Debra Prinzing

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Archive for the ‘Gardening’ Category

Episode 369: The Joy of Bulbs with Longfield Gardens’ Hans Langeveld and Jen Pfau

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2018

It’s time to plan and plant our spring-flowering bulbs! The anticipation of their colors, forms and fragrances in my garden — and vases — will carry me through the wet, gray months of winter! (c) Missy Palacol Photography

Here are three Longfield Gardens’ collections I’ll be planting in the Slow Flowers Cutting Garden this fall! From left: “Daring Forms” alliums; “Golden Glow” collection of narcissi and muscari; and “Flower Arrangers” tulip collection.

It’s October 3rd and for most of us around the country, it’s time to start thinking about planting our bulbs for next spring!

I recently immersed myself in this topic, thanks to an assignment from Garden Design magazine, whose editors asked me to interview Chanticleer Gardens’ plant information coordinator Eric Hsu. The article, “Planted Palettes,” is out in the magazine’s Autumn 2018.

The Fall 2018 issue of Garden Design magazine features my article and Rob Cardillo’s images about spring bulb design at Chanticleer Gardens (c) Missy Palacol Photography

In writing the story, I learned volumes about designing spring landscapes and container gardens with familiar and unfamiliar bulbs. My 14-page article is illustrated with gorgeous images from Rob Cardillo, an award-winning photographer I’ve known for years through the Garden Writers Association. You’ll love every page, and the publication of what Garden Design magazine is calling its “Joy of Bulbs” issue has inspired me to focus on bulbs in today’s podcast.

One of the most dazzling Longfield Gardens collections available to plant this fall! Designed by Alicia Schwede of Flirty Fleurs, the “Baroque” bulb collection.

Another beautiful bulb collection, curated for Longfield Gardens by Alicia Schwede of Flirty Fleurs, called “Somerset”

I’ve wanted to visit Longfield Gardens’ U.S. headquarters in Lakewood, New Jersey, for a number of years. A trip to Philadelphia last week brought me pretty close to that spot, so I invited myself out to the Jersey Shore, about 90 minutes east of Philadelphia, to tour Longfields’ bulb operations and trial/test gardens.

Slow Flowers visits Longfield Gardens! From left, Jen Pfau, Hans Langeveld and Debra Prinzing

My thanks to Longfield for sponsoring Slow Flowers for a number of years. I’ve worked closely with Kathleen Laliberte on bulb-themed stories and promotions  and it’s Kathleen who helped arrange my visit. I’m so grateful that it all worked out to spend a morning there and meet with today’s guests, Hans Langeveld, co-owner of Longfield Gardens, and Jen Pfau, marketing director.

Hans Langeveld showed me how the caladium plants are grown for use in photo shoots! You can just pop these cylinder-planters into the landscape — easy!

Here’s a little bit more about them:

Hans Langeveld grew up in the heart of Holland’s bulb-growing region and has been involved in horticulture his entire professional career. As an enthusiastic gardener himself, he has a unique perspective on flowering bulbs that stretches from the breeders and growers in Holland to his own backyard in New Jersey. At Longfield Gardens, Hans is responsible for account management and quality control.

Left: The familiar packaging you’ll see at most Costco outlets this fall. Right: Jen Pfau shows the packaging’s planting and care instructions.

Jen Pfau grew up in a gardening family in New Jersey and graduated from the Cornell School of Agriculture with a degree in marketing. She joined Longfield Gardens in 2009 and launched the company’s online store in 2011. In addition to managing e-commerce, Jen is also deeply involved in the company’s wholesale business, where she oversees product selection, merchandising, marketing and the customer experience. 

Yes, the dahlia season is winding down but the planting beds at Longfield’s Test and Display Garden in Lakewood, New Jersey, are ready for spring bulbs!

Here are some of the online resources from Longfield:

Find Longfield Gardens’ catalog of bulbs to order and plant this fall here.

Library of Resources and Articles about Fall-Planted Bulbs 

Follow Longfield Gardens’ social places here:

Enjoy videos on planting and more.

Longfield Gardens on Facebook

Longfield Gardens on Instagram

Longfield Gardens on Pinterest

Longfield Gardens’ Blog

Fall is in the air and I think we’re all ready for it. That said, there’s still the promise of spring 2019, thanks to visions of bulbs in our dreams! Thanks so much for joining me today as we discussed all the things we need to know about bulb planting for cutting gardens, landscapes and containers.

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

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

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 365,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Debra Prinzing at PepperHarrow Farm on September 9, 2018. Photographed by Liz Brown @estorie

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

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

Wednesday, August 29th, 2018

Perla Sophia Curbelo, of Puerto Rico’s AgroChic

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

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

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

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

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

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

Teaching about plants with AgroChic

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

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

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

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

Perla, with her family in San Juan

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AgroChic on Facebook

AgroChic on Instagram

AgroChic on Twitter

Perla Sofia on Twitter

AgroChic on YouTube

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

Thanks so much for joining me today! I am so grateful to for joining in today, grateful for our entire community of flower farmers and floral designers who together define the Slow Flowers Movement.

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

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

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 353,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Episode 352: Foraged Art with Publishing Maven Leslie Jonath of Connected Dots Media

Wednesday, June 6th, 2018

Today’s guest is Leslie Jonath, creative director of San Francisco-based Connected Dots Media.

Leslie has over 20 years’ experience in book publishing, creative services, and media business development. And for any of you who dream of producing a book of your own, you’ll want to listen closely to her process and advice!

From 1991 to 2009, Leslie was an integral part of the editorial and development team at Chronicle Books, a Bay Area-based independent publishing house known for its lively, eye-catching and trend-setting books, gifts, stationery, and other consumer products about food, art, pop culture, gardening, design, lifestyles, and more.

A petal spiral from Foraged Art’s feed.

As a Senior Editor in the food, lifestyle, and custom publishing categories, Leslie developed acquisition strategies, launched the successful garden and craft categories; acquired, produced, edited, and project-managed over 250 books across a variety of categories, including food, pop culture, crafts, lifestyle, art, architecture, memoir, and children’s projects.

She also created a cause-related publishing model for non-profit organizations, creating books to benefit Meals on Wheels of San Francisco; P.A.W.S., Bay Area schools and Next Course (which provided job and life skills training for incarcerated women).

As a Director of Creative Development, Leslie was a founding member and co-director of Chronicle’s Custom Publishing division, creating innovative products for cultural institutions, name-brand companies and retailers. Clients included BabyGap, Starbucks, Anthropologie, and the San Francisco Ballet.

Another spontaneous art foraged art project.

The success of her work in this division led to a position as Director for Creative Services for the company’s Business Development team. As head of Creative Services, she  and her teams conceptualized, produced and developed innovative “beyond the book” services for custom clients, including videos and other digital products.

While at Chronicle, Leslie teamed up with Ariella Chezar to create Ariella’s first book in 2002, Flowers for the Table, a guide to choosing seasonal flowers and a lesson in designing with the bud’s natural form. The book revolves around several seasonal occasions, from a summer wedding in the country to hot colored poppies on a cold winter’s night.

Raked-Leaf Rays, a project from Foraged Art

After leaving Chronicle Books in 2009, Jonath founded Connected Dots Media, working with clients in book packaging, video production, and concept and content development and production. And she reunited with Ariella in 2016 to create and publish Ariella’s beautiful new book, The Flower Workshop for Ten Speed Press. In addition to having produced books on floral design, Leslie is the author of Love Found, Everyone Loves Paris, and Give Yourself a Gold Star.

Leslie has also guided Erin Benzakein and Julie Chai on the award-winning Floret Farm’s Cut Flower Garden book. You’ve heard Ariella and Erin in the past on this Podcast.

Foraged Art, a book for play, creativity and changing your relationship with nature.

So now, we’re going to hear from the woman behind those projects and so many others. I’ve invited Leslie today to talk about two personal book projects that have HER name on the cover as author.

Rory, Peter and Leslie, creators of the Foraged Art Book

The first, just out, is called Foraged Art, Creative Projects Using Blooms, Branches, Leaves, Stones, and other Elements Discovered in Nature (published by Bluestreak Books).

Leslie’s co-author is artist Peter Cole, an artist who works with gleaned objects he collects. From foraged rocks, shells, leaves to discarded menus, matchbooks, and miniature bears, he creates objects of wonder that reflect both natural and urban environments. He is the author of a collection of how-to environmental art books, including Snowmen and Great Pumpkins. He lives in Brooklyn with his family.

Foraged Art was photographed by Rory Earnshaw is a Bay Area-based photographer who shoots corporate annual reports, table-top, fine art, corporate/music industry portraits, product, packaging, lifestyle, editorial, music CD’s, as well as fine art landscapes.

In the spirit of land artists like Andy Goldsworthy, the book is as much about discovery as it is about creation. Leaves shaped like lips might inspire a face; an array of rocks might be become an eclectic mosaic; winter’s first snow might be carved into glowing luminaria.

Whether you love to look for heart-shaped flowers or want to make a peacock made with flower petals, readers will find great inspiration and joy in Foraged Art.

Petal Puddles, a project from Foraged Art

Art, meditation, and nature meet in this adult-focused activity book, with projects that take inspiration from the natural environment, using blooms, pods, branches, stones, and other natural elements. Divided into chapters by natural elements — flowers, leaves, rocks and pods, and more, the book encourages readers to forage and play outside using nature’s seasonal art box. Foraged Art is about making art from what you find and finding art in what you see.

Leslie and I also discuss Feed Your People, an ambitious book that she has been working on for several years — from conception to completion.

Feed Your People is a modern community cookbook. Leslie envisioned the need for Feed Your People after she realized that despite the popularity of dinner clubs, pop-up dinners, and holiday entertaining, there were surprisingly few cookbooks or resources that offer practical instruction on cooking for crowds.

To that she approached the community of big-hearted cooks and chefs—experts who cook for their communities — whose generosity inspires. Stories of their gatherings are accompanied by recipes with detailed  information on equipment, make ahead strategies and tips cooking for groups from eight or to forty (and even fifty!)

As Leslie explains, on a deeper level, the book is about building and feeding community, and, fittingly, she teamed up with 18 Reasons–a beloved San Francisco-based organization that provides classes to low-income residents and hosts monthly community dinners.

She wants this book to inspire cooks everywhere to bring their communities together for a meal—no matter what the occasion. From a simple soup dinner to a pasta pot, whether using paper plates and fingers or cloth napkins, there are recipes around which to create a well-considered, delicious, and memorable event. She sees Feed Your People as a celebration of community, a guide that will encourage people everywhere to feed each other both literally and spiritually.

Here’s where and how to follow Leslie at her social places:

Feed Your People on Facebook

Feed Your People on Twitter

Foraged Art on Facebook

Foraged Art on Instagram

As Leslie encourages us, creating foraged art reminds us that life is beautiful in all of its stages – and that, if we look, we can see the grace in every moment.

I certainly feel that grace this week as many of you have reached out to thank me for this Podcast and how it has helped you. We have 57 five-star reviews on ITunes, which is so awesome. One fan just posted this review on iTunes, writing:

“Over the past few months, I’ve really enjoyed listening to your podcast. Insights and glimpses of what goes on with the Slow Flowers Movement is fascinating. As a 30-year veteran of the floral industry here in North America, it’s surprising that I haven’t been more aware of local growers. Thank you for encouraging the local farms to grow flowers that we can utilize so we can help spread the news of buying American grown flowers.”

I’m encouraged by the amazing participation in our many opportunities to network, connect and educate — and this is a bountiful month for doing so. With American Flowers Week coming up on June 28-July 4, with the Slow Flowers Summit — our LIVE celebration of American Flowers Week taking place on Friday, June 29th in Washington, D.C., and with the many marketing and branding tools available for your use for free, please take advantage of this opportunity and join the community.

If you’re not on our mailing list, you can find a link to the June Slow Flowers Newsletter in today’s show notes — catch up on Slow Flowers members and their fantastic activities, too.

Please make you reservation for the Slow Flowers Summit. Our second annual Slow Flowers Summit takes place in the heart of American Flowers Week – and we have an inspiring lineup of speakers, gorgeous flowers, fun and interactive design activities and of course, a chance to stretch your imagination in a thought-provoking and stimulating environment.

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

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 324,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for listening, commenting, liking and sharing! It means so much.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Music Credits:
The Wooden Platform; Pat Dog; Long and Low Cloud (quiet acoustic)
by Blue Dot Sessions
Music from:

audionautix.com

Episode 350: Living a Life with Flowers by embracing the Power of Community, with Kelly and Jesse Perry of Team Flower

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2018

Kelly Perry of Team Flower

Building community is the hallmark of the Slow Flowers Movement, but we are not the only ones who’ve discovered the strength of person-to-person connections.

Whether you love or hate it, even Facebook, through its leader Mark Zukerberg, last year declared it had revised its mission: “To give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together.”

Floral designer Kelly Perry and her husband Jesse Perry are co-founders of Team Flower and Philosophy Flowers and they are also floral community-builders. They live in Boone, North Carolina with their golden doodle named Buster. That’s where Kelly tends a little garden and  writes about what she sees there.

After launching Philosophy Flowers as a boutique floral design business for weddings and events in 2012, she and Jesse started Team Flower in 2014.

A beautiful final evening at the Team Flower Conference in Orlando, which gathered attendees from many states and countries.

They describe Team Flower as:

“A Global Flower Community that Spans Generations, Experience Levels and Areas of Expertise, not to mention a Desire to Learn.

Team Flower offers a number of digital and in-person learning platforms for floral education and training.

While Kelly handles all of the content development and classes at Team Flower, Jesse handles all things tech.

He grew the Team Flower online presence to engage with participants in all 50 states and 98 countries.

Jesse’s most recent research and implementation project revolves around SEO tools for the Team Flower members.

Kelly and Jesse Perry, captured during a lighthearted moment at the Team Flower Conference.

Kelly wrote this on the Team Flower web site:

Kelly shares her insights and answers audience questions at the Team Flower Conference.

“Like you, I’ve enjoyed beauty for a long time.  My earliest recollection of creating a flower arrangement was in the sixth grade. We had an event called the “Friendship Etiquette Banquet” and the girls were to wear paper flower corsages.  I thought this needed an upgrade so I led the crew in creating silk flower corsages. Very fancy.

Another early flower memory was in seventh grade.  My science project was “What floral preservative will keep a carnation fresh the longest?”  The winner was Floralife, in case you were curious.

Shortly after my science project I started a cake decorating business called “Kelly’s Cakes.”  I made cakes for everyday occasions and weddings all through middle and high school and occasionally in college until I “retired” after my own wedding.  During this time, I was interested in a fashion career so I created dresses for special occasions in my high school home economics class, and I worked at a boutique bridal store.

In college I studied Fashion, Interior Design, Event Planning and Entrepreneurship until the economy collapse in 2007.  I decided to shift course just a little bit and added education to my degree.  The first lesson I taught in my education class was called “The Elements and Principles of Design.”  I practically floated out of that class and remember thinking, “If I could find a way to just teach that lesson for the rest of my life, I would be SO happy.”  It combined everything I loved — fashion, interiors, business, event design, art and education.

After student teaching and our wedding I started a job as a corporate event planner.  After about two years of that I felt like it was important to make a change, but I didn’t know what that would look like.  I had never even thought about a career in flowers before, but realized rather quickly this was it!”

See a recent video that Kelly and Jesse posted in the free content section of Team Flower:

I loved spending time in person with Kelly and Jesse at the Team Flower Conference. Here, Kelly and I pose in front of the very creative flower wall, al fresco style.

There’s so much more, and I know you’ll enjoy our conversation, recorded long-distance over Skype last week.

We touch on their stories and what led them to create Team Flower, as well as what it’s like to run a business together as a couple.

It’s not surprising that there is an aligned spirit and common thread between Team Flower and Slow Flowers.

The next Team Flower Conference is scheduled for March 4-6, 2019 in Waco, Texas — and the program and registration details will be announced later this summer.

Follow the links below to learn more, including free content available to visitors to Team Flower, as well as details on workshops, online learning and upcoming live events.

Here’s how to connect with Team Flower, Kelly and Jesse:

Find Team Flower’s extensive video content — FREE to watch!

Read Team Flowers articles

Listen to Team Flowers Podcast

Find Team Flower on Facebook

Follow Team Flower on Instagram

See Team Flower on Pinterest

Thanks so much for joining us today! The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded 319,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for listening, commenting, liking and sharing! It means so much.

As the Slow Flowers 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 right column.

The new platform features clean graphics and easy-to-use navigation for desktop, smart devices and mobile.

This past week has been overwhelming for me, but in a very good way.

On the occasion of the fourth anniversary of Slowflowers.com, I announced the launch of our new, upgraded Slowflowers.com – version 2.0 on May 16th. Of course, there were a few bugs to work out and I’m sure we’ll find more because that’s what happens when a non-tech gal like me endeavors to live in the tech world! I covet your support and beg for your patience as the new version settles into a new level for Slow Flowers. Please come over to the site and check it out!

Another piece of news to share today is our winner of the Slow Flowers Summit Dream Designer Package — that was our May ticket promotion.

The names of all of you who registered for the Slow Flowers Summit were added to a drawing for an invitation to join me on Sunday evening, July 1st at an exclusive gathering with Laura Dowling, author and former White House Florist.

Our winner is Gloria Collins of GBC Style — Congratulations, Gloria! I am excited you’ll join me at this private event to benefit the AIFD Foundation. It will be unforgettable

And if you’ve been thinking about attending the Slow Flowers Summit, grab your ticket now — it’s just five weeks away! The Summit promises to be a fantastic day of networking, inspiration and personal growth. I can’t wait to see you there!

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded 319,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for listening, commenting, liking and sharing! It means so much.

Thank you to our 2018 sponsors who have supported Slow Flowers and all of our programs.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(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:
Horizon Liner; Hash Out
by Blue Dot Sessions

Episode 344: Meet Connecticut-based Wedding & Event Designer Carrie Wilcox

Wednesday, April 11th, 2018

Jenn and Adam O’Neal of PepperHarrow Farm just announced their first extended Flower Farmer Workshop — and I’ll be there!

PepperHarrow’s farm, flowers and wedding design techniques are featured in this month’s Country Gardens.

Before I introduce you to today’s featured guest, floral designer Carrie Wilcox, I want to share a short audio recording with Jenn and Adam O’Neal of PepperHarrow Farm, based in Winterset, Iowa.

They’re past guests of this podcast and we’re all excited about the new Spring issue of Country Gardens magazine, out on newsstands now, because it features a beautiful article I produced and wrote about the O’Neals — called “Bridal Botanicals.”

We are reuniting this coming September because Jenn and Adam have invited me to join their Flower Farmer Workshop on Saturday, September 8 and Sunday, September 9. Check out all the details here — and please join us for two days focused on flower farming, floral design and creative writing to share your stories.

A love for flowers infuses Carrie Wilcox’s bubbly personality!

Okay, Now, please meet Carrie Wilcox. Carrie is a longtime Slow Flowers member and supporter who I was able to spend a few days with recently at the Team Flower Conference in Orlando. We managed to grab 30 minutes for me to record a fun conversation with a very fun-loving woman. Here’s a bit more about Carrie: 

She even wears flowers!

Carrie Wilcox is the owner of Carrie Wilcox Floral Design based in Fairfield, Connecticut.

Carrie has been a designer with several flower shops as well as some of the most highly regarded floral and event studios.

In 2012, she earned the European Masters Certification after studying in Bruges, Belgium, and is currently a candidate for the A.I.F.D. designation. Carrie also enjoys entering floral design competitions all over the United States. 

She writes: “For me, flowers are the most simple but expressive things in life. They share in your happiness during festive times and console you in moments of sorrow.  

Some of my most special memories are punctuated with flowers.  

Memories of my grandmother and I picking flowers from her garden to use on the dinner table and the frilly and fragrant lily of the valley from my bridal bouquet when I married the man of my dreams.

A Carrie Wilcox wedding

Flowers have always had a special place in my heart.  Growing up in coastal Fairfield County, Connecticut, the summer was always filled with bushes of electric blue hydrangea and the kaleidoscope of colors brought to life by the tea roses in my mother’s garden.  I’ve been designing and decorating with flowers from an early age, when I joined my mother and sister working at a local flower shop.  Now, I share my love of flowers and including them in all kinds of life events with my own teenage daughter.  I also enjoy sharing my knowledge of the floral industry including decorating with and arranging flowers through teaching and speaking engagements all over New England.” 

Inspiring wedding design by Connecticut-based Carrie Wilcox.

Love this ceiling installation by Carrie, featuring greenery, tulips and votives.

Truly seasonal, dahlias and their companions for a late-summer wedding by Carrie Wilcox.

You can find and follow Carrie Wilcox on Instagram here.

Here is the link to Hanah Silk, a favorite source of Carrie’s for USA-made source for custom-dyed velvet ribbons.

Muddy Feet Flower Farm, one of Carrie’s favorite sources for local flowers.


Thanks so much for joining me today. The Slow Flowers Luxury Package promotion continues now through April 22nd — Earth Day. If you register for the upcoming Slow Flowers Summit conference by that date, you’ll be entered into a random drawing to receive a $400 gift package.

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 303,500 times by listeners like you. Thank you for downloading, listening, commenting and sharing — it means so much. And thank you to Mayesh Wholesale for recently listing the Slow Flowers Podcast in its blog post: “The Floral Podcasts You Should be Listening to Right Now.” We’re included in some great company.

As the Slow Flowers 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.

Thank you to our sponsors who have supported Slow Flowers and all of our programs including this podcast, American Flowers Week, the Slowflowers.com online directory to American grown flowers, as well as our new channels, Slow Flowers Journal and the 2018 Slow Flowers Summit.

And thank you to our lead sponsor for 2018, Florists’ Review magazine. I’m delighted to serve as Contributing Editor for the new 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 passionate family farms in the heart of Alaska providing bigger, better peony flowers during the months of July and August. Visit them today at arcticalaskapeonies.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

(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:
Turning on the Lights; Betty Dear; Tiny Putty
by Blue Dot Sessions

Episode 341: Little Big Farm’s Patricia Doell and her New Jersey-grown flowers

Wednesday, March 21st, 2018

Patti Doell, farmer-florist and floral force behind Little Big Farm, is today’s Podcast guest!

As you heard last week, I recently traveled to Washington, D.C., to preview the venue where the 2018 Slow Flowers Summit will be held on Friday, June 29th — at the Marriott Wardman Park in the nation’s capitol.

Many of you have already registered for the one-day conference at the special rate for Slow Flowers members. To motivate more of you to attend, I have a special announcement.


Beginning today — Wednesday, March 21st, which happens to be the Spring Equinox, and through April 20th, which is Earth Day, everyone who registers for the Slow Flowers Summit will be included in a drawing for a Slow Flowers Luxury Package, which includes a one-year Premium membership and one night’s complimentary lodging at the Marriott Wardman Park during the Summit.

The value of this prize package is $400 — more than double the $195 registration cost to Slow Flowers members.

If you’ve already reserved and paid for your ticket to the Summit, don’t worry because just to be fair, your name will also be included in the Earth Day Drawing. I’ll announce the winner of the Slow Flowers Luxury Package on Wednesday, April 25th.

I commissioned Connecticut botanical artist Ellen Hoverkamp to create our American Flowers Week 2018 image and branding!

Plus, as a thank you to everyone who makes an early commitment to attend the Summit, you’ll receive a special Slow Flowers gift that includes 100 American Flowers Week bouquet labels to adorn your flowers during the campaign AND a beautiful American Flowers Week poster featuring the red-white-and-blue botanical art of Ellen Hoverkamp — perfect for your shop or studio walls. Check out her artwork in today’s show notes.

Find all the details about the Slow Flowers Summit at today’s podcast show notes — And good luck! You might be our one fortunate winner!

Patti and Kevin Doell (left) and one of Patti’s lovely floral crowns (right)

Okay, time to meet today’s guest, farmer-florist Patti Kraemer-Doell of Little Big Farm, a small family flower farm in Blairstown, situated in the foothills of northern Warren County, New Jersey.

Little Big Farm’s primary farming activity is to grow the most beautiful blooms possible without the use of pesticides or herbicides and to serve customers seeking organically grown, locally sourced fresh cut flowers for their weddings, parties, and design activities.

Fresh, seasonal and entirely LOCAL!

While Patti has owned Little Big Farm since 2006, she has been working in horticulture since the mid 1990s when she formed a partnership in a floral landscape design company.

In 1997, Patti took a position at the New York Botanical Garden as the coordinator for the Ruth Rea Howell Family Garden where she was responsible for programs that instructed inner-city children and residents how to propagate flowers and vegetables.

How beautiful is this! An aerial view of Little Big Farm, a slice of floral paradise!

Gorgeous seasonal flowers, custom grown and harvested by Patti Doell

In 2002, Patti pursued her long-time interest in farming by taking a position at The Good Hand Farm in Andover, N.J. There, Patti was responsible for assisting in the propagation of certified organic vegetables and managing the farm’s participation in the Union Square (NYC) and Millburn, N.J., farmers’ markets. In 2003, Patti joined the Walnut Grove farm to assist the well-established operation’s production of organically grown vegetables and Christmas trees.

Patti is a member of Slow Flowers, the Northeast Organic Farming Association, the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers, Foodshed Alliance and Local Harvest.

Slow Wedding Flowers by Patti Doell, in a bouquet and adorning a tiered cake!

Bridal flowers in such a beautiful palette, grown and designed by Patti Doell.

Follow The Little Big Farm onPinterest

Connect with The Little Big Farm on Instagram

Find The Little Big Farm on Facebook

Thanks for joining me today! Don’t forget to check out all the details about our  — Slow Flowers Luxury Package and make sure you’re among the eligible entries who register for the Slow Flowers Summit by April 20th – Earth Day.

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 295,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for downloading, listening, commenting and sharing — it means so much.

As the Slow Flowers 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 right column.

Thank you to our sponsors who have supported Slow Flowers and all of our programs including this podcast, American Flowers Week, the Slowflowers.com online directory to American grown flowers, as well as our new channels, Slow Flowers Journal and the 2018 Slow Flowers Summit.

They are:

And thank you to our lead sponsor for 2018, Florists’ Review magazine. I’m delighted to serve as Contributing Editor for the new 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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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; Horizon Liner
by Blue Dot Sessions

Episode 339: Designer & Educator Hitomi Gilliam and her generous floral universe

Wednesday, March 7th, 2018

Hitomi in her element, while sharing her knowledge and enthusiasm about floral artistry. (c) Colin Gilliam

A signature Hitomi piece (c) Colin Gilliam

I first met Hitomi Gilliam in 2012 when I visited a downtown Vancouver, B.C. floral exhibition called NEOFlora.

As I wrote at the time: I stumbled across the NEOflora badge on Facebook when I noticed that the very talented Arthur Williams, a Denver floral designer and owner of Babylon Floral who is profiled in The 50 Mile Bouquet, posted a comment that he was going to attend and contribute one-of-a-kind designs at the event.

A little digging led me along a trail of links, where I discovered the news that NEOflora was taking place over a seven-day period at the end of October 2012. And as it turned out, I was heading north to Vancouver for a few days with a girlfriend and we made sure to check it out. Here’s a link to the blog post about my visit.

The idea of a group of floral artists coming together to create a pop up flower shop on one of the city’s busiest shopping streets sparked my imagination. What a refreshing way to promote flowers as MORE than a commodity you find at the mass-market retailer or supermarket.

According to Hitomi, “NEOflora was a collaborative association of forward-thinking florists who wanted to appeal to the new consumer who may not be accustomed to buying flowers.”

That’s where I met Hitomi and she agreed to let me shoot a video interview, which you can watch below:

Most of the flowers used for NEOflora, including those featured on the runway, were donated by several members of the United Flower Growers Cooperative, the major wholesale flower auction house based in Vancouver.

When I asked Hitomi about the event’s emphasis on locally-grown flowers, she pointed out that about 90-percent of the flowers used in NEOflora’s pop-up up project were BC-grown. She underscored this point:

“that’s what the consumer is looking for – local & organic”

Recently, a few of my flower friends began pursuing the European Masters Certification, a program launched six years ago by Hitomi and Thomas De Bruyne — and I began to hear more about that exciting professional distinction and the lovely creative connections being made.

Tobey Nelson (left) posted this fun photo of our visit to meet Hitomi at United Floral in Vancouver, B.C. From left: Tobey Nelson, Debra Prinzing, Hitomi Gilliam, and two of Hitomi’s frequent assistants, designers Susanne Law and Brenna Quan

EMC student Tobey Nelson of Tobey Nelson Events and Design, last week’s podcast guest, invited me to travel from Seattle to Vancouver at the end of February to spend a day with Hitomi. Tobey had a notion that Hitomi and I could together bridge our two worlds — and in retrospect, I think she was quite prescient, because by the end of our time together in Vancouver our collective heads were spinning with ideas.

Since I first met Hitomi in 2012, I’ve followed her activities through Facebook and watched all that she’s doing to elevate and professionalize the art of floristry. But other than saying hello last summer when she co-presented with Arthur Williams at the AIFD Symposium in Seattle, I hadn’t be able to spend any time with her.

Hitomi teaching the Creative Design Master Class at United Floral’s new education center. (c) Colin Gilliam

A thoroughly seasonal bouquet by Hitomi (c) Colin Gilliam Note the uncommon ingredients!

Our road trip offered a rare chance to take a 48-hour work-cation totally devoted to flowers and our mutual passion for flower growing and designing. And it was also rare that Hitomi was home in British Columbia, where she lives on beautiful Bowen Island, and where her many educational projects are based as part of Design 358, an event and education business she co-owns with Colin Gilliam, her talented son.

We met up with Hitomi at the new education center that’s inside the United Floral building in an industrial area of Vancouver. The giant complex is also home to the famed Dutch-style flower auction, a cooperative of BC floriculture growers who operate as United Flower Growers.

East-meets-West, expressed in Hitomi’s unique, architectural floral art (c) Colin Gilliam

Hitomi was setting up for a three-day Creative Design Master Class that attracted students from all around North America eager to study mechanics, techniques and floristry in a small-group setting. With Tobey’s help, Hitomi was getting things ready, and I managed to grab about 30 minutes of an audio conversation to introduce you to Hitomi. While she is a luminary in the world of floral design, Hitomi is deeply rooted in horticulture and she works closely with growers and flower farmers, which I believe greatly influences her art and her platform.

More amazing work by Hitomi (c) Colin Gilliam

Listen closely to details about the upcoming series of Hitomi’s educational events taking place in a few weeks as part of her partnership with United Floral. I’ll have all the details and links at today’s show notes at debraprinzing.com — and who knows? You might have time to take a trip to Vancouver to participate or observe the PNW Design Competition on March 17th, a qualifier event for the 2018 Gateway to the America’s Cup, with one U.S. and one Canadian winner selected. And stick around for “In The Making,” an inspirational series of wedding design workshops and a Project Runway-style bridal trends show, March 18-20, also hosted by Hitomi and United Floral.

Teacher, mentor, floral industry leader Hitomi Gilliam (c) Colin Gilliam

Before we get started, here’s a little more about Hitomi, according to her bio:

Hitomi says her biggest pleasure in life is ‘SHARING EVERYTHING I KNOW’!

Hitomi Gilliam AIFD is a Japanese Canadian floral artist, keynote lecturer, demonstrator, educator and a consultant in all aspects of the Art and Business of Floral Design. She is the Creative Director for DESIGN358 (2008). She has guest-designed extensively throughout North America, England, Japan, Mexico, Taiwan, Bermuda, Singapore, Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand, Colombia, Belgium, Korea and India.

Grasses and calla lilies, reinterpreted by Hitomi (c) Colin Gilliam

She owned and operated Satsuki’s Florist in Mission, British Columbia for 28 years. She currently works with her son, Colin Gilliam in an Event & Education business, DESIGN358 which was established 8 years ago.

Hitomi has lectured at Art Gallery of Ontario (Toronto), Chicago Botanical Gardens, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Cheekwood Botanical Gardens (Nashville), Museum of Fine Art Boston, Minneapolis Institute of Art, Bouquets to Art (San Francisco), Houston Museum of Fine Art, New Orleans Museum of Fine Art, Cleveland Botanical Gardens, Honolulu Academy of Art, Everson Museum of Art (Syracuse), The Walters Art Museum (Baltimore), Longwood Gardens, Virginia Museum of Fine Art, Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens (Richmond,VA), Detroit Institute of Arts, Vero Beach Museum of Fine Arts, The Strong Museum (Rochester, NY), North Carolina Museum of Art (Raleigh, NC) and Columbus Museum of Fine Art. She has also presented at the Philadelphia Flower Show, Newport Flower Show and Singapore Garden Festival. Hitomi is the founding organizer of the Annual ‘Survival of the Creative Minds’ Conference in Taos, New Mexicol

Two more beautiful botanical pieces by Hitomi Gilliam (c) Colin Gilliam

Follow Hitomi at these social places:

Find Hitomi on Facebook

Watch Hitomi’s YouTube Channel

Follow Hitomi on Instagram

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 290,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for downloading, listening, commenting and sharing — it means so much.

If you haven’t received the March issue of our Slow Flowers Newsletter, you can find a link here. In this edition, you’ll find interviews with all the presenters at the upcoming Slow Flowers Summit on Friday, June 29th in Washington, D.C.

And you’ll learn about Slow Flowers in the News, the Slow Flowers Podcast archive for last month, the upcoming Slow Flowers events that you can attend, and more. Be sure to follow the Subscribe link if the newsletter isn’t currently landing in your in-box.

As the Slow Flowers 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 right column of our home page.

Thank you to our sponsors who have supported Slow Flowers and all of our programs including this podcast, American Flowers Week, the Slowflowers.com online directory to American grown flowers, as well as our new channels, Slow Flowers Journal and the 2018 Slow Flowers Summit.

They are:

And thank you to our lead sponsor for 2018, Florists’ Review magazine. I’m delighted to serve as Contributing Editor for the new monthly 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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Episode 338: The Making of the Whidbey Flower Workshop with Tobey Nelson

Wednesday, February 28th, 2018

Tobey Nelson poses in a botanical floral throne of her design (c) Suzanne Rothmeyer Photography

Last spring, today’s guest invited me to be the opening speaker for her first floral design workshop — and while I’ve attended many and even taught a few floral classes, there was truly something special about the Whidbey Flower Workshop dreamed up and produced by floral and event designer Tobey Nelson.

Sometimes there is uncanny magic that takes place when everything and everyone comes together in a spirit of creativity and desire for personal growth; when all the participants are emotionally open to learning from one another and sharing as much as they receive.

That was the vibe last spring when Tobey’s first Whidbey Floral Workshop hosted instructors Susan McLeary of Passionflower Events, designer and floral/event stylist Kaleb Willis of Kaleb Norman James and me.

Whidbey Flower Workshop 2017 Instructors: Debra Prinzing, Tobey Nelson, Susan McLeary, Kaleb Norman James

Last year’s Slow Flowers Creative Writing exercises involved pens and pencils, flowers and vases — and wonderful prose written by participants as they discovered their personal voices and floral language

My role was a small one – I started out the 3-day retreat-style workshop with a short course on writing, memoir and storytelling. During those two short hours, I was blown away by the personal narratives that this floral tribe wrote and read to one another. I returned to Whidbey Island a few days later to join the workshop’s final dinner, cementing newfound relationships that continue today.

We all made amazing, inspiring and deeply personal connections while also learning from great instructors, designing with local and seasonal flowers and celebrating each participant’s unique gifts and talents. There was something pretty incredible that happened, a harmonic convergence, I guess.

Whidbey Island Workshop 2017 (c) Sullivan & Sullivan

Opening spread from August 2017 “Slow Flowers Journal” in Florists’ Review, featuring the Whidbey Flower Workshop.

And since last March, I’ve visited a few of the students and interviewed many of them for articles and this podcast. Later, with beautiful photography captured by Sullivan & Sullivan, I was able to write about the Whidbey Flower Workshop for the inaugural print issue of the Slow Flowers Journal, which debuted in August 2017 in Florists’ Review. You can read that story here: SFJ_WHIDBEY FLOWER WORKSHOP

Tobey Nelson, floral designer and event producer — the creative force behind the Whidbey Flower Workshop (c) Sullivan and Sullivan

After something epic like Tobey’s 2017 workshop, it’s easy to think: Can this be replicated? And is it even worth trying — because any of us who have staged multi-day events for large groups knows what a workout that can be.

Well, I’m here to tell you that Whidbey Flower Workshop 2.0 is indeed taking place.

Set for April 22-24, yes, on Whidbey Island north of Seattle, the gathering features some of the same elements as last year’s, including instruction by Susan McLeary, Tobey Nelson and me, but there’s a new venue, and floral artist Joseph Massie is joining the workshop to bring his inventive talents all the way from the UK.

Tobey has invited Susan to lead the creation of large scale floral wearables – think headpieces, floral tattoos, and more.

And she’s asked Joseph to guide participants through all the layers of designing and engineering large-scale, foam-free floral installations.

Instruction by Susan McLeary will help you reach new highs and elevate your designs (c) Sullivan & Sullivan

Site-specific floral installation by Joseph Massie for Lisa Waud’s 2016 Detroit Flower Week (c) Heather Saunders

The workshop will also feature the photography talents of Heather Saunders, who many of you remember as the visual artist who captured Flower House in 2015. I can’t wait to reunite with her! Listen to my podcast interview with Heather on the publication of Flower House, the book.

Last weekend, Tobey and I took a little road trip of our own to Vancouver, B.C. — more on that later — and so, full disclosure, I sprung this interview on her. I figured, hey, we’re in the car together for 2-plus hours and what better place and time to talk about the anatomy of a successful workshop? Tobey’s insights might just inspire you to join us on Whidbey Island and experience a creative work-cation where you will be refreshed and reenergized by the beautiful, rugged Pacific Northwest, as well as stretch your professional muscles in ways that might surprise you.

Here’s more about Tobey Nelson:

A recent botanical headpiece by floral artist Tobey Nelson (c) Suzanne Rothmeyer

Follow Tobey on Instagram

Check out Tobey’s Pinterest Page

Listen to Slow Flowers Podcast Episode 223: Field trip to Whidbey Island

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 287,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for downloading, listening, commenting and sharing — it means so much.

Please take a moment and visit our new web site for the upcoming Slow Flowers Summit, which takes place Friday, June 29th in Washington, D.C. We’re already selling tickets, lining up sponsors and special guests — and you won’t want to miss out on what one of our past speakers called a “floral mind meld.”

As the Slow Flowers 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 at right.

Thank you to our sponsors who have supported Slow Flowers and all of our programs including this podcast, American Flowers Week, the Slowflowers.com online directory to American grown flowers, as well as our new channels, Slow Flowers Journal and the 2018 Slow Flowers Summit.

Florists’ Review magazine: I’m delighted to serve as Contributing Editor for the new monthly 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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Music Credits:
The Wooden Platform; Yarrow and Root
by Blue Dot Sessions
Music from:

audionautix.com

Episode 337: Fortunate Orchard’s Hannah Morgan, printmaker to floral artist

Wednesday, February 21st, 2018

Love this adorable pic of Hannah Morgan, snapped at one of her workshops for The Field Trip Society

It’s wonderful to turn the page, post-Valentine’s Day, and focus on the soon-to-arrive spring season. When I visited today’s guest just last week, her front garden border displayed gorgeous hellebores in full bloom, and lots of the trees were already budding and ready to unfurl.

Despite a still chilly and wet climate, we still see sections of gorgeous blue sky behind the parting clouds and the always welcome rare ray of sunshine.

The place I visited is called Fortunate Orchard, and it is home to a floral studio and garden situated in a quiet corner of south Seattle.

Owner and lead designer Hannah Morgan holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in one hand and a pair of pruning shears in the other. Her designs are deeply rooted in the seasons of the Pacific Northwest and she sources primarily from the West Coast — often from the Fortunate Orchard garden, steps away from her work table.

Hanna’s “Fortunate Orchard” garden at the peak of the season!

Using blooms and branches grown nearby ensures that her designs are unique, of this place and a bit wild. She has built a team of makers and doers who contribute their own expertise to each project, bringing creative and ambitious designs to fruition for events large and small. Fortunate Orchard collaborates with clients who exalt in the natural world and who embrace unorthodox, unexpected beauty.

Hanna with her recent plant installation at the new Floret restaurant at the Seattle Tacoma International Airport

A beautiful arrangement at Lark Restaurant in Seattle.

Hannah has a keen understanding of the types of floral installations required by restaurants and eateries, which is how she actually caught my attention a few years ago when Bruce and I enjoyed an anniversary meal at Lark, one of the Pacific Northwest’s premier, artisan-focused restaurants.

As you hear us discuss, Hannah was the restaurant’s accidental florist who was tapped for filling large vases on the hostess table and elsewhere, perhaps because everyone there knew of her amazing and eclectic city garden.

Three years later, Hannah is creating a distinct niche for herself and I am so pleased we were able to sit down at her kitchen table, share a cup of tea and talk flowers, floral design, developing one’s aesthetic and style.

Learn more about Hannah and her artistic philosophy in this video interview (above) that I conducted with her last year at the Slow Flowers Creative Workshop held with Anne Bradfield of Floressence and documentary videographer Jason Miller.

A seasonal peony arrangement a la Fortunate Orchard’s semi-wild aesthetic.

Find Hannah at these social places so you can follow along as the season unfolds for Fortunate Orchard.

Fortunate Orchard on Instagram

Take a class from Hannah at The Field Trip Society.

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 285,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for downloading, listening, commenting and sharing — it means so much.

As the Slow Flowers 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 right column of our home page.

Thank you to our sponsors who have supported Slow Flowers and all of our programs including this podcast, American Flowers Week, the Slowflowers.com online directory to American grown flowers, as well as our new channels, Slow Flowers Journal and the 2018 Slow Flowers Summit.

They are:

Florists’ Review magazine. I’m delighted to serve as Contributing Editor for the new monthly Slow Flowers Journal section, which you can find 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.

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

Arctic Alaska Peonies, a cooperative of 50 family farms in the heart of Alaska providing high quality, American Grown peony flowers during the months of July and August. Visit them today at arcticalaskapeonies.com

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

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

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

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

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

(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:
Feathersoft (long form); Molly Molly
by Blue Dot Sessions
Music from:

audionautix.com

Episode 336: Table and Vase, a rebranding story with Albuquerque-based farmer-florist Steven Hong Elder

Wednesday, February 14th, 2018

Kee-ju (left) and Steven (right) are the two partners behind the recently rebranded Table and Vase. (c) Jamie Jauriqui Photography 

Steven and Kee-ju Hong Elder are an Albuquerque-based husband-husband duo that love gardening, growing and arranging flowers, eco-dying and more! We love all things beautiful and natural, and hope to help you cultivate a more beautiful life. They describe their business as “Not quite a farm, but not quite a garden.”

Steven and Kee-ju are experienced growers, cultivating boutique, heirloom and unusual floral material for Table and Vase. Originally calling their studio the Hong Elder Floral Workroom, the men recently rebranded. They grow flowers for their own design work as well as to provided select florists with boutique floral material.

You’ll hear Steven discuss how growing gloriosa lilies is one of his passions in his Albuquerque “garden-farm”

They’ve been members of Slowflowers.com for more than a year and I have loved watching their Instagram feed filled with flower growing and floral design images. Visiting New Mexico again is on my list of destinations for 2018, mostly because my writing mentor Paula Panich now lives there, but also because of the burgeoning slow flower scene. You’ve heard from Emily Calhoun of Floriography Flowers, who’s shared her story in past episodes of this podcast – first about flower farming and most recently about opening a new retail venue in Santa Fe.

Emily Calhoun of Floriography Flowers on Episode 176

Emily Calhoun of Floriography Flowers on Episode 317

But now she has company, including a number of micro flower farms and farmer-florists who are helping boost interest and awareness in local and seasonal flowers. Together with Steven and Kee-ju, this community has also launched The New Mexico Flower Collective, a group of flower growers, farmer florists and other creatives who are passionate about locally grown, sustainably grown New Mexico flowers and supporting local businesses.

Floral design by Table and Vase with textiles by Desert Garden Silk. Photo credits: Maura Jane Photography (left image); Jamie Jauriqui Photography (right image)

Steven and Kee-ju also own Desert Garden Silk Ribbon, which they sell through an Etsy store featuring natural, plant-based, hand-dyed silk ribbons and textiles.

Here’s a little more about Steven and Kee-ju:

Steven Hong Elder, the “florist” side of Table and Vase

STEVEN, THE DESIGNER, has worked for years designing flowers for weddings and high end events. Inspired by color and seasonality from the garden, Steven combines his backgrounds as a horticulturist and floral designer to grow and create arrangements that are lush, full and grand.

He recently wrote that his first garden was an absolute mess, filled with zucchini, cucumbers, three types of pumpkins, scarlet runner beans, morning glory vines and a few sad tomato plants shoved into a raised bed in his parents’ front yard.

It was from that garden that Steven’s love of growing and plants first started. He went to school for horticulture, learning about xylem and phloem and tissue culture and greenhouse propagation. He learned how to identify trees, how to propagate tulips, and about breeding new species, loving every single moment of it.

After school, Steven accepted a position with the Lauritzen Botanical Gardens in Omaha, Nebraska. He was soon in charge of the Victorian garden, the peony collection, and an English perennial border. He also maintained the historical Crookhouse gardens and worked part time for floral designer, Kyle Robino, a friend and mentor.

Steven’s journey into floral design started as a creative outlet from gardening and horticulture, but soon grew into a way of life. He studied floral design in school, then worked for several years both with talented designers, and eventually striking out on his own as a freelance designer.

Kee-ju takes on the “farmer” role at Table and Vase; left image: (c) Jamie Jauriqui Photography

KEE-JU, THE FARMER, a hobbyist gardener, has a passion for growing plants that’s expanded into becoming a flower grower. Obsessed with nature since he was a little boy, his interest in nature and biology has evolved into his passion for gardening and growing. Kee-ju ensures that the flowers are grown with love and care.

He recently wrote about meeting Steven in Omaha when he was working at Lauritzen, saying “although a dentist by trade, in my off time I had been teaching myself how to grow flowers from what I had learned on the Internet – a lot of time spent on Dave’s Garden and poring over gardening blogs. When Steven and I met, our love of plants and gardening didn’t take long to surface. Although I tend more towards xeric and full sun and Steven tends more towards high moisture and shade, we got along well! We were married and moved to New Mexico within the year.

After our first year gardening in New Mexico, we had a discussion regarding flower farming. Both of us were avid followers of Erin Benzakein since her early days, and were enthralled with her fields of blooms as well as her very insightful tips for growing flowers. What would it be like to be growing not a dozen zinnias, but hundreds? Would we be able to handle thousands of seedlings as opposed to fifty? We decided definitively that yes, we wanted to do this and yes, we were more than capable of doing so.

Suddenly, our garden beds were not large enough for all the plants we wanted, so we prepared more. We found ourselves buying seeds and dahlia tubers and drip irrigation and digging and planting. It was terrifying and hard work, yet I had never felt more alive in my life.

I had found something that lit a fire within me staying up late reading information on how to grow and harvest sunflowers, scouring the Internet for tips on succession planting and harvesting, and dreaming of rows of flowers and big bouquets.

While I really enjoyed flower farming, I also realized that I did miss gardening without the intent to cut and harvest. Sometimes you just grow it because you want to grow it, not because it will be a good seller or hold up well in the vase. Steven and I made the conscious this year to return to gardening for ourselves.”

Left image (c): Jamie Jauriqui Photography

I know you’ll enjoy hearing from Steven — we’ll have to get Kee-ju’s voice in a future interview. Enjoy these photos and follow Table and Vase at these social places.

Table and Vase on Instagram

Thanks for joining me today! What a fun conversation — and I can’t wait to return to New Mexico to meet Steven and Kee-ju in person and soak in the beauty of flower farming in Albuquerque and beyond.

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 282,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for downloading, listening, commenting and sharing — it means so much. In fact, I want to report that the month of January ended with 11,222 downloads, our all-time high month of listenership. Isn’t that awesome!

As the Slow Flowers 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 at debraprinzing.com in the right column.

Thank you to our sponsors who have supported Slow Flowers and all of our programs including this podcast, American Flowers Week, the Slowflowers.com online directory to American grown flowers, as well as our new channels, Slow Flowers Journal and the 2018 Slow Flowers Summit.

Florists’ Review magazine. I’m delighted to serve as Contributing Editor for the new monthly Slow Flowers Journal section, which you can find 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.

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

Arctic Alaska Peonies, a cooperative of 50 family farms in the heart of Alaska providing high quality, American Grown peony flowers during the months of July and August. Visit them today at arcticalaskapeonies.com

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

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

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

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

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

(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:

In The Field; Back to the Wood
by Jason Shaw:

audionautix.com