Debra Prinzing

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Episode 354: Flower Farming as a Major Career Change with Laughing Goat Farm’s Amy Brown

June 20th, 2018

Dream Shot: Laughing Goat Farm in Enumclaw, Washington, with Mt. Rainier in the distance.

So often I record my episodes of the Slow Flowers Podcast over the phone or a Skype connection.

My guests voices are real and engaging, but we aren’t even able to see each other, let along the flowers and farms we’re discussing.

So you can imagine how fun it is to record in real time seated across the table or in a comfy corner in adjacent chairs.

Over Memorial Day weekend, I actually carved out a day for an on-location episode, with my visit to Laughing Goat Farm in Enumclaw, Washington.

The farm is owned by Amy and Steve Brown and they are passionate caretakers of a 10-acre former dairy farm in the shadow of Mount Rainier, southeast of Seattle.

Peonies, goats, and a bright outlook on the horizon.

While we live 30 minutes from one another, it took traveling to Fairbanks, Alaska in the dead of winter for the three of us to meet.

It was January 2017 and the Alaska Peony Growers Association invited me to speak at the winter conference. I met Amy and Steve and knew their farm’s name because they had just joined Slow Flowers. Their curiosity about peony farming drew them to the conference.

Amy (left) with her first wave of peonies

Since then, the couple has planted hundreds of beautiful peonies, as well as ornamental woody shrubs, perennials, annuals and edibles at Laughing Goat Farm. It is an emerging farm with big ambitions and the talents of two people who have realized business success in other fields – Steve in Real Estate and Amy in the fascinating world of ballroom dancing. So this new chapter is one they cherish because they can do it together.

A girl and her goat

As Amy writes on Laughing Goat Farm’s FB page, “we grow organic seeds for flowers, as well as food, and are members of Slow Flowers. Our sustainable farm is geared towards organic and permaculture practices.”

You’ll find their story so fascinating — farming drew both Amy and Steve to this place where flowers grow in orderly beds and tunnels and they cherish the sustainable, delicious and fragrant life they are building together.

I’m so happy to share this conversation with you. Enjoy photos of the farm, the goats, the flowers and the fields at Laughing Goat Farm.

I’m predicting big things for this young farm. Selfishly, I’m so happy it’s close to me. Laughing Goat Farm is selling some of its harvest through the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market and direct to florists closer to the farm.

A red-white-and-blue floral medly for American Flowers Week, inspired by my visit to (and the flowers from) Laughing Goat Farm.

Thank you so much for joining me today. After I spent the day with Steve and Amy, including joining them for an incredibly delicious and satisfying lunch together at one of their veggie clients’ restaurants, I came home with a bucket of red charm peonies, white orlaya and blue bachelors’ buttons. What do you think I intended to do with those stems? Yes, I spent a pleasant afternoon creating red-white-and-blue floral arrangements in anticipation of American Flowers Week.

Join me in creating a R-W-B bouquet of your own! There are many ways you can participate in American Flowers Week, coming up June 28-through-July 4th. I can’t wait to see what you plan and product — and I’ll be searching for your stories and posts with the hashtag #americanflowersweek.

Laughing Goat Farm, a bird’s eye view.

Slow Flowers Summit logo As you’ve heard me discuss for months, the Slow Flowers Summit is our LIVE celebration of American Flowers Week, scheduled for Friday, June 29th in Washington, D.C.

Only a few seats are left and I’d love your presence at the Summit, as we seek to bring together a diversity of voices, practices and personal stories that together make the Slow Flowers Community so vibrant.

Take advantage of last-minute ticket promotions, including our plus-one discounted ticket — buy yours and bring a friend along at a special rate — share the day with a colleague and your ideas will multiply! I promise you an inspiring lineup of speakers, gorgeous flowers, fun and interactive design activities and of course, a chance to stretch your imagination in a thought-provoking and stimulating environment.

(c) Mary Grace Long

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

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 328,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for listening, commenting, liking and sharing! It means so much.

Thank you to our sponsors who have supported Slow Flowers and all of our programs.

Florists’ Review. I’m delighted to serve as Contributing Editor for Slow Flowers Journal, found in the pages of Florists’ Review. It’s the leading trade magazine in the floral industry and the only independent periodical for the retail, wholesale and supplier market. Take advantage of the special offer for a free trial issue.

Arctic Alaska Peonies, a cooperative of passionate family farms in the heart of Alaska providing bigger, better peony flowers during the months of July and August. Visit them today at arcticalaskapeonies.com.

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

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

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

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

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

Mayesh Wholesale Florist. Family-owned since 1978, Mayesh is the premier wedding and event supplier in the U.S. and we’re thrilled to partner with Mayesh to promote local and domestic flowers, which they source from farms large and small around the U.S. Learn more at mayesh.com.

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

Photographed at All My Thyme rose farm, by Tammy Myers, First & Bloom.

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

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

The Slow Flowers Podcast is engineered and edited by Andrew Brenlan. Learn more about his work at soundbodymovement.com. Special thanks to Stephen Yaussi for taking over editing duties for the coming weeks while Andrew is abroad.

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

audionautix.com

Episode 353: Flower School Portland founder LauraLee Symes of Sellwood Flower Co. on Floral Synergies and Spinoffs

June 13th, 2018

Love this jumbo red-white-and-blue array, and if you look closely, LauraLee is peering out from behind it!

Today’s guest is LauraLee Symes, co-owner with her husband Bill Symes of the Sellwood Flower Co., based in  Portland, Oregon. LauraLee is a past guest of this podcast — you may remember our wonderful conversation two years ago when we discussed her foray into floral retailing after a successful profession as a consulting and expert on what makes people happy.

Love the black-and-white awning stripes, which are part of Sellwood Flower Co.’s visual brand evoking a Parisian flower shop.

The Sellwood Flower Co. is located in the Portland neighborhood of the same name — Sellwood, on the eastern edge of the famous Willamette River.

As fate has it when people with a dream set out on grand adventures, LauraLee’s search for the perfect shop-front led to a charming 1902 Victorian in the middle of town where she has operated The Sellwood Flower Co. for the past three years.

The Sellwood Flower Co. is Portland’s destination for fresh, local flowers and plants, European and garden style floral design, and unique gifts from around the world.

There, outside the century-old Victorian house on Sellwood’s Antique Row, you’ll find LauraLee and her staff tending their local and seasonal blooms in the cutting garden.

A seasonal spring bouquet by Sellwood Flower Co.

In addition to ongoing classes, workshops, events, and the latest fun ideas in floral design, Sellwood Flower Co. offers a wide variety of fresh floral arrangements, French wines, Smith Tea, Moon Struck Chocolate, and custom gift baskets.

Upon opening she says, “we set out to be THE flower design house that provides the most inspired, professional , and freshest, floral designs in the Pacific Northwest,” LauraLee says. “Our European, garden-inspired, aesthetic sources just- harvested, locally-grown flowers, greens, fruits, and vegetables to create chic, loose, and romantic floral arrangements in Portland, Oregon.

“We create beautiful, romantic, natural floral arrangements and deliver them for all occasions — a Sunday brunch, birthday bash, retirement party, engagement, wedding, baby shower, condolences, congratulations, job well done, thank you and I love you,” she says.

Today, we’re talking specifically about LauraLee’s news — the launch of a second venture called FlowerSchool Portland. “We’re offering an innovative way to learn,” she says. “This is about bringing together a community of subject matter experts.”

You’ll hear about the ideas and inspiration that motivated LauraLee to open a floral design education center tailored to specific audiences: floral enthusiasts, professionals and aspiring florists.

Our conversation is a teaser for the June 15th launch of FlowerSchool Portland. That’s when LauraLee will post the full calendar of upcoming workshops and three special celebrity floral design instructors who have agreed to teach at the school.

You can find and follow Sellwood Flower Co. at these social places:

Sellwood Flower Co. on Facebook

Sellwood Flower Co. on Instagram

Sellwood Flower Co. on Twitter

Sellwood Flower Co. on Pinterest

You can find and follow Flower School Portland at these social places:

Flower School Portland on Facebook

Flower School Portland on Instagram

Thank you so much for joining me today. Please join me in getting ready for American Flowers Week, coming up June 28-through-July 4th.

You can find all the free resources and inspiring ideas for participating at Americanflowersweek.com, including visual content to use and share in your own promotions and tips from flower farmers and florists who have created successful events and campaigns in past seasons. I can’t wait to see what you plan and product — and I’ll be searching for your stories and posts with the hashtag #americanflowersweek.

As you’ve heard me discuss for months, the Slow Flowers Summit is our LIVE celebration of American Flowers Week, scheduled for Friday, June 29th in Washington, D.C.

That’s less than two weeks away and you can still take advantage of last-minute ticket promotions, including our plus-one discounted ticket — buy yours and bring a friend along at a special rate — share the day with a colleague and your ideas will multiply! I promise you an inspiring lineup of speakers, gorgeous flowers, fun and interactive design activities and of course, a chance to stretch your imagination in a thought-provoking and stimulating environment.

Support comes from the most surprising places, like this readerboard at O’Donal’s Nursery in Gorham, Maine!

I am grateful to all our entire community of flower farmers and floral designers who together define the Slow Flowers Movement.

As our cause gains more supporters and more passionate participants who believe in the importance of the American cut flower industry, the momentum is contagious.

I know you feel it, too. I value your support and invite you to show your thanks and with a donation to support my ongoing advocacy, education and outreach activities.

You can find the donate button at debraprinzing.com in the right column.

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 326,000 times by listeners like you.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for listening, commenting, liking and sharing! It means so much.

Thank you to our sponsors who have supported Slow Flowers and all of our programs:

And thank you to our lead sponsor for 2018, Florists’ Review magazine. I’m delighted to serve as Contributing Editor for Slow Flowers Journal, found in the pages of Florists’ Review. It’s the leading trade magazine in the floral industry and the only independent periodical for the retail, wholesale and supplier market. Take advantage of the special offer for a free trial issue here.

Arctic Alaska Peonies, a cooperative of passionate family farms in the heart of Alaska providing bigger, better peony flowers during the months of July and August. Visit them today at arcticalaskapeonies.com

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

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

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

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

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

Mayesh Wholesale Florist. Family-owned since 1978, Mayesh is the premier wedding and event supplier in the U.S. and we’re thrilled to partner with Mayesh to promote local and domestic flowers, which they source from farms large and small around the U.S. Learn more at mayesh.com.

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

Photographed at All My Thyme rose farm, by Tammy Myers, First & Bloom.

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

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

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

Music Credits:
Chapel Donder; Feathersoft; The Wooden Platform
by Blue Dot Sessions
http://www.sessions.blue
https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/
In The Field
Music from:

audionautix.com

Episode 352: Foraged Art with Publishing Maven Leslie Jonath of Connected Dots Media

June 6th, 2018

Today’s guest is Leslie Jonath, creative director of San Francisco-based Connected Dots Media.

Leslie has over 20 years’ experience in book publishing, creative services, and media business development. And for any of you who dream of producing a book of your own, you’ll want to listen closely to her process and advice!

From 1991 to 2009, Leslie was an integral part of the editorial and development team at Chronicle Books, a Bay Area-based independent publishing house known for its lively, eye-catching and trend-setting books, gifts, stationery, and other consumer products about food, art, pop culture, gardening, design, lifestyles, and more.

A petal spiral from Foraged Art’s feed.

As a Senior Editor in the food, lifestyle, and custom publishing categories, Leslie developed acquisition strategies, launched the successful garden and craft categories; acquired, produced, edited, and project-managed over 250 books across a variety of categories, including food, pop culture, crafts, lifestyle, art, architecture, memoir, and children’s projects.

She also created a cause-related publishing model for non-profit organizations, creating books to benefit Meals on Wheels of San Francisco; P.A.W.S., Bay Area schools and Next Course (which provided job and life skills training for incarcerated women).

As a Director of Creative Development, Leslie was a founding member and co-director of Chronicle’s Custom Publishing division, creating innovative products for cultural institutions, name-brand companies and retailers. Clients included BabyGap, Starbucks, Anthropologie, and the San Francisco Ballet.

Another spontaneous art foraged art project.

The success of her work in this division led to a position as Director for Creative Services for the company’s Business Development team. As head of Creative Services, she  and her teams conceptualized, produced and developed innovative “beyond the book” services for custom clients, including videos and other digital products.

While at Chronicle, Leslie teamed up with Ariella Chezar to create Ariella’s first book in 2002, Flowers for the Table, a guide to choosing seasonal flowers and a lesson in designing with the bud’s natural form. The book revolves around several seasonal occasions, from a summer wedding in the country to hot colored poppies on a cold winter’s night.

Raked-Leaf Rays, a project from Foraged Art

After leaving Chronicle Books in 2009, Jonath founded Connected Dots Media, working with clients in book packaging, video production, and concept and content development and production. And she reunited with Ariella in 2016 to create and publish Ariella’s beautiful new book, The Flower Workshop for Ten Speed Press. In addition to having produced books on floral design, Leslie is the author of Love Found, Everyone Loves Paris, and Give Yourself a Gold Star.

Leslie has also guided Erin Benzakein and Julie Chai on the award-winning Floret Farm’s Cut Flower Garden book. You’ve heard Ariella and Erin in the past on this Podcast.

Foraged Art, a book for play, creativity and changing your relationship with nature.

So now, we’re going to hear from the woman behind those projects and so many others. I’ve invited Leslie today to talk about two personal book projects that have HER name on the cover as author.

Rory, Peter and Leslie, creators of the Foraged Art Book

The first, just out, is called Foraged Art, Creative Projects Using Blooms, Branches, Leaves, Stones, and other Elements Discovered in Nature (published by Bluestreak Books).

Leslie’s co-author is artist Peter Cole, an artist who works with gleaned objects he collects. From foraged rocks, shells, leaves to discarded menus, matchbooks, and miniature bears, he creates objects of wonder that reflect both natural and urban environments. He is the author of a collection of how-to environmental art books, including Snowmen and Great Pumpkins. He lives in Brooklyn with his family.

Foraged Art was photographed by Rory Earnshaw is a Bay Area-based photographer who shoots corporate annual reports, table-top, fine art, corporate/music industry portraits, product, packaging, lifestyle, editorial, music CD’s, as well as fine art landscapes.

In the spirit of land artists like Andy Goldsworthy, the book is as much about discovery as it is about creation. Leaves shaped like lips might inspire a face; an array of rocks might be become an eclectic mosaic; winter’s first snow might be carved into glowing luminaria.

Whether you love to look for heart-shaped flowers or want to make a peacock made with flower petals, readers will find great inspiration and joy in Foraged Art.

Petal Puddles, a project from Foraged Art

Art, meditation, and nature meet in this adult-focused activity book, with projects that take inspiration from the natural environment, using blooms, pods, branches, stones, and other natural elements. Divided into chapters by natural elements — flowers, leaves, rocks and pods, and more, the book encourages readers to forage and play outside using nature’s seasonal art box. Foraged Art is about making art from what you find and finding art in what you see.

Leslie and I also discuss Feed Your People, an ambitious book that she has been working on for several years — from conception to completion.

Feed Your People is a modern community cookbook. Leslie envisioned the need for Feed Your People after she realized that despite the popularity of dinner clubs, pop-up dinners, and holiday entertaining, there were surprisingly few cookbooks or resources that offer practical instruction on cooking for crowds.

To that she approached the community of big-hearted cooks and chefs—experts who cook for their communities — whose generosity inspires. Stories of their gatherings are accompanied by recipes with detailed  information on equipment, make ahead strategies and tips cooking for groups from eight or to forty (and even fifty!)

As Leslie explains, on a deeper level, the book is about building and feeding community, and, fittingly, she teamed up with 18 Reasons–a beloved San Francisco-based organization that provides classes to low-income residents and hosts monthly community dinners.

She wants this book to inspire cooks everywhere to bring their communities together for a meal—no matter what the occasion. From a simple soup dinner to a pasta pot, whether using paper plates and fingers or cloth napkins, there are recipes around which to create a well-considered, delicious, and memorable event. She sees Feed Your People as a celebration of community, a guide that will encourage people everywhere to feed each other both literally and spiritually.

Here’s where and how to follow Leslie at her social places:

Feed Your People on Facebook

Feed Your People on Twitter

Foraged Art on Facebook

Foraged Art on Instagram

As Leslie encourages us, creating foraged art reminds us that life is beautiful in all of its stages – and that, if we look, we can see the grace in every moment.

I certainly feel that grace this week as many of you have reached out to thank me for this Podcast and how it has helped you. We have 57 five-star reviews on ITunes, which is so awesome. One fan just posted this review on iTunes, writing:

“Over the past few months, I’ve really enjoyed listening to your podcast. Insights and glimpses of what goes on with the Slow Flowers Movement is fascinating. As a 30-year veteran of the floral industry here in North America, it’s surprising that I haven’t been more aware of local growers. Thank you for encouraging the local farms to grow flowers that we can utilize so we can help spread the news of buying American grown flowers.”

I’m encouraged by the amazing participation in our many opportunities to network, connect and educate — and this is a bountiful month for doing so. With American Flowers Week coming up on June 28-July 4, with the Slow Flowers Summit — our LIVE celebration of American Flowers Week taking place on Friday, June 29th in Washington, D.C., and with the many marketing and branding tools available for your use for free, please take advantage of this opportunity and join the community.

If you’re not on our mailing list, you can find a link to the June Slow Flowers Newsletter in today’s show notes — catch up on Slow Flowers members and their fantastic activities, too.

Please make you reservation for the Slow Flowers Summit. Our second annual Slow Flowers Summit takes place in the heart of American Flowers Week – and we have an inspiring lineup of speakers, gorgeous flowers, fun and interactive design activities and of course, a chance to stretch your imagination in a thought-provoking and stimulating environment.

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

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 324,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for listening, commenting, liking and sharing! It means so much.

Thank you to our sponsors who have supported Slow Flowers and all of our programs.

Florists’ Review magazine. I’m delighted to serve as Contributing Editor for Slow Flowers Journal, found in the pages of Florists’ Review. It’s the leading trade magazine in the floral industry and the only independent periodical for the retail, wholesale and supplier market. Take advantage of the special offer for a free trial issue.

Arctic Alaska Peonies, a cooperative of passionate family farms in the heart of Alaska providing bigger, better peony flowers during the months of July and August. Visit them today at arcticalaskapeonies.com.

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

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

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

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

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

Mayesh Wholesale Florist. Family-owned since 1978, Mayesh is the premier wedding and event supplier in the U.S. and we’re thrilled to partner with Mayesh to promote local and domestic flowers, which they source from farms large and small around the U.S. Learn more at mayesh.com.

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

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

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

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

Music Credits:
The Wooden Platform; Pat Dog; Long and Low Cloud (quiet acoustic)
by Blue Dot Sessions
http://www.sessions.blue
https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/
In The Field
Music from:

audionautix.com

Episode 351: Full Bloom Flower Farm & Floral Design’s Hedda Brorstrom and our kickoff for American Flowers Week 2018

May 30th, 2018

Hedda’s beautiful dahlia dress for American Flowers Week 2018, featuring foliages and herbs from her own Full Bloom Farm and 350 dahlias from Aztec Dahlias, where the dress was photographed last October.

Hedda Brorstrom of Full Bloom Flower Farm.

I’ve invited Hedda Brorstrom of Full Bloom Flower Farm & Floral Design to return to the Slow Flowers Podcast as today’s guest for a number of reasons.

You may recall that she was part of my series on the North Bay Flower Collective community a few years ago when I interviewed Hedda along with Seth Chapin of Evermore Flowers and Daniele Strawn of JoLee Blooms, Episode 242.

That interview was primarily focused on the origins of the North Bay Flower Collective, of which Hedda is one of the founders.

Recently, Hedda joined the American Flowers Week campaign as a featured designer for this year’s floral fashion collection.

I want you to hear her story, learn more about how she became a farmer-florist in California’s Sonoma County, and her creative process designing a wearable fashion.

Model Sophia Lane wears Hedda’s dahlia dress to perfection, showcasing the flowers grown by Kate Rowe and Omar Duran of Aztec Dahlias (c) Becca Henry Photography.

As American Flowers Week kicks off soon, I want you to hear Hedda’s story as a flower farmer, environmental educator, floral designer and ecology activites, as we share the “big reveal” of the incredible Dahlia Dress that she designed last fall in collaboration with flower farmers Kate Rowe and Omar Duran of Aztec Dahlias.

These behind-the-scenes photos from last year reveal what the team endured to create such beauty!

As a way to raise awareness of flower farming and sustainable floral design, I started the floral fashion series with one amazing look in 2016 for American Flowers Week — a red-white-and-blue floral ‘fro from Susan McLeary of Passionflower.

That was followed by five wearable floral looks for the 2017 campaign and again, for 2018, five original floral wearable looks. You’ll hear from all the designers in the coming weeks, beginning today with Hedda.

Here’s Hedda, flower harvesting with one of her young nephews

Hedda shares this personal statement on her web site:

Farming started for me growing up on Wiggle Worm Bait Farm in Graton, Ca. My parents tended rich worm beds with the motto, “We like them fat and lively!” and I got to be a wild worm loving farm kid. One of my farm chores growing up was to create floral arrangements around the house. Little bud vases of daphne and violets sat above the kitchen sink in February, big vases of bearded iris and mock orange graced the bathroom in late Spring and bedside posies of rattle snake grass and yarrow made nights feel special through the summer. I bent willows into crowns, weeded my mom’s gardens, and munched on fresh green miners lettuce and asian pears from the neighbor’s farm. The puff ball viburnum and cabbage roses that I use in my floral crowns are from the same plants I used to have petal fights with as we waited for the school bus. It wasn’t until I was studying agroecology at UC Berkeley, however, that I realized Sonoma County is an agricultural gem and I was blessed to grow up a bit wild and plant loving.

Hedda during harvest at her farm in Sonoma County

After college I spent six years teaching gardening and ecology in the San Francisco school district and working as an environmental educator at the Academy of Sciences and Save the Bay. Wanting to dive deeper into growing I attended the UC Santa Cruz Ecological Horticulture program where my interest in flowers turned from a childhood memory into a full blown, full bloom obsession. I learned about variety selection, post harvest handing, and farm management. A love of art coupled with farming moved me into floral design making me a true farmer florist. The shape, texture and movement of each bloom allows me to paint with flowers like I never could on a canvas. The dirt and grit of cultivation and beauty of putting it all together is two jobs. Sometimes these jobs feel like being a chef who grows their own food, but who better to make a dish than the one who loved it from seed? In 2012 I could no longer contain my flower passion so I moved home to my wormy roots, to my childhood plants, and I started Full Bloom Flower Farm. After a year in production I enrolled in the wonderful California School of Herbal Studies where I gained my certificate in herbalism. In the plant world, learning is never-ending and I am happy to infuse plant magic into all the arrangements. Full Bloom is a mighty one acre flower farm providing endless beauty, medicine and life to the community. I am proud to be a farmer and a florist; it is my greatest joy to bring plant art to ceremonies and I hope to share my joy with others.

I couldn’t resist creating this fantastic gallery of all the ways Hedda shows off her flowers.

Hedda’s endless curiosity is inspiring and I loved having this time to catch up with her. She describes her aesthetic as “flower-full,” perhaps the inspiration for her business name, Full Bloom. I know you’ll enjoy her story, too.

Two more gorgeous views of Sophia Lane wearing the dahlia dress to celebrate American Flowers Week 2018 (c) Becca Henry Photograpy.

Thank you so much for joining me today. I know seeing the dahlia dress that Hedda designed and made for American Flowers week will inspire you and get your creative juices flowing. Who knows? Maybe you’ll dream up a wearable look of your own — and I hope you share it with me when you do! Use the hashtag #americanflowersweek when you post.

To help you further, I’ve recently written “9 Ways to Participate in American Flowers Week” — a guide to the many ways you can jump onboard this campaign — from simple and low-cost to ambitious and expansive. I hope you’re inspired by what others have done in the past few years.

In addition to gearing up to celebrate American Flowers Week, it’s also time to grab your ticket to the Slow Flowers Summit. The second annual Slow Flowers Summit is again set to take place in the heart of American Flowers Week – and we are getting close to finalizing all the details.

Please grab your ticket now to join us — you’ll be helping me tremendously by committing now so that my event manager Karen Thornton and I can make sure everything’s ready for a successful event. You can find all the details at Slowflowerssummit.com.

When farmers and florists coming together, everyone benefits! This is a gathering of the Hudson Valley Flower Growers Network during American Flowers Week 2017.

Take the Pledge!!!

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

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 320,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for listening, commenting, liking and sharing! It means so much.

Thank you to our sponsors who have supported Slow Flowers and all of our programs.

Florists’ Review magazine. I’m delighted to serve as Contributing Editor for Slow Flowers Journal, found in the pages of Florists’ Review. It’s the leading trade magazine in the floral industry and the only independent periodical for the retail, wholesale and supplier market. Take advantage of the special offer for a free trial issue

Arctic Alaska Peonies, a cooperative of passionate family farms in the heart of Alaska providing bigger, better peony flowers during the months of July and August. Visit them today at arcticalaskapeonies.com

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

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

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

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

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

Mayesh Wholesale Florist. Family-owned since 1978, Mayesh is the premier wedding and event supplier in the U.S. and we’re thrilled to partner with Mayesh to promote local and domestic flowers, which they source from farms large and small around the U.S. Learn more at mayesh.com.

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

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

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

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

Music Credits:
Turning On the Lights; Pat Dog; Sage the Hunter (Rhythmic)
by Blue Dot Sessions
Music from:

audionautix.com

Episode 350: Living a Life with Flowers by embracing the Power of Community, with Kelly and Jesse Perry of Team Flower

May 23rd, 2018

Kelly Perry of Team Flower

Building community is the hallmark of the Slow Flowers Movement, but we are not the only ones who’ve discovered the strength of person-to-person connections.

Whether you love or hate it, even Facebook, through its leader Mark Zukerberg, last year declared it had revised its mission: “To give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together.”

Floral designer Kelly Perry and her husband Jesse Perry are co-founders of Team Flower and Philosophy Flowers and they are also floral community-builders. They live in Boone, North Carolina with their golden doodle named Buster. That’s where Kelly tends a little garden and  writes about what she sees there.

After launching Philosophy Flowers as a boutique floral design business for weddings and events in 2012, she and Jesse started Team Flower in 2014.

A beautiful final evening at the Team Flower Conference in Orlando, which gathered attendees from many states and countries.

They describe Team Flower as:

“A Global Flower Community that Spans Generations, Experience Levels and Areas of Expertise, not to mention a Desire to Learn.

Team Flower offers a number of digital and in-person learning platforms for floral education and training.

While Kelly handles all of the content development and classes at Team Flower, Jesse handles all things tech.

He grew the Team Flower online presence to engage with participants in all 50 states and 98 countries.

Jesse’s most recent research and implementation project revolves around SEO tools for the Team Flower members.

Kelly and Jesse Perry, captured during a lighthearted moment at the Team Flower Conference.

Kelly wrote this on the Team Flower web site:

Kelly shares her insights and answers audience questions at the Team Flower Conference.

“Like you, I’ve enjoyed beauty for a long time.  My earliest recollection of creating a flower arrangement was in the sixth grade. We had an event called the “Friendship Etiquette Banquet” and the girls were to wear paper flower corsages.  I thought this needed an upgrade so I led the crew in creating silk flower corsages. Very fancy.

Another early flower memory was in seventh grade.  My science project was “What floral preservative will keep a carnation fresh the longest?”  The winner was Floralife, in case you were curious.

Shortly after my science project I started a cake decorating business called “Kelly’s Cakes.”  I made cakes for everyday occasions and weddings all through middle and high school and occasionally in college until I “retired” after my own wedding.  During this time, I was interested in a fashion career so I created dresses for special occasions in my high school home economics class, and I worked at a boutique bridal store.

In college I studied Fashion, Interior Design, Event Planning and Entrepreneurship until the economy collapse in 2007.  I decided to shift course just a little bit and added education to my degree.  The first lesson I taught in my education class was called “The Elements and Principles of Design.”  I practically floated out of that class and remember thinking, “If I could find a way to just teach that lesson for the rest of my life, I would be SO happy.”  It combined everything I loved — fashion, interiors, business, event design, art and education.

After student teaching and our wedding I started a job as a corporate event planner.  After about two years of that I felt like it was important to make a change, but I didn’t know what that would look like.  I had never even thought about a career in flowers before, but realized rather quickly this was it!”

See a recent video that Kelly and Jesse posted in the free content section of Team Flower:

I loved spending time in person with Kelly and Jesse at the Team Flower Conference. Here, Kelly and I pose in front of the very creative flower wall, al fresco style.

There’s so much more, and I know you’ll enjoy our conversation, recorded long-distance over Skype last week.

We touch on their stories and what led them to create Team Flower, as well as what it’s like to run a business together as a couple.

It’s not surprising that there is an aligned spirit and common thread between Team Flower and Slow Flowers.

The next Team Flower Conference is scheduled for March 4-6, 2019 in Waco, Texas — and the program and registration details will be announced later this summer.

Follow the links below to learn more, including free content available to visitors to Team Flower, as well as details on workshops, online learning and upcoming live events.

Here’s how to connect with Team Flower, Kelly and Jesse:

Find Team Flower’s extensive video content — FREE to watch!

Read Team Flowers articles

Listen to Team Flowers Podcast

Find Team Flower on Facebook

Follow Team Flower on Instagram

See Team Flower on Pinterest

Thanks so much for joining us today! The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded 319,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for listening, commenting, liking and sharing! It means so much.

As the Slow Flowers Movement gains more supporters and more passionate participants who believe in the importance of the American cut flower industry, the momentum is contagious. I know you feel it, too.

I value your support and invite you to show your thanks and with a donation to support my ongoing advocacy, education and outreach activities. You can find the donate button in the right column.

The new platform features clean graphics and easy-to-use navigation for desktop, smart devices and mobile.

This past week has been overwhelming for me, but in a very good way.

On the occasion of the fourth anniversary of Slowflowers.com, I announced the launch of our new, upgraded Slowflowers.com – version 2.0 on May 16th. Of course, there were a few bugs to work out and I’m sure we’ll find more because that’s what happens when a non-tech gal like me endeavors to live in the tech world! I covet your support and beg for your patience as the new version settles into a new level for Slow Flowers. Please come over to the site and check it out!

Another piece of news to share today is our winner of the Slow Flowers Summit Dream Designer Package — that was our May ticket promotion.

The names of all of you who registered for the Slow Flowers Summit were added to a drawing for an invitation to join me on Sunday evening, July 1st at an exclusive gathering with Laura Dowling, author and former White House Florist.

Our winner is Gloria Collins of GBC Style — Congratulations, Gloria! I am excited you’ll join me at this private event to benefit the AIFD Foundation. It will be unforgettable

And if you’ve been thinking about attending the Slow Flowers Summit, grab your ticket now — it’s just five weeks away! The Summit promises to be a fantastic day of networking, inspiration and personal growth. I can’t wait to see you there!

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded 319,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for listening, commenting, liking and sharing! It means so much.

Thank you to our 2018 sponsors who have supported Slow Flowers and all of our programs.

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

Arctic Alaska Peonies, a cooperative of passionate family farms in the heart of Alaska providing bigger, better peony flowers during the months of July and August. Visit them today at arcticalaskapeonies.com.

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

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

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

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

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

Mayesh Wholesale Florist. Family-owned since 1978, Mayesh is the premier wedding and event supplier in the U.S. and we’re thrilled to partner with Mayesh to promote local and domestic flowers, which they source from farms large and small around the U.S. Learn more at mayesh.com.

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

(c) Missy Palacol Photography

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

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

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

Music Credits:
Horizon Liner; Hash Out
by Blue Dot Sessions
Music from:

audionautix.com

SLOWFLOWERS.COM Unveils New 2.0 Online and Mobile Platforms

May 21st, 2018


SLOWFLOWERS.COM MARKS FOURTH ANNIVERSARY OF ITS LAUNCH
WITH NEW 2.0 ONLINE AND MOBILE PLATFORMS

Debra Prinzing’s SLOWFLOWERS.COM, a free online directory
to find American flowers, famers, designers and retailers
reveals new look and functionality

SEATTLE, WA (May 21, 2018) — In conjunction with the fourth anniversary of Slowflowers.com, founder Debra Prinzing unveiled Slowflowers.com 2.0 – a visually updated and user-friendly web site for consumers in search of American-grown flowers.

Since its launch in 2014, Slowflowers.com has provided floral consumers with a one-stop address for “slow” flowers and foliage, wedding and event designers and myriad options for gifting local and seasonal flowers. Participation among floral professionals has grown from 250 vendors to more than 700 vendors across the U.S. and Canada. The site averages 29k unique users and 191k page views annually.

The new platform features clean graphics and easy-to-use navigation for desktop, smart devices and mobile.

“With the upgrade, I believe the Slow Flowers Community will experience higher engagement and interaction with floral consumers,” Prinzing said.

“I started Slowflowers.com with a simple mission, one that continues to be as important today as it was when the idea for this project originated five years ago:

To promote American-grown flowers, to make it easy for flower consumers to connect with florists, shops, studios and farms who provide American-grown flowers, and to encourage truthful and transparent country-of-origin labeling in the floral industry.

“My goal with the project is that when someone wishes to purchase or send flowers, they stop and ask themselves: Can those flowers be American grown? Slowflowers.com provides that answer.

Prinzing redesigned Slowflowers.com 2.0 with Robert Meador of Seattle-based Metric Media, creator of the original site. All the favorite features carried over to the new platform, including easy-to-search tools for finding vendors in several floral categories, including retail flower shops, studio florists, wedding/event designers, and farm-direct producers. Wholesalers of American floral and foliage product, as well as farms and florists who ship flowers and arrangements overnight – anywhere in the U.S. – are included. All members of Slowflowers.com pledge to supply their customers with local, regional and American-grown flowers.

“We added mobile functionality to serve consumers and upgraded account/dashboard experience for our members,” Prinzing continued. “Our members manage their own content, listings and pages, so ease of use is important.”

The customer “review” feature was originally only a benefit for Premium Level members. With 2.0, Standard Level members now can invite their customers and clients to post reviews. “This is an important feature that adds value for members and consumers alike,” Prinzing added.

Ongoing support from Slowflowers.com’ floral and green industry sponsors and hundreds of subscribing members made the upgrade possible. Sponsors include Florists’ Review magazine, Longfield Gardens, Johnny’s Selected Seeds, Syndicate Sales, Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers, Seattle Wholesale Growers Market and Certified American Grown.

### 

About Debra Prinzing:

Debra Prinzing is a Seattle-based writer, speaker and leading advocate for American Grown Flowers. Through her many Slow Flowers-branded projects, she has convened a national conversation that stimulates consumers and professionals alike to make conscious choices about their floral purchases.

Debra is the producer of SlowFlowers.com, the online directory to American grown farms, florists, shops and studios who supply domestic and local flowers. Each Wednesday, approximately 2,500 listeners tune into Debra’s “Slow Flowers Podcast,” available for free downloads at her web site, debraprinzing.com, or on iTunes and via other podcast services. She is the author of 10 books, including Slow Flowers and The 50 Mile Bouquet. 

About Slow Flowers:

Slowflowers.com is part of a multichannel brand producing content that promotes American flowers and the people who grow and design with them. The Slow Flowers Movement began as a response to the disconnect between humans and flowers in the modern era. It aspires to reclaim the act of growing flowers, recognizing flower farming as a relevant and respected branch of domestic agriculture. Slow Flowers connects consumers with the source of their flowers and believes that the value of local, seasonal and sustainably-grown flowers is heightened when there is transparent labeling of all botanicals sold to consumers and florists.