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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 246: Perfect Harmony with Flower Duet of Los Angeles

Wednesday, May 18th, 2016
Kit Wertz (left) and Casey Schwartz (right), sisters and design partners in Flower Duet, photographed at The Flower Fields in Carlsbad, CA, April 2016.

Kit Wertz (left) and Casey Schwartz (right), sisters and design partners in Flower Duet, photographed at The Flower Fields in Carlsbad, CA, April 2016.

A few weeks ago you heard my conversation with Mike A. Mellano of Mellano & Co., a third generation flower farm in based in San Luis Rey, California. If you missed that episode, check it out here.

Mike was our farmer-host of the 2nd Field to Vase Dinner held at the famed Flower Fields in Carlsbad, north of San Diego, on April 13th. We discussed his Italian heritage that brought grandfather Giovanni Mellano to the U.S., as well as the founding of Mellano & Co. in 1928. We also talked about the current landscape for American grown flowers and attempted to forecast the future of our domestic flower-farming renaissance.

The Flower Duet design team on camera at The Flower Fields.

The Flower Duet design team on camera at The Flower Fields.

Today’s guests were also intimately involved in that dinner and they are part of the reason why Mike and I feel so optimistic about the future.

It is designers like Casey Coleman Schwartz and Kit Wertz, partners in Flower Duet, who are making a conscious effort to source their flowers and foliage from local farms in Southern California.

The beautiful Field to VaseDinner table amid a sea of ranunculus, designed by Flower Duet.

The beautiful Field to VaseDinner table amid a sea of ranunculus, designed by Flower Duet.

Sisters, Casey and Kit were the featured floral designers who created a lush, textural tablescape, wowing 150 guests seated at a farm table stretching between rows of a rainbow of Mellano-grown ranunculus. So the following morning we sat down to record this conversation.

My 2013 visit to Flower Duet led to a blossoming new friendship with Casey (left) and Kit (right).

My 2013 visit to Flower Duet led to a blossoming new friendship with Casey (left) and Kit (right).

FlowerDuet_white_Logo_web1 I’ve known Kit and Casey for three years, ever since they reviewed Slow Flowers for their Flower Duet monthly newsletter.

That prompted me to ask the sisters if I could schedule a book-release event at their studio as part of my Southern California tour in spring 2013. They generously agreed and we had a wonderful evening demonstration, reception and book signing for clients, students and friends.

Rich floral hues and a gold vessel, by Flower Duet.

Rich floral hues and a gold vessel, by Flower Duet.

It has been a load of fun to watch these two floral entrepreneurs take on a wide array of creative projects, including teaching at some of Southern California’s top cultural institutions, designing weddings from San Diego to Santa Barbara and everywhere between, and sharing their expertise and passion with others.

READ MORE…

American Grown Flowers at First Lady’s Luncheon

Friday, May 13th, 2016

americanGrownLogo Certified American Grown Proudly Sponsors First Lady’s Luncheon 

First Lady Michelle Obama makes remarks to an enthusiastic crowd at the Washington DC Hilton, as she is surrounded by American grown flowers.

First Lady Michelle Obama makes remarks to an enthusiastic crowd at the Washington DC Hilton, as she is surrounded by American grown flowers.

The Certified American Grown program was a proud sponsor of the 2016 First Lady’s Luncheon held May 12 in Washington, D.C.

An annual tradition hosted by the Congressional Club since 1912 to honor the first lady of the United States, the luncheon is attended by over 1,500 people, including Congressional spouses, associates of members of Congress and Cabinet members.

The Certified American Grown program worked with the Congressional Club’s First Lady’s Luncheon Committee to help ensure that 100 percent of the flowers and foliage used during this year’s event were American Grown. With beautiful stems of flowers and greens from California, Oregon, Washington, Florida and Virginia, over 200 centerpieces and arrangements filled the Washington Hilton Ballroom in a theme of “Posh, Peach, Southern Hospitality.”

“This was a tremendous honor and opportunity for America’s flower farmers,” said Kasey Cronquist, administrator of the Certified American Grown program.

“We commend the Congressional Club’s decision to seek and source blooms grown here in the United States for such a wonderful tradition of honoring our first lady.”

The bouquets featured beautiful American Grown roses, peonies, stock, tulips, lilies, protea, Bells of Ireland, alstromeria, bupleurum, dianthus, freesia, lisianthus, ranunculus, viburnum, waxflower, ferns, leatherleaf and curly willow.

Representing American Grown from left to right are Daevid Reed, Tim Dewey, Bill Frymoyer, Diana Roy, David Register, Lane DeVries, Kasey Cronquist, David Beahm and seated are Andrea Gagnon, Debra Prinzing and Rita Jo Shoultz

Representing American Grown from left to right are Daevid Reed, Tim Dewey,
Bill Frymoyer, Diana Roy, David Register, Lane DeVries, Kasey Cronquist, David Beahm and seated are Andrea Gagnon, Debra Prinzing and Rita Jo Shoultz

The centerpieces were designed by Andrea Gagnon of LynnVale Studios, a Certified American Grown farmer, floral designer and American Grown Council member. David Beahm Experiences of New York carried out Gagnon’s vision and provided logistical support for this large and prestigious floral installation.

Each year, the luncheon supports a nonprofit of the first lady’s choice. Funds raised from this year’s event will go to the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving, an advocacy, research, education and service unit that provides support for both professional and family caregivers. Centerpieces were purchased by attendees to help raise those funds.

Episode 244: Meet Mike A. Mellano, 3rd generation American flower farmer & ranunculus expert

Wednesday, May 4th, 2016

aapeonies_logo This week we welcome a new Sponsor to the Slow Flowers Podcast — 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.

Click here to learn more about Alaska peonies and listen to Episode 102.

Follow Arctic Alaska Peonies on Facebook

Find Arctic Alaska Peonies on Instagram

Catch Arctic Alaska Peonies’ tweets on Twitter

Next up, today’s engaging guest is Mike Anthony Mellano.

I met “Mike A,” as he’s often called, in 2012, when the California Cut Flower Commission invited me to speak to their board meeting about The 50 Mile Bouquet and my passion for connecting consumers with the source of their flowers.

Mike A. Mellano, 3rd-generation flower farmer for Mellano & Co., speaking at the recent Field to Vase Dinner Tour at The Flower Fields in Carlsbad, California

Mike A. Mellano, 3rd-generation flower farmer for Mellano & Co., speaking at the recent Field to Vase Dinner Tour at The Flower Fields in Carlsbad, California

Grandfather Giovanni Mellano and his family in the early days after establishing Mellano & Co. in Los Angeles, 1925.

Grandfather Giovanni Mellano and his family in the early days after establishing Mellano & Co. in Los Angeles, 1925.

Early days at the Los Angeles Flower Market. The Mellano family has been involved for more than 90 years.

Early days at the Los Angeles Flower Market. The Mellano family has been involved for more than 90 years.

We’ve since crossed paths at many industry gatherings and I’m so impressed with Mike’s commitment to flower farming. His approach is to blend old-world Italian family traditions with modern and commercial innovation to grow and provide millions of American Grown flowers to today’s floral marketplace. Click here to read the History of the Mellano Family of Flower Farmers.

A rainbow of ranunculus at The Flower Fields, farmed by Mellano & Co.

A rainbow of ranunculus at The Flower Fields, farmed by Mellano & Co.

Love this! All photography, courtesy of Certified American Grown/Field to Vase Dinner.

Love this! All photography, courtesy of Certified American Grown/Field to Vase Dinner.

This interview took place on the morning of April 13th, prior to the Field to Vase Dinner held at The Flower Fields in Carlsbad, California. For the 2nd year, Mike was the “farmer-host” for that must-attend event. Unlike last year, I planned ahead for the podcast and was able to corner him for an interview at Mellano & Co. earlier in the day.

Mellano & Co. is a Certified American Grown flower farm.

Mellano & Co. is a Certified American Grown flower farm.

Here is a bit more about Mike Anthony:

Michael Anthony Mellano, Ph.D. is Chairman of the Board and Vice President of Production for Mellano & Company, a third generation cut flower production and distribution operation in San Luis Rey, California.  He joined the family business in 1988 after graduating from UC Riverside.

He is a Past President for the San Diego County Farm Bureau and past chairman for the California Cut Flower Commission (CCFC).  He is currently a commissioner for the CCFC and chair of their Grower Research and Economic Development Committee.  He has been a long standing member of the USDA Floriculture Research Initiative Task Force, chairman and a Director of the Kee Kitayama Research Foundation and has served the last 8 years as the University of California representative to the national “Council for Agricultural Research, Extension & Teaching”.  Most recently Mike has accepted a board position with the American Floral Endowment.

Michael in the past also served as chairman for the California Ornamental Research Federation (CORF), was on the UC Davis Environmental Horticulture Department Advisory Committee and the grower representative to the USDA-Pacific Area Wide Program for Methyl Bromide Alternatives.

Michael received his B.S. in Plant Science and Ph.D. in Plant Pathology from the University of California Riverside under Dr. Donald Cooksey where he focused on the molecular genetics of bacterial pathogens and copper resistance. The San Diego County Farm Bureau named him Farmer of the Year in 2015.

Michael is married to Valerie Mellano, Ph.D. the current chair of the Plant Science Department at Cal Poly Pomona. Together they have four wonderful and exceptional kids and one grandchild.

The Flower Fields has become a major tourism destination - connecting consumers with local flowers.

The Flower Fields has become a major tourism destination – connecting consumers with local flowers.

Dinner in The Flower Fields was divine!

Dinner in The Flower Fields was divine!

I know you’ll learn a great deal from our conversation and appreciate the passion and commitment Mike devotes to his family’s business.

Find Mellano & Co. on Facebook

Follow Mellano & Co. on Instagram

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 95,000 times by listeners like you. THANK YOU to each one of you for downloading, listening, commenting and sharing. It means so much.

American Flowers Week. Our Flower 'Fro designed by Susan McLeary, Passionflower Events.

American Flowers Week. Our Flower ‘Fro designed by Susan McLeary, Passionflower Events.

00507_DP_AFW_Logo_LRG-01 Just two days ago, On May 1st, we announced the 2016 American Flowers Week campaign. If you thought it was fun to be involved in this social-media-campaign last year, get ready for a bigger, better celebration this year — June 28 through July 4th.

Last year was our first time to devote an entire week promoting American Grown flowers, farmers and floral designers. This year, we’ll have a huge flower bucket filled with fun — all for the cause that is near and dear to our hearts.

2016 American Flowers Week Sponsors

2016 American Flowers Week Sponsors

Four industry sponsors have signed on with their financial support, including Certified American Grown Flowers, Syndicate Sales, Longfield Gardens and Mayesh Wholesale.

As I said in the press announcement, “Consumers are more conscious than ever about the origins of the goods they purchase, especially when it comes to food — and flowers. It’s important to raise awareness for and celebrate American grown flowers, as well as flower farmers who grow a diverse selection of botanicals for the cut flower trade. At the same time, we salute floral designers whose ethos and intent inspires them to source domestically.”

Earlier this week, I shared details about the 2016 American Flowers Week campaign with more than 700 Slowflowers.com members, unveiling new graphics and a “50 States of American Flowers” contest. The contest encourages farmers and florists to post photographs of their red-white-and-blue bouquets along with the hash-tag americangrownflowers on social media platforms. Entrants will be included in a drawing for a number of prizes.

2016Badge with no background You’ll find more information and resources at americanflowersweek.com. Downloadable fact sheets, infographics and the 2016 American Flowers Week logo and social media badges are available for growers and florists to use for their own marketing and promotion efforts.

Submissions to the “50 States of American Grown Flowers” contest will highlight local flowers from across the country. Slowflowers.com member farms and florists are invited to submit their designs to a gallery that we will share with the media during American Flowers Week. Our goal is to showcase the botanical and seasonal beauty from flower farms and designers in all 50 states.

Participate in the “50 States of American Grown Flowers” Contest here.

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 239: Flora Organica Designs and Faye Krause at the Arcata, CA Field to Vase Dinner

Wednesday, March 30th, 2016

25616160360_06a64a90a4_o

On March 12th the first of several Field to Vase Dinners for 2016 took place inside a state-of-the-art greenhouse in Arcata, California –  Humboldt County, located way, way up north in the Redwoods.

What a stunning installation, transforming a working greenhouse into a glorious dinner party setting at Sun Valley Flower Farm (c) Amy Kumler

What a stunning installation, transforming a working greenhouse into a glorious dinner party setting at Sun Valley Flower Farm (c) Amy Kumler

Faye's concept for the installation was Tulips + Bulbs overhead as the chandelier and color blocked tulips in vases down the center of the table (c) by Amy Kumler

Faye’s concept for the installation was Tulips + Bulbs overhead as the chandelier and color blocked tulips in vases down the center of the table (c) by Amy Kumler

The venue: Sun Valley Flower Farm, a leading grower of cut bulb and field flowers in the United States. According to its web site, Sun Valley chose this area as an ideal environment for growing bulb flowers, due to its mild winters, cool summers, generous humidity and coastally moderated sunlight. The fields surrounding the greenhouses also provide excellent growing conditions for spring, summer and fall iris, and summer flowers including crocosmia, hypericum, and monkshood.

Endless tulips!! (c) by Amy Kumler

Endless tulips!! (c) by Amy Kumler

On March 12th, the celebration was all about American-grown tulips and other-spring flowering bulbs — hundreds of thousands of them in all their colorful glory.

READ MORE…

The Flower House Virtual Tour Part 4 with David Beahm and Daevid Reed (Episode 232)

Wednesday, February 10th, 2016
Daevid Reed (l), Lisa Waud (c) and David Beahm (r), captured in a moment of sheer joy by photographer Heather Saunders at the Field to Vase Dinner, The Flower House, Detroit.

Daevid Reed (l), Lisa Waud (c) and David Beahm (r), captured in a moment of sheer joy by photographer Heather Saunders at the Field to Vase Dinner, The Flower House, Detroit.

Another view of the hanging pieces

The Seattle floral design community’s reimagined, Flower House-inspired botanical art installation

I have two cool Flower House-related segments to share with you today.

First, I want to share a short conversation with photographer Andrew Buchanan of Subtle Light Photography as we discuss his innovative idea to document the sculptural floral art installation at the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market, which was led by Lisa Waud of The Flower House for the Seattle design community on January 19th. I featured highlights of the January 19th installation day in an earlier episode here.

Enjoy my quick interview that I recorded with Andrew and then view the amazing time-lapse movie that he filmed and edited – shown below. I’m amazed by the power of visual storytelling through this medium and applaud Andrew’s artistry and generosity. I’m honored and grateful that he volunteered his talents for everyone to enjoy!

Based in Seattle, Andrew Buchanan specializes in architectural photography, interiors photography, helicopter aerial photography, land design photography, and hotel and resort photography in Seattle and throughout the Pacific Northwest. Andrew offers photography of architecture, interiors, commercial and public spaces, and other built environments to design and marketing professionals, hotels and resorts, developers, magazines, and advertisers needing compelling, graphic photos of The Spaces Where We Live, Work, and Play. Please start on a Gallery page to see some of Andrew’s work or download his PDF portfolio to keep with youRead more about Andrew here.

ENJOY THIS FABULOUS VIDEO, COURTESY OF ANDREW BUCHANAN:

SeattleWholesaleGrowersMarket-LisaWaud-16Jan from Andrew Buchanan on Vimeo.

You can find the video and all of Andrew’s “motion” work at his online gallery here.

READ MORE…

Floral Spectacle in Seattle, inspired by The Flower House (Episode 230)

Wednesday, January 27th, 2016

“We can imagine it and we can do it,” Diane Szukovathy, Jello Mold Farm & Seattle Wholesale Growers Market

Lisa Waud, artist, innovator, entrpreneur, floral designer and creator of The Flower House (Detroit). She's standing in front of the base of the tree-inspired sculpture installed by her students at the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market.

Lisa Waud, artist, innovator, entrpreneur, floral designer and creator of The Flower House (Detroit). She’s standing in front of the base of the tree-inspired sculpture installed by her students at the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market.

A botanical tree grows up the walls and across the ceiling of the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market

A botanical tree grows up the walls and across the ceiling of the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market

Last week I told you about a series of Flower House activities taking place in Seattle with creator Lisa Waud. As I noted, Lisa has been on a West Coast tour which began on January 19th in Seattle, took her to Olympia and Portland, and continues until early next week in California.

As it turns out, I had a scheduled interview be postponed, so today, I’m bringing you a series of clips, short takes and conversations from the various events held at the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market when Lisa was here. Please enjoy these sound-bites, beginning with remarks from flower farmer Diane Szukovathy of Jello Mold Farm, board chair at the Growers’ Market, as she introduced Lisa Waud’s Wednesday morning lecture.

Diane is followed by Lisa’s introductory remarks; then we’ll jump to several short interviews with designers who took part in a Master Design Class led by Lisa. Thirteen designers teamed up to experience a mini-version of the Flower House installation, creating a massive botanical sculpture within the Market’s walls in just under 4 hours on January 19th.

Early in the class, a team started building the "bones" of the sculptural installation, while other designers worked on the floral pieces, called "amoebas"

Early in the class, a team started building the “bones” of the sculptural installation, while other designers worked on the floral pieces, called “amoebas”

The team of amazing designers who were led through a 4-hour session with Lisa Waud (lisa is front, far left)

The team of amazing designers who were led through a 4-hour session with Lisa Waud (lisa is front, far left)

Love this hot, orange-red amoeba palette!

Love this hot, orange-red amoeba palette!

Led by Lisa, the designers went through the entire process that a Flower House designer probably experienced — from visioning, brainstorming, creative problem-solving and execution. Having watched the process first-hand, I have to say it was nothing less than Spectacular!

One of the fun things Lisa threw into the mix was a series of surprises that added pressure and tested the mettle of the designers, much like the Flower House team endured during the 3 days when they installed the Flower House.

So I played along as a member of the press, who showed up unannounced expecting people to stop what they were doing while I conducted an interview. That was just one of the crazy twists Lisa threw at her students. Another of her surprises was to add a “last minute” delivery of flowering branches — and challenging the designers to figure out how to incorporate those elements into an almost-finished composition.

In the end, well, all I can say is, these designers rose to the challenge and proved that the sum of their parts was far greater than anyone could have individually achieved.

The final installation is gloriously wild and magical.

The final installation is gloriously wild and magical.

The Seattle Wholesale Growers Market's 18-foot-high ceilings are perfect for the installation -- check out the I-beams.

The Seattle Wholesale Growers Market’s 18-foot-high ceilings are perfect for the installation — check out the I-beams.

Each of the five "amoebas" were woven with foliage, branches and flowers, with a specific color emphasis.

Each of the five “amoebas” were woven with foliage, branches and flowers, with a specific color emphasis.

Another view of the hanging pieces

Another view of the hanging pieces

Details of the pink and fuchsia amoeba

Details of the pink and fuchsia amoeba, fashioned with flowers and foliage from the farms that supply the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market

As you hear a series of clips, I will ask each person to introduce herself and her business, followed by a brief series of questions; and then we move onto another group of designers. This patchwork quilt of a podcast episode concludes with a 10-minute wrap-up session, a debrief with Lisa and the 13 designers, as they compare notes about the challenges and results of their time together.

Here is a list all the participants and their social media links — these are women you will want to follow if you haven’t yet discovered them!

Floressence, owned by Anne Bradfield

Terra Bella Flowers, owned by Melissa Feveyear

Splash Floral and Interiors, owned by Lisa Behringer

Columbia City Bouquet, owned by Emily Kopca

Gather, owned by Amy Kunkel-Patterson

Bash and Bloom, owned by Eleanor Blackford

Lola Creative, owned by Emily Ellen Anderson

Camas Design, owned by Erin Shackelford

First & Bloom, owned by Tammy Myers

Smashing Petals, owned by Keita Horn

Melanie Benson Floral, owned by Melanie Benson

Vases Wild, owned by Tobey Nelson

Casablanca Floral, owned by Maura Whalen

Finally, I have to state publicly, that this entire week of events could not have happened so successfully without the leadership and talents of the three staff of the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market: Molly Sadowsky, Danielle Bennett, and Agnes Cwalina. They are amazing!

NEWS TO SHARE

This happened and it came as a total surprise!

This happened and it came as a total surprise!

I want to thank the flower farmers of the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market for surprising me with a huge honor. Here is a link to the Market’s press release.

On January 19th, Slow Flowers hosted a dinner to honor Lisa Waud and to showcase the floral art installation she and her team had installed earlier that afternoon.

At the dinner, Diane Szukovathy took the mic and announced that the farmers had created a new award, called the Growers Choice Award, and that I was the first recipient. Later she told me it was the most fun scheming she’d had in a long time, which puts a huge smile on my face. I truly was astonished to receive this recognition–and the language is most meaningful because it recognizes “outstanding contributions to revitalize the local floral community.”

80K

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 80,000 times by listeners like you. THANK YOU to each and every one of you for downloading, listening, commenting and sharing. It means so much.

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

Music provided by: Audio Nautix

The Story of American Made Vases from Syndicate Sales’ Anne Graves (Episode 229)

Wednesday, January 20th, 2016
Melissa Feveyear of Terra Bella Flowers used Syndicate's "Gathering Vase" for the tables at the Field to Vase Dinner Tour held on Jello Mold Farm in Mt. Vernon, Washington

Melissa Feveyear of Terra Bella Flowers used Syndicate Sales’ “Gathering Vase” for the tables at the Field to Vase Dinner Tour held on Jello Mold Farm in Mt. Vernon, Washington (c) Linda Blue Photography for F2V Dinner Tour

I promised a few weeks ago that the 2016 Field to Vase Dinner Tour Dates & Farm Venues were about to be announced. And today is the day! The team behind this celebration of American Grown Flowers has been hard at work and in the past few weeks they’ve given me a sneak peek to what’s in store.

2016 tour header As a sponsor of the Field to Vase Dinner Tour, it is my privilege to help select a Slow Flowers florist as the featured designer for each event and I’m especially proud that the Dinner Tour is committed to only working with florists who are listed and active on Slowflowers.com. That philosophy is 100 percent in alignment with the other priority of holding dinners on farms that are Certified American Grown.

I hope to see you at one of these very special gatherings to raise awareness and show support for America’s flowers —  from east to west and in between, we’ll be dining at 10 flower farms in the coming year. The announced list includes 7 confirmed venues and I’ll add the other three as we learn of them.

2016 Tour Dates

(3 additional dates and locations will be added soon)

March 12th: Arcata, CA~ Sun Valley Floral Farms

April 13th: Carlsbad, CA ~ The Flower Fields

May 21st: Austin, TX~ Texas Specialty Cut Flowers

August 13th:  Boulder, CO ~ The Fresh Herb Co.

September 14th: Bucks County, PA ~ Thistle Dew Farm

September 17th: New York, NY~ Bear Creek Dahlias

November 5th: Woodland, WA ~ Holland America Flowers

Lisa Waud (far left, front) and 12 Seattle area floral designers recreated a little of The Flower House magic at the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market on January 19th.

Lisa Waud (far left, front) and 12 Seattle area floral designers recreated a little of The Flower House magic at the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market on January 19th.

Here in Seattle this week, I’m part of all the fabulous Flower House activities featuring creator Lisa Waud. If you haven’t seen the announcement, Lisa is on her West Coast tour beginning with a Master Design Class taught yesterday, a wonderful Slow Flowers-hosted dinner last night and a lecture this morning at the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market.

Lisa Waud of The Flower House and I posed last night with the new issue of Flirty Fleurs magazine -- captured by editor Alicia Schwede for Instagram.

Lisa Waud of The Flower House and I posed last night with the new issue of Flirty Fleurs magazine — captured by editor Alicia Schwede for Instagram.

Earlier this week, in Lisa’s newsletter to Flower House subscribers, she made a bold, totally inspiring proclamation — and I want to share it with you here:

Lisa wrote this under the heading: “POT & BOX NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS”

as you probably know, i also have a floral design and horticultural decor business called pot & box. this business will run the farm on the site of flower house, growing gorgeous cut flowers for the detroit-area events and weddings we provide floral arrangements for. more on that as we get closer to breaking ground in spring.

what i’m proud to tell you is that as a result of the immense enthusiasm and support for

the project’s commitment to american-grown flowers and plants, i am making the same commitment with my business. effective immediately, pot & box is committed to sourcing local and american-grown flowers and plants, as well as going foam-free, to reduce our waste and to avoid working with dangerous chemicals. i am really looking forward to designing with domestically-grown and natural products.

if you are looking for a florist with the same commitment, you can find them on the slow flowers directory, of which pot & box is a proud member.

Thanks so much, Lisa !! Your leadership will inspire many, many others in our community!

I hinted at today’s guest during the 2016 Floral Insights and Industry Forecast episode earlier this month when I highlighted American Made Goods for florists as one of the 10 influential themes of the year.

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Today's guest, Anne Graves, marketing director for Syndicate Sales (left), with her family.

Today’s guest, Anne Graves, marketing director for Syndicate Sales (left), with her family.

I give Anne Graves, marketing director of Syndicate Sales, a lot of credit for stepping up and placing a USA-made focus on the products her company manufactures.

Syndicate Sales is a leader in the manufacturing and distribution of floral hardgoods in the United States, employing nearly 300 people in Kokomo, Indiana. This makes Syndicate Sales the largest family-owned local business in that town.

The company was co-founded by Delmar Earl Demaree, Sr., affectionately called “Pap.” Today, Pap’s granddaughter Laura Shinall serves as president, continuing the values of stewardship, hard work as well as honoring customers, creditors, and employees.

As you’ll hear in our conversation, Syndicate has taken new steps to feature and promote its vast selection of made-in-the-USA vases for florists.

I’ve gotten to know Anne over the past few years and I’m very impressed with the decisions she and her colleagues have made to highlight these products in their catalog and on their web site.

Look for the USA flag icon to find American-made vases and other hardgoods from Syndicate Supply.

Look for the USA flag icon to find American-made vases and other hardgoods from Syndicate Supply.

In 1946 Syndicate introduced the 1st quick, convenient way to preserve and transport single stem flowers-- called Aquapic®. Prior to Aquapics, florists had to rubber band flower stems into a plastic bag of water. Aquapics are still an industry staple.

In 1946 Syndicate introduced the 1st quick, convenient way to preserve and transport single stem flowers– called Aquapic®. Prior to Aquapics, florists had to rubber band flower stems into a plastic bag of water. Aquapics are still an industry staple.

The Candelite Cardette® was introduced in 1967: A 9" cardholder designed for prominently displaying the sender's name.

The Candelite Cardette® was introduced in 1967: A 9″ cardholder designed for prominently displaying the sender’s name.

Enjoy this gallery of arrangements from last year’s Field to Vase Dinner Tour. They combine American-grown flowers with Syndicate’s American-made vases — what a perfect partnership.

Elizabeth Artis of Espe Floral + Foliage used the "Footed Rose Bowl" for her F2V Dinner Tour centerpieces held at Oregon Flowers.

Elizabeth Artis of Espe Floral + Foliage used the “Footed Rose Bowl” for her F2V Dinner Tour centerpieces held at Oregon Flowers. (c) Laurie Black Photography for F2V Dinner Tour

Another view of Elizabeth's beautiful centerpieces.

Another view of Elizabeth’s beautiful centerpieces.

Another view of Melissa Feveyear's centerpieces at Jello Mold Farm.

Here’s more of Melissa Feveyear’s centerpieces at Jello Mold Farm.

Syndicate Sales' "Terrariums" showcased the work of Andrea Gagnon of LynnVale Studio + Farm at the Washington, D.C. Field to Vase Dinner.

Syndicate Sales’ “Terrariums” showcased the work of Andrea Gagnon of LynnVale Studio + Farm at the Washington, D.C. Field to Vase Dinner. (c) Linda Blue Photography for F2V Dinner Tour

Another peek at the Terrarium designs of Andrea Gagnon.

Another peek at the Terrarium designs of Andrea Gagnon.

Susan McLeary of Passionflower Events in Michigan used the classic Syndicate "Rose Bowl" for her F2V centerpieces.

Susan McLeary of Passionflower Events in Michigan used the classic Syndicate “Rose Bowl” for her F2V centerpieces. (c) Heather Saunders Photography

Here's another beautiful centerpiece by Susan McLeary for F2V Dinner Tour in Detroit.

Here’s another beautiful centerpiece by Susan McLeary for F2V Dinner Tour in Detroit.

Special Podcast Giveaway. Syndicate is offering one listener a $100 gift of Made-in-USA product. Anne will work directly with the winner to process your choices and ship the goods directly to you.

Here’s how to Enter: Post a comment below by 5 p.m. January 27th and you’ll be entered into the drawing. The winner will be announced in our February 4th episode.

Syndicate Sales’ Catalog for 2016

Syndicate Stars Reward Program for Florists

“Millie’s Musings,” Syndicate’s Blog

Follow Syndicate Sales on Facebook

Follow Syndicate Sales on Instagram

Follow Syndicate Sales on Pinterest

Follow Syndicate Sales on Twitter

Contact Anne Graves at agraves@syndicatesales.com

MORE NEWS

There are lots of cool gatherings going on at this time of the year. We’ve recently heard about the Maryland Flower Farmers meeting, the Ohio Flower Farmers Meet-up and now I’m excited to share the announcement of two days in Oregon taking place next month.

1913891_10205843922083938_750892574376956860_n The first is being held on Saturday, February 20th Oregon State University’s annual Small Farms Conference, held this year in Corvallis, Oregon.

As I understand it, this is the first year that the small farms conference is offering a cut flower farming track — what does that tell you about the growing popularity of local flowers?

On the following day, Sunday, February 21st will be the 2nd annual Pacific Northwest Cut Flower Growers gathering, also at OSU.

I’ve invited Erin McMullen of Raindrop Farms, a past guest of this podcast, to share a preview of these two important events and to let you know how to get involved. She’s been working with  Kathleen Barber and Beth Martin Syphers to plan the Sunday gathering.

I am so excited to hear about the dynamic activity, region by region, where flower farming is exploding. We can attribute this growth to climbing demand from florists and consumers who value their domestic flowers. And isn’t that what we’re all working toward?

Reach Erin McMullen here: raindropfarms@peak.org

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded nearly 79,000 times by listeners like you. THANK YOU to each and every one of you for downloading, listening, commenting and sharing. It means so much.

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

Slow Flowers’ Holiday Special with Musician-Flower Farmer Dennis Westphall (Episode 225)

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2015
Dennis Westphall, musician, songwriter, artist -- and American flower farmer

Dennis Westphall, musician, songwriter, artist — and American flower farmer. Photo (c) Linda Blue

Welcome to our Special Holiday Edition of the Slow Flowers Podcast!

Dennis in his element: guitar in hand; seated in the midst of his flower farm (c) Linda Blue

Dennis in his element: guitar in hand; seated in the midst of his flower farm (c) Linda Blue

Today’s amazing guest, Dennis Westphall, is co-founder of Jello Mold Farm in Mt. Vernon, Washington, which he operates with his wife and partner Diane Szukovathy. Diane may be familiar to you because she’s appeared on two prior episodes of the Slow Flowers Podcast – and she is the “cover girl” of the 50 Mile Bouquet (along with floral designer Stacie Sutliff).

Dennis is an accomplished mixed media artist and an award-winning singer-songwriter who has nearly 200 original songs to his credit.

I will let you hear the story directly from Dennis, as he shares his inspiring career path, one that takes us from the era when he was a street musician at Seattle’s Pike Place Market to his success as a founding member of the band Tickle Tune Typhoon, to the past decade when he transitioning into a flower farmer, and much much more.

Interspersed between our fascinating conversation, Dennis will perform several songs for your holiday enjoyment.

The first of many Tickle Tune Typhoon albums features Dennis Westphall on the cover with his fellow band members. The album is a winner of the Parents' Choice Gold Award and the American Library Association's Notable Children's Recording Award.

The first of many Tickle Tune Typhoon albums features Dennis Westphall on the cover with his fellow band members. The album is a winner of the Parents’ Choice Gold Award and the American Library Association’s Notable Children’s Recording Award.

Two are original compositions, both lyrics and music, and two are classic songs that have been given the whimsical Dennis Westphall “new lyric” treatment.

I know you’ll love this episode as much as I do — a gift from Dennis to the flower farming and floral design community to enjoy this holiday week.

Check out more details about Tickle Tune Typhoon’s retro vinyl albums and CDs of the foot-stamping, finger-snapping music that has delighted school children and their families for generations.

Thank you so much for joining me today for this very special episode.

I love how Dennis describes flower farming as a botanical art-supply source for the florists who purchase flowers from Jello Mold.

It’s such an appropriate metaphor for the important, interdependent relationship between flower farmers and floral designers — one that brings success to the entire Slow Flowers community.

Watch a recent segment on Seattle’s KING 5 TV (NBC affiliate) with excerpts of Dennis singing

Dennis has generously shared the lyrics to his original song called “Flowers”:

Recorded by Tickle Tune Typhoon on the CD, All Of Us Will Shine
Music and Lyrics by Dennis Westphall

[Chorus]

Flowers aha
Flowers aha
Beautiful colors bloom
Flowers aha
Flowers aha
Blossoms will dance for you

Ah the smell of summer roses
And it’s a dandy day to watch a pansy play
Gracefully they grow
Bouquet on tiptoe
Rising in the sky so blue
Sunflower shines on you

[Chorus]

Flowers grow make the world a grand bouquet
Row on row bringing color to our day
Flowers grow a pleasure to the eye
That fragrance oh it fills the air and makes you sigh
Everybody sigh
I’m so gladiola, you’re gladiola too

Flowers aha Flowers aha
Beautiful colors bloom
Flowers aha Flowers aha
Blossoms will dance
Blossoms will dance for you

Check out that vintage Gibson guitar!

Check out that vintage Gibson guitar!

Linda Blue captured Dennis performing at his own farm, Jello Mold, as a special feature of the Field to Vase Dinner Tour in September.

Linda Blue captured Dennis performing at his own farm, Jello Mold, as a special feature of the Field to Vase Dinner Tour in September.

Find Jello Mold Farm on Facebook

Find Jello Mold Farm on Instagram

Hear Diane Szukovathy on Slow Flowers Podcast #103 “Marketing Local Flowers the Co-op Way” and on  #215 “Cooperative Wholesaling Among Farmers”

Diane Szukovathy and Dennis Westphall, photographed by Mary Grace Long (c) September 2012 at Jello Mold Farm in Mt. Vernon, Washington.

Diane Szukovathy and Dennis Westphall, photographed by Mary Grace Long (c) September 2012 at Jello Mold Farm in Mt. Vernon, Washington.

Jello Mold Farm, fields, and barn

Jello Mold Farm, fields, and barn

Next week is our final episode of 2015 and as one year ends and another begins, I will be sharing with you the “2016 Slow Flowers Forecast and Insights.”

In the meantime, I  wish you a wonderful holiday season!

I thank you and others in the progressive American-grown floral community for supporting this endeavor.

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

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.

Rain Drop Farms of Oregon’s Willamette Valley (Episode 213)

Wednesday, September 30th, 2015
Erin and Aaron of Oregon's Rain Drop Farms, photographed by Linda Blue at the Field to Vase Dinner on Sept. 12th.

Erin and Aaron of Oregon’s Rain Drop Farms, photographed by Linda Blue at the Field to Vase Dinner on Sept. 12th.

10011796_10153933043017542_6146716397999247836_o Fall is here and news from our Slow Flowers Tribe is exploding!

There are so many things to discuss and update you about this week. You’ll find that news at the bottom of this post, after I introduce you to Rain Drop Farms.

The heart of the Slow Flowers Podcast are my weekly conversations with inspiring voices in the American flower farming and floral community. Please meet today’s guests, Erin McMullen and Aaron Gaskey, the dynamic duo behind Rain Drop Farms. Based outside Corvallis, Oregon, in Philomath, this husband-wife team of farmers grows a wide array of perennials and annuals on three acres of healthy soil. Allow me to bring Raindrop Farms  — and the sunshine they spread — to you, with the story of lovely, local, Oregon flowers and how one family makes a beautiful and creative living from their land.

Erin McMullen of Rain Drop Farms.

Erin McMullen of Rain Drop Farms, standing — where else? — in her dahlia fields.

Situated in the foothills of the Oregon coast range, Rain Drop has been providing fresh, local, specialty flowers to the Willamette Valley since 2000.

Passionate about growing flowers, Erin and Aaron count dahlias among their favorites. They grow more than 75 varieties and are always searching out more, as well as a wide variety of perennials and many different annuals.

The kids of Rain Drop Farms.

The kids of Rain Drop Farms with some of their beautiful zinnias.

Theirs is a working family farm. As Erin writes on the web site: “We live here, grow here and play here.  Our children have grown up digging in the dirt and chasing rainbows here.  As stewards of this beautiful place we strive to maintain and promote the diversity here.  We use organic and sustainable practices throughout our farm.  It is our belief that growing this way is just the right thing to do. It is the best for our farm, our family and flowers.”

Aaron Gasky at the Rain Drop Farms' farmers' market stall. Notice he's wearing a Slow Flowers t-shirt!

Aaron Gaskey Rain Drop Farms’ farmers’ market stall. Notice he’s wearing a Slow Flowers t-shirt!

I adore this couple. We’ve met in person on a few occasions, most recently when they took what I call a busman’s holiday to drive from Philomath up to Mt. Vernon, Oregon, (about 325 miles away) to spend a few days volunteering at the Field to Vase Dinner held on Sept. 12th at Jello Mold Farm. I simply couldn’t let the opportunity pass and am so thrilled that Erin and Aaron agreed to record this conversation.

Harvest time with Erin!

Harvest time with Erin!

Last week, Erin shared with me a fascinating conversation she had with a Farmers’ Market customer and I think it sums up what so many of us have experienced:

We have had so many people ask us this year if we grow all of the flowers.  Of course we say ‘Yes!  Every last one!’ We are always surprised by how many people seem surprised by this!  Yesterday we had a guy come up and ask if we grew all the flowers; the conversation progressed and he tells us that he works with flowers in LA and didn’t realize that there were people like us who actually grew flowers like these domestically.

His business is selling flowers at college graduations and he said that they buy most things from Ecuador and South America, basically saying that domestic flowers were just too pricey.  

Aaron told me later that he could see me high jump onto my soap box, but I let (the customer) know what I thought of that excuse and that supporting American farmers is a more sustainable long term economic strategy.  

He actually took pause and then asked for our contact info and for the name of the Slow Flowers website again, saying that he was intrigued and would like to learn more.  

I’m telling you this story, though I’m sure you hear this kind all the time, because it was so refreshing to me.  Also, because of you and your efforts, I have become more well informed and confident about my convictions that American flower farmers deserve a chance to thrive in a domestic marketplace.  So, thank you!  So glad that we met and that we’ve had an opportunity to get to know each other a little better!  :)”

Thank YOU both Erin and Aaron! I couldn’t agree more.

Follow Rain Drop Farms on Facebook

Follow Rain Drop Farms on Instagram

More news to share!!!

Here is a just-released clip about The Flower House, created by Hello Future Films, that shows recent footage captured during the installation of the preview exhibit earlier this year – it’s being shown to stimulate ticket sales for The Flower House show dates, October 16-18. If you’re anywhere near Detroit, hop on over to see this amazing display!

And then, with much fanfare, I’m so pleased to share with you “Field to Vase: Santa Cruz,” a 7-minute, 39 second documentary produced, filmed and edited by my friends Haejung Kim and her husband Moon, a LA-based couple of creatives whose probono efforts have beautifully captured the story of American grown flowers and the renaissance we are all helping make happen. Click here to read my recent Q&A with Haejung and Moon.

I have a cameo role in the film, but please don’t take this as blatant self-promotion. It’s all about the cause of promoting American flower farms, American flowers and the florists who create such beauty with intent. You’ll also meet flower farmer Paul Furman whose family owns California Pajarosa Roses and Slow Flowers member Teresa Sabankya, of Bonny Doon Garden Co., who was the guest designer at the Field to Vase Dinner held at Pajarosa Roses this past June. The film is beautiful, poignant and I encourage you to watch it and share it widely.

Martha Stewart American Made Taps Two Slowflowers.com Members

11406783_927429313946323_8650643430552798404_n I want to showcase the many people in our community whose work has earned them FINALIST status on the Martha Stewart American Made 2015 campaign.

I am especially excited that Susan McLeary of Passionflower, a Slowflowers.com member based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, is a finalist – the only floral category finalist – in the Design Category. Check her out here. 

And flower farmer Wanda Fox of Illinois-based Fox & Co. is a finalist in the Craft Category for her beautiful charcuterie boards made from salvaged and reclaimed black walnut lumber. Check her out here.

I also want to put in a plug for my friend Andy Chapman of Stumpdust. Andy is a finalist in the Design Category for Gardening & Outdoor Living, for his unique garden stakes and tools fashioned from salvaged wood. Andy’s work is exquisite and he is the genius behind my American Made shadowbox that I used to display my 2015 Northwest Flower & Garden Show floral entry. You can see photos of that beautiful work here. And please check out Andy & Stumpdust on MSL here.

Get Your Hands on Floral Soil!

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Another Slow Flowers Podcast friend who is near and dear to my heart is Mickey Blake of Floral Soil, the innovative, plant-based, 100% biodegradable alternative to formaldehyde-based flower foam.

Mickey has just introduced a fun new product called “Floral Soil Cupcakes,” a perfect gift or DIY project that is one of the perks in her two-week Indiegogo fundraising campaign that continues through October 10th. Many of us have been waiting for Floral Soil to kick into full-scale production because we can’t wait to get our hands on this earth-friendly design product. By supporting the Floral Soil Indiegogo campaign, for as little as $15 you can get your hands on a cute cupcake-shaped base for planting succulents or arranging flowers – and you can help push Floral Soil to the next level where commercial production of those must-have bricks will begin before the holidays.

Episodes of the Slow Flowers Podcast have been downloaded more than 66,000 times. I thank you and others in the progressive American-grown floral community for supporting this endeavor.

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

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.