Debra Prinzing

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Episode 391: Catching up with Flower Farming Educator Lisa Ziegler of The Gardener’s Workshop

Wednesday, March 6th, 2019

Today I’m sharing a wonderful conversation, recorded recently during the Northwest Flower & Garden Festival in Seattle.

Lisa Mason Ziegler of The Gardener’s Workshop has returned and you may recall she was a past guest of this podcast in 2014. I remember first meeting her in person during the summer of that year, at the Garden Writers annual conference in Indianapolis, soon after her book Cool Flowers was published.

Evidence of Lisa’s prolific writing!

Lisa and I shared the same publisher, St. Lynn’s Press, which also produced The 50 Mile Bouquet and Slow Flowers, so I had been asked to provide a blurb for her new book. When we finally met, I knew I wanted to invite Lisa to join me on the podcast — and I simply can’t believe that was nearly five years ago.  I will share links to that Episode — Number 159 — in today’s show notes so you can go back and have a listen to our conversation.

A lot has happened in the time that’s followed, including the explosion of the Slow Flowers community, heightened interest in flower farming in general, both in the US and in other countries that have seen outsourcing of their floral production, and I believe, an aesthetic shift in floral design, based on a more garden-influenced approach that relies on uncommon, couture blooms that large production growers aren’t able to raise efficiently, opening the door for micro and medium farms to capture that market.

Lisa has been at the forefront of efforts to disseminate accurate flower farming education, setting the bar for best practices along with many of her fellow members in the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers. With the launch of her Flower Farming Online Course last fall, she’s been able to reach an even larger audience of students, spreading knowledge and encouragement through a new medium designed to fit lifestyles and budgets that don’t always allow for in-person training.

She also last year released a new book with a new publisher, Vegetables Love Flowers, published by Cool Springs Press. I invited Lisa to meet me for breakfast, good conversation and a quiet moment to record this interview. I know you’ll enjoy it.

Flowers in her arms!

Here’s a bit more about today’s guest, excerpted from The Gardener’s Workshop web site:

What began as a small cut-flower farm producing for local markets has grown into so much more. Lisa has become a leader in the cut-flower growing industry, author, accomplished speaker and the owner of The Gardener’s Workshop.

It all began in 1998 because Lisa wanted to work in her garden as her career. At first, she sold her cut flowers to local florists and Colonial Williamsburg. The business soon grew to include florist throughout the Hampton Roads region, supermarkets, farmers markets, a members-only on-farm market, and a bouquet drop-off subscription service.

A market bouquet from The Gardener’s Workshop

During this time Lisa began giving programs to garden clubs, master gardeners, commercial growers, and other groups. What became apparent is that people were eager for her simplified organic gardening methods and her greatest gift is sharing them.

The next natural step came when Lisa self-published The Easy Cut-Flower Garden in 2011. a 100-page guide on how-to grow and harvest a small home cutting garden. Her program travels began to spread from Texas to Oregon to New York City and she went on to become published with Cool Flowers in 2014 (St. Lynn’s Press) and Vegetables Love Flowers (Cool Springs Press 2018.)

Lisa’s farm, known as The Gardener’s Workshop is still a small market flower farm, and an online garden shop. The online store sells the same seeds, tools, supplies, and seed starting equipment that Lisa uses as well as signed copies of her books.  Lisa’s simple, instructive, and delightful gardening messages are reaching far beyond any expectation she ever had.

Lisa now offers four online courses that range in length and subject. Her signature course, Flower Farming School Online, will return this fall. It is a 6-week self-paced course designed to guide you to becoming a successful cut-flower farmer–even if you live in the midst of a city or have no previous farming experience! Course cost $495. Follow the link for more details and sign up to be notified with the course is released again.

As Lisa says: “If you have dreamed of becoming a flower farmer, but think it’s impossible, or if you are already growing but feeling overwhelmed or discouraged, I designed this course for you. I know exactly how you feel, because I’ve been there.

Here’s how to find and follow Lisa:

The Gardener’s Workshop on Facebook

The Gardener’s Workshop on Instagram

The Gardener’s Workshop on Instagram

Thanks so much for joining me today. After spending most of last week inside the Washington State Convention Center where an entirely beautiful & fragrant, but somewhat faux spring was in bloom throughout the garden displays, I am soooooo ready for real spring to arrive.

I simply can’t wait and I know you’re experiencing that urge, too. It was my privilege to produce the floral stage at the Northwest Flower & Garden Festival, bringing in five Slow Flowers member designers to each teach for one day during the new featured series called “Blooms & Bubbles.” I bet you can guess where the “bubbles” came from — each day 30 participants enjoyed a hands-on floral design workshop while sipping a special floral cocktail or glass of champagne.

A Slow Flowers speaker lineup!

The series was a huge success, selling out a few weeks before the festival opening. I’m grateful to all of our presenters: Jeni Nelson of The London Plane; Baylor Chapman of Lila B. Design; Meridith Isaacson of Verde Seattle; Hannah Morgan of Fortunate Orchard; and Jean Louise Paquin Allen of Juniper Flowers.

Immediately after the Seattle Flower Festival, I headed off to the Philadelphia Flower Show — where I met seveal Pennsylvania flower farmers and floral designers whose creativity inspired me!

The Slow Flowers Summit is four months away on July 1 & 2nd in St. Paul, Minnesota. Make your way to slowflowerssummit.com to learn all about the many opportunities to join us — from flower farm tours and dinner on a flower farm to business and branding presentations to interactive and inspiring design sessions . . . all designed to serve you! Subscribe to Summit news and updates at slowflowerssummit.com.

Thanks so much for joining me on this journey, seeking new and inspiring voices, people with passion, heart, commitment and expertise to share with you. I hope today’s episode gave you at least one inspiring insight or tip to apply to your floral enterprise. What you gain will be multiplied as you pay it forward  and help someone else.

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

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

THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS:

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.

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.

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.  

NW Green Panels. Based in Madras, Oregon, NW Green Panels designs and constructs a wide array of wood-framed greenhouses offering versatility, style and durability. Their greenhouses are 100% Oregon-made using twin-wall polycarbonate manufactured in Wisconsin, making NW Green Panel structures a great value for your backyard. The 8×8 foot Modern Slant greenhouse has become the essential hub of my cutting garden — check out photos of my greenhouse in today’s show notes or visit nwgreenpanels.com to see more.

(c) Mary Grace Long photography

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 417,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much. Thank you all!

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.

Our theme for 2019 – Fifty States of Slow Flowers – is taking a break today. So far . . . we’ve made it from Alabama to Connecticut, with some delightful and insightful conversations with Slow Flowers members in those states.

I had scheduled this week’s focus on Delaware. But guess what? It is one of only two states where there are no Slow Flowers members. I’ve been seeking for someone in the Delaware floral scene — farmer or florist — to talk with and record a short spotlight, including searching the #delawaregrownflowers hashtag on social media.

I’ve even messaged and emailed a few folks to invite their participation. But, crickets. Sadly. I know they’re out there, so if you can help —  reach out and connect me with Delaware’s local flower peeps! (PS, While Delaware is the 2nd smallest state in the U.S., it follows Rhode Island. I’m so thankful that we have a vibrant Slow Flowers community in the smallest state!)

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:
Red City Theme; Tiny Putty; Rabbit Hole; Gaena; Perspirationby Blue Dot Sessionshttp://www.sessions.bluehttps://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/
Lovely by Tryad http://tryad.bandcamp.com/album/instrumentals
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/

In The Field
Music from:
audionautix.com

Episode 390: Connecticut-Grown Flowers with Evelyn Lee of Butternut Gardens

Wednesday, February 27th, 2019
A spectrum of dahlias from Butternut Gardens in Connecticut
The Little White Flower Cottage at Butternut Gardens

Our theme for 2019 — Fifty States of Slow Flowers — continues today with Connecticut. And because I was so wrapped up in the conversation I recorded with my guest, Evelyn Lee of Butternut Gardens, this is an extended State-Focus episode. A lot of exciting flower news is coming out of Connecticut and I’m glad we took the time to discuss it to share with you.

Evelyn joined Slow Flowers several years ago and I’ve enjoyed meeting her on a few occasions, including last year’s Slow Flowers Summit in Washington, D.C. I also interviewed her for a farmer-florist article a few years ago. Ironically, that article appeared in Southern Farm & Garden magazine, and while Connecticut isn’t exactly “the south,” the editors loved her story. Here’s a link for you to read the article.

Evelyn Lee of Butternut Gardens in Southport, Connecticut

Here’s more about Evelyn Lee and her flowers:

Little White Flower Cottage sales building and floral sales tent

A number of years ago, with kids in college and beyond, Evelyn set her sights on the unlikely endeavor of creating a flower farm in the middle of the suburbs. Call her crazy, but she believed, then and now, that people truly appreciate fresh flowers, and that people, our environment and our economy all benefit from locally grown blooms.

Labeling used by Connecticut's agriculture producers
Labeling used by Connecticut’s agriculture producers

Butternut Gardens is a fabulous little flower farm, design studio and garden workshop tucked away in Southport, CT. It is the only cut flower farm in Connecticut’s Fairfield County, offering the freshest of blossoms harvested daily at the peak of perfection.  No shipping. No storage.  Just rich, vibrant, delicious-smelling flowers every time.

A beautiful peony mix from Butternut Gardens

Evelyn shares this on her web site:

When you choose Butternut Gardens flowers, you also choose flowers grown in an earth friendly manner on a Bee Friendly Farm by Evelyn Lee, a NOFA Accredited Organic Land Care Professional. Not only is our goal to bring the true beauty, fragrance and astounding variety of freshly-cut flowers to your special events and into your daily lives, but also  to share knowledge and best practices for sustainable suburban gardening, landscaping and land use.

Butternut Gardens’ springtime bouquets

Butternut Gardens flowers do not receive synthetic fertilizers, and great care is taken to not only “do no harm” but to also protect and enhance soil, water and living organisms. At Butternut Gardens, we leave plenty of flowers and pollinator-friendly habitat for neighborhood honey bees and an abundance of native pollinators, which call our land “home.” We strive to lead by example in our suburban neighborhood and hope to teach others about eco friendly gardening practices that can be applied to their land and gardens as well. A little education can go a long way!

During the growing season (March to November) Butternut Gardens crafts an ever-changing parade of seasonal flowers, fruits, seeds, branches and other interesting natural botanical elements from the several hundred of varieties locally grown into seasonal bouquets and arrangements.

A vivid summer floral palette from Butternut Gardens
Another cottage portrait (left) and more varieties of blooms (right)

Here’s how to find and follow Butternut Gardens:

Butternut Gardens on Facebook

Butternut Gardens on Instagram

Thanks so much for joining my conversation with Evelyn Lee of Connecticut’s Butternut Gardens. I’m continually inspired by the momentum and energy that is taking place in key regions across the continent. What’s happening with flower farmers and floral designers in Connecticut is also playing out elsewhere, spearheaded by creatives as passionate as Evelyn is. To be sure, we’ll continue hearing their stories here, on the Slow Flowers Podcast.

Thanks so much for joining me on this journey, seeking new and inspiring voices, people with passion, heart, commitment and expertise to share with you. I hope today’s episode gave you at least one inspiring insight or tip to apply to your floral enterprise. What you gain will be multiplied as you pay it forward  and help someone else.

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

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

THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS!!

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.

The Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers. Formed in 1988, ASCFG was created to educate, unite, and support commercial cut flower growers. It mission is to help growers produce high-quality floral material, and to foster and promote the local availability of that product. Learn more at ascfg.org. Coming right up, on March 23rd, is the Urban Farming Conference in St. Louis. More details can be found here.

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.

The Slow Flowers Summit is five months away on July 1 & 2nd in St. Paul, Minnesota. Make your way to slowflowerssummit.com to learn all about the many opportunities to join us — from flower farm tours and dinner on a flower farm to business and branding presentations to interactive and inspiring design sessions . . . all designed to serve you! Subscribe to Summit news and updates at slowflowerssummit.com.

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 414,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much. Thank you all!

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:
Children of Lemuel; Rabbit Hole; Gaena; Perspirationby Blue Dot Sessions http://www.sessions.bluehttps://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/

Lovely by Tryad http://tryad.bandcamp.com/album/instrumentals
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/

In The Field
Music from:
audionautix.com

Episode 389: All About Herbs with Designer Sue Goetz, author of A Taste for Herbs, Plus State Spotlight: Colorado

Wednesday, February 20th, 2019
Today’s guest, herb expert Sue Goetz

Whenever possible, I enjoy sharing those connections with the Slow Flowers Community. Because many of you come from these closely-related disciplines, I know you’ll enjoy today’s interview with my friend Sue Goetz. Sue is the owner of The Creative Gardener, based in Tacoma, Wash. She is a certified professional horticulturist, an author, speaker and award-winning designer.

I consider Sue a “sister” because we share the same book publisher, St. Lynn’s Press. While I’ve been writing and documenting the Slow Flowers movement, Sue has been writing, designing and photographing inspiring books about herbs.

Her first book, The Herb Lover’s Spa Book, is filled with ideas and recipes about growing fragrant herbs in your garden and how to use them to create a luxury spa experience. Her newest book, A Taste for Herbs, moves from the aromatherapy into the culinary  realm. I asked Sue to join me on the Slow Flowers Podcast to talk all about her favorite subject. I’m sure you’re growing herbs and I know this conversation will spark new ideas for what, how and why to add more herbs to your garden, farm, containers or greenhouse.

Recipe courtesy of Sue Goetz, A Taste for Herbs

Here’s more about Sue Goetz:

Writing and speaking are Sue’s favorite ways to share her love of gardening.  Her motto “…inspiring gardeners to create” defines all of her talks with hands-on workshops, how to’s and other projects that inspire creativity in and out of the garden. In 2012, she was named educator of the year by the Washington State Nursery and Landscape Association.  Sue is a member of GardenComm, formerly the Garden Writers Association, and her work has appeared in numerous newspapers and magazines.

Search for Sue’s fun garden wisdom series on Instagram #stickybookquote

Sue Goetz is a garden designer, writer and speaker. Through her garden design business, the Creative Gardener, she works with clients, personalizing garden spaces from the seasonal tasks to the design of large projects. Sue’s garden design work has earned gold medals at the Northwest Flower & Garden Festival, including the Sunset Magazine Western Living award, the Fine Gardening best design award and The AHS environmental award. Her home garden was featured in Northwest Home and Garden magazine, as well as Country Gardens Magazine.

Sue is a member of APLD (Association of Professional Landscape Designers) and the Northwest Horticultural Society. Sue lives and gardens in Washington state. She has three daughters, who no matter how far they roam, they still call home for some of mom’s fragrant, herbal concoctions.

Recipe courtesy of Sue Goetz, A Taste for Herbs

You can find all of Sue’s herb-related content and details about her two books, her lectures, and lots of recipes at herbloversgarden.com.

Find and follow Sue Goetz at these social places:

The Creative Gardener on Facebook

The Creative Gardener on Instagram

Robin Taber, Blue Door Farm
Colorado’s Robin Taber of Blue Door Farm
Our fabulous group of flower friends gathered at the Rocky Mountain Field to Vase Dinner. From left: Andrea K. Grist, me, Alicia Schwede, Robyn Rissman, Meg McGuire, and Robin Taber

Our theme for 2019 – #FiftyStatesofSlowFlowers – continues today, with Robin Taber of Blue Door Farm in Grand Junction, Colorado.

I first met Robin through her friend and fellow Colorado flower farmer, Megan McGuire of Red Daisy Farm, a Slow Flowers member and past guest of this podcast.

We both traveled to the Denver area in 2016 to stay at Meg’s wonderful farm and participate in a Slow Flowers Potluck as well as attend the Field to Vase Dinner at The Fresh Herb Co. It impressed me that Robin traveled 250 miles all the way across the state to be part of this gathering. It’s not unusual for flower people to do that sort of thing and we had a wonderful time together with Meg and also Andrea K. Grist, who joined us from Kansas City. See the cute photo of our time together above, along with Alicia Schwede and Robyn Rissman.

Bodacious Blooms: Robin taught floral design at a 2-day Blue Door Farm workshop last year in a collaboration with professional artist Dianna Fritzler.

Robin is deaf and communicates by lip-reading. In our conversation you’ll hear her speak with a mild accent. Her husband Mark Taber assisted us during the Skype interview.

Download the full transcript of our conversation here.

Find and follow Blue Door Farm at these social places:

Blue Door Farm on Facebook

Blue Door Farm on Instagram

The Vacation Rental/Guest House at Blue Door Farm

Thanks so much for joining me on this journey, seeking new and inspiring voices, people with passion, heart, commitment and expertise to share with you. I hope today’s episode gave you at least one inspiring insight or tip to apply to your floral enterprise. What you gain will be multiplied as you pay it forward  and help someone else.

This was a week of highlights, including lots of great press attention for Slow Flowers during the lead up to Valentine’s Day. I’ll share all of those links in our March newsletter, so if you’re not a subscriber, you may wish to sign up at debraprinzing.com.

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

And thank you to 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.

Our first Sponsor Spotlight and thanks goes to 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.  

Our Second Sponsor Spotlight today includes a thanks to NW Green Panels. Based in Madras, Oregon, NW Green Panels designs and constructs a wide array of wood-framed greenhouses offering versatility, style and durability. Their greenhouses are 100% Oregon-made using twin-wall polycarbonate manufactured in Wisconsin, making NW Green Panel structures a great value for your backyard. The 8×8 foot Modern Slant greenhouse has become the essential hub of my cutting garden — check out photos of my greenhouse or visit nwgreenpanels.com to see more.

Our final sponsor thank you this week goes to the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market, a farmer-owned cooperative committed to providing the very best the Pacific Northwest has to offer in cut flowers, foliage and plants. The Growers Market’s mission is to foster a vibrant marketplace that sustains local flower farms and provides top-quality products and service to the local floral industry.

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 Summit is five months away on July 1 & 2nd in St. Paul, Minnesota. We just wrapped up a very successful Galentine’s Day-Valentine’s Day promotion for the Slow Flowers Summit, generating new registrants to bump us well over the 50% sold-out mark for the 3rd annual Summit

I owe a big bouquet of thanks to event manager Karen Thornton and social media manager Niesha Blancas for all their extra effort to make that happen!

Make your way to slowflowerssummit.com to learn all about the many opportunities to join us — from flower farm tours and dinner on a flower farm to business and branding presentations to interactive and inspiring design sessions . . . all designed to serve you! Subscribe to Summit news and updates at slowflowerssummit.com.

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 411,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much. Thank you all!

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:
Loopy; Rabbit Hole; Gaena; Perspirationby Blue Dot Sessionshttp://www.sessions.bluehttps://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/
Lovely by Tryad http://tryad.bandcamp.com/album/instrumentals
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/

In The Field
Music from:
audionautix.com

Episode 388: Stacey Brenner of Maine’s Broadturn Farm on social entrepreneurship, leadership and sustainable business practices, Plus State Spotlight: California

Wednesday, February 13th, 2019
Stacy Brenner of Broadturn Farm

I’m delighted to share today’s conversation with Stacy Brenner of Broadturn Farm in Scarborough, Maine.

Back in May 2012, after the publication of The 50 Mile Bouquet, I received an email from my dear childhood friend, Shari Shambaugh.

We went to high school youth group together in Portland, Oregon, but she had since moved with her family to Portland Maine.
As part of her newsy email, Shari wrote:

Our CSA farm starts up soon, so we’ll be having our source of wonderful produce back from Broadturn Farm. We tried a meat share with another farm this winter, both stepping back from the amount of meat we eat and choosing better/local sources. I am also thinking of getting the flower share this year, a weekly bouquet of flowers from our food CSA.

You would love the blog site of our farmers (lovely people – we had dinner with them a few months ago at the home of mutual friends). Their daughter is a gifted photographer and Stacy (the mom) is a gifted arranger/grower. I knew they grew local blooms, but didn’t know there was a Slow Flower movement. Makes so much sense.  I may go out and paint a few times this summer. I would be nice to get out into the open, and their farm has wonderful vistas.

John Bliss, Stacy Brenner and family
John Bliss, Stacy Brenner and family
Broadturn Farm flowers, grown and designed
Broadturn Farm flowers, grown and designed

Just months later, I met Stacy Brenner and John Bliss of Broadturn Farm when they traveled to Tacoma for the ASCFG Conference — and we connected the dots that my friend Shari was one of their CSA customers. Love the small-world personal connections that happen when you talk about local and seasonal flowers!

I don’t know why it has taken me so long to invite Stacy (and John, who was otherwise detained when we recorded today’s episode, reportedly working in their greenhouses) to be a guest on the Slow Flowers Podcast. So pleased we were able to record today’s episode via Skype this past week.

Broadturn Farm's vivid branding embellishes the delivery van
Broadturn Farm’s vivid branding embellishes the delivery van

There has been a lot of excitement coming out of Maine in the Slow Flowers world lately, including two back-to-back successful years with the Flowering in the North conferences, not to mention Slow Flowers’ relationship with our sponsor Johnny’s Selected Seeds, and our support of Rayne Grace Hoke’s Slow Flowers-inspired design workshops.

Broadturn Farm, Scarborough, Maine
Broadturn Farm, Scarborough, Maine

So, the focus on Maine is growing. Let me tell you more about Broadturn Farm and its owners, Stacy Brenner and John Bliss:

John Bliss and Stacy Brenner share the work of running the farm and raising two daughters, Emma (22) and Flora (12). They both grew up in the suburbs of large cities, with no direct relationship to agriculture, but they started farming together in 2002.

In their bio on Broadturn Farm’s web site, John & Stacy describe themselves as middle aged, at times cynical, hardworking and always delighted to have a good laugh with friends and co-workers. Good food is a high priority, as is travel and plenty of time to binge on TV in the winter during a snow-storm. Access to real food, a strong need for connection to sustenance, and the potential to connect the verdant world with social justice is what urged this couple to put their hands to the earth.

Summer Camp at Broadturn Farm
Summer Camp at Broadturn Farm

While the desire to raise food was easy to intellectualize, flower farming is a hobby gone wild. Stacy and John both have a love for making and growing, thus flower farming and flower design work is like an extension of the challenges of food production melded with the art of design. Every bucket of blooms still makes them giddy. The first bunch of tulips, the perfect peony and the dahlia with just the right shade brings such joy. And, much like the first meal their family enjoyed with all farm-produced food, the first big wedding they produced with all farm grown and foraged goods made their hearts sing. John and Stacy are truly honored to put food on people’s tables and flowers in their arms.

They value Broadturn Farm as a gift, a real blessing, and they are open to sharing that with their community. There are trails to explore and fields to examine and there is always something going on with the livestock, from cud chewing to a mama hen trailed by her 6 chicks. And, if all that proves unexciting, the barn cats are sure to bring smile. If you come by, and you see John or Stacy puttering around, please say hello. They’re almost always busy in the season but never too busy to share a moment with a visitor. There are no regularly scheduled tours but don’t let that keep you from stopping by.

Dahlias at Broadturn Farm

I’m so pleased to share this conversation with you. Stacy has a lot of exciting news to share as well as insights that may inspire you to take a step back and reconsider your farm or studio’s mission and practices.

Beautiful Bird’s Eye view of Broadturn Farm

So much going on and you’ll want to follow and connect with Broadturn Farm. Find and follow the farm here:

Broadturn Farm on Facebook

Broadturn Farm on Instagram

Broadturn Farm Flower Shop at FORAGE (Portland)

READ MORE…

Episode 386: Hudson Valley’s Tiny Hearts Farm Adds Retail to the Mix, Plus State Spotlight: Arizona

Wednesday, January 30th, 2019

Opening Day at the new Tiny Hearts flower shop, with owners Jenny Elliott and Luke Franco

Jenny Elliott, one half of Tiny Hearts Farms.

Our featured guests today are back for a second time — and I always love inviting past guests to the Slow Flowers Podcast so you can hear their “next chapter.”

In April, 2015, I invited Jenny Elliott and Luke Franco of Tiny Hearts Farm, based in Copake, NY, to share their story here. In fact, here’s a link to that conversation, Episode 189.

A lot has happened in the subsequent three years, which makes me want to ask: Is a flower farmers’ three years more like 30 years for the rest of us? Seriously, what Jenny and Luke have accomplished is inspiring and I know it will be instructive to wherever you are today.

Luke Franco, one half of Tiny Hearts Farms

I first learned of Tiny Hearts from famed garden writer and podcaster Margaret Roach (you may recall that she was gardening editor and eventually editorial director for MSL back in its true heyday).

Margaret had recently invited me to be a guest on her popular gardening podcast, A Way to Garden,”  to talk about Slow Flowers.

She immediately and proudly shared that her own small Hudson Valley community a few hours north of NYC was home to a new specialty cut flower farm, Tiny Hearts.

It was so nice to have the “a ha” connection already made for Margaret, thanks to Jenny and Luke’s involvement in the local agriculture community of Copake.

I later got to meet Jenny in person at a Slow Flowers Hudson Valley Meet-Up. What a wonderful experience to continue the conversation — and having Tiny Hearts join the Slow Flowers community was a bonus for me, even though we mostly kept in touch via social media.

Tiny Hearts Farm’s charming retail shop and studio in Hillsdale, NY.

It was through Social Media that I learned of Luke and Jenny’s more recent news for 2018 — the birth of their second child and the birth of a new floral venture. You’ll hear all about it in today’s episode. Here’s a little more about Jenny and Luke, in a bio excerpted from their web site’s “About” page:

His-and-Her Planting at Tiny Hearts Farm

Jenny Elliott and Luke Franco started what would become Tiny Hearts Farm in the late winter of 2011, when they were offered an acre of land in Westchester County, New York, to grow on. Jenny had been farming vegetables for four or five years at this point, after getting a Masters in musicology and wondering what to do with it. Luke was (and still is) working as a jazz guitarist.

The land belonged to Dick Button, the Olympic figure-skating gold medalist, and Jenny is a winter Olympics fanatic, so it was clearly a good idea to start a farm there, even though they didn’t own so much as a shovel.

The first few years had its challenges—lack of water, fencing, equipment, and housing, being among them—but they were able to start a small, organically managed, hand-scale vegetable and flower farm and saw a measure of success. Jenny and Luke quickly found a niche and love for the flowers and they switched to growing flowers exclusively by their third year, the same year it became clear that they were quickly outgrowing their little farm. To grow the variety and quality of flowers sustainably that they envisioned, more space and better farm infrastructure was needed.

In the spring of 2014 Tiny Hearts moved an hour and a half north to become part of the new Copake Agricultural Center. The move offered a lifetime lease on 15 acres (a big deal for flower farms—many perennials are expensive to install and take years to establish), a house on the edge of the field, a barn for packing out orders, and four neighboring farms who quickly became the best support system. During their first two years here, Jenny and Luke invested in much-needed infrastructure—a greenhouse, walk-in cooler, two tractors, and delivery vans. They now work with a team of four to six employees, all passionate about flowers and invested in becoming great farmers and designers.

Rows and rows of flowers at Tiny Hearts Farm.

Tens of thousands of tulips kick off the season at Tiny Hearts Farm.

They say this: “We’re committed to our organic practices, to our staff and neighbors, to our community of customers, and to finding flowers that make us all happy and excited about the botanical world. As our farm grows, our goal is to become better and better growers of high-quality, healthy-for-the-land, healthy-for-people flowers.”

Inside the beautiful Tiny Hearts Farm Shop in Hillsdale, NY

Here’s how to find and follow Tiny Hearts Farm at its social places:

Tiny Hearts Farm on Facebook

Tiny Hearts Farm on Instagram

Debby Mittelman of MiViva Designs, photographed by Sullivan & Sullivan at the 2017 Whidbey Flower Workshop

Fifty States of Slow Flowers in Arizona

Our theme for 2019 – Fifty States of Slow Flowers – continues today, with Debby Mittelman of MiViva Designs, a custom floral design and photography studio in the Phoenix area — who shares an Arizona floral spotlight.

Arizona-grown bouquet by MiViva Designs.

Here’s how to find and follow Debbie at her social places.

MiViva Designs on Facebook

MiViva Designs on Instagram

Locally-grown Arizona flowers — designed and photographed by Debbie Mittelman of MiViva Designs

Thanks so much for joining me on this Slow Flowers journey, seeking new and inspiring voices, people with passion, heart, commitment and expertise to share with you. I hope today’s episode gave you at least one inspiring insight or tip to apply to your floral enterprise. What you gain will be multiplied as you pay it forward  and help someone else.

The Slow Flowers Summit is six months away so please save three dates on your calendar as you plan your travel to St. Paul Minnesota:

Sunday, June 30th: Bonus flower farm tours and the Slow Flowers Dinner on the Farm

Monday, July 1st: The main converence at Paikka Event Space

Tuesday, July 2nd: Twin Cities Flower Exchange tour and presentation.

I can’t wait to see you there! Ticket sales continue with a special Slow Flowers member discount at $375, so please make your way to slowflowerssummit.com to learn all about the many opportunities to join us — from flower farm tours and dinner on a flower farm to business and branding presentations to interactive and inspiring design sessions . . . all designed to serve you!

Sign up to receive updates at slowflowerssummit.com.

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 402,000 times by listeners like you. Yes, this past week we surpassed an epic milestone of more than 400,000 listener downloads!

Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much. We have a vital and vibrant community of flower farmers and floral designers who together define the Slow Flowers Movement.

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

Thank you to our Sponsors!

Thank you to: 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

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

NW Green Panels.  Based in Madras, Oregon, NW Green Panels designs and constructs a wide array of wood-framed greenhouses offering versatility, style and durability. Their greenhouses are 100% Oregon-made using twin-wall polycarbonate manufactured in Wisconsin, making NW Green Panel structures a great value for your backyard. The 8×8 foot Modern Slant greenhouse has become the essential hub of my cutting garden. Visit them at NW Green Panels.

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.

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:
Red City Theme; Vittoro; Rabbit Hole; Gaena; Perspiration
by Blue Dot Sessions

Episode 385: A Conversation with Soul Fire Farm’s Leah Penniman, author of Farming While Black, Plus State Spotlight: Alaska

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2019

Leah Penniman of Soul Fire Farm and author of “Farming While Black.”

Please meet this week’s podcast guest: Leah Penniman of Soul Fire Farm. I am so incredibly excited to share our conversation with you as we discuss Leah’s brand new book, “Farming While Black, Soul Fire Farm’s Practical Guide to Liberation on the Land,” published last October by Chelsea Green Publishing.

Soul Fire Farm – a life-giving hub for education, advocacy and activism

Leah Penniman is a Black Kreyol educator, farmer, author, and food justice activist from Soul Fire Farm in Grafton, NY.

She co-founded Soul Fire Farm in 2011 with the mission to end racism in the food system and reclaim an ancestral connection to land. As co-Executive Director, Leah is part of a team that facilitates powerful food sovereignty programs – including farmer trainings for Black & Brown people, a subsidized farm food distribution program for people living under food apartheid, and domestic and international organizing toward equity in the food system.

Soul Fire Farm’s Leah Penniman and her family

Leah holds an MA in Science Education and BA in Environmental Science and International Development from Clark University. She has been farming since 1996 and teaching since 2002.

The work of Leah and Soul Fire Farm has been recognized by the Soros Racial Justice Fellowship, Fulbright Program, Omega Sustainability Leadership Award, Presidential Award for Science Teaching, NYS Health Emerging Innovator Awards, and Andrew Goodman Foundation, among others. All proceeds from the sale of Farming While Black will be used to support Black Farmers.

Pollinator flowers at Soul Fire Farm

Soul Fire Farm is a Black, indigenous, and people of colorcentered community farm committed to ending racism and injustice in the food system.

Soul Fire Farm raises and distributes life-giving food as a means to end food apartheid. With deep reverence for the land and wisdom of ancestors, the farm works to reclaim its collective right to belong to the earth and to have agency in the food system.

Soul Fire brings diverse communities together on its healing land to share skills on sustainable agriculture, natural building, spiritual activism, health, and environmental justice. Leah and her colleagues are training the next generation of activist-farmers and strengthening the movements for food sovereignty and community self-determination.

I believe that Farming While Black is required reading for all farmers, and for anyone who wants to have a deeper insight into the often-ignored agricultural history of our country.

I highly recommend it — Leah’s passion and spirit jumps off the page as she inspires, informs, instigates and shares her important life’s work as well as her incredibly smart farming advice.

Here’s how you can find and follow Leah Penniman, of Soul Fire Farm:

Soul Fire Farm on Facebook

Soul Fire Farm on Instagram

Here’s more about Farming While Black. And Leah’s Book Tour Schedule — I hope you can hear Leah speak and meet her in a city near you!

Kim Herning of Northern Lights Peonies

 

Kim Herning (left) at Northern Lights Peony Farm

Our theme for 2019 – Fifty States of Slow Flowers – continues today, with Alaska!!

And now, let’s meet Kim Herning of Northern Lights Peonies — who shares an Alaska floral spotlight.

You’ll want to hear from Kim about her journey toward peonies in her life. She is also on the board of Arctic Alaska Peonies, a past sponsor of the Slow Flowers Podcast.

Left: Our Alaska Forget-me-Not coloring sheet from American Flowers Week; Right: Kim Herning of Northern Lights Peonies.

Thanks so much for joining me on this journey, seeking new and inspiring voices, people with passion, heart, commitment and expertise to share with you. I hope today’s episode gave you at least one inspiring insight or tip to apply to your floral enterprise. What you gain will be multiplied as you pay it forward  and help someone else.

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

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

The Slow Flowers Summit is six months away so please save three dates on your calendar as you plan your travel to St. Paul Minnesota: First, our bonus flower farm tours and Slow Flowers Dinner on the Farm, taking place on Sunday, June 30th; then, Monday, July 1st, where we will all gather at Paikka Event Space for day one of the Summit, followed by Tuesday, July 2nd where we will tour the Twin Cities Flower Exchange as it’s swimming in locally grown flowers.

I can’t wait to see you there! Ticket sales continue with a special Slow Flowers member discount at $375, so please make your way to slowflowerssummit.com to learn all about the many opportunities to join us — from flower farm tours and dinner on a flower farm to business and branding presentations to interactive and inspiring design sessions . . . all designed to serve you! Sign up to receive updates at slowflowerssummit.com.

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 399,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much. Thank you all!

And thank you to 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.

Our first Sponsor Spotlight focuses on Johnny’s Selected Seeds, an employee-owned company that provides our industry the best flower, herb and vegetable seeds — supplied to farms large and small and even backyard cutting gardens like mine. Check them out at johnnysseeds.com and if you missed our recent interview with Johnny’s flower category expert, Hillary Alger, I’ll add a link in today’s show notes so you can find it easily.

Our Second Sponsor Spotlight today goes to Longfield Gardens, which 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. Spring bulb season is almost here – my tulips are poking out of the ground already! Visit Longfield Gardens at longfield-gardens.com.

Our final Sponsor thanks today 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:

A Palace of Cedar; Rabbit Hole; Gaena; Perspiration
by Blue Dot Sessions

Lovely
by Tryad
http://tryad.bandcamp.com/album/instrumentals
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/

In The Field
Music from:
audionautix.com

Episode 384: Blending Cut Flower Production with a Nursery Business at Minnesota’s Green Earth Growers, Plus our new State Spotlight: Alabama

Wednesday, January 16th, 2019

Jolea Gress and Jenny Hotz of Green Earth Growers

Please meet this week’s podcast guests, Jolea Gress and Jenny Hotz of Green Earth Growers. In today’s conversation, you’ll learn about their thriving business, their flowers, their wholesale and retail operations — plus, you’ll learn how you can join all three of us at the special Slow Flowers Dinner on the Farm, taking place June 30th prior to the third annual Slow Flowers Summit in St. Paul Minnesota.

The beautiful farm that is home to Green Earth Growers in Prior Lake, Minnesota

Our delicious and beautiful Flower Farm-to-Table meal will take place at Green Earth Growers, in Prior Lake, Minnesota. This established, women-owned plant nursery, vegetable and cut flower farm will wow you and I’m so pleased that Jolea and Jenny are sharing their story here today. Green Earth Growers is one of the Minnesota flower farms selling to the floral marketplace through the Twin Cities Flower Exchange wholesale hub. TCFE is our co-host of the 2019 Slow Flowers Summit.

The flower harvest at Green Earth Growers.

Here’s a bit about their story:

Green Earth Growers was established in 2004, located just south of the Twin Cities. Jenny and Jolea began by growing quality plants, produce & cut flowers for local farmers, fundraisers, garden centers, landscapers, farmers markets and restaurants. Slowly, throughout the years, they have expanded their greenhouse growing space and farmland.

A vivid and freshly picked CSA bouquet from Green Earth Growers.

The women continue to be committed to growing and producing quality products with an emphasis on sustainability. All their production (plants, produce and cut flowers) are grown in accordance with the National Organic Standards. Green Earth Growers is a Certified Naturally Grown business.

Beautiful field-grown sunflowers from Green Earth Growers.

In 2008, Jenny and Jolea introduced Green Earth Growers CSA, growing the program from supplying an initial 20 families with fresh weekly produce, to more than 70 CSA members today. They added a flower shares option in 2014, and say they love the personal connection with those CSA customers.​

CSA Bouquets (left) and bedding plants and hanging baskets inside the Green Earth Growers’ greenhouse.

The retail center, Green Earth Gardens, opened in 2013, operating seasonally, late April to July. The center offers sustainable grown plants that are Minnesota hardy and an alternative to the plants you find at big box stores. Always experimenting with new plant varieties and growing methods, you can tell that Jenny and Jolea are passionate about flowers plants. Their passion is contagious and I can’t wait to visit them in June!

Find and follow Green Earth Growers at these social places:

Green Earth Growers on Facebook

Green Earth Growers on Instagram

Lisa Thorne of Thorne & Thistle with one of her bridal bouquets

I love our Alabama state flower coloring page with a Camellia, designed by Jenny Diaz for American Flowers Week!

I want to share about our special theme of 2019 – Fifty States of Slow Flowers – which begins today, and continues through the end of 2019, for fifty consecutive weeks, I will devote a bonus mini-interview at the end of each episode to speak with a member about what’s happening in his or her state.

Averaging 10 minutes or so, we’ll give you a snapshot of floristry, flower sourcing and the unique character of the Slow Flowers scene — from Alabama to Wyoming and everywhere between. We’ll also make some important stops along the way to speak with members in the Canadian Provinces — yay!

Today’s state spotlight begins with Alabama’s Lisa Thorne of Thorne & Thistle.

Thorne and Thistle is a destination wedding and floral design studio with a passion for travel and creating meaningful, memorable moments for our couples across the southeastern states and beyond.

You can read more about Lisa in a feature I wrote for the November 2017 issue of Florists’ Review, called “A Southern Sense of Style.” Click here to read.

Find and follow Lisa Thorne at these social places:

Thorne & Thistle on Facebook

Thorne & Thistle on Instagram

Thorne & Thistle on Pinterest

Thorne & Thistle on Twitter

A beautiful Alabama tablescape, designed by Lisa Thorne of Thorne & Thistle.

Thanks so much for joining me on this journey, seeking new and inspiring voices, people with passion, heart, commitment and expertise to share with you. I hope today’s episode gave you at least one inspiring insight or tip to apply to your floral enterprise. What you gain will be multiplied as you pay it forward  and help someone else.


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

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

The Slow Flowers Summit is six months away so please save three dates on your calendar as you plan your travel to St. Paul Minnesota: First, our bonus flower farm tours and Slow Flowers Dinner on the Farm, taking place on Sunday, June 30th; then, Monday, July 1st, where we will all gather at Paikka Event Space for day one of the Summit, followed by Tuesday, July 2nd where we will tour the Twin Cities Flower Exchange as it’s swimming in locally grown flowers.

I can’t wait to see you there! Ticket sales continue with a special Slow Flowers member discount at $375, so please make your way to slowflowerssummit.com to learn all about the many opportunities to join us — from flower farm tours and dinner on a flower farm to business and branding presentations to interactive and inspiring design sessions . . . all designed to serve you! Sign up to receive updates at slowflowerssummit.com.

Photographed at Everyday Flowers in Stanwood, Wash. (c) Missy Palacol Photography

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 397,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much. Thank you all!

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

SPONSOR THANKS:

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.

Today’s first thank you goes out 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.

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

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. And check out the web site for details about the upcoming Focus on the Business of Cut Flowers conference, set for Feb 18-19 in Denver. Seven of the experts presenting at the conference are past guests of the Slow Flowers Podcast, so you’ll recognize some familiar names and topics in the lineup!

Music Credits:
On Our Own Again; Rabbit Hole; Gaena; Perspiration
by Blue Dot Sessions

Episode 383: The Joy of Seeds with Hillary Alger, Flowers Product Manager of Johnny’s Selected Seeds

Wednesday, January 9th, 2019

Johnny’s Seeds flower trial gardens in Maine.

Johnny’s Seeds’ flowers product manager, Hillary Alger

If you’re a regular listener to the Slow Flowers Podcast, you know that Johnny’s Selected Seeds is one of our most supportive sponsors and partners.

I have been pestering today’s guest, Hillary Alger, Johnny’s Flowers Product Manager, to let me record an interview with her for quite a while.

We finally took time over the holiday break to jump on Skype and do it. I’m so pleased because the timing for discussing flower seeds and growing flowers is perfect.

Winter is when we all think about next season’s crops and new varieties to trial.

Whether you have a backyard cutting garden like me or a legitimate flower farm, you probably have visions of beautiful blooms dancing in your head.

And each image we see, whether it’s in a catalog or online, is enough to send our hearts racing as we add just one more variety to the wish list.

Behind-the-scenes at a Johnny’s Seeds’ studio photo shoot

Hillary is here today to discuss that process – how does an established seed company like Johnny’s, which was founded in 1973, select, trial, evaluate and bring to market thousands of varieties of vegetable, herb and flower seeds each year?

Even if you’re just a bit of a flower geek, this conversation will engage and inspire you. Hillary also discusses some of the more than 25 new annual seed varieties coming online in Johnny’s 2019 catalog, as well as the decision to reintroduce bulbs for cut flower growers. After more than a decade hiatus, the pages of Johnny’s catalog include more than 35 narcissus and tulip varieties. Click here to download a 4-pg PDF of all new new 2019 flowers.

Hillary often styles photo shoots for online and print, including fun floral flat-lays.

With a fine arts background, Hillary has fused her love of painting with her career in vegetable and flower seed promotion. Here is one of her paintings of an heirloom squash.

The Slow Flowers-Johnny’s Seeds partnership is a mutually rewarding one — and I’m so grateful to bring this episode to you today. Click here to read a recent post about Growing a Cutting Garden, with more resources from Johnny’s.

Here’s a bonus gift for listeners of this podcast — Thanks, Johnny’s!

Thank you from Johnny’s

An update about the Slow Flowers Summit:

First of all, we’ve been running an Early Bird ticket promotion for the Slow Flowers Summit 2019 and that opportunity has closed. Nearly 50 of you took advantage of the early bird pricing — and we will sell out the conference at 150 registrations.

So don’t have FOMO — you’ll want to make your way to slowflowerssummit.com to learn all about the many opportunities to join us — from flower farm tours and dinner on a flower farm to business and branding presentations to interactive and inspiring design sessions . . . all designed to serve you! Slow Flowers members will still enjoy discount pricing up until the day of the Summit. Sign up to receive updates at slowflowerssummit.com.

Left: A spring bouquet designed by Hillary for a Johnny’s Seeds photo shoot; right: Hillary’s home cutting garden.

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

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

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 395,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much. Thank you all!

I am in love with my greenhouse, designed and built sustainably by Oregon-based NW Green Panels (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

This week’s sponsor thank-you’s:

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.

NW Green Panels.  Based in Madras, Oregon, NW Green Panels designs and constructs a wide array of wood-framed greenhouses offering versatility, style and durabilty. They are 100% Oregon-made using twin-wall polycarbonate manufactured in Wisconsin, making NW Green Panel structures a great value for your backyard. The 8×8 foot Modern Slant greenhouse has become the essential hub of my cutting garden — check out the link in today’s show notes to see photos or visit nwgreenpanels.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

Music Credits:

Episode 382: Slow Flowers’ 2019 Floral Insights & Industry Forecast

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2019

Welcome to the 2019 Forecast!

Happy New Year 2019!

I’ve finally put away the holiday decorations and with my thoughts already turning to the spring garden, it’s time to look to the future. Our BIG NEWS for 2019 is the launch of a one-stop web site for all-things Slow Flowers. Please visit our newly-branded site on the web — SlowFlowersSociety.com.

Check out the NEW Slowflowerssociety.com site!

It is fresh, user-friendly and gives you access to all of the Slow Flowers programs, events and channels in one place.

Why the Society? Our focus hasn’t changed. In fact our mission continues. Which is:  to change the flower sourcing practices of consumers and professionals through outreach and education that highlights the benefits of local, seasonal and domestic floriculture — and to build a movement that promotes cultivation and sales of those flowers while nurturing authentic connections between consumers, farmers, and florists.

Slowflowers.com is now part of the Slow Flowers Society underscores our inclusive community dedicated to preserving domestic floral farms and supporting safe, seasonal and local supplies of sustainablyfarmed flowers and foliage. Our members are engaged in all facets of the U.S. floral industry.

I’m excited to share highlights from the annual Slow Flowers’ Floral Insights and Industry Forecast.

This report originated in the fall of 2014, when I traveled to NYC to meet with garden and lifestyle media as part of the launch of Slowflowers.com. The publicists helping me, Lola Honeybone and Marla Kramer, suggested I produce a powerpoint presentation to help illustrate the central themes of the Slow Flowers movement. It was a great tool to walk editors and writers through our platform, and to discuss shifts taking place in the floral marketplace that directly reflected significant changes in how flowers could be grown, designed and marketed.

When 2015 rolled around just months later, I shared those insights on this Podcast — and it became the first of our annual ritual.

For each of the past five years, I have drawn from a number of sources to develop this annual forecast. Sources include hundreds of my first-person interviews for print and digital stories, input gathered from the Slow Flowers Community, conversations with past guests of the Slow Flowers Podcast and idea-exchanges with other progressive leaders in the floral marketplace — farmers, florists and design creatives — who together inspire this “floral futures” report.

I hope you find these forward-thinking resources important and valuable. I’d love to hear your feedback and suggestions. Find an expanded version of this report, including a free PDF [Download here: Slow Flowers Forecast 2019].

You can also find an executive summary of the report in the pages of the brand new January 2019 edition of Florists’ Review.

A note about our programming change for 2019. Because of so much demand — all good — from podcast sponsors, we are trying something a little different for 2018. Rather than giving you a lengthy sponsor list at the end of the show, I’ll highlight just three sponsors during the episode — at the beginning, our mid-show break – and at the end.

First up: the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers.

Formed in 1988, ASCFG was created to educate, unite, and support commercial cut flower growers.

Its 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. And check out the web site for details about the upcoming Focus on the Business of Cut Flowers Conference, set for Feb 18-19 in Denver.

Seven of the experts presenting at the conference are past guests of the Slow Flowers Podcast, so you’ll recognize some familiar names and topics in the lineup!

The title of this year’s 2019 Slow Flowers’ Floral Insights and Industry Forecast is TRACKING FLORAL FUTURES

I know you’ll agree with me that the floral professional’s role is to connect consumers with the natural world through artistry and design. So it’s no surprise that this year’s emerging themes include ideas and concepts that strengthen community ties with values-driven consumers, as well as nurture entrepreneurial innovation in horticulture and floriculture. If you’re an “early adopter,” these concepts may resonate or reinforce your current approach to sustainable design.

In recent months, I’ve shared many of these ideas at top industry venues, including Hitomi Gilliam’s Trend Summit 2018, the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers annual conference and the Southern Flower Symposium. I’ll also share this report at an upcoming member-only event for the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market on Jan 23rd. Find more details here.

Number #1 Experiences, Not Conveniences

In a retail climate where Amazon is king, those who engage floral consumers in authentic, tactile, visceral experiences will break through the click-and-buy or cash-and-carry mindset. Customers who connect with you, your story, your flowers and the origin of those flowers are the foundation of your loyal tribe.

And while efforts and actions that strengthen our ties with customers isn’t an entirely new concept, it is one you must habitually practice, especially in today’s cluttered and distracting marketplace. Events, tours, workshops and other experiential programming are critical — and much more powerful than touching customers through social media channels alone.

Many of you have a deep understanding of the power of experiences, and my advice to you is to continue investing time, resources and creativity to offer the floral marketplace a chance to forge a relationship with you and your flowers.

A Flower-Filled Community Festival at My Garden Over Floweth — all about EXPERIENCES! (c) Courtney Coriell Photography

For example, Slow Flowers members Teresa Engbretson and Katie Elliott of My Garden Over Floweth, open their Paterson, Wash., farm for two seasonal “Flower Fling” festivals each year. These farmer-florists have created events that provide a sense of community for their customers, while also offering a new venue for other vendors. In their recap post after the Fall Fling, they wrote:

We place so much thought, time and care into planning the best experience we possibly can and we hope that shows!  This is a space and a time where memories are made and we hope each and every person felt a warm welcome. We felt so much love yet again by all who attended, including amazing local vendor family.  Each vendor and their products speak to hard work, quality and friendship, we are so honored to have so many great people surrounding us at our farm!

You don’t have to be a professional event planner to pull off an experience-rich program. Not at all. Start small and open your studio or farm gate to flower lovers — you’ll be positively rewarded.

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Episode 381: A Year in Review – Slow Flowers’ Highlights for 2018

Wednesday, December 26th, 2018

The Slow Flowers Community and listenership of this program have grown larger than ever, with more than 390,000 total downloads since this show launched in July 2013. That’s amazing news and I’m thrilled to share it with you.

(c) Mary Grace Long photography

Every single week this year; in fact, every single week for the past 282 weeks, it has been my privilege to feature the voices of our Slow Flowers community with you.

Unlike any other internet radio show in existence, the Slow Flowers Podcast is tailored to you and your interests, making its “must-listen” programming a habit among flower farmers and floral designers alike.

In producing and hosting the Slow Flowers Podcast, I seek out pioneers and personalities, style-makers and influencers — as well as unsung or little known heroes — who together are changing the floral landscape, disrupting the status quo, and bringing flower sourcing and growing practices, not to mention eco-conscious design methods, to the center of the conversation. And thanks for joining in. Whether you’ve just discovered this podcast or are a longtime fan, I encourage you to take advantage of the immense body of knowledge that can be found in the archives.

As I have done since the beginning of 2014, I would like to devote today to the Slow Flowers Highlights of this past year. Next week, on January 2nd, I will present the annual Slow Flowers’ Floral Insights and Industry Forecast for 2019.

I’m motivated as a storyteller to connect with the Slow Flowers Community in real and personal ways — and that was certainly the case in 2018. Rather than share a chronological travelogue of the year’s calendar, I’m mixing it up today.

I’ve looked in the rear-view mirror to remember 2018 and — wow — the themes bubbling up to the top are impressive. I’m humbled by the warm embrace of the Slow Flowers Community and more than ever, I realize that making authentic human connections with you is what really matters. Each experience is more meaningful because of the relationships we forge with one another.

I’ve identified 10 Top Themes of 2018 that I want to reflect on and share with you today.

Our speakers, from left: Mary Kate Kinnane, Kelly Shore, Debra Prinzing, Jonathan Weber, Jessica Hall, Walker Marsh, Christina Stembel, Kit Wertz & Casey Schwartz (not pictured: Mud Baron)

NUMBER ONE: the SECOND ANNUAL SLOW FLOWERS SUMMIT

Slow Flowers Summit logo The Slow Flowers Summit is the LIVE event in the midst of American Flowers Week, created to serve the Slow Flowers community of progressive, sustainably-minded florists and designers and to engage attendees who want to network with one another.

Planning and producing the 2nd Summit was a huge financial risk, especially since it was the first time on the east coast, away from our original Seattle venue.

I knew we could lose money but my heart told me it was important to forge ahead, as I found myself inspired by the amazing sense of inclusion, connection, new ideas, beauty and humanity surrounding our floral-filled lives.

I believed taking that risk was essential. That risk paid off and we actually had a sold-out Summit on Friday, June 29th in Washington, D.C., with a remarkably welcoming venue host – the American Institute of Floral Designers.

I have so many people to thank for helping produce the Summit, so let me get started. First of all, thanks to Bob Wollam and his team at Wollam Gardens for opening up their Virginia farm the day prior to the Summit for tours, lunch and community. That bonus pre-event was so positive that it inspired us to add two pre-event flower farm tours for our 2019 Slow Flowers Summit. THANK YOU all!

Ellen Seagraves, Cathy Houston and Dana Sullivan ~ the talented florists who led our interactive floral installation.

We had wonderful day-of volunteers, but I mostly want to single out Ellen Seagraves of Chic Florals and Dana O’Sullivan of Della Blooms, both Slow Flowers Members and part of Independent Floral Designers of Maryland, for volunteering to create the Summit’s interactive floral installation. We had so many wonderful donations from flower farms to pull this off — including Charles Little & Co., FernTrust, Green Valley Floral, LynnVale Studio & Farm and Resendiz Brothers Protea Growers — as well as EcoFresh Bouquets, which provided wraps for the foam-free installation.

I can’t forget to thank our speakers — without whom the day would have been an empty room, of course. Our keynote speaker Christina Stembel of Farmgirl Flowers wowed us with a frank discussion of building a self-funded floral business through grit and determination.

We enjoyed two visually and intellectually-inspiring design + business presentations geared toward florists who are committed to the Slow Flowers ethos, in their sourcing and in the ways they build community — Thank you Kelly Shore of Petals by the Shore and Mary Kate Kinnane of The Local Bouquet and thank you Kit Wertz and Casey Schwartz of Flower Duet.

Our Flowers + Tech panel introduced a fascinating discussion about the challenges of transportation, infrastructure and shipping — thank you to Jonathan Weber of greenSinner, Jessica Hall of Harmony Harvest Farm and Christina Stembel of Farmgirl Flowers for their excellent presentations and for helping us look toward the horizon of new business models.

And finally, thank you to our final two speakers, men who are passionate about flower farming as a tool for improving the lives of their communities ~ Walker Marsh of Tha Flower Factory in Baltimore and Mud Baron of Flowers on your Head in Los Angeles.

Flowers on my head, courtesy of Mud Baron.

Among other messages, we learned from them about sowing future seeds of hope through flowers. If you were in attendance – or if you followed the fun on social media, you also know that Mud was a flower force to be reckoned with as he festooned our heads with bouquets to fulfill his mission of photographing as many humans as possible for his Flowers on Your Head photographic project.

If you missed the Summit, you can find all the video presentations available to watch for just $48 on Vimeo — a full day of ideas, information, inspiration, inclusion and instigation with each of these speakers.

Watch a free clip of my opening remarks about the origins of the Slow Flowers Summit.

And I can’t finish this section without reminding you to register for the 3rd annual Slow Flowers Summit, taking place July 1-2, 2019 as an expanded conference, offering you more value and benefits for attending.

The early-bird pricing continues through Dec. 31st so there’s not much time left to save $100 and grab a seat to join me and some wonderful speakers in St. Paul Minnesota!

NUMBER TWO: AMERICAN FLOWERS WEEK 2018 (June 28-July 4)

This original flower promotion holiday, launched in 2015, celebrated its fourth annual campaign. I was encouraged and inspired by friends behind British Flowers Week to create American Flowers Week (and to continue their generosity, I helped support the creation of Canadian Flowers Week this past September).

This grassroots, all-inclusive campaign provides editorial, branding and marketing resources to flower farmers, florists, designers, retailers and wholesalers who wish to promote American grown Flowers.

And wow, did you participate this past year! We have been tracking engagement on Instagram and Twitter, which this year was tricky because new rules on those platforms restricted our ability to measure the potential engagement of our followers’ followers (IF you saw what happened with Facebook this year, I’m sure that make sense)

Even with those tracking limitations, you and your participation in American Flowers Week generated amazing numbers — 3.6 million impressions in the month leading up to the 2018 celebration. We know the real total engagement was much higher, due to tracking tools not being able to capture Facebook traffic.

#americanflowersweek on Instagram this week!

All I can say is THANK YOU to each one of you who joined in the fun by designing red-white-and-blue bouquets, taking photos and posting/tagging them as #local #american and #seasonal and #slowflowers.

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

Thanks to those of you who ordered our bouquet labels to use on your market and grocery bouquets, and for CSAs and popup events. And thanks for building the buzz to raise awareness about the importance of conscious choices when it comes to buying flowers. The more fun and fashion we can share with flowers, the more their origin becomes a top-of-mind decision at the cash register.

And speaking of fashion, 2018 was the third year of our American Flowers Week – floral fashion collection, a brilliant season of botanical garments revealing the beauty of flowers, the people who grow those flowers and the floral artists who reimagine them into garments.

Opening pages of “Field to Fashion,” in Slow Flowers Journal for Florists’ Review (June 2018)

This year, we called the theme “Field to Fashion,” and revealed all five floral couture looks in the pages of Florists’ Review magazine. Producing this floral narrative began in Homer, Alaska, where Kelly Shore of Petals by the Shore partnered with Beth Van Sandt of Scenic Place Peonies to envision a styled shoot reflecting just-picked peonies with a storyline that reflects the character, history and geography of Homer.

The series continued with photo shoots taking place through subsequent months of the year, as designers and flower farmers collaborated to turn cut flowers into haute couture, including a session in Sonoma County, with design talents from farmer-florist Hedda Brorstrom of Full Bloom Flower Farm and dazzling dahlias grown by Kate Rowe of Aztec Dahlias;

a winter woodland narrative reliant upon farmer-florist Carly Jenkins of Killing Frost Farm’s penchant for foraging from the forests and woodlands of the Pacific Northwest and Montana;

Alison Higgins and Nicole Cordier of Grace Flowers Hawaii’s Big Island homage to locally-grown tropical flowers and foliage with two regal looks for male and female models;

and Faye Zierer Krause of Flora Organica Designs’ tribute to the Iris, straight from the Sun Valley Flower Farms’ greenhouses of Arcata California.

It is a privilege and an honor to experience this level of creativity and commitment to American Flowers Week. The inventiveness expressed by the Slow Flowers community — flower farmers and floral designers alike — elevates American-grown botanicals to new levels.

Click here to find the photos of the entire 2018 American Flowers Week collection of botanical fashions, including the stories behind each look.

I also need to thank and acknowledge the talented photographers who made each of these beautiful ideas come to life through their lens, including Alex Brooks, Becca Henry, Megan Spelman, Joshua Veldstra and Leon Villagomez.

Botanical artist Ellen Hoverkamp created our American Flowers Week 2018 image and branding!

One more artist gets a big thank you for helping make American Flowers Week more beautiful – and that is Ellen Hoverkamp of My Neighbors’ Garden. We invited Ellen, a Connecticut-based artist, to create a red-white-and-blue bouquet using her signature scanner photography technique and the result was a stunning image that helped us promote the campaign all year long. Her all-American botanical tribute wowed everyone and I’m excited to be able to use American Flowers Week as a way to highlight the work of such a talented artist.

And now’s the time to mark American Flowers Week 2019 on your calendar — June 28 through July 4 — because it will be our fifth annual campaign celebration! I’ll have more to share in the coming months, but you are invited to check out two links I’ll share in today’s show notes — first, a look at the 2019 botanical art branding we commissioned from Josephine Rice, and second, a sneak peek to introduce the florists and flower farmers who are busy creating American Flowers Week botanical fashions for next year’s editorial package.

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