Please meet Riz Reyes, horticultural wunderkind, floral designer extraordinaire and all-around positive influence in the gardening and botanical community here in Seattle and beyond – across North America and internationally thanks to his active presence on social media.
Riz credits an early curiosity about fruits and flowers for turning a young boy from the Philippines into an award-winning garden and floral designer in the Pacific Northwest.
His true interest in gardening began as a seven-year-old watching public television to learn English and gaining an appreciation for the natural world where the art and science of growing plants captivated him.
Riz turned a childhood hobby into a career by earning a BS in environmental horticulture and urban forestry from the University of Washington. Riz gardens in an environment that unveils an overwhelming diversity of plants each season, thanks to the Pacific Northwest typically moderate climate and cultural conditions.
After graduation, Riz logged several years working for the University of Washington Botanic Garden’s Center for Urban Horticulture, as well as running RHR Horticulture, his own horticultural enterprise, where he designs, consults, and maintains gardens he helped create.
Just a few months ago, Riz joined the McMenamin’s Hospitality group as the Gardens Manager at the about-to-open McMenamin’s Anderson School, a hotel, brewery and pub in Bothell, north of Seattle, where I predict the gardens will wow guests and those plants to which Riz tends will very soon make their way into vases of his own creation.
Riz supports and collaborates with local cut flower growers and designers to create unique floral installations for venues and special events. He is a regular speaker and writer for various local and national organizations and publications.
In 2013, Riz was highlighted in Ken Druse’s Organic Gardening article “The New Generation,” which captured the stories of six notable young horticulturists. Ken described Riz as: a rising star in the firmament of plant explorers and innovative nurserymen.”
If that wasn’t enough, Michael Tortorello last year interviewed Riz for a New York Times’ story about plant selection, not bad, huh?
Riz earned a Gold Medal and the popular People’s Choice award at the 2013 Northwest Flower & Garden Show with his amazing display garden and the following year, with his collaborator Nicole Cordier Wahlquist, he won People’s Choice Award for a floral display.
Just a few weeks ago, Riz presented at the national Garden Writers’ Association symposium in Pasadena on the topic, “Floral as a Gateway to Horticulture.”
I sat in the front row of that presentation, a huge grin on my face, following along on Riz’s personal journey that has brought him — full circle — back to flowers.
As I say during our interview, I’ve wanted to record an episode of the Slow Flowers Podcast with Riz forever. Listening to his presentation at Garden Writers was the incentive to schedule time together to do just that after we both returned to Seattle from Pasadena.
More places to connect with Riz:
Riz’s web site, RHR Horticulture. You can subscribe to Riz’s newsletter here.
Details on the October 22nd Farm Dinner at University of Washington Farm
Episodes of the Slow Flowers Podcast have been downloaded more than 66,000 times. I thank you and others in the progressive American-grown floral community for supporting this endeavor.
Until 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. THANK YOU to each and every one of you for downloading, listening, commenting and sharing. It means so much.
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 Wheatley and Hannah Holtgeerts. Learn more about their work at shellandtree.com.