probably was once a warehouse but is now a sleek, uber-modern complex, entering David Beam’s atelier where I was warmly welcomed. We were seated in his light-filled office with eclectic furnishings and a comfortable sofa. That’s where we recorded this interview.

A dreamy David Beahm floral installation for a NYC loft

A dreamy David Beahm floral installation for a NYC rooftop

David Beahm bridal

David Beahm bridal

A true David Beahm "experience."

A true David Beahm “experience.”

A smaller moment, inside a cloche

A smaller moment, inside a cloche

A stunning floral chuppa

A stunning floral chuppa

Before I introduce David’s voice, here’s more about him:David Beahm is founder and president of David Beahm Design, just renamed David Beahm Experience.

He has drawn from experience with New York’s top florists and special event designers, as well as formal training in theater, television and grand opera, to become one of New York’s top event designers.  A favorite of celebrities, socialites and the fashion world, his work on Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas’s wedding was featured in magazines and news shows internationally and touted as the “The Wedding of the Century”.  Town & Country magazine has called him “one of New York’s extremely design savvy” talents.

David Beahm at Thistle Dew Farm.

David Beahm at Thistle Dew Farm.

Daevid Reed, head of horticulture/farm manager at Thistle Dew Farm.

Daevid Reed, head of horticulture/farm manager at Thistle Dew Farm.

Thistle Dew Farm, the new outlet for David Beahm's creative expression, as he gets his fingers in the dirt!

Thistle Dew Farm, the new outlet for David Beahm’s creative expression, as he gets his fingers in the dirt!

Beahm has a broad-based background in the arts; thus, he views event design as a combination of theater and art.  Emphasizing style, quality and originality, his creations combine cutting-edge ideas with timeless tradition.  He is an expert at incorporating a client’s personal style into their event to create a memorable and unique occasion.

A David Beahm floral installation.

A David Beahm floral installation.

Artful tulips in a sculptural "swirl"

Artful tulips in a sculptural “swirl”

Catering to an elegant and diverse client base, David Beahm Design has staged some of the most talked about corporate and social events in New York and internationally.  New York Magazine has named David one of the top wedding designers in the city and Beahm was recently named to The Knot magazine’s ‘Best of…’.   BizBash.com named Beahm one of “New York’s Top Ten.”

His work has appeared in The New York Times, Architectural Digest, Vanity Fair, Elle Décor, House and Garden, New York Magazine, People, US, Bride’s, Modern Bride, Elegant Bride, Town and Country, Grace Ormonde Wedding Style and many other prominent publications.  As the Bridal Design Expert of the late Marshall Field’s department stores, he created the Valentine’s Day “Win a David Beahm Dream Wedding” at Marshall Field’s in Chicago.

At the request of the Target Corporation, David had the privilege of creating a designer table for Elle Décor’s ‘Dining by Design’ which toured the country on exhibition for three years.  In December, he completed an eight city tour for Van Cleef and Arpels and Neiman Marcus: ‘Une journée à Paris.’

More loveliness by David Beahm

More loveliness by David Beahm

David Beahm unveiled an entirely new web site yesterday and I invite you to follow links to discover his rebranded company David Beahm Experience.

Follow David Here:

David Beahm on Facebook

David Beahm on Twitter  (@davidbeahmdesign)

David Beahm on Instagram  (@davidssnaps @davidbeahm)

By the way, I found an online article called “Is dirt the new prozac,” about a 2007 study, which is possibly the one to which David referred in our conversation. Check it out.

Listeners have downloaded the Slow Flowers Podcast more than 62,000 times. Until 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. THANK YOU to each and every one of you for downloading, listening, commenting and sharing. It means so much.

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 Wheatley and Hannah Holtgeerts. Learn more about their work at shellandtree.com.

Music credits:
Monk Turner – “Loquacious Larissa”
http://monkturner.bandcamp.com/album/instrumental-friends-part-3
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/
Additional music from:

audionautix.com

Week 34 // Slow Flowers Challenge

August 27th, 2015

Please meet 'Sierra Glow' - isn't she adorable?

Please meet ‘Sierra Glow’ – isn’t she adorable?

'Sierra Glow' detail - sigh.

‘Sierra Glow’ detail – sigh.

Everybody loves the ‘Cafe au Lait’ dahlia for its showy yet ephemeral beauty, right? This week, I met Miss Cafe’s richer-toned cousin, ‘Sierra Glow’.

My new love has petals that have hints of copper, coral, melon and amber, all rolled into one yummy hue. Dan Pearson of Dan’s Dahlias describes it this way on his website: “Large orange-bronze blooms on strong stems. Very impressive in the garden.”

I picked up a plump bunch of ‘Sierra Glow’ dinner-plate dahlias grown by Jello Mold Farm this week and from there, all the pieces fell into place with the moody late-summer/not-quite-fall palette.

With our recent move and purging of “stuff,” I’ve discovered that many of my wonderful vases and containers are boxed up in the storage unit. But this cool brass planter, from Goodwill, serves the purpose perfectly.

Gotta love this deep burgundy smokebush foliage!

Gotta love this deep burgundy smokebush foliage!

Here’s the recipe:

Supplies: 1 brass planter, measuring and 1 vintage cage-style flower frog

Okay, you had me at coxcomb!

Okay, you had me at coxcomb!

Botanicals:

Smoke bush (Cotinus coggygria ‘Royal Purple”), grown by Jello Mold Farm

Milkweed (Asclepias sp.), grown by All My Thyme

Velvety coxcomb celosia in pale apricot, grown by Peterkort

I believe this Calendula is in the Zeolights series.

I believe this Calendula cultivar is called ‘Zeolights’.

Calendula in the most perfect milky-gold hue, grown by Ojeda Farms

Golden amaranth with such gorgeous form

Golden amaranth with such gorgeous form

Upright bunches of golden amaranth, grown by Jello Mold Farm

‘Sierra Glow’ dinnerplate dahlias, grown by Jello Mold Farm

Emerald Petals and its Creator Hilary Holmes, Portland’s Eco Florist (Episode 208)

August 26th, 2015

Hilary Holmes, in action as she designs a summer bouquet in her North Portland shop.

Hilary Holmes, in action as she designs a summer bouquet in her North Portland shop.

I’m delighted to introduce you to Hilary Holmes whose Portland-based flower shop is called Emerald Petals.

Her tagline: Portland’s Eco Florist. And that’s not just a marketing slogan.

Hilary has a longtime career in the floral industry – in both New England and the Pacific Northwest, and she has operated as Emerald Petals since 2010. Through her 15 years of floral design, Hilary has nurtured a deep-rooted love for flowers.

Emerald Petals is Hilary’s playhouse, a place she created so that customers can shop for flowers from another real person. A place where she can put creative arrangements in beautiful found objects.

She appreciates the simple joys of all growing things.

It’s no surprise that she likens her floral business as a plant that she lovingly tends.

Hilary planted the seed for this little shop on Mississippi Avenue in Portland, Oregon, and is helping it grow with love and whole lot of dirt under her fingernails. Now she gets to watch it bloom.

A snapshot of summer, on display at Emerald Petals

A snapshot of summer, on display at Emerald Petals

Vintage hobnail milk glass with a fabulous combo of local flowers.

Vintage hobnail milk glass with a fabulous combo of local flowers.

Floral Magic: YES!

Floral Magic: YES!

A full service flower boutique committed to sustainable practices, with a focus on local, sustainable, and domestic flowers and botanicals, Emerald Petals offers fresh custom arrangements for everyday life, as well as flowers for special deliveries, weddings and events.

As Hilary writes on the web site:

“We truly care about the environment and what effect our footprint will have on it. We source our flowers daily from local farmers, whether they come to us or we go to the farms ourselves.  We love to create textural depth using Oregon’s abundance of moss, lichen, branches, pinecones, mushrooms, berries, fruits and vegetables and whatever else we happen upon. During the off season, we also use domestic, sustainably grown product, and fair trade certified when we import from elsewhere.”

Fiesta flowers! Designed by Hilary Holmes

Fiesta flowers! Designed by Hilary Holmes

Love this palette and the clematis!

Love this palette and the clematis!

Emerald_Petals_IMG_4229 Hilary was an early supporter of the Slow Flowers Movement and Emerald Petals is a member of Slowflowers.com.

She walks the talk, down to maintaining an ever-changing collection of vintage containers and vases, as well as new containers and glass made either from recycled products and/or made in the USA. Reuse is encouraged, which appeals to a core group of customers who regularly order and rotate through Hilary’s vintage collection.

A wedding couple with an Emerald Petals bouquet and boutonniere. (c) Erin Grace Photography

A wedding couple with an Emerald Petals bouquet and boutonniere. (c) Erin Grace Photography

Follow Emerald Petals and Hilary Holmes at these social places:

Emerald Petals on Facebook

Emerald Petals on Instagram

Emerald Petals on Twitter

Emerald Petals on Pinterest

MORE FLORAL NEWS:

RaspberryHill Last week I announced that our podcast exceeded 60,000 downloads. If that wasn’t news enough, this week we’re celebrating the 600th Slow Flowers Member to join the Slowflowers.com site.

Please welcome Raspberry Hill Farm, a small family farm located on 14 acres in northern Colorado, just south of the Wyoming border, about 15 miles from downtown Fort Collins. Farmer-florist Kathy Hatfield specializes in growing high quality long-lasting specialty cut flowers, seasonally and sustainably grown — more than 150 different varieties, from old fashioned favorites to unique and unusual new varieties. During the growing season, the gardens at Raspberry Hill overflow with the gorgeous colors, delightful fragrances, and striking textures of our beautiful flowers. Please check them out!

Molly sourced flowers from nine NY-NJ-Connecticut flower farms for her centerpieces at the Field to Vase Dinner.

Molly sourced flowers from nine NY-NJ-Connecticut flower farms for her centerpieces at the Field to Vase Dinner.

Molly, a Slow Flowers Member and leader in the world of sustainable flower farming, education and design.

Molly, a Slow Flowers Member and leader in the world of sustainable flower farming, education and design.

This past week was filled with so many wonderful highlights, each of which represents a memory and another beautiful piece in the Slow Flowers quilt.

I spent time in Brooklyn attending and co-hosting the 5th Field to Vase Dinner at the famed Brooklyn Grange, where Slow Flowers member Molly Culver of Molly Oliver Flowers designed a dazzling tablescape using seasonal flowers and foliage harvested from nine area farms in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.

Those arrangements symbolized so much about this conversation we’ve been having – about how essential it is to support America’s flower farmers when we also choose to support America’s food farmers.

Molly also hosted me for a personal visit to The Youth Farm in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, where she is the farm manager and director of urban farm training.

What an inspiring visit! These young people are ready to take on the world! And they care about food justice, farming, entrepreneurism and the environment.

What an inspiring visit! These young people are ready to take on the world! And they care about food justice, farming, entrepreneurism and the environment.

My arrival coincided with the final gathering of the student interns, all high school juniors and seniors of the High School for Public Service. These amazing young people are the next generation of farmers — food and flower farmers — and I was so impressed with their interest in and passion for urban farming, the environment, food justice and flowers. Please visit Debraprinzing.com to check out photos of the summer students.

Suzanna Cameron (right), owner of Stems Brooklyn, with Jamie Agnello (left)

Suzanna Cameron (right), owner of Stems Brooklyn, with Jamie Agnello (left)

And finally, a shout-out to Suzanna Cameron, a new Slow Flowers member who owns Stems Brooklyn. Suzanna hosted an after-hours Slow Flowers gathering in her flower shop last Friday, which, by the way, is housed inside Sycamore Bar in Brooklyn’s Ditmas Park neighborhood. We had 15 flower farmers, florists and writers in attendance and I’m still on a high from the ideas and creative energy in that room.

More news next week, when you will hear from an illustrious guest, David Beahm. David is a rock star special events producer and florist whose work takes him from NYC to destinations around the globe. He has some big news to share and I can’t believe our good fortune to feature it on the Slow Flowers Podcast on September 2nd. Please tune in!

Until 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. THANK YOU to each and every one of you for downloading, listening, commenting and sharing. It means so much.

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 Wheatley and Hannah Holtgeerts. Learn more about their work at shellandtree.com.

Music credits:

Tryad – “Lovely”

http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/

Chris Zabriskie – “Air Hockey Saloon”
https://chriszabriskie.bandcamp.com/album/vendaface
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/
Additional music from:

audionautix.com

Grower Wisdom with Flower Farmer Charles Little (Episode 207)

August 18th, 2015

Flower Farmers Bethany and Charles Little

Flower Farmers Bethany and Charles Little

charles-little-and-company I first met today’s guest, Charles Little, on a sunny day in June 2010, at a gathering of about 60 growers and floral designers who came to the bucolic fields of Charles Little & Co.’s farm on Seavey Loop Road outside Eugene, Oregon.

We were there for a regional meeting of the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers.

The full day of farming discussions, a fabulous barbecue and connecting with friends, new and old, ended with a conversation that led to the establishment of the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market the following year. My presence there also gave me a chance to witness the character and generosity of Charles and Bethany Little, our hosts. Later, I wrote these opening lines about the Charles Little & Co. farm, in a section of The 50 Mile Bouquet called “Grower Wisdom.”

“As farmland matures and evolves, so do those who steward it. Just ask Charles Little, who has been tending to ornamental crops in the verdant Willamette Valley since 1986. He describes the 40 abundant acres at the foot of Oregon’s Mount Pisgah, where he and his wife Bethany grow 250 varieties of fresh flowers, fillers, wildflowers, herbs, ornamental grains and grasses, seasonal berries, pods and branches, as a “horticultural paradise with its own thriving ecosystem.” 

“I was one of those young men who wanted to create a hippy commune and be a farmer,” Charles says of his early years. “I’ve always wanted to live and make my living on the land.” More than 25 years after planting his first flower crops, he maintains that “farming is a lifestyle, a stewardship and commitment to the land and a generous consideration of all life around you, from the beneficial microorganisms and insects, to the birds and snakes.”

Mt. Pisgah in the distance -- a majestic backdrop for the Willamette Valley (Oregon) flower farm.

Mt. Pisgah in the distance — a majestic backdrop for the Willamette Valley (Oregon) flower farm.

Rosa glauca in the foreground with planting rows stretching beyond.

Rosa glauca in the foreground with planting rows stretching beyond.

From that 2010 tour with Charles Little.

From that 2010 tour with Charles Little.

The farm at Charles Little & Co. consists of acres of the very best river-bottom soil along the Coast Fork of the Willamette River in Oregon.

Crops raised here include flowers and foliages of all kinds; ornamental herbs, grasses and grains, and unique sticks, pods and berries. In-season floral materials are available year round to wholesalers throughout the U.S. And they are in a word, excellent!

Charles and Bethany prefer to work in tandem with the seasons, rather than using heated greenhouses or hoop houses to jump-start or extend their harvest. “The southern Willamette Valley has a growing climate that’s hard to beat, so I cooperate with mother nature,” Charles says.

I visited Eugene on two occasions this summer, and I stopped at Charles Little & Co. farm both times. In late June, I joined a small farm tour and lunch hosted by Bethany.

Bethany, harvesting flowers for me to arrange, June 2015.

Bethany, harvesting flowers for me to arrange, June 2015.

web_CL_IMG_4243

A twig wreath adorns a barn door.

She invited some floral customers and two employees who market Charles Little’s crops at the Portland Flower Market.

Bethany generously allowed a few of us to clip annuals, herbs, perennials and foliage to make a bouquet while there. It was days before I planned on launching American Flowers Week, so I was excited to create a red-white-and -blue-themed arrangement. Bethany is a gifted floral designer, so with her help, it turned out beautifull.

Charles Little with some of his favorite crops, ready to deliver to customers up and down the West Coast.

Charles Little with some of his favorite crops, ready to deliver to customers up and down the West Coast.

Naturalized calla lilies we discuss on the podcast.

Naturalized calla lilies we discuss on the podcast.

Charles wasn’t at the farm; he was off on an extended, once-in-a-lifetime fishing excursion. Bethany wanted me to get Charles in on the podcast interview. So I promised to record them when I knew I was going to come back through Eugene on my way to a photo shoot in Southern Oregon. But that time, Bethany was away, at a summer music festival on the Oregon coast. So I convinced Charles to let me turn on the recorder for what is a fantastic and longer-than-usual conversation.

What I realized, and what Charles and Bethany later confirmed, is that for farming couples, it’s almost impossible for both to travel or take a break from the farm TOGETHER. Someone has to feel the sheep and chickens; someone has to make sure the crops are harvested, processed, bunched or made into bouquets, loaded into buckets and delivered to the customer, right?

That’s what I witnessed during both of my visits. So today, you will hear from Charles. And I promise that sometime in the future, hopefully before the end of this year, we’ll bring Bethany on as a follow-up guest.

Farmhouse (left) and the soaring three-story barn (right).

Farmhouse (left) and the soaring three-story barn (right).

A dreamy (seemingly endless) row of white nigella.

A dreamy (seemingly endless) row of white nigella.

I know you will enjoy our conversation. It took place at the cozy kitchen table inside the hand-crafted farmhouse that’s just steps from the magnificent barn we discuss in our interview.

The flowers harvested from Charles Little & Co.’s fields satisfy demand for nearly every color, form and type of plant ingredient used by wedding, floral and event designers.

There’s always an eye-popping, seasonal assortment to choose from: flowering shrubs, colorful tree branches, evergreen boughs, and yes, a small percentage of dried flowers.

Since not all of you can visit the farm in person, as a special bonus, I’ve added a downloadable about them that appears in The 50 Mile Bouquet. Click here for the file: Grower Wisdom.

 

Through the power of technology, I "skype-lectured" for Morgan Anderson's Austin CC "slow flowers" class.

Through the power of technology, I “skype-lectured” for Morgan Anderson’s Austin CC “slow flowers” class.

Before I close, I wanted to give a shout-out and thank you to the fabulous students of Austin Community College’s floral design program who asked me to be a guest speaker (virtually- through the power of Skype) this week.

Their topic: Slow Flowers! The seminar was developed by instructor Morgan Anderson, a PhD candidate in floral design at Texas A&M University (yes, you heard me right) and the owner of The Flori.Culture, a design studio and Slowflowers.com member.

In addition to the Q&A with me, the students have been learning about sourcing local ingredients, specifically focusing on and using botanicals from Texas Specialty Cut Flowers, Pamela and Frank Arnosky’s famous flower farm. They are also evaluating Floral Soil and they promised to send photos of their designs for me to post in the future.

I applaud Morgan because she is leading the way to educate the next generation of floral designers in an entirely different model than most conventional floristry education programs. The enthusiasm I felt from this amazing group of students was so encouraging – and I wish them all great success in their career paths.

Morgan Anderson, The Flori.Culture, and Austin Community College design instructor demonstrates local Texas-grown flowers.

Morgan Anderson, The Flori.Culture, and Austin Community College design instructor demonstrates local Texas-grown flowers.

Some of the talented students creating their floral designs using eco-techniques.

Some of the talented students creating their floral designs using eco-techniques.

 

 

60K This week was a highlight in another way, too. We broke the record with our 60,000th podcast download. THANK YOU to each and every one of you for downloading, listening, commenting and sharing. It means so much.

Until 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 Wheatley and Hannah Holtgeerts. Learn more about their work at shellandtree.com.

Week 32 // Slow Flowers Challenge

August 16th, 2015

Glowing yellow flowers and fruit for a gray Seattle day.

Glowing yellow flowers and fruit for a gray Seattle day.

The yellow flowers spoke to me when I was perusing among hundreds of exquisite botanical choices this week! 

When I visited the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market, I started with the amazing crabapple branches, harvested from Jello Mold Farm and sold by the single stem. You certainly don’t need many, but adding two stems laden with immature crabapples to an arrangement is a sure-fire way to up the interest level.

Jello Mold's crabapples were the starting point for this week's Slow Flowers Challenge

Jello Mold’s crabapples were the starting point for this week’s Slow Flowers Challenge.

If left on the tree, these crabs will redden up, but for now, there is enough golden-green tinge to make them a perfect companion for all the other yellow goodness you see here. And the vintage green glass jar that I used as a vase plays nicely with this palette, too.

Love these joy-inducing zinnias!

Love these joy-inducing zinnias!

Close up, please!

Close up, please!

Next, I started shopping around for flowers to pair with the crabapples — and that’s when I spotted Vivian Larson’s yummy zinnias, shown above. Viv is the gifted farmer at Everyday Flowers in Stanwood. I can always count on her to spot an uncommon petal shape, bloom detail or flower color and then try growng that variety for the rest of us to enjoy.

What do you call this color? By the time I paired these huge zinnias with yellow sunflowers and roses, I decided it has more muted pigments – and that’s why I love its role in this arrangement. It’s a one-off, a shade of pure yellow.

Lemony-yellow sunflowers

Lemony-yellow sunflowers

These petite sunflower heads are ideal for floral design because their scale doesn’t overpower other blooms in the vase. These are the perkiest, freshest, most charismatic sunflowers I’ve seen all summer — and of course, Vivian Larson grew them at Everyday Flowers. I know I just said they don’t “overpower” the arrangement, which is true. But their many plump petals create the necessary volume to fill out this large-scale bouquet.

Solidago with a hint of the yellow flowers to come.

Solidago with a hint of the yellow flowers to come.

There’s not a lot of foliage in this arrangement, so thank goodness for the textural “fluff” that comes from this robust goldenrod ( Solidago sp.), grown by Gonzalo Ojeda of Ojeda Farms.

Like the crabapples, it is a palette-blender, moving easily into both the yellow spectrum and the green spectrum. Plus, I just love its from-the-meadow vibe.  I almost love it better at this stage than when the tiny flowers are fully opened!

Organic garden roses -- a few go a long way!

Organic garden roses — a few go a long way!

IMG_0190 The bunch of four stems of beautiful yellow garden roses is my finishing touch. Dawn Severin of All My Thyme grows the healthiest, most alluring English garden rose varieties ~ and these do not disappoint.

The rose color is simply delicious and there are so many petals are packed into one flowerhead that you can’t stop admiring their beauty. It was a privilege to add them to this bouquet for that extra sparkle of summer!

We are at the height of the season and I want to sign off with a note of thanks to you for following along on the Slow Flowers Challenge. I keep hearing from people who are participating, making and sharing photos of their own arrangements, and experiencing four seasons of flowers this year.

I hope you’re experiencing what I’m experiencing — the sense that there’s something wonderful to appreciate in every plant, every stem, every bud, every leaf. In all seasons. In all twelve months.When we think like this, it changes how our eyes see. And that’s a valuable gift.

Until next week, keep designing!

Debra Prinzing
www.debraprinzing.com

Portland’s Elizabeth Artis of Espe Floral + Foliage (Episode 206)

August 12th, 2015

Elizabeth Artis with some of her favorite summer flowers, photographed in Portland, Oregon, in late June 2015.

Elizabeth Artis with some of her favorite summer flowers, photographed in Portland, Oregon, in late June 2015.

Before I introduce you to Elizabeth Artis of Espe Floral + Foliage of Portland, I want to share a few words of gratitude that came my way this week.

Christine Hoffman of Foxglove Market + Studio in St. Paul, Minnesota's design for a restaurant in her community.

Christine Hoffman of Foxglove Market + Studio in St. Paul, Minnesota’s design for a restaurant in her community.

One of the special benefits enjoyed when you or your businesss is part of the Slow Flowers community is the sense of sharing and support among like-minded folks all over the country.

Case in point, a florist in the Midwest recently emailed to ask me for help with a bid she was developing for a restaurant in her town that wanted locally-inspired floral arrangements. She felt she couldn’t ask another florist in her market, but she suspected that a Slow Flowers designer outside her market might have the answer.

As it turns out, when she reached out to me, I had just talked about restaurant “weeklies” with a local Seattle florist. Both of these women have their businesses listed on Slowflowers.com.

It was a cinch to connect them by email and they later chatted by phone. Florist two shared her strategies with Florist one. And I love that they both experienced instant camaraderie!

 

The email came recently from the Midwest florist. Subject line: “It worked! Thank You!”

Thank you, Debra, for connecting me with Tess to chat about restaurant floral work…and Tess, thank you for generously offering your time and insight. After a bit of back and forth (this was new on my end and theirs!), we have come to an agreement, and I’ll be starting next week!​ I love having the support and expertise of the whole slow flowers “family.”

That’s so cool to hear, right?! And you do not have to go through me to get this information. You should feel free to connect any fellow Slow Flowers member for help. It’s part of that “paying it forward” philosophy, conducted with mutual respect for people’s time, talents and ideas.

I don’t always know who’s listening to these weekly podcasts but every now and then I get a glimpse of how these interviews may connect with a listener. then this past weekend, a small note appeared in my Instagram feed, from a gifted flower farmer. She wrote: “Your podcast pulled me through a tough week. Thank you for all your efforts and hard work!” I can’t tell you how much it meant to me to hear these words from an American flower farmer.

The design work of Elizabeth Artis, Espe Flowers + Foliage

The design work of Elizabeth Artis, Espe Floral + Foliage

EspeLogoFullColorCROP_small As I mentioned, today’s episode features Portland-based floral designer Elizabeth Artis.

I met Elizabeth in a totally spontaneous way back in 2010 while working on The 5o Mile Bouquet. It was in December and with photographer David Perry I was scouting in Portland for possible subjects for the book. We knew we wanted to stop at the Oregon Flower Growers market but the rest of the trip was relatively unscheduled.

A fun, truly Portland-inspired image from Elizabeth's blog.

A fun, truly Portland-inspired image from Elizabeth’s blog.

And then we ran into Elizabeth, who was there with another florist for whom she was freelancing.

The invitation was extended and soon David and I found ourselves at Jennie Greene’s flower shop to document the winter-themed arrangements she and Elizabeth were designing, of course with a decidedly local provenance.

Our friendship began there after Elizabeth and I realized we had a few mutual San Francisco florist frienesand it has been a joy to watch Elizabeth’s design journey move on from there.

Elizabeth branched out on her own a few years ago and she runs Espe Floral + Foliage from Northwest Portland with two different channels:

Elizabeth, photographed by (c) Christine Taylor

Elizabeth in her studio, recently photographed by (c) Christine Taylor

More bouquets by Elizabeth!

More bouquets by Elizabeth! (c) Bianca-Jade.com

First, she manages the floral department at Food Front Co-Op Grocery on NW Thurman St. in Portland, a shop-within-a-shop with everything from single stems and bunches to voluptuous bouquets, available seven days-a-week during store hours (8 a.m. to 10 p.m.).

Second, she operates a design studio just around the corner, an approximately 500-square-foot space ideal for meeting with wedding clients and for producing lush, wild and amazing creations.

We recorded our interview there when I visited in late June.

Gorgeous!!!

Seasonal. Local. Gorgeous!!!

Espe is committed to using local and sustainably grown flowers from small farms in the Pacific Northwest and down the coast into California.

As Elizabeth writes on her web site: “Our many friendships with these small operations guarantee quality from season to season. The selection, like the weather, changes from week to week so watch closely and see the next season on its way.”

Elizabeth is one to watch – and I love how articulate she shares her philosophy and her love of flowers.

You can connect with and follow Elizabeth at these social places:

Espe Floral + Foliage on Facebook

Espe Floral + Foliage on Instagram

Love this bodacious Espe bouquet of local roses.

Love this billowing Espe bouquet of local Northwest roses.

Thanks for joining me today. Everything we care about in the Slow Flowers community begins when a seed is planted into the soil. When the elements of water and sunshine enrich it and stimulate roots and stem. When the flower farmer nurtures a tiny plant into a stunning, fragrant bloom. If we remember the amazing origins of the flowers we love, we can’t go wrong.

zady_screen I tried to convey this sentiment in an essay that I was asked to write for the “slow fashion” company called Zady.com. Published earlier this week, I entitled the piece “Honest Flowers.”

Here are a few of the sentences that I wrote. I’m so pleased that the team at Zady understands how essential it is to think about the ethical choices we make as both consumers of fashion and flowers:

What I wrote may sound familiar to those in our community, but I will share one excerpt nonetheless:

One of the mottos of the Slow Flowers Movement is “origin matters.” Having a consciousness about the source of our flowers is just as important to me as knowing the provenance of a menu ingredient is to a locavore. Yet flowers are so rarely “labeled” and the face of the flower farmer is invisible to most consumers.

Knowing who grows the flowers we buy, where those flowers were harvested and what farming practices were employed to transform a handful of seeds into a flourishing bouquet is increasingly important, especially at this time when 80 percent of the cut flowers sold in the U.S. are imported. The result of having low-cost flower imports has lead to a 58% decline in U.S. flower farms since 1992.

Getting to share the cause for American grown flowers offered me a chance to reach 100,000 Zady customers, people who may never have considered the way a flower travels from its origins to their vase. So I’m grateful for the opportunity.

Listeners like you have downloaded this podcast nearly 60,000 times. THANK YOU to each and every one of you for downloading, listening, commenting and sharing. It means so much.

Until 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 Wheatley and Hannah Holtgeerts. Learn more about their work at shellandtree.com.