Debra Prinzing

Get the Email Newsletter!

Archive for the ‘American Grown’ Category

Episode 315: Flower Farmer Nellie Gardner’s New Chapter in Historic Garden and Landscape Preservation

Wednesday, September 20th, 2017

Nellie Gardener, cut flower farmer, horticulturist and historic landscape preservation consultant.

SLOW FLOWERS IN THE NEWS

Nellie Gardner at the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Darwin Martin House in Buffalo, where she led tours recently for attendees of the Garden Writers Association annual symposium.

Nellie, pictured on the grounds of the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Darwin Martin House in Buffalo, NY, where she is in charge of landscape restoration.

Today’s guest is a woman who I met “virtually” nearly six years ago, but we only recently connected face-to-face. Her name is Nellie Gardner. When the two of us corresponded in late 2011, Nell was the proprietor of Flower Fields, based outside Rochester, New York.

At the time, I was wrapping up the final manuscript for The 50 Mile Bouquet, and one of the last chapters I wrote was about the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers, called “From Their Fields to Your Vase.” I was a member of ASCFG, and a frequent reader of the members’ bulletin board where flower farmers posed questions and engaged in discussion on all sorts of topics.

One question caught my eye — from Emily Watson of Milwaukee, Wisconsin-based Stems Cut Flowers. As it turns out, Emily is a past guest of this podcast; we featured her in Episode 185 a few years ago when we discussed her decision to add a new floral studio called Wood Violet to her business model.

Emily’s question about the viability and sustainability of working 80 hour weeks as a flower farmer and wanting to know that it was worth it prompted heartfelt reactions from fellow ASCFG member-growers around the country. One message came from Nellie Gardener, who wrote this:

“I have been able to make a frugal living by growing cut flowers for 20 years, with no outside income or partner with an income. I can only do it by working like a madwoman most of the year, doing weddings, developing many outlets, and extending my Zone 5 season by making Christmas wreaths (and) offering workshops and classes. To make a living with cut flowers, you not only have to grow efficiently, have quality (product), sell to florists, wedding and special event designers, and sell in both retail and wholesale channels, you also have to reinvent yourself to sell all your skills to the public who is hungry for anything real. The competition is cheap labor in South America and the use of flowers as loss leaders in stores like Sam’s Club and BJ’s. Only some consumers will buy on conscience, not price.”

Flower Field Farm in Spencerport, NY, where Nellie’s cut flower farm is located.

After reading her comments online, I contacted Nellie to ask for her permission to include them in The 50 Mile Bouquet and I promised to send her a copy of the book as my thanks. She agreed, and I believe the honest and sincere answers she wrote in reaction to Emily’s initial question gave readers an unusual peek into the life of a small-scale specialty cut flower grower.

Another view of Flower Fields Farm.

Over the years I would catch glimpses of Nellie and her flowers, including a beautiful spread in Country Gardens magazine, for which I’m a contributing editor. It was one of those lavish, romantic flower farming stories that prompted me to say, “oh, I wish I had been able to write that!”

Flower Field Farms’ array of fresh, field-grown blooms.

After all these years, Nellie and I finally met in person this past August, when she presented a roundtable topic at the Garden Writers Association annual symposium in Buffalo. I was ecstatic when I saw her name on the program. And the topic was a departure for Nellie — I thought. Rather than discussing cut flower farming, Nellie was there to share the story of gardening at the historic Graycliff Estate, a Frank Lloyd Wright-designed home on Lake Erie, built in 1926 for the Darwin Martin family. The grounds at Graycliff were originally designed by Ellen Biddle Shipman, a well-known landscape architect and contemporary of Wright’s. Once grand, like the estate, the gardens declined with age — and Nellie has assumed the role of horticulturist who is restoring the flower borders, harvest gardens and outdoor living spaces.

Well now, this was a new role for Nellie and it all makes sense now that I see this title on her web site for Flower Fields: “Cut flower grower, horticulture and gardening consultation.”

I reintroduced myself to Nellie and asked if she would join the podcast to share her story. What you’ll hear today is our rather spontaneous interview, recorded in the lobby of the Buffalo Marriott Hotel.

Dahlias on display!

Here’s a short intro from Nellie’s “about” section of the Flower Fields web site:

Nellie grows cut flower on her Historic Spencerport Farm, and is also the Horticulturist at the Frank Lloyd Wright Darwin Martin House in Buffalo. Her experience growing up on a hardscrabble farm on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia gave her motivation to put herself through College to learn the science of soils and plants.

With no formal high school education and no money she earned a degree in Agriculture from Nova Scotia Agricultural College and Cornell University. Working for The Integrated Pest Management Program at Cornell, Cornell Cooperative Extension, and her own private consulting business, has given her a wide range of experience she applies to her approach to horticulture.

Seeing opportunity and making use of everything she finds grew out of necessity and reuse and repurposing are instinctive. She has grown cut flowers for over 20 years and consults in horticultural problem solving and cut flower growing.

Wow — at a time when so many are seeking ways to diversify their brand and business, I love seeing how one flower farmer’s  path is taking her in a direction that is creatively challenging, professionally rewarding and thoroughly relevant to growing cut flowers.

Nellie worked hard to diversify her business model at Flower Fields Farm, including wreath-making in the fall and winter months.

Find and Follow Nellie Gardner at these social places:

Flower Fields Farm

Nellie Gardner on Facebook

Nellie Gardner on Instagram

Thanks again for joining me today. The Slow Flowers Community continues to grow, with close to 1,500 members having joined our Facebook group and increased engagement on a daily basis over our other social platforms, including Instagram. We are gaining momentum and your participation is key. The media continues to pay attention and Slow Flowers has received some great press lately, both in the trade media thanks to our new partnership with Florists’ Review, as well as in print and online places.

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 235,000 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.

Thank you to family of sponsors

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.

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

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 lfgardens.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.

(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 KineticTreeFitness.com.

Music credits:
Chords For David
by Pitx
Creative Commons Attribution (3.0)
Acoustic 1
by Dave Depper
Additional music from:

audionautix.com

 

 

Slow Flowers, Montana Style

Tuesday, September 19th, 2017

Our lovely gathering of Slow Flowers aficionados, pictured at Hart’s Garden & Nursery in Missoula.

Earlier this month, I flew to Missoula, a Western Montana, college town where there is quite a bit happening on the local flower farming scene. t was on my way to speak at the Rocky Mountain Gardening Live conference held on September 11-12 at Chico Hot Springs in Pray, Montana, just 30 minutes outside the eastern entrance of Yellowstone National Park.

Kathy Sherba, Carly Jenkins and Kristen Tack — all cohorts in Missoula’s Westside Flower Market

Jamie Rogers and Carly Jenkins of Killing Frost Farm, with me (right)

A giant sunflower puts a smile on my face, snapped during my tour of Mighty Fine Farm.

The reason for this Seattle-to-Missoula leg of my trip was to meet up with Carly Jenkins and Jamie Rogers of Killing Frost Farm, Kathy and Adam Sherba of Mighty Fine Farm and George and Marcia Hart of Hart’s Garden & Nursery — all in the Missoula flower farming and Slow Flowers community.

Carly and I met in person earlier this year when she attended Tobey Nelson’s Whidbey Island Flower Workshop, which featured Susan McLeary of Passionflower Events and Kaleb Willis of Kaleb Norman James Design. Carly, or CJ, as she’s often called, gave me the big news about the second-season launch of Westside Flower Market, a wholesale farmer-to-florist venture that she and Kathy incubated beginning last summer in Missoula garage owned by Carly and Jamie. You can hear our Slow Flowers Podcast interview from that visit here.

Great recent coverage on local & slow flowers in The Missoula Independent.

This year, six additional flower farmers have joined the momentum and they are doing some really awesome things. Read more about the Slow Flowers Missoula story in this excellent piece that just ran in The Missoula Independent.

George and Marcia graciously hosted a barbecue, farm tour and meet-up at their property.

And while I didn’t count totals, I bet we had about 30 folks in attendance,  including some who drove up to 4 hours from places like Kalispell to join us!

From left: Special guest Rep. Willis Curdy, George Hart & Marcia Hart, flower farmers and hosts.

I was delighted to introduce the Slow Flowers Movement to all those who attended, including Montana Rep. Willis Curdy, member of the agriculture committee for the state legislature, who just wanted to learn more about flower farming in his district — very cool!

A quartet of fabulous flower farmers: Jeriann Sabin and Ralph Thurston of Bindweed Farm, Carly Jenkins of Killing Frost Farm and Kathy Sherba of Mighty Fine Farm. Photographed at Mighty Fine Farm in Missoula.

We also had some very special guests in attendance — Jeriann Sabin and Ralph Thurston of Bindweed Farm in Blackfoot, Idaho! Jeriann and Ralph are past guests of the Slow Flowers Podcast, which we recorded last year upon the publication of their fabulous book, Deadhead: The Bindweed Way to Grow Flowers.

A last-minute flower farmers’ vaycay (thanks to an invitation from Carly), their 350-mile road trip . . .  and we were blessed with Jeriann and Ralph’s generous souls, playful personalities and amazing wisdom. People soaked up every word they had to say. Southeastern Idaho’s growing conditions are similar enough to those of Western Montana’s that our crowed wanted to hear every word — and wanted to buy signed copies of Deadhead!

Ralph and Jeriann shared their story and their flower farming wisdom at our Meet Up. Photographed at the beautiful grounds of Hart’s Garden & Nursery, Missoula

High tunnels filled with late summer dahlias at Hart’s Garden & Nursery.

An unnamed dahlia at Hart’s Garden & Nursery. The brilliance offset the smoky skies caused by Western Montana’s forest fires.

That night, Carly, Kathy, Ralph, Jeriann  and I stayed up late, talking and visiting under the Montana moon. It has been a rough few months there, with the rampant wildfires, so we all were delighted that the breezes cleared the skies for one beautiful evening. A very special thank you to Adam Sherba’s parents for lending us use of their fabulous Missoula home. Jeriann, Ralph and I stayed there in great Montana luxury. In the morning, I watched deer and wild turkeys roaming through the hillside below the home.

Chico Hot Springs, a favorite of everyone in Montana.

I drove from Missoula to Pray (about 250 miles east) on Sunday, September 10th, arriving before dinnertime to check into Chico Hot Springs. CHS is a very special place — historic for its dude ranch vibe, its restorative 104-degree soaking pools fed by the springs and its adjacency to Yellowstone. The original lodge, where I stayed, dates to 1900, but the first recorded reference to the Hot Springs goes back to 1865. This is a place for kicking back and relaxing, which I did lots of. But now that there is a Conference Center to host corporate events, people come for multiple reasons.

All local flowers from Bozeman floral designer Remy Greco-Brault, owner of Labellum. Remy taught a pin-on floral workshop after my lecture.

Rocky Mountain Gardening LIVE, with dahlias grown by #kangaroohousegardens in Hamilton, Montana

I was there as guest of Dan and Andra Spurr, editor and publisher of Rocky Mountain Gardening magazine.

This wonderful quarterly magazine is for gardeners throughout the Rocky Mountains, encompassing stories and subscribers from the Canadian-US border down to Colorado and includes Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, and Utah.

I was delighted to speak about Slow Flowers and share the story of what’s happening in Montana and beyond to an audience of more than 80 attendees.

Several flower farmers and florists were there, which made me feel welcome and allowed me to brag about their achievements — including Cindy Hanson of The Herb And Garden in Helena, a Slow Flowers member who I recently featured in Florists’ Review/Slow Flowers Journal.

After my time at Chico Hot Springs, I left knowing that even more folks are supportive of our movement, our cause, and our purpose. I met florists who promised to join and list their businesses on Slowflowers.com and I made lifelong friends with Dan and Andra, who couldn’t have been more generous in their hospitality.

A final bonus — spending two days with my siblings, Scott Prinzing and his wife Kristen Rickels Prinzing. They live in Billings and have both contributed to Rocky Mountain Gardening in the past, with articles (Kris) and photography (Scott). As a very special treat, they agreed to record the upcoming holiday special music episode of the Slow Flowers Podcast — listen for that Episode 328 on December 20th. I have no musical talent, but it’s nice to have siblings who do!

Episode 313: Rachel Lord of Alaska Stems pursues a different floral path

Wednesday, September 6th, 2017

Rachel Lord of Alaska Stems, photographed at her Homer farm with her two daughters, Sadie and Linnea.

Welcome to the first week of September! Summer isn’t quite over but we’re all well aware of Fall’s pending arrival. As someone who manages to turn every trip into a working vacation, I’m excited to bring you my last interview recorded when I spent several days at the magnificent Scenic Place Peonies in Homer, Alaska, in late July.

Rachel, left, during a wedding design install, and a peek at her Homer Farmers’ Market stall (right)

Today’s guest, Rachel Lord of Alaska Stems, is one of the many volunteers who came alongside peony farmer (and my lovely host) Beth Van Sandt of Scenic Place Peonies and floral designer Kelly Shore of Petals by the Shore.

I first met Rachel in 2014 when I spent several beautiful days in Homer, principally as the keynote speaker for Homer Gardeners’ Weekend. Rachel donated flowers to be used in the design workshop I taught for the Homer Garden Club and she also invited me over for a tour of her flower farm.

Alaska Stems’ land overlooks the beautiful Kachemak Bay and all the Glaciers that create Homer’s exquisite views.

It turns out that Rachel is unlike most other flower growers in Homer. She has decided that while she loves growing peonies for her design work, there is an opportunity in the market to grow a diverse mix of everything else that a full-service floral designer needs — annuals, perennials, woody shrubs for foliages, herbs, bulbs and much, much, more.

Rachel shared her talents with Beth and Kelly and others involved in decorating Scenic Place Peonies for the Field to Vase Dinner held on July 29th. If you need any encouragement that you can grown beautiful, organic cut flowers and serve a marketplace that perhaps isn’t as large as you’d like it to be, then listen up. You’ll gain insights and inspiration from Rachel’s story.

Alaska Stems specalizes in early-spring tulips, which feed the floral hunger of the Homer marketplace – and beyond!

Left: Ben and Rachel, from my 2014 visit; Right: Zinnia production in the high tunnel from that summer.

Here’s a little more about Alaska Stems, excerpted from the web site.

Alaska Stems is a locally-owned flower farm and design studio located in Homer, Alaska. Rachel and her husband Ben Gibson grow over 40 varieties of cut flowers for sale at local markets and for use in Rachel’s natural and elegant designs for weddings and events. Their flowers can be seen at businesses around town, at the Homer Farmers’ Market, at weddings and special events, and always on our table – and we hope on yours as well!

An Alaska Stems bouquet, with peonies and lots of other gorgeous, truly local, elements. (c) Joshua Veldstra Photography

Rachel and Ben started selling flowers, vegetables, and herbs in 2011, after adding a large high tunnel to their garden. Their love of flowers was solidified that year when delivering the farm’s first bouquets. As they write: “There is no denying that fresh, local flowers light up not only a room, but the people in that room. This is soul food, and it is brilliant to witness and foster in our community! Since then, we have focused exclusively on growing flowers and floral design work.”

Alaska Stems is truly a small farm with less than a half-acre in production, three high tunnels and approximately 6,000 square feet of outside raised beds. The gardens support the Lord-Gibson family, as well as their flowers, and it’s not unusual to find veggies in Rachel’s floral arrangements! The couple believes strongly in local food and flowers, sustainable growing practices that nurture plants and soil for the long term, and connecting with the community to promote and encourage these things.

When Rachel isn’t working at Stems, she can be found filling in at Cook Inletkeeper – a regional non-profit organization that works to protect the Cook Inlet and the life it sustains, valuing clean water and healthy salmon for everyone. Rachel also sits on the Board of Directors for the Homer Farmers Market.

Ben and his family own and operate Small Potatoes – a local sawmill that produces rough cut lumber and beautiful tongue and groove boards. He sawmills, carpenters, advises, and generally is a (fairly reluctant) man-about-town.

Eldest daughter Sadie arrived in August 2013, and her sister Linnea came on the scene in November 2015. Farming with two little ones is an exercise in patience, joy, love and commitment.

One more look at the farm, the high tunnels — and that VIEW!!!

From the archives: My 2014 visit to Alaska Stems where Rachel Lord and Ben Gibson grow flowers, veggies, children and community.

Please enjoy this conversation and here’s how to find Alaska Stems at the farm’s social places:

Find Alaska Stems on Facebook

Follow Alaska Stems on Instagram

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 230,000 times by listeners like you. The month of August was our second highest ever in the history of the Slow Flowers Podcast for listener downloads with 11,470, just 48 downloads shy of March 2017, our highest month to date. 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.

Thank you to family of sponsors

And 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.

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

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 lfgardens.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

(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 KineticTreeFitness.com.

Music Credits:

Wingspan; 
Inessential
by Blue Dot Sessions
Additional music from:

audionautix.com

Episode 309: Meet Michelle LaFriniere of Chilly Root Peonies of Homer, Alaska

Wednesday, August 9th, 2017

Chilly Root Peonies in Homer, Alaska

There are hundreds of small farms growing hundreds of thousands of stems of beautiful, romantic peonies across the state of Alaska and I suspect that each farmer is as unique and passionate as the next. As you may remember from last week’s episode featuring Kelly Shore of Petals by the Shore, I spent last weekend in Homer, Alaska, one of three major hubs for peonies in the state.

While there, I was delighted to reunite with today’s guest, Michelle LaFriniere of Chilly Root Peony Farm. She and her husband Michael Poole are early adopters who have been growing peonies as cut flowers since planting their first roots in 2009. Their focus wildly beautiful blooms are produced naturally and sustainably, with no chemicals.

Michelle LaFriniere and Michael Poole recently hosted peony fans on the Alaska Peony Marketing Group’s farm tour.

I met Michelle and Michael on my first trip to Alaska in 2012. Then, I was lured to the 49th state because of its emerging peony agriculture and I had to see what was happening with my own eyes.

At the time, just five years ago, people didn’t really use the words Peonies and Alaska in the same sentence, but I think that’s changing, if the floral industry has anything to say about it.

There are acres and acres of peony fields, flourishing in June and July as far north as Fairbanks (Latitude 64). Further south, peonies bloom in Homer until August and even early September. The cool thing about this chilly state is that an intrepid group of farmers has made a cut flower industry possible. With an entrepreneurial spirit, access to land and a serious can-do approach to farming in Alaska, they seized the opportunity and created a market for their lovely crops at the exact same time when a huge percentage of weddings takes place in the Lower 48.

It’s a sweet spot flower farmers dream of finding. After learning about Alaska’s emerging peony scene in 2011, I set my sights on a first-person trip. In late July 2012, I spent one week there, logging more than 1,500 miles on Alaska’s highways and byways (and a few dirt roads to nowhere!), visiting 15 peony farms and meeting with dozens of wonderful people behind the blooms. I came home totally enthralled with the hardworking character of flower farmers everywhere, especially in Alaska where no one expects you to grow anything except those oversize cabbages that win blue ribbons at the state fair.

Michelle and I enjoyed time together in late July when I attended the Field to Vase Dinner as a guest of Scenic Place Peonies, where this photograph was taken.

Here’s why it’s so exciting:

Peonies are one of the top bridal flowers in the country, according to many industry sources. Yet in the lower 48 states peonies peak in late May and early June. If you are a bride yearning to hold a bodacious bouquet of peonies on your special day in July, August or September. . . you are simply out of luck. The next chance for peonies comes in the fall, around October, when they bloom on Australia and New Zealand flower farms – and those have to be shipped to you at outrageous expense and a serious carbon foot print.

Luscious peonies from Chilly Root Peony Farm

So, when the folks in Alaska, inspired by the research of professor Pat Holloway, now retired from the department of high altitude agriculture at U of A/Fairbanks and the Georgeson Botanic Garden, discovered they how easy it was to grow peonies and harvest them in July and August, well, a brand-new seasonal flower crop emerged on the scene. The marketplace has responded with a voracious appetite for the pale pink, coral, cream, wine and hot pink blooms. Brides and their floral designers are jumping for joy – and Alaska has its first agricultural export crop. Not fish. Not oil. But PEONIES!

This micro-flower story has taken place in less than a decade, gradually at first, as a few folks planted a few hundred peonies on an acre or two. Then, armed with Pat’s research and information gleaned from her workshops on growing and harvesting, more joined the peony revolution. Like many perennials, peonies take at least three years to become productive, so it has only been in the last five years that significant quantities of blooms have been cut and shipped out of state.

If you are wondering “what’s so special?” about these flowers, I can only tell you that there’s some kind of magical fairy dust in the soil, air, sunlight and altitude of Alaska that adds up to fields of robust, healthy and vivid flowers. Some have stems like you’ve never seen before – 30-inches and longer. The foliage is healthy and true green; the petal colors are intense and vivid when you want them to be and subtly quiet when that’s preferred (in other words, better than the catalog photos!). These plants are extraordinarily responsive to the 20-plus-hours-of-sunshine in the land of the midnight sun – and the sunlight seems to be that secret ingredient for the flowers’ success.

Michelle and Michael are two of the state’s veteran growers. Their farm, Chilly Root, is a family-owned enterprise located on the Kenai Peninsula overlooking stunning Kachemak Bay. Established in 2009 on their rural home site, Chilly Root is a compliment to the couple’s 30-plus-year ongoing commercial fishing business.

The farm is among the latest to produce peony blooms in the state – and that’s a good thing. Chilly Root’s flowers thrive at an elevation of 1,495 feet, which delays their harvest date and extends the peony shipping season for florists and their clients wanting the flowers for late summer or early fall weddings.

Michelle and Michael grow more than 30 different varieties of herbaceous peonies. As they say on their web site: “From root to bouquet, we tend our flowers with pure passion. We bring organic, sustainable and natural beauty to the market and hope to leave the Earth better than we found it.”

A dreamy sea of peonies at Chilly Root Peony Farm

You can follow Chilly Root Peony Farm at all these social media places:

Chilly Root Peonies on Facebook

Chilly Root Peonies on Instagram

Chilly Root Peonies on Pinterest

Thanks again for joining me today and getting in on the peony craze!

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 219,000 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.

Thank you to family of sponsors

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.

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

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 lfgardens.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.

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 KineticTreeFitness.com.

Music Credits:

Episode 308: Kelly Shore’s Unforgettable Year and what happens when one floral designer embraces a local, American-grown sourcing philosophy

Wednesday, August 2nd, 2017

Kelly Shore, framed by Alaska peonies grown by Scenic Place Peonies in Homer, Alaska

Fun times in the 49th State and the Land of Peonies, with my Slow Flowers sister, Kelly Shore

Earlier this week, I returned home from five glorious days spent in Homer, Alaska, which has become one of my favorite places in the world. It was my fourth trip to Alaska in five years and my third to Homer, where peony farmers and Slow Flowers members Beth Van Sandt and Kurt Weichhand of Scenic Place Peonies offered me the most generous hospitality and friendship.

Alaskan Grown, our hosts: Beth Van Sandt and Kurt Weichhand of Scenic Place Peonies.

If you haven’t met this flower farm, here are two podcast episodes from our archives worth listening to:
Episode 282: News from the Alaska Peony Growers Association, including a conversation with Beth Van Sandt
Episode 154: Debra and Christina’s Alaska Peony Adventure, including Christina Stembel and Beth Van Sandt

Peonies and Glaciers = Homer, Alaska Beauty that inspires today’s guest, Kelly Shore

I was surrounded by flowers — not just peonies, which of course, steal the show, but all sorts of naturally and cultivated beauty in their high tunnels and the gardens around their home, as well as along the fields’ edges.

That beauty also lured today’s guest to Scenic Place Peonies and I couldn’t pass up a chance to record this interview with Kelly Shore, owner of Petals by the Shore, based in Olney, Maryland.

A sneak peek at the setting where last weekend’s peony-filled F2V dinner took place

The abundant fields at Scenic Place Peonies

As the featured floral designer for last weekend’s Field to Vase Dinner, produced by the Certified American Grown program, to which Scenic Place Peonies belongs, Kelly Shore brought passion, sensitivity, respect and love to everything she touched. The tablescapes incorporated both peonies and other foraged and cultivated botanicals — all from Scenic Place Peonies. And beyond that, Kelly shared Beth’s vision that the table designs reflect a sense of place, of Homer itself, of the fishing culture there, and of the rugged beauty of the state of Alaska.

Kelly Shore, on site in Washington, D.C., this past May, as part of the lead team of designers who created the First Lady’s Luncheon florals.

Here’s a little more about Kelly. Much of this introduction is excerpted from the January 2017 article I wrote for Florists’ Review magazine, which accompanied an extensive gallery of photography, called “Four Seasons of Floral Design.”

Kelly Shore began shopping at the local farmers’ market in her community several years ago. She was enchanted by the unique, fresh, just-picked flowers on offer and struck up friendships with the vendors, becoming a regular customer at the Olney Farmers & Artists Market, located in Olney, Maryland.

Having begun her career at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign campus flower shop in 2000, Kelly later worked in retail and freelanced as a wedding and event floral designer, while her boyfriend (now husband, Joe Shore) was deployed in Iraq.

Kelly and Joe moved to the Washington, DC area in 2010, where she expected to put her Education M.A. to work as a teacher. But classroom positions were hard to find, so she returned to floristry, not realizing it would become her lifelong profession.

Through friendships with other florists, she networked, studied and expanded her wedding and event floral design business, Petals by the Shore.

Petals by the Shore serves wedding clients in Maryland, Washington, D.C., Virginia and Pennsylvania, a densely-populated area where, Kelly says, “everybody seems to come back to when they get married.”

Kelly and I met briefly in 2014 when I spoke at the Chapel Designers’ New York Conference, but our friendship and mutual admiration has been cemented in 2017, thanks to the many ways our work has overlapped.

Kelly, Christy and Margaret formed the lead design team for the 2017 First Lady’s Luncheon. (c) Susie and Becky Photography

Some of the First Lady’s Luncheon florals created by Kelly and the team.

A few months after we collaborated on the Florists’ Review article, I was asked to recommend a floral designer to take the lead on the First Lady’s Luncheon, a time-honored, nonpartisan event that is presented by the Congressional Club. 2017 was to be the second time that Certified American Grown flowers were donated and designed for this luncheon and I immediately thought of Kelly as a candidate for the role. She joined the project and collaborated with Margaret Lloyd of Margaret Joan Florals, and Christy Hulsey of Colonial House of Flowers, two other Slow Flowers members who’ve designed for past Certified American Grown events.

This is one of my fav pics of Kelly, snapped while she wasn’t looking — and while she was Instagramming a peony that caught her fancy at neighboring peony farm, Chilly Root

I have to say, I think Kelly felt like it couldn’t get any better than being part of the featured design team at the First Lady’s Luncheon . . . and then she was invited to take on the peony-themed decor for the Field to Vase Dinner in Homer last weekend.

What a year she’s had and I think you’ll be inspired by her story, her commitment to working with flower farmers whenever she can, and her vision for changing how wedding and event flowers are sourced and used.

Thanks again for joining me today and sharing in Kelly’s enthusiasm about American grown flowers — from Maryland to Alaska and everywhere between.

Here’s how to find and connect with Kelly Shore:

Petals by the Shore on Facebook

Petals by the Shore on Instagram

Petals by the Shore on Twitter

Petals by the Shore on Pinterest

Here’s how to find and connect with Scenic Place Peonies

Scenic Place on Facebook

Scenic Place on Instagram

I invite you to share your story, too — I’d love to hear it! You can find more stories about floral designers and farmer-florists in the inaugural issue of the Slow Flowers Journal — print edition — out now in the August issue of Florists’ Review.

Look for the August issue at Floral Supply Syndicate and your local wholesale florist, or take advantage of the special subscription offer that Florists’ Review has shared — 12 issues for $21 (which is 62% off the cover price) and I promise you that you’ll find inside each Slow Flowers Journal, our mini-magazine, the stories, news and resources important to you.

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 217,000 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.

Thank you to family of sponsors 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.

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

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 lfgardens.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

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 KineticTreeFitness.com.

Slow Flowers Summit Recap and Review

Tuesday, August 1st, 2017

It’s hard to believe that one month ago, nearly 100 of us gathered together in Seattle for the first Slow Flowers Summit. Before too much time passes, I want to personally thank you everyone who attended and invested their time and presence in sharing this incredible experience with me and others in the Slow Flowers Movement!

Here are a few of the Raves we’ve received to date:

The Slow Flowers Summit was a great platform for discussing important issues, the most important for me being diversity and inclusivity in the business. . . a fantastic event with something for everyone that didn’t shrink from the more challenging issues facing us.

The Slow Flowers Summit was hugely inspiring to me as a grower and an entrepreneur. It was a wonderful opportunity to meet other like-minded people who are successfully uniting their passion for flowers with a vision for a better world.

The Summit offered a day of inspiration and conversations. Being in the presence of other men and women who are passionate about their craft and the world behind the flowers was inspiring and uplifting. The value of the people that I met, the conversations that we united around, and the ideas that I left with made the day invaluable. I hope to be back year after year.

My participation in the Summit has sparked new ideas regarding how I grow my business. I’m inspired to think bigger and connect with a larger audience of like-minded flower people.

Thank you to our presenters for their intelligence, ideas and wisdom:

Above, from left: James Baggett, Riz Reyes, Nicole Cordier Wahlquist, Chantal Aida Gordon, Emily Ellen Anderson, Teresa Sabankaya, Amy Stewart, Debra Prinzing, Lisa Waud and Leslie Bennett

Who attended? Here’s a breakdown of how attendees identified themselves* in our post-Summit survey:
Florist/Floral Designer: 50 percent
Flower Farmer/Farmer-Florist: 27 percent
Educator: 14 percent
Media: 10 percent
Flower Gardener/Floral Enthusiast: 10 percent
Other categories: Wholesale floral managers, horticulturists, online floral retailer
*respondents were allowed to choose more than one category

We asked: “Was the Summit content relevant to you and your business?” Attendees ranked this answer 4.22 out of 5.0 
We asked: “What elements of the Summit were valuable to you? Attendees ranked these choices as follows:
1. Connecting with other Attendees
2. Connecting with Speakers
3. Learning about new Resources & Skills
4. Playing with Flowers (Flower Wall and Flowers on Your Head)

Panelists, from left: Chantal Aida Gordon of thehorticult.com blog; Leslie Bennett of Pine House Edible Gardens; Riz Reyes of RHR Horticulture; and Nicole Cordier Wahlquist of Grace Flowers Hawaii

Our Master of Ceremonies, James Baggett of Better Homes & Gardens magazine.

Emily Ellen Anderson of Lola Creative

Keynote speaker Amy Stewart, author of Flower Confidential and many other bestselling titles.

Lisa Waud of pot & box, Flower House Detroit and Detroit Flower Week

Enjoy our PICTURES!! Summit photos are here for your enjoyment and use. Follow this link to see/download.
Please credit (c) Hannah Brenlan and Luke Holtgeerts and use these hashtags: #slowflowersummit #americanflowersweek when you use any of these images. Thank you!

READ THIS. #SlowFlowerSummit 2017 is a HIT!
I loved reading one attendee’s thoughtful response with her takeaways from the Summit. Kit Wertz of Los Angeles-based Flower Duet wrote an extensive review in her July newsletter. You’ll want to subscribe to her newsletter! Thanks, Kit!

I can’t close without thanking all of our Sponsors and Volunteers.

I especially want to thank Stephanie Downes of Vanita Floral, @vanitafloral, our Event Manager Extraordinaire, and Niesha Blancas @nieshamonay, our Social Media Maven, from Poppy Social Media.

Seriously. Could. Not. Have. Done. The. Summit. Without. Them. xoxo

Our Audio/Visual Team was the best! Thank you to Hannah and Andrew Brenlan and the Brothers Holtgeerts (Henry and Luke).

A few of the many flowered and beautiful heads, thanks to Mud Baron for Flowers on Your Head

Thanks to Mud Baron of Muir Ranch for adding a festive, Instagram-worthy “flowers on your head” element to the day!

I’ve received personal notes from so many of you — and I promise to write back as time allows. I hope to announce a save-the-date for our 2018 Summit — on the East Coast — very soon.

Until then, continue to Inquire, Inform, Include, Instigate and Inspire!

Episode 306: All about Clematis with Linda Beutler, curator of the Rogerson Clematis Collection and author of The Plant Lover’s Guide to Clematis

Wednesday, July 19th, 2017

Linda Beutler, clematis expert, floral designer and author. (c) Loma Smith photograph

Linda is the author of The Plant Lover’s Guide to Clematis.

Last week, we heard from Rebecca Reed, U.S. Sales Executive for David Austin Garden Roses.

I learned so much from Rebecca about these beloved and increasingly popular roses for both the landscape and floral arranging and if you haven’t listened yet, head on over to Episode 305. It’s the perfect lead-in for today’s equally fabulous topic: Clematis.

Because so many of my friends are involved in the Pacific Northwest horticulture community and because I once was deeply embedded in it, serving as the Northwest Horticultural Society’s “Garden Notes” newsletter editor for several years, I have been vaguely aware of the existence of a rare clematis collection taking root outside Portland, Oregon. But I’d never visited the garden where it was housed.

Then last year, I met Phyllis McCanna while speaking to the Portland Garden Club, and she asked me to visit — more than once. Phyllis was gently persuasive with her warm invitations and about a month ago when I found myself driving to Portland for a series of scouting appointments, I arranged to meet Phyllis and see the clematis I’d been hearing about. As it turns out, Phyllis is the board president of the Friends of the Rogerson Clematis Collection, which is located at the historic Luscher Farm, part of Lake Oswego’s Park and Recreation system, outside Portland.

The modern clematis collection at the Rogerson Clematis Collection. I love the way it’s organized like a vineyard!

The display gardens are arranged around the historic Lescher Farmhouse and feature clematis paired with ornamental landscape plants.

Clematis with conifers and ornamental shrubs.

The Friends group was formed in 2005 to ensure that Brewster Rogerson’s amazing collection of clematis would be maintained and nurtured over time. Since then, the collection has grown from a group of beautiful plants in pots to an assemblage of beautiful plants in a delightful garden, now North America’s foremost collection of the genus Clematis.

Clematis, with lavender!

Linda led me on a tour of the modern clematis display.

Its mission is to preserve and foster the Rogerson Clematis Collection in a permanent home, observing its longtime objectives of assembling and maintaining as comprehensive a collection of the genus Clematis as possible, for the advancement of botanical and horticultural research and education and pleasure of all who visit.

I was delighted to reconnect with Phyllis and with my guest today Linda Beutler. Linda is a fifth generation Oregonian and lifelong gardener, who left floral design in 2007 when she signed on as the curator of the Rogerson Clematis Garden.

She is the author of several books, including Garden to Vase, Growing and Using your own Cut Flowers, which Timber Press published in 2007, now out of print but available used on Amazon and at Powell’s Books online. She also wrote Gardening with Clematis in 2004 and The Plant Lover’s Guide to Clematis, which Timber Books published last year.

Clematis with cotinus.

Clematis with barberry.

Clematis with witch hazel.

Linda’s love of gardening began with harvesting strawberries with her grandfather at the age of three, and being given her own plot for radishes and string beans at age five. Her home garden in the Sellwood neighborhood of Portland, Oregon reflects her garden passions, including old garden roses, herbaceous perennials and shrubs for cutting, and her 200 favorite clematis. Linda has been an adjunct instructor of horticulture at Clackamas Community College in Oregon City, OR since 1996. She is the current President of the International Clematis Society and has also been known to dabble in Jane Austen fan-fiction!

Please enjoy this conversation — and stay tuned for a bonus tip from Linda at the end of the interview. Does she or doesn’t she use rubbing alcohol to extend the vase life of her cut clematis?

Enjoy my gallery of photos from my recent visit to the Rogerson Clematis Garden. Find more clematis at these social places:

Rogerson Clematis Garden on Facebook

Download the Clematis for Beginners list from International Clematis Society

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 212,000 times by listeners like you.

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.

Thank you to family of sponsors

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

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 lfgardens.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.

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 KineticTreeFitness.com.

Music Credits:

LaBranche
by Blue Dot Sessions
 
Clap Along
by Dave Depper
Additional music from:

audionautix.com

Episode 305: American Flowers Week Recap & Rebecca Reed of David Austin Roses

Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

David Austin English Garden Roses are becoming more important than ever as cut flowers for floral design.

This week we’re continuing to celebrate the success of the third annual American Flowers Week, while also hearing from Rebecca Bull Reed, U.S. Sales Executive for David Austin Roses, this week’s guest.

I’m so pleased that Rebecca agreed to lecture on David Austin Garden Roses to the florists and farmers of the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market this past spring. I was able to record Rebecca’s presentation in late April and I’ve been waiting for the perfect time to share it with you.

But first, let’s wrap up the news of American Flowers Week! I have new campaign numbers to share — 5 million and counting! That’s the social media impressions generated by YOU and YOUR Instagram & Twitter Posts in the past 30 days!! #AmericanFlowersWeek has exploded — just like fireworks!

Rita Anders of Cuts of Color in Weimar, Texas, delivered American Flowers Week bouquets and bunches to Central Market stores in Houston.

In our third year, participation in AFW more than tripled the impressions generated last year, putting #americanflowersweek on the map in all 50 states!

[Imagine the true metrics if Facebook let us track hashtags? Just sayin’!]

Thank you to each one who joined in! The Slow Flowers Community has the momentum to effect change in the marketplace, so continue posting and sharing the #slowflowers message every week of the year!

Tammy Meyers of First & Bloom outside Seattle created a beautiful styled photo shoot for American Flowers Week.

The 3rd Annual American Flowers Week has come to a close and it was our best ever! With participation across the U.S. in all sectors of the floral industry, this New Floral Holiday is waving the flag and making a splash from coast to coast.

This year, Slow Flowers, which presents American Flowers Week, commissioned five floral-inspired fashion shoots depicting iconic American grown blooms. The designers who contributed their creativity and artistic talents teamed up with generous flower farms that donated stems straight from their fields and greenhouses.

Four of the five looks are shown above. We’re saving the final look to feature in an article that will appear in the August 2017 issue of Florists’ Review — so stay tuned for the big reveal! Our All-American floral looks would never have been possible without the support of Slow Flowers’ sponsors, including Certified American GrownArctic Alaska Peony CooperativeLongfield GardensSyndicate SalesSeattle Wholesale Growers MarketJohnny’s Selected Seeds and Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers.

Flower farmers and floral designers threw design, education and arranging parties around the country during American Flowers Week. This signage announced the Zinnia-themed design event staged by the new Lowcountry Flower Growers at a Charleston, S.C.-area farmers market.

American Flowers Week inspired grocery stores like Town & Country Markets and New Seasons in the Pacific Northwest, Central Market in the Houston area and Whole Foods Markets in the Mid-Atlantic region. Farmer groups in the Southeast, in Maryland, in New York’s Hudson Valley staged flower arranging parties and partnered with creative florists, continuing to build community and educate floral designers and consumers in their marketplaces.

Get out your crayons: Our American Flowers Week Map of State Flowers!

In other places, florists created beautiful styled shoots and designed promotions to benefit charities, like Kathleen Barber of Erika’s Fresh Flowers, whose flowers raised funds for Northwest Battle Buddies, a nonprofit partnering combat veterans with professionally trained dogs.

The media paid attention, too, with feature articles appearing in leading trade magazine Florists’ Review and a beautiful spread by Janet Eastman in The Oregonian.

Be sure to check out our show notes and links to posts at AmericanFlowersWeek.com to see beautiful photographs of campaigns, photo shoots, inspired posts and other resources. And stay tuned for next month when we announced plans for 2018 and how you can get involved in the planning for even more exciting ways to promote you, your flower farm and your floral designs!

Rebecca Reed, US Sales Executive for David Austin Garden Roses

Next up, Rebecca Bull Reed of David Austin Roses. I’ve known Rebecca as a professional friend for years — dating back to 2002, 3 and 4 when I was just getting started with my garden writing career and Rebecca was a garden designer who worked in sales at one of my favorite shops in town called Herban Pottery.

We continued our friendship through the Garden Writers Association after Rebecca moved to the Southeast to join Southern Living Magazine as a garden editor there for nearly a decade. We would see one another at annual GWA symposia and I always wished there was a way to reconnect with her more than once in a while. I was so excited when Rebecca returned to the Pacific Northwest in 2014, where she is now based as the US Sales Executive for David Austin Roses.

She is an accomplished horticulturist and garden communicator specializing in David Austin English Roses, bare root roses, own root roses, sales, marketing, project management, lifestyle publishing, photo shoot story production, instructional writing, garden design, product promotion, education, and public speaking.

I’ve seen so many of the David Austin’s garden roses at the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market, most of which are supplied as cut flowers by Dawn Severin of All My Thyme, a past guest of this podcast. Hearing from Rebecca may make you want to go back and listen to last year’s interview with Dawn — you’ll be inspired to add more David Austin garden roses to your cutting garden or flower farm — and to incorporate these beauties into your floral designs.

Find/follow David Austin Roses at these social places:

David Austin Roses on Facebook

David Austin Roses on Twitter

David Austin Roses on Pinterest

David Austin Roses on Instagram

Rebecca generously shared some of her lecture slides for me to post here.

 

Thanks so much for joining me today. It has been a crazy month and I’m so pleased that you have joined the conversation to hear from leading voices in the Slow Flowers Movement.

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded nearly 210,000 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.

 

 

Thank you to family of sponsors:

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

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 lfgardens.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

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 KineticTreeFitness.com.

Music Credits:

Wingspan
by Blue Dot Sessions
 
Acoustic 1
by Dave Depper
Additional music from:

audionautix.com

Episode 303 The Succulent Bouquet with Marialuisa Kaprielian of Urban Succulents

Wednesday, June 28th, 2017

Welcome to DAY ONE of American Flowers Week, which continues through next Tuesday, July 4th, Independence Day!

The Slow Flowers Community is boldly sharing this message: Beautiful, fresh and seasonal flowers are worth celebrating! They are grown here, by real people on real U.S. flower farms!

This is our third year celebrating American grown flowers in all 50 states – coast to coast from north to south.

I’m thrilled with the incredible enthusiasm and participation from flower farmers, floral designers, retailers, grocery chains and avid gardeners who are joining in to help raise awareness about the origin of our flowers.

Your use of hashtag #americanflowersweek along with #slowflowers and your personal branding terms is an awesome way to engage with consumers and peers across the U.S.!

I’ve loved seeing the early posts as designers and florists have shared sneak-peeks of their projects on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram – flowers, signage, displays, events and special red-white-and-blue bouquets to celebrate American Flowers Week.

We’ll keep on re-tweeting and re-posting to spread the awareness and attention on social platforms – with the overall goal of getting more folks asking for and buying American grown flowers.

Get out your crayons: Our American Flowers Week Map of State Flowers!

Follow these links to the free resources available to you – as well as details about cool American Flowers Week projects our members are producing around the country (including a few that took place last week in the days leading up to American Flowers Week).

Check out Americanflowersweek.com to download graphics, logos, photography and social media badges that you can use in your own branding or social feeds.

And don’t forget to download our awesome USA Map of state flowers, including individual state coloring sheets. Add your logo and print copies to share and hand out to your community and customers.

I have one more important event to remind you about – the Slow Flowers Summit, which is happening this coming Sunday, July 2nd in Seattle at the Surf Incubator event space.

You’ve heard from some of our awesome speakers, and this Podcast has shared previews what’s on the agenda for an inspiring day of design innovation, personal inspiration and a bit of radical thinking to send you off with new ideas.

It’s not too late to sign up – we’re expecting and planning for a few last-minute registrants. If your schedule allows, I encourage you to join us!

Marialuisa Kaprielian of Urban Succulents puts her own brilliant twist on floral design with sedums, echeverias, kalanchoes and more!

Succulents + fresh flowers in a bouquet designed by MariaLuisa Kaprielian.

I’m so happy to bring you some succulent joy today, with a conversation I recorded in late May when I traveled to San Diego to teach.

I have loved seeing the designs, creativity and color sense in the succulent florals of Marialuisa Kaprielian. Marialuisa is the owner of Urban Succulents, based in San Diego. She’s a Slowflowers.com member whose company is uniquely suited for a thriving mail order floral business.

If you recall my podcast episode with Robin Stockwell, author of the new book SUCCULENTS, he mentioned commissioning Marialuisa to design the succulent floral arrangements that appear in his book. You can listen to that episode and see images of her designs in the show notes here.

Because San Diego has ideal weather for growing and producing succulent plants, it’s the perfect headquarters for Urban Succulents.

Marialuisa’s mission is to create living arrangements using only the finest locally sourced succulent plants.

All her succulent arrangements, wreaths, gift boxes, bouquets and other items are made to order so they are fresh when the recipient receives them.  Urban Succulents’ living arrangements and bouquets can be replanted, bringing more enjoyment — a gift that keeps giving, or growing in this case.

Succulent bridal bouquets aren’t always only green!

Thoroughly feminine!

Urban Succulents creates living florals for corporate events and galas, weddings and other festive occasions. For holidays and other gifting, the studio offers wreaths and succulent plant assortments.

Individual succulents, wired and ready to be used for floral design.

I know you’ll find our conversation inspiring – and I hope it gives you some new ideas for using succulents in your design work. Or, contact Urban Succulents to special order wired succulents to add to your designs (as shown, left).

I had serious succulent envy spending time with Marialuisa in her home, studio and vast garden filled with plants we never see up in the chilly corner of the Pacific Northwest.

You can find and follow MariaLuisa at these social places:

Urban Succulents on Facebook

Urban Succulents on Instagram

Urban Succulents on Pinterest

 

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 204,000 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.

Thank you to our family of sponsors:

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

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 lfgardens.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

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 KineticTreeFitness.com.

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 302: Slow Flowers Summit Preview #3 — meet Leslie Bennett of Pine House Edible Gardens

Wednesday, June 21st, 2017

Today I’m excited to introduce you to Leslie Bennett, an Oakland-based landscape designer specializing in aesthetically pleasing food-centric gardens. Leslie is the owner of Pine House Edible Gardenswhich designs, installs and maintains delicious gardens for private & community clients in the Bay Area.

We’ve been friends for a number of years and it is my pleasure to share a recent conversation we recorded for today’s podcast. Consider this a preview of Leslie’s participation as a Slow Flowers Summit speaker.

She will be one of four panelists who will share insights and perspective during the Inclusion/Diversity dialogue led by Chantal Aida Gordon of TheHorticult Blog, last week’s guest. These two women will be joined by Nicole Cordier Wahlquist of Grace Flowers Hawaii and Riz Reyes of RHR Horticulture. Together, these innovators and creatives are telling a narrative that we can all benefit from, especially as we desire more meaningful, authentic and ethical lives.

I’ve had the privilege of interviewing Leslie about her design work for a number or articles, including a Los Angeles Times piece.

The Summer issue of Garden Design magazine features an extensive spread about Leslie’s edible-ornamental design for a Bay Area family.

This summer, you can find two beautiful and informative stories about Leslie’s projects that I was honored to write — one appears in the SUMMER Issue of Garden Design, called “Bearing Fruit,” about a landscape in Atherton, California, part of the magazine’s Great Gardens Across America series, and the other appears in the July issue of Better Homes & Gardens, on newsstands this week, called “Dyed & True,” about an urban backyard filled with plants that produce textile pigments, which Leslie designed for her Berkeley clients.

Leslie Bennett forged a holistic life for herself as a garden designer, speaker, author and advocate for edible landscapes.

There was a portion of one of my interviews with Leslie that landed on the cutting room floor, thanks to an editor’s space crunching tendencies, but it is too fabulous not to share it here. I think this will help introduce Leslie to you and give you insights into what makes her tick as a creative individual:

Leslie Bennett trained as a lawyer and turned her professional life upside down to learn organic food farming, emerging a landscape designer who specializes in stylish edible gardens.

With several years of experience in other horticulture and design ventures, she launched Pine House Edible Gardens in 2015. Growing food originally influenced Leslie’s search for a connection with the land, one that led her away from corporate law to study permaculture in the U.K. and work on a series of organic food and biodynamic farms in Jamaica and Northern California.

“I loved growing food, but I rejected the idea that it had to be strictly utilitarian,” Leslie recalls. “I remember wondering where the beauty was. It seemed like the organic movement sometimes rejected frivolous things like incorporating beauty alongside food production. One afternoon in the bean fields, I realized, ‘I’m not into this. This reminds me of my law firm,’ so I put a stop to that and started doing what I wanted to do.”

Since leaving row crops behind, Leslie has pursued edible and ornamental harmony in her design work. Her enthusiasm is contagious, attracting clients who yearn for the bountiful environments she helps them attain.

“I’m motivated by making a space meaningful for those who live there,” she says.

Here are some of Pine House Edible Gardens’ recent flowery Instagram posts!

You’ll love hearing from Leslie in today’s episode and if you’re heading to Seattle for the Slow Flowers Summit on July 2nd, you’ll love meeting her in person. Our event bookseller will have copies of The Beautiful, Edible Garden (Ten Speed Press, 2013), a guide to incorporating edibles into the ornamental landscape, of which Leslie is a co-author, and she’ll be signing copies after her presentation.

And if you follow Leslie’s Instagram feed @pinehouseediblegardens, you will soon realize she is as much a floral designer as a foodie. Her landscapes are filled with useful and beautiful plants to harvest, not just for the body but for the eyes and soul. Leslie makes it a practice to give her clients cutting garden options in all four seasons; I wish more landscape designers took this approach and I love that her firm is showing the way.

Here’s how you can find Leslie at her social places.

Pine House Edible Gardens on Facebook

Pine House Edible Gardens on Instagram

Pine House Edible Gardens on Twitter

Get out your crayons: Our American Flowers Week Map of State Flowers!

American Flowers Week launches one week from today on June 28th — and it’s not too late to jump onboard and use this social media and promotional campaign to put you and your local flowers on the map! You can check out americanflowersweek.com for all the cool details, including our just-released Coloring Map of the USA with every state flower designed by Jenny Diaz.

This is free for you to download, print and share with clients and customers this month. Feel free to add your own logo to the PDFs and get promoting! And I’d love to see your finished pages — when you post use #americanflowersweek. Please join in and help spread the word — let’s get trending on Twitter, Instagram and other social platforms!

The Slow Flowers Summit is one of our major events that will take place during American Flowers Week and you’ve heard me talking about it for quite a while. I really can’t believe the day is almost here. We have registrants coming from Georgia, Michigan, Ohio, Arizona, California, Oregon, Iowa, Alaska and, of course, Washington State. I’m blown away by the response from the Slow Flowers Community. We have a limited number of tickets left, so it’s not too late to come to Seattle for a jolt of ideas, inspiration, innovation, instigation and more! Grab your registration tickets here.

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 202,000 times by listeners like you. We hit this big milestone earlier in the week — thanks for helping us reach it!

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.

Thank you to family of sponsors:

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.

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

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 lfgardens.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

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 KineticTreeFitness.com.

Music credits: