Debra Prinzing

Get the Email Newsletter!

Archive for the ‘American Grown’ Category

Episode 378: Rachael Ackerman introduces Blue Sky Flower Farm in Minnesota, site of the Slow Flowers Summit pre-conference farm tour

Wednesday, December 5th, 2018

Rachael Ackerman of Blue Sky Flower Farm (c) Photography by Red Bird Hills

June 30th may seem like a long way off, but we all know how soon your the flower farming season arrives next spring, followed quickly by wedding and event season for floral designers.

So bear with me as we fast-forward to June 30, 2019, the day before the Slow Flowers Summit takes place on July 1st & 2nd in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Rachael (left) with her peonies; CSA bouquets (center); the abundant floral harvest (right)

Perhaps you’re planning to arrive in the Twin Cities early and if so, you’re invited to participate in our optional pre-conference farm tours and Slow Flowers Dinner on the Farm, two fantastic opportunities to learn more about the flora of Minnesota, including a lovely and educational visit to Blue Sky Flower Farm, owned by today’s guest, Rachael Ackerman.

I’ll share more details about the actual tour schedule immediately after our interview, but let me start by saying how thrilled I am that horticultural duo Rachael and Jon Ackerman, owners of Blue Sky Flower Farm, will open their farm on Sunday, June 30th for an exclusive tour welcoming attendees of the Slow Flowers Summit.

Rachael and Jon Ackerman with their three “minions” at Blue Sky Flower Farm (c) Photography by Red Bird Hills

I met Rachael and Jon in person in 2017 at the ASCFG regional meeting in Ontario, Canada, and soon thereafter, their farm joined the Slow Flowers Movement. They grow a diverse palette of plants on land about 30 miles outside of the Twin Cities in Minnesota and they’re part of the core group of growers who sell through the Twin Cities Flower Exchange, owned by Christine Hoffman, our co-host for the 2019 Summit on July 1st & 2nd.

Rachael is often dwarfed by the long branches and prolific foliage she harvests, year-round, at Blue Sky Flower Farm.

I’ve invited Rachael to share their story with us today.

Here’s a little bit more about Blue Sky Flower Farm:

Jon and Rachael dreamed of Blue Sky Flower Farm for many years. They both have horticulture degrees and between them have a combined 30-plus years working in the industry. While working full-time and raising three children, now ages 3, 5 and 7, they started the farm by planting woody cuts, including dogwoods and willows, on Jon’s parents’ dairy farm.

More branches and ornamental blooms! A Blue Sky Flower Farm specialty.

The couple now owns a 10-acre farm near Elko-New Market, Minnesota, south of the Twin Cities, where they have diversified into a year-round operation, with Spring woodies (pussy willows, lilacs, forsythia, mock orange, sweet peas and peonies); Summer crops (ninebark foliage, raspberry foliage, dahlias, baptisia, scabiosa, statice and anemone) Fall crops (bittersweet, sunflowers, rudbeckia, broom corn and unique gourds) and winter crops: flame willows, curly willows, and dogwoods of many colors.

Blue Sky Flower Farm also serves its community through a bouquet shares program each summer. I’ll let Rachael share more about how she and Jon have developed their market channels to serve a number of wholesale clients in both floriculture and horticulture.

Rachael’s grandfather, who along with her grandmother, helps on the farm once a week.

In the past, before diving deep into flower farming, Rachael and Jon worked in the commercial wholesale nursery industry, including a number of years at Bailey Nurseries Inc., one of the largest plant companies in the U.S.

Because of those ties, it is fitting that we’ve invited Rachael to join the stage at the Slow Flowers Summit and introduce our keynote speaker, Terri McEnaney, president of Bailey Nurseries.

I’m thrilled that Rachael and Jon will open their flower farm and host Slow Flowers Summit’s attendees to experience a summer afternoon on their uniquely beautiful Minnesota flower farm.

Their farm will be open between 1-3 pm on Sunday, June 30th, for self-guided touring — we’ll post more details prior to the Slow Flowers Summit.

Slow Flowers Dinner on the Farm hosts, Jolea Gress and Jenny of Green Earth Growers

Immediately following our time at Blue Sky Flower Farm, attendees are invited to tour a second venue, Green Earth Growers, a women-owned enterprise specializing in nursery bedding plants, vegetables AND flowers.

The tour of Green Earth Growers is free, but you’ll need to register separately for the first-ever Slow Flowers Dinner on the Farm, an evening of locally-grown food, flowers, entertainment and camaraderie.

Tickets are $100 inclusive and you can find more details here. We’re partnering with Green Earth Growers’ owners Jolea Gress and Jenny for this event, and I promise to feature them and their stories on this podcast in the near future.

The farm-to-table dinner is a production of Monica Walch, owner of the successful Dinner on the Farm series that takes place each year in the St. Paul-Minneapolis area.

Dinner on the Farm creates unique local food experiences designed to celebrate farmers, growers, chefs, brewers, distillers, makers and artisans dedicated to good, sustainable food. Through a series of roaming culinary events, Monica and her collaborators work to connect people back to the land and to the farmers and artisans who are making their community a better place to live.

If you attend the Slow Flowers Dinner on the Farm, you’ll join with me in an intimate, sensory evening celebrating our true sense of community with other Summit attendees, Slow Flowers members and our Summit speakers in a relaxed environment taking place just prior to the following day’s Summit Conference. I can’t wait to see you there!

December is the month to take advantage of Early Bird Ticket Pricing for joining us at the Slow Flowers Summit.

You can save $100 off if you register before Dec. 31st.

The rate for Slow Flowers member registration is $275, which includes 1-1/2 days of conference sessions, morning refreshments both days, and lunch and a cocktail reception on July 1st, plus a fabulous program, people and flowers.

We have a vital and vibrant community of flower farmers and floral designers who together define the Slow Flowers Movement.

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

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

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 385,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much. Thank you all!

Thank you to our sponsors for supporting The Slow Flowers Podcast.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And the Team Flower Conference – a professional floral event where flower lovers from all over the world gather for networking, learning, and celebration. It’s a special time for the floral industry to come together and whether you’re a farmer, designer, wholesaler, or just love flowers, you’re invited to attend as Team Flowers dreams big for the industry’s future. Head to teamflower.org/slowflowers to learn more about the 2019 conference in Waco, Texas!

PepperHarrow Farm (c) Liz Brown @estorie

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

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

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

Music Credits:

Episode 377: Creating Sanctuary, a conversation with author, gardenmaker and educator Jessi Bloom

Wednesday, November 28th, 2018

Jessi Bloom, author of the new guide, Creating Sanctuary (c) Shawn Linehan

We are well into the holiday season and it’s only November 28th — can you believe it!?

There are so many wonderful things to be thankful for and to celebrate, and yet, the holidays can be stressful and difficult for many of us.

While it can be crushing to think about the natural disasters (or human-caused disasters) that have befallen our floral community in recent seasons, it’s also sometimes overwhelming to find balance and peace in our own daily lives.

I’m so pleased to share today’s conversation with Jessi Bloom, author of the just-released book Creating Sanctuary, because I know the topic will be as timely for you, as it is for me.

Published by Timber Press, the book’s full title: Creating Sanctuary: Sacred Garden Spaces, Plant-Based Medicine, and Daily Practices to Achieve Happiness and Well-Being, gives you a sense of the inspirational and practical features inside its pages.

Cover and inside peek of Creating Sanctuary, Published by Timber Books (c) Shawn Linehan

Here’s a bit about the new book:

“We all need a personal sanctuary where we can be in harmony with the natural world and can nurture our bodies, minds, and souls. And this sanctuary doesn’t have to be a far-away destination—it can be in your own backyard. In Creating Sanctuary, Jessi Bloom taps into multiple sources of traditional plant wisdom to help find a deeper connection to the outdoor space you already have—no matter the size. Equal parts inspirational and practical, this engaging guide includes tips on designing a healing space, plant profiles for 50 sacred plants, recipes that harness the medicinal properties of plants, and simple instructions for daily rituals and practices for self-care.”

Jessi Bloom, gathering apothecary ingredients in her garden (c) Shawn Linehan

Jessi Bloom is a best-selling author, award-winning ecological landscape designer, and speaker.

A Northwest native, Jessi comes from a strong background of horticulture and environmental sciences.

Her early experience in project management ranged from organizing restoration projects with community volunteers, to high-end residential and commercial landscape design/build.

In early 2000, she decided to start an ethical business in the green industry to fill a niche for organic and ecological landscaping.

Her leadership combined with her artistic design talents have brought N.W. Bloom numerous environmental awards.

From the pages of Creating Sanctuary, by Jessi Bloom for Timber Books (c) Shawn Linehan

She is passionate about animals, permaculture and making functional gardens beautiful. Jessi’s work has been featured in many national and local media outlets from the NY Times, Better Homes & Gardens, Sunset Magazine, DISNEY, Martha Stewart Living, Mother Earth News, UTNE Reader, Fine Gardening Magazine and PBS’s Growing a Greener World TV. 

Jessi is strongly committed to volunteering in the community and sits on several advisory boards within the green industry and educational/environmental organizations; hoping to empower people, also raising industry standards, and recently helping to develop the EcoPro program for WA State.

She has two boys and spends time with them around their little farm, with a handful of animals and gardens to look after.  When she is not helping others with their gardens, traveling or writing, she enjoys the outdoors: snowboarding, hiking, running, biking and stays strong with Olympic weightlifting.

From the pages of Creating Sanctuary, by Jessi Bloom for Timber Books (c) Shawn Linehan

She has authored two prior books for Timber Press: Practical Permaculture for Home Landscapes, Your Community, and the Whole Earth with Dave Boehnlein; and the bestseller: Free-Range Chicken Gardens: How to Create a Beautiful, Chicken-Friendly Yard.

At the end of our conversation, we discuss NW Bloom’s latest project as the new farmland steward at South 47 Farm in Redmond, Washington, outside Seattle.

There, what was a corn maze for many years will now be a sustainable site nurtured by N.W. Bloom. The first year involves healing the soil from nitrogen depletion, planting cover crops to add biomass and nutrients back to the ground and developing a nursery to provide locally grown (chemical free) plants to the region. I’m excited to learn that Jessi sees the future potential to incubate small-scale flower farming among other value-added CSA crops. More on that as the story evolves.

Creating Sanctuary’s essential plant reference section, by Jessi Bloom for Timber Books (c) Shawn Linehan

If you’re in the Pacific Northwest or plan to travel here for the 2019 Northwest Flower & Garden Festival (Feb 20-24), Jessi has fabulous news to share — she has just signed on as a garden creator at the flower show and many of the ideas featured in her new book will be brought to life in that garden for you to see. I’ll be sure to add a link to the NW Flower & Garden Festival at today’s show notes for you to find more details.

I want to encourage you to visit Slow Flowers Summit to learn more about the amazing program, people and flowers you’ll engage with next summer. It’s not too early to save the date and secure your seat! Slow Flowers members receive special discount pricing and everyone receives $100 off with the Early Bird rate, on sale now!

(c) Heather Saunders

We have a vital and vibrant community of flower farmers and floral designers who together define the Slow Flowers Movement. As our cause gains more supporters and more passionate participants who believe in the importance of the American cut flower industry, the momentum is contagious.

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

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 385,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much. Thank you all!

Thank you to our sponsors for supporting The Slow Flowers Podcast.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And the Team Flower Conference – a professional floral event where flower lovers from all over the world gather for networking, learning, and celebration. It’s a special time for the floral industry to come together and whether you’re a farmer, designer, wholesaler, or just love flowers, you’re invited to attend as Team Flowers dreams big for the industry’s future. Head to teamflower.org/slowflowers to learn more about the 2019 conference in Waco, Texas!

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

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

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

Music Credits:

Episode 376: Meet Maple & Mum, a mother-daughter designer duo with a commitment to locally-grown Connecticut flowers

Wednesday, November 21st, 2018

The Maple & Mum Mobile Flower Shop! It’s a popular sight around the streets of their Connecticut community.

 

Then and Now: Left, a young florist with her child; Right, today, meet Nancy Hilton and Kate Brunson

Maple and Mum’s upscaled flower truck with Nancy Hilton peeking out of the truck’s “shop” window.

Last October I co-hosted a Connecticut area Slow Flowers Meet-Up at Trout Lily Farm in Guilford, outside New Haven.

And the following month, I spoke at the New England Farmer-Florist Connection’s Meet-Up in Providence, Rhode Island.

Both times, I met and enjoyed my conversations with today’s guests — and I love that they agreed to share their story with listeners of the Slow Flowers Podcast today!

Please meet Nancy Hilton and Kate Brunson, a super-creative, mother-daughter duo who have combined their love of natural beauty, design and celebrations to create a family business that serves wedding and event clients in Connecticut and beyond.

I loved reading Maple & Mum’s origin story on the studio’s web site — and  have to share it here with you.

A Maple & Mum centerpiece with all localy-grown Connecticut botanicals (c) Pizzuti Photography

Kate (left) and Nancy (right) of Maple & Mum

The idea was born on a cold winter afternoon as Kate was preparing to return to her 9-to-5 office job after the birth of her daughter in 2012.

Searching for a more meaningful, creative career that supported more time with her growing family, she asked her mom for advice.

Nancy recalled her years working in their small-town flower shop while her girls were in grade-school, telling Kate it was the best job she ever had because the hours flew by while she worked with her hands creating art through flowers.

That spark led to research, floral design courses and finally — right here — to my Slow Flowers Podcast, where weekly stories of farmers and florists growing and designing with local flowers convinced the women to take the leap and open their own floral design business in May 2015.

Their name stems from the roots they’ve planted in New England and the maple tree they’ve had in every place they’ve called home. One seedling from Nancy’s childhood home has moved with them as life has taken them from place to place. And the mum, an homage to their favorite season and motherhood. Inspired by the changing seasons, Maple & Mum proudly partners with local growers to create lush, organic designs.

Bouquets from a Barberry Hill Farm Wedding from this past August.

What I found so encouraging about the Maple & Mum story is how Nancy and Kate are growing their design business to support their lifestyles. Surprisingly, but perhaps not so surprisingly because talented women are capable of accomplishing so much when they set their minds to a challenge, both Nancy and Kate work in full-time jobs. That Maple & Mum designed florals for 17 ceremonies in 2018 is mind-blowing — congratulations, ladies!

Maple and Mum is focused on locally-grown, seasonal flowers from Connecticut farming partners. (c) Stella Blue Photography

Hear how they juggle everything, rely on one another and the rest of their family for support, and what their long-term plans are for leaving the 9-to-5 routine for full-time floral design.

You’ll also be inspired by Maple & Mum’s commitment to sourcing local and seasonal flowers from Connecticut farms, and when that’s not possible, how they turn to domestic sourcing.

More New England wedding bouquets by Maple & Mum

Follow Maple & Mum at these social places:

Maple & Mum on Facebook

Maple & Mum on Instagram

Maple & Mum on Pinterest

Thanks so much for joining me today! I love that Kate and Nancy want to be “The Slow Flowers Choice” in their marketplace.

I’m super thankful to them for representing the business philosophy that I value so deeply.

American Thanksgiving is tomorrow and I want to wish you a warm and beautiful time celebrating the abundance of nature and community, around the table or wherever you find yourself.

It’s also a time for me to acknowledge my profound sense of gratitude for each of you, members and supporters of Slow Flowers, as well as flower-lovers around the world who join us each week. Thank you for being part of the Slow Flowers Community as we build a progressive floral marketplace that supports domestic floral agriculture in our own backyards.

I want to encourage you to visit Slow Flowers Summit to learn more about the amazing program, people and flowers you’ll engage with next summer. It’s not too early to save the date and secure your seat! Slow Flowers members receive special discount pricing and everyone receives $100 off with the Early Bird rate, on sale now!

We have a vital and vibrant community of flower farmers and floral designers who together define the Slow Flowers Movement. As our cause gains more supporters and more passionate participants who believe in the importance of the American cut flower industry, the momentum is contagious.

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

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 382,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much. Thank you all!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And the Team Flower Conference – a professional floral event where flower lovers from all over the world gather for networking, learning, and celebration. It’s a special time for the floral industry to come together and whether you’re a farmer, designer, wholesaler, or just love flowers, you’re invited to attend as Team Flowers dreams big for the industry’s future. Head to teamflower.org/slowflowers to learn more about the 2019 conference in Waco, Texas!

PepperHarrow Farm (c) Liz Brown @estorie

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

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

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

Music Credits:
Bombadore; Perspiration
by Blue Dot Sessions
Music from:

audionautix.com

Episode 375: Flower Farming in Eastern Washington with Beth Mort of Snapdragon Flower Farm

Wednesday, November 14th, 2018

Beth Mort of Snapdragon Flower Farm in Spokane, Washington

Over the past week, I’ve had several rewarding encounters with flower farmers, floral designers and avid flower enthusiasts who are eager for inspiration and encouragement about our vibrant Slow Flowers Movement and what it means for their own relationships with flowers.

Each new connection is encouraging and inspiring.

While we have a long way to go in achieving my goal of putting local flowers on the top of customer’s wish lists and supporting florists who want local and seasonal choices in the floral marketplace, it’s notable to see how much has changed since the first week of the Slow Flowers Podcast, back in 2014.

Left: Whatcom Horticultural Society’s floral design workshop; Right: Beth Mort (Snapdragon Flower Farm), Debra Prinzing and Katie Lynd (Washington Dept. of Agriculture) at the Tilth Conference

Late last week, I was joined by more than 40 highly motivated members of the Whatcom Horticultural Society in Bellingham, Wash., where on November 8th I led a floral design workshop using only Pacific Northwest-grown botanicals — at “Brews and Bouquets.”

THANK YOU to everyone who helped to make that experience a huge success for the Hort society, who used the evening as a members’ only bonus. I’m especially grateful to the staff and flower farmers of the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market who went the extra mile to help me source 1,000 stems of flowers for the worksho

As I said, it took place on November 8th; the threat of frost was upon us and at times as the date approached, I panicked about the availability of fresh, seasonal and local floral options.

Those talented flower farmers really came through with dozens of dahlias, mums, chocolate cosmos, orange Ilex, roses and sprays, as well as lilies. A sweet haul, some of which you can see above — thanks to Crowley House Flower Farm, Charles Little & Co., Sonshine Farm, Peterkort Roses, Everyday Flowers, Cairn Farm and others.

And from Bellingham, I headed to Spokane, in Eastern Washington, on Sunday, where I joined two smart and talented women to be part of a panel at the annual Tilth Conference.

Produced by the Tilth Alliance, a coalition of people committed to sustainable farming in Washington and building an ecologically sound, economically viable and socially equitable food system, the conference this year recognized floral agriculture as an important facet of our state’s larger farming community by adding a panel presentation called “Marketing Your Local Fresh Cut Flowers: Consumer Research and Industry Trends,” to the program.

The panel was led by Katie Lynd of Washington State Department of Agriculture’s regional markets program. She shared highlights of phase one of “A Collaborative effort to Advance Washington State Cut Flowers,” a USDA specialty crop block grant being administered by WSDA and the Washington Farm Bureau. Slow Flowers is an industry stakeholder in that block grant.

Katie presented the results of the grant’s initial quantitative and qualitative consumer research and she asked me to share highlights of the 2019 Slow Flowers Floral Insights and Industry Forecast, the entire report of which you’ll hear on January 2, as part of the New Year’s first Slow Flowers Podcast episode.

A Snapdragon Flower Farm bouquet

She also invited today’s guest, Beth Mort, owner of Snapdragon Flower Farm in Spokane. I’m so pleased that Beth was part of the panel because she brought real-life experience and her personal story to the room.

A slide from Beth’s presentation at the Tilth Conference, featuring highlights and flowers from her farm.

After our panel presentation was over, Beth and I found a quiet corner of the conference to record a full episode so you can hear her story as well.

Beth was raised near Tum Tum, Washington, just outside of Spokane, where she started gardening with her mother at an early age.

Beth grows a diverse and beautiful spectrum of cut flowers

She says, “I love to learn, and gain knowledge from each person, plant and animal I meet.” As an undergraduate, Beth studied ecology and plant & mushroom taxonomy at The Evergreen State College, and followed this with a Master’s in Urban and Regional Planning from Eastern Washington University.

She holds a Permaculture Design Certificate from the Bullock’s Farm on Orcas Island.

The people, flowers and services of Snapdragon Flower Farm

Snapdragon Flower Farm is located in south Spokane near Tower Mountain. In early 2017, Beth and her husband Mike moved to the land that they rent and leasing from Heron Pond, which they call their “parent” farm.

As the 2018 growing season comes to a close, Snapdragon Flower Farm wraps its second full year in flowers.

Beth says she is grateful not just to Heron Pond but also for Urban Eden Farm, which graciously allowed her to test out growing flowers in 2016.

Beth is also owner of Zinnia Permaculture Design, a  Spokane-based garden design company with a focus on food production & building healthy soil while creating beauty and resiliency in the landscape. She blends permaculture principles, long-standing food gardening concepts and client vision to produce a dynamic design clients can use to accomplish their goals.

Beth, with her poppy crop!

As you will hear in our conversation, operating Zinnia Designs allowed Beth to generate some income from her expertise while incubating her dream of establishing a flower farm in Spokane. She applies the same sustainable practices used in food gardening to flower farming.

Snapdragon Flower Farm’s clients, colleagues and community — building an important regional hub for local flowers.

Beth is part of a small group of flower folks in Spokane who recently started a Facebook group for Inland flower farmers and florists.

Here’s how you can find and follow Snapdragon Flower Farm:

Snapdragon Flower Farm on Facebook

Snapdragon Flower Farm on Instagram

Read more about Beth in the Spokesman Review

I want to encourage you to visit the Slowflowerssummit.com site to learn more about the amazing program, people and flowers you’ll engage with next summer. It’s not too early to save the date and secure your seat! Slow Flowers members receive special discount pricing and everyone receives $100 off with the Early Bird rate, on sale now!

Designed by Nancy Cameron of Destiny Hill Flower Farm.

We have a vital and vibrant community of flower farmers and floral designers who together define the Slow Flowers Movement.

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

I know you feel it, too.

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

You can find the donate button in the column to the right.

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 380,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And the Team Flower Conference – a professional floral event where flower lovers from all over the world gather for networking, learning, and celebration. It’s a special time for the floral industry to come together and whether you’re a farmer, designer, wholesaler, or just love flowers, you’re invited to attend as Team Flowers dreams big for the industry’s future. Head to teamflower.org/slowflowers to learn more about the 2019 conference in Waco, Texas!

(c) Missy Palacol Photography

I’m Debra Prinzing, host and producer of the Slow Flowers Podcast.

Next week, you’re invited to join me in putting more American grown flowers on the table, one vase at a time. And If you like what you hear, please consider logging onto iTunes and posting a listener review.

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

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

Music Credits:
Brass Buttons; Cradle Rock
by Blue Dot Sessions

 

Episode 374: Inspired by Nature, Floral Designer Jill Redman of Forage Florals

Wednesday, November 7th, 2018

Sarah Collier of Taken by Sarah captured this adorable photo of Jill Redman at Flowerstock (I’m on the right)

I’m so excited today to share my recent conversation with floral artist Jill Redman of Forage Florals, which is based in Santa Ynez, California.

Jill and I reconnected at the Flowerstock gathering hosted by Holly Chapple last month. Jill has been on my podcast guest wish list for quite a while, so we took full advantage of recording an episode in person. You’re in for a treat!

The Flower Power Design Team, from left: Laura Cogan, JIll Redman, Kathleen Williford, Margaret Lloyd and Rebecca Raymond. All that talent in one place!

I originally met Jill in March 2015 at the first official Field to Vase Dinner held in a Santa Barbara orchid greenhouse. Margaret Lloyd of Margaret Joan Florals was the event’s featured floral designer and as it turned out, a number of Slow Flowers members and Chapel Designers volunteered to Margaret create a gorgeous installation for more than 100 dinner guests.

Forage Florals’ Jill Redman (c) Mike Larson

Jill’s studio, Forage Florals, is located nearby, and her presence at the installation was a fantastic addition to Margaret’s design team, which also included Laura Cogan, formerly of Passionflowers Design (who now works with Jill at Forage Florals) and Rebecca Raymond of Rebecca Raymond Floral.

The first floral bouquet designed by Jill Redman for a Twigs & Honey photo shoot, photographed by Elizabeth Messina.

Jill has been a longtime Slow Flowers member and a practitioner of seasonal and local floral design.

She says:

“I have always worked in various areas of creative visual expression- from interior space planning and design to metalsmithing and jewelry fabrication. Art has been a common thread in how i operate but it wasn’t until four years ago that floral design serendipitously found its way into my life. I recall arriving home after my first photo shoot, crying tears of joy- I’d found my calling.

With no time to waste, I jumped in with two feet. I was learning as I went and found immense  support and guidance through the chapel design network. My business has been growing  gracefully ever since and i feel most incredibly blessed to have the support of my good friend and talented designer Laura Cogan with me every step of the way.”

Bouquet (left) and Custom Wreath installation (right) by Jill Redman of Forage Florals.

Find and follow Jill Redman at these social places:

Forage Florals on Pinterest

Forage Florals on Facebook

Forage Florals on Instagram

Beautiful Bridal: bouquet by Jill Redman of Forage Florals

Thanks so much for joining me today! Two comments Jill made resonate with me. First, she says we have to “pay attention” and be open to opportunities as we listen to our hearts. The second, which I love, is her declaration that flowers found her.

I feel the same way, actually. I think a love of flowers was staring me in the face for far too long before I stepped into this world. I take great inspiration from Jill’s personal narrative about her life with flowers.

Join me! Slow Flowers Podcast (c) Missy Palacol Photography

Please come back next week where you’ll hear another amazing episode featuring the leading voices in our Slow Flowers Community.

I want to encourage you to visit the Slowflowerssummit.com site to learn more about the amazing program, people and flowers you’ll engage with next summer.

It’s not too early to save the date and secure your seat! Slow Flowers members receive special discount pricing and everyone receives $100 off with the Early Bird rate, on sale now!

We have a vital and vibrant community of flower farmers and floral designers who together define the Slow Flowers Movement.

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

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

You can find the donate button in the column to the right.

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 378,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much.

We wrapped up the month of October with our highest listenership ever — more than 11,400 downloads in a single month. Thank you all!

Thank you to our sponsors for supporting the Slow Flowers Podcast.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And the Team Flower Conference – a professional floral event where flower lovers from all over the world gather for networking, learning, and celebration. It’s a special time for the floral industry to come together and whether you’re a farmer, designer, wholesaler, or just love flowers, you’re invited to attend as Team Flowers dreams big for the industry’s future. Head to teamflower.org/slowflowers to learn more about the 2019 conference in Waco, Texas!

(c) Nicole Clarey Photography for Mayesh Design Star Workshop

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

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

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

Music Credits:
Blue Jay; Cottonwoods
by Blue Dot Sessions
Music from:

audionautix.com

Episode 373: A Conversation with Two Floral Design Superstars: Meet Steve Moore of Sinclair and Moore and Nancy Teasley of Oak and the Owl

Wednesday, October 31st, 2018

Nancy Teasley of Oak and the Owl and Ella Rose Farm, presenting at Flowerstock (c) Sarah Collier

Steve Moore of Sinclair and Moore, teaching at Flowerstock (c) Sarah Collier

I love the serendipity that comes from unexpected encounters and today’s episode is exactly that story!

While staying at Holly and Evan Chapple’s Hope Flower Farm in Waterford, Virginia, two weeks ago, I moved into one of the guest rooms in what is affectionately called the Tenant House. Two other guests were there, too — fellow speakers at the third annual Flowerstock.

And that experience introduced me to Steve Moore, of Seattle-based Sinclair and Moore and Nancy Teasley of Oak & The Owl and Ella Rose Farm, based in Fallbrook, California.

Never one to miss an opportunity to bring new and inspiring voices to the Slow Flowers Podcast, I asked if these to accomplished wedding and event designers — and friends — would be willing to record an interview with me for this episode.

The Flowerstock speakers, including (from left): Alicia and Adam Rico, Evan and Holly Chapple, Debra Prinzing, Nancy Teasley and Steve Moore (c) Sarah Collier

As you’ll hear, Steve and I have briefly met in the past, while racing in and out of our local flower hub in Seattle, the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market, and while I’ve known of Nancy, she and I had never met. I was delighted to share lodging with these two generous souls.

More than that, I was enchanted to sit in on their presentations during two days of Flowerstock. Their approach to naturalistic design and their willingness to share with attendees about their business practices was quite fun to observe.

Nancy Teasley, floral designer and rose grower.

Here’s more about Nancy Teasley:

Nancy’s background is in fine art (painting), interior design, and business – all degrees she received while living in the Bay Area.

While an undergrad, she worked at a flower shop in Oakland, CA, where Nancy was immersed in events, as well as day to day retail. And that is where her love of flowers originated.

After working in floral for more than 7 years, Nancy left to pursue Interior Design.

She practiced with several design firms around the Bay after receiving her degree in 2008, all while continuing to design flowers on the side.

When she moved to Southern CA, and started working on events there, Nancy found a world where she could mix both of her backgrounds seamlessly.

Her experience in interiors guides her event design, & along with florals, she blends her two mediums beautifully.

Nancy Teasley (right) of Oak and the Owl and Ella Rose Farm

Nancy is also the owner of Ella Rose Farm. She says she never expected, or looked, to become a flower farmer.

She explains: “It was a sort of far off day dream I had, if I made a million dollars, or if I lived in some alternate reality (like making a million dollars), I could fantasize about having a field of roses. I once spent a New Years Eve, way before Ella was even thought of, looking through a rose catalogue, envisioning what varieties I would choose (I think I IG’d that night, so long ago).”

Well, with her parents, that dream somehow came true. Growing roses required a lot of time, money, and grueling physical and emotional work. Ella Rose Farm grows and sells beautiful roses around the country. Nancy’s designs are so much better because of them.

And now, she describes herself as a part-time farmer, full-time designer. All that time in the field has made Nancy a better designer, a better business owner, and a better person. There’s no work quite like farming.

Nancy Teasley’s roses from Ella Rose Farm, featured in two of her recent designs for a centerpiece and a bouquet.

Follow Nancy at these Social places:

Oak and the Owl on Instagram

Ella Rose Farm on Instagram

Sinclair and Moore

Steve Moore of Seattle-based Sinclair and Moore, in his studio.

Here’s more about Steve Moore:

Years ago when Steve was eleven years old, he saw Steve Martin and Martin Short’s Father of the Bride in the movie theater.

He was mesmerized by the flowers, the cake, the swans and the twinkle lights hanging from the tent ceiling. He fell in love with weddings that day and knew what he wanted to do with his life.

So much of Steve’s life prepared him for the passion that became his career. As a kid, Steve’s mom taught him cake decorating and he assembled his first tiered cake at age of twelve.

He began playing piano at weddings when he was fifteen; at sixteen, he taught himself how to sew and made a wedding dress for his sister. These skills developed through high school and in college as Steve helped friends who were getting married.

After graduation, Steve opened his business, originally calling it Steven Moore Designs. He offered custom gowns and cakes in addition to full-service wedding coordination and event designer. He taught himself floral design and added floral services so he could fully execute his vision for each client’s ceremony.

Steve and Jamie Moore with their children, at a photo shoot recently shared in the Sinclair and Moore blog.

Several years later Steve met and married Jamie Sinclair DeBell. She joined the company as primary logistics coordinator, freeing Steve to focus on the design and aesthetics of each wedding. Jamie’s organization and administrative skills strengthened the company and took things to a whole new level. The business changed to Sinclair and Moore to reflect their partnership.

It has taken more than 10 years to grow the business to where it is today. Sinclair and Moore has been named a top wedding vendor by Martha Stewart Weddings, VOGUE, Harper’s Bazaar and Brides Magazine. These accolades are special, yet Steve says the most meaningful parts of the business are the people met along the way. “We wouldn’t be where we are today without the incredible people we have had the opportunity to work for,” he says.

Steve Moore in the Sinclair and Moore Studio.

Follow Steve at these social places:

Sinclair and Moore on Instagram

Sinclair and Moore’s Blog

Sinclair and Moore on Pinterest

Thanks so much for joining me today! Please come back next week where you’ll hear another amazing episode featuring the leading voices in our Slow Flowers Community.

I want to encourage you to visit the Slowflowerssummit.com site to learn more about the amazing program, people and flowers you’ll engage with next summer. It’s not too early to save the date and secure your seat! Slow Flowers members receive special discount pricing and everyone receives $100 off with the Early Bird rate, on sale now!

The hands of Slow Flowers member Riz Reyes, clipping dahlias at the University of Washington Farm in Seattle.

We have a vital and vibrant community of flower farmers and floral designers who together define the Slow Flowers Movement. As our cause gains more supporters and more passionate participants who believe in the importance of the American cut flower industry, the momentum is contagious.

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

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 375,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And the Team Flower Conference – a professional floral event where flower lovers from all over the world gather for networking, learning, and celebration. It’s a special time for the floral industry to come together and whether you’re a farmer, designer, wholesaler, or just love flowers, you’re invited to attend as Team Flowers dreams big for the industry’s future. Head to teamflower.org/slowflowers to learn more about the 2019 conference in Waco, Texas!

(c) Missy Palacol Photography

I’m Debra Prinzing, host and producer of the Slow Flowers Podcast.

Next week, you’re invited to join me in putting more American grown flowers on the table, one vase at a time.

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

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

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

Music Credits:
Turning On the Lights; Flagger; Lahaina
by Blue Dot Sessions
Music from:

audionautix.com

Episode 372: News from Flowerstock and my Conversation with its Creator, Holly Chapple

Wednesday, October 24th, 2018

Holly Heider Chapple at Flowerstock 2018 (c) Sarah Collier

Love this photo, captured by Sarah Collier, of the Flowerstock experience, photographed during one of Holly’s presentations.

Last week, Holly Heider Chapple welcomed designers and flower lovers from near and far to Flowerstock at HOPE Flower Farm.

Floral professionals and members of the floral community gathered for two days of demonstrations and talks by renowned floral designers, including Holly, Steve Moore of Sinclair & Moore, Nancy Teasley of Oak & the Owl and Alicia and Adam Rico of Bows & Arrows.

It was an honor to join Holly at Flowerstock for the second time as a a teacher.

I led a number of creative writing exercises for attendees, guiding floral creatives through various modules of describing flowers, color and memories in a new way.

These bud vases, arranged and photographed by Andrea K. Grist, were part of a writing module to describe what we see.

There were many quiet corners for writing, upstairs in the Dairy Barn, which is where I found Kelly Shore with pen, paper and flowers!

Color word-play is an important part of the Creative Writing Process, too, richly expanding our language.

The personal floral narrative is powerful.

We heard this idea many times from my fellow presenters and the timing was perfect for those who brought pens, paper, their open minds and a little vulnerability to the process.

We gathered upstairs in one of the barns, where there was a creative space for writing, photography and floral design. Thank you to all who participated.

I’m eager to read more of your writing!

Before I departed Flowerstock to return to Seattle, I asked Holly if we could sit down for the Slow Flowers Podcast to record an update from her and she agreed.

It was nice to sneak away to the Tenant House, where many of the speakers stayed, and sit in a comfy corner to speak uninterrupted.

We didn’t watch the clock, so this is a longish episode. We’ll forgive you if you listen in smaller units of time.

Sarah Collier captured this party photo of Holly and me, just prior to the final evening’s dinner. What a fun memento!

The first half of this episode focuses on Flowerstock and you can feel our emotions and joy while listening to Holly and I share highlights with one another.

This is the massive arrangement that Holly created at Flowerstock using the new extra-large Holly Pillow, a foam-free mechanic that she designed in conjunction with Syndicate Sales. (c) Sarah Collier

Then, during the second half of this episode, I ask Holly to update me on all that’s has happened in the past year with her new product line created in partnership with Syndicate Sales.

Holly Chapple holding her new grid-format “eggs” and “pillow cages,” designed with Syndicate Sales.

If you’ve missed the news, you’ll enjoy hearing the “backstory” of the Holly Egg and the Holly Pillow, new mechanics that allow efficiency, eliminate the use of foam, and (in Holly’s opinion) lend themselves to higher productivity during the design and production of weddings and events. Click here to learn more about this new product line, called the Holly Heider Chapple Collection by Syndicate Sales.

What a whirlwind of topics and stories ~ thanks for joining us. You can hear my original interview on the Slow Flowers Podcast with Holly, which we mentioned while reminiscing. It was Episode 123, which aired Jan 9, 2014. Wow, has so much happened for both Holly and me in the ensuing years as we’ve both promoting progressive practices in floral design and flower farming — in our own ways.

I want to encourage you to visit the Slow Flowers Summit site to learn more about the amazing program, people and flowers you’ll engage with next summer.

It’s not too early to save the date and secure your seat!

Slow Flowers members receive special discount pricing and everyone receives $100 off with the Early Bird rate, on sale now!

Please come back next week where you’ll hear another amazing episode featuring the leading voices in our Slow Flowers Community.

We have a vital and vibrant community of flower farmers and floral designers who together define the Slow Flowers Movement.

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

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

You can find the donate button in the column to the right.

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 372,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much.

Thank you to our Podcast Sponsors, including our lead sponsor for 2018, Florists’ Review magazine. I’m delighted to serve as Contributing Editor for Slow Flowers Journal, found in the pages of Florists’ Review. It’s the leading trade magazine in the floral industry and the only independent periodical for the retail, wholesale and supplier market.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And the Team Flower Conference – a professional floral event where flower lovers from all over the world gather for networking, learning, and celebration. It’s a special time for the floral industry to come together and whether you’re a farmer, designer, wholesaler, or just love flowers, you’re invited to attend as Team Flowers dreams big for the industry’s future. Head to teamflower.org/slowflowers to learn more about the 2019 conference in Waco, Texas!

(c) Missy Palacol Photography

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

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

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

Music Credits:
Betty Dear
by Blue Dot Sessions
Music from:

audionautix.com

Episode 370: Meet Flower Farmer Melissa Smith of Fraylick Farm and SC Upstate Flowers

Wednesday, October 10th, 2018

“I grow wedding flowers,” says today’s guest, Melissa Smith of Fraylick Farm in Traveler’s Rest, S.C.

Flower farmer Melissa Smith from Fraylick Farm and SC Upstate Flowers (c) Kimberly Michelle Gibson Photography

I met today’s guest, flower farmer Melissa Smith,along with several others in the SC Upstate Flowers group a few years ago when they came to the Slow Flowers Meet-Up in the Raleigh-Durham, N.C. area. 

I found their sense of collaboration and mutual respect for one another very encouraging, because they are basically creating a new market in their region.

Melissa and her husband Josh Smith own Fraylick Farm, based in Travelers Rest, S.C., about 10 miles north of Greenville, S.C., and 10 miles south of the S.C.-N.C. state line.

“The state of South Carolina in general is getting a whole lot more flower-focused,” she told me in a phone interview.

When Melissa and Josh moved their farming operation to the Greenville area in October 2015, Melissa felt the need for community. “I started meeting people through the Flower Farmer group on Facebook and I knew there were at least five of us here – and I thought ‘that’s enough for a group.’”

This image captures the collaborative spirit I enjoyed when I visited the Raleigh-Durham area in September 2016 and connected with Melissa Smith (far right) and others in the SC Upstate Flowers group.

She teamed up with Julie Hill of Greenville-based Southern Wild Design and invited every flower farmer they knew about to a potluck dinner. “We ended up having eight and that’s where the idea for our group was born.”

Thanks to Melissa’s background in graphic design and computers, and since it was still early in the season, SC Upstate Flowers launched a simple web site in March 2016. A Facebook page and Instagram account, and the frequently-used hashtag #scupstateflowers, naturally followed. By the first weekend of April 2016, SC Upstate Flowers posted a wholesale availability/price list on its site and introduced itself by email to a list of florists in the area.

Melissa Smith of Fraylick Farm shows off local flowers at the 2016 American Flowers Week “Farmer-Florist” Party (c) Angela Zion

SC Upstate Flowers has produced a few fun events during American Flowers Week — basically a Farmer-Florist Design Party that invites florists in their area to play with the freshest, most beautiful, just-picked flowers from local farms.

Featured in Slow Flowers Journal/Florists’ Review: Southern Flower Hubs

SC Upstate Flowers is also included in an article I wrote last November 2017 for the Slow Flowers Journal section of Florists’ Review. That was the Southern-themed issue, and we focused the editorial content on floral design in the American South.

My story, titled “American-Grown Heroes: Southern Flower Hubs,” features five dynamic flower cooperatives and collectives. You can download Southern Flower Hubs as a free PDF here.

I gathered with a number of passionate members of the SC Upstate Flower Growers in August, at the Southern Flower Symposium.

I reunited with Melissa in late August at the Southern Flowers Symposium in Charleston, S.C., hosted by Lowcountry Flower Growers. I spoke about the 2019 Slow Flowers Forecast and Melissa joined a panel of growers at various levels to discuss flower farming practices and share their wisdom.

Flowers by Fraylick Farm (c) Kimberly Michelle Gibson Photography

We managed to grab about 15 minutes to record a quick interview, but I knew there was more you could learn if we had more time. I recently connected via Skype with Melissa to finish our conversation. I’m so glad we took the time to do so. You’ll learn how she is managing the evolution of her flower farm, adapting to market shifts and opportunities. And you’ll learn more about the SC Upstate Flowers group.

Love this photo of Melissa Smith that I took at the Slow Flowers Creative Workshop in Raleigh-Durham a few years back.

Here’s a little more about Melissa, excerpted from the Fraylick Farm web site:

Melissa and Josh Smith run Fraylick Farm in Travelers Rest, South Carolina. They are producers of specialty cut flowers and pastured pork, saying: “we aim to produce the most beautiful flowers you’ve ever seen and the best pork you’ve ever tasted.” Josh’s Ossabaw Island pigs are raised to forest-forage through the woods, eating the local flora as well as seasonal cover crops.

Fraylick Farm’s flowers are grown without harmful pesticides or chemicals to provide not only beauty but serve as valuable hosts to beneficial insects and pollinators. The farm serves the local florist trade and the public.

Find Melissa and her flowers at these social places:

Fraylick Farm on Facebook

Fraylick Farm on Instagram

Melissa’s Flwrtherapy on Instagram

SC Upstate Flowers on Instagram

Thanks so much for joining me today as you heard in real time how Melissa is planning to re-brand her farm with the tagline: We Grow Wedding Flowers. I love that idea so much! Look for the new hashtag showing up, too.

More beautiful wedding flowers grown by Melissa Smith of Fraylick Farm, (c) Kimberly Michelle Gibson Photography

We have a vital and vibrant community of flower farmers and floral designers who together define the Slow Flowers Movement. As our cause gains more supporters and more passionate participants who believe in the importance of the American cut flower industry, the momentum is contagious.

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

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 367,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much.

Thank you to our Slow Flowers Podcast Sponsors for 2018:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And the Team Flower Conference – a professional floral event where flower lovers from all over the world gather for networking, learning, and celebration. It’s a special time for the floral industry to come together and whether you’re a farmer, designer, wholesaler, or just love flowers, you’re invited to attend as Team Flowers dreams big for the industry’s future. Head to teamflower.org/slowflowers to learn more about the 2019 conference in Waco, Texas!

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

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

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

Music Credits:

Feathersoft; One Needle
by Blue Dot Sessions
Music from:

audionautix.com

Episode 368: Urban Flower Farming in Denver with Kim Burton of CityGal Farms

Wednesday, September 26th, 2018

Kim Burton, owner of CityGal Farms.

A few weeks ago, I spent three wonderful days in Denver, where I reconnected with my Slow Flowers friends and met many new ones.

I was there as a guest of the Denver Botanic Gardens, returning for a second time as a featured presenter in the 2018 Bonfils-Stanton Lecture Series, “The Edge of Art and Gardens.”

Hats off to the educational staff, including director Matthew Cole and associate director Sarah Olson and the other amazing staffers for making me feel welcome and for running such an excellent program.

Slow Flowers was the program in September and it involved a lecture that I presented titled “American Beauty.”

As part of DBG’s commitment to bring its members into the larger community of horticulture and nature, the educational team asked me to help develop a series of field trips and workshops on flower farms during my time there.

I was so pleased to showcase three farms that mean a lot to me, including Slow Flowers members Red Daisy Farm and CityGal Farms, and The Fresh Herb Company, which is featured in the pages of The 50 Mile Bouquet.

Chet (center) led a fabulous farm tour at The Fresh Herb Company in Longmont, Colorado.

We spent one day at The Fresh Herb Company in Longmont, Colorado, home of Chet and Kristy Anderson, for an extensive farm tour and catered lunch from a local farm-to-table purveyor.

The Fresh Herb Company hosted our flower farm tour, followed by a farm-to-table luncheon.

Lunch under the cottonwood trees — what could be a better way to cap off Chet’s personalized flower tour of the fields, greenhouses and pack house?! As you may know, in addition to appearing in articles and books I’ve written, Chet and Kristy are past guests of this podcast.

Our Slow Flowers Workshop and Tour at Red Daisy Farm capped of two wonderful days in Denver earlier this month. From left, Sarah Olson, Meg McGuire and Debra Prinzing

The following day, we had two tours on the schedule. I’ll tell you about our visit to Red Daisy Farm in Brighton, Colorado, first. Meg McGuire and Terry Bauman own Red Daisy Farm, where they grow cut beautiful flowers to sell to florists and DIY brides, operate an equally beautiful Air BnB on the farm, and open up the barn for regular sales of antiques, collectibles and Meg and her sister’s regular vintage finds.

The DBG group gathered for a farm tour with Meg, followed by a delicious lunch and a hands-on floral design workshop that I taught, using gorgeous flowers, herbs and foliage from the farm. Meg is a past guest of this podcast.

We had sold-out attendances at The Fresh Herb Co. and at Red Daisy Farm and I’m so pleased that more people in that community connected with locally-grown flowers in a significant way by meeting the people behind the flowers. That’s authentic and beats any expensive marketing campaign, folks.

Slow Flowers Podcast visits CityGal Farms in Denver

Our final tour was set for CityGal Farms, owned by Kim Burton and her husband Ken in Lakewood, Colorado, just outside Denver’s city limits. I was so excited to see Kim’s operation, because she had invited us to visit during harvest and production for CityGal’s regular bouquet-making session.

Denver Botanic Garden has been promoting this Slow Flowers programming for months, which is why we were so devastated for Kim when one week prior to the tour a summer hail storm hammered CityGal Farms.

Summer hail on September 6th at CityGal Farms.

She posted photos of the hail damage on her Facebook page and wrote this:

Late Wednesday, our farm got hit with hail, rain and wind. Most of our orders had thankfully been harvested, and while not everything was destroyed, our plants took a pretty heavy beating. Thankfully we have a good team that jumped into action, and we are babying them back to health. Getting hit with hail is never good for farmers, and we join the roster of many Colorado farmers who have been affected by hail this year; getting hit in the biggest wedding month of the year and our opportunity to turn a profit is painful. Still, we love what we do, and the little bit of beauty we bring. Thanks to our amazing crew and customers who continue to support our farm. We are humbled by your dedication. 

Kim Burton with her Colorado-grown dahlias.

The tour was regrettably cancelled, but the good news is that CityGal Farms is bouncing back, like so many others have done. In fact, similar wind and hailstorms have hit Red Daisy Farm twice this year — last spring and early summer, damaging their hoop houses and destroying huge swaths of flowers. And at The Fresh Herb Company a few years back, flooding and the residual mud flow from that disaster wiped out nearly a full season’s production.

Kim and Ken Burton of CityGal Farms

There is passion and true grit behind what flower farmers do — day in and day out. And I’m so proud to be in this community where we can support one another, share ideas, dreams, resources, experiences. I am also committed to helping those in the Slow Flowers Community tell their stories.

Urban farm meets local demand at CityGal Farms.

Today, that story comes from Kim Burton of CityGal Farms. She has taken a path that will resonate with many of you. One that is a deeply personal narrative that led her from a corporate background to a life connected with the land.

I love how Gina Hemmings of Mossflower, a CityGal floral design customer and Slow Flowers member, describes the farm on her web site’s “meet the grower” page. Gina writes:

Hidden in plain sight, CityGal Farms is an urban farm and farmhouse retreat (available via Airbnb) located just 5 miles west of downtown Denver. Kim grows classic and beautiful focal flowers such as dahlias, lisianthus and garden roses utilizing organic methods. She’s also growing interesting foliage and accent flowers including bells of Ireland, raspberry and blackberry vines, scented geranium, herbs and delphinium. On summer weekends, you can find Kim at the Union Station and Pearl Street Farmers Markets in Denver.

Please enjoy my conversation with Kim Burton. Here’s how you can find and follow CityGal Farms:

CityGal Farms on Facebook

CityGal Farms on Instagram

This week, I’ll be in Raleigh, N.C., with the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers, annual symposium — where I will be presenting a preview of the 2019 Slow Flowers Floral Insights & Industry Forecast. I’m eager to connect with so many of you! And you can be sure that I’ll have my audio recorded and microphone with me to capture more interviews to bring to listeners. Stay tuned!

We have a vital and vibrant community of flower farmers and floral designers who together define the Slow Flowers Movement. As our cause gains more supporters and more passionate participants who believe in the importance of the American cut flower industry, the momentum is contagious.

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

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 363,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And the Team Flower Conference – a professional floral event where flower lovers from all over the world gather for networking, learning, and celebration. It’s a special time for the floral industry to come together and whether you’re a farmer, designer, wholesaler, or just love flowers, you’re invited to attend as Team Flowers dreams big for the industry’s future. Head to teamflower.org/slowflowers to learn more about the 2019 conference in Waco, Texas!

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

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

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

Music Credits:
Yarrow and Root
by Blue Dot Sessions
Clap Along
by Dave Depper
Music from:

audionautix.com

Episode 367: Flowers from the Lowcountry with Charleston, S.C.-based Jim Martin of Compost in My Shoe

Wednesday, September 19th, 2018

Jim Martin, today’s guest, is an amazing horticulturist and Southern flower farmer. We snapped this selfie at Brookgreen Gardens where Jim once worked.

Less than a month ago, I traveled to Charleston, S.C., where I spoke at the Southern Flower Symposium, hosted by Lowcountry Flower Growers. A number of wonderful and incredibly talented farmers and designers participated in the one-day conference, which was themed: “Future Forward Flower Success.”

After Rita Anders and I gave the morning presentations, the afternoon sessions at Southern Flower Symposium turned to floral design. Here, Anne Graves of Syndicate Sales discusses the company’s commitment to making vases and floral accessories in the U.S. Syndicate donated vessels for the design demonstration.

It was a fabulous time and I was honored to be invited by and hosted by today’s guest, Jim Martin. As a veteran horticulturist who has had a long career in public gardens, Jim works as director of programs for the Charleston Parks Conservancy. As a flower and veggie grower, he owns Compost in my Shoe, which originated as a garden blog and is now also the name of Jim’s farming enterprise.

Jim and David’s Southern front porch, inviting, comfortable, private and conducive to wonderful conversations.

Jim and his partner David Vagasky live incredibly creative lives on James Island, where there are lazy fans suspended above one’s bed, where there’s a covered porch with comfy chairs where you can sit and gaze at the lush, green garden, while sipping a glass of wine; Jim and David, along with their three friendly pups, took very good care of me. David is a culinary instructor, talented chef and chocolatier, a pedigree which immediately won me over!

Jim Martin with one of his floral creations inspired by the theme “Structure.” He used all locally-grown flowers and created three rhythmic towers with foam disks sliced from swimming pool “noodles.”

Another beautiful Jim Martin design featuring sunflowers, celosia and goldenrod stems, arranged in a metal frame that was once a wastebin.

Jim took me to tour Brookgreen Gardens near Myrtle Beach, where he once worked. We stumbled across a fantastic Patrick Dougherty installation!

My friendship with Jim dates back about 10 years through the Garden Writers Association, which found us serving on a long-range strategic planning task force in 2011 – a volunteer role that cemented our affection for one another.

How wonderful for me that Jim has always been a student of floral design, having presented on the national stage at past American Institute of Floral Designers conferences.

He is currently a candidate for the European Master Certification with Hitomi Gilliam AIFD and Tomas De Bruyne. Floral design and growing flowers brought us together more frequently than our garden blogs ever did.

I am excited to share Jim’s story today during our podcast — it’s an inspiring convergence of horticulture and floriculture.

Jim Martin, Compost in my Shoe

Here’s a bit more about Jim Martin, from Compost in My Shoe’s “about” page:

Jim Martin’s relationship with the land began on a dairy farm in northern Ohio. Caring for the soil was what they called organic farming.

A move to the Palmetto State at age 13 meant learning to garden in a foreign land. His 25-year career in horticulture is coming full circle with Compost In My Shoe.

His lifelong relationship with the land is shared today through his garden design, boutique farming and teaching/consulting.

Compost in my Shoe is dedicated to growing and developing high quality produce, products and services while nurturing  the life-giving bond we all have with the land.

Jim Martin is a lifelong gardener and horticulturist who has worked in public horticulture for 29 years. During his 12-year tenure as director of horticulture at the Riverbanks Zoo in Columbia, S.C., he played a key role in the development of their nationally-recognized 90-acre Botanical Garden. He also served for 5 years as the vice president of horticulture for Brookgreen Gardens, the first public sculpture garden in America, on Pawley’s Island, S.C. He has been with the Charleston Parks Conservancy since 2007 as Director of Programs.

Jim farms in the Lowcountry through Compost In My Shoe. Other interests include the floral arts, photography and gardening.

Jim Martin (left), with Ann Cunniffe of Purple Magnolia (center) and Toni Reale (right), presented the floral design portion of the Southern Flowers Symposium.

As I mentioned, Jim is one of the co-founders of the Lowcountry Flower Growers, along with Laura Mewbourn of Feast & Flora Farm and Peachey Trudell of One Wild Acre. Lowcountry Flower Growers is a registered 501(c)3 non-profit dedicated to serving the Charleston and Lowcountry flower farming community through public advocacy and private educational opportunities for southern growers.

In 2017, seven Lowcountry flower farmers met to discuss their commitment to producing beautiful, high-quality floral crops for coastal South Carolina. They knew that locally-grown produce, prized for its exceptional flavor and quality, is a vital part of the Lowcountry economy.  The farmers agreed to work together to set the same high standards for the locally-grown bouquets gracing the tables of their customers.

Lowcountry Flower Growers was incorporated in 2017 and received federal tax exempt status in 2018.  In that brief time, the group has hosted multiple events to raise public awareness about locally grown flowers, particularly during the 2017 and 2018 American Flowers Week campaign. And most recently, they hosted the Southern Flower Symposium.

Our tour of Charleston included a visit to the editorial offices of Garden & Gun magazine, courtesy of Anne Graves. From left: Jim, Debra, Anne and one of G&G’s editors, CJ Lotz.

Before we turn to my interview with Jim, recorded on August 29th when there was no hint of a Hurricane called Florence, I want to update you on our flower farming community in Charleston. Jim and I spoke a few days ago and he reported that the area avoided the worst of the storm; Jim and David and their dogs were not required to evacuate and the hurricane was downgraded considerably last weekend.

Areas between Wilmington and Myrtle Beach were hit hardest and elsewhere, heavy, heavy rains and some flooding occurred. If you’ve heard of any flower farms sustaining damage or loss, please let me know.

Despite Compost in My Shoe’s good fortune this time around, Jim added this: “Most people are clueless about what farmers go through. Everything they’ve worked for can be gone in an instant, changed in a storm, hurricane or flood. And we just start over.”

Profound and humbling to say the least. In our interview, one of Jim’s comments really resonated with me. I think you’ll find it meaningful, given everything that’s going on in our world. He said: “It’s a global world but we have to live in it in a local way.” Profound!

Find and follow Jim Martin at these social places:
Compost in my Shoe on Facebook

Compost in my Shoe on Instagram

Thanks so much for joining me today. Climate’s impact on flower farming is seemingly worse than ever. Last weekend, I also reached out to Melissa Smith of Fraylick Farm in Travelers Rest, S.C., and a leader of the SC Upstate Flower Growers group, many of whom attended the Southern Flower Symposium. She sent this update: “So far, Florence has been a non-event here. Every time I look at the radar, my farm is just outside where the worst rain and wind is hitting in this area. Really grateful that we appear to have been spared this time!”

Next week, you’ll hear from Kim Burton of Denver’s CityGal Farms, who two weeks ago was hit with a freak hail storm, not the first of the area’s 2018 disasters.

Designed by Nancy Cameron of Destiny Hill Flower Farm.

We have a vital and vibrant community of flower farmers and floral designers who together define the Slow Flowers Movement. As our cause gains more supporters and more passionate participants who believe in the importance of the American cut flower industry, the momentum is contagious.

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

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 360,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And the Team Flower Conference – a professional floral event where flower lovers from all over the world gather for networking, learning, and celebration. It’s a special time for the floral industry to come together and whether you’re a farmer, designer, wholesaler, or just love flowers, you’re invited to attend as Team Flowers dreams big for the industry’s future. Head to teamflower.org/slowflowers to learn more about the 2019 conference in Waco, Texas!

(c) Nicole Clarey Photography for Mayesh Design Star Workshop

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

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

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

Music Credits:

In The Field; Acoustic Meditation; Acoustic Serenity
Music from:

audionautix.com