Debra Prinzing

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Episode 330: Slow Flowers’ 2018 Floral Insights & Industry Forecast

Wednesday, January 3rd, 2018

BOTANICAL DIVERSITY WITHOUT BOUNDARIES

The fourth annual Slow Flowers’ Floral Insights & Industry Forecast for 2018

I’m excited to announce that Florists’ Review has come onboard as Slow Flowers‘ lead sponsor for 2018, signifying a strategic partnership that acknowledges the many ways the Slow Flowers approach is moving into many facets of floristry — at all points along the farm to consumer pipeline. Florists’ Review is the only independent monthly magazine for the retail, wholesale and supplier market, reaching the largest number of floral professionals in the industry. I’m honored to be a Contributing Editor producing the monthly Slow Flowers Journal section, filled with unique content reflecting the cultural shift taking place in flower sourcing and design.

Since 2014, I have drawn from input from members of the Slow Flowers Community, past guests of the Slow Flowers Podcast and other progressive leaders in the floral industry — including farmers, florists and design creatives — to “predict” the future. While by no means a statistical survey, the Slow Flowers Floral Insights & Industry Forecast serves as a botanical crystal ball to identify emerging themes affecting the domestic floral industry. I’m excited to share these key insights for the first time in print form, here in the pages of Florists’ Review’s “Slow Flowers Journal” section.

Think of these topics as your inspiration checklist for 2018 — Your Next, New and Now Report. Some of you are already engaged in these up-and-coming developments, so consider yourself on-topic!

The overarching theme for 2018 is “Flowers without Borders,” which to me reflects the disappearance of silo-like barriers that previously separated growers of flowers from sellers of flowers from designers of flowers. Thanks to technology and social media, the ability of conventional “gatekeepers” to control the flow of information and product has greatly diminished. Transparency is power, making it easier than ever before to identify sources of fresh and uncommonly beautiful flowers and foliage. So here’s to a new floral landscape where accessibility is the driving force.

#1 Flower Farmers Diversify into Seeds, Bulbs and Plants

Beyond selling their crops to wholesale, retailer and independent florists, entrepreneurial flower farmers are finding new ways to turn expertise into cash flow. This phenomenon has moved far beyond seed-swapping and informal exchanges of plant cuttings.

One story of diversification comes from Bailey Hale of Ardelia Farm + Co. in Irasburg, Vermont. A trained horticulturist and two-time Philadelphia Flower Show gold medal floral designer (through his former studio MODA Botanica), Bailey now raises specialty cut flowers for farmers’ markets and florists and provides full-service wedding and event design. He turned his own hunger to find sources for uncommon “couture” flowers into a spin-off venture called Farmer Bailey, a custom plug brokerage.

When he’s not tending to his own farm, which is famous for producing sweet peas long into Vermont’s cool summer months, Bailey has become a cut flower hunter. He evaluates new varieties, contracts with a large wholesale nursery to custom grow “plugs” of must-have cultivars and markets his ever-expanding online catalog of irresistible choices to flower farmers and farmer-florists like himself. Bailey saw an un-served opportunity in the marketplace and used his connections and ingenuity to fill the demand. The result is a thriving new venture and the chance to influence the types of blooms — from Asters to Verbenas — entering the floral marketplace.

#2 Flower Farmers Launch Direct-Ship Wholesale Programs
Shipping to designers in markets that don’t otherwise have access to their unusual flowers, Gretel and Steve Adams of Sunny Meadows Flower Farm in Columbus, Ohio, “have opened door to get our product to florists without having to physically deliver it,” Gretel explains. Recently, their farm joined a shipping cooperative to take advantage of discounted overnight rates, an essential part of keeping their pricing competitive.

After a season of testing packaging methods and learning to navigate the FedEx system, Sunny Meadows expects to unveil The Columbus Flower Company’s national wholesale flower shipping program this spring, beginning with its huge ranunculus harvest. “We’d like to be able to send flowers to designers in New York, or Los Angeles, or places that don’t have access to a good flower market,” she says.

Gretel, also a wedding and event designer, feels she can add value for florists who order from the farm. “My favorite clients are florists who give me an inspiration board and a budget and I’ll pull a mix of ingredients that I myself would use.”

In Weyers Cave, Virginia, Jessica Hall and her family run two businesses, Harmony Harvest Farm (specialty cut flowers) and Floral Genius (pin frogs and other flower frogs). Jessica also reports of plans to ship flowers in 2018, borrowing lessons learned from shipping flower frogs across the U.S. to Floral Genius’s  wholesale accounts.

Harmony Harvest spent 2017 trialing packaging, stem hydration and shipping methods to determine best practices for a farm-to-florist wholesale program. “I believe there is a collective army (of smaller flower farms) that can take care of the U.S. need; they might be able to grow those flowers and see that it’s possible to ship. I’m going to figure it out and hopefully that will change the industry,” she says.

#3 Retail Garden Centers Add Floral Design Services

Last year’s Floral Insights report highlighted “Return of Brick and Mortar,” documenting a possible reversal of the decades-long decline in floral retail, as I witnessed studio florists with a distinct local and community focus open a new generation of retail flower shops. The next wave in this shift continues in retail nurseries and garden centers, which are opening or reviving in-house floral shops with a distinctly local emphasis.

Slow Flowers Journal featured The Flower Shop at O’Donal’s Nursery outside Portland, Maine — which recently introduced full-service floral design as a sister business to a 60-acre tree and shrub nursery. Manager Rayne Grace Hoke credits having a distinct aesthetic inspired by O’Donal’s extensive plant collection for much of the shop’s success.

On the opposite coast, Windmill Gardens, an independent garden center in Sumner, Washington, also debuted a new flower department. According to owner Ben DeGoede, Windmill brought floral design in-house for the first time since 2001, taking over space once occupied by a tenant and rebranding as Windmill Floral Studio. The beautiful, full-service shop has a commitment to providing only locally-grown and American-grown flowers. “The Slow Flowers movement and the buy local movement has inspired us to take floral back again,” he explains.

General manager Wendy Pedersen explains that the flower shop “wants customers to support local farmers.” There are obvious synergies for couples who book Windmill Gardens’ outdoor wedding venue and hire Windmill Floral Studio to design their flowers.

#4 Flower Farmers Shift into Retail

While it may seem “counter-trend,” a number of flower farms are opening retail spaces in prime locations where their flowers are marketed alongside related hard goods and artisan products. It’s a move welcomed by consumers who want to buy farm-direct in urban and suburban markets. I’ve identified Chicago, Boston and Albuquerque, among other cities where flower farmers have opened retail shops to sell their blooms.

In Boston, Field & Vase, a new venture of Stow Greenhouses, has opened two retail spaces at The Shops at Prudential Center, a major downtown retail hub. Barbara Rietscha and Dave Buchholz incubated their first retail venture two years ago at Boston Public Market, a year-round, indoor farmers’ market with 40 vendors and a New England-grown mandate. Success in that venue attracted the attention of developers at the tony Prudential Tower, and this past September, Field & Vase opened two locations there — a permanent kiosk in the heart of the mall’s central court and a full-service shop-studio that is large enough to accommodate custom design work, event production, client consultations and ongoing workshops.

Barbara says adding multiple retail channels to sell their farm’s value-added flowers was an intentional decision. By selling the flowers they grow direct to consumers through retail, Field & Vase enjoys larger margins and gets out of the wholesale environment dominated by price competition with imports. Additionally, at the Prudential locations, the business promotes other flower farms that aren’t set up to do retail themselves. “We source within the U.S. because we believe in local,” Barbara says. “We want to be a venue for flower farmers who don’t have retail outlets themselves.”

#5 Aromatherapy and Wellness Remedies

Botanically-inspired fragrances, body care remedies and other herbal and scented goods have a natural affinity for floral consumers, and I’ve noted some brilliant ways that florists are taking advantage of this. From developing their own candle and soap collections to offering aromatherapy-themed events, florists are tapping into ways to cross-promote flowers and aromatics.

Stacey Carlton, AIFD, of The Flora Culturist in Chicago has made the fragrance connection for her customers with an “Aromatherapy Bar” service. It’s a smart way to extend into a new revenue stream incorporated into parties and special events. Guests are invited to create a personal, custom fragrance blend — or to follow Stacey’s cleverly personalized scent recipes. From intimate gatherings like bridal showers to large interactive events, the Aromatherapy Bar gives guests a social experience and a new way to engage with fragrance.

Farmer-florist Hedda Brorstrom of Full Bloom Flower Farm in Groton, California, is a certified herbalist who studied at the California School of Herbal Studies. She extends her farm’s season by creating and selling “small batch, field to face” herbal and aromatherapy products.
Full Bloom Flower Farm’s skin care line includes rich hydrating creams made from roses, calendula and lavender grown on her farm. A rosemary hydrosol is an organic spray that can be used either on the face after sun exposure or used in cocktails after a long day of gardening. Hedda’s personal favorite product is the Injury Salve which she uses after a day of farming to soothe sore muscles. She sells her products online, alongside other farm-logo items like tank tops, sweatshirts and hats.

#6 Cause-Related Flowers

Flower farmers and florists alike are investing their talents in helping nonprofits and others in their communities. Floral philanthropy or “flowers with heart” efforts are inspiring, and I love seeing flowers used as a currency to change lives and advance important causes. A number of feel-good projects caught my attention in 2017 and I am certain they will continue in 2018.

The Bloom Project, profiled recently in Florists’ Review, is a 10-year-old volunteer-run program that upcycles donated flowers into bouquets for hospice and palliative care patients in Portland, Oregon.

On a national level, Christina Stembel’s Farmgirl Flowers selects and supports a monthly nonprofit partner by donating a portion of sales for a signature bouquet in its product mix.

“We started our ‘With Heart’ campaign because we wanted a way to give back to multiple organizations that are near and dear to our hearts throughout the year,” Christina explains. “It’s also a way we can support many organizations that our team members are passionate about.” Since it launched in April 2017, Farmgirl’s ‘With Heart’ program has contributed more than $70,000 to nine different charities.

I’m also impressed with charities using flower farming and floral design as a platform for change. It’s inspiring to watch nonprofit farms that help teens and adults train for the workplace or those that provide sustainable jobs for individuals with different abilities. Some notable efforts include Muir Ranch in Pasadena, WOW Farm in Oakland, Blawesome Farms in the Raleigh-Durham area, Blooming on the Inside in Portland, and other socially responsible enterprises.

The bottom line is that flowers can meet people where they are and be used as a positive tool to instigate change, stimulate progress and enhance lives.

READ MORE…

Episode 328: Slow Flowers’ Holiday Music Special with Scott and Kristen Prinzing of EarthShine

Wednesday, December 20th, 2017

Today’s special guests: Kris and Scott Prinzing of EarthShine. This photo is from a recent “Father Christmas” event in Billings, Montana

For the past two years, I’ve shared special Holiday Music episodes, which seems festive and fitting for this season when we all need a break from work and responsibilities.

In 2015, musician-songwriter-flower farmer Dennis Westphall of Jello Mold Farm in Mt. Vernon, Washington, was my guest for Episode 225.

And in 2016, Ellen Zachos, vocalist, author, former Broadway singer-dancer, and foraged cocktails expert, sang botanical broadway show tunes for us on Episode 276.

Today, I’m delighted to present the third annual Slow Flowers’ Holiday Music Special, with EarthShine, the duo featuring Scott Prinzing and Kristen Rickels Prinzing, my brother and sister-in-law, who are based in Billings, Montana.

Scott and Kris and I met up this past September at the Rocky Mountain Gardening Live Conference, produced by Dan and Andra Spurr at Chico Hot Springs in Pray, Montana. It was so much fun for me to spend an extended bit of time with Scott and Kris, and I planned ahead and asked them to record this podcast in anticipation of our holiday special.

Here’s a little more about this dynamic couple:

Kris is a songwriter and player of acoustic guitar and flute! She grew up spending every summer in the Beartooth Mountains of south central Montana and spent school years in Minnesota. She has roots connecting her to Montana that date back to her great uncle Kent Moats’ 1913 homestead. In the early 50’s, her then very young father purchased property in the mountains of southeastern Montana, and as a result Kris has spent every summer of her life at this special place. In 1990 she and Scott were married there, and a few years later they relocated to Montana permanently, joining Kris’s parents and other family. Montana’s wild and beautiful landscape is responsible for her intense passion for the environment, which has led her to professional, academic and volunteer work in conservation.
Kris has also nurtured a lifelong interest in music and the arts. During college, after several years of flute, voice, classical dance and some piano, Kris made an effort to pursue singing as a career. She recorded a demo tape and sang lead on some sessions for a local jazz producer. In 1990 Kris married Scott Prinzing, who is also a musician, though it was not until 1997 that they began to collaborate and pursue music together. In 1999 Kris began playing the guitar seriously, and soon after began to write songs.

Scott Prinzing sings and plays bass, mandolin and more. He was born in Connecticut, moving a number of times during his childhood, ending up in Portland, Oregon at age 11. Scott took up the acoustic guitar in 5th grade and then the bass guitar in 7th grade. He formed his first band in the 8th grade. At church, in school singing groups and in the bands he sang and played in, Scott developed a strong baritone voice. In 1982 and 1988 he played and sang on studio recordings with his band Glacier. Throughout high school and college, Scott played in a total of six different bands (some concurrently.) Over the years Scott has learned to play several other instruments competently but continues to concentrate on the bass guitar. During college Scott became involved peace and justice issues, multicultural student activities and political campaigns. Scott majored in Sociology/Cross-cultural Studies in the small private college where he began his education and had the opportunity to travel and study in Israel, the Philippines, Rome, Mexico and elsewhere. His interest in politics and social justice also gave new depth to his life-long interest in the environment.

After marrying Kris Rickels in 1990, Scott transferred to the University of Minnesota to complete his college education and there chose to major in American Indian Studies – another life-long interest. In 1997, Scott and Kris finally began to work on music together, culminating in the collaborative efforts that have created the music they now perform together.

In 2003, Scott and Kris formed the MusEco Media and Education Project, an educational non-profit. They perform all around Billings and elsewhere in Montana with their duo, EarthShine, and they have produced three CDs featuring some of the music you’ll hear today.

I wish you a wonderful holiday, happy Solstice, Merry Christmas and Seasons Greetings — please enjoy my musical gift to you! Here are more ways you can listen and follow Scott and Kris:

See more GREEN MAN and MuseEco Videos here.

MusEco Media and Education Project:  www.MusEco.org

Earthshine   www.EarthshineMontana.com

Green Man’s site  www.GreenManTV.org

Listen & Buy more of EarthShine’s Music:

SoundCloud 

CD Baby

Follow Earthshine on Facebook

Thanks so much for joining us today! The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 264,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you to each one of you for downloading, listening, commenting and sharing. It means so much.

Next week, during the final episode of 2017, I will share our Year in Review. The Slow Flowers Movement and you, the community, have achieved and accomplished so much goodness this year and it’s time to celebrate our successes. Please Join me on Wednesday, December 27th for this special tribute to 2017.

If you value the content you receive each week, I invite you to show your thanks and support the Slow Flowers Podcast with a donation — the button can be found on our home page in the right column. Your contributions will help make it possible to transcribe future episodes of the Podcast.

Thank you to family of sponsors:

And thank you to our lead sponsor for 2017: 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.

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 KineticTreeFitness.com.

Music Credits:

EarthShine:
(c) Season’s Greetings 2000

(c) Kubota Garden 2002

(c) Blooms of Clover 2007

(c) Whirling Earth 2014

(c) Jack in the Green 2015

Lovely, by Tryad

http://tryad.bandcamp.com/album/instrumentals

http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/

In The Field

Music from:

audionautix.com

Episode 327: Food Justice and Brian Sellers Peterson, author of Harvesting Abundance

Wednesday, December 13th, 2017

As more people ask “where is my food grown” and increasingly “where are my flowers grown?” issues of access to available land where food and flowers can be produced are increasingly important — especially in urban areas.

My guest today, Brian Sellers-Petersen, is working at the heart of food justice and turning underused land into productive, inclusive mini-farms.

An avid gardener, beekeeper and chicken rancher, Brian is author of a new book, Harvesting Abundance: Local Initiatives of Food and Faith, which tells the stories of mostly Episcopal congregations around the country that are stewarding their land in new ways, sharing produce that’s grown on parcels once carpeted by green lawns.

He has recently started consulting after 16 years with Episcopal Relief & Development and he holds the unique title of Cathedral Apiarist or beekeeper at St. Mark’s Cathedral in Seattle.

Against the urban backdrop of downtown Seattle, Brian Sellers-Petersen tends to rooftop hives at St. Mark’s Cathedral

He writes:

“One reason to have a garden on the church’s front lawn or most visible site is that it will receive lots of foot traffic. You might not initially get many fans from those who are used to lovely ornamental landscaping, but with some care and thought, you can win them over with a carefully designed array of purple basil, rainbow chard, intercropped flowers, fruit, trees and fill in the blank. . . . It’s going to communicate to members, neighbors, and visitors your values and how people of faith are committed to gathering together around a table to eat.”

Brian maintains that everything you really need to know about the Creator you can learn in a garden.” I love that sentiment and the meaning behind it.

We go back two decades to when we worked together at a large Christian NGO, and I’ve always found myself encouraged by Brian’s progressive ideas and by the way he walks the talk in his own life.

A gathering of participants in Seattle’s Food & Faith Network, photographed at Redmond-based Muslim Association of Puget Sound (MAPS) / Masjid al-Rahmah

He’s been involved in Seattle’s Food & Faith Network, bringing together congregations of many faiths to learn how to start community and teaching gardens and other agricultural projects to grow healthy local food and flowers, build community, care for the earth and bring justice to neighbors and people they serve.

Find Brian at his blog, “Faithful Tilth”

Follow Brian on Facebook

Thanks so much for joining us today!  The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 262,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you to each one of you for downloading, listening, commenting and sharing. It means so much.

I have a special treat in store for you next week, with our third annual Slow Flowers Holiday Music Special.

You’ll meet my guests, Scott & Kris Prinzing, yes, my brother and sister-in-law, musicians, educators, environmental activists and an uber creative duo behind EarthShine.

You’ll hear their story as passionate creatives and they will share five original songs that relate to gardens, seasons and the environment. It gave me great pleasure to invite them to appear on the Slow Flowers Podcast and I’m eager to share their story and songs with you.

If you value the content you receive each week, I invite you to show your thanks and support the Slow Flowers Podcast with a donation — the button can be found on our home page in the right column. Your contributions will help make it possible to transcribe future episodes of the Podcast.

Thank you to family of sponsors:

And thank you to our lead sponsor for 2017: 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 KineticTreeFitness.com.

Music Credits:
Lesser Gods of Metal
by Blue Dot Sessions
Music from:

audionautix.com

Episode 326: Solstice Garden Gatherings and the Farm to Flower Shop trend with Barbara Rietscha of Boston’s Field & Vase

Wednesday, December 6th, 2017

Barbara Rietscha and David Buchholz of Stow Greenhouses, recently rebranded as Boston-based Field & Vase

Today, you will hear from two guests: Sue Nevler, an incredibly active gardening friend from the Pacific Northwest and national public horticulture scene who will share about the Solstice Garden Gatherings on December 21st, and Stow, Massachusetts-based Barbara Rietscha of Stow Greenhouses, which has rebranded as Field & Vase in Boston — yet another flower farm branching into retail floristry. I’m so excited to share these interviews with you!

We’re getting close to the end of 2017 and for many of you, that means reflecting on the meaning of one’s work, on the relevance and purpose that we seek to have, and on the relationships that define us.

Thanks to all who joined me at the Seattle area Slow Flowers Meet-Up! This group knows how to feed one another’s appetites and creativity.

This all came together for me Sunday evening at the latest Slow Flowers Meet-Up. Over the course of 2017, I’ve gathered with our Slow Flowers Community in towns and cities across North America, listening, learning, sharing, connecting in places as diverse and wonderful as Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Toronto, Ontario; Missoula, Montana; Guilford, Connecticut; Providence, Rhode Island, and yes, Seattle.

It was such a joy to have a hometown (for me) Meet-Up and I am so happy that 14 folks in Seattle’s Slow Flowers community joined the festivities — flower farmers whose blooms thrive in tiny urban lots or expansive rural acreage, food farmers who are diversifying in to cut flowers, floral designers who specialize in weddings, everyday deliveries or workshops, landscape designers exploring the floral industry and also wholesalers who represent the farmers and sell their bountiful harvest to local florists.

It was wonderful to watch the new relationships and connections take place over delicious food, clicking of glass, and laughter throughout. There was one moment when it all went into slow-motion, freeze-frame for me. I stood there in my kitchen and marveled at the goodwill being shared among new and old friends, people who have supported the Slow Flowers movement in their own work, aligning their brands with ours. It was special and truly overwhelming to see where this singular Slow Flowers idea has taken all of us.

Last week I recorded a short interview that I want to start today’s episode. It will, I hope, inspire you to take a step or make a gesture in your own community as we approach the Winter Solstice, the holiday season and the New Year around the corner.

Sue Nevler (seen above), calls herself a gardening advocate. In 2016, Sue created an event called Solstice Garden Gatherings — and I shared the idea on an episode of this podcast last December. Solstice Garden Gatherings has gained momentum and support across the world, and I’m so glad to see the idea of people who assemble with others in public and private gardens, or in a flower field, or on a farm. The objective is simple, but powerful. A gathering in support of peace, acceptance, understanding, and hope.

Beginning December 10th, this Sunday, there are several taking place in the Seattle area, including these:

Bellevue Botanical Garden (Garden D’Lights)
Bloedel Reserve
Dunn Gardens
Heronswood
Kruckeberg Garden
University of Washington Botanic Gardens ( CUH)
Days, dates, times and formats vary at all these, so check individual garden website’s for more details.

Please use the hash-tag #solsticegardengatherings if you attend or create a similar event in your community. She is eager to see this idea spread and will be encouraged by your posts.

Flowers by Field & Vase

Our main guest today is Barbara Rietscha of Field & Vase, a new venture of Stow Greenhouses, based in Stow, Massachusetts, in the Boston area.

The Rietscha-Buchholz family at their farm in Stow, Massachusetts

Stow Greenhouses is owned and operated by the husband and wife team of Dave Buchholz and Barbara Rietscha. In addition to growing and arranging flowers, they are raising three sons.

Barbara runs the day-to-day operations of the business and oversees everything from first seeding to final arrangement. Born in PA, Barbara had a circuitous route to flower farming. After graduating from college with a chemistry degree, she moved to Central Africa to teach farmers how to raise fish. When she returned home, Barb learned how to program computers and then moved to the business side of things and got her M.B.A. After the birth of her 2nd son, she took some time off to raise 3 sons until she and Dave bought the farm in 2010.

Barbara uses flowers and herbs grown on her farm as well as things foraged from the property. Her style is organic and natural and she likes to bring the garden to the vase whether it is for a bride, home or office. Barbara is motivated to educate her customers about the local flower movement as well as support local farms and businesses. She enjoys being outdoors and skiing and her retirement plan is traveling across the country in an Air Stream.

By day Dave is an IT professional at a large bank but by night, he is a plumber, electrician, carpenter – a whatever-it-takes to keep the farm running. He is also the patient voice of reason to Barb’s unbridled enthusiasm. Dave was born with skis on his feet, enjoys all forms of cycling and coaches the high school ultimate frisbee team.

READ MORE…

Episode 324: Meet 2017 Mayesh Design Star Christy Hulsey of Colonial House of Flowers and Mayesh Wholesale CEO Patrick Dahlson

Wednesday, November 22nd, 2017

Christy Hulsey, Mayesh Wholesale’s 2017 Design Star, taught recently in Portland (c) Nicole Clarey Photography

Last month I traveled to Portland for a wonderful day hosted by Mayesh Wholesale, one of a series of design workshops featuring their 2017 Design Star, Christy Hulsey.

Christy is the owner and creative director of Colonial House of Flowers in Statesboro, Georgia, outside Savannah, and she was selected by Mayesh to be this year’s design muse. In the past, as I understand it, the creative inspiration and instruction of each year’s Mayesh Design Star program has mostly been video-based. This year was incredibly ambitious, with Christy signing on for a coast-to-coast tour of workshops and events.

I was so happy to spend time with Christy Hulsey of Colonial House of Flowers (center) and Mayesh Wholesale CEO Patrick Dahlson (far right) (c) Nicole Clarey Photography

As you’ll hear in our conversation, recorded after the all-day, hands-on workshop that she and her team presented, Christy and I met in 2014 at the Chapel Designers New York Conference, where Holly Chapple graciously asked me to speak about Slow Flowers. Later, Christy’s Colonial House of Flowers joined Slowflowers.com, inspired at some level, to honor Christy’s grandmother’s love of gardening and designing with seasonal flowers.

Team Colonial House of Flowers. Christy is in the front, wearing the linen apron; her sister Amanda Currier is immediately to the left of the ladder.

In fact, she mentions her grandmother’s influence often. When Christy joined the Design Star program, Mayesh posted a lovely Q&A with her for their blog. You’ll want to follow the link I share in the show notes to find that, but here are a few favorite excerpts:

In 2012, I assumed ownership of a little nearly 50-year-old landmark flower boutique that was in my family, called the Colonial House of Flowers. I believe the spirit of my grandmother’s creativity and ability to resourcefully create something sophisticated flutters through everything I do. In 2014, Amanda Currier, my sister, joined the Colonial House of Flowers team. Seasonally relevant flowers, branches, and fruit, are the true medium of my art. I’m ever thankful for my grandmother who always sent me into the garden, who brought me a found plant as a gift, and taught me to dig bulbs, grow cuttings, and stop at random roadside stands on family travels.  am really excited about the gaining momentum of American Grown Flowers. Slow flowers speak to me. I am excited the movement is finally coming to the Southeastern United States.

Christy Hulsey, with a detail of the all-American-grown floral flag (c) Certified American Grown photograph

Last December, I interviewed Christy for an Americanflowersweek.com story about the 8-by-12-foot three -dimensional American flag that she and a team created using only domestic flowers. The project was commissioned by Certified American Grown and it was on display at the Wholesale Florist & Floral Supplier Association conference in Miami.

Christy shared her story and taught compot design and hand-tied bouquet design at the Mayesh Design Star Workshop (c) Nicole Clarey Photography

Christy has had a whirlwind year and you’ll love hearing more about the Mayesh Design Star experience, which is coming to a close next month. She has taught workshops all around the country, sharing her design philosophy with professional peers, aspiring designers and floral enthusiasts eager for inspiration. In conjunction, she has also taught a number of succulent design workshops at Pottery Barn stores located in Mayesh cities. And she’s filmed numerous design videos. You can see a few of those here:

As an added bonus, Mayesh CEO Patrick Dahlson sat down with me to record a conversation, which you’ll hear after the Christy interview. This was a rare chance for me to hear more about the Mayesh story and to ask Pat to weigh in on the Slow Flowers movement to promote a greater level of local and seasonal flowers in the conventional wholesale floral channels. I wasn’t disappointed and I’m so glad you can sit in on our give-and-take.

Patrick Dahlson introduced the Mayesh Wholesale story to the workshop audience (c) Nicole Clarey Photography

Here’s a bit more about Pat Dahlson:

As one of nine children, all who are shareholders in Mayesh Wholesale Florist, Patrick has been the CEO of the company since 1985.  A natural born leader, Patrick has been a member of Vistage – an international CEO leadership organization – for 21 years. He is past president of Child Share, which helps place foster children in homes; Past President WF&FSA; Board member Southern California Flower Growers Association; and Past President Oakmont Country Club. Passionate about flowers, leadership and mentoring, Pat is also an avid golfer who enjoys yoga and Pilates workouts along with traveling with his three daughters, Alison, Kirstin and Desiree.

I also want to give you a head’s up about a couple things on the calendar where you can meet Christy Hulsey and Pat Dahlson:

On December 4-6th, Christy will host a Master Class At Musgrove Plantation on St. Simon Island, Georgia, with Susan McLeary of Passionflower.

Susan has been a guest of the Slow Flowers Podcast twice in the past and she is a good friend to the Slow Flowers community.

This two-day design intensive looks fantastic and I encourage you to check out the details, which include intimate design instruction with Christy and Sue, a focus on  foam-free, wire-free cascade bouquets PLUS living jewelry such as wrist corsages, shoulder corsages and Sue’s famous “floral tattoo.

You’ll also be part of a styled photo shoot by Lindsey Nowak and a portfolio of your photos by Corbin Gurkin. Click here for more information and to register!

On March 7-9th, 2018, floral business coach Kelly Perry hosts the first Team Flower Conference in Orlando, which features, among other speakers, Pat Dahlson and Christy Hulsey.

The conference is designed to help you take your floral business to the next level, and includes a presentation by Kelly pricing, ordering and cultivating creativity.

Christy will share the story of how she transitioned a small-town flower shop in rural Georgia to a nationwide brand, and Pat will cover the latest sourcing news and tips for working with your salesperson on substitutions, and he’ll share his passion for teamwork success in the floral industry. Click here for more information and to register!

Wow, wish I could be part of both of those amazing events!

 

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 255,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you to each one of you for downloading, listening, commenting and sharing. It means so much.

If you value the content you receive each week, I invite you to show your thanks and support the Slow Flowers Podcast with a donation — the button can be found on our home page in the right column. Your contributions will help make it possible to transcribe future episodes of the Podcast.

Thank you to family of sponsors:

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 KineticTreeFitness.com.

Music Credits:

Bending the Reed
by Gillicuddy

https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/

Perfect (Instrumental Version); Once Tomorrow (Instrumental Version)

Additional music from:

audionautix.com

Arizona-Grown Flowers & Bouquets are Flourishing

Thursday, November 9th, 2017

Linda MacConnell’s arrangement close up (and above) . . . love how it pairs perfectly with the gold cylinder vase by Syndicate Sales!

Earlier this week I had the immense pleasure of collaborating with three Slow Flowers members to present a 2-part workshop at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix.

“Artisanal Flowers” invited gardeners, florists and flower enthusiasts to spend two evenings with Morgan Anderson of TheFlori.Culture, Anne J. of Anne ES Garden Fresh and Shanti Rade of Whipstone Farm.

Arizona Grown, folks!

The four of us reunited after our fantastic meet-up earlier this year when a number of Slow Flowers members visited Shanti and Corey Rade’s farm in Paulden, Arizona. You can read more about that event here and listen to my past Slow Flowers Podcast episodes with Shanti and Morgan.

Our dream for this workshop was to introduce the Slow Flowers, Arizona-grown message to students at the state’s largest public garden.

And early November is actually a good time to talk about local flowers and floral design because (as Anne explained during her portion of the presentation) fall in Arizona is basically a “second spring.”

Oh, my! I loved creating with these lovely ingredients!

We started off on Monday evening with a Slow Flowers overview in which I shared the story of our movement as well as my personal experience growing and arranging with flowers and foliage in all four seasons.

Learning from Shanti Rade of Whipstone Farm, a diversified operation of food and flowers.

Shanti followed with an engaging presentation about Whipstone Farm and her journey from growing food to growing flowers for many outlets. It was exciting to watch the expressions on all nine students’ faces as it slowly dawned on them that there’s a new paradigm for what’s considered “desert florals.” From ranunculus to sweet peas to peonies and dahlias, well, Shanti not only blew people away, she raised their expectations for what is possible here in Arizona.

Morgan Anderson, PhD, of The Flori.Culture, introduced floral design as a fine art medium

The following night, we returned ready to design! Morgan took the lead as design coach and instructor, discussing the art principles of floral design and sharing tips on both contemporary and garden-inspired styles. She taught everyone how to cut and use cacti as well as how to correctly wire succulents for arranging.

Tracey Locke’s beautiful bouquet

Roni Costa’s verdant arrangement showcases a lush succulent

Mary Mayfield was drawn to the tawny apricot palette.

Anne introduced the botanicals from her farm and from two other local growers – herbs, edible flowers, purple hyacinth bean pods and other lovelies from Emily Heller at Et Tu Frute Garden and seasonal millet and lavish scarlet hibiscus pods from Anne Kerr at Black Kerr Farm.

Focused on our design portion of the “Artisanal Flowers” workshop!

Someone provided vibrant zinnias and no one was shortchanged on their design elements. Because Shanti had to leave for Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers’ board meeting duties back east, I jumped in and introduced her crazy-beautiful palette of vintage-looking mums, as well as a generous array of lisianthus, scented geranium foliage and more!

Designing was a blast, aided by the chance to use American-made glass vases supplied by Syndicate Sales – and the gold and rose-gold cylinders struck a perfect seasonal note for the tawny floral palette. You can see more of the students’ and instructors arrangements here:

Karen LeDonne’s yummy design.

Julie

Fran Janis was drawn to the deeper botanical hues in this wild bouquet

Debbie Mittelman of MiViva Floral Design produced this gorgeous composition.

Tish Dunshie created this textural arrangement.

READ MORE…

Episode 322: Garden Media Group’s annual Garden Trends Report with Suzi McCoy and Katie Dubow

Wednesday, November 8th, 2017

Suzi McCoy (left) and Katie Dubow (right) of the Garden Media Group, which releases the Garden Trends Report on an annual basis.

As many of you know, my journalistic background includes working as a home and garden writer for the past two decades.

During that journey, I invested many years — the past 15 in fact — in the Garden Writers Association, including two years serving as its president. Many of my closest professional and personal friendships come from time spent serving on committees, as regional and national director and then, as an officer and member of GWA’s leadership.

And even though writing about flower farming and floral design has occupied my professional energy during the past nearly 10 years, I still consider myself a Garden Writer. After all, flowers are certainly an extension of the garden, right?

Today I am delighted to introduce two longtime professional friends who I originally met through GWA. They are Suzi McCoy and Katie Dubow of Garden Media Group.

Based outside Philadelphia, Garden Media Group was one of the very first marketing and communications firms to position itself in the “green” category. For many years, Garden Media Group has released an annual Garden Trends Report, which has become a must-have reference for writers, practitioners and companies in the gardening industry.

A snapshot of the 2018 Trends recently released by Garden Media Group

I love reading this report and to be honest, it has served as a template for my much younger Slow Flowers Floral Insights and Industry Forecast, which I started compiling annually four years ago.

Suzie and Katie agreed to talk with me about the Garden Trends Report for 2018 and share their graphics. Click the link to download your own PDF copy of the report.

Here are a few slides of the “trends” we discuss on today’s episode:

Find Garden Media Group on Facebook

Follow Garden Media Group on Twitter

See Garden Media Group on Pinterest

Watch Garden Media Group on Instagram

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Episode 321: My lovely conversation with Robbie Honey + Holly Chapple’s Flowerstock recap and Syndicate Sales’ product launch

Wednesday, November 1st, 2017

Robbie Honey at Flowerstock (c) Sarah Collier, Taken by Sarah

We all have our flower crushes and those we admire from afar, never expecting to actually meet. So the chance to not only meet and spend time with Robbie Honey, world floral traveler, proud son of Zimbabwe, curious accidental botanist and amazing designer . . . well, it was a certainly a highlight of 2017!

The artist at work ~

Robbie and I met at Holly Chapple’s Flowerstock, the two-day design and creativity fest held for the second year at Hope Flower Farm, the historic compound she owns with husband Evan Chapple – in Waterford, Virginia, not to far from the nation’s capitol.

Holly and Robbie have collaborated on many occasions as instructors, but this was my first experience seeing Robbie up close and personal. Prior to this, my knowledge of him has been mostly by watching his Instagram feed.

Robbie is the creative director at the design company bearing his name Robbie Honey, based in London.

Now and Then, Robbie Honey today and as a young boy in the flower fields of Zimbabwe

Robbie Honey has been immersed in botanical pursuits since he was a young boy roaming the wild grasslands of Zimbabwe. These adventures developed his already keen visual and olfactory senses and instilled in him a lifelong fascination with flowers and their scents.

By the age of seventeen, he was studying horticulture and went on to work in the floriculture trade in Holland and Kenya. Honing his creative sensibilities further, he studied interior design and photography at art school in Cape Town. Moving to London he trained with floral designer Ming Veevers Carter and gained a thorough grounding in event floristry. Incidentally, we posted a story about Ming’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show’s Gold Medal design for New Covent Garden Flower Market earlier this year. Check it out here.

Robbie’s floral installation for Christian Dior Parfum, London

One of Robbie’s installtions for Hermes, London

17,000 Carnations in an ombre pattern for Mary Katrantzou’s London Fashion Week runway show, designed by Robbie Honey

Setting out on his own at twenty-five, Hermès was his first fashion client, followed by Dior and Armani, establishing Robbie Honey as an in-demand florist within the fashion industry.

With this rare combination of expertise: in botany, floristry and the visual arts, he started lecturing around the world on floristry and writing for the Wall Street Journal.

I love this tablescape with all four of the Robbie Honey candles and the fragrant white flowers that evoke their scents.

Candle fragrances in the Robbie Honey candle collection — lily of the valley, Casablanca lily, jasmine and tuberose.

Robbie Honey’s first range of scented candles is inspired by individual white flowers, the scents of which have long beguiled him.

Robbie at Flowerstock (c) Sarah Collier, Taken by Sarah

It was a delight to not only learn more about what inspires and motivates this talented human as an artist, but a joy to watch him design with American-grown flowers, including many grown at Hope Farm and donated by others, including Harmony Harvest Farm, both Slowflowers.com members — as well as to play with branches and blooms that Robbie foraged with fellow instructors Ariella Chezar and Holly herself.

READ MORE…

Episode 320: Washington flower farmer Janet Foss of J. Foss Garden Flowers reflects on her 30-year-plus career

Wednesday, October 25th, 2017

Janet Foss, veteran specialty cut flower farmer and lifelong plantswoman.

I visited Janet in September on harvest day. Here she is with an armload of beautiful garden roses!

I’m so happy today to feature my recent interview with Janet Foss of J. Foss Garden Flowers, based in Onalaska, Washington, a community located halfway between Seattle and Portland.

Janet Foss has spent more than 30 years in flower farming, but her passion began when she was 10 years old. “I remember asking for my own flower bed,” Janet recalls. “My grandmother was a cut flower grower and florist – it’s a big thing in our family.”

As an adult, Janet and her husband Jim first raised unusual garden flowers on a 20-acre farm in Everett; since 2003, they have farmed on 40 acres in Onalaska, alongside the Newaukum River, with 5-plus acres specifically dedicated to field-grown, green house and high tunnel production.

Her natural ability to grow things has paid off, as Janet is known in flower farming circles as an expert in heirloom chrysanthemums.

For several years, Janet popularized vintage varieties of specialty mums through a mail-order venture.

After selling that business to another grower, Janet now focuses exclusively on raising uncommon cut flowers.

“Something different” is her guiding principle when it comes to choosing which crops to grow. “We specialize in high-quality flowers that are different and unusual from the standard garden flowers normally available.”

The beautiful setting for J. Foss Garden Flowers, in southwest Washington State.

That includes 3,000 dahlias and rare pussy willows and more than 200 varieties of flowers and floral ingredients, including astrantia, calla lilies, campanula, cosmos, delphinium, garden roses, gentiana, grasses, hypericum, lady’s mantle, ninebark, ornamental wheat, pussy willow, saponaria, scabiosa, sunflowers, sweet peas and zinnias.

Janet with her famous dahlias!

Janet regularly sells at her stall inside the Oregon Flower Growers Association, which is located at the Portland Flower Market. In Seattle, you can find her seasonal offerings at Northwest Wholesale Flowers. She was a founding member of the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market in 2011.

Calla lilies have been in Janet’s family for more than 50 years, originating from her grandmother’s cutting garden.

Here’s more background from the “about” page of J. Foss Garden Flowers:

We started our farm in 1981, a few days after we were married. Jim was a school teacher at the time and had the summer free; I needed to go back to work. The day I went back to work, he went to town and got the business license and signed us up for the farmers market. I had been gardening all my life. Jim was a city boy, and gardening seemed like a big expense which he felt would never be recovered. I told him we could make money selling at farmers markets, he took me seriously. The first item on his agenda was to put this garden to work making money. He has never been a procrastinator, without him I would still be thinking about getting a business license. Our first farm, close to the Everett, WA city limits, was only about an acre. We sold at the farmers market, did custom picking for local customers, and had a florist who bought most of what we grew.   

We were really enjoying growing flowers, so next we bought 20 acres in the Snohomish Valley. It was all sub-irrigated, was awesome soil, and grew beautiful cut flowers. We specialized in plants that loved damp peaty soil, like the Giant White Calla.   We soon became know for the Callas, although we also grew dahlias, pussywillows, cosmos, Queen Anne’s Lace, and many other unusual cut flowers.

The circumstances of life often change, and the need for us to change occured after Jim suffered a stoke in 1998.  It became clear that life would be simpler in order to be closer to family, so we moved south back to my roots in Lewis County Washington.  We found a beautiful field near Onalaska, WA, on the Newaukum River.  We purchased this land in 2001 and started shaping it into our current farm. Giant White Calla are still our specialty, but we are also growing roses, garden flowers, and clematis.  We grow over 200 varieties of flowers, and have flowers available most of the year.

J. Foss Garden Flowers’ original booth at Seattle Wholesale Growers Market (2011-2013)

I know you’ll enjoy our conversation and listen for the tale of how Janet and I actually went to college at the same time — as Home Economics majors. I guess all roads lead to flowers, though, because horticulture has been both of our passions long after we gave up the sewing machine and that patternmaking training from college days.

Here’s how you can find Janet Foss at her social places:

J. Foss Garden Flowers on Facebook

J. Foss Garden Flowers on Instagram

I also  want to share an opportunity that might strike a chord with you, as it has with me. So many of us have watched in horror as the wildfires of Northern California, specifically in Sonoma County, have destroyed homes, businesses and agricultural land.

We have a number of Slow Flowers members who have experienced devastating loss and destruction and our hearts go out to them. There are opportunities to support these friends. I’ve seen offers of labor, studio and cooler space, housing and design support crossing the social media channels and I’m inspired to do what I can, as well.

I just learned through Mud Baron, floral activist and educator at Muir Ranch in Pasadena, California, that there is a ‘Just and Resilient Futures Fund’ in the works, as part of the Community Alliance with Family Farmers, a nonprofit agency.

A diverse coalition of community-based organizations has established the campaign; resources from this fund will be provided to victims of fires, especially those suffering losses not covered by insurance or traditional relief services, and to support initiatives that build more just, healthy, and resilient communities and that better prepare us for future catastrophe.

As Mud posted on his Facebook feed, “because so many farmers lost so much in the  🔥 🔥 🔥#sonomafire, this mad farmer with pruners and an iPhone is raising funds to help the rebuilding efforts at Oak Hill Farm, Flatbed Farm and Let’s Go! Farm via @thefarmersguild”

Follow this link to make a contribution online. When you donate, @bakercreekseeds will match gifts up to $1k.

Thanks for getting the word out, Mud!

Sonoma Flower Mart’s recent Instagram Post

I also want to give a heartfelt shout-out to Nichole Skalski and Kathrin Green of the Sonoma Flower Mart, what has essentially become the heart and hub of the Slow Flowers community of farmers and florists in the North Bay region. Let’s support North Bay flower farmers by buying their flowers!

Our community is strong and resilient — and we are driven by the essential vision of supporting the vibrant domestic floral marketplace. Thanks for being part of this movement.

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 247,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you to each one of you for downloading, listening, commenting and sharing. It means so much.

If you value the content you receive each week, I invite you to show your thanks and support the Slow Flowers Podcast with a donation — the button can be found on our home page in the right column. Your contributions will help make it possible to transcribe future episodes of the Podcast.

Thank you to family of sponsors

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 lfgardens.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 KineticTreeFitness.com.

Music credits:

Bending the Reed
by Gillicuddy
Licensed under Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 International License.

Episode 319: Connecticut artist-florist Michael Russo of Trout Lily Farm

Wednesday, October 18th, 2017

Several current and prospective Slow Flowers members in Connecticut joined me at Trout Lily Farm in early October — what a wonderful Meet-Up at an inspiring place!

Slow Flowers comes to Trout Lily Farm (floral arrangement by Michael Russo)

A charming roadside sign hangs from Trout Lily Farm’s vintage boathouse-turned-farmstand.

Whenever I travel, even for pleasure, I’m likely to add three things to my itinerary:

First, I visit Slow Flowers’ members to see their places of business — flower farms, floral studios and retail florists locations.

Next, I team up with one or more of those generous folks to schedule a Slow Flowers meet-up.

And third, I turn on the digital recorder to interview at least one of these folks for a Slow Flowers Podcast episode.

Yes, I do travel quite a bit, the “non-slowness” of which is a bit ironic, as my friends and family have pointed out.

But I’m so passionate about getting out “on-location,” so to speak, to capture your stories.

Sharing the stories of American flowers and the people who grow and design with them is at the heart of the Slow Flowers mission.

Last month, you benefitted from my interviews in Montana. This month, it’s Connecticut and Virginia. Next month, it will be Massachusetts and Arizona. And then, maybe I’ll stay home for the holidays!

Michael Russo and Raymond Lennox, owners of Trout Lily Farm, led a walking tour for our autumn Slow Flowers Meet-Up

Michael leads us through the gourd tunnel, where heirloom and decorative varieties are trained along a metal structure.

What a beautiful spot!

So enough of that. Let me introduce you to Michael Russo, a farmer-florist and gifted artist who co-owns Trout Lily Farm in Guilford, Connecticut. He and his husband, Raymond Lennox, who works in the health care industry when he’s not co-farming, purchased Trout Lily about 13 years ago. The farm is located on picturesque Lake Quonnipaug in North Guilford, where Michael and Raymond grow and sell organic edibles and seasonal cut flowers for the table, weddings and events.

Sunset behind the hill, which created a beautiful back-lit moment.

I’ve been wanting to visit Trout Lily Farm ever since I first met Michael in the fall of 2014 at a floral design workshop I taught in Rhode Island at the wonderful estate home and garden called Blithewold Mansion.

Ellen Hoverkamp, lifelong artist-friend of Michael’s, facilitated our transportation and I’m so happy to have reconnected with her!

My friend Ellen Hoverkamp of My Neighbor’s Garden, an botanical artist and photographer who is a previous guest of this podcast, came from her home in New Haven, Connecticut and brought Michael along. I was so enchanted with their long friendship dating back to high school and college, as artists and former public school art teachers, both of whom both took early retirements to pursue new creative ventures.

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