Debra Prinzing

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Episode 358: Right Field Farm’s David Brunton on growing a family flower farm in Maryland

Wednesday, July 18th, 2018

Got my selfie with the Brunton family at Right Field Farm, including Mom Lina and Dad David, plus their four awesome kids!

Today, we take a deep, relaxing breath from all the intensity of the past few months as I invite you to visit Right Field Farm, where Slow Flowers members David and Lina Brunton welcomed me a few weeks ago.

They are loyal Slow Flowers Podcast listeners, and I’m excited that I recently had a chance to see their farm in person, spend a day meeting their incredible family and experiencing their flowers.

The picturesque Right Field Farm on a warm, summer morning.

Right Field Farm is based in Millersville, Maryland, not too far from Annapolis, where it is tucked into a forest, near the Severn River, by the Chesapeake Bay.  The land had been used as a baseball field until 2002, but the facilities were in disrepair by the time David and Lina bought it in 2009.  The house sits in what used to be right field, hence the name Right Field Farm.

David and Lina grow a mix of annual and perennial flowers with an eye toward all the natural beauty that Maryland has to offer.

David Brunton facilitated my transportation and tour of Right Field Farm, including a row-by-row walking tour of the botanical highlights.

Instead of pesticides and chemical fertilizers, they rely on their farm’s natural defenses. Their milk cow and her calf, Melody and Birdie, make plenty of excellent fertilizer. The honeybees are busy pollinating flowers and making honey to eat.  Cover crops help beds over winter, gain soil fertility and decrease run-off into the waterways. And while the Bruntons do a lot of bug-squishing, their chickens do their part, too, along with natural bug predators attracted to the property.  The end result: Fresh, beautiful flowers, totally free from the harsh chemicals that come on most bouquets.

David and Lina of Right Field Farm, growing local and sustainable cut flowers in year four!

A couple of years ago, David emailed me out of the blue to introduce himself.

He wrote: Hi Debra,

From your social media feeds, it looks like maybe you’re in DC. My wife
and I are new farmers growing flowers in MD, and we love everything you do.

At my off-farm job, I work at the Library of Congress, and I’d be
delighted to host you for a short tour one day on this or a subsequent
visit of you ever have interest and time 🙂

All the best,
David Brunton.

As it turned out, I did have time to meet David and he treated me to a fascinating, behind-the-scenes tour of the Library of Congress. What a very special opportunity.

And I promised to get outside the beltway and visit Right Field Farm on a future trip. It took more than 2 years, but last month, we made it happen. David drove into D.C. to pick me up a few days after the Slow Flowers Summit, but before I was scheduled to present at the American Institute of Floral Designers’ annual symposium.

I spoke at AIFD on July 3rd, so it was lovely to showcase locally-grown Maryland blooms from Right Field Farm.

Right Field Farm generously donated buckets and buckets of flowers to help decorate the stage where I spoke about Slow Flowers on July 3rd — what better than to talk about local and seasonal flowers and floral design than to have fresh, beautiful, just-picked flowers on display as my “illustration” of the difference between local and far-away blooms.

Fellow Slow Flowers member Ellen Seagraves of Chic Floral Design graciously lent her creative talents to arrange those Maryland-grown flowers. My remarks had more credibility because I had just visited Right Field Farm and felt like I could speak with authority about the sustainable and earth-friendly practices that David and Lina use in their fields.

More glimpse of Right Field Farm and the Brunton family.

Back to my visit. After lunch with the entire Brunton family, David and I sat at the kitchen table and recorded today’s interview. He is a true student of the Slow Flowers Podcast, arriving at the interview complete with notes on the topics and thoughts he wanted to share. The document covers the Maryland Cut Flower Growers Association, for which David serves as Treasurer, the Right Field Farm story and its community, Vendors, behind-the-scenes help, education and farming processes and more words of wisdom. I am in possession of those notes and you can download the doc: Right Field Farm Notes for Slow Flowers Podcast, written as a perfect outline by David.

Find Right Field Farm on Facebook

Follow Right Field Farm on Instagram

Everyone gets in on the harvest at RFF!

Beautiful orlaya flowers at Right Field Farm

Thank you so much for joining me today.

Beginning in early August, I will be on the road quite a bit, continuing through October. I might be in your neck of the woods, so check out my event calendar and perhaps we can meet.

There are a few Slow Flowers Meet-Ups you’ll want to know about:

Sunday, August 12th in St. Paul, Minnesota at the Twin Cities Flower Exchange

Wednesday, August 15th in Chicago at Larkspur Studio

Tuesday, September 11 in Kansas City, Missouri at at meet-up hosted by  Andrea K. Grist Floral Art and Florasource KC 

I am grateful to all our entire community of flower farmers and floral designers who together define the Slow Flowers Movement.

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

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

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 338,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much.


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

Florists’ Review, 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 at FloristsReview.com.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(c) Niesha Blancas

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.comSpecial thanks to Stephen Yaussi.

Music Credits:

The Wooden Platform; Long Form
by Blue Dot Sessions
http://www.sessions.blue
https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/

Lovely by Tryad

In The Field Music from:

Episode 357: Engaging Customers Through Experience and Inspiration with Scott Paris of High Hand Nursery & announcing our 2019 Slow Flowers Summit Venue

Wednesday, July 11th, 2018

We brought the Slow Flowers Summit 2018 to Washington, D.C.

As I mentioned during last week’s show, we’ve just experienced the fourth annual American Flowers Week — the original domestic floral-promotion holiday that’s an inclusive campaign filled with local, seasonal and beautiful flowers and foliage in all 50 states!

This virtual campaign gave me a peek into all corners of the U.S. as I witnessed flowers, farms, creativity and events taking place in region all around the country, as well as connections across social media platforms.

And, during the heart of American Flowers Week, we held the 2nd annual Slow Flowers Summit. As an interactive, LIVE element of the campaign, the Summit drew more than 100 attendees — speakers, designers, flower farmers, innovators, influencers and leaders in the Slow Flowers Movement.

Even though we were inside a hotel conference room, the space was filled with flowers, including the Moon Arch that everyone had a hand in designing (c) Niesha Blancas

In the coming weeks, I hope to release all sorts of content from the D.C. Slow Flowers Summit.

See a gallery of Slow Flowers Summit 2018 photos here.

But for now, I want to share a few words from my opening remarks on June 29th. Please bear with me — it’s personal and as my husband would say, probably contains too much “back-story,” but that’s how I am.

Here’s what I said:

I thought I’d take a moment to acknowledge how significant it is that we’re all here at the Slow Flowers Summit for Year Two. How did this come to be?

There had been talk over the years of a conference focused on domestic flowers, including some initial conversations I had with folks at the California Cut Flower Commission and the SF Flower Mart several years ago.

The desire was real, but the idea never went anywhere, and it later became clear that the Slow Flowers Community wanted something different — more intimate and inclusive — than a big industry event.

So what brought us from idea to reality? Before I left Seattle to travel here, I pulled out an email from April 2015, sent to me by one of our speakers, Mary Kate Kinnane of The Local Bouquet.

The email’s subject line read: NEW IDEAS.

I hope all is well with you and the family and I’m hoping that the Slow Flowers movement has new and exciting things coming its way. I have been wanting to contact you since I returned from my amazing experience at the Chapel Designers conference in NY and especially after meeting people like Jimmy Lohr of greenSinner and others. My wheels have been spinning and so I wanted to share some of my ideas with you. 

Jimmy and I discussed how our Slow Flowers family needs an event like what Holly Chapple has created for florists across the United States. An event that would gather designers from across the United States who have pledged to use local and American grown flowers to network and train with each other from experts in our field. 

I think it is time we bring the Slow Flowers website to life with an event at which all of the flower farmers and florists who have pledged to use their local and seasonal blooms get together and network. I think it would be great to actually gather everyone together to talk (farmer and florist). Let’s start with the East Coast. [well, Mary Kate, we started last year in Seattle, but yes, today, we’re here on the East Coast!]

She closed by saying: I am really proud that we are still able to stick to our mission of staying 100% American and locally grown in everything we buy. Now that I have bombarded you with ideas and thoughts, let me know if any interest you (because obviously we can’t do it all)!

We had a few lighthearted email exchanges, and while nothing happened immediately, the idea stuck with me because that was the year we launched American Flowers Week in 2015.

The following year, in 2016, I had a memorable conversation with Amy Stewart, author of Flower Confidential, the groundbreaking book that stimulated awareness of sustainable practices and flower sourcing in our industry. We both remarked that the 10-year-anniversary of Amy’s book would take place in 2017. Amy turned to me and said, “we should do something together to commemorate it.” I think she meant YOU should do something, Debra.

The seed that Mary Kate had planted grew a few more roots that day.

Weeks later, during the 2016 SF Flower & Garden Show, I attended a dinner where a very similar conversation took place, with Christina Stembel of Farmgirl Flowers, Teresa Sabankaya of Bonny Doon Garden Co., who spoke last year, Beth Van Sandt of Scenic Place Peonies, and Bay Area florists Susan Kelly and Kathleen Williford — all Slow Flowers Members. We spoke further about a Slow Flowers “live” gathering, and agreed to continue brainstorming at a workshop Teresa and I were to teach together later that year at her studio in Santa Cruz.

By then, it was September 2016, and I couldn’t let go of the notion that hosting a live conference during American Flowers Week would be a great way to celebrate what was a virtual, social media-centric event. I attended the TEDxSeattle conference a few months later and found myself enjoying the presentations, but spending more time analyzing the structure and flow of the conference — projecting my ideas onto that very successful framework at which a number of speakers and topics are presented in a single day.

Over the holidays, I called Amy and asked, “If I host a Slow Flowers Summit, will you give the keynote?” She said YES, and I jumped right in, finding a venue in Seattle and inviting a fabulous lineup of speakers. The Summit took place on July 2, 2017 in Seattle. We had 91 attendees and it was incredible as a first-effort.

Amy Stewart and Teresa Sabankaya were two of those first speakers, and a few of you were also there. Thank you for returning — we have Christina Stembel, Kit Wertz and Mud Baron, all who attended last year and — surprise — they’re presenting this year. And we have returning attendees Nan Mattson of Queen City Flower Farm in Cincinnati, a self-described “urban micro flower farm,” and Sarah Reyes of Unfurled, based in Oakland area, a floral designer and self-described “floral liaison” — I’m so happy to see you both here!

Well, that was my recap of the birth of the Slow Flowers Summit. And now, I have a big announcement for you . . .

The 3rd Slow Flowers Summit will take place on July 1st and 2nd, 2019, in Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota! Save the dates!

I’m so pleased that we have a co-host in Christine Hoffman, founder of Twin Cities Flower Exchange, a floral wholesale hub that represents local flower farmers and chemical-free practices, now in its 2nd season.


Christine is a past guest of this podcast and I’m so pleased that she agreed to welcome the Slow Flowers community to the Twin Cities – where a lot of exciting things are taking place in the floral world. To share more, I’ve asked Christine to join me for a short preview of what’s in store for you next year!

Sign up to receive Slow Flowers Summit 2019 Updates and Announcements here.

Listen to our past Podcast interviews with Christine:

Episode 193 (May 13, 2015)

Episode 290 (March 29, 2017)

Follow Twin Cities Flower Exchange on Instagram

And if you happen to find yourself in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area on Sunday, August 12th, please join me at a reception Christine is hosting for the local floral community. It will take place at Good Acre, the food hub that houses Twin Cities Flower Exchange. See Details & RSVP for the August 11th Slow Flowers Happy Hour

READ MORE…

Episode 356: American Flowers Week visits Alaska & Hawaii, with Floral Couture Designers Alison Grace Higgins of Grace Flowers Hawaii and Kelly Shore of Petals by the Shore

Wednesday, July 4th, 2018

American Flowers Week 2018 — enjoy our five looks from the floral couture collection!

Happy American Flowers Week and Happy Independence Day!

It’s July 4th and we’ve had an incredible week-long celebration of domestic, local, seasonal and beautiful flowers and foliages in all 50 states.

It’s not too late to get in on the festivities!

Slow Flowers created the original domestic floral-promotion holiday in 2015 – and we have enjoyed a terrific run as this campaign builds and expands to include even more of you — and your blooms!

Taking place during June 28th through July 4th, American Flowers Week involves flower farmers, floral designers, studios, markets, grocery stores, wholesalers and promotions both in person and online.

#americanflowersweek on Instagram this week!

Thank you to everyone who is joining the party and sharing talents, creativity, imagination, and enthusiasm as you engage the public and fellow industry members in the conversation about American-grown flowers! I’m so wowed by what I’ve seen online and in person.

I love that this campaign creates authentic engagement and experiences – farmer to florist, root to bouquet. It means so much that you’ve attended this flower party!

Speaking about the Slow Flowers Movement at AIFD’s annual symposium was a big honor. Sharing local, Maryland-grown flowers from Right Field Farm and Red Chimney Farm.

I’m recording this introduction on July 1st, during the heart of American Flowers Week, while attending the American Institute of Floral Designers’ annual symposium in Washington, D.C.

Amazing and flowery things are happening here in our nation’s Capital.

Yes, I posed with Flowers on My Head, produced by Slow Flowers Summit speaker Mud Baron

First, I’m still on a major high, holding onto that euphoric feeling of gratitude and love for the Slow Flowers Community – because two days ago, I hosted the second annual Slow Flowers Summit – also here in Washington, D.C.

Thanks to the generosity of AIFD’s board and staff, we co-located with their conference and used meeting space at the Marriott Wardman Park for a sold-out Slow Flowers Summit.

The Summit is the LIVE embodiment of American Flowers Week, so imagine being together with 100 amazing speakers, designers, flower farmers, innovators, influencers and leaders in the Slow Flowers Movement.

Look for photography and video from our event by searching #slowflowerssummit –You will be hearing a lot more from me about the Summit – including next week’s extensive recap with a big announcement about the 2019 Summit, so be sure to tune into Episode 357 on July 11th.

In the past month, you’ve heard from three of the floral artists who imagined and engineered botanical fashions for the American Flowers Week couture collection, including my conversations with Hedda Brorstrom of Full Bloom Flower Farm and Floral Design (listen to Episode 351 here), Faye Zierer Krause of Flora Organica Designs and Carly Jenkins of Killing Frost Farm (listen to Episode 355 here), as we’ve learned how each designer translated her creative vision into a wearable floral garment.

Today, you’ll learn more about designing and fabricating a flower that blossoms into a model’s garment. That takes a lot of imagination, which is what today’s two guests possess in large quantities.

And how fitting – for the 4th annual American Flowers Week, we are visiting the 49th and 50th states, from Alaska to Hawaii!

The Hawaii-inspired floral couture pieces, designed by Grace Flowers Hawaii (c) Meghan Spelman, Bikini Birdie Photography

The Hawaii look was designed by our first guest, Alison Grace Higgins and her team at Grace Flowers Hawaii, featuring a dazzling array of Big Island-grown botanicals; the Alaska look was designed by our second guest, Kelly Shore of Petals by the Shore, featuring peonies grown by Beth Van Sandt and Kurt Weichhand of Scenic Place Peonies in Homer, Alaska.

Grace Flowers Hawaii, a full-service florist based in Honoka’a on Hawaii’s Big Island. Alison and her team of designers have more than 25 years of experience in floristry, working extensively with their clients to materialize visions into tangible reality.​

Grace Flowers Hawaii specializes in creating beautiful floral arrangements for any occasion and, as a member of Slow Flowers, strives to source as many local flowers and foliages possible.  One of the studio’s main beliefs is to leave the planet better, so staff members take recycling and composting seriously.  One member of Alison’s team even has a small herd of pigs that love to roll around in the shop’s island-grown green waste.​

Having recently moved into a much bigger space that accommodates its increased business, Grace Flowers Hawaii has a retail space, a design studio, storage for an ever-growing prop inventory, two shop cats and room to host community events.  If you’re in the area, drop by and say aloha!

Alison Higgins of Grace Flowers Hawaii — behind the scenes while fashioning the dramatic floral cape!

Nicole Cordier of Grace Flowers Hawaii, behind the scenes while creating the high-low botanical skirt.

I met Alison through her shop manager, Nicole Cordier, and Nicole was intimately involved in the creation of Grace Flowers Hawaii’s couture floral wearables.

I have known Nicole since 2011 when we met in Seattle. She is one of the original front desk managers at the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market, working closely with the flower farmers who launched the cooperative seven years ago. Nicole is also a super-talented floral artist. She relocated to the Big Island and joined Grace Flowers Hawaii several years ago and she continues her love affair with locally-grown, seasonal flowers, connecting with farmers and growers across the Big Island to incorporate their tropical and temperate floral crops into Grace Flowers Hawaii’s design work.

You will fall in love with the amazing botanical palette featured in the majestic men’s cape and stunning woman’s hi-low skirt, as well as the lei and headpieces that accessorize the floral fashions created by Alison, Nicole and their colleagues at Grace Flowers Hawaii. I’m so happy we could shine a light on the flower farmers and floral designers of the 50th State.

Grace Flowers Hawaii’s stylized photo shoot is featured in the June 2018 issue of Slow Flowers Journal in Florists’ Review and you can find links to the story below. These enticing visual stories elevate flowers from a field or wild place to a couture look.

CREATIVE CREDITS:
Designers: Alison Grace Higgins
 (owner) and Nicole Cordier (manager), Grace Flowers Hawaii(Honokaa, Hawaii) @graceflowershawaii

Florals supplied by: J&D Farms (Kamuela), Pacific Floral Exchange (Hilo), Hawaiian Isle Flowers (Volcano), The Orchid People (Kamuela), ESP Nurseries (Kamuela) andHigh Country Farms (Pa’auilo Mauka).

Models: Na’iwi Young of Olowalu Entertainment and Kayla Maluhia Kawai @radshack_hawaii

Hair/Makeup: Gracia Malendres, Grace Makeup Artistry

Photography: Meghan Spelman, Bikini Birdie Photography @bikinibirdie

Download full story of the American Flowers Week Hawaii-Tropical Look here.

Follow Grace Flowers Hawaii on Facebook

See Grace Flowers Hawaii on Instagram

Check out Grace Flowers Hawaii on Pinterest

Alaska peonies are the focus of this floral couture pieces, designed by Kelly Shore of Petals by the Shore, with flowers from Scenic Place Peonies (c) Joshua Veldstra Photography

Our second guest is Kelly Shore, of Petals by the Shore. She has appeared on this podcast in the past. Today, we’re discussing how she teamed up with Scenic Place Peonies to interpret the peonies of Homer, Alaska, in a brilliant manner, showcasing place and time in a breathtaking new way.

Based in Damascus, Maryland, Kelly Shore began her floral career in a small campus flower shop at the University of Illinois.  What began as a curiosity to know more about floral design quickly became a passion that she didn’t know would become her future.  She went on to receive my Bachelor of Arts in Advertising and from there a Masters in Elementary Education. Between studying for those degrees, she designed wedding florals for close friends and family. “I loved being asked to do this and could never say no. After several years, I couldn’t hold back my passion for floral design and Petals by the Shore was born in 2011.”

A few of my behind-the-scenes shots, including Kelly with model/flower farmer Ashley Johnson, on location in Homer, Alaska

Photographer Joshua Veldstra, designer Kelly Shore, and model Ashley Johnson, aboard a fishing boat at the Homer Spit.

In the past two years, Kelly has dramatically shifted her focus to American-grown inspired design. She has led the First Lady’s Luncheon floral design team for two consecutive years and last year served as featured guest designer at the Field to Vase Dinner in Homer, Alaska.

Petals by the Shore’s stylized photo shoot also appears in the June 2018 issue of Slow Flowers Journal in Florists’ Review and you can find links to the story below.

CREATIVE CREDITS:
Floral Palette:
 Peony flowers and petals, Scenic Place Peonies (Homer, Alaska) @scenicplacepeonies

Designer: Kelly Shore, Petals by the Shore, @petalsbytheshore

Design assistance: Lisa Thorne, Thorne & Thistle, @thorneandthistle

Model: Ashley Johnson, @ah.schlee

Hair/Makeup: Elizabeth Morphis, Scenic Place Peonies

Apparel: Donated by Grunden’s, @grundens

Photography: Joshua and Brittney Veldstra joshuaveldstra.com, @joshuaveldstra

Download full story of the American Flowers Week’s Alaska Peony look here.

Follow Petals by the Shore on Facebook

See Petals by the Shore on Instagram

Check out Petals by the Shore on Pinterest

Wherever you find yourself this week, please feel thoroughly welcome to participate in American Flowers Week, coming up June 28-through-July 4th.

You’re invited to join in – and I can’t wait to see what you plan and produce — and I’ll be searching and sharing your stories and posts – so be sure to use the hashtag #americanflowersweek. Need inspiration to get started? We have all kinds of resources for you at americanflowersweek.com

I am grateful to all our entire community of flower farmers and floral designers who together define the Slow Flowers Movement. As our cause gains more supporters and more passionate participants who believe in the importance of the American cut flower industry, the momentum is contagious.

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

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 333,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much to know you’re popping in your earbuds each week to join these fascinating and inspiring conversations with me and my guests.

I have fabulous news about the Slow Flowers Podcast!

GWA, the Association for Garden Communicators, has just awarded the Slow Flowers Podcast a 2018 SILVER Medal of Achievement for Podcasting.

This national award recognizes individuals and companies who achieve the highest levels of talent and professionalism in garden communications. The 2018 competition had more than 260 entries in 56 categories.  Recipients of the Silver Medal represent the top winners each competition category and will now compete for best of group in the areas of writing, photography, digital media, broadcast media, publishing and trade.

I’m so excited that my peers have recognized this podcast for its accomplishments and I want to share the award with the entire Slow Flowers Community! You can read more about the award here.

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

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 offer for a free trial issue

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Recently, I played with local roses at a lovely workshop at All My Thyme, with Dawn Severin and instructor Alicia Schwede (c) Becca Jones.

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.comSpecial thanks to Stephen Yaussi for taking over editing duties for the coming weeks while Andrew is abroad.

Music Credits:

Feathersoft; The Wooden Platform; Red-City Theme; Lahaina; Manele
by Blue Dot Sessions
Music from:

audionautix.com

Episode 355: Celebrating the 4th Annual American Flowers Week with Floral Couture Designers Faye Krause of Flora Organica Designs and Carly Jenkings of Killing Frost Farm

Wednesday, June 27th, 2018

Feel free to download this Facebook Profile graphic!

American Flowers Week is the original domestic floral-promotion holiday and it takes place June 28th through July 4th.If you’re listening on our broadcast day, that means American Flowers Week starts tomorrow!

A few weeks ago I welcomed Hedda Brorstrom of Full Bloom Flower Farm and Floral Design as she and I discussed the glorious dahlia gown she created for our 2018 Floral Couture Collection. You can listen to Episode 351 here.

In today’s episode and on next week’s show, you’ll hear from the four additional designers who along with Hedda created our stunning lineup of botanical fashions.

Faye Zierer Krause of Flora Organica Couture, puts finishing touches on her Iris Look (c) Leon Villagomez

Faye’s vision for transforming irises into fashion — with huge success!

Today, I’ve invited Faye Zierer Krause of Flora Organica Designs, based in Arcata, California, and Carly Jenkins of Killing Frost Farm, based outside Missoula, Montana, to each chat about her vision for the gown she created.

Faye teamed up with Sun Valley Flower Farms in her hometown of Arcata, to design and create a stunning iris gown.

Carly Jenkins realized her vision beautifully in the stunning from-the-forest gown (c) Alex M. Brooks Photography

Carly’s highly-detailed sketch of the gown she envisioned in her imagination.

Carly fashioned a woodland couture gown by drawing from her favorite source of botanical ingredients — the forests of the Pacific Northwest and the state of Montana where she frequently forages conifers, cones, moss and lichens and more.

Faye Krause of Flora Organica Designs, in her beautiful design studio, Arcata, California

These two talented Slow Flowers members are so inventive and creative in their artistry, and in the way they interpreted my request to design and fabricate a wearable floral fashion.

I am blown away by how each of these women took a singular idea, buckets of just-harvested botanical ingredients, a few simple tools and supplies — and, magically, transformed them into works of art.

As Faye explains, “using a single color of iris was more impactful and better defined the garment’s form than if I used a mix of colors.”

She drew from 1,500 ‘Hong Kong’ irises donated by Sun Valley — a variety that has slightly ruffled sapphire blue petals and a yellow “blotch”

These features are portrayed beautifully as a floor-length iris skirt, with a soft drape reminiscent of regal velvet. You’ll want to check out the  feature story I wrote for the June issue of Slow Flowers Journal in Florists’ Review to learn more.

Download full story of Faye’s Iris Dress here.

Follow Flora Organica Designs on Facebook

See Flora Organica Designs on Instagram

Shop at FayeMarie on Etsy

Carly Jenkins, among the ferns, photographed by Heather Saunders at the 2018 Whidbey Flower Workshop

Our second guest, Carly Jenkins, is the queen of the forest and her woodland-inspired couture costume is also fit for a queen. Carly’s favorite design ingredients are sheets of moss and patches of lichen in many shades from gray to green. She loved the challenge of creating a wearable and attractive garment with humble materials.

“I definitely wanted to create a beautiful gown,” she says in the Florists’ Review article for which I interviewed her. “Rather than having beauty and strength be mutually exclusive, I wanted to see them together.”

Left: Carly Jenkins and Katherine Sherba as they sorted moss and lichen for the woodland gown; right: On location at Old Goat Farm — the Woodland Couture photo shoot, from left: Katherine, photographer Alex Brooks, model Berkeley Danysh, Carly Jenkins and Debra Prinzing

Carly and her frequent collaborator, fellow Montana flower farmer Katherine Sherba of Mighty Fine Farm, assembled a fantastical garment that truly reflects time and place.

See more images and read my Florists’ Review story about Carly’s woodland creation.

Download my Story of the Woodland Dress here.

Follow Killing Frost Farm on Instagram

As part of the interviews, I ask both women to share updates on their floral businesses. It’s fitting because both are past guests of this podcast and each has continued to develop and diversify her floral business since you first heard their stories here.

Listen to Episode 239 (March 2016) to hear more from Faye Zierer Krause of Flora Organica Designs

Listen to Episode 296 (May 2017) to hear from Carly Jenkins of Killing Frost Farm and Missoula’s Westside Flower Market

Thank you so much for joining me today.

Our botanical art piece by Ellen Hoverkamp

Wherever you find yourself this week, please feel thoroughly welcome to participate in American Flowers Week, coming up June 28-through-July 4th.

You’re invited to join in – and I can’t wait to see what you plan and product — and I’ll be searching for your stories and posts with the hashtag #americanflowersweek. We have all kinds of resources for you at americanflowersweek.com

And we are just days from the second annual Slow Flowers Summit, our LIVE celebration of American Flowers Week, scheduled for this Friday, June 29th in Washington, D.C.

Only a few seats are left and I’d love your presence at the Summit, as we seek to bring together a diversity of voices, practices and personal stories that together make the Slow Flowers Community so vibrant.

I promise you an inspiring lineup of speakers, gorgeous flowers, fun and interactive design activities and of course, a chance to stretch your imagination in a thought-provoking and stimulating environment.

Take the Pledge!!!

I am grateful to all our entire community of flower farmers and floral designers who together define the Slow Flowers Movement.

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

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

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 330,000 times by listeners like you.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for listening, commenting, liking and sharing! It means so much.

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

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 offer for a free trial issue

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Recently, I played with local roses at a lovely workshop at All My Thyme, with Dawn Severin and instructor Alicia Schwede (c) Becca Jones.

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.comSpecial thanks to Stephen Yaussi for taking over editing duties for the coming weeks while Andrew is abroad.

Music Credits:
Feathersoft; The Wooden Platform; Around Plastic Card Tables; The Big-Ten
by Blue Dot Sessions
Music from:

audionautix.com

 

Episode 354: Flower Farming as a Major Career Change with Laughing Goat Farm’s Amy Brown

Wednesday, June 20th, 2018

Dream Shot: Laughing Goat Farm in Enumclaw, Washington, with Mt. Rainier in the distance.

So often I record my episodes of the Slow Flowers Podcast over the phone or a Skype connection.

My guests voices are real and engaging, but we aren’t even able to see each other, let along the flowers and farms we’re discussing.

So you can imagine how fun it is to record in real time seated across the table or in a comfy corner in adjacent chairs.

Over Memorial Day weekend, I actually carved out a day for an on-location episode, with my visit to Laughing Goat Farm in Enumclaw, Washington.

The farm is owned by Amy and Steve Brown and they are passionate caretakers of a 10-acre former dairy farm in the shadow of Mount Rainier, southeast of Seattle.

Peonies, goats, and a bright outlook on the horizon.

While we live 30 minutes from one another, it took traveling to Fairbanks, Alaska in the dead of winter for the three of us to meet.

It was January 2017 and the Alaska Peony Growers Association invited me to speak at the winter conference. I met Amy and Steve and knew their farm’s name because they had just joined Slow Flowers. Their curiosity about peony farming drew them to the conference.

Amy (left) with her first wave of peonies

Since then, the couple has planted hundreds of beautiful peonies, as well as ornamental woody shrubs, perennials, annuals and edibles at Laughing Goat Farm. It is an emerging farm with big ambitions and the talents of two people who have realized business success in other fields – Steve in Real Estate and Amy in the fascinating world of ballroom dancing. So this new chapter is one they cherish because they can do it together.

A girl and her goat

As Amy writes on Laughing Goat Farm’s FB page, “we grow organic seeds for flowers, as well as food, and are members of Slow Flowers. Our sustainable farm is geared towards organic and permaculture practices.”

You’ll find their story so fascinating — farming drew both Amy and Steve to this place where flowers grow in orderly beds and tunnels and they cherish the sustainable, delicious and fragrant life they are building together.

I’m so happy to share this conversation with you. Enjoy photos of the farm, the goats, the flowers and the fields at Laughing Goat Farm.

I’m predicting big things for this young farm. Selfishly, I’m so happy it’s close to me. Laughing Goat Farm is selling some of its harvest through the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market and direct to florists closer to the farm.

A red-white-and-blue floral medly for American Flowers Week, inspired by my visit to (and the flowers from) Laughing Goat Farm.

Thank you so much for joining me today. After I spent the day with Steve and Amy, including joining them for an incredibly delicious and satisfying lunch together at one of their veggie clients’ restaurants, I came home with a bucket of red charm peonies, white orlaya and blue bachelors’ buttons. What do you think I intended to do with those stems? Yes, I spent a pleasant afternoon creating red-white-and-blue floral arrangements in anticipation of American Flowers Week.

Join me in creating a R-W-B bouquet of your own! There are many ways you can participate in American Flowers Week, coming up June 28-through-July 4th. I can’t wait to see what you plan and product — and I’ll be searching for your stories and posts with the hashtag #americanflowersweek.

Laughing Goat Farm, a bird’s eye view.

Slow Flowers Summit logo As you’ve heard me discuss for months, the Slow Flowers Summit is our LIVE celebration of American Flowers Week, scheduled for Friday, June 29th in Washington, D.C.

Only a few seats are left and I’d love your presence at the Summit, as we seek to bring together a diversity of voices, practices and personal stories that together make the Slow Flowers Community so vibrant.

Take advantage of last-minute ticket promotions, including our plus-one discounted ticket — buy yours and bring a friend along at a special rate — share the day with a colleague and your ideas will multiply! I promise you an inspiring lineup of speakers, gorgeous flowers, fun and interactive design activities and of course, a chance to stretch your imagination in a thought-provoking and stimulating environment.

(c) Mary Grace Long

I am grateful to all our entire community of flower farmers and floral designers who together define the Slow Flowers Movement. As our cause gains more supporters and more passionate participants who believe in the importance of the American cut flower industry, the momentum is contagious. I know you feel it, too. I value your support and invite you to show your thanks and with a donation to support my ongoing advocacy, education and outreach activities. You can find the donate button at debraprinzing.com in the right column.

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 328,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for listening, commenting, liking and sharing! It means so much.

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

Florists’ Review. 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 offer for a free trial issue.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photographed at All My Thyme rose farm, by Tammy Myers, First & Bloom.

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. Special thanks to Stephen Yaussi for taking over editing duties for the coming weeks while Andrew is abroad.

Music Credits:
Feathersoft; The Wooden Platform
by Blue Dot Sessions
Music from:

audionautix.com

Episode 353: Flower School Portland founder LauraLee Symes of Sellwood Flower Co. on Floral Synergies and Spinoffs

Wednesday, June 13th, 2018

Love this jumbo red-white-and-blue array, and if you look closely, LauraLee is peering out from behind it!

Today’s guest is LauraLee Symes, co-owner with her husband Bill Symes of the Sellwood Flower Co., based in  Portland, Oregon. LauraLee is a past guest of this podcast — you may remember our wonderful conversation two years ago when we discussed her foray into floral retailing after a successful profession as a consulting and expert on what makes people happy.

Love the black-and-white awning stripes, which are part of Sellwood Flower Co.’s visual brand evoking a Parisian flower shop.

The Sellwood Flower Co. is located in the Portland neighborhood of the same name — Sellwood, on the eastern edge of the famous Willamette River.

As fate has it when people with a dream set out on grand adventures, LauraLee’s search for the perfect shop-front led to a charming 1902 Victorian in the middle of town where she has operated The Sellwood Flower Co. for the past three years.

The Sellwood Flower Co. is Portland’s destination for fresh, local flowers and plants, European and garden style floral design, and unique gifts from around the world.

There, outside the century-old Victorian house on Sellwood’s Antique Row, you’ll find LauraLee and her staff tending their local and seasonal blooms in the cutting garden.

A seasonal spring bouquet by Sellwood Flower Co.

In addition to ongoing classes, workshops, events, and the latest fun ideas in floral design, Sellwood Flower Co. offers a wide variety of fresh floral arrangements, French wines, Smith Tea, Moon Struck Chocolate, and custom gift baskets.

Upon opening she says, “we set out to be THE flower design house that provides the most inspired, professional , and freshest, floral designs in the Pacific Northwest,” LauraLee says. “Our European, garden-inspired, aesthetic sources just- harvested, locally-grown flowers, greens, fruits, and vegetables to create chic, loose, and romantic floral arrangements in Portland, Oregon.

“We create beautiful, romantic, natural floral arrangements and deliver them for all occasions — a Sunday brunch, birthday bash, retirement party, engagement, wedding, baby shower, condolences, congratulations, job well done, thank you and I love you,” she says.

Today, we’re talking specifically about LauraLee’s news — the launch of a second venture called FlowerSchool Portland. “We’re offering an innovative way to learn,” she says. “This is about bringing together a community of subject matter experts.”

You’ll hear about the ideas and inspiration that motivated LauraLee to open a floral design education center tailored to specific audiences: floral enthusiasts, professionals and aspiring florists.

Our conversation is a teaser for the June 15th launch of FlowerSchool Portland. That’s when LauraLee will post the full calendar of upcoming workshops and three special celebrity floral design instructors who have agreed to teach at the school.

You can find and follow Sellwood Flower Co. at these social places:

Sellwood Flower Co. on Facebook

Sellwood Flower Co. on Instagram

Sellwood Flower Co. on Twitter

Sellwood Flower Co. on Pinterest

You can find and follow Flower School Portland at these social places:

Flower School Portland on Facebook

Flower School Portland on Instagram

Thank you so much for joining me today. Please join me in getting ready for American Flowers Week, coming up June 28-through-July 4th.

You can find all the free resources and inspiring ideas for participating at Americanflowersweek.com, including visual content to use and share in your own promotions and tips from flower farmers and florists who have created successful events and campaigns in past seasons. I can’t wait to see what you plan and product — and I’ll be searching for your stories and posts with the hashtag #americanflowersweek.

As you’ve heard me discuss for months, the Slow Flowers Summit is our LIVE celebration of American Flowers Week, scheduled for Friday, June 29th in Washington, D.C.

That’s less than two weeks away and you can still take advantage of last-minute ticket promotions, including our plus-one discounted ticket — buy yours and bring a friend along at a special rate — share the day with a colleague and your ideas will multiply! I promise you an inspiring lineup of speakers, gorgeous flowers, fun and interactive design activities and of course, a chance to stretch your imagination in a thought-provoking and stimulating environment.

Support comes from the most surprising places, like this readerboard at O’Donal’s Nursery in Gorham, Maine!

I am grateful to all our entire community of flower farmers and floral designers who together define the Slow Flowers Movement.

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

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

You can find the donate button at debraprinzing.com in the right column.

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 326,000 times by listeners like you.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for listening, commenting, liking and sharing! It means so much.

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

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. Take advantage of the special offer for a free trial issue here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photographed at All My Thyme rose farm, by Tammy Myers, First & Bloom.

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; Feathersoft; The Wooden Platform
by Blue Dot Sessions
Music from:

audionautix.com

Episode 352: Foraged Art with Publishing Maven Leslie Jonath of Connected Dots Media

Wednesday, June 6th, 2018

Today’s guest is Leslie Jonath, creative director of San Francisco-based Connected Dots Media.

Leslie has over 20 years’ experience in book publishing, creative services, and media business development. And for any of you who dream of producing a book of your own, you’ll want to listen closely to her process and advice!

From 1991 to 2009, Leslie was an integral part of the editorial and development team at Chronicle Books, a Bay Area-based independent publishing house known for its lively, eye-catching and trend-setting books, gifts, stationery, and other consumer products about food, art, pop culture, gardening, design, lifestyles, and more.

A petal spiral from Foraged Art’s feed.

As a Senior Editor in the food, lifestyle, and custom publishing categories, Leslie developed acquisition strategies, launched the successful garden and craft categories; acquired, produced, edited, and project-managed over 250 books across a variety of categories, including food, pop culture, crafts, lifestyle, art, architecture, memoir, and children’s projects.

She also created a cause-related publishing model for non-profit organizations, creating books to benefit Meals on Wheels of San Francisco; P.A.W.S., Bay Area schools and Next Course (which provided job and life skills training for incarcerated women).

As a Director of Creative Development, Leslie was a founding member and co-director of Chronicle’s Custom Publishing division, creating innovative products for cultural institutions, name-brand companies and retailers. Clients included BabyGap, Starbucks, Anthropologie, and the San Francisco Ballet.

Another spontaneous art foraged art project.

The success of her work in this division led to a position as Director for Creative Services for the company’s Business Development team. As head of Creative Services, she  and her teams conceptualized, produced and developed innovative “beyond the book” services for custom clients, including videos and other digital products.

While at Chronicle, Leslie teamed up with Ariella Chezar to create Ariella’s first book in 2002, Flowers for the Table, a guide to choosing seasonal flowers and a lesson in designing with the bud’s natural form. The book revolves around several seasonal occasions, from a summer wedding in the country to hot colored poppies on a cold winter’s night.

Raked-Leaf Rays, a project from Foraged Art

After leaving Chronicle Books in 2009, Jonath founded Connected Dots Media, working with clients in book packaging, video production, and concept and content development and production. And she reunited with Ariella in 2016 to create and publish Ariella’s beautiful new book, The Flower Workshop for Ten Speed Press. In addition to having produced books on floral design, Leslie is the author of Love Found, Everyone Loves Paris, and Give Yourself a Gold Star.

Leslie has also guided Erin Benzakein and Julie Chai on the award-winning Floret Farm’s Cut Flower Garden book. You’ve heard Ariella and Erin in the past on this Podcast.

Foraged Art, a book for play, creativity and changing your relationship with nature.

So now, we’re going to hear from the woman behind those projects and so many others. I’ve invited Leslie today to talk about two personal book projects that have HER name on the cover as author.

Rory, Peter and Leslie, creators of the Foraged Art Book

The first, just out, is called Foraged Art, Creative Projects Using Blooms, Branches, Leaves, Stones, and other Elements Discovered in Nature (published by Bluestreak Books).

Leslie’s co-author is artist Peter Cole, an artist who works with gleaned objects he collects. From foraged rocks, shells, leaves to discarded menus, matchbooks, and miniature bears, he creates objects of wonder that reflect both natural and urban environments. He is the author of a collection of how-to environmental art books, including Snowmen and Great Pumpkins. He lives in Brooklyn with his family.

Foraged Art was photographed by Rory Earnshaw is a Bay Area-based photographer who shoots corporate annual reports, table-top, fine art, corporate/music industry portraits, product, packaging, lifestyle, editorial, music CD’s, as well as fine art landscapes.

In the spirit of land artists like Andy Goldsworthy, the book is as much about discovery as it is about creation. Leaves shaped like lips might inspire a face; an array of rocks might be become an eclectic mosaic; winter’s first snow might be carved into glowing luminaria.

Whether you love to look for heart-shaped flowers or want to make a peacock made with flower petals, readers will find great inspiration and joy in Foraged Art.

Petal Puddles, a project from Foraged Art

Art, meditation, and nature meet in this adult-focused activity book, with projects that take inspiration from the natural environment, using blooms, pods, branches, stones, and other natural elements. Divided into chapters by natural elements — flowers, leaves, rocks and pods, and more, the book encourages readers to forage and play outside using nature’s seasonal art box. Foraged Art is about making art from what you find and finding art in what you see.

Leslie and I also discuss Feed Your People, an ambitious book that she has been working on for several years — from conception to completion.

Feed Your People is a modern community cookbook. Leslie envisioned the need for Feed Your People after she realized that despite the popularity of dinner clubs, pop-up dinners, and holiday entertaining, there were surprisingly few cookbooks or resources that offer practical instruction on cooking for crowds.

To that she approached the community of big-hearted cooks and chefs—experts who cook for their communities — whose generosity inspires. Stories of their gatherings are accompanied by recipes with detailed  information on equipment, make ahead strategies and tips cooking for groups from eight or to forty (and even fifty!)

As Leslie explains, on a deeper level, the book is about building and feeding community, and, fittingly, she teamed up with 18 Reasons–a beloved San Francisco-based organization that provides classes to low-income residents and hosts monthly community dinners.

She wants this book to inspire cooks everywhere to bring their communities together for a meal—no matter what the occasion. From a simple soup dinner to a pasta pot, whether using paper plates and fingers or cloth napkins, there are recipes around which to create a well-considered, delicious, and memorable event. She sees Feed Your People as a celebration of community, a guide that will encourage people everywhere to feed each other both literally and spiritually.

Here’s where and how to follow Leslie at her social places:

Feed Your People on Facebook

Feed Your People on Twitter

Foraged Art on Facebook

Foraged Art on Instagram

As Leslie encourages us, creating foraged art reminds us that life is beautiful in all of its stages – and that, if we look, we can see the grace in every moment.

I certainly feel that grace this week as many of you have reached out to thank me for this Podcast and how it has helped you. We have 57 five-star reviews on ITunes, which is so awesome. One fan just posted this review on iTunes, writing:

“Over the past few months, I’ve really enjoyed listening to your podcast. Insights and glimpses of what goes on with the Slow Flowers Movement is fascinating. As a 30-year veteran of the floral industry here in North America, it’s surprising that I haven’t been more aware of local growers. Thank you for encouraging the local farms to grow flowers that we can utilize so we can help spread the news of buying American grown flowers.”

I’m encouraged by the amazing participation in our many opportunities to network, connect and educate — and this is a bountiful month for doing so. With American Flowers Week coming up on June 28-July 4, with the Slow Flowers Summit — our LIVE celebration of American Flowers Week taking place on Friday, June 29th in Washington, D.C., and with the many marketing and branding tools available for your use for free, please take advantage of this opportunity and join the community.

If you’re not on our mailing list, you can find a link to the June Slow Flowers Newsletter in today’s show notes — catch up on Slow Flowers members and their fantastic activities, too.

Please make you reservation for the Slow Flowers Summit. Our second annual Slow Flowers Summit takes place in the heart of American Flowers Week – and we have an inspiring lineup of speakers, gorgeous flowers, fun and interactive design activities and of course, a chance to stretch your imagination in a thought-provoking and stimulating environment.

I am grateful to all our entire community of flower farmers and floral designers who together define the Slow Flowers Movement. As our cause gains more supporters and more passionate participants who believe in the importance of the American cut flower industry, the momentum is contagious. I know you feel it, too. I value your support and invite you to show your thanks and with a donation to support my ongoing advocacy, education and outreach activities. You can find the donate button at debraprinzing.com in the right column.

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 324,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for listening, commenting, liking and sharing! It means so much.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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:
The Wooden Platform; Pat Dog; Long and Low Cloud (quiet acoustic)
by Blue Dot Sessions
Music from:

audionautix.com

Episode 351: Full Bloom Flower Farm & Floral Design’s Hedda Brorstrom and our kickoff for American Flowers Week 2018

Wednesday, May 30th, 2018

Hedda’s beautiful dahlia dress for American Flowers Week 2018, featuring foliages and herbs from her own Full Bloom Farm and 350 dahlias from Aztec Dahlias, where the dress was photographed last October.

Hedda Brorstrom of Full Bloom Flower Farm.

I’ve invited Hedda Brorstrom of Full Bloom Flower Farm & Floral Design to return to the Slow Flowers Podcast as today’s guest for a number of reasons.

You may recall that she was part of my series on the North Bay Flower Collective community a few years ago when I interviewed Hedda along with Seth Chapin of Evermore Flowers and Daniele Strawn of JoLee Blooms, Episode 242.

That interview was primarily focused on the origins of the North Bay Flower Collective, of which Hedda is one of the founders.

Recently, Hedda joined the American Flowers Week campaign as a featured designer for this year’s floral fashion collection.

I want you to hear her story, learn more about how she became a farmer-florist in California’s Sonoma County, and her creative process designing a wearable fashion.

Model Sophia Lane wears Hedda’s dahlia dress to perfection, showcasing the flowers grown by Kate Rowe and Omar Duran of Aztec Dahlias (c) Becca Henry Photography.

As American Flowers Week kicks off soon, I want you to hear Hedda’s story as a flower farmer, environmental educator, floral designer and ecology activites, as we share the “big reveal” of the incredible Dahlia Dress that she designed last fall in collaboration with flower farmers Kate Rowe and Omar Duran of Aztec Dahlias.

These behind-the-scenes photos from last year reveal what the team endured to create such beauty!

As a way to raise awareness of flower farming and sustainable floral design, I started the floral fashion series with one amazing look in 2016 for American Flowers Week — a red-white-and-blue floral ‘fro from Susan McLeary of Passionflower.

That was followed by five wearable floral looks for the 2017 campaign and again, for 2018, five original floral wearable looks. You’ll hear from all the designers in the coming weeks, beginning today with Hedda.

Here’s Hedda, flower harvesting with one of her young nephews

Hedda shares this personal statement on her web site:

Farming started for me growing up on Wiggle Worm Bait Farm in Graton, Ca. My parents tended rich worm beds with the motto, “We like them fat and lively!” and I got to be a wild worm loving farm kid. One of my farm chores growing up was to create floral arrangements around the house. Little bud vases of daphne and violets sat above the kitchen sink in February, big vases of bearded iris and mock orange graced the bathroom in late Spring and bedside posies of rattle snake grass and yarrow made nights feel special through the summer. I bent willows into crowns, weeded my mom’s gardens, and munched on fresh green miners lettuce and asian pears from the neighbor’s farm. The puff ball viburnum and cabbage roses that I use in my floral crowns are from the same plants I used to have petal fights with as we waited for the school bus. It wasn’t until I was studying agroecology at UC Berkeley, however, that I realized Sonoma County is an agricultural gem and I was blessed to grow up a bit wild and plant loving.

Hedda during harvest at her farm in Sonoma County

After college I spent six years teaching gardening and ecology in the San Francisco school district and working as an environmental educator at the Academy of Sciences and Save the Bay. Wanting to dive deeper into growing I attended the UC Santa Cruz Ecological Horticulture program where my interest in flowers turned from a childhood memory into a full blown, full bloom obsession. I learned about variety selection, post harvest handing, and farm management. A love of art coupled with farming moved me into floral design making me a true farmer florist. The shape, texture and movement of each bloom allows me to paint with flowers like I never could on a canvas. The dirt and grit of cultivation and beauty of putting it all together is two jobs. Sometimes these jobs feel like being a chef who grows their own food, but who better to make a dish than the one who loved it from seed? In 2012 I could no longer contain my flower passion so I moved home to my wormy roots, to my childhood plants, and I started Full Bloom Flower Farm. After a year in production I enrolled in the wonderful California School of Herbal Studies where I gained my certificate in herbalism. In the plant world, learning is never-ending and I am happy to infuse plant magic into all the arrangements. Full Bloom is a mighty one acre flower farm providing endless beauty, medicine and life to the community. I am proud to be a farmer and a florist; it is my greatest joy to bring plant art to ceremonies and I hope to share my joy with others.

I couldn’t resist creating this fantastic gallery of all the ways Hedda shows off her flowers.

Hedda’s endless curiosity is inspiring and I loved having this time to catch up with her. She describes her aesthetic as “flower-full,” perhaps the inspiration for her business name, Full Bloom. I know you’ll enjoy her story, too.

Two more gorgeous views of Sophia Lane wearing the dahlia dress to celebrate American Flowers Week 2018 (c) Becca Henry Photograpy.

Thank you so much for joining me today. I know seeing the dahlia dress that Hedda designed and made for American Flowers week will inspire you and get your creative juices flowing. Who knows? Maybe you’ll dream up a wearable look of your own — and I hope you share it with me when you do! Use the hashtag #americanflowersweek when you post.

To help you further, I’ve recently written “9 Ways to Participate in American Flowers Week” — a guide to the many ways you can jump onboard this campaign — from simple and low-cost to ambitious and expansive. I hope you’re inspired by what others have done in the past few years.

In addition to gearing up to celebrate American Flowers Week, it’s also time to grab your ticket to the Slow Flowers Summit. The second annual Slow Flowers Summit is again set to take place in the heart of American Flowers Week – and we are getting close to finalizing all the details.

Please grab your ticket now to join us — you’ll be helping me tremendously by committing now so that my event manager Karen Thornton and I can make sure everything’s ready for a successful event. You can find all the details at Slowflowerssummit.com.

When farmers and florists coming together, everyone benefits! This is a gathering of the Hudson Valley Flower Growers Network during American Flowers Week 2017.

Take the Pledge!!!

I am grateful to all our entire community of flower farmers and floral designers who together define the Slow Flowers Movement. As our cause gains more supporters and more passionate participants who believe in the importance of the American cut flower industry, the momentum is contagious. I know you feel it, too. I value your support and invite you to show your thanks and with a donation to support my ongoing advocacy, education and outreach activities. You can find the donate button at debraprinzing.com in the right column.

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 320,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for listening, commenting, liking and sharing! It means so much.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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; Pat Dog; Sage the Hunter (Rhythmic)
by Blue Dot Sessions

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