Debra Prinzing

Get the Email Newsletter!

Archive for the ‘Flower Farming’ Category

Episode 418: A visit to Utah’s emerging cut flower community with Laura Pittard of Poppin’ Blossoms; plus, our state focus North Dakota

Wednesday, September 11th, 2019

Laura Pittard (right) of Poppin’ Blossoms, today’s guest, recently hosted my visit to her flower fields in Orem, Utah

I just returned from a short trip to Salt Lake City, where I attended the GardenComm annual conference, the gathering of professional garden communicators with which I’ve long been affiliated.

dahlia fields at Poppin' Blossoms
Dahlia Fields at Poppin’ Blossoms

I’ve known I would be traveling to Salt Lake in early September for quite a while — and I also knew I wanted to visit today’s guest while there. You see, Laura Pittard of Poppin’ Blossoms was the first Utah member of Slow Flowers.

Laura Pittard at Rose Design Workshop
Laura designing with roses at All My Thyme in Mt. Vernon, Washington (c) Becca Johnson of B. Johnson Photography

She joined a few years ago after we originally met in 2016 at Red Daisy Farm outside Denver. Laura was new to flower growing and she was pretty isolated as one of the first growers in her region, so I was doubly impressed that she flew to Denver to network with others at the Slow Flowers meet-up and BBQ hosted by Red Daisy’s Megan McGuire for Colorado flower farmers and florists. Laura and I reconnected on several other occasions – at conferences and workshops — and earlier this year, I was able to feature Poppin’ Blossoms’ profile and flowers in Florists’ Review’s Rocky Mountain-themed issue.

Poppin’ Blossoms’ dahlias are featured in a beautiful bridal bouquet (c) Bobbi Tolman Photography

Laura and her family (including husband Brian and son Grayson) welcomed me to Poppin’ Blossoms in Orem, Utah, about 40 minutes south of Salt Lake City. We started off by recording this episode, followed by an informal gathering as seven local flower farmers and farmer-florists joined us for a tour of Laura’s beautiful growing fields. We enjoyed a great discussion over lunch, which Laura provided.

For me, it was an honor to witness the emerging and exciting local floral scene in Utah. There are many talented folks doing community-focused and collaborative projects — and I hope to feature some of them on upcoming episodes.

These photos bring back memories of meeting up with Laura in 2018 at the Rose Design workshop held on All My Thyme farm in Mt. Vernon, Washington (c) B. Jones Photography

Please enjoy this conversation with Laura Pittard of Poppin’ Blossoms. Laura’s mission is to supply her marketplace and community with the highest quality, premier specialty cut flowers. In my opinion, she has already reached that level of excellence — and the future is rosy as the momentum can only grow for local, seasonal and bespoke cut flowers.

Find and follow Poppin’ Blossoms at these social places:

Poppin’ Blossoms on Facebook

Poppin’ Blossoms on Instagram

Poppin’ Blossoms on Pinterest

Download a PDF of the Rocky Mountain-themed “Slow Flowers Journal” section that includes a piece on Poppin’ Blossoms

05_Slow Flowers Journal_FR

The emerging Utah flower farming community gathered at Poppin’ Blossoms on September 7th. I’m so glad I met everyone!

So happy we visited Utah — and a special shout-out of thanks to Laura for hosting our Slow Flowers meet-up. I’ve written a recap of my visit to Poppin’ Blossoms and the wonderful group of kindred spirits I met last Saturday. We now have five members in Utah, representing the exciting shift towards seasonal and locally-grown flowers serving everyone from farmers’ market customers and CSA subscribers to wedding florists and event designers.

Tammy Krein, photographed at the recent Inspired Design Retreat, courtesy of Patience Pickner and Ace Berry

Our theme for 2019 – Fifty States of Slow Flowers – continues today with Tammy Krein of Ken’s Flower Shop in Bismarck, North Dakota.

Tammy Krein’s designs using all domestic flowers, photographed at the Inspired Design Retreat.

Ken’s is a local, full-service floral retailer based in the state capital of Bismarck. Tammy purchased an established shop in 2001 and decided to retain its original branding, although she has put her own spin on the business, developing a loyal customer base.

Bridal flowers by Ken’s Flower Shop and owner Tammy Krein

I first learned about Tammy through one of our South Dakota members, floral designer and educator Patience Pickner, and through Jason Lenz of Minnesota-based Len Busch Roses, which supplies Ken’s Flower Shop and others with a regular flow of fresh, high quality midwest-grown blooms on its delivery route through North Dakota. You’ll hear Tammy and I discuss the challenges to sourcing local flowers faced by a florist like her, located in a northern state (wedged between Minnesota and Montana, and sharing its entire northern border with Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

Inspired Design by Tammy Krein

Find and follow Tammy Krein at these social places:

Ken’s Flower Shop on Instagram

Ken’s Flower Shop on Facebook

(c) Missy Palacol Photography

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 515,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much.

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

THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS

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

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.

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. Find the full catalog of flower seeds and bulbs at johnnysseeds.com.

Longfield Gardens, which 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. Check out the full catalog at Longfield Gardens at longfield-gardens.com

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

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

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

Music Credits:
Bombadore; Betty Dear; Gaena
by Blue Dot Sessionshttp://www.sessions.bluehttps://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/

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

In The Field
Music from:
audionautix.com

Episode 417: Meet Hometown Flower Collective – a Mobile and Digital Florist on Long Island

Wednesday, September 4th, 2019
Jaclyn Rutigliano and Marc Iervolino of Hometown Flower Collective (c) Hometown Flower Co.

Jaclyn Rutigliano of Hometown Flower Collective is today’s guest. During our conversation, you’ll hear us trying to recall how we originally connected. And finally, while writing this intro, I searched my email archives to find the back story of how Jaclyn and I really did meet!

A new concept (with a twist) for Long Island floral customers — the mobile flower truck that comes to you! (c) Erica Schroeder photography

In March 2015, she reached out to me via the Slow Flowers “contact us” form. She wrote:

Hi there, I handle public relations and communications for the slow fashion brand Zady (Zady.com) and we are currently coordinating our events for Fashion Revolution Day and Earth Day. 

I am wondering if there is someone I can speak with about possibly bringing in a slow flowers aspect to our events. 

I would love to connect and look forward to hearing from you.

Long Island-grown flowers on the “baby blue” mobile flower shop (c) Erica Schroeder photography

That email led to a long phone call during which Jaclyn brought me up to speed on slow fashion and I brought her up to speed on slow flowers — and we discussed some possible cross-promotions and collaborations. In her follow-up note to me, Jaclyn signed off with these comments:

I am going to spend a ton of time digging into your site  but if you have any other initial suggestions for where I can begin to tackle these issues from the retail and floral design standpoint, I would love to look into that for my parents. Who knows- maybe I will take on the family business one day after all! 

Fast-forward to this past January and I again heard from Jaclyn. It was long after her gig with Zady ended and many years after my Field to Vase Dinner Tour consulting that we referenced. But of course I remembered her immediately.

Hometown Flower Collective’s web site

This time, Jaclyn had some news that delighted me:

Happy New Year and I hope this finds you well. You likely don’t remember but we had emailed nearly four years ago at my previous job when I was representing a company called Zady which was focused on the sustainable fashion movement. I am from a family of florists and when I heard about your slow flowers movement, it really resonated with me and you were kind enough to provide some additional reading materials for me to further educate myself. 

From Long Island flower farms to Long Island floral customers (c) Francesca Russell photography

Years later, my husband and I are in the planning stages to open up our own business . . . possibly a mixed use retail space which will have the retail arm of my parents’ floral event design business. I am keen to approach this differently as currently, I don’t believe there is any florist in Long Island focused on locally sourced flowers. I really want to provide artistically designed flowers that embrace natural beauty, lesser known flowers, greens, naturally grown varieties, etc. And it would be great to source these within a 50 mile radius or at least domestically. Our business will be focused on a tight inventory to minimize waste and to embrace what is readily available. 

I would love to receive some guidance in terms of identifying the right farmers, varieties, the questions to ask, etc. It will be easy for me to follow the same path of my family and just source product from a regular importer but I would love to support local small farmers and source directly- though there are concerns about the cost associated. We are even considering planting our own flowers as well.

Anyways, I’m not sure if you do this or are speaking anywhere on the east coast in the future but I would love to learn from you to help get on the right foot.

Hometown Flower Collective offers a floral subscription (left) and festive, floral-focused events (right) (c) Hometown Flower Collective photographs

It’s so wonderful how people can come into your life for what looks like one reason – only to learn from that experience that we can’t even predict how we influence and inspire one another. Hearing from Jaclyn four years later was an affirmation that all the messages and information I put out into the marketplace about flower sourcing and sustainable practices doesn’t land on deaf ears! When the timing was right, she eagerly devoured the mission of Slow Flowers.

Hometown Flower Collective’s beach-inspired flower crown party and feast (c) Christie Monteleone

Not only has Jaclyn absorbed these Slow Flowers concepts but she has put her entirely personal spin on them. Along with her husband Marc Iervolino, they launched Hometown Flower Collective earlier this year on Mother’s Day weekend, in fact. Their hometown is Huntington, New York – on Long Island. These two Long Island natives and residents are running Hometown Flower Collective as a family operation with their two daughters, August and Sage. Jaclyn’s the ones with her arms up in flowers, overseeing the floral designs, creative marketing, and branding for the company. Marc oversees the day-to-day business operations and logistics. Here’s a fun fact: they are two Leos who share the same birthday and a bold mission to shape a better future for their children and community.

More from the beach party (c) Christie Monteleone

Jaclyn and Marc write this on their web site:
Hometown Flower Collective connects people who love flowers with the local farmers who grow them. A new take on the traditional neighborhood florist, Hometown Flower Collective offers fresh, local varieties delivered right to your doorstep through monthly subscriptions, and through its vintage pick-up truck, Baby Blue, a 1976 Ford F-100, re-imagined to become Long Island’s first mobile flower truck.

The “baby blue” flower truck is party-ready! (c) Christie Monteleone

Our mission is simple: to encourage people to look no further than their hometowns to find beauty grown nearby, and to provide access to locally-grown varieties in places where our farmers are typically unable to consistently reach. Inspired by a third generation flower designer’s experience growing up around the floral industry and witnessing how removed consumers and retailers were from where and how their flowers were sourced, Hometown Flower Co. was founded with a strong desire to change the status quo and encourage people to embrace their roots.

Please enjoy this conversation and listen for some very useful tips from Jaclyn on how to interest the local media in your floral enterprise. I’m inspired and energized by Jaclyn and Marc’s story and I hope you can draw at least one wonderful branding tip or marketing technique from our conversation to enhance your efforts.

Social media, collateral material, messaging and education — all have helped launch Hometown Flower Collective in their marketplace (c) Francesca Russell photography

Find and follow Hometown Flower Collective at these social places:

Find HFC on Facebook

Discover HFC on Instagram

See more pretty from HFC on Pinterest

We’re taking a little hiaitus from our theme for 2019 – Fifty States of Slow Flowers – I’m committed to recruiting a North Dakota guest for you  and we just need another week to pull that off!

We learn so much when we gather together! This photo was taken at the August 28th Slow Flowers Summer Soiree for members in the Oregon & Washington area (c) Missy Palacol Photography

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

THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS

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

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.

Arctic Alaska Peonies, a cooperative of family farms in the heart of Alaska working together to grow and distribute fresh, stunning, high-quality peony varieties during the months of July and August – and even September. Arctic Alaska Peonies operates three pack houses supplying peonies throughout the United States and Canada. Visit them today at arcticalaskapeonies.com

FarmersWeb. FarmersWeb software makes it simple for flower farms to streamline working with their buyers. By lessening the administrative load and increasing efficiency, FarmersWeb helps your farm save time, reduce errors, and work with more buyers overall. Learn more at www.farmersweb.com

Local dahias from Laughing Goat Farm, Seattle Wholesale Growers Market and the Slow Flowers Cutting Garden, arranged by Kelly Shore of Petals by the Shore (c) Missy Palacol Photography

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 513,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much.

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:
 
Lahaina; Flagger; Betty Dear; Gaena
by Blue Dot Sessions
 
Music from:
audionautix.com

Episode 416: North Carolina-grown, with Bowerbird Flowers & Apothecary Floral and Flourish Flower Farm

Wednesday, August 28th, 2019
Just-picked North Carolina flowers, so beautiful! Photographed at Flourish Flower Farm.

Our theme for 2019 – Fifty States of Slow Flowers – continues today with the entire episode dedicated to North Carolina, celebrated for naming the flowering dogwood as its state flower.

There is so much great news coming from North Carolina! We have featured several Slow Flowers members as previous podcast guests, so to give you a richer snapshot of the state, I’ve collected all of their appearances for you to find below. They include a great introduction to the dynamic floral scene — in both growing and design:

Jonathan and Megan Leiss of Spring Forth Farm, Episode 266

Stephanie Hall of Sassafras Fork Farm and Maggie Smith of Pine State Flowers, Episode 273

Kelly Morrison of Color Fields and Piedmont Wholesale Flowers, Episode 296

Diane Joyal and Lily Joyal of Bowerbird Flowers & Apothecary (c) Kim Branagan

Our first guests are mother-daughter duo, Diane Joyal and Lily Joyal of Bowerbird Flowers & Apothecary, based in Chapel Hill. In our conversation, Diane and Lily share their “local floral” point of view as retail florists in the eastern part of North Carolina’s triangle of Chapel Hill, Raleigh and Durham. They have grown rapidly and have some cool news to share with you.

Niki and William Irving (left) and Niki teaching at an event on Flourish Flower Farm (right)

Part Two features Niki Irving of Flourish Flower Farm in Asheville, the heart of western North Carolina. Niki is a farmer-florist who serves a diverse range of customers– from grocery to weddings and events — to on-farm customers.

I hope you enjoy our tour of North Carolina! Before we jump into the recordings, here is a bit more about each guest:

Beautiful blooms, North Carolina-grown, from Bowerbird Flowers & Apothecary

Diane Joyal is the founder/Ceo of Bowerbird Flowers & Apothecary. She loves anything that keeps her smiling. This includes small puppies, big local blooms, and a good conversation. Her days at Bowerbird are filled with client interactions, vendor relations, and tracking down the best of the best in product. Diane’s Secret talent is being up with the floral trends and knowing just where to find a specific flower. Her favorite flowers are off-beat tulips, bearded iris, and not your average roses.

Two appealing floral palettes express the range of styles by Bowerbird Flowers & Apothecary

As the Founder of Bowerbird, Diane started the business with the idea that arrangements should be created to showcase what each individual bloom can do. Diane trained with Sarah Ryhanen of Saipua and she has taken classes with well known designers such as Pondarosa & Thyme and Bows & Arrows Flowers.

A wedding by Bowerbird Flowers & Apothecary

Lily Joyal is operations manager and designer at Bowerbird. She loves anything that keeps her moving, including but not limited to coffee, a nice sunny day, and a good work-out class. Her daily duties at Bowerbird include making lists, gathering blooms, and accomplishing the impossible. Her secret talent is car tetris she can load any car with flowers without a single snapped head. Her favorite flowers are Hellebore and whatever is in season. In her free time she enjoys going for a nice long run and getting good food with friends. She is also a painter and graduated from UNC Asheville with her BA in 2017.

Find and follow Bowerbird Flowers & Apothecary at these social places:

Bowerbird Flowers & Apothecary on Instagram

Bowerbird Flowers & Apothecary on Pinterest

Niki (right) and a floral display at Flourish Flower Farm (left)

Niki Irving and her husband William Irving own Flourish Flower Farm. After years of working in education and outdoor education, Niki finally turned the dream of becoming a Farmer-Florist into reality. As the daughter of a landscaper and tree farmer, you could say that Niki’s love of plants was inevitable. Niki loves growing, nurturing and creating beauty. William spent his childhood helping his grandfather tend a giant vegetable garden and he is the master of the farm maintenance tasks. William still has a full-time job off the farm, but he helps Niki make sure the farm is run like a sustainable business and fixes the things that she breaks.

Wedding personals and ceremony flowers by Niki Irving of Flourish Flower Farm.

Together, they balance a love of nature, hard work, creating beauty and spreading joy at the farm.  They believe that flowers make the world a more beautiful, enjoyable place and are inspired by the way a fresh bouquet of flowers lights up someone’s entire face. Niki loves creating lush, seasonally-inspired arrangements for weddings and special events with their gorgeous farm fresh flowers, and William is always behind the scenes helping to make it all run smoothly.

Students are immersed in hands-on design at one of the popular Flourish Flower Farm workshops.

Find and follow Flourish Flower Farm at these social places:

Flourish Flower Farm on Facebook

Flourish Flower Farm on Instagram

Flourish Flower Farm on Pinterest

I think you’ll enjoy this cross-state North Carolina tour featuring two Slow Flowers business models that are design-driven and dedicated on local sourcing. I love our visit, giving you two unique ventures from which to draw inspiration and lessons for your own enterprise.

Here is another cool resource about North Carolina-grown blooms: Click below to download a PDF of my 2017 Florists’ Review article about Southern Flower Hubs — with sections on Piedmont Wholesale Florists of the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill area (which Diane and I discussed in her segment); and the Western NC Flower Farmers group, which Niki and I discussed.

THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS!

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

NW Green Panels. Based in Madras, Oregon, NW Green Panels designs and constructs a wide array of wood-framed greenhouses offering versatility, style and durability. Their greenhouses are 100% Oregon-made using twin-wall polycarbonate manufactured in Wisconsin, making NW Green Panel structures a great value for your backyard. The 8×8 foot Modern Slant greenhouse has become the essential hub of my cutting garden — check out photos of my greenhouse in today’s show notes or visit nwgreenpanels.com to see more.

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

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.  

I want to give a special shout-out and welcome this week to Terri Carstens of Dream Dirt Florals in Reardan, Washington in the Eastern part of the state. Terri is the lucky winner of a one-year Premium membership in Slow Flowers — which we donated to the Washington Flowers Project for their summer promotion. The WA Flowers Project aims to increase awareness of locally-grown flowers, build relationships within the flower industry, & increase local sales – and is a USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant funded initiative. Welcome Terri!

As our movement 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.

(c) Mary Grace Long photography

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 510,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much.

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:
Betty Dear; Gaena
by Blue Dot Sessions http://www.sessions.bluehttps://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/

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

In The Field; Acoustic Shuffle; Mountain Sun
audionautix.com

Episode 415: Floral design takes a botanical journey with Sylvia Lukach of Cape Lily, plus our State Focus: New York

Wednesday, August 21st, 2019
Sylvia Lukach of Cape Lily, sharing her love of South African flora with lovers of flowers and travel

This wasn’t entirely planned but it turns out, we have two New York-based guests this week.

Our first featured guest comes by way of South Africa, Harlem and lower Hudson Valley, Sylvia Lukach of Cape Lily.

Our second guest is Charles Sherman of North Fork Flower Farm in Orient, New York, who appears as part of the 2019 – Fifty States of Slow Flowers series. Listen for my great conversation with Charles in the second portion of this episode.

A botanical display from Cape Lily’s first botanical excursion to South Africa

Sylvia and I first connected when I hosted a Slow Flowers Upstate New York Meet-up in Hudson, New York about three years ago. She traveled about two hours north of her home and studio in New York City’s Harlem neighborhood to join the gathering of Hudson Valley flower farmers, farmer-florists and other designers like herself — a group that loosely called themselves the Hudson Valley Flower Growers Network. We discussed some of the emerging issues facing Manhattan and Brooklyn-based wedding and event florists like Sylvia and the growers whose flowers they so eagerly source. Issues like transportation, special ordering, access to markets and more.

It’s a theme that continues today and you may have listened to my conversation just a few weeks ago with Molly Culver of Molly Oliver Flowers in Brooklyn — we addressed the same issues and Molly’s sourcing goals, successes and challenges.

Two floral collaborations that reflect Sylvia’s Harlem, New York, ties with artists and makers.

Sylvia and I continued a friendship when Cape Lily joined Slow Flowers and after we reunited just months later at the first Whidbey Flower Workshop in 2017, hosted by Tobey Nelson. There, during our introductions and the creative writing exercises I led, it emerged that Sylvia dreamed of blending her South African heritage, her love of South African floral, and her love of travel into an unique brand for her business Cape Lily.

Since then, Sylvia has developed a studio-based floral enterprise serving New York City, Westchester County, where she now lives, and the Hudson Valley wedding and event marketplace. And she led her first botanical journey for Cape Lily — a floral-themed tour with Susan Mcleary to South Africa last fall.

Beautiful creations from the Sue Mcleary workshop during Cape Lily’s South African botanical excursion

I wanted to invite Sylvia onto the Slow Flowers Podcast to share her story and to discuss how she has indeed zeroed in on the unique brand attributes of Cape Lily. If you’re at a similar place in your own floral enterprise — seeking a way to highlight your singular story and distinct place in the marketplace — I know that Sylvia’s narrative will be inspiring.

Sue Mcleary joined Sylvia as floral design instructor. Photography (c) Heather Saunders

Sylvia wrote a beautiful essay for our Slow Flowers Journal online magazine called “An African Slow Flowers Story,” which we published in December 2017. Its opening lines begin as follows:

Florists, flower farmers; local South African designers + North American students. They all came together for a love of flowers, place, friendship.

I grew up in a small coastal town in South Africa, Plettenberg Bay, in an area called the Garden Route, where fynbos, a distinct aromatic indigenous shrubland, flows down the mountains and hovers on the sand dunes along the ocean. I would run up the hill in my Wellies (for protection from snakes) to harvest some of the pride of the Cape Floral Kingdom like Sugarbush Proteas, Leucadendrons and Ericas, which my mother, our town’s first florist, would use to supplement her designs.

Fast-forward to present day and I find myself a long way from home here in the urban hustle of Harlem, New York, but with that same urge to harvest seasonal, local flowers.

Thanks to the growing network of local cut flower farmers and support from the Slow Flowers community, this is still possible. My go-to supplier is Rock Steady Farm, a women-owned cooperative farm using holistic and sustainable farming practices, located outside Millerton, New York. I love the creative possibility yet natural constraints that exist when designing with buckets-full of flowers harvested just up the Hudson Valley that same morning. 

As I embraced the Slow Flowers philosophy in the U.S., I was curious to learn if something similar existed in my home country, given its long floral history and current status as one of the largest Protea exporters in the world.

Images from Sylvia’s recent installation for the LEAF Flower Show in New York. Sylvia embellished a vibrant fountain called called “The Source,” by Ester Partegàs at Plaza de Las Americas.

Find and follow Cape Lily and its creative director Sylvia Lukach at these social places:

Cape Lily on Facebook

Cape Lily on Instagram

Thank you so much for joining me today! As Sylvia mentions, the next Botanical Journey to South Africa is scheduled for this coming October, so check out the itinerary and learn how you can be part of the trip.

Three of the four partners in North Fork Flower Farm, from left: Charles Sherman, Karen Braziller and Kevin Perry. Not pictured: Drianne Benner

We’ve been to the suburbs of New York City where Sylvia is based. Now, let’s travel to the farthest point of Long Island’s North Fork, to the town of Orient, where we’ll continue the #fiftystatesofslowflowers series and meet Charles Sherman of North Fork Flower Farm.

Charles Sherman is one quarter of North Fork Flower Farm, the two-acre farm he started four years ago with his life partner, Karen Braziller, along with Kevin Perry and Drianne Benner.

As you will hear in our conversation, Charles and I have a dear mutual friend in fellow Orient resident Charles Dean, who I’ve known for more than 15 years through the Garden Writers Association (now GardenComm) and who has produced a number of books with editor Karen Braziller, Charles Sherman’s partner. So this is a fond conversation and it makes me yearn to return to Orient, NY, since I haven’t visited there since 2011.

Find and follow North Fork Flower Farm at these social places:

North Fork Flower Farm on Facebook

North Fork Flower Farm on Instagram

Thank you so much for joining me today as we visited two distinctly beautiful floral destinations in New York. Download the PDF of “Botanical Influences,” my March 2018 Florists’ Review interview with Sylvia Lukach.

Follow this link to a recent article written by Jim Merritt of Newsday, the daily newspaper on Long Island, which features Slow Flowers members North Fork Flower Farm and florists Jaclyn and Marc Rutigliano of the Hometown Flower Co. It’s exciting to see the local press feature Long Island’s local flower renaissance against the backdrop of the Slow Flowers movement!

Mums, zinnias, dahlias, gomphrena, amaranth, scented geranium — all from Washington. I added a few goodies from my friend Cheryl’s backyard in Altadena, California (including tree fern fronds and limelight hydrangeas)

As our movement gains more supporters and more passionate participants who believe in the importance of the American cut flower industry, the momentum is contagious.

I know you feel it, too. I value your support and invite you to show your thanks and with a donation to support my ongoing advocacy, education and outreach activities.

You can find the donate button in the column to the right.

THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS

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

Longfield Gardens, which 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. Yes, the dahlias are exploding in the #slowflowerscuttinggarden, but now it’s time to start our spring bulb order! Check out the full catalog at Longfield Gardens at longfield-gardens.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.

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. Find the full catalog of flower seeds and bulbs at johnnysseeds.com and check out my past articles featuring the wisdom and voices of flower farmers.

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 507,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much.

I am in love with my greenhouse, designed and built sustainably by Oregon-based NW Green Panels (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.com

Music Credits:
Red City Theme; Betty Dear; Gaena
by Blue Dot Sessions
http://www.sessions.bluehttps://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/

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

In The Field
audionautix.com

Episode 414: Jen Ladd of Sweet Posy Floral, on growing for local customers and destination weddings in Bend, Oregon; plus our State Focus: New Mexico

Wednesday, August 14th, 2019
With her Dahlias: Jen Ladd of Sweet Posy Floral, a Bend, Oregon-based specialty cut flower farm and floral studio.

Located in Central Oregon, Bend is an incredibly beautiful place – across the mountains from where I live, so an entirely different landscape. Yes, the area is considered high desert, but the local agriculture scene for food and flowers is vibrant and active.

Last week took me there for a two-day getaway and you can be sure I wanted to visit a few flower growers during the trip. Today, you’ll join me on one – a tour and conversation with Jennifer Ladd of Sweet Posy Flowers.

Jen Ladd (right) posing with #flowersonyourhead at the 2017 Slow Flowers Summit. Photo by Mud Baron

I thought the last time I saw Jen was in 2017 when she attended (and contributed flowers) to the first Slow Flowers Summit held in Seattle. But she reminded me that we had a very brief “passing hello” at the Northwest Flower & Garden Festival this past February. Turns out, Jen helps a family member set up a plant sale booth at the flower show – so we’re going to be more intentional about connecting there next year.

But what a treat to drive just about 10 minutes east of Bend, turn off the highway onto a long, gravel driveway, and come upon fields of annuals surrounding a charming white cottage-style studio and two sturdy high tunnels also filled with blooms.

The studio at Sweet Posy Floral.

I arrived at Sweet Posy Floral, was greeted by two friendly dogs and today’s bubbly guest.

Jen Ladd of Sweet Posy Floral

Jen aptly describes Sweet Posy Floral as an heirloom flower farm and bespoke floral design studio. She owns the farm with her firefighter husband Brandon Ladd, about whom she says, “I truly wouldn’t have been able to bring this dream to fruition without him. He works his full-time shifts at the fire station and comes home and works the farm and helps me with logistics of wedding setups.” A true farm-him partner for the farm-her.

Flowers on Display with Jen Ladd

Jen shares this on her “about” page:

I’ve loved flowers my entire life. As a child, I would go with my grandmother into her garden and watch her love and cultivate the plants, talking to them as she went. “You have to talk to them because it’s a relationship,” she’d tell me. “They’ll only grow and blossom for you if you love them.

When it was time to plan my own wedding, second only to the groom and the dress in importance was the flowers. Destiny brought me to a wonderful woman on a glorious flower farm who set me loose with shears and buckets to cut as many of her beautiful heirloom flowers as I wanted to make my day complete. In those fields, surrounded by the bright blooms, I realized this is what I’d love to do. 

The dream of sharing beautiful, sustainable, local flowers is what Sweet Posy is all about.

Identical in idea to the slow food movement, we believe in the slow flowers movement. We believe that a bouquet can come from a fifty-mile radius, even in Central Oregon’s climate. We believe that special, unique heirloom flowers can be accessible even if they aren’t bred to withstand weeks of shipping. We believe that a wider variety of flowers leads to a wider variety of floral visions we can make reality.

Local is beautiful, when local means real flowers that are pollinated by real bees and destined to brighten the days of real people who love supporting their local farmer artisans. Welcome to Sweet Posy’s growing world!

Love those sentiments!

The seasonal bounty of Sweet Posy Floral
Sweet Posy Floral’s “jar posies” at Market of Choice in Bend.

Even though she was up at dawn to harvest, make market bouquets, deliver them to Market of Choice, a local grocery store customer, and tend to countless other farm projects, when I arrived at Sweet Posy last weekend, Jen greeted me with a warm welcome as if she had not a care in the world. She gave me a tour of the fields, the high tunnels and the studio. We shared a glass of pink champagne and noshed on some delicious appetizers – and finally turned on the recorder to grab this interview.

What a brilliant array of summer blooms!

Find and follow Jen Ladd and Sweet Posy Floral at these social places:

Sweet Posy Floral on Facebook

Sweet Posy Floral on Instagram

Sweet Posy Floral on Pinterest

I’m so pleased that you joined me today! Finding balance is a theme we keep coming back to on this Podcast –a balance between passion and wellness; between creative urges and sustaining a creative livelihood. Neither my guests nor I have all the answers, but we strive for honesty and transparency in our dialogue and we want you to be part of that conversation.

A recent Bend area wedding, with lush and local flowers created by Sweet Posy Floral

Another constant theme of the Slow Flowers Podcast is community. We didn’t have time to share the story of Jen’s first CSA week ever, but suffice it to say, it involved the biggest disaster a new flower farmer could face – a freak June frost that decimated her entire early season flower crop.

Jen put out a call for advice to others she had met through the PNW Cut Flower Growers annual gathering and several flower farmers not only jumped in with encouragement and advice, but farms actually gifted Jen and her husband Brandon enough flowers to cover week one and week two of their CSA commitments.

Those flower farmers have become good friends to Jen and Brandon, and I just want to acknowledge them today – Erin McMullen and Aaron Gaskey of Raindrop Farms in Philomath and Beth and Jason Syphers of Crowley House Flower Farm in Rickreal – both in the Willamette Valley. To this day, Jen wonders if she would have given up in discouragement if the community of Oregon flower farmers hadn’t stepped in to help support Sweet Posy Floral through that natural disaster. Of course, both of those flower farms are part of the Slow Flowers Community so it was no surprise to learn of this story. And I know for certain that Jen and Brandon would do the same thing to pay it forward with a fellow grower or florist in need.

Thank you, Jen, for being that voice of honesty this week. I love your work, the beautiful life you’ve shaped for yourself, and your grit balanced with lovely artistic expression.

The Calhoun women flower farmers, from left: Lillian, Emily, Susannah, and mom, Diane.

Our theme for 2019 – Fifty States of Slow Flowers – continues today, with Diane Calhoun and Susannah Calhoun, mother-daughter farmer-florists of Calhoun Flower Farm in Las Cruces, New Mexico.

A desert-inspired bouquet, grown and designed by Calhoun Flower Farms.

In the podcast, you’ll hear me flub a couple of times and call their farm: Calhoun Family Farm. We laughed because it’s certainly that, too. Theirs is a farming family. Sister Lillian Calhoun is a frequent support on the business side of things and you’ve actually met Diane’s daughter and Susannah’s sister Emily Calhoun as a past guest of this podcast on two occasions – Emily owns FloriographyNM, based in Albuquerque.

You can meet Emily in Episode 176 (January 2015) and in a follow-up interview in Episode 317 (October 2017)

Dazzling flowers, photographed in the white sands of New Mexico (c) Justin Lee Burr

Calhoun Flower Farms is boutique floral enterprise located in the magnificent Mesilla Valley of New Mexico. Diane and Susannah grow and distribute their field grown flowers for the floral trade, consumers, and events flowers throughout NM and West Texas. They offer farm tours by appointment and often rent their farm for photography sessions.

Find and follow Calhoun Flower Farms at these social places:

Calhoun Flower Farms on Facebook

Calhoun Flower Farms on Instagram

Susannah Calhoun (center), with her floral designs (left) and Calhoun Flower Farms (right)

I am so grateful to you for joining me and for spending your time listening to the Slow Flowers Podcast today. Thank you to our entire community of flower farmers and floral designers who together define the Slow Flowers Movement.

Calhoun Flower Farms employs and serves the community of El Paso, Texas, and Las Cruces, New Mexico (c) Justin Lee Burr

If you feel moved as I am to support the people of El Paso, Texas, some of whom work for and buy flowers from Calhoun Flower Farm, follow this link to join Slow Flowers in donating to the El Paso Community Foundation.

El Paso Community Foundation’s short-term goal has been to use donations to assist families and victims by paying for funeral, travel, and basic need expenses. Long term, the foundation wants to support the community’s need to heal as a collective while addressing the trauma people there have suffered as a whole. The Foundation has also established the El Paso Victims’ Education Fund – a scholarship fund for the children of those shot and injured or killed by the shooter on August 3, 2019. Your contribution will join others in providing tuition assistance and related expenses to college or university, or an established trade or vocational school. Learn more by searching the hashtag #elpasoSOstrong.

THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS

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

Arctic Alaska Peonies, a cooperative of family farms in the heart of Alaska working together to grow and distribute fresh, stunning, high-quality peony varieties during the months of July and August when the normal growing season is complete. Arctic Alaska Peonies operates three pack houses supplying peonies throughout the United States and Canada. Visit them today at arcticalaskapeonies.com

FarmersWeb. FarmersWeb software makes it simple for flower farms to streamline working with their buyers. By lessening the administrative load and increasing efficiency, FarmersWeb helps your farm save time, reduce errors, and work with more buyers overall. Learn more at www.farmersweb.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.

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

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 505,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much.

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:
Castor Wheel Pivot; One Little Triumph; Betty Dear; Gaenaby 
Blue Dot Sessions
http://www.sessions.bluehttps://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/

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

In The Field
Music from: audionautix.com

Episode 413: Meet Misty VanderWeele of Alaska’s All Dahlia’d Up, plus our State Focus: New Jersey

Wednesday, August 7th, 2019
Misty VanderWeele of All Dahlia’d Up, a Palmer, Alaska-based flower farm

Today, we’re visiting Palmer, Alaska, and spending time in conversation with Misty VanderWeele of All Dahlia’d Up Flower Farm.

Misty isn’t your typical Alaska grower because you won’t find a single peony in her fields. She claims she’ll “never say never,” but for now, there are so many other flowers, including, of course, dahlias, that Misty loves growing on her highly diversified flower farm.

The famous sweet pea tunnel!

I first met Misty in person when she attended the inaugural Slow Flowers Summit held in Seattle in 2017. She is a force of nature — high energy, inquisitive, intelligent and passionate about sharing her story. It was hard to miss her, sitting in the front row during the lectures, interacting by sharing positive feedback with our speakers and making meaningful connections with fellow Summit attendees.

Alaska’s fields of flowers at All Dahlia’d Up Flower Farm.

As soon as I met Misty and heard pieces of her personal journey, I added her to my mental list of future podcast guests. We almost had a chance to record an episode this past February when Misty returned to Seattle to attend the Northwest Flower & Garden Festival. I was working for the show that week, and while we had coffee together, there wasn’t enough time to grab a recording. Soon, we agreed. Soon.

Well, soon was this past week and Misty graciously agreed to jump on Skype with me to talk about all things Alaska flower farming. It is at the peak of her flower farming season and I seriously wonder how many hours of sleep Misty is getting in each 24-hour period. Probably only as few hours of darkness up there in the land of the endless summer sunshine.

Sleep-deprived or not, this is a fabulous conversation and you’ll learn volumes. Here’s a little more about Misty, excerpted from her web site:

Misty VanderWeele on the lecture circuit, as she shares how growing flowers gave her a chance to manage her grief and loss of a child.

“I am a born and raised Alaska Chick with a flower addiction for sure. I’m proud to grow award winning seasonal blooms for market, weddings, flower CSA and our seasonal farm stand and flower shop.

“From July through the first frost our gardens are bursting with color and flower magic. We grow vibrant Dahlias, fragrant long stem Sweetpeas, Sunflowers and more.

“All though not entirely a one-woman-show I run farm management, floral design, marketing, and field operations. I consider the flower farm my baby. That being said I couldn’t do what I do without the loving strong support from my husband, Glen, daughter Jenna and the best in-laws a girl could ever ask for.

This summer’s farmers’ market stand is pretty impressive!

“I started growing our award winning flowers 5 years ago in remembrance of my son. When he was in kindergarten he brought home to me a potted dahlia plant not yet blooming for Mothers Day. But when I learned dahlias grow from tubers you can divide for more and more every year my interest was piqued.

You see, Luke had Duchenne (Due-Shenn) Muscular Dystrophy, an incurable muscle wasting 100% fatal disease. We were told Luke would be lucky to graduate high school. Which he did in 2010. However my entire world came crashing in when he suddenly passed at age 21. I was left not only devastated but not really knowing what to do with myself. My daily life as I’d known it changed in an instant! The grief at times was unbearable. Then I remembered all those tubers! Flowers started healing my shattered heart.”

The new on-farm store at All Dahlia’d Up

Find and follow Misty VanderWeele at these social places:

All Dahlia’d Up on Facebook

All Dahlia’d Up on Instagram

Order Misty’s BookFlower Power: Poetic resonance of meaning, connection & healing flower magic for living a Full Bloom Life

Shop for Misty’s Dahlia Pendants

Bethany Bernard of The Flower Peddler in Bridgeton, New Jersey

Now, let’s visit New Jersey as the next stop in our #fiftystatesofslowflowers series.
Please meet Bethany Bernard of The Flower Peddler, based in Bridgeton, New Jersey. Bethany and her husband Dan Vohringer grow cut flowers on 10 acres, serving wedding and event florists, DIY wedding clients, and customers at four farmers’ markets.

The beautiful fields at The Flower Peddler

I recently interviewed Bethany for a Johnny’s Seeds’ newsletter article, called “Your Seed Chronicles: Planning & Planting for an Abundant & Frequent Floral Harvest” — Read the article here — it has great info from Bethany and four other Slow Flowers member growers.

Follow The Flower Peddler at these social places:

The Flower Peddler on Facebook

The Flower Peddler on Instagram

As a footnote to today’s episode, I have to give a shout out to fellow podcaster Anahit Hakobyan of Viva La Flora Live Podcast.

An AIFD and EMC designer and host of the new podcast about the art and business of flowers, Anahit recently invited me to join her in a conversation all about the Slow Flowers Movement. It’s fun being on the other side of the mic, and as always, I’m delighted to have any chance to share the Slow Flowers story, mission and vision with a new floral audience. Thanks so much, Anahit!

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

THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS

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

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

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

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.  

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 503,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much.

(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.com

Music Credits:
A Palace of Cedar; Betty Dear; Gaena
by Blue Dot Sessions
http://www.sessions.bluehttps://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/

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

In The Field
Music from: audionautix.com

Episode 412: The Flowering of Brooklyn with Molly Oliver Flowers, plus our State Focus: New Hampshire

Wednesday, July 31st, 2019
Molly Oliver Culver, a Slow Flowers Member and leader in the world of sustainable flower farming, education and design.

In October 2014, I took a trip to New York City where I made the editorial rounds to introduce Slow Flowers to members of the media (remember, the online directory launched earlier that year). At each of these meetings, I unveiled the first of what has since become the annual Slow Flowers Floral Insights and Industry Forecast.

And then, of course, as I love to do whenever I travel, I gathered with a group of Slow Flowers members to meet them, hear about their journeys, learn what encourages and even challenges each of them in them in their floral enterprise.

Summer wedding flowers, designed by Molly Oliver Flowers (c) Cheyanna di Nicola

The woman who generously helped me find a location for this gathering, and who brought beautiful flowers to the first-ever New York area Slow Flowers Meet-Up was Molly Oliver Culver, today’s guest.

A small, dynamic group of florists and growers joined us that night. And after the party wrapped, Molly agreed to stay for an interview for the Slow Flowers Podcast. We sat in the rather dark, brick-lined upstairs room of a Brooklyn eatery and recorded the conversation which you can hear from the Slow Flowers Podcast archives – episode 172, which originally aired December 17, 2014.

A vivid seasonal floral palette featuring all locally-grown New York blooms, designed by Molly Oliver Flowers (c) Iris Photograph

Today, we’re catching up with Molly and I’m so pleased that she has returned to talk about the changes in the local floral landscape in New York and Brooklyn, where most of her clients’ wedding ceremonies take place, and in the surrounding areas such as Hudson Valley, further Upstate New York, and on Long Island, where most of the local flowers for Molly’s designs are grown. So much has changed in five years and it’s so encouraging – I’m excited to share this conversation with someone I consider a Slow Flowers pioneer and valuable friend.

A lovely altar piece by Molly Oliver Flowers © Khaki Bedford Photography

Here’s more about Molly Culver and Molly Oliver Flowers:

Molly Oliver Flowers is a sustainable floral design company founded in 2011 by farmer/educator, Molly Oliver Culver. She has been recognized by Brides.com as one of the top five wedding professionals using sustainable practices and was featured on the list of best sustainable florists in NYC by Ecocult.

Molly’s aesthetic is translated into stunning, lush, local and evocative wedding flowers © Khaki Bedford Photography

Molly writes this on the “about” page of her web site:

A desire to help grow social justice and care for our beautiful planet led me to community organizing around food justice, then to rural organic farming, and eventually, to education and flowers. I’m proud to say I’ve helped to nurture soil, and have grown my own food and flowers, on my own and with others, for the past 15 years.

Sweet blooms (c) Weddings by Two

I love that floral design allows me to meet fun, loving and mindful clients and connect them with seasonal flora and our local flower, herb, perennial and foliage farmers. I’ve had many lives in my 38 years: Audrey Hepburn/NYC-obsessed teenager; literature major; novice journalist and ESL instructor in Santiago, Chile; urban farming educator and farmers market manager; community garden outreach coordinator; compost educator; urban farm manager…and now, a business owner and floral designer.

Throughout these many experiences, the connective tissue has always been people, soil, and plants. At core, I care deeply about equity, inclusion, sustainability and loving kindness and works to help these values emanate through this business.

Urban wedding-local blooms by Molly Oliver Flowers

Molly Culver on her design style:
I continue to be deeply inspired by all of the local blooms and foliages, from cultivated to wild and foraged, that any given season has to offer. Our region’s climate and four-season evolution offers something just right for every occasion, all year round. I am interested and inspired by my clients’ vision, and whenever they are needing guidance, I’m happy to share my love of wild, natural designs. In other words, I love to bring your vision to life using the gorgeous product we have available locally.

Molly Culver on “Why Local?”
I love to connect my clients with locally grown flowers, to share the fun of learning about what’s in season at the time of their event, and to create gorgeous arrangements that evoke time, place, mood and my clients’ individual style.

I source 90-100% of the flowers we use within 200 miles of New York City, from both regional and urban farms. An organic grower of 10+ years myself, I love supporting the talented community of dedicated farmers who grow an incredible diversity of beautiful flowers, cut days or even hours before, and delivered at peak quality to the city. Collaborating with these new growers to share experiences, discuss trending varieties and colors, and celebrate our successes is one of the most exciting aspects of this work.

Bridesmaids bouquets by Molly Oliver Flowers (c) Tim Ryan Smith

In the studio and for her events, Molly puts a priority on waste reduction and composting. Here are some of her practices, which I hope inspires change in your studio or shop:

Emphasis on waste reduction and composting:
It’s par for the course in the NYC event world to throw away much of the decor at the end of the night — this waste (vases, flowers, candles, etc.) winds up in a landfill.

Unfortunately, many flower studios still rely heavily on floral foam and other synthetic, non-biodegradable products to create designs — all of this goes into landfills as well. Need I go on?

There are a number of ways I work to reduce waste, both in my day-to-day work in the studio and on event days:

–I offer a variety of vessels as rentals, and re-use these as long as possible.

–I make complimentary ‘grab and go’ bouquets for your guests, and generally ensure you and your guests go home with as many peak quality flowers at the end of your event as desired.

— All unclaimed flower waste is composted locally at urban farms and becomes a nutrient-rich soil amendment.

–All items not accepted by NYC’s municipal recycling program are recycled through a partnership with Terracycle

–Much of the cardboard and paper packing and packaging from vessel shipments is re-purposed or recycled.

–I avoid all use of synthetic floral foam or other non-biodegradable products and chemicals.

The wedding party’s florals by Molly Oliver Flowers

Learn more about (and follow) this wonderfully inspiring creative floral artist at these social places:

Molly Oliver Flowers on Facebook

Molly Oliver Flowers on Instagram

Thank you so much for joining me today as we visited Brooklyn’s Molly Culver. I learned a lot and appreciate hearing Molly’s timely update about one of the most important markets for local and seasonal flowers. Molly is in an influential marketplace and her devotion to the Slow Flowers Movement is essential to the cause.

The recently renovated and restored Hay Barn at USCS-CASFS, our venue for the Slow Flowers Summit 2020! (c) Cesar Rubio

You may have picked up on the fact that I’m lobbying to bring Molly to the 2020 Slow Flowers Summit, which will take place at the Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems. As Molly is a graduate of that program at University of California, Santa Cruz, I’m eager to involve her and together we are brainstorming a panel on the influences of sustainable flower farming for the farmer-florist. Watch this space and I promise you’ll hear more details soon.

Maegan Williams of Gilsum Gardens in Gilsum, NH

Our theme for 2019 – Fifty States of Slow Flowers – continues today with Maegan Williams of Gilsum Gardens, based in Gilsum, New Hampshire. Gilsum Gardens was founded by Barry Williams and Barbara Kelly in 1993 and is now run by dad Barry and daughter Maegan.

Greenhouses share space with field-grown peonies at Gilsum Gardens

Maegan explains: Possessing no formal education in horticulture, I chose the family business after much consideration of nearly any other profession. About the time I realized I couldn’t picture my life without greenhouse season, I fell in love with cut flowers. What I lacked in classroom hours I made up for in my unique life experience of growing up in my parents’ greenhouses and countless hours spent roaming our woods and acreage. I have loved building upon and diversifying what my parents created, and feel fortunate to be guiding the business forward into its next chapter balancing seasonal nursery plants and specialty cut flowers for wholesale customers.

You’ll want to find and follow Maegan and Gilsum Gardens at these social places:

Gilsum Gardens on Facebook

Gilsum Gardens on Instagram

Spanning the seasons: Beautiful & New Hampshire-grown from Gilsum Gardens, including ranunculus and dahlias.

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

THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS

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

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

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. Find the full catalog of flower seeds and bulbs at johnnysseeds.com and check out my past articles featuring the wisdom and voices of flower farmers – you can find the links at debraprinzing.com in today’s show notes.

Longfield Gardens, which 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. Spring bulb season is almost here – my tulips are poking out of the ground already! Visit Longfield Gardens at longfield-gardens.com

(c) Mary Grace Long Photography

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 500,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much.

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

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

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

Music Credits: Red City Theme; Betty Dear; Gaena
by Blue Dot Sessions
http://www.sessions.bluehttps://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/

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

In The Field Music from:
audionautix.com

Episode 411: pot + box’s Lisa Waud on creative challenges, tackling change, nurturing community and taking Slow Flowers to the next level, plus our State Focus: Nevada

Wednesday, July 24th, 2019
Let’s celebrate the 6th Anniversary of the Slow Flowers Podcast!

Folks, today we are celebrating the Slow Flowers Podcast’s six birthday! YES, it’s pretty amazing to hit this point, so far beyond the origins of this little project, which started in 2013. I believe it’s worth taking time to highlight the accomplishments of our small internet-based radio show that is this week celebrating not just a birthday, but also the incredible news that episodes of the Slow Flowers Podcast have been downloaded 500,000 times!

Lisa Waud (c) ee berger photograph

Behind these numbers are individuals like you and me, creatives who desire to build a life around beauty and sustainability. We are seeking a new model, defining our own progressive practices and embracing inclusive solutions that contribute to the floral marketplace in our own communities. We are in for a special treat with today’s guest — my friend, supporter and now collaborator, Lisa Waud. Stay tuned for my conversation with Lisa in just a few moments.

This is the weekly podcast about American Flowers and the people who grow and design with them. You are listening to the 312th consecutive weekly episode that asks: are you making a conscious choice when it comes to your flowers? You are invited to join the conversation and the creative community as we discuss the vital topics of saving our domestic flower farms and supporting a floral industry that relies on a safe, seasonal and local supply of flowers and foliage.

This podcast is brought to you by Slowflowers.com, the free, nationwide online directory to florists, shops, and studios who design with American-grown flowers and to the farms that grow those blooms.  It’s the conscious choice for buying and sending flowers.

And before we meet today’s featured guest, I have to pause and share a huge SHOUT OUT to our Slow Flowers Canada friends. We are in the midst of the 2nd annual Canadian Flowers Week, which runs July 18-24, 2019, concluding today. With our deep passion for our own endeavor, American Flowers Week, Slow Flowers supported the initial launch of Canadian Flowers Week in 2018.

Canadian Flowers Week aims to raise awareness about Canadian grown blooms. Growers, wholesalers, designers, florists and retailers are holding events and building installations to promote locally-grown blooms across the country. You can learn lots more at canadianflowersweek.com — and check out people, farms, flowers and projects reflecting the best of Canadian-grown blooms. CFW is a project of Toronto Flower Market and we’re so please to have been a part of its inception.

Lisa Waud of pot + box, on Day One of the recent Slow Flowers Summit (c) Missy Palacol Photography

OKAY, now, I’m delighted to introduce return guest, Lisa Waud. You’re probably familiar with Lisa and her large-scale, ambitious exploits that include Flower House in 2015 and Detroit Flower Week in 2016, as well as the design studio and later retail project called pot + box. Follow the links below to listen to my past interviews with Lisa Waud.

Episode 334 (January 31, 2018)

Episode 211 (September 16, 2015)

Episode 181 (February 18, 2015)

These days, Lisa is a Detroit-based botanical installation artist and consultant to small and creative businesses. I’m so thrilled to say that Slow Flowers is one of her current projects — you’ll hear more about that when we dive into today’s episode.

Lisa Waud, pictured at The Flower House press preview on May 1, 2015

Here’s more about Lisa:

Lisa Waud’s large-scale, multi-sensory, immersive works utilize living plants and cut flowers, exploring themes of old and new, nature as a cleansing reset, and joy from beauty.

Lisa is committed to producing art events that are pointedly inclusive for collaborators and spectators,  and accessible to all humans, with a focus celebrating the beauty of underrepresented and marginalized people.

Lisa’s projects have been featured in the new york times, huffington post, martha stewart, hyperallergic, colossal, designboom, the jealous curator, the globe and mail, the detroit free press, the detroit news, detroit art review, crain’s detroit, the washington post, and travel + leisure, and of course, on the slow flowers podcast.

In 2019, she launched a project called “Small Business Pain Relief,” working with established businesses to address pain points and efficiently implement action rather than just adding ideas to one’s to do list. lisa hopes to enable her clients’ creative productivity and assist in them  realizing a joyful quality of life as a business owner. 

Lisa’s white board sketch from our weekend planning getaway with Debra, Lisa and two other friends.

In late March, Lisa and I participated in a rather last-minute, spontaneous mind-meld with two other flower friends. Part getaway; part workation, the gathering of four women creatives in small and large ventures, from different generations and walks of life, was an electrifying experience to say the least.

I love this pic of Lisa Waud (left) and me, taken by Heather Saunders at The Flower House press preview on May 1, 2015

What emerged from our time together was a new collaboration for Slow Flowers, with Lisa joining me to manage a project I simply did not have time to tackle. I had been yearning for someone who could help me untangle the crazy knot of our Slow Flowers Member Database. For many, this would be a mind-numbingly boring, clerical, rather than creative task. Yet for Lisa, this was a challenge that called her in — and rise to the occasion, she has.

Join this conversation as we share more about our outcomes, and discuss Lisa’s many artistic projects on the horizon, including leading other women through some of the activities she devised for our late March getaway with friends.

Lisa Waud, presenting at the 2017 Slow Flowers Summit in Seattle.

I encourage you to have an open mind today. Instead of gushing over beautiful blooms and exquisite bouquets, we’re going to turn the focus on the wellness of your creative venture, your dreams that can’t seem to get off the ground, your desire to create a meaningful business life, and what’s truly essential to feed heart, mind, body and soul

Come along for the journey. I can’t imagine a more rewarding way to celebrate this Podcast’s sixth birthday!

Thank you so much for joining me today as I welcomed Lisa Waud, an incredible influence in my life and in the Slow Flowers Community. You can find and follow her on social media:

Find pot + box on Facebook

Follow pot + box on Instagram

If you are a Slow Flowers member you’re sure to hear from Lisa sometime this year. She is reaching out to connect when she can. Or, just email her at membership@slowflowers.comto say hello.

Bethany Frediani of Nevada-based Sunflower & Sage Floral

Our theme for 2019 – Fifty States of Slow Flowers – continues today with Bethany Frediani of Sunflower & Sage Floral in Gardnerville, Nevada. Listen for my conversation with Bethany in the second portion of this episode.

Nevada-grown blooms by Sunflower & Sage Floral

Bethany is a studio-based wedding and event florist serving the Lake Tahoe area. Her designs echo the wild and rugged beauty of the region, with touches of elegance.

Designs by Bethany Frediani

“Most of my clients are excited to hear that I will be incorporating regional floral product into their wedding designs. I like to utilize the blooms that are thriving at the time of the wedding, filing in with foraged foliage and bringing in product from my neighboring flower hub of California,” Frediani says. “I love to infuse my work, be it wedding flowers or large-scale, fine art floral installations, with whimsical, dreamy and organic elements.”

A desert photo shoot with Bethany (far right) and friends.

Follow Bethany and Sunflower & Sage Floral at these social places:

Sunflower & Sage Floral on Facebook

Sunflower & Sage Floral on Instagram

Sunflower & Sage Floral on Pinterest

Thank you for taking the time to join the Slow Flowers Podcast today as we achieved two major milestones — the 6th Anniversary of our launch in 2013 AND our 500,000th episode download from a listener.

This is so incredible and yet the metrics tell only part of the story. I am so grateful to the real, flower-loving humans who have helped to shape and nurture the concept of Slow Flowers into a movement that has swept North America and now migrated to many other countries around the globe, countries where flower farmers, farmer-florists and designers are seeking ways to save their domestic floral landscape and promote sustainable practices in their profession.

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

THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS

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

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.

Arctic Alaska Peonies, a cooperative of family farms in the heart of Alaska working together to grow and distribute fresh, stunning, high-quality peony varieties during the months of July and August. Arctic Alaska Peonies operates three pack houses supplying peonies throughout the United States and Canada. Visit them today at arcticalaskapeonies.com

FarmersWeb software makes it simple for flower farms to streamline working with their buyers. By lessening the administrative load and increasing efficiency, FarmersWeb helps your farm save time, reduce errors, and work with more buyers overall. Learn more at www.farmersweb.com

(c) Mary Grace Long photography

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded — wait for it — 500,000 times by listeners like you. Yes, one half million times. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much.

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 Huge congrats to Andrew and Hannah Brenlan for the arrival on July 16th of their first child on Francis Lou Brenlan. We love you all and celebrate this beautiful new human in our world.

Music Credits:
Wingspan; Chromium Blush; Betty Dear; Gaena
by Blue Dot Sessions
http://www.sessions.bluehttps://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/

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

In The Field
Music from:
audionautix.com

Episode 410: Meet the women behind My Garden Overfloweth, Teresa Engbretson and Katie Elliott, plus our State Focus: Nebraska

Wednesday, July 17th, 2019
Katie Elliot (left) and Teresa Engbretson (right) of My Garden Overfloweth
(c) Urbren + Shoot

My often-used hashtag #slowflowersontheroad was put to use last week when I traveled from Seattle across the state to Pullman, Washington, to collaborate with the wonderfully talented photographer Laurie Black on a story for Country Gardens magazine. It was basically a workation because the garden owners Suzanne St. Pierre and Scotty Thompson are friends I adore, owners until 2015 of a nursery called Living in the Garden.

Our mutual friend Maryann Newcomer of Gardens of the Wild Wild West (based in Boise), who will be writing the story, was along for the fun and not only did Suzanne and Scotty play the roles of generous hosts, they treated us to a terrific Palouse experience. More on that to come, but suffice it to say that the rolling hills of the Palouse Range are exquisitely beautiful in July and it fed my spirit and soul.

The return trip last Wednesday could have been a straight shot across the state, but I took a side excursion to the little town of Paterson, Washington, population 213. Paterson is due south of Pasco and the Tri-Cities region and it overlooks the Columbia River and Oregon in the distance. It is one of Washington’s hot wine country regions; thus, a very popular destination wedding hub for couples in the West.

Autumn FLING at My Garden Overfloweth
(c) Courtney Corriell Photography

And there in the center of it all lives Teresa Engbretson of My Garden Overfloweth. She and her daughter Katie Elliott, who lives about 30 minutes away in Pasco, are a farmer-florist team who have developed a vibrant and beautiful business centered around growing cut flowers in the same climate in which local grapevines thrive, and operating a full-service design studio that doubles as an event and workshop space, as well as a retail farm and flower shop.

Sharing local flowers with local customers! (c) Courtney Corriell Photography

I first met Teresa and Katie in Corvallis, Oregon, at a PNW Cut Flower Growers Meet-up several years ago. Since then, I’ve found a few opportunities to refer friends and florists who need wedding flowers in wine country to Katie and Teresa — and every time I hear back rave reviews.

Katie Elliot of My Garden Overfloweth (c) Urbren + Shoot

I highlighted My Garden Overfloweth in my 2019 Floral Insights and Industry Forecast, under the heading “Experiences, not Conveniences,” praising the women for throwing two seasonal “Flower Fling” festivals each year. Their events attracts a wide range of vendors creates a sense of community for their customers. The upcoming Fall Fling takes place on Sunday, October 6th.

Katie (left) and Teresa (right), surrounded by their beautiful lisianthus, Cafe au Lait dahlias and more (c) Urbren + Shoot

Here’s more about My Garden Overfloweth:

My Garden Over Floweth was established in 2012 by Teresa Engbretson. She likes to say that the farm has very happy flowers with the gorgeous view of the Columbia River. Teresa and Katie share a love for flowers and farming, growing and cultivating seasonal flowers, foliage and ornamental botanicals on more than 2-1/2 acres.

The Engbretsons also raise farm-fresh vegetables, fruit and grass-fed, grain-finished beef. The farm is located approximately 40 minutes from the Tri Cities and participates weekly at several farmers markets in the area.

A peek inside the farm shop at My Garden Overfloweth (c)
Courtney Corriell Photography

The new Farm Shop is a mercantile space where customers can purchase all things grown on the farm, including flowers, fresh produce, beef, and locally-made gifts. Services include wedding and event floral design, seasonal bouquets, holiday florals and workshops.

It was so fun to spend a few hours with Teresa and Katie and their family, including Katie’s grandmother Susan and daughter Hannah, making four generations of flower-lovers under one studio roof. We shared a meal, walked the fields overlooking the Columbia River, and grabbed a quiet moment to record this interview to share with you.

Bridal bouquets, grown and designed by My Garden Overfloweth. (c)
Alex Lasota Photography (left); Karen Merrifield (right)

Find and follow My Garden Overfloweth at these social places:

My Garden Overfloweth on Facebook

My Garden Overfloweth on Instagram

My Garden Overfloweth on Pinterest

Farm to Table Dinner at My Garden Overfloweth, Saturday, July 27th

The flower ladies! Katie and Teresa at the Fling (c)
Courtney Corriell Photography (left) and Teresa displaying how her garden “overfloweth” with an abundance of lisianthus (c) Urbren + Shoot (right)

THANK YOU for joining today’s lovely conversation. It’s one thing to visit a floral enterprise virtually and another thing altogether to visit it in person. I’m so glad I made the side trip to tour My Garden Overfloweth and I can’t wait to return during one of the flings. I hope you can do the same or do the next best thing and borrow inspiration from Teresa and Katie to nurture community and connections through flowers in your own marketplace.

Sheila Fitzgerald, A New Leaf, our Nebraska Spotlight guest
Nevada-grown blooms (left) and Clover, the “trusty sidekick” (right)

Now, let’s visit Nebraska as the next stop in our #fiftystatesofslowflowers series. I’m so delighted to introduce you to Sheila Fitzgerald, the founder of A New Leaf, based in Omaha. A New Leaf focuses on capturing the organic beauty of florals and nature through floral design
and workshop offerings.

Beautiful florals, designed by Sheila Fitzgerald (left); workshop students, with Sheila (right)

Sheila has 15 years of experience in floristry. From previously owning Blooms Flower Shop, she has turned her focus to workshops, events, and private orders under the brand A New Leaf. Sheila can often be found in the shade of Rainwood Vineyard with her trusty sidekick, Clover the dog, planning her next big design.

Follow Sheila and A New Leaf at these social places:

A New Leaf on Instagram

A New Leaf on Facebook

Thank you for taking the time to join the Slow Flowers Podcast today. Thank you 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.

THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS:

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

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.  

NW Green Panels, based in Madras, Oregon, NW Green Panels designs and constructs a wide array of wood-framed greenhouses offering versatility, style and durability. Their greenhouses are 100% Oregon-made using twin-wall polycarbonate manufactured in Wisconsin, making NW Green Panel structures a great value for your backyard. The 8×8 foot Modern Slant greenhouse has become the essential hub of my cutting garden — check out photos of my greenhouse in today’s show notes or visit nwgreenpanels.com to see more.

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

Join me! Slow Flowers Podcast (c) Missy Palacol Photography

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 495,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much.

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:
Homegrown; Betty Dear; Gaena
by Blue Dot Sessions
http://www.sessions.bluehttps://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/

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

In The Field
Music from:
audionautix.com

Episode 408: Botanical Couture in Charleston, S.C., with Toni Reale of Roadside Blooms and Laura Mewbourn of Feast and Floral, plus our State Focus: Missouri

Wednesday, July 3rd, 2019

American Flowers Week 2019 is coming to a close after we enjoy the fireworks and sparklers of July 4th Independence Day celebrations. I hope you and your flowers were part of the festivities!

Laura Mewbourn (left) and Toni Reale (right), photographed when I visited her shop last summer.

My two guests today have played an important part of this year’s American Flowers Week campaign as co-creators of one of our nine Botanical Couture looks. Please meet Laura Mewbourn of Feast & Flora Farm, based in Meggett, S.C., and Toni Reale of Roadside Blooms, based in North Charleston, S.C., who teamed up to design an incredible and deeply meaningful floral fashion look that represents coastal South Carolina’s unique heritage and cultural roots.

The women collaborated with their friend Giovanni Richardson, an oral historian representing the region’s Gullah Geechee community of South Carolinians who descended from West African and Central African enslaved people. Giovanni served as cultural and historic advisor to the project, which incorporated locally-grown flowers into the colorful  wardrobe of a Gullah Geechee woman.

Production day at the Seashore Farmers’ Lodge No. 767; Toni Reale (left) attaches a vibrant palette of Lowcountry S.C.-grown blooms, including those from Feast & Flora Farm (right). (c)
@philipcaseyphoto

Click here to see more photos of this project, featuring flowers grown at Laura’s farm and an historic setting where independent black farmers erected a fraternal common house in 1915, as well as the marshland of coastal Charleston.

I could go on and on about how inspiring I found their dress, styling and setting, but you’ll want to meet Laura and Toni right now. Let me give you a little background on their stories:

Attaching blooms, one at a time (left) and the dream team (right); (c)
@philipcaseyphoto

Laura Mewbourn grew up surrounded by gardens and flowers and had her first garden plot when she was still very young. Just a couple generations ago, farming was a way of life for Laura’s family, but when it was time to decide on her college major, she landed on English Literature and Language. Life had other ideas for Laura, though. In 2015, she completed the Growing New Farmers program through Lowcountry Local First. She apprenticed on a vegetable farm and landed a full-time job at a hydroponic farm.

I had a wonderful visit to Charleston, S.C., last summer to speak at the Southern Flowers Symposium, where Laura Mewbourn and I finally met in person.

She continues in her own voice: “I absolutely loved it and knew I really wanted to start my own farm. In the meantime, I pruned tomatoes, welcomed a new baby into my family, and took coursework in floral design.

In 2017, I was fortunate enough to purchase a home on acreage just outside of Charleston, SC, and before I knew it, my dreams of flower farming and growing vegetables were off and running with the launch of Feast & Flora, supplying friends, family, and the Charleston community.”

Find and follow Laura at these social places:

Feast & Flora on Facebook

Feast & Flora on Instagram

Toni Reale was a featured floral designer at Southern Flower Symposium in 2018. You can see her hand-tied bouquet at left.

Toni Reale founded Roadside Blooms with a story to tell and a mission to share, believing that beauty and sustainability don’t just co-exist, they work in concert. With over 8 years of experience in the event-planning and floral-design industries, Toni’s many adventures have led her to this chapter (ask her about the time she converted a 1971 British ice cream truck into a mobile flower shop; or about her Environmental Geology background).

A leader of Charleston’s “green and local” movement, Toni has served on various nonprofit boards, including the Charleston Green Fair, and has been recognized as one of Charlie magazine’s “50 Most Progressive” in Charleston in 2014.

She says this: “At Roadside Blooms, we are committed to using American-grown flowers and foraged elements. It’s an important part of our team’s story, and we take great pride in it. Our arrangements prove that sustainability and style aren’t mutually exclusive, all while elevating the grandest of galas or the simplest of ceremonies. We speak the language of flowers and believe every petal, leaf, and twig has a story. Each stem organically influences the direction of our designs and reflects the beauty of local, seasonal flora while embodying the beauty of our surrounding natural world.”

Find and follow Toni at these social places:

Roadside Blooms on Instagram

For more about this gorgeous floral project, read Laura’s recent article, “Botanical Couture and the importance of American-grown.”

Toni recently wrote about the experience on her blog, as well: “American Flowers Week 2019.”

Lowcountry Flower Farmers in Charleston, S.C., brought a popular design event to a local farmers’ market to promote American Flowers Week in 2018

Thank you so much for joining my conversation today and for hearing Laura and Toni’s stories. You’ll want to also check out their local organization, Low Country Flower Growers, where farmers and farmer-florists from Myrtle Beach to Savannah, along coastal S.C., have come together to educate themselves, their peers, and their customers – florists and consumers alike. It was a delight to spend time in Charleston with these wonderful talents – people committed to a sustainable floral landscape, last August when they invited me to speak at the first Southern Flower Symposium. And yes, you heard correctly, another symposium is in the works. We’ll post details as soon as they’re announced — and you check out updates on their social places — which I’ll share!

Cassie Hartman, with “Stella,” her mobile flower shop (c) Springfield Business Journal

Our theme for 2019 – Fifty States of Slow Flowers – continues today, with Cassie Hartman of Ozark Mtn. Flower Truck in Springfield, Missouri.

Cassie grew up there and returned there after college. She wanted to bring a small piece of her European travels to the community and that’s where Stella, a 1970 Volkswagen Truck, comes in!

As Cassie says, Stella enjoys parking in front of our favorite local businesses – sometimes getting so excited to meet new customers she breaks down on the side of the road and we just start selling there! Whether you’re grabbing flowers on your way to a friend’s house or just wanting to brighten your home, Stella and Cassie dream of bringing that “big city” feeling to Springfield making fresh cut flowers more accessible and spontaneous for the Ozarks.

Find and follow Cassie at these social places:

Ozark Mtn. Flower Truck on Facebook

Ozark Mtn. Flower Truck on Instagram

P.S., It was so completely cool but utterly unplanned . . . two of today’s guests have used vintage vehicles as mobile flower shops! That’s a fun coincidence.

OUR BIG ANNOUNCEMENT!

Before we wrap up, I promised to announce the dates and location of the 2020 Slow Flowers Summit, so here we go . . . drumroll please!

We will bring the Slow Flowers Summit to Santa Cruz, California, on June 29-30, 2020, with a Slow Flowers farm-to-table dinner on Sunday, June 28th.  Our partners include UC Santa Cruz’s famed Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems (CASFS) and Bonny Doon Garden Co., owned by member Teresa Sabankaya.

Yes, after holding the Summit first on the west coast in Seattle in 2017; moving to the east coast in Washington, D.C., in 2018; and landing in the central part of the country in St. Paul, MN, this year, we’ve decided to continue the rotation by returning to the West.

You have a full year to plan, but more details will be announced in the fall. Visit slowflowerssummit.com for updates and I can’t wait to see you in Santa Cruz! Below are photos of the recently renovated and restored Cowell Rancy Hay Barn at USCS-CASFS, our venue for the Slow Flowers Summit 2020! (c) Cesar Rubio; and Teresa Sabankaya (right) of Bonny Doon Garden Co., outside Santa Cruz, Calif.

THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS

Today we welcome a new sponsor to the Slow Flowers Podcast, FarmersWeb. FarmersWeb software makes it simple for flower farms to streamline working with their buyers. By lessening the administrative load and increasing efficiency, FarmersWeb helps your farm save time, reduce errors, and work with more buyers overall. Learn more at www.farmersweb.com

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

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.

Our Slow Flowers Summit hosts, Green Earth Growers, welcomed us to Prior Lake, Minn.

Thank you for taking the time to pop in the ear buds and join the Slow Flowers Podcast. Thank you 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 490,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much.

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:
Heartland Flyer; Betty Dear; Gaena
by Blue Dot Sessionshttp://www.sessions.bluehttps://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/
Lovely by Tryad http://tryad.bandcamp.com/album/instrumentals
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/

In The Field
Music from: audionautix.com