Debra Prinzing

Get the Email Newsletter!

Archive for the ‘Creativity’ Category

Episode 256 All My Thyme – Dawn Severin’s love affair with garden roses

Wednesday, July 27th, 2016
ScreenShotSFHomePage

GWA: The Association for Garden Communicators, is honoring Slowflowers.com with a SILVER AWARD of Achievement for 2016

I have some very special news to share with you – GWA | The Association for Garden Communicators — announced last week that Slowflowers.com is a SILVER MEDAL winner in the 2016 Media Awards program.

This follows last year’s Silver Award for our infographic titled: “Where do your flowers come from?”

We’ve poured so much creative effort into developing Slowflowers.com’s valuable, meaningful content and it’s thrilling to receive industry recognition for this important digital resource that connects consumers everywhere with American Grown flowers across the country.

logo_gwa

Please celebrate with me — together we’ve created this success!

Dawn Severin of All My Thyme, shown with her lavender crop

Dawn Severin of All My Thyme, shown with her ‘Grosso’ lavender crop

2moreup

Dawn Severin (c) Mary Grace Long

Dawn Severin (c) Mary Grace Long

Today’s guest is flower farmer Dawn Severin, owner of All My Thyme, which is based in Mount Vernon, Washington.

All My Thyme is a wholesale flower farm dedicated to hand-tending English garden roses, a variety of cut flowers and herbs, and fresh and dried lavender — all for the floral trade.

Dawn is a gifted grower — a civil engineer-turned flower farmer and current member of the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market.

On a recent visit to her farm I saw beautiful perennials, herbs and annuals, and of course, beloved garden roses. Thousands of rose plants occupy the heart of Dawn’s farm, a well-organized layout of rows, beds and one high tunnel cover a four-acres-plus area, part of the 15-acre homestead in Washington’s Skagit Valley.

The tall wands of Dawn's eremurus frame the view of her home and barn in Skagit Valley.

The tall wands of Dawn’s eremurus frame the view of her home and barn in Skagit Valley.

2upAllmyThyme

All you have to do is track Instagram to know that roses are more popular than ever before, especially in the wedding floral world. Dawn grows David Austins, Kordes, old-fashioned and hybrids alike, with a petal palette ranging from whites and creams to the deepest burgundies.

sm_IMG_5326 It’s really impossible to capture the vast knowledge and expertise that makes All My Thyme’s roses so cherished here in the Seattle marketplace. Her roses are romantic, fragrant, healthy and super fresh. Grown with great care and attention to what her floral customers really want — artistic design elements for their brides and special event clients.

sm_IMG_5464

sm_IMG_5474 I have known and loved Dawn’s flowers for a few years, but I only recently set aside time to visit her for a first-person tour of the roses! I turned on the recorder to capture our conversation, which took place while we walked through the farm.

Here is a list of the roses that Dawn and I discussed during our conversation:

A Shropshire Lad (David Austin)

Anna’s Promise (Weeks)

Charlotte (David Austin)

Clair Renaissance (Poulsen)

Crocus Rose (David Austin)

Crown Princess Margareta (David Austin)

Distant Drums (Weeks)

Eglantyne (David Austin)

Hot Cocoa (Weeks)

Ice Girl (Kordes)

James Galway (David Austin)

Jubilee Celebration (David Austin)

Jude the Obscure (David Austin)

Koko Loko (Weeks)

Lemon Pompon (Kordes)

Orange Pompon (Kordes)

Pink Pompon (Kordes)

Sombreuil (David Austin)

Spirit of Freedom (David Austin)

Susan Williams-Ellis (David Austin)

Tranquillity (David Austin)

Wollerton Old Hall (David Austin)

All My Thyme is a Salmon Safe certified flower farm, meaning that all of Dawn’s practices are safe for local waterways and salmon habitats, as evaluated by a third party agency.

The new high tunnel at All My Thyme

The new high tunnel at All My Thyme

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 109,000 times by listeners like you. THANK YOU to each one of you for downloading, listening, commenting and sharing. It means so much.

sponsor bar Thank you to our lead sponsor for 2016: 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.

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

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

And finally, thank you Arctic Alaska Peonies, a cooperative of 50 family farms in the heart of Alaska providing high quality, American Grown peony flowers during the months of July and August. Visit them today at arcticalaskapeonies.com.

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

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

The Slow Flowers Podcast is engineered and edited by Andrew and Hannah Brenlan. Learn more about their work at shellandtree.com.

Episode 255 It’s Our 3rd Anniversary of the SLOW FLOWERS Podcast with special guest Kasey Cronquist

Wednesday, July 20th, 2016

PodcastLogo You hear me say this every Wednesday morning:

“This is the weekly podcast about American Flowers and the people who grow and design with them. It’s all about making a conscious choice and I invite you to join the conversation and the creative community as we discuss the vital topics of saving our domestic flower farms and supporting a floral industry that relies on a safe, seasonal and local supply of flowers and foliage.”

This podcast is brought to you by Slowflowers.com, the free, nationwide online directory to florists, shops, and studios who design with American-grown flowers and to the farms that grow those blooms.  It’s the conscious choice for buying and sending flowers.

(c) Mary Grace Long photography

(c) Mary Grace Long photography

This podcast has been downloaded more than 107,000 times during the course of three years — in fact, the number of downloads in year three equal year one and year two combined — and that means more and more people are hearing the message of American grown flowers and the farmers and florists who bring those blooms to you.

The popularity of this podcast shouldn’t be measured in metrics alone, but here is a telling one: I remember being thrilled that 15,000 individual episodes had been heard at the close of the first year. Look how far we’ve come. I’m honored and humbled that you’re listening today and that so many wonderful voices have agreed to be part of this podcast celebrating American flowers.

The debut of the Slow Flowers Podcast preceded the launch of the Slowflowers.com directory by 10 months, but with the Podcast’s third birthday, I feel like all our Slow Flowers’ Milestones of the past year are intertwined and here are some of the significant strides worth acknowledgement and celebration:

  1. With today’s episode of the Slow Flowers Podcast, we have produced 156 consecutive weekly episodes of this internet radio program. On average, listeners download about 5,000 times each month. You can find the archives of this program on the right column of our home page. I’m always pleased to see that new listeners who’ve just discovered the Slow Flowers Podcast return to download earlier episodes in order to “catch up” on those conversations. ScreenShotSFHomePage
  1. web_Lg_FINAL_SF_Insta-01 (1) Slowflowers.com now has 700 listings across the country and in our new Canada section, and we’re building toward 1,000 members. In a market filled with imported flowers, Slow Flowers gives you essential tools to differentiate yourself and your floral business. The Benefits far surpass the modest investment of a $50 Standard or a $200 Premium membership. The site currently enjoys more than 4k monthly visits and 21k monthly page views. That’s pretty powerful!Other benefits are too vast to list in detail, so we’ve decided to create an infographic about the Values of your Slowflowers.com membership. Stay tuned for that useful resource — it will be available in the coming weeks.The Slow Flowers Community is vast and its impact and influence is magnified when our voices and stories are joined together as one. You are part of this network of like-minded flower farmers, floral designers and industry leaders who share passion for saving our domestic floral industry. Our Facebook forum offers support, encouragement and ideas for everyone who joins.Finally, your Slowflowers.com membership helps pay for public relations efforts to position the Slow Flowers story with print and digital media outlets in search of new content. The payoff means we enjoy ongoing media coverage that few members could achieve individually, but that’s entirely possible when we come together with a unified voice.
  2. Social Media. With the recent wrap-up of the 2nd annual American Flowers Week, we’ve been blown away by your participation across new and conventional media platforms. The hashtag #americanflowersweek produced a record-breaking 1.3 million potential impressions tracked on Instagram and Twitter alone.
  3. If that seems impressive, consider the reach and impact of the #slowflowers hash-tag. Last week I alluded to the fact that use of this hashtag is at an all-time high, reaching nearly 3.0 million impressions in a single month. The frequency is only increasing, so thank you for engaging with the message of slow flowers in your own postings.
Kasey Cronquist (left) with me at Pamela and Frank Arnosky's Texas Specialty Cut Flowers in Blanco, Texas for the Field to Vase Dinner in May.

Kasey Cronquist (left) with me at Pamela and Frank Arnosky’s Texas Specialty Cut Flowers in Blanco, Texas for the Field to Vase Dinner in May.

Okay, let’s get going on today’s episode. As has become a bit of a tradition, I’ve invited Kasey Cronquist to be today’s guest. Kasey and I have walked side-by-side through this dynamic chapter of American-grown flowers and a week doesn’t go by when we aren’t sharing ideas or comparing notes on the various projects and exciting cultural shifts we’re witnessing in domestic and local flower farming and floral design.

Kasey Cronquist, CEO & Ambassador for the California Cut Flower Commission.

Kasey Cronquist, CEO & Ambassador for the California Cut Flower Commission.

CertifiedAmericanGrownLogoCard Kasey is the CEO and Ambassador for the California Cut Flower Commission. He’s served in this capacity since 2007. He also administers the Certified American Grown  program.

Since joining CCFC,  Kasey has spearheaded an aggressive public affairs program targeting lawmakers in both Sacramento and Washington, D.C.

He is recognized as a leading voice for the American Grown Movement in the floral industry, encouraging buyers, retailers and consumers to source more locally grown blooms from domestic flower farmers. In addition to ongoing governmental affairs outreach, Kasey has worked closely with the CCFC marketing and promotion committee to develop strategic plans on behalf of both California flower farmers and farms across the U.S. through the Certified American Grown program.

The Certified American Grown Program produces the Field to Vase Dinner Tour -- and is a sponsor of this Podcast. Shown from left: Bill Prescott of Sun Valley Flower Farm, NYT Bestselling author Amy Stewart of "Flower Confidential", Kasey and me.

The Certified American Grown Program produces the Field to Vase Dinner Tour — and is a sponsor of this Podcast. Shown from left: Bill Prescott of Sun Valley Flower Farm, NYT Bestselling author Amy Stewart of “Flower Confidential”, Kasey and me.

As we discuss, I volunteer as a member of the Certified American Grown Council to guide the national advocacy and marketing program and Certified American Grown is a financial sponsor of Slow Flowers for 2016.

Kasey and I share the mutual goal of promoting domestic and locally-grown flowers as the highest-quality and most sustainably-grown cut flowers option in the marketplace.

Thank you for joining our conversation today and for joining me to virtually celebrate the 3rd anniversary of this Podcast.

I love the idea of COMMON GROUND, a concept that Kasey and I discuss at the close of our episode. We have so much more to gain by supporting one another in the cause of domestic flowers rather than pitting the idea of Local versus American Grown. All of us have more to gain than to lose by taking this positive approach that saves America’s flower farms, no matter in which state they’re rooted.

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 107,000 times by listeners like you. THANK YOU to each one of you for downloading, listening, commenting and sharing. It means so much.

sponsor bar Thank you to our sponsors:
Certified American Grown Flowers.
Syndicate Sales
Longfield Gardens
Arctic Alaska Peonies

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

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

The Slow Flowers Podcast is engineered and edited by Andrew and Hannah Brenlan. Learn more about their work at shellandtree.com.

Episode 254: Today’s Modern Flower Farmers: Georgia’s Steve and Mandy O’Shea of 3 Porch Farm and Moonflower Design

Wednesday, July 13th, 2016
Mandy and Steve O'Shea of 3 Porch Farm in Comer, Georgia

Today’s Podcast guests: Mandy and Steve O’Shea of 3 Porch Farm in Comer, Georgia (c) Rinne Allen

News and Updates:

FINAL_with_Bonny_Doon_00539_DP_CreativeWorkshop-01 (2) Last month I mentioned news about the Slow Flowers Creative Workshop, which I’m co-teaching with Teresa Sabankaya of the Bonny Doon Garden Co., in Santa Cruz, California.

We have a schedule update – the workshop dates have moved and will begin 24 hours later than originally planned. We’ll now begin on SUNDAY August 21st and continue to MONDAY, August 22nd in order to accommodate those of you who have Saturday wedding conflicts. Here are the details:

Teresa is founder and creative director of Bonny Doon Garden Co. and past guest of this Podcast. We’re teaming up to lead an intimate group of fellow professionals — floral designers and farmer-florists — for an inspiring, two-part workshop taking place over the course of 1-1/2 days.

Our focus will be floral storytelling and media messaging for your business. This valuable experience is designed to help you clarify, document and communicate your personal artistic message. Go deep into Slow Flowers “brand building” and find your own voice as a floral storyteller.

You’ll also explore and expand your approach to garden-inspired design. Working with Teresa, you’ll identify the artistic inspiration for your aesthetic. Her hands-on exercises will explore how floral elements and complementary elements support your design brand and focus on how mechanics that support your style.

This all takes place in the setting of a beautiful garden, where you’ll feel right at home with beautiful flowers, gardens, farm animals and new friends! Spaces are limited and you won’t want to miss out on the chance to hone your message through words, images and flowers.

Check out the amazing impact of #americanflowersweek!

Check out the amazing impact of #americanflowersweek!

American Flowers Week is all wrapped up for 2016, with a record-breaking 1.3 million potential impressions tracked on Instagram and Twitter alone for the hashtag #americanflowersweek, more than 3 times the engagement for the same period in 2015.

And here are some telling stats for #slowflowers -- Thank YOU to today's Podcast guests for making an impact on social media, week in and week out!

And here are some telling stats for #slowflowers — Thank YOU to today’s Podcast guests for making an impact on social media, week in and week out!

As I was analyzing the social media activity, I started digging deeper into the use of the Slow Flowers hashtag, as well. And it was mindblowing to see that our top posts and most influential users of #slowflowers are today’s guests, Mandy and Steve O’Shea of 3 Porch Farm in Comer, Georgia. In the past 30 day period 3 Porch Farm has used the hash-tag 29 times with potential exposure of more than 310,000 impressions.

Georgia flower farmers Mandy and Steve O'Shea (c) Brittany Towsell

Georgia flower farmers Mandy and Steve O’Shea (c) Brittany Towsell

Welcome to 3 Porch Farm

Welcome to 3 Porch Farm

A snapshot of the location of Athens, Comer and Atlanta, Georgia

This map shows how close Comer is to Athens and Atlanta, Georgia

READ MORE…

Episode 253 Two generations of creativity with Seattle designer Sara Jane Camacho and her Kentucky farmer-florist mom Sara Brown

Wednesday, July 6th, 2016
That’s a Wrap! Thank you to everyone who participated in American Flowers Week 2016! (c) Amanda Dumouchelle

That’s a Wrap! Thank you to everyone who participated in American Flowers Week 2016! (c) Amanda Dumouchelle

We’ve wrapped up American Flowers Week, which took place between June 28th and Independence Day on July 4th!

Year Two of the Slow Flowers’ campaign to promote and celebrate American grown flowers exceeded all expectations.

In 2015, this little social media effort got a last-minute start with just six weeks’ lead time — and it still yielded 400k impressions during the 30-day period leading up to and including American Flowers Week.

I was pretty jazzed that enough of you participated last year, which helped us catch the interest of sponsors for 2016. While not huge, our total sponsorship support reached $2,100 and those funds help to pay for our creative promotions like the fantastic red-white-and-blue flower ‘fro designed by Susan McLeary of Passionflower Events (seen at right), along with the cost of placing that image in online and print advertising, and designing and distributing resources. We freely shared those resources with everyone from flower farmers and wholesalers to florists, online sellers and grocery store flower departments. There simply was no barrier or financial requirement to anyone getting involved.

2016_one-week_stats_throughJuly5

American Flowers Week generated more than 1 million potential impressions on Instagram and Twitter during a one-week celebration! Source: Keyhole.co

Pascale Plänk Steig created this signage for New Seasons Market in Portland, adapting our American Flowers Week ribbon artwork.

Pascale Plänk Steig created this signage for New Seasons Market in Portland, adapting our American Flowers Week ribbon artwork.

In the end, it paid off, with more than 250% increase in engagement in social and conventional media. Two city dailies wrote articles about American Flowers Week (The Oregonian and the Indianapolis Star), and hundreds of you posted to Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

We had florists offering American Flowers Week design workshops, wholesalers and floral designers blogging about the farms they support, groceries staging chain-wide American Flowers Week sales promotions and more. It was all so exciting and inspirational!

Social media is not always easy to track, but according to Keyhole.co, which measures engagement for #americanflowersweek mentions on Instagram and Twitter, the TAG has generated more than 1.1 million impressions in the last 60 days — the bulk of that activity has occurred since last Tuesday when American Flowers Week kicked off on June 28th. [Editor’s update: As of July 6th, the 60-day impression total has climbed to 1.35 million!]

Monique Montri, our fabulous flower 'fro model, portrays the playful spirit of American Flowers Week (c) Amanda Dumouchelle

Monique Montri, our fabulous flower ‘fro model, portrays the playful spirit of American Flowers Week (c) Amanda Dumouchelle

I’ll have more to share in the coming weeks as we analyze and consider the benefits of this impactful campaign. For now, I just want to thank you for participating. Americanflowersweek is a community-driven campaign and I’m so grateful it’s also a powerful marketing tool for you and your distinct brand.

IMG_5690

Sara Jane Camaco (left) and Sara Brown (right), daughter-mother flower growers and designers

For today’s podcast episode, we’re talking to two generations of flower women. I’ve known daughter Sara Jane Camacho for a few years. We originally met when Sara Jane worked for my friend Melissa Feveyear, an early Slow Flowers adopter featured in The 50 Mile Bouquet, at her shop, Terra Bella Flowers in Seattle’s Phinney neighborhood. Melissa is a past guest of this podcast. Sara Jane worked with Melissa for a number of seasons while also developing her unique point of view by freelancing as a floral designer.

READ MORE…

American Flowers Week 2016 is in full swing

Saturday, July 2nd, 2016

FloristsReview_e_newsletter_ad_ for June 20_00527_DP_AFW_WebAd-01

Slowflowers.com Kicks Off American Flowers Week 2016, a National Campaign to Showcase U.S. Flower Farms, Florists and Flower Gardens

American Flowers Week is an advocacy effort timed to coincide with America’s Independence Day on July 4th, providing florists, retailers, wholesalers and flower farmers a patriotic opportunity
to promote American grown flowers.

Seattle, Washington (PRWEB) June 29, 2016

00507_DP_AFW_Logo_LRG-01 All across the nation, from Alabama to Wyoming, Oregon to Maine, locally grown flowers will be highlighted and celebrated during American Flowers Week, a weeklong campaign inviting U.S. flower farmers and florists to showcase American-grown red, white and blue blooms on social media platforms (using #americanflowersweek) and in their own communities.

American Flowers Week is the advocacy, education and outreach campaign co-produced by the Slow Flowers Podcast with Debra Prinzing and Slowflowers.com, the nationwide, online directory to American Flowers and the people who grow and design with them.

Our beautiful red-white-and-blue Flower Fro. Designed by Susan McLeary, modeled by Monique Montri and photographed by Amanda Dumouchelle.

Our beautiful red-white-and-blue Flower Fro. Designed by Susan McLeary, modeled by Monique Montri and photographed by Amanda Dumouchelle.

In its second year, American Flowers Week highlights the homegrown talents of more than 700 member floral businesses listed on Slowflowers.com, including Susan McLeary of Passionflower Events in Ann Arbor, Michigan, designer of the iconic “Flower ‘Fro” depicted in the 2016 campaign poster. To create the majestic headpiece, the designer incorporated flowers donated by seven American flower farms in three states.

American Flowers Week Activities and Events
Participation in American Flowers Week involves all facets of the floral distribution channel, from flower farmers and wholesaler florists to grocery stores, floral designers, flower shops and online sellers.

READ MORE…

Episode 252 Bouquets Grown in Massachusetts with Melissa Glorieux of Aster B. Flowers

Wednesday, June 29th, 2016
An historic American farm with roots dating to the Revolutionary War is home to farmer-florist Melissa Glorieux's Aster B. Flowers.

An historic, 400-year-old American farm with roots dating to the Revolutionary War is home to farmer-florist Melissa Glorieux’s Aster B. Flowers.

00527_DP_VERTICAL_AFW_Poster-page-001 This week kicks off American Flowers Week, which began yesterday on June 28th and continues through next Monday, July 4th, Independence Day!

This is our second year celebrating American grown flowers in all shapes, sizes, forms, fragrances, locations and home states.

Before I introduce you to today’s guest, a thoroughly American flower farmer and florist, I want to share a few updates about what’s going on this week:

We’ve had participation at all levels of the floral continuum, warming the hearts and sparking the imagination of flower lovers everywhere.

Beginning with flower farms large and small across the U.S. and continuing through conventional wholesaler and on to consumer-facing flower shops, online florists, grocery stores, and farm-direct channels, the message being communicated is that these flowers have a domestic origin, grown by real people on real U.S. flower farms. Can we have some fireworks, please?!

As of last week, the social media hits were adding up quickly, thanks to  your participation. According to Keyhole.co, which tracks Instagram and Twitter hashtag use, the American Flowers Week message has generated nearly one-half million impressions since we announced the 2016 celebration on May 1st (note, this is an updated figure from June 28th, four days after I recorded this podcast intro).

50statesscreengrab

A fresh-picked, red, white and blue bouquet from Aster B. Flowers -- perfect for American Flowers Week.

A fresh-picked, red, white and blue bouquet from Aster B. Flowers — perfect for American Flowers Week.

Your use of the hashtag term is making an impact, so keep on using #americanflowersweek along with #slowflowers and your personal branding terms. We’ll keep on re-tweeting and re-posting for exponential results!

American Flowers Week has attracted major media attention, including a feature called “Get to know your growers,” by Janet Eastman of The Oregonian.

As I mentioned on the Slow Flowers Community on Facebook earlier this week, when the venerable FTD writes a blog post about American Flowers Week, well, it means we’ve got the attention of mainstream floriculture. And that’s a good thing, folks!

Keep sending us your submissions for 50 States of American Grown Flowers — wouldn’t it be great if all 50 states were represented in the gallery at americanflowersweek.com?

Everyone who participates and submits an arrangement is eligible for the prize drawings that include lots of great swag and shopping sprees from our sponsors. A recent addition from Beth Van Sandt of Scenic Place Peonies in Homer, Alaska: a beautiful box of 20 stems of premium peonies, which she has donated to our prize pool!

Meet Melissa Glorieux of Aster B. Flowers

Melissa with a bouquet of Massachusetts-grown (and designed blooms)

Melissa with a bouquet of Massachusetts-grown (and designed blooms)

It is entirely fitting to devote today’s conversation to a farmer-florist whose land in Essex, Massachusetts (according to local lore) is said to have been used by George Washington and his troops as a camp site during the Revolutionary War.

Imagine the history that this soil contains! Aster B. Flower’s owner, Melissa Glorieux, a native of Massachusetts, blends flower farming, floral design and artistry at an historic homestead about 30 miles north of Boston, where she and her husband and 2 children settled after previously living the SF Bay Area.

Melissa was first inspired by the abundant availability of seasonal and local flowers in that benign California climate . . . and she wanted to bring that practice to New England when she started Aster B. Flowers.

Melissa has developed the seven acre New England farm around the values of growing local and sustainable flowers. Aster B. strives to be sustainable both in the field and out.

A bevy of bouquets from Aster B. Flowers.

A bevy of bouquets from Aster B. Flowers.

424796_271381576273174_48212622_n The farm reuses and recycles whenever possible, such as repurposing trellising, fabric mulch and drip tape from one season to the next.

Organic growing practices, composting and water conservation are part of the daily life on this farm. Minimal packaging means that flowers are rubber-band tied and, if a client requests it, wrapped in wax paper.

 

Melissa (left) with design partner and fellow co-op member Rebekah Mindel of Meadow Wilds, a member of the new Essex Flower Co-op.

Melissa (left) with design partner and fellow Essex Flower Co-op member Rebekah Mindel of Meadow Wilds.

As Melissa and I discuss in the interview, for 2016, Meadow Wilds, Roving Radish, 1956 Blooms (transitioning to True Vine Studio) and Jemma Tory Floral Design have joined Aster B. on the farm to create the Essex Flower Co-op, a flower grower/floral designer cooperative.

Members of the co-op grow and design side-by-side, sharing expertise and supporting one another in their flower-centric endeavors. This is an exciting new model that I’m eager to share with you, yet another innovative way to keep things local and stimulate small-farm economies.

Another lovely view of Aster B. Flowers in Essex, Massachusetts

Another lovely view of Aster B. Flowers in Essex, Massachusetts

When her customers purchase Aster B. Flowers, Melissa wants them to know they are supporting a local micro-business that provides jobs, treats the Earth kindly and makes the world a little more beautiful.

 

You can follow along with The Ritual Mandala on Melissa's Instagram feed.

You can follow along with The Ritual Mandala on Melissa’s Instagram feed.

IMG_3796 Melissa’s new project is called The Ritual Mandala, a lovely endeavor that combines her life as a flower farmer with her life as an artist.

I know you’ll be inspired to try making your own farm-nature-garden-themed mandalas after seeing images of her beautiful work.

Here’s where to find and follow Melissa:

Aster B. Flowers on Facebook

Aster B. Flowers on Twitter

Aster B. Flowers on Pinterest

Aster B. Flowers on Instagram

Last week we promised a drawing for a free signed copy of The Flower Workshop, our guest Ariella Chezar’s new book. We drew the winner’s name from those of you who took the time to post a comment on the show notes page of Debraprinzing.com. And that person is: Megan Illingworth. Congratulations and thank you for listening and commenting!

There is still plenty of time to add your voice to the AmericanFlowersWeek excitement, so post your red-white-and-blue blooms and tag #americanflowersweek. Everyone’s contribution counts and together, we are changing the conversation about flowers!

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 104,000 times by listeners like you. THANK YOU to each one of you for downloading, listening, commenting and sharing. It means so much.

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

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

The Slow Flowers Podcast is engineered and edited by Andrew and Hannah Brenlan. Learn more about their work at shellandtree.com.

Episode 251: Ariella Chezar’s The Flower Workshop Book and Morgan Anderson of The.Flori.Culture’s PhD in – yes, Floriculture

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2016
Morgan Anderson of The.Flori.Culture (left) and Ariella Chezar (right)

Morgan Anderson of The.Flori.Culture (left) (c) Amber Snow; and Ariella Chezar (right) (c) Corbin Gurkin

This week’s episode delivers double the inspiration as you will hear from two guests — one quite familiar to our Slow Flowers community, Ariella Chezar, and one who is an emerging leader in floral design education, Morgan Anderson.

Both interviews were recorded in May and I’m combining them here for an extended episode that will delight you as a creative person and evoke some new ways of thinking about your business model, be it flower farming, floral design or a combination of both.

MEET ARIELLA CHEZAR

The Flower Workshop Book I am so fortunate to have gotten to know Ariella Chezar over the years. We were first introduced virtually by Berkeley-based designer Max Gill, an incredibly talented floral artist who I profiled (along with the work of photographer David Perry) in The 50 Mile Bouquet.

When I interviewed Max, I asked him to connect me with someone who had influenced his work and he named Ariella. She and I corresponded by email and she contributed a lovely quote about Max’s work for me to use in the chapter about him (and PS, a podcast interview with Max is on my bucket list for the upcoming year).

I promptly ordered my own copy of Flowers for the Table, an evocative book that Ariella created for Chronicle Books in 2002, one that helped propel her into the world of editorial floral design.

Ariella Chezar was in Seattle to headline the spring bloom extravaganza at SWGMC

Ariella Chezar was in Seattle to headline the spring bloom extravaganza at SWGMC

Ariella and I finally met face-to-face in spring of 2013 at Chalk Hill Clematis in Healdsburgh, California. She was there at owner Kaye Heafey’s beautiful flower farm to lead a design workshop and as it turned out, I was there with Chicago-based photographer Bob Stefko to produce a clematis story for Country Gardens magazine. The following year, I interviewed Ariella for this podcast in her former Ariella Flowers retail studio in New York City (if you haven’t heard that episode, follow this link).

So fun to have Ariella in Seattle and to see her response to the beautiful and local flora!

So fun to have Ariella in Seattle and to see her response to the beautiful and local flora!

That was about the time that Ariella teamed up with her favorite editor, SF-based Leslie Jonath of Connected Dots Media (with whom she had created Flowers for the Table), to begin creating The Flower Workshop, the designer’s long-anticipated second book that Ten Speed Press released earlier this year.

A lovely inside page from "The Flower Workshop," by Ariella Chezar

A lovely inside page from “The Flower Workshop,” by Ariella Chezar: “How to make a tulip ‘float'” – Photography (c) Erin Kunkel

It took about 18 months to bring this lovely tome to life because Ariella and her creative team photographed flowers and her designs in season, on location in both the Bay Area, where Ariella worked in the early days of her career, and in her childhood home of The Berkshires, where she operates a studio and small flower farm in western Massachusetts.

The gorgeous new book expresses Ariella’s lush, whimsical garden style and her true passion for nature, both cultivated and wild.

Why is Ariella’s work so celebrated? In our 2014 podcast interview, Ariella identifies the place (California) and the moment in time (the late 1990s and early 2000s) when she developed, almost unconsciously, her carefree, uncomplicated design aesthetic. Mesmerized by the abundance of carefree, unconstrained vegetation around her, Ariella responded in kind with a loving respect for the elements. In response, her design style was and continues to be unique and iconic.

"Summer Fruits," Ariella's interpretation from the orchard.

“Summer Fruits,” Ariella’s interpretation from the orchard. Photography (c) Erin Kunkel

Please enjoy this short interview. It was recorded at the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market on May 25th, after Ariella had spent two full days first touring the flower farms of some of the Market’s members, then teaching a master design intensive based on the content of The Flower Workshop.

READ MORE…

Day 5 of British Flowers Week 2016

Saturday, June 18th, 2016
British Flowers Week 2016

British Flowers Week 2016

Day Five of British Flowers Week 2016 (13-19 June) took place yesterday, concluding the fourth year of the industry-wide, nationwide campaign in support of British cut flowers, founded and organised by New Covent Garden Flower Market.

By yesterday, the hashtag #BritishFlowersWeek had reached a staggering 7.56 million people on Twitter and achieved a record Instagram reach of 2.72 million.

Rob Van Helden

Rob Van Helden

DAY FIVE: The British Flowers Week designs by Rob Van Helden

The British alstroemeria appears in three exquisite floral designs by Rob van Helden, event florist extraordinaire. Read more about the British alstroemeria and its use as a cut flower.

Singular Beauty

Singular Beauty

Singular Beauty: A lone stone vase of British-grown red and pink alstroemeria sits ready to adorn a smart entrance hall or elegant office foyer.

Steely Style

Steely Style

Steely Style: Alstroemeria gets a touch of urban glamour in this striking massed umbrella arrangement of elegant white alstroemeria in a magnificent silver urn.

The Alstroemeria Collection

The Alstroemeria Collection

The Alstroemeria collection: Grouped as a collection, bunches of alstroemeria assemble in pretty little ceramic vases to dress dinner party, given light from a candelabra.

LESSONS LEARNED

Sarah Statham of Simply by Arrangement and her #britishflowersweek collaborators at the RHS Harlow Carr Flower Show on June 12th

Sarah Statham of Simply by Arrangement (third from right) and her #britishflowersweek collaborators at the RHS Garden Harlow Carr Flower Show on June 12th

What inspires me most about British Flowers Week is the widespread participation by people at every level of the floral industry — from growers and wholesalers to florists and public gardens. The media and politicians are paying attention and celebrating domestic, British-grown flowers. Here is my favorite “tweet” from this past week, featuring my friend Sarah Statham of Simply by Arrangement, a past guest of the Slow Flowers Podcast. She and others in Yorkshire have been deeply involved in the first RHS Garden Harlow Carr flower show, raising awareness and engagement between consumers and the source of flowers in their lives!

AMERICAN FLOWERS WEEK

I’m so excited that American Flowers Week is just around the corner, set for June 28-July 4th! Follow along on Social Media by searching (and using!) #americanflowersweek #slowflowers and join the experience. We are changing the conversation and that’s incredibly exciting!

Celebrating British Flowers Week 2016

Thursday, June 16th, 2016
Layout 1

British Flowers Week is truly the inspiration for American Flowers Week, our Slowflowers.com campaign that launched in 2015.

New Covent Garden Flower Market in London, the team behind British Flowers Week, has set the bar very high, giving us something quite beautiful to which we aspire — and this week, the 4th Annual British Flowers Week, has delivered far beyond expectations!

British Flowers Week’s promotional model involves a diverse lineup of events. Growers and florists nationwide are staging flower farm open days, British flower workshops, demonstrations and displays or staging pop-up stalls in town centres across the UK.

The Dorchester hotel, Petersham Nurseries, River Cottage Canteen, NT Knightshayes, RHS Harlow Carr, Habitat on King’s Road and BBC Gardener’s World Live are among the venues hosting British Flowers Week events.

The campaign is centered around Five Days, Five Classic British-Grown Flowers, and Five Renown British Florists, showcased June 13-19th.

British flowers at Number 10 Downing Street

British flowers at Number 10 Downing Street

British flowers adorn Number 10 Downing Street! 

This stunning urn arrangement of beautiful British delphiniums, oriental lilies, alstroemeria, astrantia, garden roses, stocks and British foliage was created by floristry students at Capel Manor College, and generously donated by New Covent Garden Flower Market wholesalers Zest Flowers, Pratley, GB Foliage and C Best. The Chairman of the British Florist Association, Brian Wills-Pope MBE was instrumental in making this possible.

By the way . . . *Are you thinking what I’m thinking*? If Number 10 Downing Street, the resident of the British Prime Minister, can have British-grown flowers, why can’t the White House have American-grown flowers? 

Today, I want to share the flowers and florists behind Days One, Two, Three & Four of British Flowers Week.

Kudos to my friends at New Covent Garden Flower Market — Helen Evans, director of business development and support, and publicist Liz Anderson — and all of the British flower farmers and designers who created these iconic examples of fresh, local, seasonal blooms (and foliage) and inventive, inspired floral design. You can learn more about this campaign by listening to my Podcast interview with Helen, aired last spring.

READ MORE…

Episode 250: Sarah Hinton, Floral Designer turned Software Entrepreneur

Wednesday, June 15th, 2016

10626614_821774804530053_1998877968693715534_n How do you manage all the paperwork that goes into planning, budgeting, and producing a successful wedding or special event?

According to today’s guest, Santa Barbara-based designer Sarah Hinton, it took years of struggling with spread sheets and clipboards before she was inspired to develop a software program that simplifies all that paperwork into one online tool called ULARAS.

When I first learned about this project of Sarah’s I wasn’t aware of any other program like hers.

Since then, other programs have also hit the marketplace so be sure to check out “Florist App Comparison,” a useful comparison guide that our friends at Mayesh Wholesale recently published.

Here's how a ULARAS proposal inspiration board looks.

Here’s how a ULARAS proposal inspiration board looks.

Basically, Ularas handles all the facets of floral event planning — including managing weddings and events contacts; writing estimates and contracts, and managing product orders and the production workflow.

Meet my redhead floral pal, Sarah Hinton, of Ularas — a new florist tool for managing weddings and events

I’m eager to share Sarah’s story with you. Her journey feels so universal to me ~ she’s a highly creative person who ran into a “need” that didn’t seem like anyone was addressing and felt motivated to help others in her industry with a solution.

Before becoming a software entrepreneur with business partner Paul Dillow, Sarah spent 13 years operating a retail floral, gift and art gallery; that was followed by RowanOak Events, a special event floral design studio.

The origins of ULARAS began when she asked Paul, lovingly called the company “programmer and geek,” to help her correct a mistake in “a very elaborate Excel spread sheet.”

Like magic, within ten minutes, Paul repaired and returned the complex, hot mess to Sarah with one question… “What do you use this for?”

Start here: the Ularas Proposal

A Ularas Proposal (what your customer receives)

Paul has owned Houston Computer Solutions for more than 17 years. He saw in his mind’s eye a beautiful software program that sparkled and twinkled where Sarah only saw hours of frustration in a spreadsheet she kept breaking.

Basically, Paul looked at what Sarah had created on her own and suggested turning the tool into a database software platform for florists.

Check out Ularas’s “QuickStart” video (17 min) to get a flavor of this robust system and how it might work for your business (bel0w). The video and all of the slides included in these show notes are easily found on the special page for the Slow Flowers Community here.

Step 2: Create the Proposal

Creating the Proposal Template

READ MORE…