Debra Prinzing

Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Florida-Grown Ferns, Foliage and Greenery with Erik Hagstrom of Albin Hagstrom & Sons (Episode 194)

Wednesday, May 20th, 2015

RHS_CHELSEA The Slow Flowers Podcast is coming to you this week from Britain, where I’ve been touring the Chelsea Flower Show, reporting on gardening and floral trends for Houzz.com, and speaking to a passionate group of British Flower Farmers. I promise to bring home inspiring podcast interviews to share in the coming weeks.

And if you want to listen to what’s happening in the British-Grown flower movement, including the perspective of both florists and flower farmers, I’ve added links to past interviews here:

Episode 129: Reclaiming our Floral Heritage . . . Lessons from #Britishflowers

Episode 186: The Flower Farmer’s Year with Georgie Newbery of Common Farm Flowers UK

Flowers from the Farm, the UK's nationwide network of cut flower growers

Flowers from the Farm, the UK’s nationwide network of cut flower growers

A special thanks to Gillian Hodgson of Fieldhouse Flowers and the force behind Flowers from the Farm – an organization of British flower farmers, as well as to Sarah Statham of Simply by Arrangement, both of Yorkshire, who created a magnificent itinerary for my visit. You’ll hear from them both in future reports.

And here are a few more pieces of good news, shared by Slowflowers.com members on both American coasts:

First from Mary Coombs, who with her sister Dawn Clark operate A Garden Party based in Elmer, New Jersey:

Subject line: It is Working

“I was meeting with a client last night and I asked her how she found us. Much to my delight, she found us via Slowflowers.com! She is a perfect fit for my company and I am proud to be listed on this site. Thank you for working so hard on this!
I will also be talking about the Slow Flowers movement on Fox 29 Philadelphia on Monday morning. They are coming to film us in the garden for three live segments to air during their news show. I am nervous but excited!”

Mary’s note is so encouraging that I wanted you to hear it – and check out this news clip featuring Mary and Dawn.

“Anything you can get locally grown will be fresher; it will last longer; it’s going to do better in the vase.” — Dawn Clark, A Garden Party.

And next, a note from one of my favorite flower farmers, Joan Thorndike of Le Mera Gardens, based in Talent, Oregon, just outside Ashland. Joan is featured in The 50 Mile Bouquet, and she was an early supporter of Slowflowers.com. She is a farmer and a florist, famous for her summertime Oregon wine-country weddings.

Here’s Joan’s note, a text that arrived on my phone screen:

“Twice last week a potential customer called me because they knew all about your Slow Flowers as a concept – and so wanted to find a source close rather than far. Thank you for what you do!”

Please keep these updates coming – it is your anecdotal stories of customers finding their American grown flowers from Slowflowers.com farms and floral designers that allow me to share the news with others interested in joining this movement.

4th generatoin Fern Farmer Eric Hagstrom.

4th generatoin Fern Farmer Erik Hagstrom.

sign I met today’s guest in person – finally – after a long-distance social media acquaintance. Please meet Erik Hagstrom of Albin Hagstrom & Son.

Based in Pierson, Florida, Albin Hagstrom & Son is one of, if not THE, largest American farms growing ferns, greenery and all types of cut foliage for the floral marketplace.

The family-owned business was started in 1928.

Glossy and durable -- Leatherleaf fern.

Glossy and durable — Leatherleaf fern.

ft_ah_14611-e1370480079963 Not only did Albin Hagstrom & Son join the Slowflowers.com site very early after we launched, Erik has been a super supportive member. On two occasions, when I was booked to do interviews with Florida radio personalities, I asked him to send a sample box of Florida ferns and foliage to the host. He more than exceeded my expectations.

Such a generous gesture that proved to be a tangible example of the Slow Flowers movement – and in both cases, those radio hosts mentioned receiving those beautiful Florida ferns while we were on the air. That’s the kind of partnership that helps all of us in the movement.

Under the live oak, as I attempted to reach the naturally draped Spanish moss.

Under the live oak, as I attempted to reach the naturally draped Spanish moss.

Last week I spent five days in Orlando, Florida. I was thrilled to have an extra day before I started speaking and designing on the Festival Stage at Disney Epcot’s Flower & Garden Show, and while my two sons went off to Magic Kingdom, I headed north on Interstate, about 75 miles south of where Albin Hagstrom & Sons is located, to find the hamlet of Pierson, population 1,730.

Variegated pittosporum shrubs, growing prolifically under a shade structure.

Variegated pittosporum shrubs, growing prolifically under a shade structure.

I had a fun visit with Erik’s dad, Richard, grandson of founder Albin, who has just turned 80 and is a walking encyclopedia of fern-farming.

Tree ferns, naturalized under the canopy of live oak trees.

Tree ferns, naturalized under the canopy of live oak trees.

Then Erik and I jumped in his pickup  truck to drive through some of the production area, passing through shade structures and then following a narrow road through the “hammock” where ferns grow naturally under the canopy of ancient live oak trees.

Mostera. Beautiful, but I wasn't going to venture too close!

Mostera. Beautiful, but I wasn’t going to venture too close!

Anytime I wanted to take a photo, Erik indulged me by stopping and letting me hop out. However, when we slowed down to view the shade house where Monstera foliage grows, he warned me that rattlesnakes like to hang out in the protective tangle at the base of these tropical-looking plants with such dramatic leaves. Um, no thank you. I stayed in the car! But I did find it interesting that most of Albin Hagstrom & Son’s Monstera goes to the cruise ships that dock in Florida.

The Hagstrom family homestead, built in the 1920s by great grandfather Albin. You can see the Swedish farmhouse influence in its simple lines and appealing symmetry.

The Hagstrom family homestead, built in the 1920s by great grandfather Albin. You can see the Swedish farmhouse influence in its simple lines and appealing symmetry.

And by the way, Erik is a man of many interests. He started his career working for the famous Daytona International Speedway and has an extensive background in promotions and marketing. While he eventually left the world of racing to grow ferns, Erik is still a huge fan of NASCAR events. He is the owner of an American-made pickup truck, a fact that did not escape my notice!

Tree ferns, just picked and ready for shipping to all 50 states.

Tree ferns, just picked and ready for shipping to all 50 states.

I hope you enjoy our podcast interview and gain a newfound appreciation for FOLIAGE — an important source of botanical beauty for floral design. I left with a huge box of samples and was delighted to use the ferns, foliage, grasses and greenery in my demonstrations on the Epcot stage during the following three days. I was proud to tell my audiences that about those American grown, FLORIDA grown stems beautifying my vases. And in a state where nearly all of the imported flowers and foliage flow through nearby Miami International Airport, it was doubly important to have this gorgeous and tangible example of the Slow Flowers movement in my hands.

Thanks again for joining me today and please visit debraprinzing.com to see my photos and to follow links to all Erik’s social sites.

Albin Hagstrom & Son on Facebook

Erik Hagstrom on Twitter: @erikhagstrom

Listeners like you have downloaded the podcast nearly 49,000 times. Until next week please 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 Wheatley and Hannah Holtgeerts. Learn more about their work at shellandtree.com.

Chelsea in Bloom: Floral Decor for London’s Shopfronts

Sunday, May 17th, 2015
Chelsea in Bloom

Chelsea in Bloom

The theme of Chelsea in Bloom is “Fairy Tales,” and it is utterly charming!

My mom Anita Prinzing and I are in London to celebrate her special birthday and to attend the Chelsea Flower Show.

My Mom is a trooper! She actually has been working out with a trainer to get ready for all the walking we’re doing – and so far, she has put me to shame with her endurance.

Today, we checked out Chelsea in Bloom, a streetscape beautification campaign that has been taking place for the past decade to coincide with the RHS Chelsea Flower Show.

It is held just outside the Sloan Square Underground Station (the closest stop to the Chelsea Flower Show and a posh London shopping district) encompassing storefronts along Sloan St., King’s Rd., Symons St. and side streets that lead onto each of these.

We spotted many hot botanicals and the designers’ favorite floral materials seem to be:

  • Baby’s Breath (white and pink)
  • Fern
  • Moss — green and Spanish varieties
  • Succulents
  • Carnations (think “color blocking”)
  • Foxgloves
Baby's Breath, ferns, English ivy and more: Club Monaco

Baby’s Breath, ferns, English ivy and more: Club Monaco

The world class alternative floral art show is produced in association with the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), l transforming the streets of Chelsea during the week of the Chelsea Flower Show with breathtaking floral displays. The annual competition has grown dramatically each year with Chelsea’s best retailers adorning their shop fronts with creative designs to compete for the coveted awards.

Her head in the clouds: Kate Spade's interpretation of Alice in Wonderland.

Her head in the clouds: Kate Spade’s interpretation of Alice in Wonderland.

"Cloud" detail -- all baby's breath, beautifully rendered by Kate Spade.

“Cloud” detail — all baby’s breath, beautifully rendered by Kate Spade.

Those enormous pink flamingos from Alice in Wonderland, expressed by Kate Spade in 2-toned carnations.

Those enormous pink flamingos from Alice in Wonderland, expressed by Kate Spade in 2-toned carnations.

Color-blocking with carnations.

Color-blocking with carnations.

This year’s theme is ‘Fairy Tales.’ The competition showcases floral displays reflecting the participating retailers’ interpretation of the theme in their own unique style. Last year’s Gold winner, Kate Spade, set the benchmark high, along with other award winners L.K.Bennett, Liz Earle and Hamptons International. This year promises to be another exciting competition with all of the 2014 victors competing once again.

T.BA combined women's couture with chicken wire and dried floral material.

T.BA combined women’s couture with chicken wire and dried floral material.

T.BA's entry with chicken wire and dried florals, with fern sprays.

T.BA’s entry with chicken wire and dried florals, with fern sprays.

SOME MORE FAVORITES:

A golden tree stump and woodland display spotted in front of Moyses Stevens, a flower shop

A golden tree stump and woodland display spotted in front of Moyses Stevens, a flower shop

A perfect execution of a storybook world, spotted at Smythson.

A perfect execution of a storybook world, spotted at Smythson.

A succulent footstool at Smythson.

A succulent footstool at Smythson.

Another charming detail at Smythson.

Another charming detail at Smythson.

Pink Baby's Breath Butterfly @Smythson.

Pink Baby’s Breath Butterfly @Smythson.

Mad Hatter's Tea Party at  Brunello Cucinelli.

Mad Hatter’s Tea Party at Brunello Cucinelli.

Tea setting in flowers: Brunello Cucinelli.

Tea setting in flowers: Brunello Cucinelli.

Gold-sprayed succulents - a detail of Cinderella's carriage.

Gold-sprayed succulents – a detail of Cinderella’s carriage.

Here are those foxgloves - at Dubarry of Ireland.

Here are those foxgloves – at Dubarry of Ireland.

Storybook Homes, depicted by Hampton's, a real estate company

Storybook Homes, depicted by Hampton’s, a real estate company

TOMORROW: Chelsea Flower Show Press Day tomorrow! Updates to come!

Week 19 // Slow Flowers Challenge with Flowering Branches

Friday, May 15th, 2015
Some of Springtime's most alluring flowering branches include: Magnolia, Dogwood, Apricot, Quince and Plum.

Some of Springtime’s most alluring flowering branches include: Magnolia, Dogwood, Apricot, Quince and Cherry.

We’re digging into the archives this week for the  Slow Flowers Challenge. That’s what happens when I find myself on too many airplanes, which is ironic, isn’t it? It’s sort of the opposite of my “Slow” aspirations!

However, I’m just back home from speaking and teaching in Orlando, Florida. And now, after recharging for the past five days in Seattle, I’ve re-packed and am heading to the airport tonight to fly to London!!!

That’s right! I’m off to the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. I’ll also be meeting many of the people active in the British Flowers scene – U.K. flower farmers and florists who have many of the same objectives that we have here in the U.S. To put local, seasonal and sustainably-grown flowers at the center of our tables!

Stay tuned, because I promise that next week’s Slow Flowers Challenge will be decidedly British!

The acid green of variegated hostas and euphorbia create a "skirt" effect for flowering magnolia branches.

The acid green of variegated hostas and euphorbia create a “skirt” effect for flowering magnolia branches.

I absolutely love the images you see here. I created these arrangements for a national magazine story that was, sadly, never published. The editors, as they say, went in a different direction.

But my photos live on and I’m delighted to share them with you here.

The vase at left is filled with Pieris and Dogwood; the vase at right has both flowering Dogwod and twig dogwood.

The vase at left is filled with Pieris and Dogwood; the vase at right has both flowering Dogwod and twig dogwood.

Flowering Cherry with Snowball Viburnum.

Flowering Cherry with Snowball Viburnum.

Simple: Quince in two hues, plus swordfern.

Simple: Quince in two hues, plus swordfern.

Flowering plum, paired with Lamb's Ear foliage.

Flowering plum, paired with Lamb’s Ear foliage.

Spring hellebores paired with flowering apricot branches.

Spring hellebores paired with flowering apricot branches.

Minnesota Blooms with Christine Hoffman of St. Paul’s Foxglove Market & Studio (Episode 193)

Wednesday, May 13th, 2015

SlowFlowers_Badge_640x480 The Slow Flowers Movement has a lot to celebrate lately – and I want to share with you the very good news that occurred just before Mother’s Day.

While some may view this as a merely symbolic event, I applaud the news that both the Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives passed Resolutions about flowers last week. Seriously!

The opening lines of the Senate Resolution urging support of American Grown Flowers.

The opening lines of the Senate Resolution urging support of American Grown Flowers.

Follow this link to read the entire Senate resolution #166, passed unanimously and introduced by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, with Sen. Barbara Boxer and Sen. Lisa Murkowski.

The document’s first paragraph gets right to the point:

Expressing the sense of the Senate that domestically grown flowers support the farmers, small businesses, jobs, and economy of the United States, enhance the ability of the people of the United States to honor their mothers on Mother’s Day, and that the White House should strive to showcase domestically grown flowers.

It continues:

Whereas people in every State have access to domestically grown flowers, yet only 1 of 5 flowers sold in the United States is domestically grown;

Whereas more people in the United States are expressing interest in growing flowers locally, which has resulted in an approximately 20 percent increase in the number of domestic cut flower farms since 2007;

(c) Washington Post image of California irises and Florida tropical foliage.

(c) Washington Post image of California irises and Florida tropical foliage.

Whereas in 2014, President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama highlighted their support for domestically grown flowers at the White House State Dinner with French President Francois Hollande, the only White House State Dinner that year; Whereas the 2014 White House State Dinner featured quince branch from Mississippi, weeping willow from New Jersey, Scotch broom from Virginia, iris from California, and alocasia, equisetum, nandina, and green liriope from Florida;

There are many more “whereas” paragraphs that discuss the economic impact of America’s flower farming industry. And then the actual resolution concludes with these four assertions:

Resolved, That it is the sense of the Senate that—

(1) purchasing flowers grown in the United States supports the farmers, small businesses, jobs, and economy of the United States;  

(2) flowers and greens grown in the United States are a vital and integral part of the agricultural industry of the United States;

(3) flowers grown in the United States enhance the ability of Americans to honor their mothers on  Mother’s Day; and  

(4) the White House should strive to showcase flowers and greens grown in the United States to show support for the flower breeders, farmers, processors, and distributors of the United States.

You may be wondering, “What prompted our nation’s leaders to introduce such a Resolution? (And by the way, a very similar Resolution was passed at about the same time by Congress, with language introduced by the four co-chairs of the Congressional Cut Flower Caucus.)

Print In addition to congratulating these policymakers and their staff members for doing the right thing for American Flowers, this good news would never have happened if it wasn’t for the determination of Kasey Cronquist, CEO and Ambassador for the California Cut Flower Commission and the flower farmers of his state who have invested time and financial resources to visit Washington, D.C., year after year for the past five years, to engage in conversation with those elected officials.

That is huge and I am pleased to have joined this effort in a small way by joining those delegations in 2014 and 2015. At the helm of this strategy is Bill Frymoyer, of Stewart & Stewart, the man who represents the American Grown effort in our nation’s capital. Bill and Kasey have authored this strategy that of course was crafted to benefit the agenda of California’s cut flower growers, but also creates a ripple effect to benefit everyone in the Slow Flowers community.

JOINING HANDS ACROSS THE FLOWER FIELDS OF AMERICA

When a spotlight in Washington, D.C., shines on domestic flowers it brings attention to you, to your flower farm (no matter what its size). It gives credibility to our cause, the cause of people who care about keeping flowers local, seasonal and sustainable. I encourage you to reach out to your own representative or Senator and let them know that you are a cut flower farmer in their district or state. Take the time. Send a letter. Deliver a bouquet. Thank them for signing onto these resolutions and tell them the support means something to you. And by the way, here is a great resource to help you send that message efficiently and directly.

I am always shocked when someone tries to drive a wedge between the big-idea American grown movement and the grassroots local-flowers movement.  There should be no wedge. We need everyone’s efforts to fight imports. Every single flower farm and farmer; every single florist and designer who makes a mindful choice about sourcing flowers grown and harvested from American soil; every single customer who orders flowers and asks for local or American blooms. That is the rising tide that floats all of our boats. In your own backyard and in all 50 states.

KEEPING IT LOCAL IN THE TWIN CITIES

FOXGLOVE_logo

This blackboard/sandwich board is a message I can get behind. Spotted outside Foxglove Market & Studio, owned by today's guest Christine Hoffman.

This blackboard/sandwich board is a message I can get behind. Spotted outside Foxglove Market & Studio, owned by today’s guest Christine Hoffman.

Now to today’s guest. Chrisine Hoffman is the owner of Foxglove Market & Studio based in St. Paul, Minnesota.

I am thrilled that I was able to visit Foxglove personally when I was in the Twin Cities to speak and teach at the Minneapolis Institute of Art two weeks ago for “Art in Bloom.”

I broke away one afternoon and caught a ride to St. Paul, asking my driver to take me to Grand Avenue, the charming, pedestrian-focused street where Christine’s store is located.

The vintage building has all the character you could want, with high ceilings finished in decorative pressed tin, a bay window in the front where an inviting vignette lures you in, and a lovely mix of old and new, crafted and curated goods.

On her web site, Christine describes the shop and studio as: “Putting a fresh modern spin on an honest folk vibe. Foxglove’s thoughtful aesthetic emphasizes sustainability, utility, community and comfort.”

Local Midwest-grown flowers are at the heart of Foxglove Market & Studio.

Local Midwest-grown flowers are at the heart of Foxglove Market & Studio.

Proprietress and creative director Christine Hoffman.

Proprietress and creative director Christine Hoffman.

Get it, got it, GOOD!

Get it, got it, GOOD!

Welcome to Foxglove, where you can find an artisan gift, take a workshop or gather an armload of seasonal blooms.

Welcome to Foxglove, where you can find an artisan gift, take a workshop or gather an armload of seasonal blooms.

There are three aspects to this business that I find so wonderful interrelated:

First the Marketplace, where an assortment of home goods, books, high quality paper products and findings, as well as Midwest salvage reflect Christine’s aesthetic as a former interior designer, photo stylist and event planner. Then there’s the Studio, where any number of gatherings take place – from floral design workshops and other creative hands-on classes to private pop-up chef dinners. And finally, the Flowers, a complement to every other activity held here. Of the Flowers, Christine focuses her offerings on seasonal flowers grown by local farms.

As she writes on her web site:

Knowing where our food comes from and how it is grown and processed is once again becoming a natural part of our everyday lives. These same issues apply to our cut flowers. The majority of commercial flowers are grown overseas using a mixture of fertilizers, chemicals and preservatives that are anything but natural. Add in worker exposure and ship time and resources, and you’ve got one loaded bunch of tulips. It’s easy to grab a cellophane wrapped bouquet, pop it in a vase, and not give it another thought. Those flowers, however, have a big impact on our environment-both in a broad sense and in your home.

I have a commitment to unique and expressive floral design, happy plants, and a healthy environment. By staying domestic and keeping it simple, Foxglove strives to minimize environmental and social impact. My farmers use sustainable and organic growing methods, and deliver blooms personally to my shop.

  • Support Local Growers
  • Embrace Healthy Homes
  • Celebrate Seasonal Abundance

My mission is a simple one, based on my personal aesthetic and belief that flowers are most beautiful in their natural state. To me it seems counterintuitive to treat soil and plants with artificial fertilizers, chemicals and sprays, and I really don’t want to trail those things into my home and onto my table. It poses a challenge in our cold climate to source everything locally, but it is a better choice for so many reasons.

Foxglove_Christine_Debra I am so pleased to welcome Christine Hoffman to the Slow Flowers Podcast.  Since her days growing up in a river valley, gathering endless bouquets of wildflowers from the woods surrounding her childhood home, Christine has been in love with flowers. Her parents are both gardeners, and their knowledge of plants and flowers settled into Christine with each bed she helped prep (grumbling all the way), and each garden picked bouquet brought into their house.

Follow Foxglove at these social places:

Foxglove Market & Studio on Facebook

Foxglove Market & Studio on Instagram

Foxglove Market & Studio on Pinterest

Foxglove Market & Studion on Twitter

Listeners like you have downloaded the podcast nearly 48,000 times. In fact, in April, we logged the all-time high number of 5,101 episode downloads which only means that the message of Slow Flowers and the farmers and florists who exemplify this movement is reaching more and more listeners.

Until next week please 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 Wheatley and Hannah Holtgeerts. Learn more about their work at shellandtree.com.

Week 18 // Slow Flowers at Disney Epcot

Tuesday, May 12th, 2015
Three Days. Six Workshops. Hundreds of American Grown Flowers, including some very special Florida-grown varieties.

Three Days. Six Workshops. Hundreds of American Grown Flowers, including some very special Florida-grown varieties.

Having Fun on the Festival Stage at Disney Epcot.

Having Fun on the Festival Stage at Disney Epcot.

Last week, the Slow Flowers Challenge took place in Orlando, at the International Flower & Garden Show at Epcot. This was the third time I’ve been invited to present at Epcot since 2010 – and I was thrilled to return. If you love horti-tainment (and that’s what I call the combination of talented horticulture staff let loose on plants, Disney-style), you’ve got to visit this 10-week spring celebration of flowers and gardening, usually staged between March and May.

There are no fewer than 21 planted topiary characters throughout the park, from my personal favorites, Farmers Mickey & Minnie, to the hottest new offering: Anna and Elsa from the animated film “Frozen.”

Each morning for three days running I shared the story of “American Beauty: the Slow Flowers Movement,” featuring the successful renaissance of flower farming and creative floral design that’s inspired by local and domestic American-grown flowers. Each afternoon, audiences were able to see that same story brought to life with flowers and foliage. Here are some of those arrangements:

Love this palette featuring grevillea, Gerrondo gerberas, bupleurum, 'Green Ball' dianthus and an echeveria.

Love this all-California-grown palette featuring grevillea, Gerrondo gerberas, bupleurum, pink wax flowers,’Green Ball’ dianthus and an echeveria.

An all Florida arrangement featuring three types of foliage and ferns combined with trailing clematis.

An all Florida arrangement featuring three types of foliage and ferns combined with trailing clematis.

A whimsical arrangement with a Disney-fun palette of yellow lilies, hot pink Matsumoto asters and 'Green Ball' dianthus - California grown.

A whimsical arrangement with a Disney-fun palette of yellow lilies, hot pink Matsumoto asters and ‘Green Ball’ dianthus – California grown – arranged into a base of variegated Florida-grown pittosporum foliage.

A truly favorite all-Florida bouquet with ferns, foliage and clematis, topped off with an echeveria.

A truly favorite nearly all-Florida bouquet with ferns, foliage and clematis, topped off with an echeveria. White waxflower is from California.

The big takeaway? People want to know more! They understand the importance of keeping things local – from saving farmland to the environment to jobs! I consider it a privilege to tell that story while playing with the flowers grown by people I respect and admire!

Slow Flower Report: U.S. Senate & House Resolutions Support American Grown Flowers for Mother’s Day

Friday, May 8th, 2015

EXCITING FLOWER NEWS!!!

I wanted to share the press release that Slow Flowers co-issued today with the Certified American Grown program to acknowledge and celebrate the significance of join U.S. Senate and House resolutions encouraging the giving of American Flowers for Mother’s Day and urging the White House to “strive to showcase flowers and greens grown in the United States to show support for the flower breeders, farmers, processors, and distributors of the United States.”

The opening lines of the Senate Resolution urging support of American Grown Flowers.

The opening lines of the Senate Resolution urging support of American Grown Flowers.

“As Sunday’s holiday approaches, we remember that Mother’s Day is the most important day of the year for America’s flower farmers, with two-thirds of Americans purchasing flowers to honor their moms,” said Kasey Cronquist, administrator of the Certified American Grown program.“We are very pleased that on May 5, 2015, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), with the help of Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), sponsored and unanimously passed in the Senate a resolution to honor America Grown flowers and the people who cultivate them on the occasion of Mother’s Day.”We are very appreciative to Sen. Feinstein for drafting the resolution and for her long-term leadership on flower farming and overall agricultural issues. Her S. Res. 166 notes that ‘purchasing flowers grown in the United States supports the farmers, small businesses, jobs and economy of the United States….(and) flowers grown in the U.S. enhance the ability of Americans to honor their mothers on Mother’s Day,’” said Cronquist.

“Today, as the Senators noted, millions of stems of domestically grown flowers are now Certified American Grown and the Slow Flowers movement continues to expand across all 50 states,” said Prinzing, author of Slow Flowers. The support in both the House and Senate is welcome news for flower farmers across the country.

“Last Friday, the four leaders of the House Cut Flower Caucus introduced an identical bill, H. Res. 245, in the House of Representatives. We very much appreciate that Rep. Lois Capps (D-CA), Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA), Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) and Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME) have started this cut flower caucus to educate their colleagues in Congress about the economic and cultural impact of cut flower farming. We look forward to building co-sponsors on their resolution, which is a wonderful first step for the organization.

“We appreciate our champions in the Senate and the U.S. House for their support for America’s flower-farming families. It’s a milestone moment in our efforts to encourage consumers to seek out locally and sustainably grown flowers,” Prinzing said.

Commenting on the resolution, Sen. Feinstein said: “We know that Americans want to support local businesses and increasing consumers’ awareness about the flower industry will encourage them to look for that ‘Certified American Grown’ label.”

Americans will spend more than $2 billion on flowers this Mother’s Day, and nearly $25 billion per year on floral products. Research shows that 58 percent of consumers would prefer to buy domestically grown flowers, an option made more clear-cut by the American Grown movement.

# # #

americanGrownLogo

About Certified American Grown

The American Grown Flowers brand symbolizes a unified and diverse coalition of U.S. flower farms representing small and large entities across the country. The Certified American Grown Flowers initiative has partnered with Certified Inc., an independent, third-party agency that verifies the source of products made and grown in the USA. Participating flower farms are certified by this agency through a supply chain audit that qualifies them to add the Certified American Grown logo to their floral packaging, websites and other marketing materials. To learn more, visit AmericanGrownFlowers.org.

Web

About Slowflowers.com

The web site is a free, nationwide online directory to American flowers and the people who grow and design with them. Created by American flower advocate Debra Prinzing in 2014, the resource has grown to more than 550 members in 50 states. The site connects consumers with the farms, shops, studios and designers who provide American grown (local and domestic) flowers, ensuring transparency about the origin of each stem.

To learn more, visit Slowflowers.com.

California Grown-American Grown, with Tony Ortiz of Joseph & Sons (Episode 192)

Wednesday, May 6th, 2015
Tony Ortiz (left), with his parents Mercedes and Joseph Sr.

Tony Ortiz (left), with his parents Mercedes and Joseph Sr.

Today’s guest is an up-and-coming leader in cut flower farming in California and the U.S.-American grown cut flower world.

Tony shows off some of the fresh, just-picked flowers from Joseph & Sons' fields.

Tony shows off some of the fresh, just-picked lisianthus from Joseph & Sons’ fields.

I met Tony Ortiz last year when he and his father Joseph Ortiz, Senior, were part of a delegation of U.S. flower farmers who traveled to Washington, D.C., for meetings with their Representatives. Their family farm, Joseph & Sons, is based in Santa Paula, California (Ventura County), where the vast majority of their flowers are field-grown.

I always have a soft spot in my heart for field-grown flowers, so I was excited to schedule a visit to tour the Joseph & Sons’ operation when I was in Southern California last month. In Santa Paula, they grow 58 acres of flowers, as well another 1 million square feet of greenhouse-varieties.

To get to Joseph and Sons you drive north from Los Angeles on the Ventura Freeway (Hwy 101) and turn east once you hit the city of Ventura. I felt quite a bit of nostalgia heading up to Santa Paula, traveling that same route I drove for four years when our family lived in Thousand Oaks from 2006-to-2010. So may familiar stops that brought a flood of memories along with the sunshine that required me to wear sunglasses (not something that happens much in the winter up here in Seattle).

Beautiful blue delphiniums in the high tunnel.

Beautiful blue delphiniums in the high tunnel.

At Hwy 126 I turned east, away from the Pacific Ocean, and after a few miles, I exited and made my way through agricultural fields growing nursery plants and food crops.

Look at this gorgeous, healthy amaranthus!

Look at this gorgeous, healthy amaranthus!

I arrived at Joseph & Sons on Telegraph Road where Tony met me and led me on a tour of the flower processing and packing facility, then outdoors, through the rows of high tunnel covers that protect tidy rows of Joseph & Sons’ flowers:

  • Amaranthus
  • Bells of Ireland
  • Bupleurum
  • Delphinium
  • Larkspur
  • Lisianthus
  • Stock
  • Snapdragons
  • Statice
  • Bupleurum
  • Iris
  • Matsumoto Asters
  • Pepperberry
  • Queen Anne’s Lace
  • Ranunculus
  • Seeded Eucalyptus
  • Sunflowers
  • Main Blue
Hot pink snapdragons.

Hot pink snapdragons.

By the way, as you’ll hear in my interview with Tony, Joseph & Sons also grows flowers in two other California regions: Lompoc, in Central California, where Joseph & Sons has 280 acres of field grown flowers, and Imperial Valley, in San Diego County, where the company grows 75 acres of seasonal flowers. Joseph & Sons is a Certified American Grown flower farm selling flowers across the U.S.

A birds-eye view of the packing operation.

A birds-eye view of the packing operation.

The family-owned and operated business has more than 50 years of growing and shipping experience. Founded by Joseph Senior, a man who allegedly was born with a green thumb that others have tried in vain to duplicate, these flower growers are dedicated to making sure the best growing practices are followed.

And here are two videos I wanted to share:

First, the Joseph & Sons story on J Schwanke of uBloom’s California Grown Experience Web Series:

And just for fun, follow this link to J’s “Happy Video” ~ you can’t miss Tony (and the rest of his family) dancing to Pharrell Williams’ song!

Here are other ways to connect with Joseph & Sons:

Joseph & Sons on Facebook

Joseph & Sons on Pinterest

Joseph & Sons on Instagram

Listeners like you have downloaded the podcast more than 46,000 times. Until next week please 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 Wheatley and Hannah Holtgeerts. Learn more about their work at shellandtree.com.

Week 17 // Slow Flowers Challenge Goes Local in Indianapolis

Monday, May 4th, 2015
Slow Flowers in Indianapolis!

Slow Flowers in Indianapolis!

We’re celebrating Indiana-grown flowers this week!
A huge thanks to my host Mark Zelonis,  the Ruth Lilly Deputy Director of Environmental & Historic Preservation at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. He and his horticultural team made my visit a huge success last weekend! 

Admittedly, it was a challenge to source locally-grown flowers at the end of April in Indiana’s Zone 5, but with the help of some really supportive flower friends, we pulled it off! THANK YOU to the team at Welch Wholesale Florists (sisters Annie and Nora), who ordered our local tulips, ranunculus and anemones — straight from flower farmers nearby!

The designers in my afternoon workshop were so happy to create their arrangements using 100% local flowers and foliage. Enjoy their work here and admire the amazing diversity of styles and interpretation of the material.

THANK YOU to the horticulture staff (Chad and Irvin) for giving me a golf cart and letting me drive around the “back lot” of the grounds to clip here and there. We gleaned baptisia foliage, oak leaf hydrangea foliage, young peony foliage, flowering dogwood, flowering redbud, hellebores galore, narcissus and euphorbia!

The horticulture staff's awesome golf cart, filled with my early-morning cuttings!

The horticulture staff’s awesome golf cart, filled with my early-morning cuttings!

I'm so inspired by the variety and creativity that one room of women and men expressed using the same "ingredients."

I’m so inspired by the variety and creativity that one room of women and men expressed using the same “ingredients.”

The Slow Flowers Challenge comes to Indiana with my own creation.

The Slow Flowers Challenge comes to Indiana with my own creation.

Indiana-grown florals and foliage for my bouquet include:

  • Baptisia foliage
  • Peony foliage
  • Oak leaf hydrangea foliage
  • Hellebores
  • Ranunculus
  • Anemones
  • Red bud branches

Farmer-Florists, Mother-Daughter: Meet the Women of Buckeye Blooms (Episode 191)

Wednesday, April 29th, 2015
Kay Studer (left) and Susan Studer King (right) of Buckeye Bloms (c) Jason Bowers Photography

Kay Studer (left) and Susan Studer King (right) of Buckeye Blooms (c) Jason Bowers Photography

bb_logo I’m so pleased today to share a long-distance conversation I recorded a few weeks ago with Kay Studer and Susan Studer King, mom-and-daughter farmer-florists based in the Northwest Ohio community of Elida, where they grow and design.

The two are doing exciting things in their community, region and state and I know you’ll learn much from their experience, which they so generously share in the interview.

theflowerhouse_graphic But first up: A bit of news. You may recall my interview a few months ago with Lisa Waud of Detroit’s pot and box, a studio, wedding and event florist who has taken it upon herself to dream up a project called “The Flower House” – a 100-percent American grown floral installation in an abandoned house in the Motor City.

Lisa has big plans and since our podcast, her first interview ever, she has garnered a lot of attention from the floral design and flower farming community, as well as the media. The Flower House will take place October 16-18, but this weekend, Lisa and her fellow floral artists will unveil their plans at a preview event to be held in a neighboring vacant house. As Lisa promises: “It will whet the whistles of interested florists, curious visitors and potential sponsors.”

I’ll be there to help the designers celebrate the launch of this incredible project. Please check out the links at The Flower House to find out how you can attend – especially if you’re in the Detroit area this coming weekend.

And if you want to get involved, please help FLOWER HOUSE BLOSSOM AND GROW. The team has just kicked off a funding campaign on my favorite crowd-funding platform Indiegogo so you’ve gotta know they’re smart cookies! Follow links to the campaign and donate at whatever level you feel you can. I’m intrigued by the fun perks, ranging from $5 to $5,000.

A few that listeners of this podcast might love:

  • an American-made tote bag straight from Michigan crafters for $40
  • a special fragrance inspired by The Flower House for $75
  • a picture frame made from wood salvaged from The Flower House and made by Lisa Waud’s Dad for $100
  • a private dinner in Detroit hosted by Lisa and her team for $5,000

Some amazing talents are participating in this fabulous project and I am excited to watch it bloom, flourish, blossom and beautify Detroit, to use as many metaphors as I can think of!

The road that leads to Buckeye Blooms in Northwest Ohio (c) Jason Bowers Photography

The road that leads to Buckeye Blooms in Northwest Ohio (c) Jason Bowers Photography

A Buckeye Blooms' grown and designed bouquet.

A Buckeye Blooms bouquet (c) Emily Wren

Okay, today’s guests will be equally inspiring. Kay and Susan are gardeners, farmers and family. They love flowers, of course.

As Buckeye Blooms, the mother-daughter team grows flowers without the use of any toxic chemicals and they express their earth-friendly values season after season by growing high-quality, super-fresh flowers.

“Just as a home-grown tomato tastes better than a store-bought one, we believe the freshest and most beautiful flowers come from the garden rather than the refrigerated section of a big-box store. By purchasing locally-grown flowers, you get fresher, longer-lasting blooms, while supporting Ohio farm families.”

The land on which Kay and Susan operate Buckeye Blooms has been in the Studer family for several generations.

Located in northern Allen County, Dolau Farm features a meadow set aside for permanent conservation, dense woods, mature windbreaks, and an established perennial garden in addition to the large flower field.

More beauty from Buckeye Blooms

More beauty from Buckeye Blooms

The historic 1880’s farmhouse is set back off of the road down a picturesque lane shaded by towering maple trees. Surrounding the house are many species of trees, woody ornamentals, grasses and greenery in addition to dozens of old-fashioned and unusual flower varieties. The Buckeye Blooms flower shop and design studio occupies what used to be the milking parlor of the “big barn.” The shop is also used for farm flower parties and other special events.

Environmental conservation is important to the Studer and King families and it is at the core of their farm operations. Hundreds of hardwood trees have been planted to prevent soil erosion, provide wildlife habitat and combat climate change. Recycling and energy conservation measures are implemented for every step of the flower production process.

“We don’t use toxic chemicals. Period. Plus, we put our money where our mouth is: we donate a portion of our profits to charitable organizations that work on behalf of food security, community gardens and solutions to climate change.”

A floral still-life.

A floral still-life.

BBssk3 Here’s a bit more about Susan and Kay:

Inside the studio at Buckeye Blooms (c) Jason Bowers Photography

Inside the studio at Buckeye Blooms (c) Jason Bowers Photography

Susan Studer King’s background is in the environmental nonprofit field.

For more than eight years, Susan worked for Ohio Environmental Council where she led statewide efforts to reform Ohio’s factory farm, wetland and agricultural drainage laws and also served as the Council’s Development Director.

Prior to partnering with her mother to create Buckeye Blooms, Susan and her husband served as Peace Corps Volunteers in Ecuador where they saw firsthand the many negative environmental and social impacts of the commercial rose industry in Ecuador.

One of my favorite designs of Susan and Kay's - love the trailing ribbon.

One of my favorite designs of Susan and Kay’s – love the trailing ribbon.

Upon returning to the U.S., Susan & Jeremy moved back to the farm to start Buckeye Blooms and to live a low-carbon lifestyle.

Susan now splits her time between “the farm” and Granville where she does freelance writing; she serves on the Licking County Local Food Council and tries to steer her toddler out of trouble.

Kay Studer brings a lifetime of gardening experience to Buckeye Blooms.

Kay served as the Horticulture Program Coordinator at Ohio State University Extension Service in Allen County where she managed the Master Gardener program for more than 15 years.

Kay received national recognition and numerous awards for her leadership and programs at the Children’s Garden in downtown Lima.

An expert in diagnosing garden pest problems and an accomplished freelance landscape designer, Kay also has a great eye for floral design.

Kay’s first big floral design job: her daughter Susan’s wedding in 2000. Buckeye Blooms is headquartered on the family farm she has lived on since childhood.

The recent gathering of Ohio's Flower Farmers shows the energy, intelligence, enthusiasm and diversity of this American-grown community. Kay and Susan are pictured in the front row; far right.

The recent gathering of Ohio’s Flower Farmers shows the energy, intelligence, enthusiasm and diversity of this American-grown community. Kay and Susan are pictured in the front row; far right.

Thank you so much for joining me this week and please return again, as I continue to share insightful and educational episodes recorded exclusively for the Slow Flowers Podcast.

Listeners like you have downloaded the podcast nearly 46,000 times. Until next week please 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 Wheatley and Hannah Holtgeerts. Learn more about their work at shellandtree.com.

Buckeye Blooms on Facebook

Buckeye Blooms on Instagram

Buckeye Blooms on Pinterest

Week 16 // Spring’s Bright Outlook

Sunday, April 26th, 2015
week16 For Earth Day a local real estate mangement firm asked me to give a talk and demonstration during a lunchtime event held on the rooftop garden of a hot LEED-Certified building in Seattle’s Southlake Union neighborhood.What a great chance to speak with office-bound hipsters from architecture, design and advertising agencies about LOCAL flowers and ECO design!

 
And what a perfect time to do this – when the vivid hues of springtime are exploding from my favorite Northwest flower farms!
Local ornamental shrubs, perennials and flowering bulbs, with a few succulents tossed into the mix.

Local ornamental shrubs, perennials and flowering bulbs, with a few succulents tossed into the mix.

Here’s what I included in my design demonstration:

Euphorbia foliage, grown by Jello Mold Farm

Lilac blooms, grown by Jello Mold Farm

Poppies, grown by Jello Mold Farm

Anemones (pale purple), grown by Sonshine Flower Farm

Anemones (maroon-red), grown by Everyday Flowers

Fancy orange tulips, grown by Sonshine Flower farm

Bleeding hearts, grown by Ojeda Flower Farm

Potted succulents

Detail showing the variegated aeonium and green rosette-style succulent.

Detail showing the variegated aeonium and green rosette-style succulent.

Nice overhead detail that captures all of nature's glorious forms and colors.

Nice overhead detail that captures all of nature’s glorious forms and colors.

Back view: showing off those maroon anemones!

Back view: showing off those maroon anemones!

A burst of Earth Day sunshine in this lovely Washington-grown poppy!

A burst of Earth Day sunshine in this lovely Washington-grown poppy!