May 25th, 2016
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When I was a teenager, I dreamed of someday owning a fabric shop. For many of you, I’m guessing that dream was to own a flower shop. How many of you ad a similar dream and realized it? Being able to work around flowers — whether you grow them, design with them, or do both, and ultimately selling them to satisfied customers — is clearly one reason you’re in this business, right?
Love this jumbo red-white-and-blue array, and if you look closely, LauraLee is peering out from behind it!
Today’s guest is definitely one of those flower fanatics whose also dreamt of opening a flower shop You’ll enjoy the story and perhaps it will inspire you! Please meet LauraLee Symes, owner of the Sellwood Flower Company in Portland, Oregon, a Slowflowers.com member.
Specializing in flowers, gifts and plants, Sellwood Flower Co. is an inviting place, located in a century-old Victorian house on Antiques Row, in the Southeast Portland neighborhood also called Sellwood.
Love the black-and-white awning stripes, which are part of Sellwood Flower Co.’s visual brand evoking a Parisian flower shop.
There, you’ll find LauraLee and her team tending their blooms in the garden just outdoors from their neighborhood shop filled for fresh, local flowers and plants, European and garden style floral design, and unique gifts from around the world.
LauraLee says she has been messing around with flowers since she was a little girl growing up on the family farm in Scholls, Oregon. Her other passion, happiness – or, more specifically, the study of what makes people happy – led her to pursue a bachelors degree in psychology, a masters in organizational development, and a career as a counselor and consultant to both individuals and business organizations.
Flower lover, LauraLee Symes of the Sellwood Flower Co.
Her most recent venture, the Sellwood Flower Co., is a marriage of her two passions, a Parisian-styled flower shop specializing in creative arrangements of fresh, local blooms and whimsical gifts curated to inspire joy and delight in her customers.
“I spend a whole lot of time thinking about, looking at, and dreaming of more creative ways to use the crazy abundance of plant life that surrounds us here in the Northwest. I look at a handful of flowers and I see a handful of happiness!”
In addition to being a busy entrepreneur and business owner, LauraLee hosts frequent floral design workshops and writes a blog on ideas and trends in the flower industry. She and her husband Bill live and work in the historic Sellwood neighborhood in southeast Portland, Oregon.
What a wonderful evening — meeting and sharing our mutual passion at the Slow Flowers Meetup @Sellwood Flower Co.
I was in Portland last month for a series of events, including a Slowflowers.com meetup at Sellwood Flower Co., which I co-hosted with LauraLee.
We enjoyed meeting and reuniting with such a great group of flower friends — flower farmers, studio florists, retail shop owners — all who care about sourcing local and domestic botanicals for their businesses. I was so encouraged by the turnout and I especially thank LauraLee for sharing her beautiful store and nursery grounds for our gathering.
We shared Slow Flowers books & resources with our community
The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 98,000 times by listeners like you. THANK YOU to each one of you for downloading, listening, commenting and sharing. It means so much.
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 and Hannah Brenlan. Learn more about their work at shellandtree.com.
May 24th, 2016
New Covent Garden Flower Market wins RHS Chelsea Gold medal and New Design Award with ‘Behind Every Great Florist’, the show-stopping debut design by Veevers Carter
Chelsea pensioner Dewi Treharne poses with a floral tribute to Britain’s Queen Elizabeth for her 90th birthday desinged by florist Veevers Carter on the New Covent Garden Flower Market stand at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2016 in London, UK Monday May 23, 2016. RHS / Luke MacGregor
· The Flower Market travels a mile up stream to the RHS Chelsea Flower show to win Chelsea Gold & New Design Award with design by Veevers Carter, one of London’s most innovative floral design and event styling companies
· Flower Market’s floral tribute to HM the Queen is the most published image of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show
· 360˚ floral installation illustrates the bond between London’s Flower Market and its customers
In its first ever Chelsea appearance as an exhibitor, New Covent Garden Flower Market has scooped an RHS Chelsea Gold medal and the New Design Award for the dramatic floral installation – ‘Behind Every Great Florist’ – that is taking the RHS Chelsea Flower Show by storm, and making the news pages worldwide. Designed and created by Veevers Carter, one of London’s leading florists, event companies and a devoted customer of the Flower Market, the exhibit illustrates the close ties that bind Flower Market traders and their customers in flowering London and is a spectacular tribute to HM the Queen.
Why is this so cool?
Well, the Flower Market’s expert wholesalers have been quietly supplying the cut flowers, foliage, plants and floral sundries for award-winning Chelsea show gardens and exhibits for decades, but had never exhibited before this year. Every single stem on the ‘Behind Every Great Florist’ installation has come from the flower and foliage wholesalers at New Covent Garden Flower Market, including beautiful British-grown flowers.
“We are absolutely thrilled and proud to have won a coveted Chelsea Gold medal and the RHS Chelsea New Design Award on our first ever exhibit at the show,” said Helen Evans, Director of Communications at Covent Garden Market Authority (and past guest of the Slow Flowers Podcast–listen to our interview here).
“We wanted our exhibit to highlight the vital relationship between London’s iconic wholesale Flower Market and the talented independent florists who flower London. As a devoted customer of the Flower Market for over three decades, Veevers Carter instantly understood the concept and their design for ’Behind Every Great Florist’ encapsulates this in a spectacularly creative way.”
“We are absolutely overwhelmed that our installation for the Flower Market has been awarded not only an RHS Chelsea Gold medal but also the New Design Award,” said Ming Veevers-Carter, Creative Director of Veevers Carter. “’Behind Every Great Florist’ has been such an exciting and inspirational project, and our combined creative team of florists, designers and production staff have worked incredibly hard over the past six months to make it a reality. The response to our Chelsea debut has been just staggering, and I am so proud of what we’ve achieved.”
Britain’s Queen Elizabeth views a floral tribute to her for her 90th anniversary, desinged by florist Veevers Carter, on the New Covent Garden Flower Market stand at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2016 in London, UK Monday May 23, 2016. RHS / Luke MacGregor
On the Royal tour of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, New Covent Garden Flower Market was honoured by a visit by HM the Queen, who was photographed in front of her three-metre-high floral portrait, containing 10,000 cut flowers and and foliages.
The opposite side of the New Covent Garden display is covered top-to-bottom with buckets of flowers and foliage, as you would find on the floor of the wholesale flower market.
‘Behind Every Great Florist’ is the story of two sides intrinsically bound together in flowering London: London’s famous wholesale Flower Market on one side and its customers, independent florists, on the other. On the Market side, the Flower Market is represented in a vast wall of 112 market buckets, iconic symbols of the Flower Market, each densely packed with fragrant green and white flowers and foliage echoing the massed displays at New Covent Garden Market. The uniformity of the rows breaks down towards the middle, as the buckets and flowers are pulled into a central core. Emerging on the opposite side, the Florist side, the flowers erupt in a breathtaking riot of colour; tiers of fragrant floral tapestry forming the iconic portrait of HM the Queen, representing the exquisite craft and creativity of London’s great florists.
Among the varieties of flowers and foliages on the Market side: philadelphus, freesias, arums, hydrangeas, lilies, guelder rose, lilac, freesias, tulips, phlox, lisianthus, phalaenopsis, hyacinths, carnations, roses, spray roses, gerbera, alstroemeria, euonymus, chrysanthemums, chincherinchee, skimmea, camellia, senecio.
On the Florist side, the massed tapestry of flowers includes hydrangea, delphinium, gladioli, clematis, sweet peas, anemones, lilac, carnations, lisianthus, gentians, phlox, cymbidium, gerberas, sweet williams, bouvardia, roses, arum lilies, chrysanthemums, snapdragons, ranunculus, alstroemeria, hyacinths, freesias, mokara and flag iris.
About New Covent Garden Flower Market www.newcoventgardenmarket.com
New Covent Garden Flower Market is the UK’s largest Flower Market and supplies 75% of London’s florists. The Market flowers London and its customers range from small high-street shops, florist studios and flower stalls to high-end corporate, hotel and event florists.
New Covent Garden Market is currently going through an exciting redevelopment project. It will see the Flower Market relocate a few hundred metres down Nine Elms Lane where work has already started to build a new, better home for flowers. The new Flower Market will open in January 2017 and will ensure the wholesalers continue to flower London, and the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, for many years to come.
About Veevers Carter www.veeverscarter.com
Veevers Carter is one of London’s largest and most prestigious floral design and events companies. Established in 1984 by Ming Veevers Carter, the company has a fully-fledged team of florists, designers and operational staff that, alongside their sister company Event Concept, can realise an event of any size to an exceptional standard.
Veevers Carter works with some of London’s most sought-after venues and have built an enviable client list of corporate organisations, event organisers and private individuals both in the UK and internationally. This is among one of the most exciting projects the two companies have ever worked on.
May 18th, 2016
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Kit Wertz (left) and Casey Schwartz (right), sisters and design partners in Flower Duet, photographed at The Flower Fields in Carlsbad, CA, April 2016.
A few weeks ago you heard my conversation with Mike A. Mellano of Mellano & Co., a third generation flower farm in based in San Luis Rey, California. If you missed that episode, check it out here.
Mike was our farmer-host of the 2nd Field to Vase Dinner held at the famed Flower Fields in Carlsbad, north of San Diego, on April 13th. We discussed his Italian heritage that brought grandfather Giovanni Mellano to the U.S., as well as the founding of Mellano & Co. in 1928. We also talked about the current landscape for American grown flowers and attempted to forecast the future of our domestic flower-farming renaissance.
The Flower Duet design team on camera at The Flower Fields.
Today’s guests were also intimately involved in that dinner and they are part of the reason why Mike and I feel so optimistic about the future.
It is designers like Casey Coleman Schwartz and Kit Wertz, partners in Flower Duet, who are making a conscious effort to source their flowers and foliage from local farms in Southern California.
The beautiful Field to VaseDinner table amid a sea of ranunculus, designed by Flower Duet.
Sisters, Casey and Kit were the featured floral designers who created a lush, textural tablescape, wowing 150 guests seated at a farm table stretching between rows of a rainbow of Mellano-grown ranunculus. So the following morning we sat down to record this conversation.
My 2013 visit to Flower Duet led to a blossoming new friendship with Casey (left) and Kit (right).
I’ve known Kit and Casey for three years, ever since they reviewed Slow Flowers for their Flower Duet monthly newsletter.
That prompted me to ask the sisters if I could schedule a book-release event at their studio as part of my Southern California tour in spring 2013. They generously agreed and we had a wonderful evening demonstration, reception and book signing for clients, students and friends.
Rich floral hues and a gold vessel, by Flower Duet.
It has been a load of fun to watch these two floral entrepreneurs take on a wide array of creative projects, including teaching at some of Southern California’s top cultural institutions, designing weddings from San Diego to Santa Barbara and everywhere between, and sharing their expertise and passion with others.
May 13th, 2016
Certified American Grown Proudly Sponsors First Lady’s Luncheon
First Lady Michelle Obama makes remarks to an enthusiastic crowd at the Washington DC Hilton, as she is surrounded by American grown flowers.
The Certified American Grown program was a proud sponsor of the 2016 First Lady’s Luncheon held May 12 in Washington, D.C.
An annual tradition hosted by the Congressional Club since 1912 to honor the first lady of the United States, the luncheon is attended by over 1,500 people, including Congressional spouses, associates of members of Congress and Cabinet members.
The Certified American Grown program worked with the Congressional Club’s First Lady’s Luncheon Committee to help ensure that 100 percent of the flowers and foliage used during this year’s event were American Grown. With beautiful stems of flowers and greens from California, Oregon, Washington, Florida and Virginia, over 200 centerpieces and arrangements filled the Washington Hilton Ballroom in a theme of “Posh, Peach, Southern Hospitality.”
“This was a tremendous honor and opportunity for America’s flower farmers,” said Kasey Cronquist, administrator of the Certified American Grown program.
“We commend the Congressional Club’s decision to seek and source blooms grown here in the United States for such a wonderful tradition of honoring our first lady.”
The bouquets featured beautiful American Grown roses, peonies, stock, tulips, lilies, protea, Bells of Ireland, alstromeria, bupleurum, dianthus, freesia, lisianthus, ranunculus, viburnum, waxflower, ferns, leatherleaf and curly willow.
Representing American Grown from left to right are Daevid Reed, Tim Dewey,
Bill Frymoyer, Diana Roy, David Register, Lane DeVries, Kasey Cronquist, David Beahm and seated are Andrea Gagnon, Debra Prinzing and Rita Jo Shoultz
The centerpieces were designed by Andrea Gagnon of LynnVale Studios, a Certified American Grown farmer, floral designer and American Grown Council member. David Beahm Experiences of New York carried out Gagnon’s vision and provided logistical support for this large and prestigious floral installation.
Each year, the luncheon supports a nonprofit of the first lady’s choice. Funds raised from this year’s event will go to the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving, an advocacy, research, education and service unit that provides support for both professional and family caregivers. Centerpieces were purchased by attendees to help raise those funds.
May 10th, 2016
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Jordan Uth of Heidrun Meadery, Horticulturist & Flower Farmer, shows off the fresh spring bouquet made in collaboration with Heather Frye of Venn Floral.
I’m really excited to share today’s episode with you, recorded during my two-day trip in March into a special kind of floral wonderland to meet the farmers, florists and growers of Sonoma County, north of San Francisco.
It’s our third episode featuring members of the North Bay Flower Collective who invited me to spend time touring flower farms, visiting design studios and learning more about the stories of their community.
Community is the operative word here, because there is such an intense, intentional and caring sense of purpose that the Collective embodies.
The idyllic landscape beyond Heidrun Meadery in Pt. Reyes Station, California.
We recorded this segment at quite an amazing place in Pt. Reyes Station, California, where Daniele Strawn (my escort for the visit – and you’ll hear her voice occasionally), and I arrived on the morning of March 15th.
The place is called Heidrun Meadery, a beautiful destination that produces an old-world Champagne-style honey wine. There is a tasting bar, a garden patio, a greenhouse, bee garden and honey, as well as the magnificent fermented honey wine.
Heather Frye (left) of Venn Floral and Jordan Uth (right) of Heidrun Meadery, two members of the North Bay Flower Collective’s core group.
Welcoming us were today’s two guests, Jordan Uth, Heidrun’s flower farmer and floral designer, and Heather Frye, co-owner of Venn Floral, an event floral and styling service based in Sebastapol.
Do the math!!! Plant and grow flowers!!
The surprising array of Mead featuring nectar varietals grown or tended to by Jordan Uth.
May 6th, 2016
All local Northwest-grown flowers for Mother’s Day from some of my favorite flower farmers, including Ojeda Farms, Triple Wren Farm, Jello Mold Farm, Seattle Wholesale Growers Market.
Make it Local for Your Mother’s Day Bouquets
Debra Prinzing’s Slowflowers.com is a free, nationwide, online directory of American flowers and the farms, shops, studios and designers that supply those blooms. We’ve just added a special link for Canadian-grown flowers, farms, and studios, too. Show your love with local flowers on Mother’s Day, with more than 700 floral members in 48 states to choose from.
Here is a gallery of the diverse American-grown offerings you’ll find at Slowflowers.com.
Decolores Flores (Watsonville, California)
From seed to bouquet:
Alstroemeria, peonies, cerinthe, oenothera, plum branches and roses in an up-cycled cobalt vase. $35 plus delivery in Watsonville/Monterey Bay/Santa Cruz County.
Erika’s Fresh Flowers
Erika’s Fresh Flowers (Warrenton, Oregon)
Treat Mom to a bouquet-a-month during the farm’s prime growing season (May-September). Give her a bouquet that is locally grown, freshly picked and artistically arranged. Erika’s Fresh Flowers offers the five-month flower subscription for Mother’s Day 2016 for $125.
Order by May 8, 2016, at erikasfreshflowers.com/purchase/.
Erika’s delivers to homes and businesses in Astoria, Warrenton/Hammond, Gearhart and Seaside, Oregon.
eTilth Urban Designs
eTilth Urban Designs (Seattle, Washington)
Grab-and-Go Contain Gardens for Mother’s Day, Both for shady porches, $100 each for pickup in Seattle:
- An exciting Gold and Flame container featuring Coprosma ‘Tequila Sunrise’, Fuchsia ‘Autumnale’ Redhook Sedge (Uncinia rubra ‘Belinda’s Find’) and Begonia Illumination Golden Picotee.
- A cool Mermaid Container, featuring Heuchera ‘Blackout’, Aquilegia alpina, Festuca ‘Beyond Blue’, Hosta ‘Hadspen Blue’ and Bacopa ‘Gulliver Blue’.
First & Bloom
First and Bloom (Issaquah, Washington)
Can’t take my eyes off you! This one-of-a-kind arrangement will capture all eyes with its vivacious spring colors and 100% American grown blooms, $140 local delivery or pick up for Seattle’s Eastside.
Gorgeous and Green
Gorgeous and Green (Berkeley, California)
A hand tied bouquet: Fresh, local grown and organic flowers wrapped in paper and delivered by bike to Berkeley, Oakland and Emeryville or available for pickup from the Oakland studio, $50, $85, $120 or $195.
Kailla Platt Flowers
Kailla Platt Flowers (Portland, Oregon)
Garden-inspired floral design for Mother’s Day using 100% locally grown flowers like Peonies, Iris, Ranunculus, Snapdragons, Columbine and Roses, with lush greens and botanical textures, tucked into a vase for easy presentation. For pick-up or local delivery in Portland, Oregon. $50 and up plus $10 delivery fee.
Mary Clark Flowers
Mary Clark Flowers (Chilliwack, British Columbia, Canada)
This delicate display in a vintage Canadian-made mason jar is the perfect Mother’s Day gift. Sweet and simple flowers fill this vase, expressing your sentiment, $50-$70. Delivery for each of these items is included for Agassiz, Chilliwack, Rosedale and Sardis, B.C. Visitors are for studio pick-up.
Phone: 604-796-0666 or 866-792-0666
Mudy Feet Flower Farm
Muddy Feet Flower Farm (Ashford, Connecticut)
Fresh, local, farm-grown spring flowers artfully arranged in muddy feet flower farm’s signature style and displayed in a vintage tea cup and saucer, $50. Order online at muddyfeetflowerfarm.com. Pick-up locations available on Saturday, May 7:
- Wintertime Farmers Market at Hope Artiste Village, Pawtucket, RI, 9am-1pm
- Ellington Farmers Market, Ellington, CT 9am-12pm
- Muddy Feet Flower Farm in Ashford, CT 2pm-6pm
Delivery available to Westport, CT Friday, May 6
Rose Mountain Floral
Rose Mountain Floral (Kalispell, Montana)
“Sparrow’s Nest,” a Mother’s Day garden with local lilacs, and a variety of spring tulips, ranunculus, roses, spray roses, lisianthus and local huck with a symbolic nest tucked among the flowers. The moss-touched stone planter is ideal for plantings after Mother’s day, $79. Local delivery or pick-up available. This arrangement was designed for The Sparrow’s Nest, which provides housing for homeless high school students, with 12% of proceeds donated to the cause.
Sellwood Flower Co.
Sellwood Flower Co. (Portland, Oregon)
A birch box complete with French striped ribbon, filled with premium Oregon- and Washington-grown flowers, $65 plus $10 delivery in the Portland Metro area or for pick-up at Sellwood Flower Co.
Stargazer Barn (national shipping from Arcata, California)
Send your mother 10 stems of American Grown “Rose Lilies” (variety is ‘Natalia’) paired with 10 stem of Horsetail (Equisetum), $69.99+ $14 (FedEx Overnight Shipping nationwide) (+$10 to include vase)
Melissa Hessney Masters
Tanglebloom (Brookline, Vermont)
Bouquets of sustainably-grown spring blooms including specialty tulips, flowering branches, and heirloom narcissus (photos of current harvest) for $20. Ready for giving, bunches are wrapped and tied with ribbon for pick-up at the Brookline, Vermont, farm. Also available at local markets including Vermont Country Market in Brattleboro, Vermont.
Or, Mom can enjoy beautiful local flowers all season long with a gift subscription to Tanglebloom’s Flower CSA (community supported agriculture). We’ll mail (or email) her a lovely gift card designed by an independent artist in time for the holiday. CSA subscriptions start at $95.
more info: tanglebloom.com/flower-csa
Terra Bella Flowers
Terra Bella Flowers (Seattle, Washington)
Terra Bella Flowers & Mercantile offers unique florals featuring premium, locally-sourced blooms and botanicals. Each vase and wrapped design is inspired from our surrounding woodlands, seasides and flower fields with prices starting at $45. Offering daily delivery throughout the greater Seattle area, we invite you to visit our store or to place orders online 24/7 at www.TerraBellaFlowers.com.
The Herb and Garden
The Herb and Garden (Helena, Montana)
The Herb and Garden Bouquet in a ceramic vase, $25, with refills for $120. Local deliveries available.
The Local Bouquet
Mary Kate Kinnane
The Local Bouquet (Compton, Rhode Island)
Consider a Mother’s Day gift for the mother who loves flowers and has a green thumb. The Farmer-Florist Design Series feature one-day intensives co-taught by Mary Kate Kinnane and a local flower farmer. Workshops highlight farming and design topics while allowing hands on growing and design techniques, a farm tour, a stylized mini shoot, and a beautiful farm-to-table dinner. Meet and learn from flower farmers and designer who support local and American grown flowers year round. Choose between one of three classes, each with a specific farm and design topic: $425 per workshop, with a 15% discount when you sign up for all three.
Two Little Buds
Two Little Buds (Hamilton, Ohio)
Gorgeous, locally grown ranunculus and anemones in a keepsake compote bowl, from $55 to $85 and up. Delivery available to Cincinnati and surrounding areas (check website for delivery range), $12-15. Pick-up available: Two Little Buds, 3431 Princeton Road, Ste 103, Hamilton, Ohio 45011 (513-737-8527); or Lane and Kate, 29 East High Street, Oxford, Ohio 45056 (513-523-1004)
© Debra Prinzing, all written and photographic content. Website design/development by Willo Bellwood/Metric Media