Debra Prinzing

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Archive for the ‘floral design’ Category

Episode 392: News from St. Louis-based Urban Buds and the ASCFG Urban Farming Conference; Plus Our State Focus: Florida

Wednesday, March 13th, 2019
Mimo Davis and Miranda Duschack of Urban Buds.

Today, we return to St. Louis, Missouri, to check in with the dynamic duo, Mimo Davis and Miranda Duschack of Urban Buds.

Not only will you hear more about their farm’s expansion news, I especially wanted them to share highlights of the upcoming Urban Farming Conference that they and others have organized as a program of the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers.

Every other year, ASCFG has a large annual symposium, such as the Raleigh conference last year. Then, during the alternating years, such as what’s happening during 2019, ASCFG produces several topic-focused sessions in regions around North America. Later this month, on Saturday, March 23rd, the second such event of the year heads to St. Louis.

You’ll hear a preview of some of the presenters and their topics covered at this one-day event, which includes a panel presentation from Mimo and Miranda and owners of two other Missouri flower farms — all about the results of their research and trials on Winter production. There will also be a tour of the local floral wholesaler, Baisch & Skinner, and a farm tour at Urban Buds.

Fresh, local, sustainable and beautiful ranunculus, grown in the heart of St. Louis at Urban Buds.

Spring will have barely arrived outdoors, but inside the greenhouses and high tunnels at Urban Buds, beautiful seasonal flowers will be on full display. I’m excited for the attendees — the city farm is a sight to behold and proof that a flower farm can be just as successful on small plots as well as on larger acreage.

2016: Photographer Tiffany Marie Buckley caught this image of me as I sampled (sniffed) the first crop of beautiful stock at Urban Buds

I love how the Urban Farming conference is described by ASCFG on its web site: “Not all cut flowers are grown on a traditional farm. Increasingly, more and more farmers are finding land within city limits, and producing a remarkable variety of cut flowers on a commercial level. Learn from two of the most successful, Mimo Davis and Miranda Duschack, how they carved a one-acre cut flower farm out of the middle of a St. Louis neighborhood, and continue to expand their crop selection each year with innovation and environmental sustainability.”

Here is a link to the ASCFG Urban Farming Conference details, including registration and lodging.

Here is a link to my 2016 Slow Flowers Podcast interview with Mimo and Miranda, Episode 238.

Follow Urban Buds on Facebook

See more about Urban Buds on Instagram

Kate Read of Grey Tabby Gardens in Lake Mary, Florida

Our theme for 2019 – Fifty States of Slow Flowers – continues today, with Kate Read of Grey Tabby Gardens in Lake Mary, Florida.

Grey Tabby Gardens is located in the central part of the state; she describes her floral enterprise as “a boutique cut flower garden and design studio.”

Grey Tabby Gardens, where Kate Read lives and grows her beautiful, English-inspired cut flowers.

Kate grew up in England and brings a love of English gardens with her wherever she lives, including Florida, which she has called home for 18 years.

She writes this on her web site: “When I first moved to Florida there seemed to be very little interest in growing the type of flowers I was familiar with. My research led me to the “Slow Flower” movement and the desire amongst many flower lovers to source locally grown cut flowers, rather than imported flowers. I began to plan and plant a sizeable cutting garden where I could grow many of the lovely seasonal flowers that reminded me so much of those idyllic English gardens. The result is an ever evolving collation of unique and difficult to source garden fresh flowers styled into lush bouquets and arrangements and available to buy!”

The flowers that are grown at Grey Tabby Gardens are nurtured from seed to bloom and are tended using responsible practices. They have been naturally grown without the use of toxic chemicals or synthetic fertilizers and have been happily visited by bees, butterflies and hummingbirds.

A lovely floral arrangement from Kate Read

Thanks so much for joining me today. I’m just back from the Philadelphia Flower Show where my mind was fully blown, not only by the warm welcome shown to me on the Designer’s Studio stage, where I presented the Slow Flowers story through flowers, but also by the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see and cover the FTD World Cup floral competition.

Twenty Three countries sent a designer to compete on the world stage and over the course of three days, tens of thousands of flower show attendees witnessed the highest level of talent in real time. I’ll be writing about the competition for Florists’ Review and Canadian Florist, so you can read more about it in the near future. Suffice it to say, there is some kind of new dynamic, new energy being infused in the profession of floral design, especially here in the U.S., where florists of all stages of experience and style are inspired to elevate their craft and art to new levels.

Congratulations to all the remarkable FTD World Cup competitors — you are the cream of the crop — and special congratulations to Australian floral designer Bart Hassam for winning this international floral competition. I’ll have a link to beautiful images and videos from the World Cup in today’s show notes — you must take a look and drink it in.

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

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

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

The Slow Flowers Summit is coming up soon — on July 1 & 2nd in St. Paul, Minnesota. More than half of the registration slots have been grabbed, so don’t miss out on this opportunity to join with Slow Flowers thinkers and doers in person.

One of our past year’s speakers dubbed the Summit a “floral mind meld,” and I love that concept. Come and be a part of the incredible and uplifting experience! You can make your way to slowflowerssummit.com to learn all about the many opportunities to join us — from flower farm tours and dinner on a flower farm to business and branding presentations to interactive and inspiring design sessions . . . all designed to serve you! Subscribe to Summit news and updates at slowflowerssummit.com.

Thank you to our Sponsors who we’ve spotlighted today:

And thank you to our lead sponsor, Florists’ Review magazine. I’m delighted to serve as Contributing Editor for Slow Flowers Journal, found in the pages of Florists’ Review. It’s the leading trade magazine in the floral industry and the only independent periodical for the retail, wholesale and supplier market. Take advantage of the special subscription offer for members of the Slow Flowers Community.

Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers. Formed in 1988, ASCFG was created to educate, unite, and support commercial cut flower growers. It mission is to help growers produce high-quality floral material, and to foster and promote the local availability of that product. Learn more at ascfg.org.

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

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

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 422,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much. Thank you all!

I’m Debra Prinzing, host and producer of the Slow Flowers Podcast.
Next week, you’re invited to join me in putting more American grown flowers on the table, one vase at a time. And If you like what you hear, please consider logging onto iTunes and posting a listener review.

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

The Slow Flowers Podcast is engineered and edited by Andrew Brenlan. Learn more about his work at soundbodymovement.com

Music Credits:
Dirtbike Lovers; Symphony 40 in G Minor; Rabbit Hole; Gaena; Perspirationby Blue Dot Sessionshttp://www.sessions.bluehttps://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/
Lovely by Tryad http://tryad.bandcamp.com/album/instrumentals
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/

In The Field
Music from:
audionautix.com

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

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

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

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

Evelyn Lee of Butternut Gardens in Southport, Connecticut

Here’s more about Evelyn Lee and her flowers:

Little White Flower Cottage sales building and floral sales tent

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

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

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

A beautiful peony mix from Butternut Gardens

Evelyn shares this on her web site:

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

Butternut Gardens’ springtime bouquets

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

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

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

Here’s how to find and follow Butternut Gardens:

Butternut Gardens on Facebook

Butternut Gardens on Instagram

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

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

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

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

THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS!!

Florists’ Review magazine. I’m delighted to serve as Contributing Editor for Slow Flowers Journal, found in the pages of Florists’ Review. It’s the leading trade magazine in the floral industry and the only independent periodical for the retail, wholesale and supplier market. Take advantage of the special subscription offer for members of the Slow Flowers Community.

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

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

Johnny’s Selected Seeds, an employee-owned company that provides our industry the best flower, herb and vegetable seeds — supplied to farms large and small and even backyard cutting gardens like mine. Check them out at johnnysseeds.com.

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

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

I’m Debra Prinzing, host and producer of the Slow Flowers Podcast.
Next week, you’re invited to join me in putting more American grown flowers on the table, one vase at a time. And If you like what you hear, please consider logging onto iTunes and posting a listener review.

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

The Slow Flowers Podcast is engineered and edited by Andrew Brenlan. Learn more about his work at soundbodymovement.com

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

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

In The Field
Music from:
audionautix.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Summer Camp at Broadturn Farm
Summer Camp at Broadturn Farm

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

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

Dahlias at Broadturn Farm

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

Beautiful Bird’s Eye view of Broadturn Farm

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

Broadturn Farm on Facebook

Broadturn Farm on Instagram

Broadturn Farm Flower Shop at FORAGE (Portland)

READ MORE…

Episode 387: When Flowers are Your Side Hustle, with Nan Matteson of Queen City Flower Farm, Plus State Spotlight: Arkansas

Wednesday, February 6th, 2019

Queen City Flower Farm’s flowers, grown by today’s guest, Nan Matteson

Nan Matteson of Queen City Flower Farm, based in Cincinnati, Ohio

I’m delighted to share today’s conversation with Nan Matteson of Queen City Flower Farm in Cincinnati, Ohio.

I met Nan virtually in 2015 when she emailed me to introduce herself. It was a lovely note from a woman who would become a kindred spirit and friend. Nan wrote this:

“Once vase at a time.” That was the line that hooked me. I could make one vase.

I’m a podcast junkie and a gardener.  Slow Flowers hit my radar either via Ken Druse or Riz Reyes early in the game. I listened all summer. I wanted to hang out with these people. I showed up at the ASCFG meeting in Delaware to explore more. Met you ever so briefly.   

Came home wondering, how can I be a part of this movement?  I could read between the lines. People already owned the land. There was a husband/family in the background. But let’s be honest. I’m single, in my late 50’s, and wasn’t about to leave my good job w/ benefits.

More beautiful bouquets and field-grown zinnias from Queen City Flower Farm.

However, one afternoon in late November I had coffee w/ a local CSA farmer who had no interest in flowers. She said, “Nan, come grow for us on our land.” An offer I couldn’t refuse. 

I spent the winter reading, ordering seeds and tubers. Listening to more podcasts. By spring I knew I still knew nothing about growing cut flowers, but took the advice offered in multiple podcasts, “Just start.” 

So I have spent this summer providing mixed bouquets for Finn Meadows CSA. A barnacle business as Elizabeth Artis would say. A mini-micro biz I say. I average 7 bouquets a week. Not much, but seven more vases of fresh, local, seasonal flowers sitting on someone’s table each week. 

And I continue to listen to your podcast. 

Lucky for me I’m heading to NYC this week-end. And although not planned it turned out that I had scheduled myself the same week as the Field to Vase dinner in Brooklyn. Oh my gosh! So what’s another day in NYC if I can catch that event? I hope to see you there.

Final thought: trend is not a bad word  – embrace it. You’ve created a wonderful trend! (Who am I to tell you what to say?!) 

Love your podcast. Its growth proves its worth. Sincerely, Nan Matteson

Event bouquets (left) and a gift bouquet (right), grown by Nan Matteson of Queen City Flower Farm.

Isn’t that just the kind of email to savor again and again?!

Nan (right) with her sister, at Flower House Detroit in 2015. The women are wearing botanical brooches, which Nan made.

As it turns out, I met Nan that summer of 2015 in Brooklyn, and subsequently, at Lisa Waud’s Flower House Detroit, just a few months later.

She joined Slow Flowers as a member, came to the Slow Flowers Summit #1 and #2 (and she’s already scheduled to join us in St. Paul at Slow Flowers Summit #3).

We’ve met up at other flower events and when Nan came to Seattle last month for a short visit, I told her we needed to record an episode for the Podcast!

Lucky for me, she said YES! I know you will enjoy our conversation and laughter.

And you’ll be inspired as I am, by Nan’s joie de vivre and her determination to keep on growing flowers, even if just for a single vase of beauty.

Find and follow Nan Matteson at these social places — she’s one you’ll want to follow and connect with.

Queen City Flower Farm on Instagram

The Marmalade Lily, where Nan will be growing dahlias this coming season.

All Arkansas-grown wedding by Rose of Sharon Floral Design Studio

Althea Wiles, Rose of Sharon Floral Design Studio

Our theme for 2019 – Fifty States of Slow Flowers – continues today, with Arkansas-based Althea Wiles of Rose of Sharon Floral Design Studio.

Follow Rose of Sharon at these social places:

Rose of Sharon on Facebook

Rose of Sharon on Instagram

Rose of Sharon on Pinterest

Thanks so much for joining me on this journey, seeking new and inspiring voices, people with passion, heart, commitment and expertise to share with you.

I hope today’s episode gave you at least one inspiring insight or tip to apply to your floral enterprise. What you gain will be multiplied as you pay it forward  and help someone else.

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

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

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

First, our bonus flower farm tours and Slow Flowers Dinner on the Farm, taking place on Sunday, June 30th.

On Monday, July 1st, we will all gather at Paikka Event Space for day one of the Summit.

On Tuesday, July 2nd we will tour the Twin Cities Flower Exchange as it’s swimming in locally grown flowers.

I can’t wait to see you there! Ticket sales continue with a special Slow Flowers member discount at $375.

You’ll learn all about the many opportunities to join us — from flower farm tours and dinner on a flower farm to business and branding presentations to interactive and inspiring design sessions . . . all designed to serve you! Sign up to receive updates at slowflowerssummit.com.

Thank you to our Sponsors, including those highlighted today!

Florists’ Review magazine: I’m delighted to serve as Contributing Editor for Slow Flowers Journal, found in the pages of Florists’ Review. It’s the leading trade magazine in the floral industry and the only independent periodical for the retail, wholesale and supplier market. Take advantage of the special subscription offer for members of the Slow Flowers Community.

Madras, Oregon-based NW Green Panels, designer and builder of a wide array of wood-framed greenhouses. Their greenhouses are 100% Oregon-made using twin-wall polycarbonate manufactured in Wisconsin, making NW Green Panel structures a great value for your backyard. The 8×8 foot Modern Slant greenhouse has become the essential hub of my cutting garden — check out photos of my greenhouse here!

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

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

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 405,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much. Thank you all!

I’m Debra Prinzing, host and producer of the Slow Flowers Podcast. Next week, you’re invited to join me in putting more American grown flowers on the table, one vase at a time. And If you like what you hear, please consider logging onto iTunes and posting a listener review.

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

The Slow Flowers Podcast is engineered and edited by Andrew Brenlan. Learn more about his work at soundbodymovement.com

Music Credits:
Loopy; Rabbit Hole; Gaena; Perspiration
by Blue Dot Sessions
Music from:

audionautix.com

Tracking Floral Futures: Slow Flowers’ Floral Insights & Industry Forecast 2019

Monday, February 4th, 2019

For the second year, Florists’ Review magazine published my annual forecast (aka Trend Report) for all things Slow Flowers in the January issue. In my presentations about the report, I have shared 10 Insights and 2 Bonus Insights that shine a light on the prevailing shifts in sustainable flower farming and floral design.

You can read the Florists’ Review report here and download a PDF of “Tracking Floral Futures.” FinalForecast2019

Above is a video of my 2019 Forecast Report, presented at the annual Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers’ conference last September. It runs for a full hour, but I wanted to post it here for anyone interested in learning more about the incredibly powerful shifts taking place in domestic floral agriculture and progressive floral design.

You can also download a PDF of the slide show here. Slow Flowers Presentation

Future Focus

I’ve already begun to compile my impressions for the 2020 Forecast and I’m eager to get your input. If you have thoughts or suggestions, please send my way: debraprinzing@gmail.com.

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

Wednesday, January 30th, 2019

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

Jenny Elliott, one half of Tiny Hearts Farms.

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

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

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

Luke Franco, one half of Tiny Hearts Farms

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

His-and-Her Planting at Tiny Hearts Farm

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

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

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

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

Rows and rows of flowers at Tiny Hearts Farm.

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

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

Inside the beautiful Tiny Hearts Farm Shop in Hillsdale, NY

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

Tiny Hearts Farm on Facebook

Tiny Hearts Farm on Instagram

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

Fifty States of Slow Flowers in Arizona

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

Arizona-grown bouquet by MiViva Designs.

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

MiViva Designs on Facebook

MiViva Designs on Instagram

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sign up to receive updates at slowflowerssummit.com.

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

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

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

Thank you to our Sponsors!

Thank you to: Florists’ Review magazine. I’m delighted to serve as Contributing Editor for Slow Flowers Journal, found in the pages of Florists’ Review. It’s the leading trade magazine in the floral industry and the only independent periodical for the retail, wholesale and supplier market. Take advantage of the special subscription offer for members of the Slow Flowers Community

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

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

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

I’m Debra Prinzing, host and producer of the Slow Flowers Podcast. Next week, you’re invited to join me in putting more American grown flowers on the table, one vase at a time. And If you like what you hear, please consider logging onto iTunes and posting a listener review.

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

The Slow Flowers Podcast is engineered and edited by Andrew Brenlan. Learn more about his work at soundbodymovement.com

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

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

Wednesday, January 16th, 2019

Jolea Gress and Jenny Hotz of Green Earth Growers

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

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

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

The flower harvest at Green Earth Growers.

Here’s a bit about their story:

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

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

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

Beautiful field-grown sunflowers from Green Earth Growers.

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

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

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

Find and follow Green Earth Growers at these social places:

Green Earth Growers on Facebook

Green Earth Growers on Instagram

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Find and follow Lisa Thorne at these social places:

Thorne & Thistle on Facebook

Thorne & Thistle on Instagram

Thorne & Thistle on Pinterest

Thorne & Thistle on Twitter

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

I’m Debra Prinzing, host and producer of the Slow Flowers Podcast.

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

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

The Slow Flowers Podcast is engineered and edited by Andrew Brenlan. Learn more about his work at soundbodymovement.com

SPONSOR THANKS:

Florists’ Review magazine. I’m delighted to serve as Contributing Editor for Slow Flowers Journal, found in the pages of Florists’ Review. It’s the leading trade magazine in the floral industry and the only independent periodical for the retail, wholesale and supplier market. Take advantage of the special subscription offer for members of the Slow Flowers Community.

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

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

Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers. Formed in 1988, ASCFG was created to educate, unite, and support commercial cut flower growers. It mission is to help growers produce high-quality floral material, and to foster and promote the local availability of that product. Learn more at ascfg.org. And check out the web site for details about the upcoming Focus on the Business of Cut Flowers conference, set for Feb 18-19 in Denver. Seven of the experts presenting at the conference are past guests of the Slow Flowers Podcast, so you’ll recognize some familiar names and topics in the lineup!

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

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

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2019

Welcome to the 2019 Forecast!

Happy New Year 2019!

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

Check out the NEW Slowflowerssociety.com site!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

First up: the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers.

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

Its mission is to help growers produce high-quality floral material, and to foster and promote the local availability of that product.

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

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

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

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

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

Number #1 Experiences, Not Conveniences

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

READ MORE…

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

Wednesday, December 26th, 2018

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

(c) Mary Grace Long photography

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NUMBER ONE: the SECOND ANNUAL SLOW FLOWERS SUMMIT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Flowers on my head, courtesy of Mud Baron.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#americanflowersweek on Instagram this week!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

READ MORE…

Episode 376: Meet Maple & Mum, a mother-daughter designer duo with a commitment to locally-grown Connecticut flowers

Wednesday, November 21st, 2018

The Maple & Mum Mobile Flower Shop! It’s a popular sight around the streets of their Connecticut community.

 

Then and Now: Left, a young florist with her child; Right, today, meet Nancy Hilton and Kate Brunson

Maple and Mum’s upscaled flower truck with Nancy Hilton peeking out of the truck’s “shop” window.

Last October I co-hosted a Connecticut area Slow Flowers Meet-Up at Trout Lily Farm in Guilford, outside New Haven.

And the following month, I spoke at the New England Farmer-Florist Connection’s Meet-Up in Providence, Rhode Island.

Both times, I met and enjoyed my conversations with today’s guests — and I love that they agreed to share their story with listeners of the Slow Flowers Podcast today!

Please meet Nancy Hilton and Kate Brunson, a super-creative, mother-daughter duo who have combined their love of natural beauty, design and celebrations to create a family business that serves wedding and event clients in Connecticut and beyond.

I loved reading Maple & Mum’s origin story on the studio’s web site — and  have to share it here with you.

A Maple & Mum centerpiece with all localy-grown Connecticut botanicals (c) Pizzuti Photography

Kate (left) and Nancy (right) of Maple & Mum

The idea was born on a cold winter afternoon as Kate was preparing to return to her 9-to-5 office job after the birth of her daughter in 2012.

Searching for a more meaningful, creative career that supported more time with her growing family, she asked her mom for advice.

Nancy recalled her years working in their small-town flower shop while her girls were in grade-school, telling Kate it was the best job she ever had because the hours flew by while she worked with her hands creating art through flowers.

That spark led to research, floral design courses and finally — right here — to my Slow Flowers Podcast, where weekly stories of farmers and florists growing and designing with local flowers convinced the women to take the leap and open their own floral design business in May 2015.

Their name stems from the roots they’ve planted in New England and the maple tree they’ve had in every place they’ve called home. One seedling from Nancy’s childhood home has moved with them as life has taken them from place to place. And the mum, an homage to their favorite season and motherhood. Inspired by the changing seasons, Maple & Mum proudly partners with local growers to create lush, organic designs.

Bouquets from a Barberry Hill Farm Wedding from this past August.

What I found so encouraging about the Maple & Mum story is how Nancy and Kate are growing their design business to support their lifestyles. Surprisingly, but perhaps not so surprisingly because talented women are capable of accomplishing so much when they set their minds to a challenge, both Nancy and Kate work in full-time jobs. That Maple & Mum designed florals for 17 ceremonies in 2018 is mind-blowing — congratulations, ladies!

Maple and Mum is focused on locally-grown, seasonal flowers from Connecticut farming partners. (c) Stella Blue Photography

Hear how they juggle everything, rely on one another and the rest of their family for support, and what their long-term plans are for leaving the 9-to-5 routine for full-time floral design.

You’ll also be inspired by Maple & Mum’s commitment to sourcing local and seasonal flowers from Connecticut farms, and when that’s not possible, how they turn to domestic sourcing.

More New England wedding bouquets by Maple & Mum

Follow Maple & Mum at these social places:

Maple & Mum on Facebook

Maple & Mum on Instagram

Maple & Mum on Pinterest

Thanks so much for joining me today! I love that Kate and Nancy want to be “The Slow Flowers Choice” in their marketplace.

I’m super thankful to them for representing the business philosophy that I value so deeply.

American Thanksgiving is tomorrow and I want to wish you a warm and beautiful time celebrating the abundance of nature and community, around the table or wherever you find yourself.

It’s also a time for me to acknowledge my profound sense of gratitude for each of you, members and supporters of Slow Flowers, as well as flower-lovers around the world who join us each week. Thank you for being part of the Slow Flowers Community as we build a progressive floral marketplace that supports domestic floral agriculture in our own backyards.

I want to encourage you to visit Slow Flowers Summit to learn more about the amazing program, people and flowers you’ll engage with next summer. It’s not too early to save the date and secure your seat! Slow Flowers members receive special discount pricing and everyone receives $100 off with the Early Bird rate, on sale now!

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

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

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 382,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much. Thank you all!

Thank you to our sponsors who have supported Slow Flowers and all our programs.

Arctic Alaska Peonies, a cooperative of passionate family farms in the heart of Alaska providing bigger, better peony flowers during the months of July and August. Visit them today at arcticalaskapeonies.com

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

Longfield Gardens provides home gardeners with high quality flower bulbs and perennials. Their online store offers plants for every region and every season, from tulips and daffodils to dahlias, caladiums and amaryllis. Visit them at longfield-gardens.com.

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

Johnny’s Selected Seeds, an employee-owned company that provides our industry the best flower, herb and vegetable seeds — supplied to farms large and small and even backyard cutting gardens like mine. Check them out at johnnysseeds.com.

Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers. Formed in 1988, ASCFG was created to educate, unite, and support commercial cut flower growers. It mission is to help growers produce high-quality floral material, and to foster and promote the local availability of that product. Learn more at ascfg.org

Mayesh Wholesale Florist. Family-owned since 1978, Mayesh is the premier wedding and event supplier in the U.S. and we’re thrilled to partner with Mayesh to promote local and domestic flowers, which they source from farms large and small around the U.S. Learn more at mayesh.com.

Certified American Grown Flowers. The Certified American-Grown program and label provide a guarantee for designers and consumers on the source of their flowers. Take pride in your flowers and buy with confidence, ask for Certified American Grown Flowers.  To learn more visit americangrownflowers.org.

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

PepperHarrow Farm (c) Liz Brown @estorie

I’m Debra Prinzing, host and producer of the Slow Flowers Podcast.
Next week, you’re invited to join me in putting more American grown flowers on the table, one vase at a time. And If you like what you hear, please consider logging onto iTunes and posting a listener review.

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

The Slow Flowers Podcast is engineered and edited by Andrew Brenlan. Learn more about his work at soundbodymovement.com

Music Credits:
Bombadore; Perspiration
by Blue Dot Sessions
Music from:

audionautix.com