Debra Prinzing

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Archive for the ‘Gardening’ Category

Episode 393: Andrew Mefferd and The Organic No-Till Farming Revolution; Plus State Focus: Georgia

Wednesday, March 20th, 2019
Andrew Mefferd, author of The Organic No-Till Farming Revolution book

As an avid flower gardener, I love learning from the pro’s — flower farmers whose methods and practices often influence my own backyard steps to growing cut flowers. Some of the techniques used on commercial flower farms are not in my toolbox, which only makes me hungrier to learn from those growing flowers day in and day out.

No-Till Farming is one such technique. I’ve heard flower farmers discuss the No-Till approach and I also *thought* I knew what the term meant.

However, thanks to today’s guest and his new book, I now have more understanding and much deeper insights about the term and why it’s one worth considering for your flower-growing enterprise.

Tony and Denise Gaetz of Bare Mtn. Farm in Oregon welcomed Andrew and shared many techniques and practices for his book.

Our guest today is Andrew Mefferd, author of the brand new book  The Organic No-Till Farming Revolution — High Production Methods for Small-Scale Farmers.

Andrew is the editor of Growing for Market magazine. He has spent 15 years working on farms in six states, including a year working on a no-till research farm. He worked for seven years in the research department at Johnny’s Selected Seeds.

Andrew travels around the world consulting with researchers and farmers on the best practices in greenhouse growing and sustainable agriculture. He is the author of The Greenhouse and Hoophouse Growers’ Handbook and he has a passion for cooking and promoting local farming. Andrew lives and farms in Cornville, Maine.

I first met Andrew after he acquired Growing For Market from founder Lynne Byczynski. Later, I contributed a few articles about Slow Flowers topics for Growing For Market and had the pleasure of witnessing Andrew’s passion for farming education and advocacy.

Jonathan and Megan Leiss of Spring Forth Farm are featured in the new book, The Organic No-Till Farming Revolution.

I wanted Andrew to come onto the Slow Flowers Podcast to talk about his new book, especially after Jonathan Leiss of Spring Forth Farm posted on Instagram that he and Megan and their No-Till Flower Farming methods are included in the new book. I’m so pleased that Andrew interviewed and profiled a number of Slow Flowers members about their farming practices for this essential guide.

Hedda Brorstrom of Full Bloom Farm is featured in The Organic No-Till Farming Revolution.

I appreciate that he considers floral agriculture as an equally viable pursuit for anyone who wants to farm. It’s not all about veggies and produce in this man’s view. In fact, Growing for Market, inspired by founder Lynne Byczynski, has always made space in its pages for flower farming.

Before I turn to my extended conversation with Andrew, I want to let you know that New Society Publishers has donated a copy of The Organic No-Till Farming Revolution book for us to give away.

Follow Andrew Mefferd at these social places:

Growing for Market on Facebook

Growing for Market on Instagram

Thanks so much for joining me today. If you want to be entered into our random drawing to win a copy of Andrew’s new book, make a comment about the best tip that Andrew shared in our conversation.

We’ll draw one name from all those who comment before midnight Pacific Time this Saturday, March 23rd.

To purchase the book, use the coupon code slow before the end of April. Andrew has set up the 20-percent-off discount code for anything you purchase, subscribe or renew in the Growing for Market Bookstore.

Holly Duncan of Floretry, who shares Georgia floral news today! For this arrangement, Holly incorporated local and American-grown flowers, plus foraged branches and textural elements.

Our theme for 2019 – Fifty States of Slow Flowers – continues today, with Holly Duncan of Georgia-based Floretry. 

As owner and lead designer of Floretry, Holly carefully curates luxury florals for weddings and private event clients and is located in Roswell, just north of urban Atlanta, Georgia. With more than 20 years of experience, Holly pairs lush blooms with seasonal textures and colors to create sensory floral designs.  

A keen listener and client partner, she goes the extra mile to elevate her clients’ vision and reflect their personalities, creating a floral experience beyond their expectations. Wherever possible, Holly advocates use of seasonal and local, American-grown flowers in her designs. You may even catch a glimpse of her foraging roadside for elements that add a special and one-of-a-kind touch to her clients’ events.

A Floretry design featuring all-Georgia-grown blooms grown by 3 Porch Farm (and honeysuckle vine from Holly’s backyard). 

Find and follow Holly at these social places:

Floretry on Instagram

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

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

Designed by Nancy Cameron of Destiny Hill Flower Farm.

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

THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS, including today’s spotlight supporters:

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

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

Longfield Gardens, which provides home gardeners with high quality flower bulbs and perennials. Their online store offers plants for every region and every season, from tulips and daffodils to dahlias, caladiums and amaryllis. Spring bulb season is almost here – my tulips are poking out of the ground already! Visit Longfield Gardens at longfield-gardens.com.

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

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

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

Here’s our latest March newsletter with updates on the Slow Flowers Summit, including details on lodging and a new speaker Q&A!

My tools of the trade — digital recorder & microphone (c) Missy Palacol Photography

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 425,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much. Thank you all!

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

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

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

Music Credits:
Bending the Reedby Gillicuddyhttp://freemusicarchive.org/music/gillicuddy/
https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/

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

In The Field
Music from:
audionautix.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Follow Urban Buds on Facebook

See more about Urban Buds on Instagram

Kate Read of Grey Tabby Gardens in Lake Mary, Florida

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

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

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

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

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

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

A lovely floral arrangement from Kate Read

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In The Field
Music from:
audionautix.com

Episode 389: All About Herbs with Designer Sue Goetz, author of A Taste for Herbs, Plus State Spotlight: Colorado

Wednesday, February 20th, 2019
Today’s guest, herb expert Sue Goetz

Whenever possible, I enjoy sharing those connections with the Slow Flowers Community. Because many of you come from these closely-related disciplines, I know you’ll enjoy today’s interview with my friend Sue Goetz. Sue is the owner of The Creative Gardener, based in Tacoma, Wash. She is a certified professional horticulturist, an author, speaker and award-winning designer.

I consider Sue a “sister” because we share the same book publisher, St. Lynn’s Press. While I’ve been writing and documenting the Slow Flowers movement, Sue has been writing, designing and photographing inspiring books about herbs.

Her first book, The Herb Lover’s Spa Book, is filled with ideas and recipes about growing fragrant herbs in your garden and how to use them to create a luxury spa experience. Her newest book, A Taste for Herbs, moves from the aromatherapy into the culinary  realm. I asked Sue to join me on the Slow Flowers Podcast to talk all about her favorite subject. I’m sure you’re growing herbs and I know this conversation will spark new ideas for what, how and why to add more herbs to your garden, farm, containers or greenhouse.

Recipe courtesy of Sue Goetz, A Taste for Herbs

Here’s more about Sue Goetz:

Writing and speaking are Sue’s favorite ways to share her love of gardening.  Her motto “…inspiring gardeners to create” defines all of her talks with hands-on workshops, how to’s and other projects that inspire creativity in and out of the garden. In 2012, she was named educator of the year by the Washington State Nursery and Landscape Association.  Sue is a member of GardenComm, formerly the Garden Writers Association, and her work has appeared in numerous newspapers and magazines.

Search for Sue’s fun garden wisdom series on Instagram #stickybookquote

Sue Goetz is a garden designer, writer and speaker. Through her garden design business, the Creative Gardener, she works with clients, personalizing garden spaces from the seasonal tasks to the design of large projects. Sue’s garden design work has earned gold medals at the Northwest Flower & Garden Festival, including the Sunset Magazine Western Living award, the Fine Gardening best design award and The AHS environmental award. Her home garden was featured in Northwest Home and Garden magazine, as well as Country Gardens Magazine.

Sue is a member of APLD (Association of Professional Landscape Designers) and the Northwest Horticultural Society. Sue lives and gardens in Washington state. She has three daughters, who no matter how far they roam, they still call home for some of mom’s fragrant, herbal concoctions.

Recipe courtesy of Sue Goetz, A Taste for Herbs

You can find all of Sue’s herb-related content and details about her two books, her lectures, and lots of recipes at herbloversgarden.com.

Find and follow Sue Goetz at these social places:

The Creative Gardener on Facebook

The Creative Gardener on Instagram

Robin Taber, Blue Door Farm
Colorado’s Robin Taber of Blue Door Farm
Our fabulous group of flower friends gathered at the Rocky Mountain Field to Vase Dinner. From left: Andrea K. Grist, me, Alicia Schwede, Robyn Rissman, Meg McGuire, and Robin Taber

Our theme for 2019 – #FiftyStatesofSlowFlowers – continues today, with Robin Taber of Blue Door Farm in Grand Junction, Colorado.

I first met Robin through her friend and fellow Colorado flower farmer, Megan McGuire of Red Daisy Farm, a Slow Flowers member and past guest of this podcast.

We both traveled to the Denver area in 2016 to stay at Meg’s wonderful farm and participate in a Slow Flowers Potluck as well as attend the Field to Vase Dinner at The Fresh Herb Co. It impressed me that Robin traveled 250 miles all the way across the state to be part of this gathering. It’s not unusual for flower people to do that sort of thing and we had a wonderful time together with Meg and also Andrea K. Grist, who joined us from Kansas City. See the cute photo of our time together above, along with Alicia Schwede and Robyn Rissman.

Bodacious Blooms: Robin taught floral design at a 2-day Blue Door Farm workshop last year in a collaboration with professional artist Dianna Fritzler.

Robin is deaf and communicates by lip-reading. In our conversation you’ll hear her speak with a mild accent. Her husband Mark Taber assisted us during the Skype interview.

Download the full transcript of our conversation here.

Find and follow Blue Door Farm at these social places:

Blue Door Farm on Facebook

Blue Door Farm on Instagram

The Vacation Rental/Guest House at Blue Door Farm

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

This was a week of highlights, including lots of great press attention for Slow Flowers during the lead up to Valentine’s Day. I’ll share all of those links in our March newsletter, so if you’re not a subscriber, you may wish to sign up at debraprinzing.com.

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

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

Our first Sponsor Spotlight and thanks goes to 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.  

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

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

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

The Slow Flowers Summit is five months away on July 1 & 2nd in St. Paul, Minnesota. We just wrapped up a very successful Galentine’s Day-Valentine’s Day promotion for the Slow Flowers Summit, generating new registrants to bump us well over the 50% sold-out mark for the 3rd annual Summit

I owe a big bouquet of thanks to event manager Karen Thornton and social media manager Niesha Blancas for all their extra effort to make that happen!

Make your way to slowflowerssummit.com to learn all about the many opportunities to join us — from flower farm tours and dinner on a flower farm to business and branding presentations to interactive and inspiring design sessions . . . all designed to serve you! Subscribe to Summit news and updates at slowflowerssummit.com.

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 411,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much. Thank you all!

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

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

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

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

In The Field
Music from:
audionautix.com

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

Wednesday, February 6th, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And I continue to listen to your podcast. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Queen City Flower Farm on Instagram

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

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

Althea Wiles, Rose of Sharon Floral Design Studio

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

Follow Rose of Sharon at these social places:

Rose of Sharon on Facebook

Rose of Sharon on Instagram

Rose of Sharon on Pinterest

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you to our Sponsors, including those highlighted today!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

audionautix.com

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

Wednesday, January 16th, 2019

Jolea Gress and Jenny Hotz of Green Earth Growers

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

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

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

The flower harvest at Green Earth Growers.

Here’s a bit about their story:

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

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

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

Beautiful field-grown sunflowers from Green Earth Growers.

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

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

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

Find and follow Green Earth Growers at these social places:

Green Earth Growers on Facebook

Green Earth Growers on Instagram

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Find and follow Lisa Thorne at these social places:

Thorne & Thistle on Facebook

Thorne & Thistle on Instagram

Thorne & Thistle on Pinterest

Thorne & Thistle on Twitter

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SPONSOR THANKS:

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

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

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

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

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

Episode 383: The Joy of Seeds with Hillary Alger, Flowers Product Manager of Johnny’s Selected Seeds

Wednesday, January 9th, 2019

Johnny’s Seeds flower trial gardens in Maine.

Johnny’s Seeds’ flowers product manager, Hillary Alger

If you’re a regular listener to the Slow Flowers Podcast, you know that Johnny’s Selected Seeds is one of our most supportive sponsors and partners.

I have been pestering today’s guest, Hillary Alger, Johnny’s Flowers Product Manager, to let me record an interview with her for quite a while.

We finally took time over the holiday break to jump on Skype and do it. I’m so pleased because the timing for discussing flower seeds and growing flowers is perfect.

Winter is when we all think about next season’s crops and new varieties to trial.

Whether you have a backyard cutting garden like me or a legitimate flower farm, you probably have visions of beautiful blooms dancing in your head.

And each image we see, whether it’s in a catalog or online, is enough to send our hearts racing as we add just one more variety to the wish list.

Behind-the-scenes at a Johnny’s Seeds’ studio photo shoot

Hillary is here today to discuss that process – how does an established seed company like Johnny’s, which was founded in 1973, select, trial, evaluate and bring to market thousands of varieties of vegetable, herb and flower seeds each year?

Even if you’re just a bit of a flower geek, this conversation will engage and inspire you. Hillary also discusses some of the more than 25 new annual seed varieties coming online in Johnny’s 2019 catalog, as well as the decision to reintroduce bulbs for cut flower growers. After more than a decade hiatus, the pages of Johnny’s catalog include more than 35 narcissus and tulip varieties. Click here to download a 4-pg PDF of all new new 2019 flowers.

Hillary often styles photo shoots for online and print, including fun floral flat-lays.

With a fine arts background, Hillary has fused her love of painting with her career in vegetable and flower seed promotion. Here is one of her paintings of an heirloom squash.

The Slow Flowers-Johnny’s Seeds partnership is a mutually rewarding one — and I’m so grateful to bring this episode to you today. Click here to read a recent post about Growing a Cutting Garden, with more resources from Johnny’s.

Here’s a bonus gift for listeners of this podcast — Thanks, Johnny’s!

Thank you from Johnny’s

An update about the Slow Flowers Summit:

First of all, we’ve been running an Early Bird ticket promotion for the Slow Flowers Summit 2019 and that opportunity has closed. Nearly 50 of you took advantage of the early bird pricing — and we will sell out the conference at 150 registrations.

So don’t have FOMO — you’ll want to make your way to slowflowerssummit.com to learn all about the many opportunities to join us — from flower farm tours and dinner on a flower farm to business and branding presentations to interactive and inspiring design sessions . . . all designed to serve you! Slow Flowers members will still enjoy discount pricing up until the day of the Summit. Sign up to receive updates at slowflowerssummit.com.

Left: A spring bouquet designed by Hillary for a Johnny’s Seeds photo shoot; right: Hillary’s home cutting garden.

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 395,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much. Thank you all!

I am in love with my greenhouse, designed and built sustainably by Oregon-based NW Green Panels (c) Missy Palacol Photography

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

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

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

This week’s sponsor thank-you’s:

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

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

Music Credits:

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

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2019

Welcome to the 2019 Forecast!

Happy New Year 2019!

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

Check out the NEW Slowflowerssociety.com site!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

First up: the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Number #1 Experiences, Not Conveniences

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

READ MORE…

Episode 378: Rachael Ackerman introduces Blue Sky Flower Farm in Minnesota, site of the Slow Flowers Summit pre-conference farm tour

Wednesday, December 5th, 2018

Rachael Ackerman of Blue Sky Flower Farm (c) Photography by Red Bird Hills

June 30th may seem like a long way off, but we all know how soon your the flower farming season arrives next spring, followed quickly by wedding and event season for floral designers.

So bear with me as we fast-forward to June 30, 2019, the day before the Slow Flowers Summit takes place on July 1st & 2nd in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Rachael (left) with her peonies; CSA bouquets (center); the abundant floral harvest (right)

Perhaps you’re planning to arrive in the Twin Cities early and if so, you’re invited to participate in our optional pre-conference farm tours and Slow Flowers Dinner on the Farm, two fantastic opportunities to learn more about the flora of Minnesota, including a lovely and educational visit to Blue Sky Flower Farm, owned by today’s guest, Rachael Ackerman.

I’ll share more details about the actual tour schedule immediately after our interview, but let me start by saying how thrilled I am that horticultural duo Rachael and Jon Ackerman, owners of Blue Sky Flower Farm, will open their farm on Sunday, June 30th for an exclusive tour welcoming attendees of the Slow Flowers Summit.

Rachael and Jon Ackerman with their three “minions” at Blue Sky Flower Farm (c) Photography by Red Bird Hills

I met Rachael and Jon in person in 2017 at the ASCFG regional meeting in Ontario, Canada, and soon thereafter, their farm joined the Slow Flowers Movement. They grow a diverse palette of plants on land about 30 miles outside of the Twin Cities in Minnesota and they’re part of the core group of growers who sell through the Twin Cities Flower Exchange, owned by Christine Hoffman, our co-host for the 2019 Summit on July 1st & 2nd.

Rachael is often dwarfed by the long branches and prolific foliage she harvests, year-round, at Blue Sky Flower Farm.

I’ve invited Rachael to share their story with us today.

Here’s a little bit more about Blue Sky Flower Farm:

Jon and Rachael dreamed of Blue Sky Flower Farm for many years. They both have horticulture degrees and between them have a combined 30-plus years working in the industry. While working full-time and raising three children, now ages 3, 5 and 7, they started the farm by planting woody cuts, including dogwoods and willows, on Jon’s parents’ dairy farm.

More branches and ornamental blooms! A Blue Sky Flower Farm specialty.

The couple now owns a 10-acre farm near Elko-New Market, Minnesota, south of the Twin Cities, where they have diversified into a year-round operation, with Spring woodies (pussy willows, lilacs, forsythia, mock orange, sweet peas and peonies); Summer crops (ninebark foliage, raspberry foliage, dahlias, baptisia, scabiosa, statice and anemone) Fall crops (bittersweet, sunflowers, rudbeckia, broom corn and unique gourds) and winter crops: flame willows, curly willows, and dogwoods of many colors.

Blue Sky Flower Farm also serves its community through a bouquet shares program each summer. I’ll let Rachael share more about how she and Jon have developed their market channels to serve a number of wholesale clients in both floriculture and horticulture.

Rachael’s grandfather, who along with her grandmother, helps on the farm once a week.

In the past, before diving deep into flower farming, Rachael and Jon worked in the commercial wholesale nursery industry, including a number of years at Bailey Nurseries Inc., one of the largest plant companies in the U.S.

Because of those ties, it is fitting that we’ve invited Rachael to join the stage at the Slow Flowers Summit and introduce our keynote speaker, Terri McEnaney, president of Bailey Nurseries.

I’m thrilled that Rachael and Jon will open their flower farm and host Slow Flowers Summit’s attendees to experience a summer afternoon on their uniquely beautiful Minnesota flower farm.

Their farm will be open between 1-3 pm on Sunday, June 30th, for self-guided touring — we’ll post more details prior to the Slow Flowers Summit.

Slow Flowers Dinner on the Farm hosts, Jolea Gress and Jenny of Green Earth Growers

Immediately following our time at Blue Sky Flower Farm, attendees are invited to tour a second venue, Green Earth Growers, a women-owned enterprise specializing in nursery bedding plants, vegetables AND flowers.

The tour of Green Earth Growers is free, but you’ll need to register separately for the first-ever Slow Flowers Dinner on the Farm, an evening of locally-grown food, flowers, entertainment and camaraderie.

Tickets are $100 inclusive and you can find more details here. We’re partnering with Green Earth Growers’ owners Jolea Gress and Jenny for this event, and I promise to feature them and their stories on this podcast in the near future.

The farm-to-table dinner is a production of Monica Walch, owner of the successful Dinner on the Farm series that takes place each year in the St. Paul-Minneapolis area.

Dinner on the Farm creates unique local food experiences designed to celebrate farmers, growers, chefs, brewers, distillers, makers and artisans dedicated to good, sustainable food. Through a series of roaming culinary events, Monica and her collaborators work to connect people back to the land and to the farmers and artisans who are making their community a better place to live.

If you attend the Slow Flowers Dinner on the Farm, you’ll join with me in an intimate, sensory evening celebrating our true sense of community with other Summit attendees, Slow Flowers members and our Summit speakers in a relaxed environment taking place just prior to the following day’s Summit Conference. I can’t wait to see you there!

December is the month to take advantage of Early Bird Ticket Pricing for joining us at the Slow Flowers Summit.

You can save $100 off if you register before Dec. 31st.

The rate for Slow Flowers member registration is $275, which includes 1-1/2 days of conference sessions, morning refreshments both days, and lunch and a cocktail reception on July 1st, plus a fabulous program, people and flowers.

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 385,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much. Thank you all!

Thank you to our sponsors for supporting The Slow Flowers Podcast.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PepperHarrow Farm (c) Liz Brown @estorie

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

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

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

Music Credits:

Episode 377: Creating Sanctuary, a conversation with author, gardenmaker and educator Jessi Bloom

Wednesday, November 28th, 2018

Jessi Bloom, author of the new guide, Creating Sanctuary (c) Shawn Linehan

We are well into the holiday season and it’s only November 28th — can you believe it!?

There are so many wonderful things to be thankful for and to celebrate, and yet, the holidays can be stressful and difficult for many of us.

While it can be crushing to think about the natural disasters (or human-caused disasters) that have befallen our floral community in recent seasons, it’s also sometimes overwhelming to find balance and peace in our own daily lives.

I’m so pleased to share today’s conversation with Jessi Bloom, author of the just-released book Creating Sanctuary, because I know the topic will be as timely for you, as it is for me.

Published by Timber Press, the book’s full title: Creating Sanctuary: Sacred Garden Spaces, Plant-Based Medicine, and Daily Practices to Achieve Happiness and Well-Being, gives you a sense of the inspirational and practical features inside its pages.

Cover and inside peek of Creating Sanctuary, Published by Timber Books (c) Shawn Linehan

Here’s a bit about the new book:

“We all need a personal sanctuary where we can be in harmony with the natural world and can nurture our bodies, minds, and souls. And this sanctuary doesn’t have to be a far-away destination—it can be in your own backyard. In Creating Sanctuary, Jessi Bloom taps into multiple sources of traditional plant wisdom to help find a deeper connection to the outdoor space you already have—no matter the size. Equal parts inspirational and practical, this engaging guide includes tips on designing a healing space, plant profiles for 50 sacred plants, recipes that harness the medicinal properties of plants, and simple instructions for daily rituals and practices for self-care.”

Jessi Bloom, gathering apothecary ingredients in her garden (c) Shawn Linehan

Jessi Bloom is a best-selling author, award-winning ecological landscape designer, and speaker.

A Northwest native, Jessi comes from a strong background of horticulture and environmental sciences.

Her early experience in project management ranged from organizing restoration projects with community volunteers, to high-end residential and commercial landscape design/build.

In early 2000, she decided to start an ethical business in the green industry to fill a niche for organic and ecological landscaping.

Her leadership combined with her artistic design talents have brought N.W. Bloom numerous environmental awards.

From the pages of Creating Sanctuary, by Jessi Bloom for Timber Books (c) Shawn Linehan

She is passionate about animals, permaculture and making functional gardens beautiful. Jessi’s work has been featured in many national and local media outlets from the NY Times, Better Homes & Gardens, Sunset Magazine, DISNEY, Martha Stewart Living, Mother Earth News, UTNE Reader, Fine Gardening Magazine and PBS’s Growing a Greener World TV. 

Jessi is strongly committed to volunteering in the community and sits on several advisory boards within the green industry and educational/environmental organizations; hoping to empower people, also raising industry standards, and recently helping to develop the EcoPro program for WA State.

She has two boys and spends time with them around their little farm, with a handful of animals and gardens to look after.  When she is not helping others with their gardens, traveling or writing, she enjoys the outdoors: snowboarding, hiking, running, biking and stays strong with Olympic weightlifting.

From the pages of Creating Sanctuary, by Jessi Bloom for Timber Books (c) Shawn Linehan

She has authored two prior books for Timber Press: Practical Permaculture for Home Landscapes, Your Community, and the Whole Earth with Dave Boehnlein; and the bestseller: Free-Range Chicken Gardens: How to Create a Beautiful, Chicken-Friendly Yard.

At the end of our conversation, we discuss NW Bloom’s latest project as the new farmland steward at South 47 Farm in Redmond, Washington, outside Seattle.

There, what was a corn maze for many years will now be a sustainable site nurtured by N.W. Bloom. The first year involves healing the soil from nitrogen depletion, planting cover crops to add biomass and nutrients back to the ground and developing a nursery to provide locally grown (chemical free) plants to the region. I’m excited to learn that Jessi sees the future potential to incubate small-scale flower farming among other value-added CSA crops. More on that as the story evolves.

Creating Sanctuary’s essential plant reference section, by Jessi Bloom for Timber Books (c) Shawn Linehan

If you’re in the Pacific Northwest or plan to travel here for the 2019 Northwest Flower & Garden Festival (Feb 20-24), Jessi has fabulous news to share — she has just signed on as a garden creator at the flower show and many of the ideas featured in her new book will be brought to life in that garden for you to see. I’ll be sure to add a link to the NW Flower & Garden Festival at today’s show notes for you to find more details.

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

(c) Heather Saunders

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 385,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much. Thank you all!

Thank you to our sponsors for supporting The Slow Flowers Podcast.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Music Credits:

Episode 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