Debra Prinzing

Archive for the ‘Creativity’ Category

Week 22 // Slow Flowers Challenge

Saturday, June 6th, 2015
A cool-toned combo for early June, including Acanthus mollis, baptisia, cerinthe and sweet peas - all offset with fragrant mint foliage.

A cool-toned combo for early June, including Acanthus mollis, baptisia, cerinthe and sweet peas – all offset with fragrant mint foliage.

Here's how the entire bouquet turned out. I used a large trophy-like urn to accommodate the scale of the bear's breech.

Here’s how the entire bouquet turned out. I used a large trophy-like urn to accommodate the scale of the bear’s breech.

This week I couldn’t take my eyes off the gorgeous flower stalks of two bear’s breech plants ( Acanthus mollis) growing between our back porch and the pond in a shady area.

This perennial typically belongs at the back of the border where the large glossy foliage can offset smaller and more delicate companions. Deeply lobed, the acanthus leaf is a classical form in art and architecture. I’ve actually used the leaves in winter floral arrangements before. In my Zone 8b garden, the leaves are basically evergreen and winter hardy.

The blooms are also arresting. They are tall and pointed with an overall spiny form and purplish-green bracts. I will say this: They don’t LOVE being cut and plunked in a vase.

The five stalks I cut and used in this bouquet had mixed performance from between one to three days. So if you have bear’s breech in your perennial border, consider it a day-of cut flower.

'April in Paris' sweetpea, grown by Jello Mold Farm. If only you could inhale its perfume!

‘April in Paris’ sweetpea, grown by Jello Mold Farm. If only you could inhale its perfume!

Baptisia (love the sweet pea-like flowers on the tall stem), with honeywort (Cerinthe).

Baptisia (love the sweet pea-like flowers on the tall stem), with honeywort (Cerinthe).

Blue false indigo (Baptisia australis)

Blue false indigo (Baptisia australis)

Curled just like a little shrimp, Cerinthe has a fabulous blue-green/purple flower

Curled just like a little shrimp, Cerinthe has a fabulous blue-green/purple flower

Here is the recipe::

  • Garden mint, grown by Ojeda Farms in Ethel, Washington
  • Honeywort (Cerinthe major ‘Purpurascens’), grown by Jello Mold Farm in Mt. Vernon, Washington
  • Blue false indigo (Baptisia australis), Jello Mold Farm
  • ‘April in Paris’ Sweet Peas, Jello Mold Farm
  • Bear’s breech (Acanthus mollis) flowers, from my garden
Trophy_1_IMG_3954

Everything came together beautifully, including the addition of the mint foliage!

Just for fun, here’s how the Acanthus mollis foliage lent much-needed drama to a December arrangement. I paired it with Callicarpa, curly willow and camellia foliage.
Note the large, glossy Acanthus foliage on the right side of this winter arrangement.

Note the large, glossy Acanthus foliage on the right side of this winter arrangement.

And on its own, the foliage of Blue false indigo (Baptisia australis) is also fantastic. Long after the beautiful flowers fade, you can keep cutting the leaves for arranging:

Baptisia foliage in an August bouquet.

Baptisia foliage in an August bouquet.

An Artist’s Relationship with Floral Design, Abbie Zabar: Ten Years of Flowers from the Metropolitan Museum of Art (Episode 196)

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2015
In this pencil study, Abbie Zabar captures an exuberant floral arrangement from the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Great Hall.

In this pencil study, Abbie Zabar captures an exuberant floral arrangement from the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Great Hall.

50kdownloads This week we’re celebrating the 50,000th download of the Slow Flowers Podcast.

As of today, we’ve produced 97 episodes bringing you the leading voices in the American Grown floral community – from flower farmers to floral designers, the inspiring people working to save flowers as part of our nation’s agricultural heritage and keep our flowers local, seasonal, sustainable — and American grown.

I am grateful to my past guests, each of whom has shared his or her story with listeners. And I’m so thankful to listeners who regularly tune in, comment, share and like this endeavor.

Students at Sarah Pabody's floral design workshop learn about the origin of the flowers in their lives. (c) Elena Slesarchuk, courtesy of Triple Wren Farm.

Students at Sarah Pabody’s floral design workshop learn about the origin of the flowers in their lives. (c) Elena Slesarchuk, courtesy of Triple Wren Farm.

Before we meet Abbie Zabar, this week’s guest, I wanted to share a text that I received this week from my friend Sarah Pabody of Triple Wren Farms located just north of Bellingham, Washington.

Sarah and her husband Steve Pabody are big promoters of the Slow Flowers Movement. When Sarah leads design workshops at Triple Wren she does something for which I’m so grateful.

Each student is handed one of the Slow Flowers infographics that reads “Where do your flowers come from?”

Then Sarah leads a short discussion about the frightening statistics revealing the small percentage of domestic flowers in the marketplace versus imported flowers, as well as the cost of those imported flowers, both environmentally but also economically, to local communities.

She texted me photos of last weekend’s workshop, which I have permission to share with you.

Even the youngest floral design student learns about the Slow Flowers Movement at Triple Wren Farms! (c) Elena Slesarchuk.

Even the youngest floral design student is introduced to the Slow Flowers Movement at Triple Wren Farms! (c) Elena Slesarchuk.

 

 

Said Sarah: “I thought you’d like to see your Infographics in action – at every workshop, I issue a challenge to each person to casually ask another person in their lives (grocery florist, family member, however they can work it into their daily conversation),”Do you know where these flowers were grown?”

If anyone listening to this story feels moved to do the same with their own customers, please follow this link to our graphics, which you are welcome to download and copy. Thanks for the inspiration, Sarah!

SFlowersInfoGraphic_Page1_Web

Abbie Zabar, captured in a familar pose by Rod Marton. She's sketching in a garden, with paper on her lap.

Abbie Zabar, captured in a familar pose at Rodmarton Manor in the UK. She’s sketching in a garden, with paper on her lap. (c) Sylvia Martin

Okay, today’s guest is thoroughly inspiring in a completely different way. When I first read the news that the work of Abbie Zabar, a New York-based artist and longtime virtual friend in the garden-writing world, was going to be celebrated this coming weekend with the opening of an exhibit of her floral drawings, I had to share her story with you.

As you will hear in our conversation, Abbie is a close observer of nature and of flowers, especially. She captures what she observes with colored pencils on sheets of rather ordinary paper or cardboard.

from June 23, 2002

from June 23, 2002

For one decade of her life, from the early 1990s to the early 2000s, Abbie walked from her apartment in New York City’s upper east side to the famed Metropolitan Museum of Art on Fifth Avenue. She entered the impressive Great Hall during the early hours, found a place to sit, and proceeded to sketch the grand floral arrangements on display there each week. (I feel quite an affinity for someone who honored such a creative ritual week after week; after all, I managed to make a bouquet each week for one year and ritualized that practice, but Abbie’s ten-year observance is hugely impressive).

Abbie Zabar. December 6 1994. Collection of the artist

Abbie Zabar. December 6 1994. Collection of the artist

Abbie was enthralled by the five enormous flower-filled urns that stood in the Met’s Great Hall. At the time, the pieces were created by Chris Giftos, the Met’s former Master Floral Designer and Director of Special Events. For more than 30 years, Mr. Giftos was responsible for the beautiful arrangement in the Great Hall. And, as Abbie describes, the flowers occupied four large niches carved from the central piers, as well as the centrally located Information Desk. The weekly arrangements of fresh flowers appear, thanks to an endowment provided by the late Lila Acheson Wallace, who was one of the Museum’s largest single benefactors.

Abbie Zabar. February 4 2002. Collection of the artist

Abbie Zabar. February 4 2002. Collection of the artist

It’s no surprise to learn that Abbie and Chris became good friends. The fondness she had for this floral artist are reflected in each drawing she made in response to his work. Incredibly alluring, her diminutive floral portraits are breathtaking in both their simplicity and their complexity. Abbie’s own experience as a gardener and her innate knowledge of the flowers, fronds and leaves before her allowed her to capture the splendid bouquets with a sure and deft hand, well before the Museum opened its doors for the day.

Abbie Zabar. October 16 1999. Collection of the artist

Abbie Zabar. October 16 1999. Collection of the artist

Working in situ and in pencil—the only implement allowed in the space —her drawings showcase the vibrancy, variety and vitality of the displays, as captured in one quick sitting.

Abbie Zabar at the Manhattan Chapter of the North American Rock Garden Society's Plant Sale, where she was passing around saxifraga "favors." Photo courtesy of Yukie Kurashina.

Abbie Zabar at the Manhattan Chapter of the North American Rock Garden Society’s Plant Sale, where she was passing around saxifraga “favors.” Photo courtesy of Yukie Kurashina.

You will hear more about her process in our conversation, and please visit debraprinzing.com to see examples of the pieces that will be unveiled in this upcoming exhibition.

The show is called Abbie Zabar: Ten Years of Flowers, on view June 7 through October 4 at Wave Hill, a beautiful public garden and cultural center in The Bronx. The event is free with your admission to the grounds.

And here is a little more about Abbie’s background:

Abbie Zabar is an acclaimed artist, graphic and garden designer, and the author of five books. Her first book, The Potted Herb (1988), is now considered a gardening classic.

She has created garden and graphic designs for numerous prestigious companies and organizations, including Bergdorf Goodman, Daniel Boulud’s restaurants and PS 198.

Her landscape collages have been represented by Allan Stone and BlumHelman, and Flowers in the Great Hall of the Metropolitan Museum of Art series has been represented by Ursus Books & Prints and the Horticultural Society of New York.

Abbie Zabar. May 18 1995. Private collection

Abbie Zabar. May 18 1995. Private collection

Abbie’s artwork has been shown at the Museum of Modern Art, the Cooper-Hewitt Museum, the Parrish Museum, the International Paper Corporation, the Louvre, the Institute of Contemporary Arts (London) and the Vigeland Museum (Oslo), and is part of the permanent collections of the Mead Paper Corporation of America, the Brooklyn Museum, the Jewish Museum, the Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation and the Smithsonian Museum.

Abbie Zabar. May 17 2003. Collection of the artist.

Abbie Zabar. May 17 2003. Collection of the artist.

Abbie’s illustrated articles have appeared in Garden DesignHorticultureFine GardeningGourmet and The New York Times, as well as in numerous esteemed British publications. She received the 2010 Award for Best Newspaper Writing from the Garden Writers Association for her piece “A Vine in the Sky,” published in The Forward.

Abbie Zabar. September 24 2000. Collection of the artist

Abbie Zabar. September 24 2000. Collection of the artist

In 2014, she was honored with the North American Rock Garden Society’s Carleton R. Worth Award, given to an author of distinguished writings about rock gardening and rock garden plants. Zabar is currently the Program Chairperson for the Manhattan Chapter of the North American Rock Garden Society and a Learning Leader at P.S. 198.

Jar with green hyacinths

Jar with green hyacinths

White roses in straight-sided jar.

White roses in straight-sided jar.

White roses, little creamer

White roses, little creamer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As Abbie and I discussed, not only is the exhibition at Wave Hill available for public viewing all summer long, continuing to October 4th, she has a second show in the works, which will run September 16th to October 2nd at W.M. Brady & Co., a gallery at 22 East 80th Street, just a few steps from The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

This collection of drawings includes the series of small floral studies that Abbie and I discussed at the close of our interview (and she generously shares a sneak peek of a few of those pieces here).

From the grand floral arrangements at the Met to these intimate moments of singular blooms captured in small vases, Abbie’s gifts as an illustrator of flowers are evident. And I know you’ll be as enchanted as I am. By the way, many of these pieces will be available for purchase, so please follow the links to the two institutions (Wave Hill and W.M. Brady & Co.) to inquire if you’re interested in a list of available works.

Thank you, Abbie Zabar, for showing us flowers in a new way. Not everyone is an artist or has the ability to use a pencil so masterfully as my friend Abbie. But this conversation has moved me to use my innate skills of observation more acutely, whether I’m on a walk in the park, purchasing flowers from my favorite flower farmer, or tending to plants in my own backyard.

Thanks again for joining me today for another wonderful conversation about flowers. Listeners like you have downloaded the podcast more than 50,000 times. THANK YOU to each and every one of you for downloading, listening, commenting and sharing. It means so much.

Until next week please 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 Wheatley and Hannah Holtgeerts. Learn more about their work at shellandtree.com.

Week 21 // Slow Flowers Challenge with Mock Orange and Garden Peonies

Saturday, May 30th, 2015
Back Porch Bouquet - with every bloom clipped from my garden.

Back Porch Bouquet – with every bloom clipped from my garden.

After all the traveling I’ve done since March, it’s so nice to be HOME. So for the last week of May, the Slow Flowers Challenge has stuck close by. All of these flowers are straight from my garden. You could call it the “5 Step Bouquet.”

I wish you could inhale the light fragrance of the peonies combined with the sweetly scented mock orange blossoms (Philadelphus coronarius). Wow! It’s a perfect pairing to grace the small table in our home’s entry, allowing me to share the garden perfume and perfection with anyone who might stop by this weekend.
Two types of peonies, a profusion of mock orange, and young hydrangea buds.

Two types of peonies, a profusion of mock orange, and young hydrangea buds.

I especially love using this vintage American-made vase. It is also featured on pages 50-51 of Slow Flowers, where it holds beautiful garden roses that I paired with smoke tree and the ‘Black Knight’ Queen Anne’s lace. The 7-inch tall McCoy jardiniere is from the 1940s era and has a raised design of vertical bands (maybe suggesting picket fencing?) and a rim of flowers. It’s the ideal scale vase for such blousy bouquets!
By the way, here’s that design from Slow Flowers where you’ll spot the familiar vase:
Analogous color palette of pinks, mauves and purples! This design was originally published in my book, Slow Flowers

Analogous color palette of pinks, mauves and purples! This design was originally published in my book, Slow Flowers

Below are a few more images from yesterday’s bouquet. The ingredients:

  • Two types of peonies, both inherited when we moved to this home. So I don’t know the cultivars. I love the pale pink with the fringey yellow centers, but I think I love the single white variety even more, especially for its dense centers, some cream; some rose-tinged.
  • Mock orange branches and blossoms
  • Immature hydrangea stems, used as a lime green accent.
Quite delicious to the eye and fragrant to the nose!

Quite delicious to the eye and fragrant to the nose!

More delicious details!

More delicious details!

Green and Local as a Flourishing Business Model with Bash & Bloom of Seattle (Episode 195)

Wednesday, May 27th, 2015
Meet Eleanor Blackford, owner and creative director of Bash & Bloom (c) Barbie Hull Photography

Meet Eleanor Blackford, owner and creative director of Bash & Bloom (c) Barbie Hull Photography

bashandbloomlogo This week’s guest is Eleanor Blackford Davis, owner of Seattle-based Bash & Bloom.

Eleanor and I frequent the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market where she is a regular customer and I’m on the board.

A Bash & Bloom emerald green and white bouquet displayed in an ornate chair with photography (c) Courtney Bowlden Photography

A Bash & Bloom emerald green and white bouquet displayed in an ornate chair with photography (c) Courtney Bowlden Photography

It’s always fun and tempting to see what she has loaded in her arms on those early-morning excursions – and there’s often a fabulous related story she shares about a wedding or event in the works.

Eleanor and I got to talking last year about her decision – and her public announcement – to go foam free as a designer.

A Bash & Bloom Table Garland adorns a wedding reception (c) photography by Mark Malijan Photography

A Bash & Bloom Table Garland adorns a wedding reception (c) photography by Mark Malijan Photography

She also believes in sourcing from local farms and through the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market, whose staff members procure only local, seasonal and sustainably-grown flowers from Washington, Oregon, Alaska and California.

My photograph of Eleanor Blackford, with her sample arrangement using local spring flowers and Floral Soil.

My photograph of Eleanor Blackford, with her sample arrangement using local spring flowers and Floral Soil.

Eleanor's finished design, a prototype for her wedding reception.

Eleanor’s finished design, a prototype for her wedding reception.

We continued the dialogue recently while both participating in a workshop to use Floral Soil, a 100-percent plant-based alternative to the conventional foam, invented by Mickey Blake, a past guest of this podcast.

Alicia Schwede of Flirty Fleurs, another past podcast guest, led the workshop on designing elevated centerpieces, and I have to tell you that Eleanor’s piece was stunning! It was also the prototype for her own wedding florals, which took place on May 8th. 

Check out the no-foam elevated centerpiece she created at the workshop with Alicia and Mickey.

But about five weeks ago, Eleanor and I agreed to meet over tea to record our conversation, and I know you’ll enjoy it.

Eleanor's art deco bouquet in white and dark reddish purples was photographed by (c) My Beloved Photography

Eleanor’s art deco bouquet in white and dark reddish purples was photographed by (c) My Beloved Photography

I’m happy that Eleanor has shared so many photos of her floral design work and a few bonus photos from her recent wedding to Matthew Davis (see below).

Eleanor on her wedding day with flowers by Kelly Sullivan of Botanique (Instagram photo from wedding photographer Shane Macomber)

Eleanor on her wedding day with flowers by Kelly Sullivan of Botanique (Instagram photo from wedding photographer Shane Macomber)

Those fantastic elevated centerpieces designed with Floral Soil - adorning Eleanor and Matt's wedding reception. (c) Shane Macomber Photography

Those fantastic elevated centerpieces designed with Floral Soil – adorning Eleanor and Matt’s wedding reception. (c) Shane Macomber Photography

You can find Eleanor at these Social Sites:

Bash & Bloom on Facebook

Bash & Bloom on Instagram

Bash & Bloom on Pinterest

The Greater Seattle Floral Association, the local organization for wedding, event, studio and retail designers in which she is actively involved.

Bouquets for a pink-and-mauve floral palette (c) Alante Photography

Bouquets for a pink-and-mauve floral palette (c) Alante Photography

Here’s how my guest introduces herself on the Bash & Bloom web site:

I’m Eleanor Blackford – a craftster, dog lover, fun haver, and Owner of bash & bloom. My style has been described as having a lush, organic, and creative look and feel. I love to make an event unique, personal, and fun and can’t wait to sit down with you to talk about your vision. I work closely with my couples or party hosts to bring their unique personality and style to their event, primarily using seasonal and local products.

Vivid palette (c) Dana Pleasant Photography

Vivid palette (c) Dana Pleasant Photography

Thanks again for joining me today for another wonderful conversation about American flowers and the designers and farmers who are changing this entire industry for the better.

More flowers from the brighter end of the spectrum, (c) Barrie Anne Photography

More flowers from the brighter end of the spectrum, (c) Barrie Anne Photography

PodcastLogo Listeners like you have downloaded the podcast 50,000 times.

I want to stop for just one moment and savor that news. Yes, we just produced our 96th episode and we are very, very close to airing the big one-hundredth episode, just one month from now.

THANK YOU to each and every one of you for downloading, listening, commenting and sharing. It means so much.

Until next week please 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 Wheatley and Hannah Holtgeerts. Learn more about their work at shellandtree.com.

Slow Flowers in the UK: A visit to Petersham Nurseries in Surry

Monday, May 25th, 2015
The Garden Shop at Petersham's Nurseries

The Garden Shop at Petersham Nurseries

Lovely spring urn with heuchera, ferns and more.

Lovely spring urn with heuchera, ferns and more.

After a harrowing taxi ride (one hour for 12 miles?) from London, my mom and I arrived on Wednesday at Petersham Nurseries. And once we discovered what was inside the gates, we concluded that our 40 pound fare was totally worth it!

We took the journey in order to meet up with Sarah Statham of Simply by Arrangement, an up-until-now virtual flower friend, who had invited us to spend a few days with her in Yorkshire.

She was also in London for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show and made the brilliant suggestion that we use Petersham as a meeting place before driving to Hebden Bridge, where she lives and designs flowers (and more on that later!).

Petersham Nurseries dates to the 1970s when it was a local garden center carved out of the Petersham House estate.

After years of neglect, the nursery reopened in 2004 after extensive restorations by Gael & Francesco Boglione, the current owners of Petersham House.

Plant displays on old carts - what's more perfect?

Plant displays on old carts – what’s more perfect?

Foxgloves galore! It is spring, after all.

Foxgloves galore! It is spring, after all.

Lunch at Petersham Nursery: pea-and-mint soup with tomato and burrata salad.

Lunch at Petersham Nursery: pea-and-mint soup with tomato and burrata salad.

Beautiful garden furniture, gifts, tableware and antiques can now be found amongst the plants which adorn the vintage glass greenhouses.

In a ramshackle wooden teahouse we found delicious pastries and homemade cakes (as well as lunch!).

There is also a popular restaurant to which I would love to return some day.

This is a thoroughly charming destination not far from London.

It has history, an obviously talented team of horticulturists, beautiful plants and that timeless character you can’t get in the U.S.

The cutting garden, where we met up with Caroline and Rosie. This lovely long raised bed supplies flowers for Petersham House, as well as the Restaurant and Cafe.

The cutting garden, where we met up with Caroline and Rosie. This lovely long raised bed supplies flowers for Petersham House, as well as the Restaurant and Cafe.

Sarah planned a huge surprise for us – a private tour of the Petersham House grounds. Her friend Caroline is gardening here as a volunteer, working alongside Rosie, who is the genius behind many of the landscape plantings you see in these images.

Not much more to say than this: Please gaze upon the beauty of a 150-foot-long English garden double-border in May. Few can replicate this, due to lack of time, money, or land – but please feel free to borrow a few ideas for your own patch! And if you will be in London on June 7th, you can visit the private grounds of Petersham House as part of the National Gardening Scheme charitable program.

Petersham House, as seen from the long border.

Petersham House, as seen from the long border.

The glorious Petersham double border. Sublime!

The glorious Petersham double border. Sublime!

Week 20 // Slow Flowers Challenge with #Britishgrown flowers

Sunday, May 24th, 2015
Beautiful Yorkshire-grown blooms from the garden of Sarah Statham and James Reader

Beautiful Yorkshire-grown blooms from the garden of Sarah Statham and James Reader

I promised to share an uniquely British-themed arrangement for this week’s Slow Flowers Challenge  and the floral offerings you see here are indeed straight from the garden of Sarah Statham, my host these past four days.
Sarah is the owner of a wonderful enterprise called Simply by Arrangement, a floral workshop-culinary experience created with her friend Christie Buchanan.
I met Sarah “virtually” when introduced by Gill Hodgson of Flowers from the Farm. Gill is the champion behind the organization that promotes British flowers and the farmers and florists involved with the renaissance of their domestic floral industry (sound familiar?). When I told Gill that I would be in England to tour the Chelsea Flower Show, she arranged an ambitious itinerary for me and my traveling companion, my mother Anita.
After four days in and around London, we headed to Northeast England with Sarah. She and her husband James hosted us at their lovely home in the Yorkshire village of Hebden Bridge.
We’ve had many wonderful moments together, including joining a gathering of the Yorkshire flower farmers and florists who are part of Flowers from the Farm. They graciously asked me to share the story of Slow Flowers and news of the American grown floral movement. And that was a rare privilege made more special by the service of afternoon tea, in the most proper fashion.
On Friday, Sarah gave me a pair of clippers and a bucket and let me loose in her garden. Together, we both designed truly local and seasonal Yorkshire arrangements to share with you here.
The green glass vase contains an exhuberant display of spring Yorkshire flowers - and captures a moment in time as I clipped and designed with flowers from Sarah and James's garden.

The green glass vase contains an exhuberant display of spring Yorkshire flowers – and captures a moment in time as I clipped and designed with flowers from Sarah and James’s garden.

The flowers and foliage used above in my bouquet include:

  • White Centranthus ruber ‘Albus’
  • A type of acid-green euphorbia
  • Rodgersia foliage (large, dramatica and a beautiful dark rust color)
  • Astrantia blooms (whitish-green)
  • White bleeding heart (Dicentra) – flowers and foliage
  • Meadow rue (Thalictrum) flowers
  • Peach tulips
  • Cirsium rivulare ‘Atropurpureum’ – a NEW perennial to me with deep burgundy, thistle-like flowers and long prickly foliage.
Cirsium rivulare 'Atropurpureum'

Cirsium rivulare ‘Atropurpureum’

Here's Sarah, putting the finishing touches on her lovely design.

Here’s Sarah, putting the finishing touches on her lovely design.

Sarah made me thoroughly envious when I saw her collection of vintage copper containers, including a few she picked up at a Chelsea Flower Show vendor who I’d completely overlooked. The copper informed her designs, as she opted for a sultry burgundy, plum and apricot palette.  

It is stunning, as you can see below:

A copper-inspired bouquet by Sarah Statham - so gorgeous!!!

A copper-inspired bouquet by Sarah Statham – so gorgeous!!!

Here are the ingredients Sarah selected:

  • Two types of Japanese maple foliage
  • A variety of tulips, including peach, plum, white and almost-brown
  • Geum with an apricot flower
  • White Astrantia
  • White-flowering Anthriscus sylvestris ‘Raven’s Wing’
Here are the ingredients Sarah selected: Two types of Japanese maple foliage A variety of tulips, including peach, plum, white and almost-brown Geum with an apricot flower White Astrantia White-flowering Anthriscus sylvestris 'Raven's Wing'

Up close, Sarah’s design is completely shimmery.

The photo shoot: In the courtyard of Sarah's ancient stone cottage in Yorkshire. So magical to be there!

The photo shoot: In the courtyard of Sarah’s ancient stone cottage in Yorkshire. So magical to be there!

Chelsea in Bloom: Floral Decor for London’s Shopfronts

Sunday, May 17th, 2015
Chelsea in Bloom

Chelsea in Bloom

The theme of Chelsea in Bloom is “Fairy Tales,” and it is utterly charming!

My mom Anita Prinzing and I are in London to celebrate her special birthday and to attend the Chelsea Flower Show.

My Mom is a trooper! She actually has been working out with a trainer to get ready for all the walking we’re doing – and so far, she has put me to shame with her endurance.

Today, we checked out Chelsea in Bloom, a streetscape beautification campaign that has been taking place for the past decade to coincide with the RHS Chelsea Flower Show.

It is held just outside the Sloan Square Underground Station (the closest stop to the Chelsea Flower Show and a posh London shopping district) encompassing storefronts along Sloan St., King’s Rd., Symons St. and side streets that lead onto each of these.

We spotted many hot botanicals and the designers’ favorite floral materials seem to be:

  • Baby’s Breath (white and pink)
  • Fern
  • Moss — green and Spanish varieties
  • Succulents
  • Carnations (think “color blocking”)
  • Foxgloves
Baby's Breath, ferns, English ivy and more: Club Monaco

Baby’s Breath, ferns, English ivy and more: Club Monaco

The world class alternative floral art show is produced in association with the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), l transforming the streets of Chelsea during the week of the Chelsea Flower Show with breathtaking floral displays. The annual competition has grown dramatically each year with Chelsea’s best retailers adorning their shop fronts with creative designs to compete for the coveted awards.

Her head in the clouds: Kate Spade's interpretation of Alice in Wonderland.

Her head in the clouds: Kate Spade’s interpretation of Alice in Wonderland.

"Cloud" detail -- all baby's breath, beautifully rendered by Kate Spade.

“Cloud” detail — all baby’s breath, beautifully rendered by Kate Spade.

Those enormous pink flamingos from Alice in Wonderland, expressed by Kate Spade in 2-toned carnations.

Those enormous pink flamingos from Alice in Wonderland, expressed by Kate Spade in 2-toned carnations.

Color-blocking with carnations.

Color-blocking with carnations.

This year’s theme is ‘Fairy Tales.’ The competition showcases floral displays reflecting the participating retailers’ interpretation of the theme in their own unique style. Last year’s Gold winner, Kate Spade, set the benchmark high, along with other award winners L.K.Bennett, Liz Earle and Hamptons International. This year promises to be another exciting competition with all of the 2014 victors competing once again.

T.BA combined women's couture with chicken wire and dried floral material.

T.BA combined women’s couture with chicken wire and dried floral material.

T.BA's entry with chicken wire and dried florals, with fern sprays.

T.BA’s entry with chicken wire and dried florals, with fern sprays.

SOME MORE FAVORITES:

A golden tree stump and woodland display spotted in front of Moyses Stevens, a flower shop

A golden tree stump and woodland display spotted in front of Moyses Stevens, a flower shop

A perfect execution of a storybook world, spotted at Smythson.

A perfect execution of a storybook world, spotted at Smythson.

A succulent footstool at Smythson.

A succulent footstool at Smythson.

Another charming detail at Smythson.

Another charming detail at Smythson.

Pink Baby's Breath Butterfly @Smythson.

Pink Baby’s Breath Butterfly @Smythson.

Mad Hatter's Tea Party at  Brunello Cucinelli.

Mad Hatter’s Tea Party at Brunello Cucinelli.

Tea setting in flowers: Brunello Cucinelli.

Tea setting in flowers: Brunello Cucinelli.

Gold-sprayed succulents - a detail of Cinderella's carriage.

Gold-sprayed succulents – a detail of Cinderella’s carriage.

Here are those foxgloves - at Dubarry of Ireland.

Here are those foxgloves – at Dubarry of Ireland.

Storybook Homes, depicted by Hampton's, a real estate company

Storybook Homes, depicted by Hampton’s, a real estate company

TOMORROW: Chelsea Flower Show Press Day tomorrow! Updates to come!

Week 19 // Slow Flowers Challenge with Flowering Branches

Friday, May 15th, 2015
Some of Springtime's most alluring flowering branches include: Magnolia, Dogwood, Apricot, Quince and Plum.

Some of Springtime’s most alluring flowering branches include: Magnolia, Dogwood, Apricot, Quince and Cherry.

We’re digging into the archives this week for the  Slow Flowers Challenge. That’s what happens when I find myself on too many airplanes, which is ironic, isn’t it? It’s sort of the opposite of my “Slow” aspirations!

However, I’m just back home from speaking and teaching in Orlando, Florida. And now, after recharging for the past five days in Seattle, I’ve re-packed and am heading to the airport tonight to fly to London!!!

That’s right! I’m off to the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. I’ll also be meeting many of the people active in the British Flowers scene – U.K. flower farmers and florists who have many of the same objectives that we have here in the U.S. To put local, seasonal and sustainably-grown flowers at the center of our tables!

Stay tuned, because I promise that next week’s Slow Flowers Challenge will be decidedly British!

The acid green of variegated hostas and euphorbia create a "skirt" effect for flowering magnolia branches.

The acid green of variegated hostas and euphorbia create a “skirt” effect for flowering magnolia branches.

I absolutely love the images you see here. I created these arrangements for a national magazine story that was, sadly, never published. The editors, as they say, went in a different direction.

But my photos live on and I’m delighted to share them with you here.

The vase at left is filled with Pieris and Dogwood; the vase at right has both flowering Dogwod and twig dogwood.

The vase at left is filled with Pieris and Dogwood; the vase at right has both flowering Dogwod and twig dogwood.

Flowering Cherry with Snowball Viburnum.

Flowering Cherry with Snowball Viburnum.

Simple: Quince in two hues, plus swordfern.

Simple: Quince in two hues, plus swordfern.

Flowering plum, paired with Lamb's Ear foliage.

Flowering plum, paired with Lamb’s Ear foliage.

Spring hellebores paired with flowering apricot branches.

Spring hellebores paired with flowering apricot branches.

Minnesota Blooms with Christine Hoffman of St. Paul’s Foxglove Market & Studio (Episode 193)

Wednesday, May 13th, 2015

SlowFlowers_Badge_640x480 The Slow Flowers Movement has a lot to celebrate lately – and I want to share with you the very good news that occurred just before Mother’s Day.

While some may view this as a merely symbolic event, I applaud the news that both the Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives passed Resolutions about flowers last week. Seriously!

The opening lines of the Senate Resolution urging support of American Grown Flowers.

The opening lines of the Senate Resolution urging support of American Grown Flowers.

Follow this link to read the entire Senate resolution #166, passed unanimously and introduced by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, with Sen. Barbara Boxer and Sen. Lisa Murkowski.

The document’s first paragraph gets right to the point:

Expressing the sense of the Senate that domestically grown flowers support the farmers, small businesses, jobs, and economy of the United States, enhance the ability of the people of the United States to honor their mothers on Mother’s Day, and that the White House should strive to showcase domestically grown flowers.

It continues:

Whereas people in every State have access to domestically grown flowers, yet only 1 of 5 flowers sold in the United States is domestically grown;

Whereas more people in the United States are expressing interest in growing flowers locally, which has resulted in an approximately 20 percent increase in the number of domestic cut flower farms since 2007;

(c) Washington Post image of California irises and Florida tropical foliage.

(c) Washington Post image of California irises and Florida tropical foliage.

Whereas in 2014, President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama highlighted their support for domestically grown flowers at the White House State Dinner with French President Francois Hollande, the only White House State Dinner that year; Whereas the 2014 White House State Dinner featured quince branch from Mississippi, weeping willow from New Jersey, Scotch broom from Virginia, iris from California, and alocasia, equisetum, nandina, and green liriope from Florida;

There are many more “whereas” paragraphs that discuss the economic impact of America’s flower farming industry. And then the actual resolution concludes with these four assertions:

Resolved, That it is the sense of the Senate that—

(1) purchasing flowers grown in the United States supports the farmers, small businesses, jobs, and economy of the United States;  

(2) flowers and greens grown in the United States are a vital and integral part of the agricultural industry of the United States;

(3) flowers grown in the United States enhance the ability of Americans to honor their mothers on  Mother’s Day; and  

(4) the White House should strive to showcase flowers and greens grown in the United States to show support for the flower breeders, farmers, processors, and distributors of the United States.

You may be wondering, “What prompted our nation’s leaders to introduce such a Resolution? (And by the way, a very similar Resolution was passed at about the same time by Congress, with language introduced by the four co-chairs of the Congressional Cut Flower Caucus.)

Print In addition to congratulating these policymakers and their staff members for doing the right thing for American Flowers, this good news would never have happened if it wasn’t for the determination of Kasey Cronquist, CEO and Ambassador for the California Cut Flower Commission and the flower farmers of his state who have invested time and financial resources to visit Washington, D.C., year after year for the past five years, to engage in conversation with those elected officials.

That is huge and I am pleased to have joined this effort in a small way by joining those delegations in 2014 and 2015. At the helm of this strategy is Bill Frymoyer, of Stewart & Stewart, the man who represents the American Grown effort in our nation’s capital. Bill and Kasey have authored this strategy that of course was crafted to benefit the agenda of California’s cut flower growers, but also creates a ripple effect to benefit everyone in the Slow Flowers community.

JOINING HANDS ACROSS THE FLOWER FIELDS OF AMERICA

When a spotlight in Washington, D.C., shines on domestic flowers it brings attention to you, to your flower farm (no matter what its size). It gives credibility to our cause, the cause of people who care about keeping flowers local, seasonal and sustainable. I encourage you to reach out to your own representative or Senator and let them know that you are a cut flower farmer in their district or state. Take the time. Send a letter. Deliver a bouquet. Thank them for signing onto these resolutions and tell them the support means something to you. And by the way, here is a great resource to help you send that message efficiently and directly.

I am always shocked when someone tries to drive a wedge between the big-idea American grown movement and the grassroots local-flowers movement.  There should be no wedge. We need everyone’s efforts to fight imports. Every single flower farm and farmer; every single florist and designer who makes a mindful choice about sourcing flowers grown and harvested from American soil; every single customer who orders flowers and asks for local or American blooms. That is the rising tide that floats all of our boats. In your own backyard and in all 50 states.

KEEPING IT LOCAL IN THE TWIN CITIES

FOXGLOVE_logo

This blackboard/sandwich board is a message I can get behind. Spotted outside Foxglove Market & Studio, owned by today's guest Christine Hoffman.

This blackboard/sandwich board is a message I can get behind. Spotted outside Foxglove Market & Studio, owned by today’s guest Christine Hoffman.

Now to today’s guest. Chrisine Hoffman is the owner of Foxglove Market & Studio based in St. Paul, Minnesota.

I am thrilled that I was able to visit Foxglove personally when I was in the Twin Cities to speak and teach at the Minneapolis Institute of Art two weeks ago for “Art in Bloom.”

I broke away one afternoon and caught a ride to St. Paul, asking my driver to take me to Grand Avenue, the charming, pedestrian-focused street where Christine’s store is located.

The vintage building has all the character you could want, with high ceilings finished in decorative pressed tin, a bay window in the front where an inviting vignette lures you in, and a lovely mix of old and new, crafted and curated goods.

On her web site, Christine describes the shop and studio as: “Putting a fresh modern spin on an honest folk vibe. Foxglove’s thoughtful aesthetic emphasizes sustainability, utility, community and comfort.”

Local Midwest-grown flowers are at the heart of Foxglove Market & Studio.

Local Midwest-grown flowers are at the heart of Foxglove Market & Studio.

Proprietress and creative director Christine Hoffman.

Proprietress and creative director Christine Hoffman.

Get it, got it, GOOD!

Get it, got it, GOOD!

Welcome to Foxglove, where you can find an artisan gift, take a workshop or gather an armload of seasonal blooms.

Welcome to Foxglove, where you can find an artisan gift, take a workshop or gather an armload of seasonal blooms.

There are three aspects to this business that I find so wonderful interrelated:

First the Marketplace, where an assortment of home goods, books, high quality paper products and findings, as well as Midwest salvage reflect Christine’s aesthetic as a former interior designer, photo stylist and event planner. Then there’s the Studio, where any number of gatherings take place – from floral design workshops and other creative hands-on classes to private pop-up chef dinners. And finally, the Flowers, a complement to every other activity held here. Of the Flowers, Christine focuses her offerings on seasonal flowers grown by local farms.

As she writes on her web site:

Knowing where our food comes from and how it is grown and processed is once again becoming a natural part of our everyday lives. These same issues apply to our cut flowers. The majority of commercial flowers are grown overseas using a mixture of fertilizers, chemicals and preservatives that are anything but natural. Add in worker exposure and ship time and resources, and you’ve got one loaded bunch of tulips. It’s easy to grab a cellophane wrapped bouquet, pop it in a vase, and not give it another thought. Those flowers, however, have a big impact on our environment-both in a broad sense and in your home.

I have a commitment to unique and expressive floral design, happy plants, and a healthy environment. By staying domestic and keeping it simple, Foxglove strives to minimize environmental and social impact. My farmers use sustainable and organic growing methods, and deliver blooms personally to my shop.

  • Support Local Growers
  • Embrace Healthy Homes
  • Celebrate Seasonal Abundance

My mission is a simple one, based on my personal aesthetic and belief that flowers are most beautiful in their natural state. To me it seems counterintuitive to treat soil and plants with artificial fertilizers, chemicals and sprays, and I really don’t want to trail those things into my home and onto my table. It poses a challenge in our cold climate to source everything locally, but it is a better choice for so many reasons.

Foxglove_Christine_Debra I am so pleased to welcome Christine Hoffman to the Slow Flowers Podcast.  Since her days growing up in a river valley, gathering endless bouquets of wildflowers from the woods surrounding her childhood home, Christine has been in love with flowers. Her parents are both gardeners, and their knowledge of plants and flowers settled into Christine with each bed she helped prep (grumbling all the way), and each garden picked bouquet brought into their house.

Follow Foxglove at these social places:

Foxglove Market & Studio on Facebook

Foxglove Market & Studio on Instagram

Foxglove Market & Studio on Pinterest

Foxglove Market & Studion on Twitter

Listeners like you have downloaded the podcast nearly 48,000 times. In fact, in April, we logged the all-time high number of 5,101 episode downloads which only means that the message of Slow Flowers and the farmers and florists who exemplify this movement is reaching more and more listeners.

Until next week please 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 Wheatley and Hannah Holtgeerts. Learn more about their work at shellandtree.com.

Week 18 // Slow Flowers at Disney Epcot

Tuesday, May 12th, 2015
Three Days. Six Workshops. Hundreds of American Grown Flowers, including some very special Florida-grown varieties.

Three Days. Six Workshops. Hundreds of American Grown Flowers, including some very special Florida-grown varieties.

Having Fun on the Festival Stage at Disney Epcot.

Having Fun on the Festival Stage at Disney Epcot.

Last week, the Slow Flowers Challenge took place in Orlando, at the International Flower & Garden Show at Epcot. This was the third time I’ve been invited to present at Epcot since 2010 – and I was thrilled to return. If you love horti-tainment (and that’s what I call the combination of talented horticulture staff let loose on plants, Disney-style), you’ve got to visit this 10-week spring celebration of flowers and gardening, usually staged between March and May.

There are no fewer than 21 planted topiary characters throughout the park, from my personal favorites, Farmers Mickey & Minnie, to the hottest new offering: Anna and Elsa from the animated film “Frozen.”

Each morning for three days running I shared the story of “American Beauty: the Slow Flowers Movement,” featuring the successful renaissance of flower farming and creative floral design that’s inspired by local and domestic American-grown flowers. Each afternoon, audiences were able to see that same story brought to life with flowers and foliage. Here are some of those arrangements:

Love this palette featuring grevillea, Gerrondo gerberas, bupleurum, 'Green Ball' dianthus and an echeveria.

Love this all-California-grown palette featuring grevillea, Gerrondo gerberas, bupleurum, pink wax flowers,’Green Ball’ dianthus and an echeveria.

An all Florida arrangement featuring three types of foliage and ferns combined with trailing clematis.

An all Florida arrangement featuring three types of foliage and ferns combined with trailing clematis.

A whimsical arrangement with a Disney-fun palette of yellow lilies, hot pink Matsumoto asters and 'Green Ball' dianthus - California grown.

A whimsical arrangement with a Disney-fun palette of yellow lilies, hot pink Matsumoto asters and ‘Green Ball’ dianthus – California grown – arranged into a base of variegated Florida-grown pittosporum foliage.

A truly favorite all-Florida bouquet with ferns, foliage and clematis, topped off with an echeveria.

A truly favorite nearly all-Florida bouquet with ferns, foliage and clematis, topped off with an echeveria. White waxflower is from California.

The big takeaway? People want to know more! They understand the importance of keeping things local – from saving farmland to the environment to jobs! I consider it a privilege to tell that story while playing with the flowers grown by people I respect and admire!