Debra Prinzing

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Archive for the ‘American Flowers Week’ Category

Episode 284: Wedding Coordinator Aimée Newlander and the new Slow Weddings Network

Wednesday, February 15th, 2017
Slow Flowers designed by Bonny Doon Garden Co. for Aimée's Slow Weddings clients

Slow Flowers designed by Bonny Doon Garden Co. for Aimée Newlander’s Slow Weddings clients

Valentine’s Day is over — are you ready to relax and celebrate your success?!

I hope so! If you’re looking  for a great way to invest in yourself and feed your creativity in a new way, please join Anne Bradfield and Jason Miller and me at the upcoming Slow Flowers Creative Workshop. It will take place in Seattle on March 6th and 7th and you can find a link to more details here. This intimate 2-day event is designed for creatives to boost their powers of language, narrative and storytelling — on the page and on video. We’re excite to share our expertise and help you develop your business and your brand – so check it out.

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Before we get started with today’s interview featuring a fantastic guest, I want to share a big announcement with you.

Please put Sunday, July 2nd on your calendar and save the date to join me in Seattle at the first SLOW FLOWERS SUMMIT, a one-day conference that I’m calling a “TED talk for flower lovers.”

For years, I’ve been talking with a few of you about producing a “slow flowers summit,” essentially devoting time and space to gather thought leaders and change agents to discuss the momentum of the Slow Flowers Movement.

Now, the timing is right to hold such a forum. The 2017 Slow Flowers Summit achieves and recognizes many things.

00581_DP_AFW_Badge_2017 First, it coincides with American Flowers Week, our third annual campaign to promote domestic flowers, farms and florists, scheduled again to take place June 28 through July 4th. Holding the Summit during American Flowers Week allows us to celebrate and recognize the mission of Slow Flowers.

Second, it allows people attending AIFD, the American Institute of Floral Designers annual conference in Seattle that week, to access high-quality, substantial American-grown educational programming that they will not obtain at their conference.

And third, this year’s timing allows us to bring in keynote speaker Amy Stewart to commemorate the 10th anniversary of her influential book, Flower Confidential. So many of you were inspired to change your own relationship with flowers after Amy published Flower Confidential in 2007 and we’re thrilled to bring her to the Summit.

Our other speakers are pretty amazing, too. We have Teresa Sabankaya of Bonny Doon Garden Co., a past guest of this podcast and the florist originally profiled by Amy in her book. We’re honored to welcome award-winning garden blogger and author Chantal Aida Gordon of The Horticult blog, who will moderate a panel on Diversity in the Floral and Horticulture industries. She’ll be joined by some great friends of Slowflowers.com, Leslie Bennett, principal of Pine House Edible Gardens in Oakland, Riz Reyes of RHR Horticulture in Seattle, also a past guest of this podcast, and floral artist Nicole Cordier Wahlquist of Grace Flowers Hawaii.

Emily Ellen Anderson of Seattle’s Lola Creative will speak about “reinvention,” sharing her transition from landscape architect to floral and event designer, and our favorite flower rebel Lisa Waud of pot & box will bring the insights from her experience with The Flower House and Detroit Flower Week to lead a conversation on nurturing creativity. Emily and Lisa are both past guests of this podast.

All of these important voices will be shepherded through the day by our very charming and charismatic master of ceremonies, James Baggett. He’s a top editor at Country Gardens and Better Homes & Gardens and is one of the most devoted to publishing my stories about flower farming across the U.S. We’re delighted he’ll be joining us as emcee and media sponsor.

In the coming weeks we’ll host many of these speakers as guests, so expect to hear more as we build momentum for American Flowers Week and the Summit. Tickets are $175 for the day and we have a special rate for Slow Flowers members, so check it out.

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Aimée Newlander, wedding coordinator and creator of the Slow Weddings Network

Aimée Newlander, wedding coordinator and creator of the Slow Weddings Network

SlowWeddingsLogo2 Okay, let’s turn to the inspiring Aimée Newlander.

I first met Aimée in March 2015 while visiting Santa Cruz to spend time with Teresa Sabankaya. Teresa put together a little brunch and invited some of the area’s kindred spirits, people involved in the Slow Coast sustainable business community located along the fifty mile stretch of mountains & ocean in the midst of California’s famed coastline.

One of those attending was Aimée, a wedding coordinator with whom Teresa collaborates, when couples who work with Weddings by Aimée order locally-grown flowers for their ceremonies.

Aimée told me she was using “the mindful planner” as a hash-tag and that she planned to soon launch a Slow Weddings forum.

The two of us stayed in touch and continued to exchange ideas as her project took off and last August. When we held a Slow Flowers meet-up in Santa Cruz, Aimee joined us to share more details about the coming launch of the Slow Weddings Network.

Fast forward to last fall and what began as a Facebook Group with 100 members has evolved into the nonprofit Slow Weddings Network.

a SLOW WEDDING, Santa Cruz-style

a SLOW WEDDING, Santa Cruz-style

Here is the description — I think the mission will resonate with many of you in the Slow Flowers community.

We seek to shake up the status quo of the wedding industry, to reclaim the sacred space for couples who are seeking authentic and “present” weddings. But, more than that we are the nexus for a movement that is long overdue. It’s about educating from the inside out.  Own what you are passionate about.  We are about having high standards, education and building and bringing awareness to the masses.  You don’t have to have a fast wedding…. you can be well, enjoy the process and end with a wedding celebration you are present for, participate in, enjoy and will remember for the rest of your life.

“Slow Weddings Network” is a not-for-profit membership organization made up of wedding vendors around the world. Its directory of vendors includes wedding professionals, artisans, musicians and Mom & Pop shops and other small businesses.  Wellness, adventure and other ‘experience’ vendors that will enhance destination weddings are also included.

Artisan sweets, from Slow Weddings Network bakeries and pastry makers.

Artisan sweets, from Slow Weddings Network bakeries and pastry makers.

As founder and executive director of the Slow Weddings Network, Aimée Newlander wears many hats. Here is a bit more about Aimée:

She left a very successful career in and around the health and wellness corporate world to pursue a long-standing passion for organizing and managing events. That led to the founding of Weddings by Aimée in 2009 and her ‘mindful planning’ approach.  She knows that educating couples on how to feel prepared and organized for their ceremony and how to prioritize choices is so important.  Her business quickly grew, thanks to creativity and possessing a true artistic flair that has helped organize all types of individualized weddings — from intimate and organic affairs to glamorous and opulent occasions.

Aimée’s professionalism, warm personality and superb eye for detail means that couples and their families are able to truly relax and enjoy the planning process without having to worry about a thing on wedding day. Aimée considers herself a “Destination wedding planner”, specializing in areas such as Lake Tahoe, Big Sur, Carmel, California coastline as well as International locations (Italy, France, Mexico).

“Team” is a big part of who Aimée is, from her time playing international Soccer, to her passion for collaborating with other vendors at her events. She has managed budgets in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, cultivated stakeholder relationships for large scale events, and offers expertise in venue sourcing and procurement.

One of Aimée’s passions is developing venues from a raw space, molding a larger vision from scratch. She’s applied her passion, vision, and skills to founding the Slow Weddings Network, and hopes to see the global movement grow into a well known organization.

Dreamy venues and beautiful attire for Slow Weddings ceremonies.

Dreamy venues and beautiful attire for Slow Weddings ceremonies.

Follow and find Weddings by Aimée and the Slow Weddings Network at these social places:

Slow Weddings on Facebook

Slow Weddings on Instagram

Weddings by Aimee on Facebook

Weddings by Aimee on Instagram

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 158,500 times by listeners like you.
THANK YOU to each one of you for downloading, listening, commenting and sharing. It means so much.

If you value the content you receive each week, I invite you to show your thanks and support the Slow Flowers Podcast with a donation — the button can be found on our home page in the right column. Your contributions will help make it possible to transcribe future episodes of the Podcast.

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Thank you to our lead sponsor for 2017: 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.

We’re also grateful for support from Arctic Alaska Peonies, a cooperative of 50 family farms in the heart of Alaska providing high quality, American Grown peony flowers during the months of July and August. Visit them today at arcticalaskapeonies.com

And welcome to our newest sponsor, the 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 has returned as a 2017 sponsor, and we couldn’t be happier to share their resources with you. 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 lfgardens.com.

More sponsor thanks goes to 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.

And finally, thank you 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

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 shellandtree.com.

Music credits:
Harpoon by Gillicuddy
Licensed under Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 International License.
Not Drunk by The Joy Drops
http://freemusicarchive.org/music/The_Joy_Drops/Not_Drunk_EP
https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Additional music from:

audionautix.com

Episode 277: A Year in Review – Slow Flowers’ Highlights for 2016

Wednesday, December 28th, 2016

2016-year-in-review Welcome to the final Slow Flowers Podcast of 2016

PodcastLogo Last year at this time, I mentioned that the Slow Flowers Podcast had been downloaded 76,000 times in two-and-one-half years.

Today, I can tell you that 2016’s listenership nearly doubled that total, meanings as many people tuned into this weekly episode in 12 months than in the previous 30 months combined.

That’s the best news I could ask for as we reflect on the successes and strides of 2016.

Every single week this year; in fact, every single week for 178 weeks, it has been my privilege to feature the voices of our Slow Flowers community with you.

You’ve heard from flower farmers and floral designers, pioneers and personalities,  who together are changing the floral landscape, disrupting the status quo, and bringing flower sourcing and growing practices, not to mention eco-conscious design methods, to the center of the conversation.

Take the Pledge!!!

Take the Pledge!!!

As I have done since the beginning of 2014, I would like to dedicate today’s episode to the Slow Flowers Highlights we’ve witnessed this year.

Next week, on January 4th, I will share my 2017 floral industry forecast with you.

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’ll start with some ACCOLADES

This happened and it came as a total surprise!

This happened and it came as a total surprise!

2016 kicked off with a lovely surprise as the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market honored me with the Growers’ Choice Award for outstanding contributions to revitalizing the local floral community. The flower farmers and staff of this innovated farm-to-florist wholesale market are near and dear to my heart, and it’s so gratifying to receive their recognition. My efforts to promote and sustain domestic flowers is especially sweet because of those who gave me this award.

In September, the Garden Writers Association, my professional community, honored Slowflowers.com – the web site – with a Silver Medal in the digital media category. The organization also inducted me into the Hall of Fame, an honor given to one person each year — an unexpected and humbling acknowledgement for my work in gardening communications.

And then there’s VALENTINE’S DAY

Yay! Check it out!!!

Yay! Check it out!!!

The opportunity for engaging the media in a discussion about American grown flowers, local flowers and the origin and growing practices of flowers at Valentine’s Day is an obvious one — and we have been vocal about sharing the Slow Flowers story.

The 2016 press was major, with Martha Stewart Living’s mention of Slow Flowers and the slowflowers.com directory in its February 2016 issue –

Here’s the text:

“The benefits of choosing locally grown foods over those from all over the world extends to flowers as well. That’s why garden and features editor Melissa Ozawa likes Slowflowers.com, an online directory of more than 600 florists and flower farms across the United States. The site offers local blooms in season (for instance, winter tulips or anemones, if you’re in the Northwest). Have your heart set on classic roses? It also helps users find growers in California and Oregon that ship nationally.” 

There you have it! Short and VERY sweet!

Individually, none of us could have earned this type of media attention from a magazine with paid circulation of more than 2 million subscribers, monthly newsstand sales of 115,000 issues and total audience reach of more than 9 million. The demographics of the Martha Stewart reader are in close alignment with your own floral business.

You can feel especially proud of what we’ve accomplished knowing that the value of this earned media mention is $45,000, something that none of us could have ever afforded if we purchased advertising space in the magazine.

view from airplane As for travel, in 2016, well, I retained my MVP Gold status on Alaska Airlines, which means I spent more than 40,000 miles in the air in 2016.

Perhaps not an accomplishment when it comes to burning jet fuel, but to me, the amount of travel I was able to make on behalf of floral promotion, including connecting with many of you, was significant — and to compensate for that travel footprint, I tried to engage with as many flower farmers and florists at every destination!

I attended seven lovely and inspiring FIELD TO VASE DINNERS, serving as co-host and sponsor.

Slow Flowers partnered with the Certified American Grown campaign’s Field to Vase Dinner Tour, which took me to flower farms in California, Texas, Colorado, Pennsylvania and Washington State.

The Certified American Grown Program produces the Field to Vase Dinner Tour -- and is a sponsor of this Podcast. Shown from left: Bill Prescott of Sun Valley Flower Farm, NYT Bestselling author Amy Stewart of "Flower Confidential", Kasey and me.

The Certified American Grown Program produces the Field to Vase Dinner Tour — and is a sponsor of this Podcast. Shown from left: Bill Prescott of Sun Valley Flower Farm, NYT Bestselling author Amy Stewart of “Flower Confidential”, Kasey and me.

I teamed up with Kasey Cronquist, administrator of the Certified American Grown brand, to welcome more hundreds of dinner guests who enjoyed local food AND local flowers, who heard the Slow Flowers message and met and learned from Slow Flowers member farms and designers.

It has been a huge honor to be part of the Field to Vase Dinner tour for the past two years — and I am confident that the dinners helped to change attitudes, assumptions and understanding about the origin of flowers at the center of the table. And a footnote, the Field to Vase Dinner Tour dates for 2017 should be announced soon. 

00571_DP_SlowFlowers_Meetup (2) At many of my travel destinations, I was able to meet Slow Flowers members and even take part in Slow Flowers Meet-Ups.

I can’t tell you how meaningful it has been to put faces and voices to names I perhaps only before knew via social media.It was thrilling to visit cities and towns where I was welcomed into beautiful shops and studios, as well as onto prolific farms where domestic flowers flourished.

Many of those events only took place because so many of you stepped up to host me and I want to thank the following folks for making connections possible when I was in their towns:

With my friend Gloria Battista Collins of GBC Style, we posed happily with our finished arrangements.

With my friend Gloria Battista Collins of GBC Style, we posed happily with our finished arrangements.

In early February, Gloria Collins, GBC Style, hosted me at her Manhattan apartment when I visited NYC.  We recorded a podcast episode and took Laura Dowling’s design workshop together at Flower School New York — what a fabulous experience.

Later that month, for the third consecutive year, I traveled to Washington, D.C., to meet up with a motivated group of American Flower Farmers for the annual “Fly In” sponsored by California Cut Flower Commission and Certified American Grown.

Tony Ortiz of Joseph and Sons in Santa Paula, Calif., past Slow Flowers Podcast guest, and I were happy to deliver American grown flowers to decorate the Congressional Cut Flower Caucus hearings. Farmer-florist Andrea Gagnon of LynnVale Studios designed the bouquet.

Tony Ortiz of Joseph and Sons in Santa Paula, Calif., past Slow Flowers Podcast guest, and I were happy to deliver American grown flowers to decorate the Congressional Cut Flower Caucus hearings. Farmer-florist Andrea Gagnon of LynnVale Studios designed the bouquet.

I participated in the day-long advisory board meeting for Certified American Grown, where I fill the Consumer Advocate seat. And I joined farmers on visits to meet staff in congressional and senate offices, as we shared the message of domestic and local flowers. A highlight for Diane Szukovathy of Jello Mold Farm, and me was meeting our own amazing Senator Patty Murray, and thanking her for support she and her staff have given Washington state’s local flower farmers.

During my time in D.C., I also hosted a Slow Flowers Meet-Up at Tabard Inn, a beautiful historic venue in the nation’s capitol. There was a crazy storm that caused some of our members in the Maryland, Virginia, and D.C., area to miss the event, but we had about two dozen together for cocktails and conversation — and I was inspired by our conversations and connections made.

READ MORE…

Episode 265: Flowers in the Heartland with Adam and Jenn O’Neal of PepperHarrow Farm in Winterset, Iowa

Wednesday, October 5th, 2016
Jennifer and Adam O'Neal of PepperHarrow Farm, photographed during my September 2016 visit.

Jennifer and Adam O’Neal of PepperHarrow Farm, photographed during my September 2016 visit.

Early morning at PepperHarrow, as the sunrise glows behind the barn-studio.

Early morning at PepperHarrow, as the sunrise glows behind the barn-studio.

10846393_742697935817032_6622126312058960580_n I recently spent two days with farmer-florists Adam and Jennifer O’Neal at PepperHarrow Farm in Winterset, Iowa, where I combined a photo shoot for an upcoming issue of Country Gardens magazine with the chance to interview them for this podcast — how lucky for me, right?!

If you have any curiosity about where PepperHarrow Farm is located, think about that romantic novel and the 1995 movie, “The Bridges of Madison County,” starring Meryl Streep and Clint Eastwood. Maybe I’m dating myself, but it was a classic. The story and film are set in Winterset, Iowa.

It is a beautiful place to live and farm . . . and PepperHarrow Farm is everything you’d want in a homestead, with a charming farmhouse, a working farm with several useful outbuildings, access to “town” and the greater Des Moines urban core, which means it’s easy for PepperHarrow to supply a critical mass of flower customers within a 50 mile radius and to hold wedding consultations and teach workshops at their bucolic destination.

What a lovely experience I had getting to know these two farmer-florists (Nick Crow photogaph)

What a lovely experience I had getting to know these two farmer-florists (Nick Crow photogaph)

Jennifer and Adam O’Neal are local, hard-working green thumbs who cultivate fresh flowers and veggies on their 20-acre farm nestled among those covered bridges of Iowa’s Madison County.

A happy designer, holding an lush, abundant arrangement that he created for an upcoming issue of Country Gardens magazine

A happy designer, holding an lush, abundant arrangement that he created for an upcoming issue of Country Gardens magazine

Adam is originally from south Louisiana and spent his childhood days playing in his backyard, the swamps of a nature reserve. That early exposure to the outdoors grew into a love for being outside. One day he read an article about permaculture and the rest is history.

Jennifer O'Neal, a true flower gal! (Karla Conrad photograph)

Jennifer O’Neal, a true flower gal! (Karla Conrad photograph)

Iowa native Jennifer is a long time gardener who also inherited her Grandmother’s love of flowers. She grew up spending long summer days on her grandparent’s farm and in their garden. Her grandmother also spent every summer instilling floral design in Jennifer, doing flower arrangements with her for the local county fair. Jennifer now gets to bring her grandma to her farm to see the flower legacy continue and often delivers floral arrangements for her grandma to enjoy.

Flowers for the Market

Flowers for the Market

A PepperHarrow Farm design.

A PepperHarrow Farm design.

PepperHarrow's signature style -- lots of variety, beauty, and botanicals!

PepperHarrow’s signature style — lots of variety, beauty, and botanicals!

Sun-kissed sunflowers outside the barn-studio.

Sun-kissed sunflowers outside the barn-studio.

Quinlan O'Neal, whose "welcome" you hear on today's podcast episode; a grocery bouquet spotted in Des Moines.

Quinlan O’Neal, whose “welcome” you hear on today’s podcast episode; a grocery bouquet spotted in Des Moines.

The O’Neals are committed to sustainable farming practices that preserve and enhance the land. Their efforts to minimize the environmental impact and plan for self-sufficiency make their small farm a diverse and educational experience.

Jennifer and Adam

Jennifer and Adam

Follow these links to find Jennifer and Adam at these social places:

PepperHarrow Farm on Facebook

Jennifer on Instagram

Adam on Instagram

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There’s a lot to flower your soul and spirit, not to mention your creativity, in several forthcoming design opportunities, so perhaps I’ll see you at one of these events!!

Detroit Flower Week, October 11-15: Along with numerous members of the Slow Flowers Community, I’ll be joining Lisa Waud of The Flower House and pot & box at the inspiring floral convergence of design, art, farming and storytelling. Read more about Detroit Flower Week here.
Follow this link to grab your tickets!

The Slow Flowers Creative Workshop, October 17-18 at Russian River Flower School in Sonoma County California. Spaces are still available for this excellent program. Debra Prinzing will teach “floral storytelling” and partner with Dundee Butcher to use local flowers in our expanded design process that includes each student creating a video short for her or his own use. Details and registration link here. Click here to listen to a Q&A with Debra and Dundee as they discuss the workshop.

Flowerstock, hosted by Holly Chapple, a Slow Flowers member based in Virginia. She’s a designer, educator, founder of Chapel Designers, past guest of this podcast and also a flower farmer with her husband Evan on a new project called Hope Flower Farm.

Flowerstock includes two days of demonstrations and talks by renowned floral designers, a marketplace of vendors, flower playtime, live music, food trucks, barn dancing, campfires and glamping! Slow Flowers is pleased to sponsor this special gathering of our flower friends. We’re also thrilled that Holly and participants of Flower Stock will design and produce one of our Floral Style Fashion images for American Flowers Week 2017!  Find Flowerstock Details and registration link here.

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On October 16th, Slowflowers.com will sponsor and co-host the amazing Field to Vase Dinner coming up at Sunset Magazine’s beautiful new trial and demonstration gardens in wine country. I hope to see you there! The event florals will be designed by Slow Flowers member Alethea Harampolis of Studio Choo and Homestead Design Collective. Reserve your dinner ticket here!

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The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 121,000 times by listeners like you. THANK YOU to each one of you for downloading, listening, commenting and sharing. It means so much.

Thank you to our lead sponsor for 2016: 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.

More sponsor thanks goes to 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.

A big bouquet of thanks goes to Longfield Gardens… providing 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 lfgardens.com.

A fond thank you Arctic Alaska Peonies, a cooperative of 50 family farms in the heart of Alaska providing high quality, American Grown peony flowers during the months of July and August. Visit them today at arcticalaskapeonies.com.

And finally, thanks to the 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.

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.

Episode 261: Kathleen Barber of Erika’s Fresh Flowers, a one-woman flower show on the Oregon Coast

Wednesday, September 7th, 2016
Kathleen Barber of Erika's Fresh Flowers

Kathleen Barber of Erika’s Fresh Flowers

Earlier this summer, I joined my husband on a beautiful drive that culminated at the point where the Columbia River meets the Pacific Ocean; the Columbia is the natural border between the states of Washington and Oregon.

Here, there is a historic maritime town called Astoria, which was first visited by explorers and fur traders in 1811 and founded in 1876.

The reason I wanted to tag along with Bruce was because I’ve been meaning to visit Kathleen Barber of Erika’s Fresh Flowers.

Kathleen grows and designs flowers in a secret garden adjacent to her home in Warrenton, Oregon, the town just south of the metropolis of Astoria.

Kathleen (right) and her customer Carly, owner of 3 Cups Coffee in Astoria

Kathleen (right) and her customer Carly Lackner, owner of 3 Cups Coffee House in Astoria.

erika_img_5614 We met up at 3 Cups Coffee House in downtown Astoria, where owner Carly Lackner displays Kathleen’s weekly arrangements. This is the seeming “heart” of the community where people come in for a designer cup of caffeine and a home-baked pastry and stay for meetings, conversation, reading and fascinating views of the Columbia River shipping traffic.

After we jumped in Kathleen’s car, I accompanied her on a bouquet delivery to the Astoria Co-op Grocery. Another important home-grown business, the Co-op is a source of local food from local farms, and local bouquets from Erika’s Fresh Flowers. After a delicious lunch at a farm-to-table restaurant specializing in vegetarian and vegan options, we drove back to Kathleen’s home and garden-farm.

Kathleen's delivery to Astoria Co-op Grocery.

Kathleen’s delivery to Astoria Co-op Grocery.

I followed her through the rows, raised beds, high tunnels and borders inside a fenced area about 3/4-acre in size. You can hear me asking her about specific flowers and foliage that she grew and harvested for an arrangement she had in mind to promote American Flowers Week.

And she delivers to the local wine bar!

And she delivers to the local wine bar! Kathleen poses with Rebecca (right) owner of WineKraft in Astoria.

Here’s more about Kathleen, from the Erika’s Fresh Flowers web site:

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Kathleen and her daughter Erika

Erika’s Fresh Flowers is named after my daughter, Erika, who at 14 years old took over my mother’s flower stand, which was simply a way to make extra money from the joys of gardening. As Erika picked and picked, another stand was built on the other side of town.

A local florist put in a request to buy several bunches at a time directly from Erika. On one delivery to the flower shop, the florist made the check out to“Erika’s Flowers“ and therefore named the business. Erika started her first job working for that florist at 17 years old and continued through college. She has since graduated, married and lives further South in the Willamette Valley but her passion for flowers is still part of her life.

Kathleen Barber inside one of her Warrenton, Oregon, high tunnels (hoop houses) for dahlias.

Kathleen Barber inside one of her Warrenton, Oregon, high tunnels (hoop houses) for dahlias.

Kathleen received a degree in Business Management and began a career as an Office/Operations Manager. After having her second child she decided to stay home with her children. In 2005, her passion for all things floral blossomed into a family business and Kathleen formally launched Erika’s Fresh Flowers.

A Kathleen Barber floral arrangement, which she photographed in her studio.

A Kathleen Barber floral arrangement, which she photographed in her studio.

1001993_589854187739739_425674889_n She also writes: I enjoy the ability to play with flowers and be with my family. I love creating lush bouquets and arrangements with ingredients that I grow myself. The pleasure of giving others something I created just for them and seeing their response is fun and fulfilling.

We are a locally owned flower farm and design studio with a garden style inspired by the wild, unique botanicals around us.  We tend to a cutting garden with a vast selection of flowers, foliage and herbs grown with sustainability practices in mind so as to preserve our land here on the North Oregon Coast.

Yes, she's very close to the beach! The Oregon coast is a backdrop for many destination weddings and designs by Erika's Fresh Flowers.

Yes, she’s very close to the beach! The Oregon coast is a backdrop for many destination weddings and designs by Erika’s Fresh Flowers.

Kathleen Barber's locally-grown, designed and photographed arrangement

Kathleen Barber’s locally-grown, designed and photographed arrangement

A word about the quite excellent growing conditions that Kathleen enjoys. True confessions, this description comes from Wikipedia, but since I am a former Oregon resident, this feels pretty darned accurate: Astoria lies within the Mediterranean climate zone with very mild temperatures year-round, some of the most consistent in the contiguous United States; winters are mild for this latitude (it usually remains above freezing at night) and wet. Summers are cool, although short heat waves can occur. Rainfall is most abundant in late fall and winter and is lightest in July and August, averaging approximately 67 inches of precipitation annually. Snowfall is relatively rare, occurring every few years or so.

Astoria is tied with Lake Charles, Louisiana, and Port Arthur, Texas, as the most humid city in the contiguous United States. The average relative humidity in Astoria is 89% in the morning and 73% in the afternoon. (a side note, with cooler temperatures in the air, this ‘humidity’ is altogether different from what you’d experience in Louisiana or Texas, perhaps this is why Kathleen has such beautiful skin!)

Temperatures reach 80 °F only four days per year and only rarely reach 90 °F. Normally there are only one or two nights per year when the temperature remains at or above 60 °F.

With 191 days annually producing measurable precipitation, irrigation isn’t Kathleen’s problem! She enjoys the benefits of being able to grow and harvest some type of crop — flowers and foliage — nearly year-round, keeping her local customers quite delighted with Slow Flowers, Coastal Style.

Kathleen in her studio where she operates her portrait photography business.

Kathleen in her studio where she operates her portrait photography business.

A lovely bouquet featuring flowers and foliage grown, designed and photographed by Kathleen Barber.

A lovely bouquet featuring flowers and foliage grown, designed and photographed by Kathleen Barber.

In our interview, Kathleen demonstrates how she weaves together art and commerce in both her flower farming and floral design work, making it look much easier than I know it is.

Here is how to find and follow Erika’s Fresh Flowers:

Erika’s Fresh Flowers on Facebook

Erika’s Fresh Flowers on Instagram

Erika’s Fresh Flowers on Pinterest

Kathleen Barber Photography

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 116,000 times by listeners like you. THANK YOU to each one of you for downloading, listening, commenting and sharing. It means so much. Last month marked our highest listenership to day — 5,561 people downloaded the Slow Flowers Podcast during August. If you value the content you receive each week, I invite you to show your thanks and support the Slow Flowers Podcast with a donation — the button can be found on the home page at right.

Thank you to our lead sponsor for 2016: 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.

More sponsor thanks goes to 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.

A big bouquet of thanks goes to Longfield Gardens… providing 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 lfgardens.com.

Heartfeld thanks to Arctic Alaska Peonies, a cooperative of 50 family farms in the heart of Alaska providing high quality, American Grown peony flowers during the months of July and August. Visit them today at arcticalaskapeonies.com

And finally, Welcome to our new sponsor, the 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

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.

Episode 254: Today’s Modern Flower Farmers: Georgia’s Steve and Mandy O’Shea of 3 Porch Farm and Moonflower Design

Wednesday, July 13th, 2016
Mandy and Steve O'Shea of 3 Porch Farm in Comer, Georgia

Today’s Podcast guests: Mandy and Steve O’Shea of 3 Porch Farm in Comer, Georgia (c) Rinne Allen

News and Updates:

FINAL_with_Bonny_Doon_00539_DP_CreativeWorkshop-01 (2) Last month I mentioned news about the Slow Flowers Creative Workshop, which I’m co-teaching with Teresa Sabankaya of the Bonny Doon Garden Co., in Santa Cruz, California.

We have a schedule update – the workshop dates have moved and will begin 24 hours later than originally planned. We’ll now begin on SUNDAY August 21st and continue to MONDAY, August 22nd in order to accommodate those of you who have Saturday wedding conflicts. Here are the details:

Teresa is founder and creative director of Bonny Doon Garden Co. and past guest of this Podcast. We’re teaming up to lead an intimate group of fellow professionals — floral designers and farmer-florists — for an inspiring, two-part workshop taking place over the course of 1-1/2 days.

Our focus will be floral storytelling and media messaging for your business. This valuable experience is designed to help you clarify, document and communicate your personal artistic message. Go deep into Slow Flowers “brand building” and find your own voice as a floral storyteller.

You’ll also explore and expand your approach to garden-inspired design. Working with Teresa, you’ll identify the artistic inspiration for your aesthetic. Her hands-on exercises will explore how floral elements and complementary elements support your design brand and focus on how mechanics that support your style.

This all takes place in the setting of a beautiful garden, where you’ll feel right at home with beautiful flowers, gardens, farm animals and new friends! Spaces are limited and you won’t want to miss out on the chance to hone your message through words, images and flowers.

Check out the amazing impact of #americanflowersweek!

Check out the amazing impact of #americanflowersweek!

American Flowers Week is all wrapped up for 2016, with a record-breaking 1.3 million potential impressions tracked on Instagram and Twitter alone for the hashtag #americanflowersweek, more than 3 times the engagement for the same period in 2015.

And here are some telling stats for #slowflowers -- Thank YOU to today's Podcast guests for making an impact on social media, week in and week out!

And here are some telling stats for #slowflowers — Thank YOU to today’s Podcast guests for making an impact on social media, week in and week out!

As I was analyzing the social media activity, I started digging deeper into the use of the Slow Flowers hashtag, as well. And it was mindblowing to see that our top posts and most influential users of #slowflowers are today’s guests, Mandy and Steve O’Shea of 3 Porch Farm in Comer, Georgia. In the past 30 day period 3 Porch Farm has used the hash-tag 29 times with potential exposure of more than 310,000 impressions.

Georgia flower farmers Mandy and Steve O'Shea (c) Brittany Towsell

Georgia flower farmers Mandy and Steve O’Shea (c) Brittany Towsell

Welcome to 3 Porch Farm

Welcome to 3 Porch Farm

A snapshot of the location of Athens, Comer and Atlanta, Georgia

This map shows how close Comer is to Athens and Atlanta, Georgia

READ MORE…

Episode 253 Two generations of creativity with Seattle designer Sara Jane Camacho and her Kentucky farmer-florist mom Sara Brown

Wednesday, July 6th, 2016
That’s a Wrap! Thank you to everyone who participated in American Flowers Week 2016! (c) Amanda Dumouchelle

That’s a Wrap! Thank you to everyone who participated in American Flowers Week 2016! (c) Amanda Dumouchelle

We’ve wrapped up American Flowers Week, which took place between June 28th and Independence Day on July 4th!

Year Two of the Slow Flowers’ campaign to promote and celebrate American grown flowers exceeded all expectations.

In 2015, this little social media effort got a last-minute start with just six weeks’ lead time — and it still yielded 400k impressions during the 30-day period leading up to and including American Flowers Week.

I was pretty jazzed that enough of you participated last year, which helped us catch the interest of sponsors for 2016. While not huge, our total sponsorship support reached $2,100 and those funds help to pay for our creative promotions like the fantastic red-white-and-blue flower ‘fro designed by Susan McLeary of Passionflower Events (seen at right), along with the cost of placing that image in online and print advertising, and designing and distributing resources. We freely shared those resources with everyone from flower farmers and wholesalers to florists, online sellers and grocery store flower departments. There simply was no barrier or financial requirement to anyone getting involved.

2016_one-week_stats_throughJuly5

American Flowers Week generated more than 1 million potential impressions on Instagram and Twitter during a one-week celebration! Source: Keyhole.co

Pascale Plänk Steig created this signage for New Seasons Market in Portland, adapting our American Flowers Week ribbon artwork.

Pascale Plänk Steig created this signage for New Seasons Market in Portland, adapting our American Flowers Week ribbon artwork.

In the end, it paid off, with more than 250% increase in engagement in social and conventional media. Two city dailies wrote articles about American Flowers Week (The Oregonian and the Indianapolis Star), and hundreds of you posted to Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

We had florists offering American Flowers Week design workshops, wholesalers and floral designers blogging about the farms they support, groceries staging chain-wide American Flowers Week sales promotions and more. It was all so exciting and inspirational!

Social media is not always easy to track, but according to Keyhole.co, which measures engagement for #americanflowersweek mentions on Instagram and Twitter, the TAG has generated more than 1.1 million impressions in the last 60 days — the bulk of that activity has occurred since last Tuesday when American Flowers Week kicked off on June 28th. [Editor’s update: As of July 6th, the 60-day impression total has climbed to 1.35 million!]

Monique Montri, our fabulous flower 'fro model, portrays the playful spirit of American Flowers Week (c) Amanda Dumouchelle

Monique Montri, our fabulous flower ‘fro model, portrays the playful spirit of American Flowers Week (c) Amanda Dumouchelle

I’ll have more to share in the coming weeks as we analyze and consider the benefits of this impactful campaign. For now, I just want to thank you for participating. Americanflowersweek is a community-driven campaign and I’m so grateful it’s also a powerful marketing tool for you and your distinct brand.

IMG_5690

Sara Jane Camaco (left) and Sara Brown (right), daughter-mother flower growers and designers

For today’s podcast episode, we’re talking to two generations of flower women. I’ve known daughter Sara Jane Camacho for a few years. We originally met when Sara Jane worked for my friend Melissa Feveyear, an early Slow Flowers adopter featured in The 50 Mile Bouquet, at her shop, Terra Bella Flowers in Seattle’s Phinney neighborhood. Melissa is a past guest of this podcast. Sara Jane worked with Melissa for a number of seasons while also developing her unique point of view by freelancing as a floral designer.

READ MORE…

American Flowers Week 2016 is in full swing

Saturday, July 2nd, 2016

FloristsReview_e_newsletter_ad_ for June 20_00527_DP_AFW_WebAd-01

Slowflowers.com Kicks Off American Flowers Week 2016, a National Campaign to Showcase U.S. Flower Farms, Florists and Flower Gardens

American Flowers Week is an advocacy effort timed to coincide with America’s Independence Day on July 4th, providing florists, retailers, wholesalers and flower farmers a patriotic opportunity
to promote American grown flowers.

Seattle, Washington (PRWEB) June 29, 2016

00507_DP_AFW_Logo_LRG-01 All across the nation, from Alabama to Wyoming, Oregon to Maine, locally grown flowers will be highlighted and celebrated during American Flowers Week, a weeklong campaign inviting U.S. flower farmers and florists to showcase American-grown red, white and blue blooms on social media platforms (using #americanflowersweek) and in their own communities.

American Flowers Week is the advocacy, education and outreach campaign co-produced by the Slow Flowers Podcast with Debra Prinzing and Slowflowers.com, the nationwide, online directory to American Flowers and the people who grow and design with them.

Our beautiful red-white-and-blue Flower Fro. Designed by Susan McLeary, modeled by Monique Montri and photographed by Amanda Dumouchelle.

Our beautiful red-white-and-blue Flower Fro. Designed by Susan McLeary, modeled by Monique Montri and photographed by Amanda Dumouchelle.

In its second year, American Flowers Week highlights the homegrown talents of more than 700 member floral businesses listed on Slowflowers.com, including Susan McLeary of Passionflower Events in Ann Arbor, Michigan, designer of the iconic “Flower ‘Fro” depicted in the 2016 campaign poster. To create the majestic headpiece, the designer incorporated flowers donated by seven American flower farms in three states.

American Flowers Week Activities and Events
Participation in American Flowers Week involves all facets of the floral distribution channel, from flower farmers and wholesaler florists to grocery stores, floral designers, flower shops and online sellers.

READ MORE…

Episode 252 Bouquets Grown in Massachusetts with Melissa Glorieux of Aster B. Flowers

Wednesday, June 29th, 2016
An historic American farm with roots dating to the Revolutionary War is home to farmer-florist Melissa Glorieux's Aster B. Flowers.

An historic, 400-year-old American farm with roots dating to the Revolutionary War is home to farmer-florist Melissa Glorieux’s Aster B. Flowers.

00527_DP_VERTICAL_AFW_Poster-page-001 This week kicks off American Flowers Week, which began yesterday on June 28th and continues through next Monday, July 4th, Independence Day!

This is our second year celebrating American grown flowers in all shapes, sizes, forms, fragrances, locations and home states.

Before I introduce you to today’s guest, a thoroughly American flower farmer and florist, I want to share a few updates about what’s going on this week:

We’ve had participation at all levels of the floral continuum, warming the hearts and sparking the imagination of flower lovers everywhere.

Beginning with flower farms large and small across the U.S. and continuing through conventional wholesaler and on to consumer-facing flower shops, online florists, grocery stores, and farm-direct channels, the message being communicated is that these flowers have a domestic origin, grown by real people on real U.S. flower farms. Can we have some fireworks, please?!

As of last week, the social media hits were adding up quickly, thanks to  your participation. According to Keyhole.co, which tracks Instagram and Twitter hashtag use, the American Flowers Week message has generated nearly one-half million impressions since we announced the 2016 celebration on May 1st (note, this is an updated figure from June 28th, four days after I recorded this podcast intro).

50statesscreengrab

A fresh-picked, red, white and blue bouquet from Aster B. Flowers -- perfect for American Flowers Week.

A fresh-picked, red, white and blue bouquet from Aster B. Flowers — perfect for American Flowers Week.

Your use of the hashtag term is making an impact, so keep on using #americanflowersweek along with #slowflowers and your personal branding terms. We’ll keep on re-tweeting and re-posting for exponential results!

American Flowers Week has attracted major media attention, including a feature called “Get to know your growers,” by Janet Eastman of The Oregonian.

As I mentioned on the Slow Flowers Community on Facebook earlier this week, when the venerable FTD writes a blog post about American Flowers Week, well, it means we’ve got the attention of mainstream floriculture. And that’s a good thing, folks!

Keep sending us your submissions for 50 States of American Grown Flowers — wouldn’t it be great if all 50 states were represented in the gallery at americanflowersweek.com?

Everyone who participates and submits an arrangement is eligible for the prize drawings that include lots of great swag and shopping sprees from our sponsors. A recent addition from Beth Van Sandt of Scenic Place Peonies in Homer, Alaska: a beautiful box of 20 stems of premium peonies, which she has donated to our prize pool!

Meet Melissa Glorieux of Aster B. Flowers

Melissa with a bouquet of Massachusetts-grown (and designed blooms)

Melissa with a bouquet of Massachusetts-grown (and designed blooms)

It is entirely fitting to devote today’s conversation to a farmer-florist whose land in Essex, Massachusetts (according to local lore) is said to have been used by George Washington and his troops as a camp site during the Revolutionary War.

Imagine the history that this soil contains! Aster B. Flower’s owner, Melissa Glorieux, a native of Massachusetts, blends flower farming, floral design and artistry at an historic homestead about 30 miles north of Boston, where she and her husband and 2 children settled after previously living the SF Bay Area.

Melissa was first inspired by the abundant availability of seasonal and local flowers in that benign California climate . . . and she wanted to bring that practice to New England when she started Aster B. Flowers.

Melissa has developed the seven acre New England farm around the values of growing local and sustainable flowers. Aster B. strives to be sustainable both in the field and out.

A bevy of bouquets from Aster B. Flowers.

A bevy of bouquets from Aster B. Flowers.

424796_271381576273174_48212622_n The farm reuses and recycles whenever possible, such as repurposing trellising, fabric mulch and drip tape from one season to the next.

Organic growing practices, composting and water conservation are part of the daily life on this farm. Minimal packaging means that flowers are rubber-band tied and, if a client requests it, wrapped in wax paper.

 

Melissa (left) with design partner and fellow co-op member Rebekah Mindel of Meadow Wilds, a member of the new Essex Flower Co-op.

Melissa (left) with design partner and fellow Essex Flower Co-op member Rebekah Mindel of Meadow Wilds.

As Melissa and I discuss in the interview, for 2016, Meadow Wilds, Roving Radish, 1956 Blooms (transitioning to True Vine Studio) and Jemma Tory Floral Design have joined Aster B. on the farm to create the Essex Flower Co-op, a flower grower/floral designer cooperative.

Members of the co-op grow and design side-by-side, sharing expertise and supporting one another in their flower-centric endeavors. This is an exciting new model that I’m eager to share with you, yet another innovative way to keep things local and stimulate small-farm economies.

Another lovely view of Aster B. Flowers in Essex, Massachusetts

Another lovely view of Aster B. Flowers in Essex, Massachusetts

When her customers purchase Aster B. Flowers, Melissa wants them to know they are supporting a local micro-business that provides jobs, treats the Earth kindly and makes the world a little more beautiful.

 

You can follow along with The Ritual Mandala on Melissa's Instagram feed.

You can follow along with The Ritual Mandala on Melissa’s Instagram feed.

IMG_3796 Melissa’s new project is called The Ritual Mandala, a lovely endeavor that combines her life as a flower farmer with her life as an artist.

I know you’ll be inspired to try making your own farm-nature-garden-themed mandalas after seeing images of her beautiful work.

Here’s where to find and follow Melissa:

Aster B. Flowers on Facebook

Aster B. Flowers on Twitter

Aster B. Flowers on Pinterest

Aster B. Flowers on Instagram

Last week we promised a drawing for a free signed copy of The Flower Workshop, our guest Ariella Chezar’s new book. We drew the winner’s name from those of you who took the time to post a comment on the show notes page of Debraprinzing.com. And that person is: Megan Illingworth. Congratulations and thank you for listening and commenting!

There is still plenty of time to add your voice to the AmericanFlowersWeek excitement, so post your red-white-and-blue blooms and tag #americanflowersweek. Everyone’s contribution counts and together, we are changing the conversation about flowers!

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 104,000 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.

Episode 251: Ariella Chezar’s The Flower Workshop Book and Morgan Anderson of The.Flori.Culture’s PhD in – yes, Floriculture

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2016
Morgan Anderson of The.Flori.Culture (left) and Ariella Chezar (right)

Morgan Anderson of The.Flori.Culture (left) (c) Amber Snow; and Ariella Chezar (right) (c) Corbin Gurkin

This week’s episode delivers double the inspiration as you will hear from two guests — one quite familiar to our Slow Flowers community, Ariella Chezar, and one who is an emerging leader in floral design education, Morgan Anderson.

Both interviews were recorded in May and I’m combining them here for an extended episode that will delight you as a creative person and evoke some new ways of thinking about your business model, be it flower farming, floral design or a combination of both.

MEET ARIELLA CHEZAR

The Flower Workshop Book I am so fortunate to have gotten to know Ariella Chezar over the years. We were first introduced virtually by Berkeley-based designer Max Gill, an incredibly talented floral artist who I profiled (along with the work of photographer David Perry) in The 50 Mile Bouquet.

When I interviewed Max, I asked him to connect me with someone who had influenced his work and he named Ariella. She and I corresponded by email and she contributed a lovely quote about Max’s work for me to use in the chapter about him (and PS, a podcast interview with Max is on my bucket list for the upcoming year).

I promptly ordered my own copy of Flowers for the Table, an evocative book that Ariella created for Chronicle Books in 2002, one that helped propel her into the world of editorial floral design.

Ariella Chezar was in Seattle to headline the spring bloom extravaganza at SWGMC

Ariella Chezar was in Seattle to headline the spring bloom extravaganza at SWGMC

Ariella and I finally met face-to-face in spring of 2013 at Chalk Hill Clematis in Healdsburgh, California. She was there at owner Kaye Heafey’s beautiful flower farm to lead a design workshop and as it turned out, I was there with Chicago-based photographer Bob Stefko to produce a clematis story for Country Gardens magazine. The following year, I interviewed Ariella for this podcast in her former Ariella Flowers retail studio in New York City (if you haven’t heard that episode, follow this link).

So fun to have Ariella in Seattle and to see her response to the beautiful and local flora!

So fun to have Ariella in Seattle and to see her response to the beautiful and local flora!

That was about the time that Ariella teamed up with her favorite editor, SF-based Leslie Jonath of Connected Dots Media (with whom she had created Flowers for the Table), to begin creating The Flower Workshop, the designer’s long-anticipated second book that Ten Speed Press released earlier this year.

A lovely inside page from "The Flower Workshop," by Ariella Chezar

A lovely inside page from “The Flower Workshop,” by Ariella Chezar: “How to make a tulip ‘float'” – Photography (c) Erin Kunkel

It took about 18 months to bring this lovely tome to life because Ariella and her creative team photographed flowers and her designs in season, on location in both the Bay Area, where Ariella worked in the early days of her career, and in her childhood home of The Berkshires, where she operates a studio and small flower farm in western Massachusetts.

The gorgeous new book expresses Ariella’s lush, whimsical garden style and her true passion for nature, both cultivated and wild.

Why is Ariella’s work so celebrated? In our 2014 podcast interview, Ariella identifies the place (California) and the moment in time (the late 1990s and early 2000s) when she developed, almost unconsciously, her carefree, uncomplicated design aesthetic. Mesmerized by the abundance of carefree, unconstrained vegetation around her, Ariella responded in kind with a loving respect for the elements. In response, her design style was and continues to be unique and iconic.

"Summer Fruits," Ariella's interpretation from the orchard.

“Summer Fruits,” Ariella’s interpretation from the orchard. Photography (c) Erin Kunkel

Please enjoy this short interview. It was recorded at the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market on May 25th, after Ariella had spent two full days first touring the flower farms of some of the Market’s members, then teaching a master design intensive based on the content of The Flower Workshop.

READ MORE…

Episode 248: Cooperation over Competition, Part Four of the North Bay Flower Collective series

Wednesday, June 1st, 2016
Our March gathering of the North Bay Flower Collective & Slow Flowers, pictured inside the barn at Open Field Farm (c) Betany Coffland, Chloris Floral Design.

Our March gathering of the North Bay Flower Collective & Slow Flowers, pictured inside the barn at Open Field Farm (c) Betany Coffland, Chloris Floral Design.

Zoe Hitchner of Front Porch Farm (left) and Jaclyn Nesbitt of Jaclyn K. Nesbitt Designs (right) are featured in "part one" of this episode

Zoe Hitchner of Front Porch Farm (left) and Jaclyn Nesbitt of Jaclyn K. Nesbitt Designs (right) are featured in “part one” of this episode

Sarah James, who owns Open Field Farm with her husband and partner Seth James, is featured in part two of this episode.

Sarah James, who owns Open Field Farm with her husband and partner Seth James, is featured in “part two” of this episode.

2016Badge with no background American Flowers Week is only one month away, scheduled for June 28th through July 4th.

Check out our dedicated web site here to read stories about members who are involved with this cool media and consumer awareness campaign. Find free downloads of graphics, a badge for your blogroll and images to use on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

And here is our brand new fun coloring map of the USA, which you can download and print here to share with customers. Get out your pens and pencils and color to your heart’s content. Then PLEASE post your creation and tag #americanflowersweek — we look forward to seeing your work. A grateful shout-out to Jenny Diaz, our designer, for hand-drawing and hand-lettering the adorable 50-state map.

FINAL COLORING MAP-page-001

You’re also invited to contribute a bouquet of your own by designing a red-white-and-blue arrangement with local flowers from your state — and be sure to post and send us a photo of the results. Sign up here.

We’ll add it to our “50 Weeks of American Grown Flowers” gallery that will live on americanflowersweek.com and at the Slow Flowers Community on Facebook. So far, we’ve had people from 11 states volunteer to contribute a photo of their patriotic bouquet –and we’d love to receive your imagery by mid-June. Please share the love and get involved!

And by the way — all submissions will be eligible for several prizes donated by our sponsors, including three $100 dollar shopping sprees from Syndicate Sales. We’ll have more swag to announce in the future.

This map of Sonoma County shows the geographical diversity of the region north of San Francisco Bay in California

This map of Sonoma County shows the geographical diversity of the region north of San Francisco Bay in California

I’m really excited to share today’s episode with you, recorded during my two-day March floral excursion hosted by the farmers, florists and growers of Sonoma County, north of San Francisco, also known as the North Bay Flower Collective.

If you’ve been listening to this series, I can only imagine you shared the same response as I’ve experienced — that of being awed and inspired by the basic human truth that we each need a tribe; we each can soar to achieve that which we imagine or dream, when we are not alone.

Together, this community of people who make their living on flower farms and in design studios tells an important narrative of collaboration over competition.

I recorded this segment in two parts at two Sonoma County farms, both of which provided me lodging and meals, not to mention friendship and breathtaking scenery.

Zoe, me, Mimi and Jaclyn at Front Porch Farm.

Zoe, me, Mimi and Jaclyn at Front Porch Farm.

First, you will hear my conversation with Zoe Hitcher, the head flower farmer at Front Porch Farm in Healdsburg, California, and Jaclyn Nesbitt, owner of Jaclyn K. Nesbitt Floral Design based in Santa Rosa, California, two Slow Flowers members who are part of the North Bay Flower Collective. You’ll also hear a few comments from my ever-present escort Daniele Strawn of Chica Bloom Farm.

Just one of the many high tunnels at Front Porch Farm; this one was filled with spring ranunculus

Just one of the many high tunnels at Front Porch Farm; this one was filled with spring ranunculus

Early Spring at Front Porch Farm.

Early Spring at Front Porch Farm.

Mimi Buckleys signature wreaths

Mimi Buckley’s signature wreaths

Here’s a bit of background about Front Porch Farm.

Mimi Buckley, my lovely and generous host for the first night of my farm stay.

Mimi Buckley, my lovely and generous host for the first night of my farm stay.

After other successful careers, Peter and Mimi Buckley started a 110-acre organic farm outside Healdsburg six years ago. Front Porch Farm lies along a wild stretch of the Russian River, due east of Healdsburg, California.

The farm rests on a bench of rich alluvial soils, surrounded by low hills forming a lovely pocket valley. There, they tend a mosaic of fruit, nut, and olive orchards; fields of grains, alfalfa, and pasture grass; a wide variety of heritage vegetable crops; and wine grapes on the sunny hillsides.

Blackberry cultivars ripen along the fences and the Russian River flows nearby, alive with osprey, herons, deer, and the occasional mountain lion. Organic farming depends on biological diversity and flowers are an integral part of the farm’s ecosystem.

By attracting pollinators and beneficial insects, the flowers that Zoe grows keep fruit trees and berry bushes productive as well as row crops protected. They add beauty and bring joy to those who work with and receive them. Front Porch Farm’s flowers are sold at the farm, at local farmers’ markets, and in local floral shops around Healdsburg and Sonoma County. In addition, as flower manager, Zoe provides elegant and natural design work capturing the spirit of the farm customized to unique clients and events.

Zoe Hitchner, Front Porch Farms flower farmer.

Zoe Hitchner, Front Porch Farms flower farmer.

Zoe’s bio originally appeared in the Field to Vase “grower’s spotlight” blog, written by our second guest, Jaclyn Nesbitt and used with permission:

Zoe has a rich background in flowers and gardening. She has worked at a flower shop, urban community gardens, and a school garden. She participated in the Apprenticeship in Ecological Horticulture at UC Santa Cruz and finally, before joining Front Porch Farm, she and two colleagues ran a thriving farm in Santa Cruz.

The farm’s owners, Mimi and Peter, are two vibrant, beautiful souls who are dedicated to biodiversity and sustainable agriculture in a region solely focused on wine.

Zoe with one of her designs.

Zoe with one of her designs.

In Zoe’s words: “Our vision at Front Porch Farm is to create a diverse farm in the midst of wine-country monoculture. We see ourselves as stewards of the land which means it’s our job to look after the health of the soil and the Russian River that runs through our valley. We want to create habitat for the honey bees and the migratory birds. We also want to create the highest quality produce, most cared-for meat (look into our heritage pig operation!) and, my charge, the most beautiful flowers! Thanks to my partner Mimi Buckley and her vision, we are in the process of turning two acres of our farm into a vibrant flower garden, including over sixty varieties of annual flowers and many perennials and bulbs as well. Ultimately we aim to be a training ground for new farmers and a resource for our local community.”

Jaclyn Nesbitt, floral designer and fine artist

Jaclyn Nesbitt, floral designer and fine artist (c) Megan Clouse

A beautiful bridal bouquet designed by Jaclyn Nesbitt

A beautiful bridal bouquet designed by Jaclyn Nesbitt (c) Clane Gessel

More seasonal floral artistry from Jaclyn Nesbitt

More seasonal floral artistry from Jaclyn Nesbitt; Left photo (c) Jaclyn Nesbitt; Right photo (c) Megan Clouse

Here’s an introduction to Jaclyn Nesbitt:

Jaclyn K. Nesbitt Designs specializes in flowers and botanicals for special events and styled shoots. She takes pride in sourcing local and seasonal materials for her unique, organic, and artful designs. She wholeheartedly believes in supporting the incredible flower farmers she has made personal relationships with in the Greater Bay Area. Rooted in her strong values, Jaclyn is able to honor the earth, the local economy, and the region’s rich agricultural heritage. Formally trained in painting, photography, printmaking and textile design, Jaclyn is a true artist that can put her creative sensibilities to work through any medium.

A tabletop design from Jaclyn

A tabletop design from Jaclyn (c) Clane Gessel

She writes this manifesto on her web site: Our work thrives where art + nature collide. Our passion for design, fine art, and fashion is balanced by a lifelong love relationship with the wild, mysterious natural world. Articulating this fine balance is what motivates our work.

We love and respect our local flower farmers. Through our commitment to using seasonal and locally sourced materials, we strive to honor the earth, our local economy, and our region’s rich agricultural heritage. Celebrating the diversity of people and their extraordinary stories is what makes our work meaningful.

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