Debra Prinzing

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Episode 349: Finding a Market for Your Flowers with Bethany Little of Charles Little & Co.

Wednesday, May 16th, 2018

Bethany Little, photographed at the recent Whidbey Flower Workshop, wearing the fanciful headpiece she designed during Susan McLeary’s wearables session.

Before I turn to today’s awesome guest, Bethany Little of Charles Little & Co., I want to share two big news items.

First, this week marks the 250th consecutive episode of the Slow Flowers Podcast, a major milestone in Podcastland where the average podcast only lasts 7 episodes.

In total, since airing my first episode on July 23, 2013, which for some reason I decided to assign as number 100 (thus the odd synch-up of today’s episode 349), I have hosted and have produced an original Slow Flowers Podcast episode every week for 250 weeks.

That is pretty awesome, folks.

And I thank you so much for loyally joining the conversation. In fact, this podcast has been downloaded more than 317,000 times by listeners like you! It is an honor and a humbling experience know you’re listening in each week – our listeners are an essential part of the conversation!

Here’s to the next 250 episodes! We know there are many more voices to hear and stories to tell and I want to bring them to you right here at the Slow Flowers Podcast with Debra Prinzing.

The NEW Slowflowers.com — about to relaunch as a celebration of the site’s 4th anniversary!

Our second piece of Big News involves the online directory – slowflowers.com. Four years ago this week, on May 12, 2014, I announced the debut of Slowflowers.com.

I said this at the time: “Slowflowers.com is a sister project to this podcast — a free, online directory of American-grown flowers and the designers, shops, studios and farms who source those blooms.”

Designed by Nancy Cameron of Destiny Hill Flower Farm.

I continued:

“The mission of Slowflowers.com is simply this:

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

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

The directory began with 250 domestic floral resources listed. Today, that list has grown to 725 members — and my goal with your help, continues to be growing that list to one thousand!

Perfectly timed to coincide with the 4th birthday of Slowflowers.com, this week I am unveiling a brand new Slowflowers.com 2.0 – a visually updated and more user-friendly web site for those who visit the consumer-facing side; and a more functional machine for members who interact with the admin and database side to manage your content.

I have invested considerable time and finances to create Slowflowers.com 2.0, with a fresh, new aesthetic and easy-to-navigate user experience. Look for it soon!!

Take the Pledge!!!

And finally, if you have always considered yourself a “supporter of Slow Flowers,” but have never joined, now is the time to put your values into an actionable gesture and do so. We welcome you to our growing and vibrant community of kindred spirits – flower farmers, floral designers, farmer florists, wholesalers, retailers and consumers of flowers.

I’ll have much more news to share with you as we continue to improve all the facets of Slowflowers.com.

I definitely want to thank Bob Meador of Metric Media for his ongoing involvement in the creation, maintenance and caretaking of this digital project.

As I find myself so often saying . . . I’m a journalist, not a business person. My path to creating the Slow Flowers community and content channels has been passion-driven more than entrepreneurial. With continual improvement in the platform, we’re creating a dynamic brand with which floral consumers and the floral industry wants to engage – and I’m stretching my business know-how in doing so.

Bethany with just-harvested lavender

It’s fitting to share today’s conversation with my guest Bethany Little because she and her husband Charles Little are veteran flower farmers and huge supporters of the Slow Flowers cause.

This episode was recorded last month when Bethany and I spent a few days together at the Whidbey Flower Workshop hosted by Tobey Nelson.

I was there to teach creative writing during the workshop’s opening session after which Tobey graciously invited me to stay with the group of instructors and students for two consecutive days.

Bethany was there as both a student and sponsor, bringing hundreds of beautiful flowering branches from hers and other Oregon flower farms to be employed by Joseph Massie and his students for a few breathtaking, large-scale installations.

You may recall that Bethany’s husband, the one and only Charles Little, appeared on this show a few years back.

Charming and inviting — the farm stand sign at Charles Little & Co.

I was in Eugene, Oregon, visiting friends and lined up a stop at the Charles Little HQ on Seavey Loop Rd. Bethany was out of town that weekend, so I zeroed in on Charles’s story –a wonderful narrative of a sustainable agriculture pioneer whose 30 years of flower farming set the stage for so much of which is happening today in our slow flowers world. Follow this link to that episode from August 2015, called “Grower Wisdom,” for part one of this story.

Bethany Little leading a tour of Charles Little & Co.

Now, you’ll hear part two of the story – Bethany’s insights on flower farming and on creating a viable marketplace for those flowers.

Scenes from Charles Little & Co., including Remy, one of the two canine members of the family, an Australian cattle dog.

Here’s more about Charles and Bethany’s philosophy, from their web site:

We have lived and worked on 35 acres of the very best river-bottom soil along the Coast Fork of the Willamette River in Oregon for nearly a quarter-century. The crops we raise include flowers and foliage of all kinds; ornamental herbs, grasses and grains, and unique sticks, pods and berries. We send in-season floral materials year-round to wholesalers throughout the United States. Our product is excellent and our service is responsive, friendly and direct. We have been growing specialty cut flowers for more than a quarter-century, and we approach our work with passion and keen observation. We are always trying something new to add to our extensive crops, bringing inspiration to our fields and to our customers.  

Harvest time at Charles Little & Co.

Here’s how to find and follow Charles Little & Co.:

Charles Little & Co. on Facebook

Charles Little & Co. on Instagram

Thank you so much for joining me today as we heard Bethany Little’s story!

I am in awe of all you – intrepid and gifted 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 right column.

I want to remind you about the Dream Designer Package — a ticket promotion that runs through Sunday, May 20th. All May registrants for the Slow Flowers Summit will be entered into a drawing for one spot to join me on Sunday evening, July 1st at an exclusive gathering with Laura Dowling, author and former White House Florist.

This private event benefits the AIFD Foundation and I’m going to bring one of you with me to attend and enjoy a dazzling and unforgettable evening. So if you’ve been thinking about attending the Slow Flowers Summit, this promotion might just be your incentive! The Summit promises to be a fantastic day of networking, inspiration and personal growth. I can’t wait to see you there!

As I mentioned at the top of this show, the Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded 317,000 times and we’ve just hit our 250th episode of this program.

Five years ago, my book “Slow Flowers” was published.

Four years ago, I started the ambitious endeavor to publish and maintain an online directory called Slowflowers.com, which is a free resource to help connect consumers with American grown flowers and the people who grow and design with them.

Three years ago, American Flowers Week debuted, and the fourth annual week-long event American Flowers Week 2018 is almost here. Mark the dates June 28-July 4th on your calendar.

Last year, in 2017, Slow Flowers Journal launched as an online magazine, and soon became a permanent feature in the pages of Florists’ Review each month.

I also launched the Slow Flowers Summit, a one-day mind-meld and gathering for floral progressives. Our second annual Summit is set for June 29th – just around the corner.

What an incredible and rewarding ride it has been — especially to connect with kindred spirits in this journey we’re all taking! The journey to rescue, restore and revive domestic floral agriculture and a floral community focused on transparency and conscious sourcing practices.

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

Our lead sponsor for 2018 is 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.

(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:
Chapel Donder
by Blue Dot Sessions
Music from:

audionautix.com

Episode 348: Farm-to-Retail with Beth Barnett of Larkspur Chicago

Wednesday, May 9th, 2018

Beth Barnett, farmer-florist and owner of Larkspur, a Chicago-based floral design studio and farm.

Today’s guest, Beth Barnett, is the owner of Chicago-based Larkspur. Her story is fascinating because I think many of you will related to experiencing the pull between growing flowers and designing with flowers.

Beth is deeply involved with both and last week, after a five-year hiatus from retail floristry, she reentered the retail scene in Chicago with a seasonal pop-up shop — and you’ll learn more about that during our conversation.

A freshly-harvested Larkspur seasonal bouquet.

Harvest time at Larkspur’s flower farm.

Beth Barnett has been a fixture on the Chicago floral scene for over 20 years, launching Larkspur with a vision of floral designs that are lush, organic, and bound to the rhythms and textures of nature.  No matter the season, Beth and her team strive to create artful arrangements in tune with natural forms.

Larkspur has been creating beautiful, nature-inspired floral and event designs in Chicago since 1994. What began as a small business specializing in weddings eventually grew into a charming retail shop in Chicago’s Bucktown neighborhood, operating as a favorite of locals for a decade.

Peonies from Larkspur’s Michigan flower farm.

The meadow effect from a field planting of yarrow at Larkspur’s Michigan flower farm.

Farmer-florist Beth Barnett of Larkspur, flowers, design and farm.

Beth’s passion for flowers went beyond design, and in addition to a retail space, in 2008 she began growing flowers on a sustainable flower farm in Buchanan, Michigan.

Specializing in peonies in May and heirloom annuals and perennials all summer long, the Larkspur team continues to honor the farm’s long floral farm history with new, unique heirloom varieties every year.

Today, Larkspur has transformed from a retail shop into a modern timber loft space offering wedding and event design, floral deliveries, farm CSA and flowers & plants for corporate accounts.

Larkspur shares our love of natural, seasonally-inspired design during seminars and classes throughout the Midwest. Larkspur is a proud member of Slow FlowersAssociation of Specialty Cut Flower Growers,  Harbor Country Chamber of Commerce and Green Wedding Alliance.​

Larkspur’s new flower cart at Chicago’s Revival Food Hall.

Revival Food Hall welcomed Larkspur and Beth’s flowers on May 1st.

Beth’s new pop-up retail flower project can be found at Chicago’s Revival Food Hall.

Find Larkspur on Facebook

Follow Larkspur on Instagram

Larkspur Flowers on Pinterest

Larkspur Flowers on Twitter

Harvesting the bountiful floral production at Larkspur’s farm in Michigan.

Larkspur’s seasonal, Michigan-grown dahlias.

Thank you so much for joining me today and meeting Beth Barnett, a longtime Slow Flowers member who is part of the new model of bringing flowers from the field to the bouquet.

There are many similarities between what Beth has accomplished as a veteran florist-farmer with Larkspur in Chicago, and what last week’s guest April Lemly of Kamama Flowers is pursuing on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula. And I know there are many other similar stories in the Slow Flowers world that I am committed to bringing to you in the coming season.


I want to remind you about the Dream Designer Package — a ticket promotion that runs through Sunday, May 20th. All May registrants for the Slow Flowers Summit will be entered into a drawing for one spot to join me on Sunday evening, July 1st at an exclusive gathering with Laura Dowling, author and former White House Florist.

This private event benefits the AIFD Foundation and I’m going to bring one of you with me to attend and enjoy a dazzling and unforgettable evening. So if you’ve been thinking about attending the Slow Flowers Summit, this promotion might just be your incentive! The Summit promises to be a fantastic day of networking, inspiration and personal growth. I can’t wait to see you there!

And I’m so happy to tell you that the Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 315,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for downloading, listening, commenting and sharing — it means so much.

As the Slow Flowers Movement gains more supporters and more passionate participants who believe in the importance of the American cut flower industry, the momentum is contagious. I know you feel it, too. I value your support and invite you to show your thanks and with a donation to support my ongoing advocacy, education and outreach activities. You can find the donate button in the right column.

Thank you to our sponsors who have supported Slow Flowers and all of our programs including this podcast, American Flowers Week, the Slowflowers.com online directory to American grown flowers, as well as our new channels, Slow Flowers Journal and the 2018

Our lead Sponsor, 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.

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:

Lanky; Yarrow and Root
by Blue Dot Sessions

Episode 347: Flowers and Beer with April Lemly of Kamama Flowers and the Flower Bar

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2018

Today’s guest is April Lemly of Kamama Flowers, pictured in the doorway of her new “Flower Bar,” co-located with Peninsula Taproom in Sequim, Washington.

Last week I announced the winner of the Slow Flowers Summit’s ticket sales promotion called the Slow Flowers Luxury Package. Yesterday, on May 1st, I announced the next ticket sales promotion — and I’d love to share it with you here.


Now through Sunday, May 20th, all new registrants for the Slow Flowers Summit will be entered into a drawing for one Dream Designer Package — to join me on Sunday evening, July 1st at an exclusive gathering with Laura Dowling, author and former White House Florist. This private event benefits the AIFD Foundation and I’m going to bring one of you with me to attend and enjoy a dazzling and unforgettable evening.

So if you’ve been thinking about attending the Slow Flowers Summit, this promotion might just be your incentive — check out details and find registration information here. It promises to be a fantastic day of networking, inspiration and personal growth. I can’t wait to see you there!

The Flower Bar space at the Peninsula Taproom in Sequim.

Flowers and Beer (left), including the signature growler with the Peninsula Taproom logo; April and Sean in the doorway (right).

I’m so pleased to share today’s conversation with April Lemly of Kamama Flowers. Through Slow Flowers, we’ve reconnected and renewed a 20-year friendship that began at Seattle Infant Development Center where April was a pre-K teacher and my son Benjamin was one of her 5-year-old students. It is so fascinating to see the journey she has taken from teaching to graphic design and small business consulting to a love of flower growing and floral design. So this is a special episode in so many ways.

When April and I first reconnected in 2014, she and her partner Sean O’Neill were living in Portland, both engaged in other professions. Last summer, they up and moved to Agnew, Washington on the Olympic Peninsula, about halfway between Port Angeles and Sequim. They bought land, allowing April for the first time to expand from an urban backyard flower grower to small-scale agriculture. They also opened Peninsula Taproom, which is a fantastic place for connoisseurs of regional beer, wine, cider and food — a true gathering place for locals and tourists, with a fun vibe.

Taproom patrons love the floral-filled surroundings. (photo courtesy Kamama Flowers)

As you’ll hear in our conversation, April has found a way to weave flowers into the culture at Peninsula Taproom. In fact, she has just opened a connected flower studio-classroom-retail space, shared with the taproom. So by day, it’s all about flowers. By night, it’s still all about flowers, but the Taproom patrons are invited to sit at the large work table, including being able to reserve it for groups. And no surprise, many of them pick up a bouquet or bunch of blooms to take home along with a growler of ale.

April (left) planting peonies at her new property in Agnew, Wash.; the “bonus” farm land at nearby Gray Wolf View Farm, where the owner has invited April to expand her operations (right).

April shares this on her “about” page:

Flowers at a recent design workshop, held at the Flower Bar.

We are a small organic flower farm and full service studio located in Agnew, Washington on the beautiful Northern Olympic Peninsula.

I started Kamama Flowers in 2014 from a few urban gardens in Portland, Oregon where we ran a flower CSA, delivering arrangements to local homes and businesses.

In 2017 we moved the farm to Agnew so we could spread out, grow more flowers and be in the peaceful, sunny country-side. In 2018 we are expanding to a surprise retail space!​

Moving from Portland and starting their life in Sequim, has been a lot of hard work with new ground, a new community and a new climate. One of the first things April and Sean did was cover 1,000 square feet in black plastic in order to kill the meadow mix and prep the site for growing organic flowers.

She describes it as “a lovely, flat, south-facing acre with minimal rocks.” She feels lucky that the former dairy farm land is in such good shape. Summer passed and last fall they tilled the soil to about 6 inches. Soil test results revealed that the sandy clay loam needed to be amended with lime, which has already been incorporated before planting dozens of peonies.

April Lemly of Kamama Flowers.

Since moving mid-summer 2017, April enjoyed a lovely wedding season with 4 boutique weddings in gorgeous outdoor settings where Kamama’s organic flowers graced beautiful brides.

She writes this about the name Kamama Flowers: Kamama is the Cherokee word for butterfly. The name is an homage to the strong women in my life; my Grandma, Sara, and my mom, Karen, the women who showed me the peace in the garden.

Thank you so much for joining me today and hearing April’s story of a new chapter that incorporates flower farming, floral design and retail flowers — it’s a vertical floral business model that is proving to be more relevant than ever before.

Find and follow Kamama Flowers at these social places:

Kamama Flowers on Facebook

Kamama Flowers on Instagram

Kamama Flowers on Pinterest

And I’m so happy to tell you that the Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 312,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for downloading, listening, commenting and sharing — it means so much.

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

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


Thank you to our sponsors who have supported Slow Flowers and all of our programs including this podcast, American Flowers Week, the Slowflowers.com online directory to American grown flowers, as well as our new channels, Slow Flowers Journal and the 2018

Our lead Sponsor, 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.

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:

Wingspan; Lanky; The Big Ten
by Blue Dot Sessions
Music from:

audionautix.com

Episode 346: The Genius of British Floral Artist Joseph Massie

Wednesday, April 25th, 2018

Joseph Massie

Slow Flowers Summit logo We’ve been running a special promotion called the Slow Flowers Luxury Package — offering anyone who registers for the Slow Flowers Summit this coming June 29th a bit of encouragement to register early.

The promotion ended on Sunday, April 22nd — Earth Day. And I’m excited to announce our winner, chosen in a blind drawing: Marian Purviance of What Cheer Flower Farm in Providence, Rhode Island. Marian, we’re so happy to award you with the $400 gift package, which includes a full year Premium membership in Slow Flowers and one night’s stay at the Marriott Wardman Park, the Summit hotel. Marian will receive the gift package valued at $400, which includes one year Premium membership in Slow Flowers and one night’s stay at the Marriott Wardman Park, the Summit hotel. Congratulations!

There will be a new Summit promotion announced next week, so if you missed this chance, tune in for more details to enter. Please join us for what promised to be a fantastic day of networking, inspirational presentations and personal growth. I can’t wait to see you there!

A Joseph Massie creation.

Today’s guest is British floral designer Joseph Massie, a featured instructor at Tobey Nelson’s recent Whidbey Flower Workshop.

I have been so eager to interview Joseph in anticipation of my joining the other instructors at the Whidbey Flower Workshop.

Our paths crossed there and Joseph graciously agreed to let me turn on the recorder for a lovely conversation.

Take a look at this floral ceiling!

He may never remember our having met two years ago during Detroit Flower Week, when of course I made sure to introduce myself and congratulate him for the amazing floral installation that he and students created for the final dinner, hosted by another genius floral friend, Lisa Waud of pot & box.

I was eager to see and learn from Joseph, especially thanks to Tobey’s workshop billing that promised Joseph would “guide us through all the layers of designing and engineering large-scale, foam-free floral installations.” You can see photographs of some of the highlights of the Workshop here:

Here’s more about Joseph:

Frequently referred to by the media as ‘the floral artist of his generation,’ Joseph Massie is widely regarded as one of Europe’s top botanical artists.  Aged just fourteen, Joseph desperately wanted a weekend job, and after successfully applying to the local flower stall, he began spending his weekends working in his hometown of Liverpool, UK. Perhaps to some it was an uncommon interest for a fourteen year old boy, but Joseph quickly found his vocation amongst the buckets of blossoms and buds.

Taking steps to pursue his passion, Joseph self funded his education and began to hone his practice and develop a creative ethos, participating in intense training sessions with top international designers and artists. To further build his artistic vocabulary, Joseph began to participate firstly in regional, followed by national, floral design competitions, and aged nineteen, won his first national design competition, the BFA Young Florist of the Year 2007.

Following his national title victory, Joseph took his first steps onto the world stage at Eurofleurs (Belgium, Brussels, ‘08). European success was followed in quick succession by competing at the highly regarded 40th WorldSkills Competition (Calgary, Canada, ‘09) where he became the first and only UK Competitor to ever take home a Bronze Medal, (ranked 3rd Worldwide) in Floristry.   Joseph completed his extraordinary international run by finishing Silver Medal (ranked 2nd in Europe) at Eurofleurs, the European Youth Championships (Manchester, UK) in 2010.Whilst experiencing humbling international success, his achievements were proudly echoed on home soil, winning seventeen national & international competitions and awards, including five consecutive RHS Gold Medals – and four Best in Show awards – at the world renown RHS Chelsea Flower Show (‘09/’10/’11/’12/’13).  Joseph is the youngest person ever to achieve this feat.

Joseph’s studio has three creative divisions: the first is Joseph Massie Botanical Art, which includes major installations and commissions for public and private clients and venues; the second is Joseph Massie Flowers, his full-service wedding and events service, and the third is the UK School of Floristry.

A Joseph Massie green living room, commissioned for a project in Singapore

Follow Joseph at these social places:

Joseph Massie on Instagram

Joseph Massie Flowers on Instagram

 

“I’ve never wanted an average life,” Joseph Massie.

Thank you so much for joining me today as we immersed ourselves in flowers as an art form in so many ways. Here are a few images from the Whidbey Flower Workshop that took place last week, including an epic, one-day installation blitz with Joseph Massie and 15 designers:

Joseph’s incredible vision inspired a giant “tree” built on a base of chicken wire.

Left: A rose petal curtain; Right: A floating, elongated “cloud,” made from branches and white statice.

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 309,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for downloading, listening, commenting and sharing — it means so much.

As the Slow Flowers Movement gains more supporters and more passionate participants who believe in the importance of the American cut flower industry, the momentum is contagious. I know you feel it, too. I value your support and invite you to show your thanks and with a donation to support my ongoing advocacy, education and outreach activities. You can find the donate button in the right column.

Thank you to our sponsors who have supported Slow Flowers and all of our programs including this podcast, American Flowers Week, the Slowflowers.com online directory to American grown flowers, as well as our new channels, Slow Flowers Journal and the 2018

Our lead Sponsor, 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.

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; Wingspan
by Blue Dot Sessions
Music from:

audionautix.com

 

Episode 345: Modern Macramé with Artist-Entrepreneur Emily Katz

Wednesday, April 18th, 2018

Today’s featured guest is Portland-based artist and community-builder Emily Katz — learn all about her new book, Modern Macramé. Author photo (c) Nicolle Clemetson

Peak of Summer 2017 — getting ready to see what this year’s Slow Flowers Cutting Garden produces!

Before I share macramé maven Emily Katz’s story with you, I want to briefly share what’s happening in the Slow Flowers Cutting Garden!

If you follow me on Instagram, you might have noticed some recent stories about the prep work taking place for my soon-to-arrive greenhouse.

I’m really jazzed because adding the structure will complete the third area of our one-year old garden! I’m focusing on this season’s cutting garden planting plans, and that means annuals and dahlias.

To see what I’m doing, follow the link to my recent story, “Spring in the Cutting Garden,” where I begin to sketch out my plans.

I’m especially excited about the cutting garden planting plan that Longfield Gardens designed for my raised beds — Check it out — and be sure to follow links to order your flower seeds and dahlia tubers. You’ll find what annuals, dahlias and companions I’m planning to grow, too.

Emily Katz, at Detroit Flower Week (c) Heather Saunders

Now, let’s turn to Emily Katz of Modern Macramé. I first met Emily at Lisa Waud’s Detroit Flower Week in 2016, where she invited Emily to present and also design a beautiful macrame curtain during the conference.

Emily and I struck up a friendship in our hotel lobby while waiting for our ride one morning and realized we were both from the Pacific Northwest. I have been so impressed and fascinated by how she has revived the 1970s art of macramé — for many reasons, not the least of which it brings back memories of a job as a teenager making macramé straps and hangers for a hippy pottery studio in 1975. Tragically, for me, that was a few years before our friend Emily Katz was born! Oh well, age is a state of mind and in my mind, I’m not much older than that 15-year-old girl who once knew all the macramé knots.

More of Heather Saunders’ beautiful images of Emily’s macramé-floral curtain from Detroit Flower Week (c) Heather Saunders.

Perhaps that’s partly why I was drawn to Emily, but her story is enough to draw in anyone. As an artist, Emily has worked on numerous fashion and interiors projects, including owning two women’s fashion lines, Bonnie Heart Clyde and her eponymous collection of sustainable clothing for women. She has studied fiber and printmaking in Florence, Italy; attended the Maryland Institute College of Art, with a focus on printmaking, and is currently traveling the world teaching macrame workshops, learning about energy healing, art directing and styling photo shoots, hosting dinners and events, collaborating on interior design projects and products, and dreaming up the next adventure.

Amazing banners and hangings (and how to make them) are featured projects in Modern Macramé. Left and right — two installations of Emily’s Celebration Garland. (c) Nicole Franzen

You’ll want to check out her new book — Modern Macramé : 33 Stylish Projects for Your Handmade Home, which will be released on May 15th It’s the ultimate guide to creating and styling modern macramé projects in the home.

The book’s instructions are easy to follow and replicate — from basic to complex knotting techniques and more.

I know I said Macramé—the fine art of knotting— dates back in my memory to the 1970s, but in fact, it is an age-old craft that’s undergoing a contemporary renaissance. At the heart of this resurgence is Emily, a lifestyle icon and artist who teaches sold-out macramé workshops around the world and creates swoon-worthy aspirational interiors with her custom hand-knotted pieces.

A kitchen ceiling installation with hanging macramé planters (c) Nicole Franzen from Modern Macramé

The book Modern Macramé is a stylish, contemporary guide to the traditional art and craft of macramé, including 33 how-to projects, from driftwood wall art and bohemian light fixtures to macramé rugs and headboards. The projects are showcased in easy to follow, well-photographed project layouts, guiding both the novice and the more experienced crafter in a highly achievable way.

The images and projects I selected to share here are particularly applicable to floral installations – and you’ll love them and want to try your own hand at making or adapting Emily’s designs for your clients and projects. Modern Macramé is published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Penguin Random House, Inc. Text and tutorial photographs (c) 2018 by Emily Katz; Interior design photographs (c) 2018 byNicole Franzen

A lovely detail of Emily’s hands as she knots and ties cotton rope (c) Heather Saunders

Sisters of Moon Wall Hanging by Emily Katz, featured in her book, Modern Macramé (c) Nicole Franzen

The audio you’ll hear in today’s episode is from a December workshop I attended when Emily came to Seattle right before the holidays. I recorded (with Emily’s permission) her personal story shared at the beginning of the evening, during which tells how macramé became so important in her life.

I was gathered with a dozen or so women and one man to learn how to make a small wall-hanging using natural jute and a number of knotting techniques. As I listened to Emily, I realized how effective she is at using art as a metaphor for life. She truly wants to inspire others to be better versions of themselves.

Emily views macramé as a communal act, one that can bring people together, and you’ll hear more about that in her remarks.

Emily’s brand of macramé employs a rhythmic, repetitive, ritual of wrapping and looping rope to create a textile piece.

For those of us in the floral industry, there is a beautiful connection between fresh flowers and woven rope. The organic common language is so relevant. That’s obviously what Lisa Waud saw in Emily’s artwork — enough to invite and include macramé in Detroit Flower Week.

Here’s how to find and learn from Emily — on her social places:

Modern Macrame on Instagram

Modern Macrame on Facebook

Modern Macrame on Pinterest

Follow this map to Emily’s Modern Macramé Summer Book Tour

Find more details about Emily’s appearances here and follow along as she crisscrosses the country all summer long, sharing her passion and expertise for Macramé.

This is the final week to enter The Slow Flowers Luxury Package promotion, which ends on Sunday, April 22nd — Earth Day. If you register for the upcoming Slow Flowers Summit conference by that date, you’ll be entered into a random drawing to receive a $400 gift package — I can’t wait to see you there!

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 306,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for downloading, listening, commenting and sharing — it means so much.

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

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

You can find the donate button in the right column.

Thank you to our sponsors who have supported Slow Flowers and all of our programs including this podcast, American Flowers Week, the Slowflowers.com online directory to American grown flowers, as well as our new channels, Slow Flowers Journal and the 2018 Slow Flowers Summit.

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. Click here to 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.

(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:
Uplifting Pop; Whistle While You Pod
by Sounds Like an Earful

Episode 344: Meet Connecticut-based Wedding & Event Designer Carrie Wilcox

Wednesday, April 11th, 2018

Jenn and Adam O’Neal of PepperHarrow Farm just announced their first extended Flower Farmer Workshop — and I’ll be there!

PepperHarrow’s farm, flowers and wedding design techniques are featured in this month’s Country Gardens.

Before I introduce you to today’s featured guest, floral designer Carrie Wilcox, I want to share a short audio recording with Jenn and Adam O’Neal of PepperHarrow Farm, based in Winterset, Iowa.

They’re past guests of this podcast and we’re all excited about the new Spring issue of Country Gardens magazine, out on newsstands now, because it features a beautiful article I produced and wrote about the O’Neals — called “Bridal Botanicals.”

We are reuniting this coming September because Jenn and Adam have invited me to join their Flower Farmer Workshop on Saturday, September 8 and Sunday, September 9. Check out all the details here — and please join us for two days focused on flower farming, floral design and creative writing to share your stories.

A love for flowers infuses Carrie Wilcox’s bubbly personality!

Okay, Now, please meet Carrie Wilcox. Carrie is a longtime Slow Flowers member and supporter who I was able to spend a few days with recently at the Team Flower Conference in Orlando. We managed to grab 30 minutes for me to record a fun conversation with a very fun-loving woman. Here’s a bit more about Carrie: 

She even wears flowers!

Carrie Wilcox is the owner of Carrie Wilcox Floral Design based in Fairfield, Connecticut.

Carrie has been a designer with several flower shops as well as some of the most highly regarded floral and event studios.

In 2012, she earned the European Masters Certification after studying in Bruges, Belgium, and is currently a candidate for the A.I.F.D. designation. Carrie also enjoys entering floral design competitions all over the United States. 

She writes: “For me, flowers are the most simple but expressive things in life. They share in your happiness during festive times and console you in moments of sorrow.  

Some of my most special memories are punctuated with flowers.  

Memories of my grandmother and I picking flowers from her garden to use on the dinner table and the frilly and fragrant lily of the valley from my bridal bouquet when I married the man of my dreams.

A Carrie Wilcox wedding

Flowers have always had a special place in my heart.  Growing up in coastal Fairfield County, Connecticut, the summer was always filled with bushes of electric blue hydrangea and the kaleidoscope of colors brought to life by the tea roses in my mother’s garden.  I’ve been designing and decorating with flowers from an early age, when I joined my mother and sister working at a local flower shop.  Now, I share my love of flowers and including them in all kinds of life events with my own teenage daughter.  I also enjoy sharing my knowledge of the floral industry including decorating with and arranging flowers through teaching and speaking engagements all over New England.” 

Inspiring wedding design by Connecticut-based Carrie Wilcox.

Love this ceiling installation by Carrie, featuring greenery, tulips and votives.

Truly seasonal, dahlias and their companions for a late-summer wedding by Carrie Wilcox.

You can find and follow Carrie Wilcox on Instagram here.

Here is the link to Hanah Silk, a favorite source of Carrie’s for USA-made source for custom-dyed velvet ribbons.

Muddy Feet Flower Farm, one of Carrie’s favorite sources for local flowers.


Thanks so much for joining me today. The Slow Flowers Luxury Package promotion continues now through April 22nd — Earth Day. If you register for the upcoming Slow Flowers Summit conference by that date, you’ll be entered into a random drawing to receive a $400 gift package.

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 303,500 times by listeners like you. Thank you for downloading, listening, commenting and sharing — it means so much. And thank you to Mayesh Wholesale for recently listing the Slow Flowers Podcast in its blog post: “The Floral Podcasts You Should be Listening to Right Now.” We’re included in some great company.

As the Slow Flowers Movement gains more supporters and more passionate participants who believe in the importance of the American cut flower industry, the momentum is contagious. I know you feel it, too. I value your support and invite you to show your thanks and with a donation to support my ongoing advocacy, education and outreach activities.

Thank you to our sponsors who have supported Slow Flowers and all of our programs including this podcast, American Flowers Week, the Slowflowers.com online directory to American grown flowers, as well as our new channels, Slow Flowers Journal and the 2018 Slow Flowers Summit.

And thank you to our lead sponsor for 2018, Florists’ Review magazine. I’m delighted to serve as Contributing Editor for the new 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.

(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; Betty Dear; Tiny Putty
by Blue Dot Sessions

Episode 343: Florist Shannon Cosgrove-Rivas of Sacramento-based Flourish on her California-grown sourcing practices

Wednesday, April 4th, 2018

This past week the American Horticultural Society announced that I am the 2018 recipient of a Great American Gardener Award, one of 12 such awards given this year.

What’s really special is the specific award — named for Frances Jones Poetker, a floral designer, author and lecturer. First given in 1988, the award recognizes significant contributions to floral design in publications, on the platform, and to the public.

Frances Jones Poetker, First Lady of Flowers

Who is Frances Jones Poetker? I thought it important to meet her!

Frances Jones Poetker was born on April 14, 1913 and grew up in Walnut Hills, Ohio. She later earned a degree in botany from Vassar College. She also attended the University of Cincinnati and received her master’s degree in plant ecology. Frances’s family owned Jones the Florist and operated floral shops in Ohio and Kentucky for more than a century. She was proud of her lineage, as her ancestors were originally named Jonaz, a floral dynasty dating to the early 1500s when they provided flowers to the courts of Holland.

Frances was a remarkable woman, known as “First Lady of Flowers” in the floral industry, both locally in Ohio and internationally. She received numerous awards and recognitions over her lifetime for her achievements as a botanist and horticulturist. She wrote a book titled Receiving God’s Gifts: Flowers, Herbs, Grasses, Trees and Water; she co-authored a prize-winning ecological book, Wild Wealth, had a syndicated column called “Fun with Flowers,” and presented a nationally syndicated TV course on plant ecology.

She also received an Olympic medal as co-chair of floral decorations at the 1980 Lake Placid Olympics and was named to the Floriculture Hall of Fame in 1967, which is the industry’s highest honor. In addition, her antique posey-holder collection is displayed in a permanent position at the Smithsonian. She died in March 2008, a decade ago.

Why am I so excited about receiving this recognition?! To me, the award legitimizes all of the efforts of the Slow Flowers Community as we work tirelessly to change the floral landscape in the U.S.

I have no idea whether Frances Jones Poetker was a Slow Flowers kindred spirit, but I like to imagine that she was, if only because of the decades that her career encompassed. I have to think she was a Constance Spry type of florist, one who relied on local flower growers and greenhouses to stock her Cincinnati flower shop.

At any rate, this is OUR award, for the entire Slow Flowers Community, and its existence moves what many consider a “fringe” movement to the mainstream where the consideration of seasonal, local and sustainable flowers is top of mind. It’s merely a piece of paper that I can frame, but I’m honored to accept it and share it with you.

Shannon Cosgrove-Rivas, Flourish

Okay, on to today’s guest. I am so pleased to introduce Shannon Cosgrove-Rivas of Sacramento-based Flourish. Shannon and I figured out that we met through Chapel Designers when Holly Chapple invited me to speak to one of her New York conferences several years ago.

Shannon (right) and I met up at the 2016 SF Flower & Garden Show and I loved the textural arrangement she demonstrated!

Later, when I was producing the Floral Stage at the San Francisco Flower Garden Show in 2016, I put out a call to all Slow Flowers members in California to propose presentations. Shannon did just that and she came to San Francisco to teach at the Show. I actually found a few photos taken of us together and featuring her beautiful floral arrangement that was part of the demonstration (see above).

The award-winning peony “boa” designed by Shannon Cosgrove-Rivas. This look won the “Best Art for Arts Sake: Unique Design” category in last year’s Alaska Peony Marketing Group/Florists’ Review

Here’s a bit more about Shannon, excerpted from her web site:

I started Flourish with the belief that every wedding should be a unique reflection of the couple.  Every couple has a story and that story is beautiful.  Using the freshest, seasonal and local flowers to inspire, amaze and to tell that story is my passion.

My husband Jim and I were married in 1994.  Aside from having everyone we loved in attendance, we knew a few things needed to happen for our wedding to feel authentic to us as a couple.  I wanted a wedding gown that was simple and classic.

Jim, a musician, wanted to choose all the music, and I absolutely had to carry peonies down the aisle. I wore a floral brocade gown and carried Sarah Bernhardt peonies. We danced the night away, with our closest friends, to such gems as “The Groove is in the Heart” and “Friday I’m in Love”.

I could fill this space with how I have been designing in flowers for 26 years and my designs have been published in national magazines and wedding blogs…etc.  Experience matters, but that is not the reason you should choose Flourish to design your wedding flowers.  The reason you should choose Flourish is, designing flowers is my passion.  Sharing that passion with my clients is what I love.

When I design flowers for a wedding, I am as invested in those flowers as I was in 1994 and I placed those precious peonies in my own bridal bouquet.  Every time I see a pink peony I think back to that day in May.  Your wedding flowers should be just as perfect and just as meaningful.

We believe that the beauty we are honored to work with every day should be available for our children and children’s children to enjoy.  What that means is using sustainable and environmentally responsible practices, whenever possible.

These are some of the steps we have taken to make operations at Flourish more environmentally friendly:

*We use locally grown and seasonally available flowers whenever possible (We are proud to be a member of Slow Flowers.).

*We have added a new cutting garden to the grounds outside our workshop.  Our cutting garden will allow us to add unique touches to our designs without having to truck those stems and blooms to our facility.

*We compost all organic waste for use in our cutting garden.

*All paper, glass and cardboard are recycled.

*Whenever possible, we use vases, containers and props for multiple events.

*We limit the amount of non-biodegradable Oasis foam we use in our arrangements

*Excess water from the design studio is used to water the plants in our cutting garden.

*We have asked our suppliers to limit the amount of paperwork, invoices and extra packing materials sent to us.

*Many of our vases and containers are made from recycled materials.

*All of our estimates, invoices, contracts and other communications are done electronically so there is no paper waste.

*We use limited paper marketing materials to reduce waste. What we do use, business cards and gift bags, are made from recycled materials.

*We limit the amount of packing materials we use in the transportation and presentation of flowers.

*Floral designs left over after the event are donated to a senior center where the  flowers can continue to bring joy after the event is over.

I love that Shannon has proclaimed specific practices on her web site, clearly underscoring her brand and values that she wants to share with her clients.

Enjoy these photos of Shannon and her beautiful flowers!

You can follow Shannon at these social places:

Flourish Designs on Facebook

Flourish Designs on Instagram

Read Sacramento Magazine’s recent article about Shannon’s “slow flowers” practices. Download PDF here: Flourish-SacMag2 (1)


Thanks so much for joining me today. The Slow Flowers Luxury Package promotion continues now through April 20th. If you register for the upcoming Slow Flowers Summit conference by that date, you’ll be entered into a random drawing to receive a $400 gift package — all the details are available here.


The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 300,000 times by listeners like you. In fact, March 2018 was our all-time highest month of listenership — at more than 12,200 downloads! Thank you for downloading, listening, commenting and sharing — it means so much.

Take the Pledge!!!

As the Slow Flowers Movement gains more supporters and more passionate participants who believe in the importance of the American cut flower industry, the momentum is contagious. I know you feel it, too. I value your support and invite you to show your thanks and with a donation to support my ongoing advocacy, education and outreach activities. You can find the donate button in the right column.

Thank you to our sponsors who have supported Slow Flowers and all of our programs including this podcast, American Flowers Week, the Slowflowers.com online directory to American grown flowers, as well as our new channels, Slow Flowers Journal and the 2018 Slow Flowers Summit.

They are:

Florists’ Review magazine, for which I serve as Contributing Editor for the new 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.

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:
Sage the Hunger (Rhythmic); Thannoid
by Blue Dot Sessions
Music from:

audionautix.com

Episode 341: Little Big Farm’s Patricia Doell and her New Jersey-grown flowers

Wednesday, March 21st, 2018

Patti Doell, farmer-florist and floral force behind Little Big Farm, is today’s Podcast guest!

As you heard last week, I recently traveled to Washington, D.C., to preview the venue where the 2018 Slow Flowers Summit will be held on Friday, June 29th — at the Marriott Wardman Park in the nation’s capitol.

Many of you have already registered for the one-day conference at the special rate for Slow Flowers members. To motivate more of you to attend, I have a special announcement.


Beginning today — Wednesday, March 21st, which happens to be the Spring Equinox, and through April 20th, which is Earth Day, everyone who registers for the Slow Flowers Summit will be included in a drawing for a Slow Flowers Luxury Package, which includes a one-year Premium membership and one night’s complimentary lodging at the Marriott Wardman Park during the Summit.

The value of this prize package is $400 — more than double the $195 registration cost to Slow Flowers members.

If you’ve already reserved and paid for your ticket to the Summit, don’t worry because just to be fair, your name will also be included in the Earth Day Drawing. I’ll announce the winner of the Slow Flowers Luxury Package on Wednesday, April 25th.

I commissioned Connecticut botanical artist Ellen Hoverkamp to create our American Flowers Week 2018 image and branding!

Plus, as a thank you to everyone who makes an early commitment to attend the Summit, you’ll receive a special Slow Flowers gift that includes 100 American Flowers Week bouquet labels to adorn your flowers during the campaign AND a beautiful American Flowers Week poster featuring the red-white-and-blue botanical art of Ellen Hoverkamp — perfect for your shop or studio walls. Check out her artwork in today’s show notes.

Find all the details about the Slow Flowers Summit at today’s podcast show notes — And good luck! You might be our one fortunate winner!

Patti and Kevin Doell (left) and one of Patti’s lovely floral crowns (right)

Okay, time to meet today’s guest, farmer-florist Patti Kraemer-Doell of Little Big Farm, a small family flower farm in Blairstown, situated in the foothills of northern Warren County, New Jersey.

Little Big Farm’s primary farming activity is to grow the most beautiful blooms possible without the use of pesticides or herbicides and to serve customers seeking organically grown, locally sourced fresh cut flowers for their weddings, parties, and design activities.

Fresh, seasonal and entirely LOCAL!

While Patti has owned Little Big Farm since 2006, she has been working in horticulture since the mid 1990s when she formed a partnership in a floral landscape design company.

In 1997, Patti took a position at the New York Botanical Garden as the coordinator for the Ruth Rea Howell Family Garden where she was responsible for programs that instructed inner-city children and residents how to propagate flowers and vegetables.

How beautiful is this! An aerial view of Little Big Farm, a slice of floral paradise!

Gorgeous seasonal flowers, custom grown and harvested by Patti Doell

In 2002, Patti pursued her long-time interest in farming by taking a position at The Good Hand Farm in Andover, N.J. There, Patti was responsible for assisting in the propagation of certified organic vegetables and managing the farm’s participation in the Union Square (NYC) and Millburn, N.J., farmers’ markets. In 2003, Patti joined the Walnut Grove farm to assist the well-established operation’s production of organically grown vegetables and Christmas trees.

Patti is a member of Slow Flowers, the Northeast Organic Farming Association, the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers, Foodshed Alliance and Local Harvest.

Slow Wedding Flowers by Patti Doell, in a bouquet and adorning a tiered cake!

Bridal flowers in such a beautiful palette, grown and designed by Patti Doell.

Follow The Little Big Farm onPinterest

Connect with The Little Big Farm on Instagram

Find The Little Big Farm on Facebook

Thanks for joining me today! Don’t forget to check out all the details about our  — Slow Flowers Luxury Package and make sure you’re among the eligible entries who register for the Slow Flowers Summit by April 20th – Earth Day.

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 295,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for downloading, listening, commenting and sharing — it means so much.

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

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

Thank you to our sponsors who have supported Slow Flowers and all of our programs including this podcast, American Flowers Week, the Slowflowers.com online directory to American grown flowers, as well as our new channels, Slow Flowers Journal and the 2018 Slow Flowers Summit.

They are:

And thank you to our lead sponsor for 2018, Florists’ Review magazine. I’m delighted to serve as Contributing Editor for the new 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.

This week, we welcome a new Podcast sponsor — 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.

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

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; Horizon Liner
by Blue Dot Sessions

Episode 340 Meet the man who wears The Flower Hat– Montana’s florist-farmer Julio Freitas

Wednesday, March 14th, 2018
Julio Freitas_The Flower Hat

Meet Julio Freitas, The Flower Hat — a Bozeman, Montana-based florist-farmer putting his distinct style on the map.

Dahlias are one of Julio’s special ingredients for keeping it local in Montana.

Slow Flowers Summit logo News Update: I recorded this introduction from Washington, D.C., where I spent a few days pre-planning the upcoming June 29th Slow Flowers Summit.

The visit made me even more excited to invite you to join me and our fabulous lineup of speakers at the Summit. Their presentations are tailored to address the progressive floral designer and sustainably-minded growers, shop owners and vendors in our industry.

We’ll gather for an inspiring day of ideas and future-thinking, all in pursuit of a new model to connect more people with the Slow Flowers’ mission.

I’m also grateful to the American Institute of Floral Designers for inviting me to co-locate the Slow Flowers Summit with their annual symposium this summer. AIFD has made it possible for me to bring the Summit to the East Coast by the generous use of a meeting space at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, D.C. Click here to learn more about getting to the Summit, plus where to stay and what to do before and after our day-of-all-things-slow-flowers.

Before traveling to D.C., I spent three amazing days in Orlando, NOT at one of the more familiar Disney theme parks, but at the first Team Flower Conference.

I owe producers and hosts Kelly and Jesse Perry a debt of gratitude for inviting Slow Flowers to participate in the conference.

I so enjoyed reuniting with several of you, Slow Flowers farmer florists, retailers and designers  — loved our impromptu Slow Flowers Meet-Up with at least 15 in attendance.

At the Team Flower Conference, I participated in a few special activities, including co-presenting with my Florists’ Review colleagues Brenda Silva and Carolina Mojeda and joining the floral design judging team.

Slow Flowers at Team Flower Conference

What a dynamic group of Slow Flowers’ farmer-florists who gathered for a Meet-Up at the Team Flower Conference!

The Flower Hat — Julio Freitas’s memorable branding and logo.

I also recorded a few interviews with people whose personal stories I’ve been wanting to share with you.

The first one is today’s guest, Julio Freitas of The Flower Hat.

The Flower Hat is a luxury custom floral design shop located in Bozeman, Montana.

Established in 2016, The Flower Hat is a culmination of passion, love and talent from owner and head florist, Julio Freitas.

Here’s more about Julio, from The Flower Hat web site:

Julio moved to Billings, Montana, from Belo Horizonte, Brazil, in the summer of 2006 to start classes at Rocky Mountain College.

After completing his degree in Business Management, Julio spent several years working in the hospitality industry and moving his way up the chain of management.

Although he enjoyed his work there, he found himself yearning to explore a more creative side of himself. After some soul searching, in 2011 he started his career in floral design doing weekly floral arrangements for Harper and Madison, in Billings. He was greatly inspired by the works of Daniel Ost, Jeff Leatham, Jane Packer and many other European floral designers.

While the arrangements at Harper and Madison allowed him to spread his creative wings, Julio eventually realized he wanted to continue to expand his floral designs and he dove head-first into the world of wedding and event floral.

It wasn’t long before word of his passion for flowers spread, and soon he transitioned to floral design full-time. Although his business has evolved over the years under several names, The Flower Hat is his most genuine and inspired labor of love. Most recently, Julio has found his newest passion in flower farming and has grown and harvested hundreds of blooms from his small farm in Bozeman.

Julio’s armfuls of flowers is a joyous and infectious expression of local flowers.

A seasonal bouquet by Julio Freitas

A stunning installation using dried and foraged elements from The Flower Hat

A lovely bridal bouquet by Julio Freitas of The Flower Hat

 

Read about Julio in The Cut Flower Quarterly (Fall 2016)

Follow Julio & The Flower Hat on Instagram

Find The Flower Hat on Facebook

See The Flower Hat on Pinterest

Thanks so much for joining me today. Listeners like you have downloaded the Slow Flowers Podcast more than 293,000 times – and I’m humbled that you’ve chosen to spend this time with me and the hundreds of amazing guests I’ve brought your way in the past four and a half years.

If you like what you hear, I invite you to do two things: First, post a listener review on iTunes. We have 48 five-star reviews – please add yours!

And second, consider a donation to the Podcast. Production and hosting costs add up and it costs more than $6,000 annually, not counting travel expenses, just to bring you one amazing episode per week. If you’re a flower farmer or floral designer, you can simply show your support by joining Slowflowers.com as a member.

If you’re a gardener and floral enthusiast, I’m grateful for the comments and donations you’ve already contributed – and those amounts are what allows me to drive hours to meet a future guest, and pay for the gas, hotel and meals to make a new episode possible. The link to donate is in the right column of our show notes page. Thanks for your support!

Thank you to our sponsors who have supported Slow Flowers and all of our programs including this podcast, American Flowers Week, the Slowflowers.com online directory to American grown flowers, as well as our new channels, Slow Flowers Journal and the 2018 Slow Flowers Summit.

Thank you to our lead sponsor for 2018, Florists’ Review magazine. I’m delighted to serve as Contributing Editor for the new monthly 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.

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

Arctic Alaska Peonies, a cooperative of 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

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

A big bouquet of thanks goes to Longfield Gardens . . . providing home gardeners with high quality flower bulbs and perennials. Their online store offers plants for every region and every season, from tulips and daffodils to dahlias, caladiums and amaryllis. Visit them at longfield-gardens.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.

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

(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. A very special thank you to Andrew for his tireless and loyal support. He shows up and edits this podcast week in and week out — and it’s such a gift to work with him. Learn more about his work at soundbodymovement.com.

Music Credits:

Molly Molly; Sage the Hunter (Rhythmic)
by Blue Dot Sessions
Music from:

audionautix.com

Episode 339: Designer & Educator Hitomi Gilliam and her generous floral universe

Wednesday, March 7th, 2018

Hitomi in her element, while sharing her knowledge and enthusiasm about floral artistry. (c) Colin Gilliam

A signature Hitomi piece (c) Colin Gilliam

I first met Hitomi Gilliam in 2012 when I visited a downtown Vancouver, B.C. floral exhibition called NEOFlora.

As I wrote at the time: I stumbled across the NEOflora badge on Facebook when I noticed that the very talented Arthur Williams, a Denver floral designer and owner of Babylon Floral who is profiled in The 50 Mile Bouquet, posted a comment that he was going to attend and contribute one-of-a-kind designs at the event.

A little digging led me along a trail of links, where I discovered the news that NEOflora was taking place over a seven-day period at the end of October 2012. And as it turned out, I was heading north to Vancouver for a few days with a girlfriend and we made sure to check it out. Here’s a link to the blog post about my visit.

The idea of a group of floral artists coming together to create a pop up flower shop on one of the city’s busiest shopping streets sparked my imagination. What a refreshing way to promote flowers as MORE than a commodity you find at the mass-market retailer or supermarket.

According to Hitomi, “NEOflora was a collaborative association of forward-thinking florists who wanted to appeal to the new consumer who may not be accustomed to buying flowers.”

That’s where I met Hitomi and she agreed to let me shoot a video interview, which you can watch below:

Most of the flowers used for NEOflora, including those featured on the runway, were donated by several members of the United Flower Growers Cooperative, the major wholesale flower auction house based in Vancouver.

When I asked Hitomi about the event’s emphasis on locally-grown flowers, she pointed out that about 90-percent of the flowers used in NEOflora’s pop-up up project were BC-grown. She underscored this point:

“that’s what the consumer is looking for – local & organic”

Recently, a few of my flower friends began pursuing the European Masters Certification, a program launched six years ago by Hitomi and Thomas De Bruyne — and I began to hear more about that exciting professional distinction and the lovely creative connections being made.

Tobey Nelson (left) posted this fun photo of our visit to meet Hitomi at United Floral in Vancouver, B.C. From left: Tobey Nelson, Debra Prinzing, Hitomi Gilliam, and two of Hitomi’s frequent assistants, designers Susanne Law and Brenna Quan

EMC student Tobey Nelson of Tobey Nelson Events and Design, last week’s podcast guest, invited me to travel from Seattle to Vancouver at the end of February to spend a day with Hitomi. Tobey had a notion that Hitomi and I could together bridge our two worlds — and in retrospect, I think she was quite prescient, because by the end of our time together in Vancouver our collective heads were spinning with ideas.

Since I first met Hitomi in 2012, I’ve followed her activities through Facebook and watched all that she’s doing to elevate and professionalize the art of floristry. But other than saying hello last summer when she co-presented with Arthur Williams at the AIFD Symposium in Seattle, I hadn’t be able to spend any time with her.

Hitomi teaching the Creative Design Master Class at United Floral’s new education center. (c) Colin Gilliam

A thoroughly seasonal bouquet by Hitomi (c) Colin Gilliam Note the uncommon ingredients!

Our road trip offered a rare chance to take a 48-hour work-cation totally devoted to flowers and our mutual passion for flower growing and designing. And it was also rare that Hitomi was home in British Columbia, where she lives on beautiful Bowen Island, and where her many educational projects are based as part of Design 358, an event and education business she co-owns with Colin Gilliam, her talented son.

We met up with Hitomi at the new education center that’s inside the United Floral building in an industrial area of Vancouver. The giant complex is also home to the famed Dutch-style flower auction, a cooperative of BC floriculture growers who operate as United Flower Growers.

East-meets-West, expressed in Hitomi’s unique, architectural floral art (c) Colin Gilliam

Hitomi was setting up for a three-day Creative Design Master Class that attracted students from all around North America eager to study mechanics, techniques and floristry in a small-group setting. With Tobey’s help, Hitomi was getting things ready, and I managed to grab about 30 minutes of an audio conversation to introduce you to Hitomi. While she is a luminary in the world of floral design, Hitomi is deeply rooted in horticulture and she works closely with growers and flower farmers, which I believe greatly influences her art and her platform.

More amazing work by Hitomi (c) Colin Gilliam

Listen closely to details about the upcoming series of Hitomi’s educational events taking place in a few weeks as part of her partnership with United Floral. I’ll have all the details and links at today’s show notes at debraprinzing.com — and who knows? You might have time to take a trip to Vancouver to participate or observe the PNW Design Competition on March 17th, a qualifier event for the 2018 Gateway to the America’s Cup, with one U.S. and one Canadian winner selected. And stick around for “In The Making,” an inspirational series of wedding design workshops and a Project Runway-style bridal trends show, March 18-20, also hosted by Hitomi and United Floral.

Teacher, mentor, floral industry leader Hitomi Gilliam (c) Colin Gilliam

Before we get started, here’s a little more about Hitomi, according to her bio:

Hitomi says her biggest pleasure in life is ‘SHARING EVERYTHING I KNOW’!

Hitomi Gilliam AIFD is a Japanese Canadian floral artist, keynote lecturer, demonstrator, educator and a consultant in all aspects of the Art and Business of Floral Design. She is the Creative Director for DESIGN358 (2008). She has guest-designed extensively throughout North America, England, Japan, Mexico, Taiwan, Bermuda, Singapore, Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand, Colombia, Belgium, Korea and India.

Grasses and calla lilies, reinterpreted by Hitomi (c) Colin Gilliam

She owned and operated Satsuki’s Florist in Mission, British Columbia for 28 years. She currently works with her son, Colin Gilliam in an Event & Education business, DESIGN358 which was established 8 years ago.

Hitomi has lectured at Art Gallery of Ontario (Toronto), Chicago Botanical Gardens, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Cheekwood Botanical Gardens (Nashville), Museum of Fine Art Boston, Minneapolis Institute of Art, Bouquets to Art (San Francisco), Houston Museum of Fine Art, New Orleans Museum of Fine Art, Cleveland Botanical Gardens, Honolulu Academy of Art, Everson Museum of Art (Syracuse), The Walters Art Museum (Baltimore), Longwood Gardens, Virginia Museum of Fine Art, Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens (Richmond,VA), Detroit Institute of Arts, Vero Beach Museum of Fine Arts, The Strong Museum (Rochester, NY), North Carolina Museum of Art (Raleigh, NC) and Columbus Museum of Fine Art. She has also presented at the Philadelphia Flower Show, Newport Flower Show and Singapore Garden Festival. Hitomi is the founding organizer of the Annual ‘Survival of the Creative Minds’ Conference in Taos, New Mexicol

Two more beautiful botanical pieces by Hitomi Gilliam (c) Colin Gilliam

Follow Hitomi at these social places:

Find Hitomi on Facebook

Watch Hitomi’s YouTube Channel

Follow Hitomi on Instagram

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 290,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for downloading, listening, commenting and sharing — it means so much.

If you haven’t received the March issue of our Slow Flowers Newsletter, you can find a link here. In this edition, you’ll find interviews with all the presenters at the upcoming Slow Flowers Summit on Friday, June 29th in Washington, D.C.

And you’ll learn about Slow Flowers in the News, the Slow Flowers Podcast archive for last month, the upcoming Slow Flowers events that you can attend, and more. Be sure to follow the Subscribe link if the newsletter isn’t currently landing in your in-box.

As the Slow Flowers Movement gains more supporters and more passionate participants who believe in the importance of the American cut flower industry, the momentum is contagious. I know you feel it, too. I value your support and invite you to show your thanks and with a donation to support my ongoing advocacy, education and outreach activities. You can find the donate button in the right column of our home page.

Thank you to our sponsors who have supported Slow Flowers and all of our programs including this podcast, American Flowers Week, the Slowflowers.com online directory to American grown flowers, as well as our new channels, Slow Flowers Journal and the 2018 Slow Flowers Summit.

They are:

And thank you to our lead sponsor for 2018, Florists’ Review magazine. I’m delighted to serve as Contributing Editor for the new monthly 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.

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

Arctic Alaska Peonies, a cooperative of 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.

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.