Debra Prinzing

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Episode 261: Kathleen Barber of Erika’s Fresh Flowers, a one-woman flower show on the Oregon Coast

Wednesday, September 7th, 2016
Kathleen Barber of Erika's Fresh Flowers

Kathleen Barber of Erika’s Fresh Flowers

Earlier this summer, I joined my husband on a beautiful drive that culminated at the point where the Columbia River meets the Pacific Ocean; the Columbia is the natural border between the states of Washington and Oregon.

Here, there is a historic maritime town called Astoria, which was first visited by explorers and fur traders in 1811 and founded in 1876.

The reason I wanted to tag along with Bruce was because I’ve been meaning to visit Kathleen Barber of Erika’s Fresh Flowers.

Kathleen grows and designs flowers in a secret garden adjacent to her home in Warrenton, Oregon, the town just south of the metropolis of Astoria.

Kathleen (right) and her customer Carly, owner of 3 Cups Coffee in Astoria

Kathleen (right) and her customer Carly Lackner, owner of 3 Cups Coffee House in Astoria.

erika_img_5614 We met up at 3 Cups Coffee House in downtown Astoria, where owner Carly Lackner displays Kathleen’s weekly arrangements. This is the seeming “heart” of the community where people come in for a designer cup of caffeine and a home-baked pastry and stay for meetings, conversation, reading and fascinating views of the Columbia River shipping traffic.

After we jumped in Kathleen’s car, I accompanied her on a bouquet delivery to the Astoria Co-op Grocery. Another important home-grown business, the Co-op is a source of local food from local farms, and local bouquets from Erika’s Fresh Flowers. After a delicious lunch at a farm-to-table restaurant specializing in vegetarian and vegan options, we drove back to Kathleen’s home and garden-farm.

Kathleen's delivery to Astoria Co-op Grocery.

Kathleen’s delivery to Astoria Co-op Grocery.

I followed her through the rows, raised beds, high tunnels and borders inside a fenced area about 3/4-acre in size. You can hear me asking her about specific flowers and foliage that she grew and harvested for an arrangement she had in mind to promote American Flowers Week.

And she delivers to the local wine bar!

And she delivers to the local wine bar! Kathleen poses with Rebecca (right) owner of WineKraft in Astoria.

Here’s more about Kathleen, from the Erika’s Fresh Flowers web site:

img_1107-300x200

Kathleen and her daughter Erika

Erika’s Fresh Flowers is named after my daughter, Erika, who at 14 years old took over my mother’s flower stand, which was simply a way to make extra money from the joys of gardening. As Erika picked and picked, another stand was built on the other side of town.

A local florist put in a request to buy several bunches at a time directly from Erika. On one delivery to the flower shop, the florist made the check out to“Erika’s Flowers“ and therefore named the business. Erika started her first job working for that florist at 17 years old and continued through college. She has since graduated, married and lives further South in the Willamette Valley but her passion for flowers is still part of her life.

Kathleen Barber inside one of her Warrenton, Oregon, high tunnels (hoop houses) for dahlias.

Kathleen Barber inside one of her Warrenton, Oregon, high tunnels (hoop houses) for dahlias.

Kathleen received a degree in Business Management and began a career as an Office/Operations Manager. After having her second child she decided to stay home with her children. In 2005, her passion for all things floral blossomed into a family business and Kathleen formally launched Erika’s Fresh Flowers.

A Kathleen Barber floral arrangement, which she photographed in her studio.

A Kathleen Barber floral arrangement, which she photographed in her studio.

1001993_589854187739739_425674889_n She also writes: I enjoy the ability to play with flowers and be with my family. I love creating lush bouquets and arrangements with ingredients that I grow myself. The pleasure of giving others something I created just for them and seeing their response is fun and fulfilling.

We are a locally owned flower farm and design studio with a garden style inspired by the wild, unique botanicals around us.  We tend to a cutting garden with a vast selection of flowers, foliage and herbs grown with sustainability practices in mind so as to preserve our land here on the North Oregon Coast.

Yes, she's very close to the beach! The Oregon coast is a backdrop for many destination weddings and designs by Erika's Fresh Flowers.

Yes, she’s very close to the beach! The Oregon coast is a backdrop for many destination weddings and designs by Erika’s Fresh Flowers.

Kathleen Barber's locally-grown, designed and photographed arrangement

Kathleen Barber’s locally-grown, designed and photographed arrangement

A word about the quite excellent growing conditions that Kathleen enjoys. True confessions, this description comes from Wikipedia, but since I am a former Oregon resident, this feels pretty darned accurate: Astoria lies within the Mediterranean climate zone with very mild temperatures year-round, some of the most consistent in the contiguous United States; winters are mild for this latitude (it usually remains above freezing at night) and wet. Summers are cool, although short heat waves can occur. Rainfall is most abundant in late fall and winter and is lightest in July and August, averaging approximately 67 inches of precipitation annually. Snowfall is relatively rare, occurring every few years or so.

Astoria is tied with Lake Charles, Louisiana, and Port Arthur, Texas, as the most humid city in the contiguous United States. The average relative humidity in Astoria is 89% in the morning and 73% in the afternoon. (a side note, with cooler temperatures in the air, this ‘humidity’ is altogether different from what you’d experience in Louisiana or Texas, perhaps this is why Kathleen has such beautiful skin!)

Temperatures reach 80 °F only four days per year and only rarely reach 90 °F. Normally there are only one or two nights per year when the temperature remains at or above 60 °F.

With 191 days annually producing measurable precipitation, irrigation isn’t Kathleen’s problem! She enjoys the benefits of being able to grow and harvest some type of crop — flowers and foliage — nearly year-round, keeping her local customers quite delighted with Slow Flowers, Coastal Style.

Kathleen in her studio where she operates her portrait photography business.

Kathleen in her studio where she operates her portrait photography business.

A lovely bouquet featuring flowers and foliage grown, designed and photographed by Kathleen Barber.

A lovely bouquet featuring flowers and foliage grown, designed and photographed by Kathleen Barber.

In our interview, Kathleen demonstrates how she weaves together art and commerce in both her flower farming and floral design work, making it look much easier than I know it is.

Here is how to find and follow Erika’s Fresh Flowers:

Erika’s Fresh Flowers on Facebook

Erika’s Fresh Flowers on Instagram

Erika’s Fresh Flowers on Pinterest

Kathleen Barber Photography

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 116,000 times by listeners like you. THANK YOU to each one of you for downloading, listening, commenting and sharing. It means so much. Last month marked our highest listenership to day — 5,561 people downloaded the Slow Flowers Podcast during August. 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 the home page at right.

Thank you to our lead sponsor for 2016: 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.

More sponsor thanks goes to 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.

A big bouquet of thanks goes to Longfield Gardens… providing 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.

Heartfeld thanks to 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

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

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 and Hannah Brenlan. Learn more about their work at shellandtree.com.

Slow Flowers Creative Workshop with Bonny Doon Garden Co.

Friday, August 26th, 2016

FINAL_with_Bonny_Doon_00539_DP_CreativeWorkshop-01 (2) This past weekend provided a hugely rewarding experience for my friend Teresa Sabankaya of Bonny Doon Garden Co. and me. We teamed up to teach the first-ever Slow Flowers Creative Workshop at Castle House & Garden, her private, “secret garden” setting in Santa Cruz.

The idea behind our curriculum was twofold:

I wanted to share “Floral Storytelling” techniques and Teresa wanted to share her approach to “Garden-Inspired Design.”

My arrangement, in Syndicate Sales' black cherry bowl. The palette inspired me to pick dahlias, grevillea blooms, zinnias and alstroemeria in the same color family.

My arrangement, in Syndicate Sales’ black cherry pedestal bowl. The palette inspired me to pick dahlias, grevillea blooms, zinnias and alstroemeria in the same color family.

Floral Storytelling and Garden-Inspired Floral Design concepts are central to the idea of creating a personal brand for flower farmers, floral designers and farmer-florists who support Slow Flowers, local sourcing and sustainable design practices — and who wish to differentiate themselves in a crowded and competitive marketplace.

Teresa (center) with several of our students. The group is standing under the massive redwood trees in Teresa's garden, a perfect source of inspiration.

Teresa (center) with several of our students. The group is standing under the massive redwood trees in Teresa’s garden, a perfect source of inspiration. From left: Dyana Zweng, Terri Schuett, Teresa, Daniele Allion Strawn, Laura Vollset and Liz Marcellus. Missing: Michelle Bull, Kellee Matsushita and Dawn Mayer.

READ MORE…

Episode 254: Today’s Modern Flower Farmers: Georgia’s Steve and Mandy O’Shea of 3 Porch Farm and Moonflower Design

Wednesday, July 13th, 2016
Mandy and Steve O'Shea of 3 Porch Farm in Comer, Georgia

Today’s Podcast guests: Mandy and Steve O’Shea of 3 Porch Farm in Comer, Georgia (c) Rinne Allen

News and Updates:

FINAL_with_Bonny_Doon_00539_DP_CreativeWorkshop-01 (2) Last month I mentioned news about the Slow Flowers Creative Workshop, which I’m co-teaching with Teresa Sabankaya of the Bonny Doon Garden Co., in Santa Cruz, California.

We have a schedule update – the workshop dates have moved and will begin 24 hours later than originally planned. We’ll now begin on SUNDAY August 21st and continue to MONDAY, August 22nd in order to accommodate those of you who have Saturday wedding conflicts. Here are the details:

Teresa is founder and creative director of Bonny Doon Garden Co. and past guest of this Podcast. We’re teaming up to lead an intimate group of fellow professionals — floral designers and farmer-florists — for an inspiring, two-part workshop taking place over the course of 1-1/2 days.

Our focus will be floral storytelling and media messaging for your business. This valuable experience is designed to help you clarify, document and communicate your personal artistic message. Go deep into Slow Flowers “brand building” and find your own voice as a floral storyteller.

You’ll also explore and expand your approach to garden-inspired design. Working with Teresa, you’ll identify the artistic inspiration for your aesthetic. Her hands-on exercises will explore how floral elements and complementary elements support your design brand and focus on how mechanics that support your style.

This all takes place in the setting of a beautiful garden, where you’ll feel right at home with beautiful flowers, gardens, farm animals and new friends! Spaces are limited and you won’t want to miss out on the chance to hone your message through words, images and flowers.

Check out the amazing impact of #americanflowersweek!

Check out the amazing impact of #americanflowersweek!

American Flowers Week is all wrapped up for 2016, with a record-breaking 1.3 million potential impressions tracked on Instagram and Twitter alone for the hashtag #americanflowersweek, more than 3 times the engagement for the same period in 2015.

And here are some telling stats for #slowflowers -- Thank YOU to today's Podcast guests for making an impact on social media, week in and week out!

And here are some telling stats for #slowflowers — Thank YOU to today’s Podcast guests for making an impact on social media, week in and week out!

As I was analyzing the social media activity, I started digging deeper into the use of the Slow Flowers hashtag, as well. And it was mindblowing to see that our top posts and most influential users of #slowflowers are today’s guests, Mandy and Steve O’Shea of 3 Porch Farm in Comer, Georgia. In the past 30 day period 3 Porch Farm has used the hash-tag 29 times with potential exposure of more than 310,000 impressions.

Georgia flower farmers Mandy and Steve O'Shea (c) Brittany Towsell

Georgia flower farmers Mandy and Steve O’Shea (c) Brittany Towsell

Welcome to 3 Porch Farm

Welcome to 3 Porch Farm

A snapshot of the location of Athens, Comer and Atlanta, Georgia

This map shows how close Comer is to Athens and Atlanta, Georgia

READ MORE…

Episode 251: Ariella Chezar’s The Flower Workshop Book and Morgan Anderson of The.Flori.Culture’s PhD in – yes, Floriculture

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2016
Morgan Anderson of The.Flori.Culture (left) and Ariella Chezar (right)

Morgan Anderson of The.Flori.Culture (left) (c) Amber Snow; and Ariella Chezar (right) (c) Corbin Gurkin

This week’s episode delivers double the inspiration as you will hear from two guests — one quite familiar to our Slow Flowers community, Ariella Chezar, and one who is an emerging leader in floral design education, Morgan Anderson.

Both interviews were recorded in May and I’m combining them here for an extended episode that will delight you as a creative person and evoke some new ways of thinking about your business model, be it flower farming, floral design or a combination of both.

MEET ARIELLA CHEZAR

The Flower Workshop Book I am so fortunate to have gotten to know Ariella Chezar over the years. We were first introduced virtually by Berkeley-based designer Max Gill, an incredibly talented floral artist who I profiled (along with the work of photographer David Perry) in The 50 Mile Bouquet.

When I interviewed Max, I asked him to connect me with someone who had influenced his work and he named Ariella. She and I corresponded by email and she contributed a lovely quote about Max’s work for me to use in the chapter about him (and PS, a podcast interview with Max is on my bucket list for the upcoming year).

I promptly ordered my own copy of Flowers for the Table, an evocative book that Ariella created for Chronicle Books in 2002, one that helped propel her into the world of editorial floral design.

Ariella Chezar was in Seattle to headline the spring bloom extravaganza at SWGMC

Ariella Chezar was in Seattle to headline the spring bloom extravaganza at SWGMC

Ariella and I finally met face-to-face in spring of 2013 at Chalk Hill Clematis in Healdsburgh, California. She was there at owner Kaye Heafey’s beautiful flower farm to lead a design workshop and as it turned out, I was there with Chicago-based photographer Bob Stefko to produce a clematis story for Country Gardens magazine. The following year, I interviewed Ariella for this podcast in her former Ariella Flowers retail studio in New York City (if you haven’t heard that episode, follow this link).

So fun to have Ariella in Seattle and to see her response to the beautiful and local flora!

So fun to have Ariella in Seattle and to see her response to the beautiful and local flora!

That was about the time that Ariella teamed up with her favorite editor, SF-based Leslie Jonath of Connected Dots Media (with whom she had created Flowers for the Table), to begin creating The Flower Workshop, the designer’s long-anticipated second book that Ten Speed Press released earlier this year.

A lovely inside page from "The Flower Workshop," by Ariella Chezar

A lovely inside page from “The Flower Workshop,” by Ariella Chezar: “How to make a tulip ‘float'” – Photography (c) Erin Kunkel

It took about 18 months to bring this lovely tome to life because Ariella and her creative team photographed flowers and her designs in season, on location in both the Bay Area, where Ariella worked in the early days of her career, and in her childhood home of The Berkshires, where she operates a studio and small flower farm in western Massachusetts.

The gorgeous new book expresses Ariella’s lush, whimsical garden style and her true passion for nature, both cultivated and wild.

Why is Ariella’s work so celebrated? In our 2014 podcast interview, Ariella identifies the place (California) and the moment in time (the late 1990s and early 2000s) when she developed, almost unconsciously, her carefree, uncomplicated design aesthetic. Mesmerized by the abundance of carefree, unconstrained vegetation around her, Ariella responded in kind with a loving respect for the elements. In response, her design style was and continues to be unique and iconic.

"Summer Fruits," Ariella's interpretation from the orchard.

“Summer Fruits,” Ariella’s interpretation from the orchard. Photography (c) Erin Kunkel

Please enjoy this short interview. It was recorded at the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market on May 25th, after Ariella had spent two full days first touring the flower farms of some of the Market’s members, then teaching a master design intensive based on the content of The Flower Workshop.

READ MORE…

Episode 249: Slow and Sustainable with Solabee Flowers & Botanicals

Wednesday, June 8th, 2016
Sarah Helmstetter and Alea Joy of Solabee Flowers and Botanicals, in their new Portland space

Sarah Helmstetter and Alea Joy of Solabee Flowers and Botanicals, in their new Portland space

Welcome to Solabee!

Welcome to Solabee!

The roots of this week’s episode began in December 2010 when I met Sarah Helmstetter and Alea Joy of Solabee Flowers & Botanicals, a Portland-based design team.

I was visiting Portland’s Flower Market, in the area where Oregon-grown product is marketed, working with photographer David Perry on The 50 Mile Bouquet. At the time, we weren’t sure of the book’s title, nor did we have a publisher, but we were forging ahead to capture stories of interesting people and their commitment to American grown, local, seasonal and sustainable flowers. Somehow we snagged an introduction and invitation to Solabee.

The co-creatives in their original retail space (2010)

The co-creatives in their original and tiny retail space (2010)

It was a dreary winter day; the time of year when true “local” floral product is at a minimum, but we found bounty and beauty inside the small storefront about the size of a building foyer in Portland’s historic Kenton neighborhood.

Sarah and Alea told us how the business was founded and their story became a section in The 50 Mile Bouquet in a chapter called “Botanical Wonderland,” that documented the Portland design scene’s embrace of a new floral ethos. Click on the image below to read the story about Solabee.

chapter

The new Solabee store is gorgeous and inviting.

The new Solabee store is gorgeous and inviting.

Sarah and Alea teamed up after both women had managed other flower shops in Portland. As creative partners, they specialize in sustainable design for weddings and events. They source from local farmers, grow their own flowers and harvest ingredients from house plants, such as begonias, tillandisas, orchids and ferns.

Plants occupy every nook and cranny in the new store, including in the upstairs mezzanine.

Plants occupy every nook and cranny in the new store, including in the upstairs mezzanine.

Young and self-financed, Solabee’s owners are resourceful, hard-working and creative. In the book, Sarah discussed gleaning foliage, branches and seed pods from her parents acreage and Alea described their “wild-crafting” exploits that included picking up nature’s debris from the urban terrain.

As you will hear in today’s conversation, a lot has transpired in the past six years including the recent discovering of the most perfect corner retail space in the Humboldt neighborhood in North Portland.

More interior shots of Solabee's new North Portland retail studio.

More interior shots of Solabee’s new North Portland retail studio.

I visited Sarah and Alea at the new Solabee retail shop in April. It occupies a vintage Portland storefront with double-high ceilings that accommodate a mezzanine above. Light pours through the windows of the southeast-facing shop, dancing across the vintage mosaic tile floor.

A Solabee installation featuring tillandsias-as-mandala

A Solabee installation featuring tillandsias-as-mandala

Plants appear here in equal measure to flowers, which is a signature Solabee element. The women are known for showcasing living plants as a sustainable floral option and now, with the large display area, their shelves, walls and ceilings are lush and verdant. Plants add character and serve as the perfect complement to the wild and imaginative floral arrangements created here.

Design for the day when I visited in April 2016.

Design for the day when I visited in April 2016.

I joined Alea and Sarah in their mezzanine office where we could easily overlook and hear all the activity of their employees and customers downstairs. You’ll hear a little of that ambient sound in the background during our recorded episode.

A seasonal, summer bouquet from Solabee.

A seasonal bouquet from Solabee.

Please enjoy this conversation about floral design, floral retail, sourcing techniques, creating company values and sustaining a small business. I loved reconnecting with Alea and Sarah and Solabee, and I know you’ll love meeting them here.

Poppies, a la Solabee

Poppies, a la Solabee

A lovely bridal bouquet

A lovely bridal bouquet

Find Solabee on Facebook

Follow Solabee on Instagram

See Solabee on Pinterest

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 100,000 times by listeners like you. THANK YOU to each one of you for downloading, listening, commenting and sharing. It means so much.

Next week, 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 and Hannah Brenlan. Learn more about their work at shellandtree.com.

ABOUT OUR SPONSORS

sponsor bar I want to acknowledge and thank our lead sponsor for 2016: 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.

More sponsor thanks goes to 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

Thanks to Longfield Gardens… providing 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.

And finally, thank you 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.

Music notes:
“Whistle While You Pod”
album: Creative Commons
by: Christopher Postill, Sounds Like an Earful
https://soundslikeanearful.bandcamp.com/album/creative-commons
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/
Additional music from:

audionautix.com

Episode 247: Flowers and Happiness with LauraLee Symes of Portland’s Sellwood Flower Co.

Wednesday, May 25th, 2016

12931012_881008078682740_4476982057037024788_n When I was a teenager, I dreamed of someday owning a fabric shop. For many of you, I’m guessing that dream was to own a flower shop. How many of you ad a similar dream and realized it? Being able to work around flowers — whether you grow them, design with them, or do both, and ultimately selling them to satisfied customers — is clearly one reason you’re in this business, right?

Love this jumbo red-white-and-blue array, and if you look closely, LauraLee is peering out from behind it!

Love this jumbo red-white-and-blue array, and if you look closely, LauraLee is peering out from behind it!

Today’s guest is definitely one of those flower fanatics whose also dreamt of opening a flower shop You’ll enjoy the story and perhaps it will inspire you! Please meet LauraLee Symes, owner of the Sellwood Flower Company in Portland, Oregon, a Slowflowers.com member.

Specializing in flowers, gifts and plants, Sellwood Flower Co. is an inviting place, located in a century-old Victorian house on Antiques Row, in the Southeast Portland neighborhood also called Sellwood.

Love the black-and-white awning stripes, which are part of Sellwood Flower Co.'s visual brand evoking a Parisian flower shop.

Love the black-and-white awning stripes, which are part of Sellwood Flower Co.’s visual brand evoking a Parisian flower shop.

There, you’ll find LauraLee and her team tending their blooms in the garden just outdoors from their neighborhood shop filled for fresh, local flowers and plants, European and garden style floral design, and unique gifts from around the world.

LauraLee says she has been messing around with flowers since she was a little girl growing up on the family farm in Scholls, Oregon. Her other passion, happiness – or, more specifically, the study of what makes people happy – led her to pursue a bachelors degree in psychology, a masters in organizational development, and a career as a counselor and consultant to both individuals and business organizations.

Flower lover, LauraLee Symes of the Sellwood Flower Co.

Flower lover, LauraLee Symes of the Sellwood Flower Co.

Her most recent venture, the Sellwood Flower Co., is a marriage of her two passions, a Parisian-styled flower shop specializing in creative arrangements of fresh, local blooms and whimsical gifts curated to inspire joy and delight in her customers.

“I spend a whole lot of time thinking about, looking at, and dreaming of more creative ways to use the crazy abundance of plant life that surrounds us here in the Northwest. I look at a handful of flowers and I see a handful of happiness!”

In addition to being a busy entrepreneur and business owner, LauraLee hosts frequent floral design workshops and writes a blog on ideas and trends in the flower industry. She and her husband Bill live and work in the historic Sellwood neighborhood in southeast Portland, Oregon.

What a wonderful evening -- meeting and sharing our mutual passion at the Slow Flowers Meetup @Sellwood Flower Co.

What a wonderful evening — meeting and sharing our mutual passion at the Slow Flowers Meetup @Sellwood Flower Co.

I was in Portland last month for a series of events, including a Slowflowers.com meetup at Sellwood Flower Co., which I co-hosted with LauraLee.

sm_group_IMG_5026 We enjoyed meeting and reuniting with such a great group of flower friends — flower farmers, studio florists, retail shop owners — all who care about sourcing local and domestic botanicals for their businesses. I was so encouraged by the turnout and I especially thank LauraLee for sharing her beautiful store and nursery grounds for our gathering.

We shared Slow Flowers books & resources with our community

We shared Slow Flowers books & resources with our community

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 98,000 times by listeners like you. THANK YOU to each one of you for downloading, listening, commenting and sharing. It means so much.

Next week, 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 and Hannah Brenlan. Learn more about their work at shellandtree.com.

Episode 245: A Strong and Beautiful Alliance, Part Three of our North Bay Flower Collective series

Tuesday, May 10th, 2016
Jordan Uth of Heidrun Meadery, Horticulturist & Flower Farmer, shows off the fresh spring bouquet made in collaboration with Heather Frye of Venn Floral.

Jordan Uth of Heidrun Meadery, Horticulturist & Flower Farmer, shows off the fresh spring bouquet made in collaboration with Heather Frye of Venn Floral.

download I’m really excited to share today’s episode with you, recorded during my two-day trip in March into a special kind of floral wonderland to meet the farmers, florists and growers of Sonoma County, north of San Francisco.

It’s our third episode featuring members of the North Bay Flower Collective who invited me to spend time touring flower farms, visiting design studios and learning more about the stories of their community.

Community is the operative word here, because there is such an intense, intentional and caring sense of purpose that the Collective embodies.

The idyllic landscape beyond Heidrun Meadery in Pt. Reyes Station, California.

The idyllic landscape beyond Heidrun Meadery in Pt. Reyes Station, California.

We recorded this segment at quite an amazing place in Pt. Reyes Station, California, where Daniele Strawn (my escort for the visit – and you’ll hear her voice occasionally), and I arrived on the morning of March 15th.

The place is called Heidrun Meadery, a beautiful destination that produces an old-world Champagne-style honey wine. There is a tasting bar, a garden patio, a greenhouse, bee garden and honey, as well as the magnificent fermented honey wine.

Heather Frye (left) of Venn Floral and Jordan Uth (right) of Heidrun Meadery, two members of the North Bay Flower Collective's core group.

Heather Frye (left) of Venn Floral and Jordan Uth (right) of Heidrun Meadery, two members of the North Bay Flower Collective’s core group.

Welcoming us were today’s two guests, Jordan Uth, Heidrun’s flower farmer and floral designer, and Heather Frye, co-owner of Venn Floral, an event floral and styling service based in Sebastapol.

Do the math!!! Plant and grow flowers!!

Do the math!!! Plant and grow flowers!!

The surprising array of Mead featuring nectar varietals grown or tended to by Jordan Uth.

The surprising array of Mead featuring nectar varietals grown or tended to by Jordan Uth.

READ MORE…

Happy Mother’s Day from Slow Flowers

Friday, May 6th, 2016
All local Northwest-grown flowers for Mother's Day from some of my favorite flower farmers, including Ojeda Farms, Triple Wren Farm, Jello Mold Farm, Seattle Wholesale Growers Market.

All local Northwest-grown flowers for Mother’s Day from some of my favorite flower farmers, including Ojeda Farms, Triple Wren Farm, Jello Mold Farm, Seattle Wholesale Growers Market.

Make it Local for Your Mother’s Day Bouquets
Debra Prinzing’s Slowflowers.com is a free, nationwide, online directory of American flowers and the farms, shops, studios and designers that supply those blooms. We’ve just added a special link for Canadian-grown flowers, farms, and studios, too. Show your love with local flowers on Mother’s Day, with more than 700 floral members in 48 states to choose from.

image1

Decolores Flores

Here is a gallery of the diverse American-grown offerings you’ll find at Slowflowers.com.

Tammy Chinn
Decolores Flores (Watsonville, California)

From seed to bouquet:

Alstroemeria, peonies, cerinthe, oenothera, plum branches and roses in an up-cycled cobalt vase. $35 plus delivery in Watsonville/Monterey Bay/Santa Cruz County.

Phone: 831-239-5954
email:  pordecoloresflores@gmail.com

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Erika’s Fresh Flowers

Kathleen Barber
Erika’s Fresh Flowers (Warrenton, Oregon)

Treat Mom to a bouquet-a-month during the farm’s prime growing season (May-September). Give her a bouquet that is locally grown, freshly picked and artistically arranged. Erika’s Fresh Flowers offers the five-month flower subscription for Mother’s Day 2016 for $125.
Order by May 8, 2016, at erikasfreshflowers.com/purchase/.

Erika’s delivers to homes and businesses in Astoria, Warrenton/Hammond, Gearhart and Seaside, Oregon.
Phone: 503-791-0538
email: Kathleen@erikasfreshflowers.com

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eTilth Urban Designs

Grace Hensley
eTilth Urban Designs (Seattle, Washington)
Grab-and-Go Contain Gardens for Mother’s Day, Both for shady porches, $100 each for pickup in Seattle:

  • An exciting Gold and Flame container featuring Coprosma ‘Tequila Sunrise’, Fuchsia ‘Autumnale’ Redhook Sedge (Uncinia rubra ‘Belinda’s Find’) and Begonia Illumination Golden Picotee.
  • A cool Mermaid Container, featuring Heuchera ‘Blackout’, Aquilegia alpina, Festuca ‘Beyond Blue’, Hosta ‘Hadspen Blue’ and Bacopa ‘Gulliver Blue’.

Phone: 206-388-6955
email: grace@etilth.com

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First & Bloom

Tami Meyer
First and Bloom (Issaquah, Washington)

Can’t take my eyes off you! This one-of-a-kind arrangement will capture all eyes with its vivacious spring colors and 100% American grown blooms, $140 local delivery or pick up for Seattle’s Eastside.

Phone: 425-455-4614
email: info@firstandbloom.com

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Gorgeous and Green

Pilar Zuniga
Gorgeous and Green (Berkeley, California)

A hand tied bouquet: Fresh, local grown and organic flowers wrapped in paper and delivered by bike to Berkeley, Oakland and Emeryville or available for pickup from the Oakland studio, $50, $85, $120 or $195.
Phone: 510-665-7974
email: shop@gorgeousandgreen.com

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Kailla Platt Flowers

Kailla Platt
Kailla Platt Flowers (Portland, Oregon)

Garden-inspired floral design for Mother’s Day using 100% locally grown flowers like Peonies, Iris, Ranunculus, Snapdragons, Columbine and Roses, with lush greens and botanical textures, tucked into a vase for easy presentation. For pick-up or local delivery in Portland, Oregon. $50 and up plus $10 delivery fee.
Phone: 503-709-6680
email: k@kaillaplattflowers.com

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Mary Clark Flowers

Adele Hinkley
Mary Clark Flowers (Chilliwack, British Columbia, Canada)

This delicate display in a vintage Canadian-made mason jar is the perfect Mother’s Day gift. Sweet and simple flowers fill this vase, expressing your sentiment, $50-$70. Delivery for each of these items is included for Agassiz, Chilliwack, Rosedale and Sardis, B.C. Visitors are for studio pick-up.
Phone: 604-796-0666 or 866-792-0666
email: sales@maryclarkflowers.com

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Mudy Feet Flower Farm

Kristin Burrello
Muddy Feet Flower Farm (Ashford, Connecticut)
Fresh, local, farm-grown spring flowers artfully arranged in muddy feet flower farm’s signature style and displayed in a vintage tea cup and saucer,  $50. Order online at muddyfeetflowerfarm.com. Pick-up locations available on Saturday, May 7:

  • Wintertime Farmers Market at Hope Artiste Village, Pawtucket, RI,  9am-1pm
  • Ellington Farmers Market, Ellington, CT 9am-12pm
  • Muddy Feet Flower Farm in Ashford, CT 2pm-6pm

Delivery available to Westport, CT Friday, May 6

Phone: 773-355-0177
email: muddyfeetflowers@gmail.com

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Rose Mountain Floral

Janet Walsh
Rose Mountain Floral (Kalispell, Montana)

“Sparrow’s Nest,” a Mother’s Day garden with local lilacs, and a variety of spring tulips, ranunculus, roses, spray roses, lisianthus and local huck with a symbolic nest tucked among the flowers. The moss-touched stone planter is ideal for plantings after Mother’s day, $79. Local delivery or pick-up available. This arrangement was designed for The Sparrow’s Nest, which provides housing for homeless high school students, with 12% of proceeds donated to the cause.

Phone: 406-752-7673
email: rosemountainfloral@gmail.com

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Sellwood Flower Co.

LauraLee Symes
Sellwood Flower Co. (Portland, Oregon)

A birch box complete with French striped ribbon, filled with premium Oregon- and Washington-grown flowers, $65 plus $10 delivery in the Portland Metro area or for pick-up at Sellwood Flower Co.

Phone:  503-719-5390
email: info@sellwoodflowerco.com

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Stargazer Barn

Stargazer Barn (national shipping from Arcata, California)

Send your mother 10 stems of American Grown “Rose Lilies” (variety is ‘Natalia’)  paired with 10 stem of Horsetail (Equisetum), $69.99+ $14 (FedEx Overnight Shipping nationwide) (+$10 to include vase)

web: https://www.stargazerbarn.com/

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Tanglebloom

Melissa Hessney Masters
Tanglebloom (Brookline, Vermont)

IMG_5520 Bouquets of sustainably-grown spring blooms including specialty tulips, flowering branches, and heirloom narcissus (photos of current harvest) for $20. Ready for giving, bunches are wrapped and tied with ribbon for pick-up at the Brookline, Vermont, farm. Also available at local markets including Vermont Country Market in Brattleboro, Vermont.

Or, Mom can enjoy beautiful local flowers all season long with a gift subscription to Tanglebloom’s Flower CSA (community supported agriculture). We’ll mail (or email) her a lovely gift card designed by an independent artist in time for the holiday. CSA subscriptions start at $95.

 

more info: tanglebloom.com/flower-csa
Phone: 802-365-0252
email: tanglebloomvt@gmail.com

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Terra Bella Flowers

Melissa Feveyear
Terra Bella Flowers (Seattle, Washington)

Terra Bella Flowers & Mercantile offers unique florals featuring premium, locally-sourced blooms and botanicals. Each vase and wrapped design is inspired from our surrounding woodlands, seasides and flower fields with prices starting at $45. Offering daily delivery throughout the greater Seattle area, we invite you to visit our store or to place orders online 24/7 at www.TerraBellaFlowers.com.

Phone:  206-783-0205
email: info@terrabellaflowers.com

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The Herb and Garden

Cindy Hanson
The Herb and Garden (Helena, Montana)

The Herb and Garden Bouquet in a ceramic vase, $25, with refills for $120. Local deliveries available.

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The Local Bouquet

Phone: 406-439-6478
email: theherbandgarden@gmail.com

Mary Kate Kinnane
The Local Bouquet (Compton, Rhode Island)

Consider a Mother’s Day gift for the mother who loves flowers and has a green thumb. The Farmer-Florist Design Series feature one-day intensives co-taught by Mary Kate Kinnane and a local flower farmer. Workshops highlight farming and design topics while allowing hands on growing and design techniques, a farm tour, a stylized mini shoot, and a beautiful farm-to-table dinner. Meet and learn from flower farmers and designer who support local and American grown flowers year round. Choose between one of three classes, each with a specific farm and design topic: $425 per workshop, with a 15% discount when you sign up for all three.

Phone: 401-598-6812
email: marykate@thelocalbouquet.com

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Two Little Buds

Mindy Francis
Two Little Buds (Hamilton, Ohio)

Gorgeous, locally grown ranunculus and anemones in a keepsake compote bowl, from $55 to $85 and up. Delivery available to Cincinnati and surrounding areas (check website for delivery range), $12-15. Pick-up available: Two Little Buds, 3431 Princeton Road, Ste 103, Hamilton, Ohio 45011 (513-737-8527); or Lane and Kate, 29 East High Street, Oxford, Ohio 45056 (513-523-1004)

email: twolittlebuds@fuse.net
web: www.twolittlebuds.com

Awed by Allium: The Starring Ingredient of a Stunning Bouquet

Monday, April 18th, 2016
This summertime bouquet features gorgeous alliums and their companions.

This summertime bouquet features gorgeous ‘Globemaster’ alliums and their companions.

The smaller, darker drumstick allium echoes form and hue of its larger cousin.

The smaller, darker drumstick allium echoes form and hue of its larger cousin.

Jan shares his vast knowledge with regular farmers market customers each weekend.

Jan shares his vast knowledge with regular farmers market customers each weekend.

Jan Roozen of Choice Bulb Farms is a good friend and brilliant (not to mention charming) flower farmer.

I’ve known Jan through the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market where he is a member who grows a beautiful variety of flowers.

The selection from Jan and Ritva Roozen’s farm in Skagit Valley north of Seattle features specialty spring and summer bulbs.

Their alliums are some of the best I’ve seen — when I can, I come home with an armload of dramatic blooms and arrange with them.

Jan literally grows 15 varieties of Alliums — can you believe that? Here is the list — click on each cultivar name to see its unique form, color and stature.

Home floral designers can find Jan at the Choice Bulb stall every Saturday at the University District Farmers’ Market and every Sunday at the Ballard Farmers’ Market, both in Seattle.

Fresh-from-the-field, these flowers inspired me to make a summer bouquet a few years ago. I hope you enjoy this textural design in shades of apricot, cream, lemon, lavender and bluish purple and get ready to grow your own alliums (and companions like eremurus and dahlias) in the cutting garden.

READ MORE…

Episode 240: Williams Wildflowers – Growing and Designing with Native and Wild Plants in New York and Florida

Wednesday, April 6th, 2016

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The "wild" design work of Annie Schiller (Florida, left) and Rachel Andre (New York, right)

The “wild” design work of Annie Schiller (Florida, left) and Rachel Andre (New York, right)

I first met Annie Schiller of William’s Wildflowers when she introduced herself via email in 2013. The subject line: Slow Flowers in South Florida.

The note continued:

I’m reaching out to you to say hello and to say thanks for your work. Our award-winning native plant nursery in south Florida, Florida Native Plants has just expanded to offer wildflower bouquets featuring Florida native and Florida-friendly wildflowers that we grow ourselves. We are growing them sustainably, without irrigation, pesticides or chemical fertilizers. We want to provide the bouquets already arranged for clients. I’m just writing to see if you can list us on your upcoming search website for locating locally-sourced flowers or anywhere else you might have a list of resources?

This is our website: www.williamswildflowers.com.

We are really excited about this new venture, and could use any advise you might have for start-up slow flower businesses.

A lovely Williams Wildflowers infographic used to educate customers and wedding clients.

A lovely Williams Wildflowers infographic used to educate customers and wedding clients.

Our conversation continued and Annie connected me with an extension agent for the Sarasota, Florida, area who was working on a Florida Small Farms Conference. He planned to feature Slow Flowers at the conference and noted that “we love the concept of Slow Flowers as it’s the perfect complement to our conference’s emphasis on local foods, producers, advocates and systems.”

A flower girl's floral crown in New York

A flower girl’s floral crown in New York

Annie and her sister Rachel Andre were early supporters of the Slow Flowers Indiegogo campaign, which ultimately meant their Williams Wildflowers design studios appeared on Slowflowers.com when it launched in 2014.

I’ve been wanting to feature Rachel and Annie on a podcast and we finally found time to schedule an interview when they were together rather than thousands of miles apart. We recorded this episode when I was in St. Louis a few weeks ago and Rachel had traveled to Sarasota, from upstate New York to help Annie with a wedding. We had some audio difficulties due to  recording over Skype, but hopefully you’ll forget about them as you’re drawn into the conversation, the laughter and the  fabulous story these two young designers will share.

A Williams Wildflowers (Florida) wedding bouquet (c) Brenna Foster

A Williams Wildflowers (Florida) wedding bouquet (c) Brenna Foster

As a design studio, Williams Wildflowers specializes in sustainably and locally-grown, eco-friendly floral arrangements featuring native plants and wildflowers for weddings and special events of all types and sizes. Williams Wildflowers grows, forages and sources local material to create custom and artistically designed floral arrangements directly inspired by the seasons and the local environment. Annie and Rachel’s designs are truly farm to table, with a fresh, one-of-a-kind floral palette.

A centerpiece created by Rachel for Williams Wildflowers New York.

A centerpiece created by Rachel for Williams Wildflowers New York.

The types of cultivated wildflowers and native plants that Rachel and Annie use in their designs are unique to their regions, but there is some overlap, which really surprised me. As they point out, many varieties are native to the eastern part of North America, covering a huge geographic range. Think of black-eyed Susans, white mountain aster, goldenrod, coneflower, bergamot, Queen Anne’s lace, phlox, wild marjoram, yarrow, joe pye weed, sunflowers, bee balm, fleabane, and so many more. See this lovely gallery of flowers from the Williams Wildflowers website:

New York Wildflowers

Florida Wildflowers

Rachel Andre in New York

Rachel Andre in New York

One half of Williams Wildflowers is operated by Rachel Andre, who is based in the Rensselaerville, NY. Her upstate New York studio is located about 150 miles from NYC. She is a graduate of Hunter College in New York City with a background in art history and sculptural design. Rachel has worked as a horticultural intern at Florida Native Plants Nursery and was a volunteer for SF’s Golden Gate Park Botanical Garden. She has a passion for all wildlife with a particular interest in floral design, edible gardening and promoting native flora for sustainable environments. Rachel is currently designing for, managing and establishing the upstate NY location for William’s Wildflowers.

Annie at Williams Wildflowers Florida

Annie at Williams Wildflowers Florida

The other half of Williams Wildflowers is operated by her sister, Annie Schiller. Annie has worked at Florida Native Plants Nursery in Sarasota, Florida, for four years, but she was born in the Bronx and raised in both Chicago and in Florida. She designs butterfly gardens, grows and maintains native and Florida-friendly plants, designs and maintains social and print media (including Williams Wildflowers’ web site) and that of Florida Native Plants. She is interested in wildlife and edible gardening, permaculture, homesteading, vermicompost, sustainable practices, eco art, and floral design. Annie has a background in visual art, art history and graphic design from Florida State University and from her years spent living and working in New York City. Annie currently designs ‘growing bowls’ and arranges and designs wildflower bouquets for the Florida branch of William’s Wildflowers.

Their Mom Laurel Schiller is a wildlife biologist with an extensive background in higher education and in the Native Plant world. She runs Florida Native Wildlife Nursery.

Grandpa Bill, inspiration for Williams Wildflowers, his grand-daughters' floral ventures.

Grandpa Bill, inspiration for Williams Wildflowers, his grand-daughters’ floral ventures.

The William of Williams Wildflowers was Dr. William E. Keller, Annie and Rachel’s grandfather. Thirty years ago he turned the pasture next to their upstate NY home into a wildflower meadow.

All who walked by stopped to admire it. Grandchildren chased each other down the paths. Weddings took place there. The meadow of wildflowers remains a living legacy to “Grandpa Bill,” a passionate gardener.

I know you’ll be inspired to incorporate regional wildflowers and native plants from your state into your design language.

Follow Williams Wildflowers Florida on Facebook

Follow Williams Wildflowers New York on Facebook

Find Williams Wildflowers on Pinterest

Follow Williams Wildflowers New York on Instagram

Follow Williams Wildflowers Florida on Instagram

Williams Wildflowers New York (left) and Williams Wildflowers Florida (right)

Williams Wildflowers New York (left) and Williams Wildflowers Florida (right)

Thanks for joining today’s podcast.

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 90,000 times by listeners like you. THANK YOU to each one of you for downloading, listening, commenting and sharing. It means so much.

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.