Debra Prinzing

Archive for the ‘Entertainment’ Category

A Perfect Recipe: Floral Design Workshops and Delicious Local Food, with Sarah Statham of UK’s Simply by Arrangement (Episode 198)

Tuesday, June 16th, 2015
Sarah Statham of Simply by Arrangement, based in Hebden Bridge, Yorkshire, U.K.

Sarah Statham of Simply by Arrangement, based in Hebden Bridge, Yorkshire, U.K.

Welcome to our second episode celebrating British Grown Flowers. It’s timely because this is British Flowers Week in the UK, where flower farmers, florists, retailers and wholesalers across the country join forces to raise awareness among consumers and the media about the renaissance of their domestic floral industry. Take note, because we’ve got big plans here at Slow Flowers to launch American Flowers Week very soon.

My guest today is more than just a professional contact. I’ve gotten to know her and spend time in her home and community and I’m so happy to call Sarah Statham a personal friend.

Here's the web site for "Simply by Arrangement," the flowers-and-food workshop business that Sarah and Christie launched after careers as criminal prosecutors.

Here’s the web site for “Simply by Arrangement,” the flowers-and-food workshop business that Sarah and Christie launched after careers as criminal prosecutors.

Hoo Hole House in Hebden Bridge, a centuries-old restored stone manor and HQ for Sarah's flower-filled world.

Hoo Hole House in Hebden Bridge, a centuries-old restored stone manor and HQ for Sarah’s flower-filled world.

It was lovely to meet Gill Hodgson face-to-face after our long-distance friendship! She is as committed to putting British flowers on the map as I am about doing the same with American grown flowers.

It was lovely to meet Gill Hodgson face-to-face after our long-distance friendship! She is as committed to putting British flowers on the map as I am about doing the same with American grown flowers.

Sarah and I were introduced virtually by British flower farmer Gill Hodgson of Flowers from the Farm, a UK-based organization of flower farmers and florists promoting British flowers. You may have listened to my podcast interview with Gill last year.

When I knew I would be traveling to England last month, I reached out to Gill and suggested that I schedule a visit to Yorkshire, where her farm is based.

As it turned out, Gill and Sarah teamed up to create an entire itinerary for me and my mother Anita, my traveling companion.

Sarah and her husband James Reader opened the doors to their home to invite us to stay for three amazing, flower-filled days.

Their generosity blew us away, and beyond that, Sarah made sure that we met many others in the local floral community.

Tea at Harlow Carr, hosted by the flower famers and florists of Yorkshire.

Tea at Harlow Carr, hosted by the flower famers and florists of Yorkshire.

Unforgettable - the best English afternoon tea I've ever enjoyed!

Unforgettable – the best English afternoon tea I’ve ever enjoyed!

A highlight was a gathering and full-on British afternoon tea at the RHS Harlow-Carr Botanical Garden in Harrowgate. Forty kindred spirits gathered to listen to my short presentation about Slow Flowers and the American Grown flower movement, but I have to say that what I learned from them in return was so valuable.

That afternoon we tagged along for one of the photo shoots of the Yorkshire community of growers and designers, all part of the PR campaign to coincide with British Flowers Week.

The Yorkshire flower farmers commissioned the very talented Sarah Mason whose images of Yorkshire-grown flowers, flower farmers and florists have been showcased on this blog all week.

On our last morning together, I turned on the recorder to interview Sarah about her own business, as well as about her British Flowers Week activities.

Sarah, the flower maven.

Sarah, the flower maven.

You’ll hear me refer to the fact that we are seated in a cottage in the Cotswolds and just to explain, Sarah and James brought my mom and me with them for the first day of their week-long vacation in a charming village called Snowshill. Yet another amazing bonus of this visit and of their hospitality.

The co-creator of Simply by Arrangement, which she started two years ago with Christie Buchanan, Sarah Statham is a floral designer and educator based in Hebden Bridge, in Yorkshire.

Christie calls herself a cook, but having eaten her delicious food, I’d say she’s a chef extraordinaire.

Christie, the food goddess.

Christie, the food goddess.

 

Their artisan flower and food business. pairs floral workshops with delicious food, which easily turns the educational aspect of a day playing with flowers into an entire luxury experience.

Simply by Arrangement also provide flowers and food for private clients as well as flowers for larger events and weddings.

Sarah grows many of our flowers used in her own beautiful cutting garden (which, by the way, the bedroom in which I slept conveniently overlooked).

Christie sources her menu ingredients locally from farms in Lancashire, where she is based.

I know you’ll enjoy my conversation with Sarah and please follow Simply by Arrangement at these social places.

Simply by Arrangement on Facebook

Simply by Arrangement on Twitter

Simply by Arrangement on Instagram

A Simply by Arrangement floral design workshop in full swing.

A Simply by Arrangement floral design workshop in full swing.

Sweet treats from Mrs. B.

Sweet treats from Mrs. B.

And if you find yourself in the UK, a Simply by Arrangement Workshop that feeds your creativity and tempts your palate is certainly in order.

Sarah and Christie would love to include you at the table.

After wrapping up our interview Sarah and I continued to chat about the similarities in our philosophies.

I asked her to write something for me to use at the close of this podcast relating to how she uses British flowers in her work, and here is an excerpt:

We would dearly love to use British flowers for all of our work. Sadly, maybe because British flower growers have yet to be able to match supply with demand there aren’t always the quantities available and also the British climate does mean that in winter months supplies of cut flowers are relatively limited as are the varieties available especially in our more Northern parts. 

Our philosophy is this: locally grown flowers are our first choice always. We grow some unusual varieties ourselves but don’t yet grow as many as we need. We are lucky to have some amazing Yorkshire growers relatively nearby and they are the ones who we go to first. 

Next will be a grower in Cheshire ( but that demands a 3 hour journey which is well worth it as her flowers are of such high quality ).   

We also have a supplier in Cornwall called Flowers by Clowance, who is reliable and sends supplies by Fed Ex. During winter months we do have to obtain more flowers from the flower market although we still have some supplies from Cornwall. We look forward to the day when the British flower growing market is back to full strength and can meet our needs and hope that the ‘quiet revolution’ in British flowers will give the growers confidence to produce more quantities. Our workshops through spring and summer to around October are British flower based. 

What I have tried to do at workshops is to show our attendees the real difference between locally grown flowers which haven’t been ‘traumatised’ by transportation from abroad and haven’t been grown in ‘battery farm like’ conditions and so I will have a small selection of non British flowers available for comparison. I can say without doubt that everyone always goes for the locally grown varieties. I think I mentioned the lady a couple of weeks ago who has vowed never to buy supermarket flowers again and who I have put in touch with a local grower in her area and who is already buying from her. 

I have to be completely honest though, there are times when a bride might have her heart set on roses and they are not available here. Whilst I will always try and steer our brides towards seasonally grown ( and thus British) flowers, sometimes it just isn’t possible. 

A quiet vignetter at Hoo Hole House caught my eye. Even the utilitarian is treated as a thing of beauty through Sarah's eyes.

A quiet vignetter at Hoo Hole House caught my eye. Even the utilitarian is treated as a thing of beauty through Sarah’s eyes.

This description sounds so familiar to what I hear from florists and designers here in the U.S. I applaud transparency but I also want to respect that people have to make tough choices as small business owners.

At Slow Flowers I want to support anyone who engages with American grown flowers at any level, while also encouraging them to strive toward 100% American grown flowers as the ultimate goal. And I hope to be a resource to help equip those who make such choices.

A jam jar filled with Yorkshire-grown flowers, part of the decor at the Tea.

A jam jar filled with Yorkshire-grown flowers, part of the decor at the Tea.

Thanks again for joining me today for another wonderful conversation.

Yes, I am devoted to celebrating American flowers and the designers and farmers who are changing this entire industry for the better.

But as I said last week, I’m also thrilled to introduce you to ways we can borrow ideas and inspiration from places like the U.K., where many parallels occur between our two marketplaces.

Next week is our 100th podcast and you will hear from an established American flower farmer with a long history and deep Midwest roots, and where one doesn’t always expect to find year-round blooms.

Listeners like you have downloaded this podcast more than 52,000 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.

Music credits:
Tryad – “Lovely”
Thorntree – “A Night at O’Malley’s”
http://noisetrade.com/thorntree
Zoe – “Mourning Skies”
http://zoe3.bandcamp.com/album/zoe
https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/
Chris Zabriskie – “Oxygen Garden”
https://chriszabriskie.bandcamp.com/album/divider
https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Additional music from:
audionautix.com

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.

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!

Earth Day with Updates from Peterkort Roses and Floral Soil (Episode 190)

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2015

Earth-Day-Logo-2015 This week’s episode coincides with Earth Day, fittingly symbolic for the Slow Flowers Movement and flower farmers, floral designers and product innovators who are working to change our industry and push for progress to alter the status quo.

So I’d like to share a few news items as well as two follow-up interviews featuring guests of past Slow Flowers Podcast episodes.

Listen closely to find out how you can win prize packages from each of our guests – you’ll want to get in on the good stuff!

First off, if you enjoyed last week’s interview with Jenny Elliott and Luke Franco of Tiny Hearts Farm in New York’s Hudson Valley and Rachel Gordon of Taproot Flowers of Brooklyn, please check out more photos that I’ve added to the show notes. They’re onto something really special and I encourage you to listen if you missed that episode – and enjoy the beautiful flowers the three of them grow and arrange in their worlds.

FRD_posters_2015_photography_loweres2 Second, I want to share details about this week’s Fashion Revolution Day, which takes place on April 24th.

If you believe in Slow Flowers, you should also embrace and support Slow Fashion, which has so many parallels in terms of labor practices, environmental concern and trade policy.

Slow Fashion asks questions about the origins of the clothing we wear that are virtually identical to the questions Slow Flowers asks about the bouquets we bring into our homes.

Fashrev2015 Fashion Revolution Day 2015 marks the second anniversary of the Rana Plaza disaster in Dhaka, Bangladesh, which killed 1,133, and injured over 2,500 people.

According to Fashion Revolution’s data, one in six people work in the global fashion supply chain. It is the most labor-dependent industry on the planet, yet the people who make our clothing are hidden from us, often at their own expense, a symptom of the broken links across the fashion industry.

Wow, doesn’t that sound identical to the floriculture industry? On April 24th, coordinated teams around the world will challenge global fashion brands to demonstrate commitment to transparency across the length of the value chain, from farmers to factory workers, brands to buyers and consumers.

Zady.com, an innovative online fashion brand based in New York City, is serving as U.S. chair of Fashion Revolution Day. Slow Flowers has been invited to help promote the cause. Check out this Slow Fashion/Fashion Revolution event taking place in Brooklyn. Slow Flowers hopes to have ongoing involvement with Slow Fashion in the future.

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I am inspired by what the fashion industry has done in just two years to mobilize conscious consumers to care about the origins of their clothing — and in the future, I hope the floral industry will be just as vocal. I don’t wish for a fatal disaster to occur at an unregulated flower farm in a distant land to make us all wake up and start asking about the origins of our flowers.

What you can do on April 24th is to use your own social channels to get active. Take a photo of yourself wearing an item of clothing inside out. Tag the brand, share the photo on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with the hashtags: #whomademyclothes and #fashrev.

Not to take away from this important endeavor, but perhaps you’ll be inspired to ALSO take a photo of yourself holding flowers that came from a US mega-retailer, big box store or supermarket and tag that retailer on your social sites with the hashtags: #whogrewmyflowers and #slowflowers. Just a thought.

Thanks for caring!

READ MORE…

Floral Friendship: The Florist (Betany Coffland of Chloris Floral) and The Farmer (Lennie Larkin of B-Side Farms) (Episode 188)

Wednesday, April 8th, 2015
Betany Coffland (left) and Lennie Larkin (right). This photograph captured the friends holding flowers they grew for Chica Bloom Farm (Betany) and Petaluma Bounty (Lennie).

Betany Coffland (left) and Lennie Larkin (right). This photograph captures the friends holding flowers they grew for Chica Bloom Farm (Betany) and Petaluma Bounty (Lennie).

Bsidelogo Chloris Floral logo Attention emerging flower farmers and #farmerflorists!

A B Side boutonniere.

A B-Side boutonniere.

I know you’ll appreciate this week’s guests because they are both in the early phases of launching their floral businesses.

Either you’ve already been there so parts of their stories will sound familiar or you’re in the thick of building a floral enterprise – farming and/or design – and will draw inspiration from their candor about the challenges, opportunities and decisions about the direction to take.

With planting and harvesting season and months of weddings upon us, I can assure you that our episode is timely. Like all of my guests on the Slow Flowers Podcast, there is much to learn from what they have to share.

Please welcome Betany Coffland of Chloris Floral and Lennie Larkin of B-Side Farm. Together, they embody a unique collaboration for people who are growing and designing American flowers. Be wowed by the collective beauty of their work.

Betany, performing "Carmen" - Photo by Pat Kirk

Betany, performing “Carmen,” photo by Pat Kirk

This episode was recorded in the San Jose hotel lobby after the conclusion of ASCFG’s “Growers’ Intensive” last month.

Betany Coffland has always possessed an artistic soul. Her first career lies in singing opera where she trained at the Juilliard School of Music.

Often gifted with an armload of bouquets on opening night, Betany frequently imagined herself in a Jane Austen novel.

The quintessential professional, Betany has given us permission to include snippets of her operatic performances, including the French art song, “A Chloris.” Check out her professional opera site here. 

After moving to Sonoma County and reading the book, The Dirty Life, she was inspired to volunteer at a local flower farm to see if she would enjoy getting dirt under her nails and having the outdoors as an office.

A Chloris inspiration, photo by Paige Green

A Chloris inspiration, photo by Paige Green

Betany Coffland, portrayed in an scene inspired by Chloris, the Greek goddess of flowers, photo by Paige Green

Betany Coffland, portrayed in an scene inspired by Chloris, the Greek goddess of flowers, photo by Paige Green

Betany swiftly and deeply fell entranced with how stunning and heartbreakingly gorgeous locally grown flowers are.

For 18 months, she co-owned Chica Bloom Farm, acting as the lead designer and wedding coordinator.

She especially loved getting to know her community through delivering weekly flower CSA bouquets.

In the winter of 2014, Betany launched Chloris Floral. The namesake Chloris perfectly combines her two artistic endeavors, classical singing and floral design.

Not only is Chloris the Greek goddess of flowers, she is also the heroine of Betany’s favorite French art song, “A Chloris,” by Reynaldo Hahn.

This song has special meaning because it was performed by a dear friend at Betany’s wedding to her husband Joseph. Now part of Betany’s repertoire, she continues to perform A Chloris.

A Chloris Floral spring bouquet inspired by Vivaldi's Spring Concerto from The Four Seasons

A Chloris Floral spring bouquet inspired by Vivaldi’s Spring Concerto from The Four Seasons

Betany and her floral arrangement, Inspired by Debussy's symphonic work- La Mer

Betany and her floral arrangement, Inspired by Debussy’s symphonic work- La Mer

Chloris Floral is a flower design studio in Sonoma County committed to using 100% local and seasonal blooms grown using organic practices. By supporting and building upon the strength of the local farming community, Chloris ensures the availability of fresh, locally grown blooms necessary to create achingly beautiful old world designs.

A little bit country: flower farmer, Lennie Larkin

A little bit country: flower farmer, Lennie Larkin

A lush B-Side bouquet, by Lennie Larkin.

A lush B-Side bouquet, by Lennie Larkin.

In her “day job,” Lennie Larkin is the community farm manager at Petaluma Bounty, a nonprofit community farm that  works to create a healthy and sustainable food system for everyone in Petaluma, California.

At Petaluma Bounty, Lennie grows lots of vegetables and a seriously beautiful patch of flowers that are sold locally, including at farmers’ markets.

She will share her story, so I don’t want to give too much away, but let me quickly introduce Lennie’s new flower farming business, B-Side Farm.

B-Side Beauty, by Lennie Larkin

B-Side Beauty, by Lennie Larkin

She describes B-Side as a small, bustling flower farm that grew out of her obsession with fragrant blossoms.

It sits on a fertile piece of land in the rolling hills of Petaluma, in the southern pocket of Sonoma County, California. From show-stopping dahlias to rare foliages and simple herbs, B-Side specializes in favorite old-fashioned flowers, picked daily and bursting with dreamy scents.

Lennie’s flowers and arrangement supply a family of local-minded florists and specialty stores in Petaluma, San Francisco, and Oakland, and she welcomes orders of loose flowers and specialty arrangements for pickup straight from the farm. Read Lennie’s extended bio from her new web site.

NBflowercollective Lennie and Betany are founding members of the North Bay Flower Collective, a group of flower farmers and floral designers in the North SF Bay Area.

I love the motivation that led to the formation of the North Bay Flower Collective: To lean on each other for support and pull our resources together to build a flower growers’ alliance helping each farmer and florist to grow and thrive. 

Here are the links to Betany’s social sites for Chloris, to Lennie’s social sites for B-Side and to the North Bay Flower Collective.

You’ll want to follow these talented individuals and watch how their coming design season unfolds:

Find Betany here:

Chloris Floral on Facebook

Chloris Floral on Instagram

Chloris Floral Web Site

Find Lennie here:

B-Side Farm on Facebook

B-Side Farm on Instagram

B-Side Farm Web Site

Thank you so much for joining me this week and please return again, as I continue to share insightful and educational episodes recorded exclusively for the Slow Flowers Podcast.

Listeners like you have downloaded the podcast more than 42,000 times. 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.

The Flower Farmer’s Year with Georgie Newbery of Common Farm Flowers UK (Episode 186)

Tuesday, March 24th, 2015
Georgie Newbery of Common Farm Flowers in the UK.

Georgie Newbery of Common Farm Flowers in the UK.

In the past year, in addition to this podcast’s primary focus on American flowers, farmers and designers, I’ve interviewed a handful of slow-flowers-minded farmers and designers based in the U.K. and Australia.

There are obvious parallels between these folks and our own renaissance and return to domestic flowers. Sadly, as we’ve experienced in our own native land, the floral industry in many industrialized nations has been outsourced and hurt by competition from countries with low labor costs and less stringent environmental practices.

Common Farm Flowers' "jam jar posies."

Common Farm Flowers’ “jam jar posies.”

I’m inspired by the creativity and kindred spirit of all flower farmers who want to rekindle the interest in homegrown flowers and the mindful florists who want to differentiate themselves in the marketplace by sourcing local, seasonal and domestic flowers. Today’s guest is a perfect voice to invite into this conversation.

Georgie's new book, "The Flower Farmer's Year," was recently released in the U.S.

Georgie’s new book, “The Flower Farmer’s Year,” was recently released in the U.S.

Please meet Georgie Newbery, a British farmer-florist who owns Common Farm Flowers with her husband Fabrizio Boccha.

This husband-and-wife team grow British cut flowers on a beautiful plot between Bruton and Wincanton in Somerset, a few hours west of London.

The occasion for our interview is the February 15th U.S. publication of Georgie’s brand new book, “The Flower Farmer’s Year, how to grow cut flowers for pleasure and profit,” published by Green Books UK and available online at Powell’s Books and Amazon, among other places.

Common Farm Flowers is an artisan florist company, which means Georgie and Fabrizio grow nearly everything used in their floristry, expressing floral design as “a craft in which artistic flair is combined with imaginative use of the material at hand to make arrangements which are full of life and air, which dance.”

Georgie's color sensibility  is modern and romantic.

Georgie’s color sensibility is modern and romantic.

Launched in 2010, Common Farm Flowers has taken off in the past five years, despite its rural locale. As Georgie writes on the Common Flowers Farm web site: “There’s clearly a market for British grown/eco cut flowers and we’re delighted by the reception we’ve had for the flowers we grow here and the floristry we do.”

Common Farm Flowers sends British flower bouquets by post twelve months a year; it supplies and arranges lush wedding flowers throughout Somerset, the South West, in London and beyond and runs workshops on subjects ranging from Flower Farming for Beginners to Do Your Own Wedding Flowers.

The farm has taken its flowers to RHS Chelsea, RHS Chelsea in Bloom, and has been featured in British Country Living, The English Garden, The Telegraph and more. Georgie frequently gives talks to horticulture societies and gardening clubs on growing cut flowers for the home, planting a cut flower border, and seminars on dahlias and sweet pea cultivation.

Another lovely series of posies by Common Farm flowers.

Another lovely series of posies by Common Farm flowers.

The Flower Farmer’s Year covers how to grow your own cut flowers to fill your house with the gorgeous colors and heavenly scents of your favorite blooms, knowing that they haven’t travelled thousands of miles. Georgie combines boundless passion with down-to-earth guidance and practical advice, drawing on her own experiences as an artisan flower farmer and florist as she takes readers through:

  • how to start a cut-flower patch
  • what to grow: including annuals, biennials, perennials, bulbs & corms, shrubs, roses, dahlias, sweet peas, herbs & wildflowers
  • cutting, conditioning and presenting cut flowers
  • starting a cut flower business
  • where to sell
  • marketing and social media
  • an annual planner

Whether you want to grow for your own pleasure or start your own business, The Flower Farmer’s Year is the perfect guide to add to your library.

Here’s how to find Georgie at her social places:

Facebook

Instagram

Pinterest

I’ve been in San Francisco this past week, to speak at the SF Flower & Garden Show, attend the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers meeting in San Jose and to scout gardens and flower farms in the Santa Cruz region for future stories. In the coming weeks you’ll hear from some of the people I’ve met on this trip — and I know you’ll find their stories a source of inspiration for your own endeavors.

Thanks to listeners, this podcast has been downloaded more than 40,000 times. 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 11 // Spring is here!

Saturday, March 21st, 2015
Welcome to Week 11 of the Slow Flowers Challenge!
Welcome Spring!!

Welcome Spring!!

Let’s give ourselves a huge congratulations!

Participants in the Slow Flowers Challenge have made it through the first 11 weeks of 2015 – that’s practically an entire season of winter, right?

And yesterday, March 20th, welcomed spring and all its promises of ephemeral blooms, vivid new green foliage and bud growth, fragrances, forms, textures and hues that we haven’t seen since last spring. It’s enough to make one deliriously happy.

Fresh Pick: a box filled with luscious spring flowers. This design uses 8 Mason jars inside a wooden crate.

Fresh Pick: a box filled with luscious spring flowers. This design uses 8 Mason jars inside a wooden crate.

BALL JARS AND A WOODEN BOX (2-ways)

This week’s  Slow Flowers Challenge  was given to me by my friend  Nancy Finnerty, who threw a baby shower luncheon for our mutual friends  Willo Bellwood  and  Bob Meador  to celebrate the arrival of their sweet baby, Nola.

Willo designed the beautiful  Slow Flowers logo  you see at the top of this page, as well as many of the graphics, as well as the look and feel of my web sites, going back to 2005 (!) And Bob makes it all happen on a navigational and technological front – he is the genius who makes the  Slowflowers.com website actually work smoothly. Nancy asked me to bring some yellow tulips for the centerpiece.  And, well, I took that request a little further as you see here.

This week, none of the cuttings are from my garden, but they are from the farms of the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market. Hey – I had to be there for a board meeting, so it was impossible to resist bringing home  yellow double tulips  grown by  Gonzalo Ojeda of  Ojeda Farms , along with some other pastel lovelies that you see here.

I know I designed with hellebores last week, so apologies for the repeat of flower choice. But the yellow variety of hellebores are quite rare, grown, of course, by  Diane Szukovathy  and  Dennis Westphall of  Jello Mold Farm  . The sweet narcissus with dark orange centers were grown by Jan Roozen of Choice Bulb Farms , located just a few miles away from Diane and Dennis. And one bunch of wispy white wax flower – from Resendiz Brothers in Fallbrook, CA, adds just the right texture to the arrangement.

Here's how the jars nest inside the Blue Pine box. Notice the detailed dovetail joinery at the corners.

Here’s how the jars nest inside the Blue Pine box. Notice the detailed dovetail joinery at the corners.

FLORAL DESIGN MADE EASY

I started with a very special Blue Pine box that was hand-crafted in Colorado from reclaimed wood. This piece was designed by Chet and Kristy Anderson’s son (“young Chet”) of The Fresh Herb Co., in Longmont, CO. The Andersons gave it to me as a sample when I visited their farm last November.

The box is exquisitely hand-crafted from distressed pine (also called “beetle kill,” which tells you why the tree was distressed), but that when milled reveals a distinctive “blue” grain pattern. The longer box was designed to hold four Mason jars, – how cool is that?

Start with four jars. Fill them with yellow-and-white blooms. Pop the arrangements into the box. Voila!

Start with four jars. Fill them with yellow-and-white blooms. Pop the arrangements into the box. Voila!

Detail showing the season's exquisite beauty.

Detail showing the season’s exquisite beauty.

ONE MORE

I had a lot of extras, so after I made this first arrangement, I thought: Don’t I have another wood box in the garage? And miraculously, I put my hands on it. This was a much wider box that originally came with a mail-order amaryllis-planting kit. It was large enough to hold 8 Mason jars (two rows of four jars). You can see that design at the top of this letter.

Here is the "flower box," gracing the luncheon table.

Here is the “flower box,” gracing the luncheon table.

I ended up taking this one to the baby shower – nothing like a larger arrangement for more impact. It is simply stunning to have all of these bloom shapes and forms at eye level when you’re enjoying a delicious meal and wonderful conversation. And it’s easy to give each guest one of the “mini” bouquets as a party favor to take home.

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Slow Food meets Slow Flowers at the first Field to Vase Dinner with designer Margaret Lloyd of Margaret Joan Florals (Episode 184)

Wednesday, March 11th, 2015

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A great spread about the Field to Vase Dinner appeared recently in the local Santa Barbara News-Press.

A great spread about the Field to Vase Dinner appeared recently in the local Santa Barbara News-Press.

I spent a few days last week in Carpinteria, California, working with the team that’s producing the 2015 Field to Vase Dinner Tour, a program that’s designed to put local flowers at the center of the table when local food and wine are also served.

You could call it Slow Food meets Slow Flowers.

For the past several years, my involvement with the California Cut Flower Commission has been as an informal, pro-bono advisor.

This year, I’ve assumed the role as a part-time paid communications consultant, editor and writer, lending my energy to the Field to Vase Tour and other important projects on the regional and national stage.

This opportunity allows Slow Flowers to cross-promote with many other programs, and, I hope, ensures that a wider audience hears the message of America’s flowers.

The Field to Vase Dinner Tour fits perfectly with the Slow Flowers agenda – drawing attention to the farmers who grow our flowers and the designers who create beauty with them.

Margaret Lloyd, owner of Margaret Joan Florals - the guest designer for the first Field to Vase Dinner.

Margaret Lloyd, owner of Margaret Joan Florals – the guest designer for the first Field to Vase Dinner.

The 10-city national Field to Vase Dinner Tour was developed to highlight flower farms and floral designers who source local and domestic flowers. It’s intended to make a stronger connection between the sources of both flowers and food, reminding people that flowers are an equally important facet of our agricultural landscape.

I also am thrilled that Slow Flowers’ partnership with the Field to Vase Dinner Tour means members of Slow Flowers are being asked to showcase their design work, alongside the chefs who are cooking up a delicious, locally-sourced menu.

Today’s guest is Slow Flowers member Margaret Lloyd, owner and creative director of Margaret Joan Florals – the designer for the first Field to Vase Dinner, held on March 5th at Westland Orchids in Carpinteria.

She started Margaret Joan Florals from her home-based studio in Montecito, to provide unique, nature-inspired floral arrangements, for weddings and events. Margaret is a Certified California Florist with 15 years retail experience in floral and event design.

Here’s a clip from Margaret’s television appearance last week – as she used Carpinteria-grown flowers (including greenery from her own backyard) to teach two newscasters how to arrange:

In addition to her involvement with Slowflowers.com, Margaret is a Chapel Designer, a member of Las Floralias, which is a Santa Barbara-based Western Style Flower Club, as well as being a student of Ikebana and an avid gardener.

She explained to me that her aha moment in floral design came from an article in Victoria magazine some twenty-plus years ago. She said:

The article showcased an English country estate garden in winter, and on the next page was a floral arrangement all harvested from their bleak winter cutting garden. It was dramatic and stunning with moody colors, bold shapes,lines and interesting textures.

This led me to be captivated by each season’s bounty, and a love of  locally-sourced, seasonal botanicals. This old-world design is presently having a resurgence in appeal, so I stepped away from my wire service formula design job, and stepped out on my own in January of 2014. My approach is to utilize locally-sourced flowers however I can.

I witnessed this philosophy first hand at the Field to Vase Dinner last week. Because the event took place inside an orchid greenhouse, you can only imagine what Margaret had to work with!

The table was set for a flower- and food-centric evening with an emphasis on local agriculture. (Linda Blue/CCFC)

The table was set for a flower- and food-centric evening with an emphasis on local agriculture. (Linda Blue/CCFC)

She took inspiration from the forest of cymbidium orchids grown by Jerry Van Wingerden and his son David Van Wingerden. Here are some tempting images that illustrate Margaret’s creative use of Westland’s beautiful orchids.

The Flower Power Design Team, from left: Laura Cogan, JIll Redman, CCFC Event Planner and Florist Kathleen Williford, Margaret Lloyd and Rebecca Raymond. All that talent in one place!

The Flower Power Design Team, from left: Laura Cogan, JIll Redman, CCFC Event Planner and Florist Kathleen Williford, Margaret Lloyd and Rebecca Raymond. All that talent in one place!

The signature design using cymbidiums grown byWestland Orchids and roses grown by Myriad Farms, two local flower farms.

The signature design using cymbidiums grown byWestland Orchids and roses grown by Myriad Farms, two local flower farms. (Linda Blue/CCFC)

Designing more than 100 vases for the centerpieces and takeaway gifts wasn’t easy, given the short production timeline. Margaret had some help, thanks to friends and fellow designers.

Rebecca Raymond of Sunnybrooks Florals of Vashon Island, Washington, along with Jill Redman of Forage Florals in Solvang, California, and Laura Cogan of Passion Flowers Design in Buellton, California, joined the design team — all as volunteers.

Together, they wanted to make a dramatic statement for arriving guests.

The top of the entry arbor towered above the doorway to the orchid greenhouse. (Linda Blue/CCFC)

The top of the entry arbor towered above the doorway to the orchid greenhouse. (Linda Blue/CCFC)

The four constructed a 10-foot-tall-by-12-foot wide birch-tree arbor to grace the doorway to the orchid greenhouse.  Acacia foliage, green cymbidium orchids, yellow gerberas and white snapdragons draped from the branches and created a magical moment for everyone who entered.

This photo gives you a sense of scale that the floral arch achieved. With Laura Cogan, Margaret Lloyd and Rebecca Raymond.

This photo gives you a sense of scale that the floral arch achieved. With (from left): floral designers Laura Cogan, Margaret Lloyd and Rebecca Raymond.

I applaud these talented women for what they achieved. The floral environment they created will set a high standard for future Field to Vase Dinners.

It was "work" - I promise you! I enjoyed working with the event time, including Adrienne Young, CCFC's social media and branding expert. (Linda Blue/CCFC)

It was “work” – I promise you! I enjoyed working with the event time, including Adrienne Young, CCFC’s social media and branding expert. (Linda Blue/CCFC)

You might have missed the first Field to Vase Dinner but there are nine more venues on the calendar for 2015. Please check out the full schedule here – and secure your seat at one or more of these very special settings on America’s flower farms, coast to coast.

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I also want to alert you to an opportunity for flower farmers and floral designers in the New York area:

Farmdale

On Wednesday, March 25th, the department of Urban Horticulture & Design at Farmingdale State College in Farmingdale, New York (on Long Island) is hosting its 5th Annual Sustainable Garden Conference. This year’s theme is Flower Power: Growing and Designing With Flowers for All Seasons.

Speakers and workshops will focus on commercial cut flower farming and floral design, with a special presentation by SlowFlowers.com member Lynn Mehl, owner of Good Old Days Ecoflorist in New Windsor, New York, who will speak on “Working with Local Cut Flowers – a Designer’s Perspective.”

There is even a presentation scheduled about the Slow Flowers Movement, although I won’t be able to give it in person. For anyone in the tri-state area, or even from farther away, this will be an exciting opportunity to meet with area cut flower farmers, educators, advocates and florists who care about sourcing their flowers locally. The cost for students is $35 and $65 for the general public and you’ll find links to registration here.

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Thanks for joining me this week and please return again, as I continue to share insightful and educational episodes recorded exclusively for the Slow Flowers Podcast.

Thanks to listeners, this podcast has been downloaded nearly 38,000 times. If you like what you hear, please consider logging onto Itunes and posting a listener review.

Until next week please join me in putting more American grown flowers on the table, one vase at a time.

The slow flowers podcast is engineered and edited by Andrew Wheatley and Hannah Holtgeerts. Learn more about their work at shellandtree.com

The Flowering of Detroit, with Lisa Waud of Pot & Box (Episode 181)

Wednesday, February 18th, 2015

After the crazy week of Valentine’s Day, I’m shifting my thoughts to springtime, aren’t you? That’s a little easier for me to say here in Seattle, where the thermometers climbed above 60 degrees last week and flowers are popping up everywhere. But someone reminded me today that spring is only 30 days away. Hold on, everyone!

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The Slow Flowers Movement and Slowflowers.com attracted major media attention last week – on wire services, television, radio, print and blogs. I am so grateful for the attention that is turning to American flowers, the passionate farmers who grow our favorite varieties and the talented designers who create magic with each local and seasonal stem they choose. Here is a sampling of some of the headlines we saw last week:

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“Slow Flowers Movement Pushes Local, U.S.-Grown Cut Flowers” (that story was written by Associated Press agriculture reporter Margery Beck and it literally went viral — appearing in media outlets large and small – from the Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune to ABCNews.com). Slowflowers.com member Megan Hird of Farmstead Flowers in Bruning, Nebraska was also featured in this piece.

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“Slow Flowers’ Movement Champions Sustainable Blooms,” by Indiana Public Radio’s Sarah Fentem. Slowflowers.com member Harvest Moon Flower Farm of Spencer, Indiana was also featured in this piece.

“About those flowers you’re buying today; Where did they come from? ask Oregon Growers” from Janet Eastman of The Oregonian. Slowflowers.com member Oregon Flowers was also featured in this story.

“Just in Time for Valentine’s Day: Introducing Farm-to-Table’s Pretty, Flowery Cousin,” by Sarah McColl on the sustainability blog TakePark.com which also featured Molly Culver of Molly Oliver Flowers in Brooklyn, a Slowflowers.com member.

Denver Post reporter Elizabeth Hernandez wrote: “Colorado farmers, florists seek renaissance for local flower scene,” featuring Slowflowers.com member Chet Anderson of The Fresh Herb Co.

And Reuters writer P.J. Huffstutter’s piece “Exotic US Blooms Flourish amid roses in Cupid’s bouquet,” featuring the “slow flower” movement, as well as the CCFC and ASCFG.

We can’t even tally the tens of thousands of impressions that came from this great media coverage – but suffice it to say that, according to Kasey Cronquist, CEO/Ambassador of the CCFC, “In my tenure at the Commission, I can confidently say that this past week of media attention and interest was greater than all of the my other years of doing interviews and monitoring Valentine’s Day coverage.”

He went on to say: “I can also quickly point to the three things that made the difference this year.

  • Debra Prinzing’s SlowFlowers.com
  • Launch of Certified American Grown
  • Increasing Awareness of Caring Consumers, Designers and Buyers”
Slowflowers.com is growing with our 500th member!

Slowflowers.com is growing with our 500th member!

On top of all of that excitement, I want to celebrate a major milestone! This week marks the addition of the 500th member to the Slowflowers.com web site. Please welcome Shelly DeJong of Home Grown Flowers in Lynden, Washington. Shelly’s tagline is “Flowers as fresh and local as possible,” and she specializes in ball-jar bouquets delivered to customers in her community, throughout the year and for special occasions. Welcome to Slowflowers.com, Shelly!

We can already feel that 2015 might be THE year when the story of American grown flowers hits an important inflection point. As we witness a critical shift in consumer mindset at the cash register, I believe we’ll also see a change — in a good way — in the behavior of wholesalers and retailers who make those important flower sourcing decisions.

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One of the things I’m most excited about this year is a series of flower farm dinners that celebrate American grown flowers, as well as the farms and florists who bring them to life. To hear more about this cool project, called the Field to Vase Dinner Tour, I’ve asked special events manager Kathleen Williford to share details.

As I mentioned, you are invited to take part as a guest at one or more of the flower farm venues. The promo code for a $25 discount is DREAM, so be sure to use it when you order your seat at the flower-laden table.

theflowerhouse_graphic

The Flower House logo, designed by Lily Stotz

Speaking of being flower-laden, our featured guest today has flowers on her brain in a big way. I am so pleased to introduce you to Lisa Waud of Pot and Box, a flower shop and floral and event studio with two Michigan locations – in Detroit and Ann Arbor. Lisa is a member of Slowflowers.com, but I think we originally met when Jill Rizzo of SF’s Studio Choo suggested to Lisa to reach out and tell me about her ambitious project called The Flower House.

Here’s the scoop:

Beginning over the first weekend of MAY, Lisa will host a preview event for an innovative art installation in Detroit.

Imagine this abandoned storefront - filled with Lisa's floral dreams. (c) Heather Saunders Photography

Imagine this abandoned storefront – filled with Lisa’s floral dreams. (c) Heather Saunders Photography

There, potential sponsors, partners, friends and volunteers will get a whiff of the “big project” on a smaller scale. In a tiny storefront, they will install a breathtaking floral display, just next door to a once-abandoned urban property where Lisa and fellow designers ultimately hope to transform an aging, 11-room duplex into The Flower House.

“We’ll generally work our future audience into a flower frenzy,” Lisa says of the kickoff event.

When October 16th-18th rolls around, cutting-edge florists from Michigan and across the country will fill the walls and ceilings of an abandoned Detroit house with American-grown fresh flowers and living plants for a weekend installation.

The project will be featured in local, national, and worldwide media for innovation in floral design and repurposing forgotten structures in the city of Detroit.  

Visitors will be welcomed to an opening reception and a weekend of exploration, and a few reserved times will be offered to couples to hold their wedding ceremonies in The Flower House.  

Re-flowering an abandoned home in Detroit - a glimpse of Lisa Waud's grand idea (c) Heather Saunders Photography.

Re-flowering an abandoned home in Detroit – a glimpse of Lisa Waud’s grand idea (c) Heather Saunders Photography.

When the installation weekend has passed, the structures on The Flower House property will be responsibly deconstructed and their materials repurposed. The land will be converted into a flower farm and design education center on a formerly neglected property. 

For more details on The Flower House, follow these links:

The Flower House on Facebook

The Flower House Inspiration on Pinterest

The Flower House on Twitter

The Flower House on Instagram

I feel like I’m saying this week after week, but today’s conversations, with Kathleen and Lisa, are so truly encouraging.

This IS the Year of the American Grown Flower. Please join efforts like the Field to Vase Dinner Tour and Detroit’s The Flower House to get in on the excitement. Both projects are community focused, with the potential for engaging huge numbers of people.

By exposing lovers of local food and floral design to the immense creativity that comes from sourcing our flowers locally, in season and from American farms, we are deepening the conversation, connecting people with their flowers in a visceral way. All the senses are stimulated, as well as our imaginations.

Thank you for downloading and listening to the Slow Flowers Podcast! Each week I share with you our “download” count and we have hit 35,000 downloads to date. I’m encouraged to know more people are learning about the farmers and florists who keeping American-grown flowers flourishing.

So I thank you!!! If you like what you hear, please consider logging onto Itunes and posting a listener review.

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

Re-Wilding with The Floracultural Society (Episode 179)

Wednesday, February 4th, 2015
Stephanie Huges and Anna Campbell of The FloraCultural Society in Oakland, CA.

Stephanie Hughes and Anna Campbell of The FloraCultural Society in Oakland, CA.

rewild Today I am delighted to introduce the women behind an innovative flower farm/floral design business in Oakland, California called The FloraCultural Society.

Anna Campbell, who owns the venture with her mother Linda Davis, has an extensive career in horticulture, agriculture, floral design, editorial and retail.

She freely admits during our conversation how no matter what she pursued professionally, flowers have continued to draw her like a bee to nectar. Many of you will understand this “flower fever,” which makes Anna’s story so compelling.

After previous forays into floral retail, Anna developed and launched the current format for The FloraCultural Society — part micro urban flower farm / part flower shop and studio space. She describes the business as “a cut flower farm and retail shop providing plant-based goods, classes and events.”

Anna, Linda and Stephanie in the new retail shop on College Ave. in Oakland's Rockridge Neighborhood.

Anna, Linda and Stephanie in the new retail shop on College Ave. in Oakland’s Rockridge Neighborhood.

flora+circle+logo Anna connected with Stephanie Hughes through the local flower farming community in the Bay Area and last year Stephanie joined The FloraCultural Society as Director of Flora and Farm Operations.

I’m so pleased that Stephanie’s voice is included in the interview because she’s the one who introduced Anna and me last October, when I was invited to visit the new FloraCultural Society shop in downtown Oakland’s Rockridge neighborhood on College Ave., a stone’s throw from Berkeley.

Stephanie and I originally met last May when we were both part of a bearded iris design workshop taught by Sarah Ryhanen and Nicolette Owen of The Little Flower School.

At the time, Stephanie was still shadowing and apprenticing with flower farmers and floral designers, hoping to find a new career in the Bay Area after escaping from a corporate retail job. And now, she’s working closely with Anna to bring locally-grown flowers to their community!

Here's the artwork for The FloraCultural Society's upcoming Kickstarter Campaign.

Here’s the artwork for The FloraCultural Society’s upcoming Kickstarter Campaign, a watercolor that depicts the parcel of land they plan to farm that’s super close to a freeway overpass.

I know you’ll enjoy the conversation, so click on the PLAY BUTTON above to listen or download this episode. And I do want to encourage you to check out the new Kickstarter Campaign that Anna and Stephanie and their team will launch on February 7th.

The campaign seeks to raise funds to so the new 2-acre flower farm is off to a good start. If you’re in the neighborhood, stop by between 11 and 3 for light refreshments, sneak previews of the campaign’s rewards and view a screening of the new “Help us Grow” video.

A peek inside the new flower shop in Oakland.

A peek inside the new flower shop in Oakland.

A bouquet called "Flowers to Dye For," which includes flowers and floral dye. After you purchase the $95 bouquet, you are invited to return to The FloraCultural Society to participate in a post-Valentine's Day workshop with Sasha Duerr, author of "The Handbook of Natural Plant Dyes.

A bouquet called “Flowers to Dye For,” which includes flowers and floral dye. After you purchase the $95 bouquet, you are invited to return to The FloraCultural Society to participate in a post-Valentine’s Day workshop with Sasha Duerr, author of “The Handbook of Natural Plant Dyes.

A medium sized bouquet of beautiful floral cuttings in the signature quiver.  Twenty percent of the proceeds of this bouquet purchase go towards seed, soil, and supplies for the petite urban farm.

A medium sized bouquet of beautiful floral cuttings in the signature quiver. Twenty percent of the proceeds of this bouquet purchase go towards seed, soil, and supplies for the petite urban farm.

For a brief engagement this Valentine's Day - A medium sized bouquet of blush garden roses and beautiful, fragrant winter blooms in our signature quiver.

For a brief engagement this Valentine’s Day – A medium sized bouquet of blush garden roses and beautiful, fragrant winter blooms in our signature quiver.

As I mentioned in the talk, Anna wowed me with a gift of a letterpress print that she commissioned for the opening of the new shop on College Avenue. It reads “Rewild Your Life . . . Give in to Floral Mutiny.”

The mini flower farm, located in Oakland on less than 2,500 square feet. It's ready to be joined by a new 2-acre parcel nearby.

The mini flower farm, located in Oakland on less than 2,500 square feet. It’s ready to be joined by a new 2-acre parcel nearby.

Here’s a little more about the company, from The FloraCultural Society’s web site:

The FloraCultural Society was established in hopes of uniting a network of people interested in the beauty of sustainably grown flowers and plant-based goods.  In 2012, we dug into a 2,600 foot plot of land in Old Oakland and began to grow heirloom varieties in the midst of the city.  The contrast between the wild organic flowers and the industrialized structure of the city inspired  the FloraCultural Society’s tagline… ReWild Your Life.

We are now sourcing from local farms in the Bay Area and have plans of expanding our own farm to 2 acres, giving us the ability to provide you with distinct, heirloom varieties.

In joining our society, it is our hope that you may become connected with your wild side, simplifying the way you indulge.  We invite you to take a class with us, Join our CSF (our Community Supported Flowers), try out our plant based skin care lines, and rewild your home with a locally grown arrangement.

The idea of ReWilding is a lovely sentiment that we can all embrace!

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

If you want to get started in or further your knowledge of specialty cut flower farming, or if you’re a designer who wants to strengthen your connections with local flowers, I want to share details of two opportunities coming up. The Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers is hosting two regional Growers’ Intensives in March.

On March 2nd and 3rd, in Athens, Georgia, attendees will meet and learn from experienced flower farmers including Rita Anders from Cuts of Color in Weimar, Texas whose topic is: From Seed to Market: A Few of My Most Profitable Flowers.”

Arrive early and attend the informal meet-and-greet on Sunday evening March 1st, hosted by Tanis Clifton of Happy Trails Flower Farm in Dennis, Mississippi, and Mimo Davis of Urban Buds in St. Louis, Missouri.

You’ll also get a chance to visit Three Porch Farm, owned by Steve and Mandy O’Shea in Comer, Georgia, and participate in a bouquet-making session co-led by Mandy (known for her beautiful Moonflower design studio) and Jennie Love of Love ‘n’ Fresh Flowers in Philadelphia — both of whom have been featured in the New York Times. And not to miss, also at Three Porch, a demonstration of veggie oil-powered vehicles and other equipment.

On March 23rd and 24th, a west coast Growers’ Intensive will take place in San Jose, California – and I’ll be there to meet you! You’ll hear from expert presenters, including several past guests of this podcast, including Rita Jo Shoultz of Alaska Perfect Peony, Joan Thorndike of Le Mera Gardens in Ashland, Oregon and Diana Roy of Resendiz Brothers Protea Growers in Fallbrook, California, and others. I’ll be there with my recording equipment and I hope to capture some new voices to share on future Slow Flowers episodes.

There are a few upcoming deadlines to take note of, including the Georgia hotel room block and the San Jose bus tour of local flower farms, both of which expires this Friday, February 6th, so register soon.

Thanks for joining me today.  My personal goal is to put more American grown flowers on the table, one vase at a time.

Increasingly, there are passionate people like you who are joining the Slow Flowers movement, the Floral Mutiny as Anna Campbell calls it. You are downloading and listening to the Slow Flowers Podcast more than ever before!

We have exceeded 33,000 downloads to date and every time that figure climbs, I’m encouraged to know more people are learning about the farmers and florists who keeping American-grown flowers flourishing.

I don’t know exactly how to credit our growth, but get this: The Slow Flowers Podcast ended the month of January with more than 4,000 downloads, nearly 1500 individual downloads more than any month prior.

There’s something very good going. More people are entering the flower farming profession in the U.S.; more florists are seeking fresh, seasonal and sustainable sources of American grown flowers with which to create their beautiful designs; and more flower lovers are asking: “where are my flowers grown” and expect transparent labeling of those blooms. Origin does matter when it comes to your flowers.

So I thank you!!! If you like what you hear, please consider logging onto Itunes and posting a listener review.

The Slow Flowers Podcast is engineered and edited by Andrew Wheatley and Hannah Holtgeerts.