Debra Prinzing

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SLOW FLOWERS Podcast: East Coast-West Coast, meet Jennie Love and Erin Benzakein, creators of The Seasonal Bouquet Project (Episode 114)

November 6th, 2013

bouquet poster

Jennie Love and Erin Benzakein are the dynamic east-west floral duo behind The Seasonal Bouquet Project. This lovely poster was hand-illustrated by Shannon Collins 

 

group

Courtesy of The Seasonal Bouquet Project, a photo from one of Jennie and Erin’s workshops in October. Erin Benzakein is seen 3rd from left, back row; Jennie Love is seen 6th from left, back row. 

For the past few years, I’ve been interviewing and writing about a category of designer who I dub the “farmer-florist.”

These include a rare group of individuals in the flower world who are equally talented in the science of growing flowers and the art of designing them. 

Jennie

Jennie Love, farmer-florist, and owner of Love ‘N Fresh Flowers, of Philadelphia

You’ll meet two of those talented people on today’s podcast, Jennie Love of Love ‘N Fresh Flowers in the Philadelphia area and Erin Benzakein of floret flowers in Washington’s Skagit Valley. 

Both Erin and Jennie have been in the business of creating stunning floral art with locally grown materials for several years now. Their west coast/east coast friendship prompted these flower friends to create THE SEASONAL BOUQUET PROJECT in early 2013. Their first post featured yummy, early spring flowers, posted on March 5th.

The Seasonal Bouquet Project emerged from a winter brainstorming session about “how to feed our souls’ fires during the hectic months of the growing season and how to further demonstrate the beauty of locally grown flowers to a wider audience.  And, to be completely candid, it’s a bit of a competitive double dog dare between two people who like to have some fun,” according to their website. 

Benzakein family

Erin Benzakein, with her husband Chris and children Elora and Jasper. I took this photo last summer at floret flowers, their farm in Washington’s Skagit Valley.

All the materials used in the bouquets were grown within a 25 mile radius of the respective designer, the vast majority coming straight from their own flower fields.  

As they wrote on their website: “Since  we’re on opposite coasts growing in very different climates, this project is a showcase for what’s available through the seasons across the country.” People all across the country and around the globe, for that matter, followed along on the gorgeous journey. Erin and Jennie also invited readers to post photos of their own bouquets, as long as the ingredients were within that 25-mile radius. 

As you will hear in this interview with Jennie and Erin, which took place on October 25th via Skype, the friends cooked up a 2-day workshop to celebrate the “end” of their season. They planned “The Seasonal Bouquet Project LIVE” and scheduled the event to take place on Jennie’s flower farm in Philadelphia. Listen along to hear what happened next – and gain inspiration and insights into the life of a farmer-florist.

Photos to enjoy from Jennie Love and her farm:

Jennie

Jennie farms on agricultural land that dates back to William Penn. Photo by Maria Mack Photography ©2012 http://mariamackphotography.com

 

A beautiful summer bouquet, grown & designed by Jennie Love Maria Mack Photography ©2012  http://mariamackphotography.com

A beautiful summer bouquet, grown & designed by Jennie Love Maria Mack Photography ©2012 http://mariamackphotography.com

 

zinnias in July

Zinnias in July, designed by Jennie Love.

Photos to enjoy from Erin Benzakein and her farm:

floret roses

Garden roses at floret flowers, August 2012. I took this shot during our photo shoot for Country Gardens magazine. 

 

Floret Bouquet

Erin’s bouquet, designed for Country Gardens magazine.

Thanks for joining me in this episode of SLOW FLOWERS. Because of your support as a listener, we’ve had more than 2,200 downloads since July – and I thank you for taking the time to join to my conversations with flower farmers, florists and other notable floral experts.

If you like what you hear, please consider logging onto Itunes and posting a listener review.

Until next week please join me in putting more American grown flowers on the table, one vase at a time. 

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

7 Responses to “SLOW FLOWERS Podcast: East Coast-West Coast, meet Jennie Love and Erin Benzakein, creators of The Seasonal Bouquet Project (Episode 114)”

  1. Melissa Says:

    Thanks for interviewing two of my flower heroes! I was able to attend the second session of the Seasonal Bouquet Project and it was amazing! So excited and encouraged about my small flower farming business now!

  2. The Seasonal Bouquet Project in review @ Floret Flower Farm Says:

    […] Slow Flowers Podcast: East-coast/West Coast, meet Jennie Love and Erin Benzakein, creators of The Se…. […]

  3. Ferriss Says:

    Awesome podcast! I am doing the same thing as these gals here in Boston so it was all the more sensational!

  4. Nikki S Says:

    I just loved this talk!! I followed the project since its beginnings and lived vicariously through the workshops via Instagram. This movement is so important, and it’s wonderful to hear more in depth about Erin and Jennie’s passions and dreams. As a florist starting out, with a heart for locally grown flowers, I LOVE the idea of connecting with local farmers! Thanks again!

    Thanks for listening Nikki – and welcome to the world of Slow Flowers ~ Best wishes in your new endeavor, Debra

  5. Debra Prinzing » Post » SLOW FLOWERS Podcast: Fresh from the Field Wedding Flowers with Lynn Byczynski and Erin Benzakein (Episode 135) Says:

    […] Erin Benzakein. Owner of floret, a flower farm and floral design studio based in Mount Vernon, Washington, Erin met her coauthor Lynn when she proposed submitting an article to Growing for Market. You’ll hear the rest of the story of how that collaboration developed in my conversation with the two. Today, Erin is a flower farmer, a designer and writer whose popular blog features original photography and chronicles the daily life of her family- and flower-centered business. Cut flowers grown on Erin’s farm are sold at Whole Foods grocery stores throughout Washington, Oregon and Canada. Erin teaches floral design and small-scale flower farming workshops and I’ve written about her work for Sunset and Country Gardens magazine. Victoria Magazine and Design Sponge have also featured her in stories. Last fall, I interviewed Erin and fellow farmer-florist Jennie Love in a podcast about their Seasonal Bouquet Workshops. Follow this link to listen to that episode.  […]

  6. Debra Prinzing » Post » SLOW FLOWERS Podcast: American-grown meets Australian-grown (Jennie Love & Lindsey Myra) – plus a bonus interview with Holly Heider Chapple (Episode 158) Says:

    […] I’ve known Jennie for a few years, in fact, she was a previous guest of this podcast. […]

  7. Debra Prinzing » Post » Episode 254: Today’s Modern Flower Farmers: Georgia’s Steve and Mandy O’Shea of 3 Porch Farm and Moonflower Design Says:

    […] SLOW FLOWERS Podcast: East Coast-West Coast, meet Jennie Love and Erin Benzakein, creators of The Se… […]

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