Debra Prinzing

Get the Email Newsletter!

Archive for the ‘Flower Farming’ Category

Episode 367: Flowers from the Lowcountry with Charleston, S.C.-based Jim Martin of Compost in My Shoe

Wednesday, September 19th, 2018

Jim Martin, today’s guest, is an amazing horticulturist and Southern flower farmer. We snapped this selfie at Brookgreen Gardens where Jim once worked.

Less than a month ago, I traveled to Charleston, S.C., where I spoke at the Southern Flower Symposium, hosted by Lowcountry Flower Growers. A number of wonderful and incredibly talented farmers and designers participated in the one-day conference, which was themed: “Future Forward Flower Success.”

After Rita Anders and I gave the morning presentations, the afternoon sessions at Southern Flower Symposium turned to floral design. Here, Anne Graves of Syndicate Sales discusses the company’s commitment to making vases and floral accessories in the U.S. Syndicate donated vessels for the design demonstration.

It was a fabulous time and I was honored to be invited by and hosted by today’s guest, Jim Martin. As a veteran horticulturist who has had a long career in public gardens, Jim works as director of programs for the Charleston Parks Conservancy. As a flower and veggie grower, he owns Compost in my Shoe, which originated as a garden blog and is now also the name of Jim’s farming enterprise.

Jim and David’s Southern front porch, inviting, comfortable, private and conducive to wonderful conversations.

Jim and his partner David Vagasky live incredibly creative lives on James Island, where there are lazy fans suspended above one’s bed, where there’s a covered porch with comfy chairs where you can sit and gaze at the lush, green garden, while sipping a glass of wine; Jim and David, along with their three friendly pups, took very good care of me. David is a culinary instructor, talented chef and chocolatier, a pedigree which immediately won me over!

Jim Martin with one of his floral creations inspired by the theme “Structure.” He used all locally-grown flowers and created three rhythmic towers with foam disks sliced from swimming pool “noodles.”

Another beautiful Jim Martin design featuring sunflowers, celosia and goldenrod stems, arranged in a metal frame that was once a wastebin.

Jim took me to tour Brookgreen Gardens near Myrtle Beach, where he once worked. We stumbled across a fantastic Patrick Dougherty installation!

My friendship with Jim dates back about 10 years through the Garden Writers Association, which found us serving on a long-range strategic planning task force in 2011 – a volunteer role that cemented our affection for one another.

How wonderful for me that Jim has always been a student of floral design, having presented on the national stage at past American Institute of Floral Designers conferences.

He is currently a candidate for the European Master Certification with Hitomi Gilliam AIFD and Tomas De Bruyne. Floral design and growing flowers brought us together more frequently than our garden blogs ever did.

I am excited to share Jim’s story today during our podcast — it’s an inspiring convergence of horticulture and floriculture.

Jim Martin, Compost in my Shoe

Here’s a bit more about Jim Martin, from Compost in My Shoe’s “about” page:

Jim Martin’s relationship with the land began on a dairy farm in northern Ohio. Caring for the soil was what they called organic farming.

A move to the Palmetto State at age 13 meant learning to garden in a foreign land. His 25-year career in horticulture is coming full circle with Compost In My Shoe.

His lifelong relationship with the land is shared today through his garden design, boutique farming and teaching/consulting.

Compost in my Shoe is dedicated to growing and developing high quality produce, products and services while nurturing  the life-giving bond we all have with the land.

Jim Martin is a lifelong gardener and horticulturist who has worked in public horticulture for 29 years. During his 12-year tenure as director of horticulture at the Riverbanks Zoo in Columbia, S.C., he played a key role in the development of their nationally-recognized 90-acre Botanical Garden. He also served for 5 years as the vice president of horticulture for Brookgreen Gardens, the first public sculpture garden in America, on Pawley’s Island, S.C. He has been with the Charleston Parks Conservancy since 2007 as Director of Programs.

Jim farms in the Lowcountry through Compost In My Shoe. Other interests include the floral arts, photography and gardening.

Jim Martin (left), with Ann Cunniffe of Purple Magnolia (center) and Toni Reale (right), presented the floral design portion of the Southern Flowers Symposium.

As I mentioned, Jim is one of the co-founders of the Lowcountry Flower Growers, along with Laura Mewbourn of Feast & Flora Farm and Peachey Trudell of One Wild Acre. Lowcountry Flower Growers is a registered 501(c)3 non-profit dedicated to serving the Charleston and Lowcountry flower farming community through public advocacy and private educational opportunities for southern growers.

In 2017, seven Lowcountry flower farmers met to discuss their commitment to producing beautiful, high-quality floral crops for coastal South Carolina. They knew that locally-grown produce, prized for its exceptional flavor and quality, is a vital part of the Lowcountry economy.  The farmers agreed to work together to set the same high standards for the locally-grown bouquets gracing the tables of their customers.

Lowcountry Flower Growers was incorporated in 2017 and received federal tax exempt status in 2018.  In that brief time, the group has hosted multiple events to raise public awareness about locally grown flowers, particularly during the 2017 and 2018 American Flowers Week campaign. And most recently, they hosted the Southern Flower Symposium.

Our tour of Charleston included a visit to the editorial offices of Garden & Gun magazine, courtesy of Anne Graves. From left: Jim, Debra, Anne and one of G&G’s editors, CJ Lotz.

Before we turn to my interview with Jim, recorded on August 29th when there was no hint of a Hurricane called Florence, I want to update you on our flower farming community in Charleston. Jim and I spoke a few days ago and he reported that the area avoided the worst of the storm; Jim and David and their dogs were not required to evacuate and the hurricane was downgraded considerably last weekend.

Areas between Wilmington and Myrtle Beach were hit hardest and elsewhere, heavy, heavy rains and some flooding occurred. If you’ve heard of any flower farms sustaining damage or loss, please let me know.

Despite Compost in My Shoe’s good fortune this time around, Jim added this: “Most people are clueless about what farmers go through. Everything they’ve worked for can be gone in an instant, changed in a storm, hurricane or flood. And we just start over.”

Profound and humbling to say the least. In our interview, one of Jim’s comments really resonated with me. I think you’ll find it meaningful, given everything that’s going on in our world. He said: “It’s a global world but we have to live in it in a local way.” Profound!

Find and follow Jim Martin at these social places:
Compost in my Shoe on Facebook

Compost in my Shoe on Instagram

Thanks so much for joining me today. Climate’s impact on flower farming is seemingly worse than ever. Last weekend, I also reached out to Melissa Smith of Fraylick Farm in Travelers Rest, S.C., and a leader of the SC Upstate Flower Growers group, many of whom attended the Southern Flower Symposium. She sent this update: “So far, Florence has been a non-event here. Every time I look at the radar, my farm is just outside where the worst rain and wind is hitting in this area. Really grateful that we appear to have been spared this time!”

Next week, you’ll hear from Kim Burton of Denver’s CityGal Farms, who two weeks ago was hit with a freak hail storm, not the first of the area’s 2018 disasters.

Designed by Nancy Cameron of Destiny Hill Flower Farm.

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 360,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much.

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

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.

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!

(c) Nicole Clarey Photography for Mayesh Design Star Workshop

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:

In The Field; Acoustic Meditation; Acoustic Serenity
Music from:

audionautix.com

Episode 366: The Debut of Canadian Flowers Week with Founder & Creator Natasa Kajganic

Wednesday, September 12th, 2018

Floral designer Jessica Gale (left) with today’s Podcast guest, Natasa Kajganic (right), founder of Toronto Flower Market and Canadian Flowers Week (c) Cristian Ordonez Photography

Today’s guest is Natasa Kajganic and I’m so excited to host her on this Slow Flowers Podcast Episode because together we’re celebrating the debut of Canadian Flowers Week, which begins tomorrow, September 13, and continues through September 16.

The origins of Canadian Flowers Week were a few years coming and truly began when I met Natasa last summer at the ASCFG regional meeting in Ontario, Canada.

After a morning of flower farm tours, we gathered at La Primavera Farms in Dundas, outside Toronto, for a series of presentations, one of which was from Natasa. I’d long been wanting to connect with her in a meaningful way, as I’d heard so much about this truly original thinker who created Toronto Flower Market in 2013.

Toronto Flower Market is an outdoor flower and plant market that has become the city’s dynamic botanical hub for flower farmers, designers, and lovers of fresh, local and seasonal blooms. As founder of this botanical emporium, Natasa’s aim has been to bring focus to the local flower industry through inspiring public floral experiences.

A glimpse over the shoulder as a Toronto Flower Market customer carries her purchase.

I loved hearing Natasa’s presentation about the formation of Toronto Flower Market and after we met in person, we agreed to speak later by phone to brainstorm whether American Flowers Week could help bring Canadian Flowers Week to life.

Much as I was nurtured and encouraged in 2015 by Helen Evans and others involved in British Flowers Week, I wanted to “pay back” a flower sister by encouraging Natasa and by sharing my experiences.

Canadian Flowers Week participation across Canada is revealed in this country map.

Fast-forward less than one year later and Canadian Flowers Week is here, as a project of Toronto Flower Market.

Florists’ Review and the Slow Flowers Journal featured this new Canadian floral holiday in the August issue.

I’m so excited that you can hear from Natasa in person as she describes the participants and activities of this week-long celebration stretching across Canada, including activities in all provinces and 20 public events.

Here are the opening lines that appear on the beautiful new web site, Canadianflowerweek.ca:

Locally grown, Canadian blooms are as abundant and diverse as our natural landscape. Growers embrace the challenges that come along with four seasons and provide a range of flowers all year round. From long-lasting, sturdy, big-headed blooms to delicate, full-of-scent flowers that could never survive the travel of imports, our greenhouse and field crops are fresh and awe-inspiring.  And now, for one week, the flower industry across the country will unite to celebrate and showoff its beautiful bounty.

Gotta LOVE the “pledge” badge that is used by Canadian members of Slow Flowers.

I’ve added links to my two recent articles that appeared in the August 2018 Slow Flowers Journal inside the pages of Florists’ Review.

The first is about Toronto Flower Market, called “The Flowering of Toronto,” which you can download here.

The second is all about Canadian Flowers Week, featuring an interview with Natasa Kajganic.

Fresh, local and seasonal blooms at Toronto Flower Market. The Market will host Canadian Flowers Week events on Saturday, September 15th.

While I launched American Flowers Week as a program of Slow Flowers in 2015, and as we are gearing up for our 5th year as the original domestic flower promotion holiday in the U.S., I have to reflect on the meaning of community.

That undertaking would not have gained traction and support without the involvement of people along the entire floral continuum — from seeds and plants to growers, marketers, retailers, designers and floral consumers.

Flowers from Floralora, a Slow Flowers member based in Ontario, on display at Toronto Flower Market.

Similarly, Natasa has acknowledged her core team of creatives and fellow floral professionals who are helping make Canadian Flowers Week a reality.

I’m so touched that the site includes a link to Slow Flowers and a mention of American Flowers week as key “partners” in this program, along with the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers, the Ecological Farmers Association of Ontario and several other supporting organizations and businesses.

I wish them a fabulous kickoff as they continue to change the conversation around local, seasonal and domestic flowers in Canada.

Follow Canadian Flowers Week on Instagram

Designed by Nancy Cameron of Destiny Hill Flower Farm.

Similarly, I am so grateful to you — and to our entire 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 358,000 times by listeners like you.

Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much.

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!

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:
The Wooden Platform
by Blue Dot Sessions
Music from:

audionautix.com

Episode 365: From Painter’s Brush to Art in a Vase, Chicago’s Mary Simmons of Persephone Floral Atelier

Wednesday, September 5th, 2018

A gothic-styled bridal bouquet, designed by Mary Simmons of Chicago’s Persephone Floral Atelier

On the day I visited Mary Simmons, she greeted me at her Chicago studio, adorably matching her teal front door!

Before I introduce you to today’s guest, Mary Simmons of Persephone Floral Atelier in Chicago, I want to give a huge shout out and thanks to two floral communities who recently invited me to share the Slow Flowers Floral Insights and Industry Forecast with their audiences.

Two weeks ago, Hitomi Gilliam brought me to Vancouver, B.C., Canada, for the 2018 Floral Trend Summit, a marvelous and inventive experience encompassing five days of creativity and reimagination.

Alicia Schwede of Flirty Fleurs snapped this photo of me presenting at the Trend Summit.

The Trend Summit occurs every two years and is nothing short of a powerful gathering of leaders,

educators and thinkers from all facets of floral.

I joined the speaker lineup with design innovator Holly Heider Chapple of Hope Flower Farm, Chapel Designers and the new Holly X Syndicate collection; Pantone color trends maven Leatrice Eiseman; and global floral design icon Gregor Lersch, as well as Hitomi Gilliam and Florists’ Review publisher Travis Rigby.

The Trend Summit included a two-day conference where participants shared ideas and dreamed of new themes for floral design in a roundtable forum, a one-day symposium open to a larger floral community of growers, retailers, wholesalers, manufacturers and designers, and a two-day design intensive led by Gregor Lersch.

Everything took place at United Floral, the all-thing-floral (including educational programs) hub outside Vancouver, hosted by the incredibly gracious and generous Tony Graaf, who also emceed some of the proceedings.

The sessions were incredible and I’m sad I missed the first few days due to other commitments. A number of reports and new initiatives will emerge from this mind-blowing series of events and I’ll keep you posted on those in the coming months.

We’ll have to bring Hitomi and Holly back together — they’re both past guests of this podcast — to share about the many inclusive and expansive things they’re cooking up for our community.

I’m grateful that Slow Flowers is invited to have a seat at that table. To me, that is a significant indication of the strides we have made in the past five years since this concept took root and became my passion — the idea that progressive and mindful flower farmers and floral designers can collaborate for a better and more sustainable profession for humans and the environment alike.

August 26 & 27 took me to Charleston, S.C., where I was hosted at the Southern Flower Symposium by Lowcountry Flower Growers, which is emerging as an important force for reclaiming and revitalizing floral agriculture in the South.

From left: Compost in my Shoe’s Jim Martin, Purple Magnolia’s Ann Cunniffe, Roadside Blooms’ Teri Reale and me

Jim Martin’s business name is just the best: Compost in My Shoe!

A few days after the whirlwind trip to Vancouver, which is only about 150 miles north of Seattle, I jumped on an airplane and flew cross-country to Charleston, S.C. — yes, there is a nonstop flight if you can believe it!

I was hosted by the relatively young group called Lowcountry Flower Growers, which is emerging as an important force for reclaiming and revitalizing floral agriculture in the South.

In fact, their Southern Flower Symposium, held on August 27th at Full Circle Farm on John’s Island outside Charleston, was a powerful statement of their resolve!

Thank you to the organizing team, especially my dear friend Jim Martin of Compost in My Shoe, and Laura Mewbourn of Feast & Flora Farm, along with their core group of local growers for setting up such a great, one-day symposium.

Rita Anders of Cuts of Color in Weimar, Texas, an established flower grower and past guest of this podcast, led off the day with a fabulous, zone-specific presentation on growing premium flowers in the humid, hot southern climate.

I was thrilled to again share my Insights and Forecast as well as to moderate a floral design demonstration focused on appealing to millennial customers. You can visit today’s show notes to see photos of the designs, all created with flowers donated from attending farms, and arranged in USA-made vessels donated from Syndicate Sales, not only a sponsor of this podcast, but a company with some key personnel living and working in Charleston. So this event was particularly important to them.

Mary Simmons of Persephone Floral Atelier

Now, let’s meet Mary Simmons. Mary is a trained artist and oil painter who has increasingly turned toward the three-dimensional world of floral art.

She started her business in 2016 but as you’ll hear, she has been involved in floristry much longer than that.

And from the beginning of opening Persephone Floral Atelier, the Slow Flowers philosophy has shaped her brand. Her web site continues the introduction, and here is an excerpt:

Mary strives to make each floral design a work of art. Influenced by her background in oil painting, she painstakingly composes arrangements that balance texture, color, line, and shape, while reflecting nature’s wild, untamed asymmetry. 

Since opening Persephone on 2016, Mary has created floral designs for weddings and events around the country. Her favorite part about designing flowers for weddings is seeing it all come together on the wedding day.

Beyond composting and using eco-friendly methods, Persephone is committed to sourcing flowers from local farmers. Mary also looks to the landscape around her, foraging from her own small garden and waysides. In the months outside the Chicago area’s local growing season, the studio relies on wholesale sources, always asking for American grown flowers first.

The same is true when working at a destination. It takes special skill to source local flowers when you’re not a local, but Mary has a growing network of farmers around the country and world.

Breathtaking and painterly! A seasonal bouquet by Mary Simmons of Persephone Floral Atelier.

Here’s how to follow and find Mary Simmons of Persephone Floral Atelier:

Persephone Floral on Facebook

Persephone Floral on Instagram

Persephone Floral on Pinterest

Thanks so much for joining me today! It’s the start of the month – where did August go anyway?! Read all the news that’s blooming for you here – I’ve just sent out the September Slow Flowers newsletter.

The big news in this month’s issue is that we’ve just released videos of the speaker presentations from the 2018 Slow Flowers Summit in Washington, D.C. I heard from several of you who couldn’t attend but who asked if the presentations would be available by video!

The answer is YES. Click here to take advantage of the special offer to download Christina Stembel’s keynote presentation — “Scaling Your Floral Business to the Next Level,” as well as the full-session videos of all the Slow Flowers Summit speaker presentations.

The price is an affordable $48 for all five sessions — a full day of floral ideas, inspiration, innovation, and more — easily enjoyed at your desk or on your mobile device. Check it out!

I am so grateful to you — and to our entire 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 355,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much.

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

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.

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!

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:

Episode 364: Meet Perla Sofia Curbelo, Puerto Rico’s Gardening and Wellness Expert

Wednesday, August 29th, 2018

Perla Sophia Curbelo, of Puerto Rico’s AgroChic

Today’s guest shares with us an inside look into gardening and agriculture in the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico. Her name is Perla Sofia Curbelo, creator of AgroChic, a blog in Spanish for Garden Lovers & Agropreneurs.

We’ve become friends through GWA, the Association for Garden Communicators, of which we are both members, and through our mutual love of gardening and digital media. I’ve been so fascinated with her platform, AgroChic, which has become an international forum for Spanish-speakers who love gardening, plants, wellness and more, both on the island of Puerto Rico and around the world.

I loved meeting up with Perla Sophia at the GWA Symposium.

When I knew that Perla Sofia and I were going to meet up again a few weeks ago in Chicago, for our GWA conference, I sent her a note asking if she’d be willing to come on the Slow Flowers Podcast as my guest.

It was a bit challenging for us to find the time to do this — and true confessions, we snuck out of another scheduled function in order to sit in an empty meeting room and record this episode.

It was one of the highlights of my time in Chicago and I’m so excited for you to hear Perla Sofia’s story — and her take on gardening, Puerto Rico style. We wanted to share good and inspiring news from Puerto Rico, news that the cable channels and mainstream networks won’t bring you. I encourage you to follow AgroChic at its social places so you can follow along with Perla Sofia and learn more.

Teaching about plants with AgroChic

Here’s a little bit more about my friend Perla Sofia:

Perla Sofía Curbelo is a Puerto Rican journalist turned mediapreneur. In 2009, she founded Agrochic.com, a gardening blog in Spanish.

Through the website, readers interested in urban agriculture and wellness can check articles, guides and lists on topics like how to take care of your houseplants, how to create a veggie garden in containers and even how to plan your next garden travel.

For the past 30 years, her family had run a monthly paper in Puerto Rico, specialized in Agriculture. They also have a small coffee farm. Her younger brother, Luis, is an agronomist and a flower farmer.

Perla, with her family in San Juan

In 2016, her blog Agrochic was nominated as one of the best Latino health and wellness blogs at the Tecla Awards during Hispanize, the largest annual event for Latino trendsetters and newsmakers in digital content creation, journalism, marketing, entertainment and tech entrepreneurship.

As part of the digital content, she also coordinates gardening workshops in San Juan, Puerto Rico, where she lives with her husband Antonio, her younger stepdaughter Veronica (one of two stepdaughters) and her beloved rottweiler Rocco.

“Today’s Greens” — Perla is a fellow Podcaster!

Perla has a bachelor´s degree in Psychology and a master´s degree in Communication, specialized in Public Relations.

She has worked in publishing, television and radio, and for the last 15 years she focused most of her writing in agriculture and gardening.

This past Summer, Perla started a seasonal podcast (La verdura de hoy, translates “Today´s Greens”), also in Spanish, which you can listen on her blog.

AgroChic’s gardening workshops are popular — and she plans on increasing their frequency.

In 2017, she joined The Association for Garden Communicators and is responsible to translate a monthly column from the GWA´s blog from English to Spanish.

For 2019, she has her eyes on a Horticulture Therapy Certification and she wants to open a gardening studio in Puerto Rico, to multiply the gardening workshops, host garden writers and entertain through all things garden.

You can find and follow Perla Sofia via AgroChic’s channels:

AgroChic on Facebook

AgroChic on Instagram

AgroChic on Twitter

Perla Sofia on Twitter

AgroChic on YouTube

Goofing around while recording our episode, with Perla Sophia Curbelo (left) and Debra Prinzing (right)

Thanks so much for joining me today! I am so grateful to for joining in today, grateful for our entire 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 353,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much.

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

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.

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!

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

Episode 363: Grower Wisdom with Jeanie McKewan of Illinois’s Brightflower Farm

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2018

Jeanie and I had a wonderful reunion in Chicago last week. This photograph was taken in front of the Chicago Hyatt after recording our interview.

I’ve been on the road for more than a week and connecting with Slow Flowers members and sponsors has been at the heart of my travel. Before we jump into today’s conversation with a wonderful featured guest, I’d love to thank a few folks with my shout-outs!

First, on August 11 & 12, I was hosted by Christine Hoffman of Twin Cities Flower Exchange in St. Paul, Minneapolis, where I enjoyed a sneak peek into what’s in store for attendees of next year’s Slow Flowers Summit, July 1-2, 2019.

As I’ve mentioned in recent weeks, Christine and the TCFE are co-hosting the Summit in their wonderful Twin Cities, where the local floral scene is alive, well, thriving and growing.

In addition to arranging for me to visit two of the flower farms that sell their botanical harvest through the TCFE, Christine took me to see three potential venues for the Summit sessions next summer. It’s often quite challenging to manage and plan an event long-distance, so this was hugely important.

At Beezie’s Blooms, a farm portrait with owners Jeff & Randi, with Christine Hoffman of Twin Cities Flower Exchange

Christine Hoffman (left) and Allison DeRungs at Flower Child Farm outside Minneapolis/St. Paul.

It was a major treat to visit Beezie’s Blooms, a Slow Flowers member farm owned by Randi Greiner, and to tour Allison DeRungs’ Flower Child Farm, both located on beautiful properties north of the metro area.

On Sunday afternoon, Christine hosted a meet-up-style open house to introduce me to the local floral community – farmers and floral designers who comprise the dynamic change taking place there. We tasted signature cocktails with a floral note (of course), sample butters flavored with petals and herbs to spread on delicious local bread, and munched on local veggies, all part of the festive day.

It was inspiring and encouraging – all inside The Good Acre, a certified organic hub for local food distribution. That place holds state-of-the-art equipment and huge walk-in coolers where yes, produce from local farms is processed for distribution to school lunch rooms, but where every Wednesday florists and designers come to shop for flowers from as many as a dozen Minnesota and Wisconsin flower farms.

Twin Cities Flower Exchange hosted a wonderful gathering of local flower farmers and floral designers to welcome me to the Minneapolis-St. Paul area! Our gathering took place inside The Good Acre food hub, where flowers make an appearance once a week.

Seeing where it all happens after hearing Christine’s description of the TCFE’s “home” on the Slow Flowers Podcast last year, was such a treat. If you attend the Slow Flowers Summit next year during American Flowers Week, you’ll be able to experience this exciting new economic model taking place first hand, too.

It was so fabulous to partner with Hillary Alger (left) and Marcella Sweet (center) at the Johnny’s Seeds booth during the Garden Writers Annual Symposium last week!

Hillary, Marcella and I hosted the incredibly popular pin-on flower bar at the GWA Chicago Expo, teaching media (writers, editors & bloggers) about cut flower gardening.

I said good-bye to the Twin Cities and headed straight to Chicago last Monday, where I spent most of the week attending the annual Garden Writers Association Symposium & Expo. I’ve been deeply involved in this professional organization – my original Tribe before the Slow Flowers Tribe emerged as a huge part of my life.

At the GWA conference, there is a trade show for two days, where garden and plant vendors exhibit their new products and wares. I joined Hillary Alger and Marcella Sweet of Johnny’s Selected Seeds, a sponsor of this Podcast and all my Slow Flowers channels at that trade show.

I’m so grateful to them and to Johnny’s for investing in bringing the Johnny’s resources and message about growing-your-own-flowers to the garden media – editors, writers, bloggers and broadcasters – my peers – who enjoyed picking up cutting garden tools, plans and images for use in their columns and posts.

It was so fun to watch my fellow GWA members try their talents at making mini bouquets and pin-on flowers!

Hillary and Marcella and I spoke with hundreds of garden communicators interested in new story ideas, and we spent the 2nd afternoon of the trade show running what we called the “pin-on flower bar,” where we encouraged conference attendees to make their own boutonniere or corsage. What made this hands-on experience more special was the chance to showcase exquisite flowers, herbs, berries and foliage from local Slow Flowers member farms. Thank you to Heidi Joynt and Molly Kobelt of Field & Florist; Jeanie McKewan of Brightflower Farm and Beth Barnett of Larkspur Chicago for sending us their best.

Click here to view and download Johnny’s Selected Seeds’ cutting garden resources.

That only took me through mid-week, and over the course of five days I participated in all sorts of Garden Writers activities. But being in Chicago also afforded me time for the second Slow Flowers Meet-up in the Windy City.

Slow Flowers Meet-Up in Chicago, with flower farmers, floral designers, media, sponsors and me!

Last Wednesday night, thanks to Beth Barnett, about 18 of us joined together in her beautiful new Larkspur Chicago studio for an after-hours meet-up where we talked flowers, shared personal stories and enjoyed drinks and bites while making new connections and renewing established ones. I’m so grateful to the many who made the time to attend: flower farmers who traveled two to three hours into the city for our evening together; florists who closed busy retail shops or broke away from producing flowers in their studios to come for a special gathering of kindred spirits.

Thank you so much to Kath LaLiberte of Longfield Gardens, a sponsor of this podcast, and to Mackenzie Nichols, a writer and floral designer friend from New York, both of whom were in Chicago to attend the conference with me! They joined me in shopping for food and wine and helped Beth and me get everything set up for the fun. It was a great night. Just as I felt leaving the party at the Twin Cities Flower Exchange, it was so rewarding to invest in the time to make face-to-face connections with Chicago’s Slow Flowers Community. Thanks to all who helped make it happen.

Jeanie and her beautiful peony crops from Brightflower Farm.

NOW . . . Let me introduce today’s great guest, Jeanie McKewan of Brightflower Farm in Stockton, Illinois.

As you heard, Jeanie’s flowers wowed the garden communicators who made their personal pin-on flowers at the conference last week – I have to say, the big hit was privet berry in its green form. That stumped a lot of my friends and prompted a number of internet searches on smart phones before we knew what it was.

Jeanie McKewan grows cut flowers for Illinois and Wisconsin area flower farmers and Chicago’s Whole Foods stores.

I’ve known Jeanie since 2012, when we met in Tacoma at the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers annual conference. You’ll hear the full story in our conversation, so listen closely. I’ve also wanted to host Jeanie on the Slow Flowers Podcast forever, so once we were in the same city I had to grab the chance. The morning after our Meet-Up, I met Jeanie for breakfast and then we recorded this conversation to share with you.

Brightflower Farm in Stockton, Illinois

Let me tell you a little more about this gifted floral entrepreneur:

Jeanie McKewan brings more than a dozen years of horticultural experience, passion and commitment to growing the finest plant materials available. She earned her Environmental Science degree from Willamette University, a Plant Pathology degree from Oregon State University, and is a Certified Landscape Professional (CLP).

Her working career gave her several opportunities to start businesses for entrepreneurs. In 1996 she was General Manager of Montale Gardens in Wauconda, Illinois, and served for nearly two years as Nursery Operations Manager for award-winning Craig Bergmann Landscape Design before founding her own growing operation.

Brightflower Farm’s production studio

As founder of Brightflower Farm, she is devoted to providing beauty and fullness of life through her plants and flowers. Growing plants, eating good, flavorful food, and producing a stunning and colorful array of flowers is her passion and she feels incredibly fortunate to be able to earn a livelihood providing people with all of these things!

You’ll gain volumes from our conversation – I promise. We had a fabulous reunion and even though I’ve interviewed Jeanie in the past, I learn a lot more from her. This fascinating and experienced flower farmer is incredibly open in sharing her insights with others. You’ll hear that, too.

Field crops look healthy and prolific at Brightflower Farm

Follow Jeanie and her flower-filled world at these social places:

Brightflower Farm on Facebook

Brightflower Farm on Instagram

Fair Field Flowers

Here’s more information about the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s  Wisconsin Cut Flower Growers School, where Jeanie teaches each February

Here’s a bonus, too! I mentioned the two of us met in 2012. One of the outcomes of that time together during the ASCFG meeting was Jeanie bidding on a chance to be interviewed by me for a feature story. She’s given me permission to share that story, titled, “Illinois Blooms for Midwest Vases,” which is posted on the Brightflower Farm web site. It was incredibly fun to write and I think you’ll find it fascinating to read.

Traveling is often exhausting but I found the past ten days exhilarating and inspiring.

From visiting flower farms to spending time with floral designers to promoting cutting gardens to fellow communicators – it was a packed week, but a rewarding one.

Next up, I’ll be attending the Southern Flower Symposium in Charleston, South Carolina, hosted by many Slow Flowers members and the core group called Lowcountry Flower Growers.

I’ll join Rita Anders of Cuts of Color, a past guest of this podcast, to speak on flower farming, floral design, and my upcoming 2019 Slow Flowers’ Floral Insights and Industry Forecast.

The Symposium takes place August 26-27th so check out links to learn how you can attend.

Last week’s Midwest trip ended at the Garden Writers Association annual awards ceremony where Slow Flowers took home two Silver Media Awards for Excellence in Communications.

I wanted to share that news with you, because this Podcast earned a Silver Award for broadcast programming!

Your support of the Slow Flowers Podcast is what keeps me going week in and week out.

What an honor to also be recognized by my peers.

And our one-year-old project, the Slow Flowers Journal, also received a Silver Award in the Trade magazine category. It’s a monthly commitment to write and produce 10 to 16 pages of original and relevant editorial content for my wonderful publishing partner, Florists’ Review, and receiving accolades from fellow members of the media is an endorsement that motivates me to keep going when deadlines loom!

This role as the Slow Flowers champion is one that fills me with gratitude and I thank the entire 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 350,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much.

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

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.

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 Flower dreams big for the floral industry’s future. You can head to teamflower.org/slowflowers to learn more about the 2019 conference in Waco, Texas!

(c) Niesha Blancas

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:

Episode 360: Two Little Buds — From Florists to Flower Farmers. Mindy Staton and Alice Francis on Changing an Established Retail Platform to Meet Customer Demand

Wednesday, August 1st, 2018

Daughter Mindy Staton (left) and mother Alice Francis (right), the Two Little Buds!

Today’s episode continues the mother-daughter theme with Two Little Buds. Founded in 2004, Two Little Buds is a boutique floral design studio that specializes in wedding florals, event design, and editorial work. Daughter Mindy Staton and mother Alice Francis, began Two Little Buds as a wedding and event floral studio, eventually opening a full-service retail flower shop in Hamilton, Ohio.

(Left) The new, just-opened, Two Little Buds studio is a gorgeous design space that doubles as a retail space on weekends. (Right) Two generations of floral designers!

Beautiful interiors at Two Little Buds.

A place for wedding consultations that reflects the Two Little Buds aesthetic and brand.

Floral tourism introduces a new crop of consumers to locally-grown flowers at Morning Sun Flower Farm.

Mindy and Alice expanded to flower farming about four years ago with the establishment of Morning Sun Flower Farm. The Two Little Buds’ brand now reflects the womens’ love of farm-fresh, local product and shows the best that each season has to offer.

Mindy Staton, demonstrates a floral arrangement at a farm dinner/workshop.

Here’s a bit more about Mindy Staton:

Mindy Francis Staton loves to spend her days with flowers. She has an unbelievable passion and appreciation for the beauty found in nature, and backs it up with the talent to bring her amazing visions to life. Mindy truly never forgets that while she may have done thousands of weddings over the last decade, each couple only gets one wedding day—so each wedding is important, each couple is important, each flower is important.

In 2015, inspired by attending a floret workshop with Erin Benzakein, Mindy made some big changes with her shop and her life!

Morning Sun Flower Farm was born of a few sentences written at that workshop, as she articulated a dream for her future. Since Mindy is the kind of dedicated person who gets things done, she convinced her husband to start a flower farm with her, and, in the spring of 2016 (less than a year later!!), the first perfect anemones were cut at her farm and brought to Two Little Buds to share with her incredibly lucky clients and customers. And the flowers didn’t stop there, because soon the shop was brimming with beautiful ranunculus, tulips, dahlias, sunflowers, zinnias, sweet peas, and more!

Mindy continues to grow and expand the farm, with plans to include a design space and a meeting area to sit down with clients.

She manages to run two locations of Two Little Buds PLUS a flower farm, and still have the time to hang out with her best friend (spoiler: it’s her husband) and their three hilariously goofy bulldogs. Mindy loves Chinese food, her mom, milkshakes, working outside, and facing challenges head-on. And her best quality? She’s never met a stranger and will literally do anything to help others!

Alice Francis, the original flower lover!

Here’s more about Alice Francis:

Alice Stone Francis, co-owner of Two Little Buds, was born and raised in Hamilton, Ohio, but has always had a connection to Oxford, where she lives now. She was super close to her parents, loving to cook and garden with her mom and joke around with her father.

Alice met her husband Bill when he came over to her at a softball game and handed her an apple, and how does a girl say no to that?? They went on to get married and have four amazing children. Alice worked as a school teacher while Bill served in the Army, and she also loved to go to craft fairs and sell wreaths that she handmade using flowers her father grew especially for her.

Once her kids grew up and moved out, she started right into taking care of her grandkids! Then in 2005, Mindy and Alice started doing wedding florals out of Alice’s greenhouse.

Demand for their beautiful floral work outgrew the greenhouse, and the Two Little Buds storefront in Hamilton was born! When you meet Alice, it’s easy to see where Mindy got her willingness to help people, her love of animals, her appreciation of nature, and her creativity.

Alice loves her family (she has a real soft spot for her grandkids!), white chocolate mochas, dogs, and keeping Two Little Buds current on her favorite Instagram accounts. If Pam the bulldog doesn’t post for a few days, we all hear about itAlice loves meeting brides and talking about their vision for their big day.

Mindy and Josh Staton at their Ohio flower farm.

Morning Sun Flower Farm is a perfect little farm located in Morning Sun, Ohio. Founded in 2015, the farm’s location is truly picturesque, adjacent to Hueston Woods State Park, with a cute little horse farm in front of it.

In the spring, the field explodes with color from foxglove, sweet peas, tulips, daffodils, and poppies, while the hoop house is home to gorgeous anemones and ranunculus. Summertime makes way for amazing sunflowers, larkspur, delphinium, bachelor’s buttons, snapdragons, and dahlias in the field and perfect lisianthus in the hoop house. When autumn comes to visit, we keep the field teeming with more dahlias and sunflowers, plus zinnias, scabiosa, and lavender. Come fall, the hoop house is home to some wonderfully vibrant chrysanthemum varieties. Winter is time to regroup—the land rests while Mindy and Josh get busy plotting and planning for the following spring. As she says, “it’s so rewarding to watch the change in seasons reflected in the blooms that we’re able to share with our clients and customers!”

A recent Farm-to-Vase Workshop and dinner at Morning Sun Flower Farm earned top pick status from Ohio Magazine editors.

DIY floral designers create their own arrangements with just-picked blooms at the Farm to Vase Workshop at Morning Sun Flower Farm.

Morning Sun hosted its first Farm-to-Vase workshop in August 2016, and it was such a good time for everyone involved that the farm now hosts three design workshop-dinners each season — recently named one of Ohio Magazine’s ‘Best of: Editors’ Picks 2017′.

There is so much joy in this work, this calling I feel to shine a light on the floral tribe who means so much to me. Speaking with people like Mindy and Alice is such a gift to share! Something Mindy said really resonated with me.

“We had to change or we weren’t going to be ahead of our competition. So for us, it was taking the step, doing the research and figuring out how to change the look of our business in flowers.”

Managing change in this dynamic climate for floral design on the top of my mind these days! In fact, I’ll be addressing the changing and progressive forecast for the floral industry when I present at the upcoming Trend Summit later this month.

Created and produced by Hitomi Gilliam, TREND SUMMIT 2018 takes place in Vancouver, B.C., beginning with a two-day conference on Friday, August 17th and Saturday, August 18th, followed by the Trend Summit SYMPOSIUM on Sunday, August 19, 2018.

I’ll be presenting at the Symposium on 9:30 a.m. Sunday August 19th, followed by an amazing lineup of fellow Trend Experts and Influencers, including Holly Heider Chapple (Hope Farms & Chapel Designers), Leatrice Eiseman (Pantone Institute), Gregor Lersch (Global Design Expert), & Hitomi Gilliam AIFD!!

What an honor to join this amazing group of floral leaders. I’m so grateful to Hitomi for including the Slow Flowers message in this forum! Hope to see you there! It will be a powerful day to be inspired & to influence!! All registration information can be found here.

I am grateful to all you — our entire 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 343,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much.

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

Welcome to our newest sponsor, 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 join Team Flower to dream big for the future of our beloved industry. You can head to teamflower.org/slowflowers to learn more about the 2019 conference in Waco, Texas!

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.

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.

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.comSpecial thanks to Stephen Yaussi.

Music Credits:
The Wooden Platform; The Big Ten; Horizon Liner
by Blue Dot Sessions
Music from:

audionautix.com

Episode 359: Slow Flowers Podcast Turns 5 — with original guest Joan Thorndike of Le Mera Gardens and Isabella Thorndike Church of Jacklily Seasonal Floral Design

Wednesday, July 25th, 2018

Today is the 5th anniversary of the Slow Flowers Podcast, and I thank you for tuning in.

This has been a year of highlights in so many ways, as the Slow Flowers Message and Manifesto continue to resonate, not to mention build momentum, as an authentic, relatable — and legitimate topic in the floral industry.

In five years, since my first episode Number 100 on June 23, 2013, the Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 340,000 times by listeners who have enjoyed 260 unique episodes.

The Slow Flowers Podcast was recently recognized with a Silver Media Award from GWA: The Association for Garden Communicators, a group of my professional peers in green industry journalism.

The American Horticultural Society recently honored me with the Frances Jones Poetker Award for significant contributions to floral design in publications, on the platform and to the public and this Podcast is a big part of that platform.

And we’ve just wrapped up the fourth annual American Flowers Weekthe original domestic floral promotion holiday — as well as a very successful Slow Flowers Summit, which was held in Washington, D.C., during the heart of American Flowers Week.

Thank you all for joining me on this journey of advocacy and outreach as I shout aloud the message and importance of domestic, seasonal, local and sustainable flowers and the people who grow and design with them!

Circa June 2013 with Debra & James Baggett (c) Joan Thorndike

Five years ago in late June 2013, I was on location in Ashland, Oregon, working with James Baggett, then editor of Country Gardens magazine, and photographers Laurie Black and Mark King, to produce a farm-to-table story in Oregon’s wine country.

The trip enabled me to reconnect with Joan Thorndike of LeMera Gardens, a generous and brilliant flower farmer who is featured in the pages of The 50 Mile Bouquet.

Joan (right) giving James Baggett a tour of her growing fields, 2013. The collaboration with Fry Family Farm appears (left) on one of the fresh Farmers’ Market bouquets.

Joan’s flowers adorned the table of that winery dinner we documented, and she welcomed James and me to visit her flower fields while we were there.

Joan and Dan Thorndike with eldest daughter Camila (center)

I enjoyed Joan’s hospitality further because she invited me to stay at her family home. That’s when I met her husband Dan and one of their two daughters, Camila.

Joan wanted to show me the Ashland Farmers’ Market, suggesting we walk through the urban woods along a local nature trail to reach the center of town. I asked her if I could bring my digital recorder and tape a segment for my brand new podcast. She gamely said yes. You can actually hear audio of our footsteps and breathing as we briskly walked to town.

Le Mera’s beautiful, organic flowers.

We discussed local flowers, the Rogue River Valley’s sustainable agriculture scene, Joan’s own commitment to organic flowers and the origins and growth of Le Mera Gardens. Three hundred eighty people downloaded that original episode and (I hope) listened to it. From that seed of a beginning, the Slow Flowers Podcast has grown by leaps and bounds.

Today, we typically have more than 2,000 listeners per episode — and that means more of you around the globe are hearing the message, absorbing the wisdom, and being inspired by the people behind the flowers. People like Joan Thorndike.

Isabella Thorndike Church (left) and Joan Thorndike

Two amazing women, mother-and-daughter, co-farmers and fellow floral advocates in their community.

Today, in recognition of her role in educating and influencing me and my work, I have invited Joan as a return guest to talk about all things local in floral design and floral agriculture.

I want to expose her story to a much larger audience than those who heard our conversation five years ago.

And how wonderful to add a bonus guest: Isabella Thorndike Church, Joan and Dan’s 2nd daughter, who is now co-farming with Joan at LeMera Gardens and leading her own studio called Jacklily Seasonal Floral Design.

Here’s a little bit more about both of these women:
Joan has been farming fresh cut flowers in Southern Oregon’s Rogue River Valley since 1992. She was born and raised in Santiago, Chile where flowers come in huge bundles, small posies, and fresh abundance.

In 2001 Le Mera Gardens and Fry Family Farms joined their worlds of flower farming, and have settled into growing and harvesting an ever expanding array of specialty cut flowers on 10 acres of open fields and greenhouses. Le Mera Gardens is featured in the groundbreaking book The 50 Mile Bouquet and is a proud charter member of the Slow Flowers movement celebrating American-grown local flowers.

Joan Thorndike, pioneering cut flower grower and inspiration for Slow Flowers.

Joan credits her “formal” education in commercial flower growing to the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers, its research publications, regional and national conferences, and to the writings of author and professor of horticulture Dr. Allan M. Armitage.


Le Mera Gardens is a charter member of Thrive (home of the Rogue Flavor Trademark), and is an online member of Local Harvest.

Joan’s two daughters, Camila and Isabella, spent their childhood summers seeking shade from 90-100ºF weather on the flower farm. Her husband Dan has been known to moonlight carrying flats of plants, and to provide Le Mera Gardens with many an odd shaped metal structure generously built by Medford Fabrication, his family’s metal fabrication business.

One of the many fields that comprise Le Mera Gardens.

Le Mera’s fields, season-extending hoop houses, and propagation greenhouses are located in Talent, Phoenix and northwest Medford. All are managed and cultivated under Oregon Tilth Certified OrganicBee Friendly and Salmon Safe farming practices.

Le Mera Gardens employs dozens of women and men who live in the immediate community.   They seed, transplant, cultivate and harvest our flowers year after year.

Detail of a farmers’ market bouquet, Oregon-grown

As Joan writes on her web site: Le Mera Gardens is grateful for the loyal patronage of its Rogue Valley customers, most especially of area floristsdesigners and bridal parties.  Their support allows us to manage, preserve and protect our Valley’s beautiful agricultural lands.

Heather Saunders captured this image of Isabella designing a wearable headpiece at the recent Whidbey Flower Workshop, where she studied with Susan McLeary and assisted Joseph Massie

Isabella Thorndike Church is the owner and lead designer of Jacklily Seasonal Floral Design. Jacklily is a fine art floral studio located in the rolling hills of Southern Oregon’s Rogue Valley. Working with fresh, locally-grown and consciously-sourced material, Jacklily creates lush designs. As Isabella writes on her web site:

“Everything I do begins in the field. There, the colors and textures of the Rogue Valley arrange themselves according to the season. I believe that local, seasonal flowers that are grown without pesticides or chemical fertilizers are healthy for us and for the earth. The flowers at your wedding or event should be as unique as you are. From bridal bouquets to full wedding or event design, the locally grown materials I work with are carefully selected and arranged to bring your floral vision to life. She declares: Floral design is an agricultural act.”

An all-seasonal centerpiece from Jacklily Seasonal Floral design (c) Juliet Ashley Photography

Isabella Thorndike Church of Jacklily Seasonal Floral Design, with the botanical artwork (featuring Le Mera Gardens’ logo) in celebration of American Flowers Week 2018.

I know you’ll love meeting this mom-and-daughter duo as much as I have.

Find and meet Joan and Isabella at these social places.

Find Le Mera Gardens on Facebook

Follow Le Mera Gardens on Instagram

See Le Mera Gardens on Pinterest

Find Jacklily Seasonal Floral Design on Instagram

Designed by Nancy Cameron of Destiny Hill Flower Farm.

Thank you so much for joining me today. I’ve been working closely with a core team of advisors to fine-tune our branding and messaging. So let me share the updated Slow Flowers’ Mission:

To change the flower sourcing practices of consumers and professionals through outreach and education that highlights the benefits of local, seasonal and domestic floral agriculture.

And here is our Brand Promise:

Inspiring the floral industry and its consumers to embrace local, seasonal and sustainable flowers

I hope both of these statements resonate with you! You’ll be seeing and hearing more about the maturing of the Slow Flowers brand, mission and movement in the coming months.

This is an ever-evolving exercise as I gain clarity about my personal calling and about what drives me to continue building this movement. I am grateful to all you — our entire 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 340,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much.

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

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. Subscribe here.

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.

(c) Missy Palacol Photography

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.comSpecial thanks to Stephen Yaussi.

Music Credits:
The Wooden Platform; One Needle; Brass Buttons
by Blue Dot Sessions
Music from:

audionautix.com

Episode 358: Right Field Farm’s David Brunton on growing a family flower farm in Maryland

Wednesday, July 18th, 2018

Got my selfie with the Brunton family at Right Field Farm, including Mom Lina and Dad David, plus their four awesome kids!

Today, we take a deep, relaxing breath from all the intensity of the past few months as I invite you to visit Right Field Farm, where Slow Flowers members David and Lina Brunton welcomed me a few weeks ago.

They are loyal Slow Flowers Podcast listeners, and I’m excited that I recently had a chance to see their farm in person, spend a day meeting their incredible family and experiencing their flowers.

The picturesque Right Field Farm on a warm, summer morning.

Right Field Farm is based in Millersville, Maryland, not too far from Annapolis, where it is tucked into a forest, near the Severn River, by the Chesapeake Bay.  The land had been used as a baseball field until 2002, but the facilities were in disrepair by the time David and Lina bought it in 2009.  The house sits in what used to be right field, hence the name Right Field Farm.

David and Lina grow a mix of annual and perennial flowers with an eye toward all the natural beauty that Maryland has to offer.

David Brunton facilitated my transportation and tour of Right Field Farm, including a row-by-row walking tour of the botanical highlights.

Instead of pesticides and chemical fertilizers, they rely on their farm’s natural defenses. Their milk cow and her calf, Melody and Birdie, make plenty of excellent fertilizer. The honeybees are busy pollinating flowers and making honey to eat.  Cover crops help beds over winter, gain soil fertility and decrease run-off into the waterways. And while the Bruntons do a lot of bug-squishing, their chickens do their part, too, along with natural bug predators attracted to the property.  The end result: Fresh, beautiful flowers, totally free from the harsh chemicals that come on most bouquets.

David and Lina of Right Field Farm, growing local and sustainable cut flowers in year four!

A couple of years ago, David emailed me out of the blue to introduce himself.

He wrote: Hi Debra,

From your social media feeds, it looks like maybe you’re in DC. My wife
and I are new farmers growing flowers in MD, and we love everything you do.

At my off-farm job, I work at the Library of Congress, and I’d be
delighted to host you for a short tour one day on this or a subsequent
visit of you ever have interest and time 🙂

All the best,
David Brunton.

As it turned out, I did have time to meet David and he treated me to a fascinating, behind-the-scenes tour of the Library of Congress. What a very special opportunity.

And I promised to get outside the beltway and visit Right Field Farm on a future trip. It took more than 2 years, but last month, we made it happen. David drove into D.C. to pick me up a few days after the Slow Flowers Summit, but before I was scheduled to present at the American Institute of Floral Designers’ annual symposium.

I spoke at AIFD on July 3rd, so it was lovely to showcase locally-grown Maryland blooms from Right Field Farm.

Right Field Farm generously donated buckets and buckets of flowers to help decorate the stage where I spoke about Slow Flowers on July 3rd — what better than to talk about local and seasonal flowers and floral design than to have fresh, beautiful, just-picked flowers on display as my “illustration” of the difference between local and far-away blooms.

Fellow Slow Flowers member Ellen Seagraves of Chic Floral Design graciously lent her creative talents to arrange those Maryland-grown flowers. My remarks had more credibility because I had just visited Right Field Farm and felt like I could speak with authority about the sustainable and earth-friendly practices that David and Lina use in their fields.

More glimpse of Right Field Farm and the Brunton family.

Back to my visit. After lunch with the entire Brunton family, David and I sat at the kitchen table and recorded today’s interview. He is a true student of the Slow Flowers Podcast, arriving at the interview complete with notes on the topics and thoughts he wanted to share. The document covers the Maryland Cut Flower Growers Association, for which David serves as Treasurer, the Right Field Farm story and its community, Vendors, behind-the-scenes help, education and farming processes and more words of wisdom. I am in possession of those notes and you can download the doc: Right Field Farm Notes for Slow Flowers Podcast, written as a perfect outline by David.

Find Right Field Farm on Facebook

Follow Right Field Farm on Instagram

Everyone gets in on the harvest at RFF!

Beautiful orlaya flowers at Right Field Farm

Thank you so much for joining me today.

Beginning in early August, I will be on the road quite a bit, continuing through October. I might be in your neck of the woods, so check out my event calendar and perhaps we can meet.

There are a few Slow Flowers Meet-Ups you’ll want to know about:

Sunday, August 12th in St. Paul, Minnesota at the Twin Cities Flower Exchange

Wednesday, August 15th in Chicago at Larkspur Studio

Tuesday, September 11 in Kansas City, Missouri at at meet-up hosted by  Andrea K. Grist Floral Art and Florasource KC 

I am grateful to all our entire 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 338,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much.


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

Florists’ Review, 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 at FloristsReview.com.

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.

(c) Niesha Blancas

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.comSpecial thanks to Stephen Yaussi.

Music Credits:

The Wooden Platform; Long Form
by Blue Dot Sessions
http://www.sessions.blue
https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/

Lovely by Tryad

In The Field Music from:

Episode 357: Engaging Customers Through Experience and Inspiration with Scott Paris of High Hand Nursery & announcing our 2019 Slow Flowers Summit Venue

Wednesday, July 11th, 2018

We brought the Slow Flowers Summit 2018 to Washington, D.C.

As I mentioned during last week’s show, we’ve just experienced the fourth annual American Flowers Week — the original domestic floral-promotion holiday that’s an inclusive campaign filled with local, seasonal and beautiful flowers and foliage in all 50 states!

This virtual campaign gave me a peek into all corners of the U.S. as I witnessed flowers, farms, creativity and events taking place in region all around the country, as well as connections across social media platforms.

And, during the heart of American Flowers Week, we held the 2nd annual Slow Flowers Summit. As an interactive, LIVE element of the campaign, the Summit drew more than 100 attendees — speakers, designers, flower farmers, innovators, influencers and leaders in the Slow Flowers Movement.

Even though we were inside a hotel conference room, the space was filled with flowers, including the Moon Arch that everyone had a hand in designing (c) Niesha Blancas

In the coming weeks, I hope to release all sorts of content from the D.C. Slow Flowers Summit.

See a gallery of Slow Flowers Summit 2018 photos here.

But for now, I want to share a few words from my opening remarks on June 29th. Please bear with me — it’s personal and as my husband would say, probably contains too much “back-story,” but that’s how I am.

Here’s what I said:

I thought I’d take a moment to acknowledge how significant it is that we’re all here at the Slow Flowers Summit for Year Two. How did this come to be?

There had been talk over the years of a conference focused on domestic flowers, including some initial conversations I had with folks at the California Cut Flower Commission and the SF Flower Mart several years ago.

The desire was real, but the idea never went anywhere, and it later became clear that the Slow Flowers Community wanted something different — more intimate and inclusive — than a big industry event.

So what brought us from idea to reality? Before I left Seattle to travel here, I pulled out an email from April 2015, sent to me by one of our speakers, Mary Kate Kinnane of The Local Bouquet.

The email’s subject line read: NEW IDEAS.

I hope all is well with you and the family and I’m hoping that the Slow Flowers movement has new and exciting things coming its way. I have been wanting to contact you since I returned from my amazing experience at the Chapel Designers conference in NY and especially after meeting people like Jimmy Lohr of greenSinner and others. My wheels have been spinning and so I wanted to share some of my ideas with you. 

Jimmy and I discussed how our Slow Flowers family needs an event like what Holly Chapple has created for florists across the United States. An event that would gather designers from across the United States who have pledged to use local and American grown flowers to network and train with each other from experts in our field. 

I think it is time we bring the Slow Flowers website to life with an event at which all of the flower farmers and florists who have pledged to use their local and seasonal blooms get together and network. I think it would be great to actually gather everyone together to talk (farmer and florist). Let’s start with the East Coast. [well, Mary Kate, we started last year in Seattle, but yes, today, we’re here on the East Coast!]

She closed by saying: I am really proud that we are still able to stick to our mission of staying 100% American and locally grown in everything we buy. Now that I have bombarded you with ideas and thoughts, let me know if any interest you (because obviously we can’t do it all)!

We had a few lighthearted email exchanges, and while nothing happened immediately, the idea stuck with me because that was the year we launched American Flowers Week in 2015.

The following year, in 2016, I had a memorable conversation with Amy Stewart, author of Flower Confidential, the groundbreaking book that stimulated awareness of sustainable practices and flower sourcing in our industry. We both remarked that the 10-year-anniversary of Amy’s book would take place in 2017. Amy turned to me and said, “we should do something together to commemorate it.” I think she meant YOU should do something, Debra.

The seed that Mary Kate had planted grew a few more roots that day.

Weeks later, during the 2016 SF Flower & Garden Show, I attended a dinner where a very similar conversation took place, with Christina Stembel of Farmgirl Flowers, Teresa Sabankaya of Bonny Doon Garden Co., who spoke last year, Beth Van Sandt of Scenic Place Peonies, and Bay Area florists Susan Kelly and Kathleen Williford — all Slow Flowers Members. We spoke further about a Slow Flowers “live” gathering, and agreed to continue brainstorming at a workshop Teresa and I were to teach together later that year at her studio in Santa Cruz.

By then, it was September 2016, and I couldn’t let go of the notion that hosting a live conference during American Flowers Week would be a great way to celebrate what was a virtual, social media-centric event. I attended the TEDxSeattle conference a few months later and found myself enjoying the presentations, but spending more time analyzing the structure and flow of the conference — projecting my ideas onto that very successful framework at which a number of speakers and topics are presented in a single day.

Over the holidays, I called Amy and asked, “If I host a Slow Flowers Summit, will you give the keynote?” She said YES, and I jumped right in, finding a venue in Seattle and inviting a fabulous lineup of speakers. The Summit took place on July 2, 2017 in Seattle. We had 91 attendees and it was incredible as a first-effort.

Amy Stewart and Teresa Sabankaya were two of those first speakers, and a few of you were also there. Thank you for returning — we have Christina Stembel, Kit Wertz and Mud Baron, all who attended last year and — surprise — they’re presenting this year. And we have returning attendees Nan Mattson of Queen City Flower Farm in Cincinnati, a self-described “urban micro flower farm,” and Sarah Reyes of Unfurled, based in Oakland area, a floral designer and self-described “floral liaison” — I’m so happy to see you both here!

Well, that was my recap of the birth of the Slow Flowers Summit. And now, I have a big announcement for you . . .

The 3rd Slow Flowers Summit will take place on July 1st and 2nd, 2019, in Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota! Save the dates!

I’m so pleased that we have a co-host in Christine Hoffman, founder of Twin Cities Flower Exchange, a floral wholesale hub that represents local flower farmers and chemical-free practices, now in its 2nd season.


Christine is a past guest of this podcast and I’m so pleased that she agreed to welcome the Slow Flowers community to the Twin Cities – where a lot of exciting things are taking place in the floral world. To share more, I’ve asked Christine to join me for a short preview of what’s in store for you next year!

Sign up to receive Slow Flowers Summit 2019 Updates and Announcements here.

Listen to our past Podcast interviews with Christine:

Episode 193 (May 13, 2015)

Episode 290 (March 29, 2017)

Follow Twin Cities Flower Exchange on Instagram

And if you happen to find yourself in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area on Sunday, August 12th, please join me at a reception Christine is hosting for the local floral community. It will take place at Good Acre, the food hub that houses Twin Cities Flower Exchange. See Details & RSVP for the August 11th Slow Flowers Happy Hour

READ MORE…

Episode 355: Celebrating the 4th Annual American Flowers Week with Floral Couture Designers Faye Krause of Flora Organica Designs and Carly Jenkings of Killing Frost Farm

Wednesday, June 27th, 2018

Feel free to download this Facebook Profile graphic!

American Flowers Week is the original domestic floral-promotion holiday and it takes place June 28th through July 4th.If you’re listening on our broadcast day, that means American Flowers Week starts tomorrow!

A few weeks ago I welcomed Hedda Brorstrom of Full Bloom Flower Farm and Floral Design as she and I discussed the glorious dahlia gown she created for our 2018 Floral Couture Collection. You can listen to Episode 351 here.

In today’s episode and on next week’s show, you’ll hear from the four additional designers who along with Hedda created our stunning lineup of botanical fashions.

Faye Zierer Krause of Flora Organica Couture, puts finishing touches on her Iris Look (c) Leon Villagomez

Faye’s vision for transforming irises into fashion — with huge success!

Today, I’ve invited Faye Zierer Krause of Flora Organica Designs, based in Arcata, California, and Carly Jenkins of Killing Frost Farm, based outside Missoula, Montana, to each chat about her vision for the gown she created.

Faye teamed up with Sun Valley Flower Farms in her hometown of Arcata, to design and create a stunning iris gown.

Carly Jenkins realized her vision beautifully in the stunning from-the-forest gown (c) Alex M. Brooks Photography

Carly’s highly-detailed sketch of the gown she envisioned in her imagination.

Carly fashioned a woodland couture gown by drawing from her favorite source of botanical ingredients — the forests of the Pacific Northwest and the state of Montana where she frequently forages conifers, cones, moss and lichens and more.

Faye Krause of Flora Organica Designs, in her beautiful design studio, Arcata, California

These two talented Slow Flowers members are so inventive and creative in their artistry, and in the way they interpreted my request to design and fabricate a wearable floral fashion.

I am blown away by how each of these women took a singular idea, buckets of just-harvested botanical ingredients, a few simple tools and supplies — and, magically, transformed them into works of art.

As Faye explains, “using a single color of iris was more impactful and better defined the garment’s form than if I used a mix of colors.”

She drew from 1,500 ‘Hong Kong’ irises donated by Sun Valley — a variety that has slightly ruffled sapphire blue petals and a yellow “blotch”

These features are portrayed beautifully as a floor-length iris skirt, with a soft drape reminiscent of regal velvet. You’ll want to check out the  feature story I wrote for the June issue of Slow Flowers Journal in Florists’ Review to learn more.

Download full story of Faye’s Iris Dress here.

Follow Flora Organica Designs on Facebook

See Flora Organica Designs on Instagram

Shop at FayeMarie on Etsy

Carly Jenkins, among the ferns, photographed by Heather Saunders at the 2018 Whidbey Flower Workshop

Our second guest, Carly Jenkins, is the queen of the forest and her woodland-inspired couture costume is also fit for a queen. Carly’s favorite design ingredients are sheets of moss and patches of lichen in many shades from gray to green. She loved the challenge of creating a wearable and attractive garment with humble materials.

“I definitely wanted to create a beautiful gown,” she says in the Florists’ Review article for which I interviewed her. “Rather than having beauty and strength be mutually exclusive, I wanted to see them together.”

Left: Carly Jenkins and Katherine Sherba as they sorted moss and lichen for the woodland gown; right: On location at Old Goat Farm — the Woodland Couture photo shoot, from left: Katherine, photographer Alex Brooks, model Berkeley Danysh, Carly Jenkins and Debra Prinzing

Carly and her frequent collaborator, fellow Montana flower farmer Katherine Sherba of Mighty Fine Farm, assembled a fantastical garment that truly reflects time and place.

See more images and read my Florists’ Review story about Carly’s woodland creation.

Download my Story of the Woodland Dress here.

Follow Killing Frost Farm on Instagram

As part of the interviews, I ask both women to share updates on their floral businesses. It’s fitting because both are past guests of this podcast and each has continued to develop and diversify her floral business since you first heard their stories here.

Listen to Episode 239 (March 2016) to hear more from Faye Zierer Krause of Flora Organica Designs

Listen to Episode 296 (May 2017) to hear from Carly Jenkins of Killing Frost Farm and Missoula’s Westside Flower Market

Thank you so much for joining me today.

Our botanical art piece by Ellen Hoverkamp

Wherever you find yourself this week, please feel thoroughly welcome to participate in American Flowers Week, coming up June 28-through-July 4th.

You’re invited to join in – and I can’t wait to see what you plan and product — and I’ll be searching for your stories and posts with the hashtag #americanflowersweek. We have all kinds of resources for you at americanflowersweek.com

And we are just days from the second annual Slow Flowers Summit, our LIVE celebration of American Flowers Week, scheduled for this Friday, June 29th in Washington, D.C.

Only a few seats are left and I’d love your presence at the Summit, as we seek to bring together a diversity of voices, practices and personal stories that together make the Slow Flowers Community so vibrant.

I promise you an inspiring lineup of speakers, gorgeous flowers, fun and interactive design activities and of course, a chance to stretch your imagination in a thought-provoking and stimulating environment.

Take the Pledge!!!

I am grateful to all our entire 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 330,000 times by listeners like you.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for listening, commenting, liking and sharing! It means so much.

Thank you to our sponsors who have supported Slow Flowers and all of our programs. They are:

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 offer for a free trial issue

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.

Recently, I played with local roses at a lovely workshop at All My Thyme, with Dawn Severin and instructor Alicia Schwede (c) Becca Jones.

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.comSpecial thanks to Stephen Yaussi for taking over editing duties for the coming weeks while Andrew is abroad.

Music Credits:
Feathersoft; The Wooden Platform; Around Plastic Card Tables; The Big-Ten
by Blue Dot Sessions
Music from:

audionautix.com