Debra Prinzing

Archive for the ‘Plants’ Category

The Flower House Virtual Tour Part 4 with David Beahm and Daevid Reed (Episode 232)

Wednesday, February 10th, 2016
Daevid Reed (l), Lisa Waud (c) and David Beahm (r), captured in a moment of sheer joy by photographer Heather Saunders at the Field to Vase Dinner, The Flower House, Detroit.

Daevid Reed (l), Lisa Waud (c) and David Beahm (r), captured in a moment of sheer joy by photographer Heather Saunders at the Field to Vase Dinner, The Flower House, Detroit.

Another view of the hanging pieces

The Seattle floral design community’s reimagined, Flower House-inspired botanical art installation

I have two cool Flower House-related segments to share with you today.

First, I want to share a short conversation with photographer Andrew Buchanan of Subtle Light Photography as we discuss his innovative idea to document the sculptural floral art installation at the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market, which was led by Lisa Waud of The Flower House for the Seattle design community on January 19th. I featured highlights of the January 19th installation day in an earlier episode here.

Enjoy my quick interview that I recorded with Andrew and then view the amazing time-lapse movie that he filmed and edited – shown below. I’m amazed by the power of visual storytelling through this medium and applaud Andrew’s artistry and generosity. I’m honored and grateful that he volunteered his talents for everyone to enjoy!

Based in Seattle, Andrew Buchanan specializes in architectural photography, interiors photography, helicopter aerial photography, land design photography, and hotel and resort photography in Seattle and throughout the Pacific Northwest. Andrew offers photography of architecture, interiors, commercial and public spaces, and other built environments to design and marketing professionals, hotels and resorts, developers, magazines, and advertisers needing compelling, graphic photos of The Spaces Where We Live, Work, and Play. Please start on a Gallery page to see some of Andrew’s work or download his PDF portfolio to keep with youRead more about Andrew here.

ENJOY THIS FABULOUS VIDEO, COURTESY OF ANDREW BUCHANAN:

SeattleWholesaleGrowersMarket-LisaWaud-16Jan from Andrew Buchanan on Vimeo.

You can find the video and all of Andrew’s “motion” work at his online gallery here.

READ MORE…

Floral Spectacle in Seattle, inspired by The Flower House (Episode 230)

Wednesday, January 27th, 2016

“We can imagine it and we can do it,” Diane Szukovathy, Jello Mold Farm & Seattle Wholesale Growers Market

Lisa Waud, artist, innovator, entrpreneur, floral designer and creator of The Flower House (Detroit). She's standing in front of the base of the tree-inspired sculpture installed by her students at the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market.

Lisa Waud, artist, innovator, entrpreneur, floral designer and creator of The Flower House (Detroit). She’s standing in front of the base of the tree-inspired sculpture installed by her students at the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market.

A botanical tree grows up the walls and across the ceiling of the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market

A botanical tree grows up the walls and across the ceiling of the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market

Last week I told you about a series of Flower House activities taking place in Seattle with creator Lisa Waud. As I noted, Lisa has been on a West Coast tour which began on January 19th in Seattle, took her to Olympia and Portland, and continues until early next week in California.

As it turns out, I had a scheduled interview be postponed, so today, I’m bringing you a series of clips, short takes and conversations from the various events held at the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market when Lisa was here. Please enjoy these sound-bites, beginning with remarks from flower farmer Diane Szukovathy of Jello Mold Farm, board chair at the Growers’ Market, as she introduced Lisa Waud’s Wednesday morning lecture.

Diane is followed by Lisa’s introductory remarks; then we’ll jump to several short interviews with designers who took part in a Master Design Class led by Lisa. Thirteen designers teamed up to experience a mini-version of the Flower House installation, creating a massive botanical sculpture within the Market’s walls in just under 4 hours on January 19th.

Early in the class, a team started building the "bones" of the sculptural installation, while other designers worked on the floral pieces, called "amoebas"

Early in the class, a team started building the “bones” of the sculptural installation, while other designers worked on the floral pieces, called “amoebas”

The team of amazing designers who were led through a 4-hour session with Lisa Waud (lisa is front, far left)

The team of amazing designers who were led through a 4-hour session with Lisa Waud (lisa is front, far left)

Love this hot, orange-red amoeba palette!

Love this hot, orange-red amoeba palette!

Led by Lisa, the designers went through the entire process that a Flower House designer probably experienced — from visioning, brainstorming, creative problem-solving and execution. Having watched the process first-hand, I have to say it was nothing less than Spectacular!

One of the fun things Lisa threw into the mix was a series of surprises that added pressure and tested the mettle of the designers, much like the Flower House team endured during the 3 days when they installed the Flower House.

So I played along as a member of the press, who showed up unannounced expecting people to stop what they were doing while I conducted an interview. That was just one of the crazy twists Lisa threw at her students. Another of her surprises was to add a “last minute” delivery of flowering branches — and challenging the designers to figure out how to incorporate those elements into an almost-finished composition.

In the end, well, all I can say is, these designers rose to the challenge and proved that the sum of their parts was far greater than anyone could have individually achieved.

The final installation is gloriously wild and magical.

The final installation is gloriously wild and magical.

The Seattle Wholesale Growers Market's 18-foot-high ceilings are perfect for the installation -- check out the I-beams.

The Seattle Wholesale Growers Market’s 18-foot-high ceilings are perfect for the installation — check out the I-beams.

Each of the five "amoebas" were woven with foliage, branches and flowers, with a specific color emphasis.

Each of the five “amoebas” were woven with foliage, branches and flowers, with a specific color emphasis.

Another view of the hanging pieces

Another view of the hanging pieces

Details of the pink and fuchsia amoeba

Details of the pink and fuchsia amoeba, fashioned with flowers and foliage from the farms that supply the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market

As you hear a series of clips, I will ask each person to introduce herself and her business, followed by a brief series of questions; and then we move onto another group of designers. This patchwork quilt of a podcast episode concludes with a 10-minute wrap-up session, a debrief with Lisa and the 13 designers, as they compare notes about the challenges and results of their time together.

Here is a list all the participants and their social media links — these are women you will want to follow if you haven’t yet discovered them!

Floressence, owned by Anne Bradfield

Terra Bella Flowers, owned by Melissa Feveyear

Splash Floral and Interiors, owned by Lisa Behringer

Columbia City Bouquet, owned by Emily Kopca

Gather, owned by Amy Kunkel-Patterson

Bash and Bloom, owned by Eleanor Blackford

Lola Creative, owned by Emily Ellen Anderson

Camas Design, owned by Erin Shackelford

First & Bloom, owned by Tammy Myers

Smashing Petals, owned by Keita Horn

Melanie Benson Floral, owned by Melanie Benson

Vases Wild, owned by Tobey Nelson

Casablanca Floral, owned by Maura Whalen

Finally, I have to state publicly, that this entire week of events could not have happened so successfully without the leadership and talents of the three staff of the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market: Molly Sadowsky, Danielle Bennett, and Agnes Cwalina. They are amazing!

NEWS TO SHARE

This happened and it came as a total surprise!

This happened and it came as a total surprise!

I want to thank the flower farmers of the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market for surprising me with a huge honor. Here is a link to the Market’s press release.

On January 19th, Slow Flowers hosted a dinner to honor Lisa Waud and to showcase the floral art installation she and her team had installed earlier that afternoon.

At the dinner, Diane Szukovathy took the mic and announced that the farmers had created a new award, called the Growers Choice Award, and that I was the first recipient. Later she told me it was the most fun scheming she’d had in a long time, which puts a huge smile on my face. I truly was astonished to receive this recognition–and the language is most meaningful because it recognizes “outstanding contributions to revitalize the local floral community.”

80K

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 80,000 times by listeners like you. THANK YOU to each and every 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.

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.

Music provided by: Audio Nautix

The Story of American Made Vases from Syndicate Sales’ Anne Graves (Episode 229)

Wednesday, January 20th, 2016
Melissa Feveyear of Terra Bella Flowers used Syndicate's "Gathering Vase" for the tables at the Field to Vase Dinner Tour held on Jello Mold Farm in Mt. Vernon, Washington

Melissa Feveyear of Terra Bella Flowers used Syndicate Sales’ “Gathering Vase” for the tables at the Field to Vase Dinner Tour held on Jello Mold Farm in Mt. Vernon, Washington (c) Linda Blue Photography for F2V Dinner Tour

I promised a few weeks ago that the 2016 Field to Vase Dinner Tour Dates & Farm Venues were about to be announced. And today is the day! The team behind this celebration of American Grown Flowers has been hard at work and in the past few weeks they’ve given me a sneak peek to what’s in store.

2016 tour header As a sponsor of the Field to Vase Dinner Tour, it is my privilege to help select a Slow Flowers florist as the featured designer for each event and I’m especially proud that the Dinner Tour is committed to only working with florists who are listed and active on Slowflowers.com. That philosophy is 100 percent in alignment with the other priority of holding dinners on farms that are Certified American Grown.

I hope to see you at one of these very special gatherings to raise awareness and show support for America’s flowers —  from east to west and in between, we’ll be dining at 10 flower farms in the coming year. The announced list includes 7 confirmed venues and I’ll add the other three as we learn of them.

2016 Tour Dates

(3 additional dates and locations will be added soon)

March 12th: Arcata, CA~ Sun Valley Floral Farms

April 13th: Carlsbad, CA ~ The Flower Fields

May 21st: Austin, TX~ Texas Specialty Cut Flowers

August 13th:  Boulder, CO ~ The Fresh Herb Co.

September 14th: Bucks County, PA ~ Thistle Dew Farm

September 17th: New York, NY~ Bear Creek Dahlias

November 5th: Woodland, WA ~ Holland America Flowers

Lisa Waud (far left, front) and 12 Seattle area floral designers recreated a little of The Flower House magic at the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market on January 19th.

Lisa Waud (far left, front) and 12 Seattle area floral designers recreated a little of The Flower House magic at the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market on January 19th.

Here in Seattle this week, I’m part of all the fabulous Flower House activities featuring creator Lisa Waud. If you haven’t seen the announcement, Lisa is on her West Coast tour beginning with a Master Design Class taught yesterday, a wonderful Slow Flowers-hosted dinner last night and a lecture this morning at the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market.

Lisa Waud of The Flower House and I posed last night with the new issue of Flirty Fleurs magazine -- captured by editor Alicia Schwede for Instagram.

Lisa Waud of The Flower House and I posed last night with the new issue of Flirty Fleurs magazine — captured by editor Alicia Schwede for Instagram.

Earlier this week, in Lisa’s newsletter to Flower House subscribers, she made a bold, totally inspiring proclamation — and I want to share it with you here:

Lisa wrote this under the heading: “POT & BOX NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS”

as you probably know, i also have a floral design and horticultural decor business called pot & box. this business will run the farm on the site of flower house, growing gorgeous cut flowers for the detroit-area events and weddings we provide floral arrangements for. more on that as we get closer to breaking ground in spring.

what i’m proud to tell you is that as a result of the immense enthusiasm and support for

the project’s commitment to american-grown flowers and plants, i am making the same commitment with my business. effective immediately, pot & box is committed to sourcing local and american-grown flowers and plants, as well as going foam-free, to reduce our waste and to avoid working with dangerous chemicals. i am really looking forward to designing with domestically-grown and natural products.

if you are looking for a florist with the same commitment, you can find them on the slow flowers directory, of which pot & box is a proud member.

Thanks so much, Lisa !! Your leadership will inspire many, many others in our community!

I hinted at today’s guest during the 2016 Floral Insights and Industry Forecast episode earlier this month when I highlighted American Made Goods for florists as one of the 10 influential themes of the year.

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Today's guest, Anne Graves, marketing director for Syndicate Sales (left), with her family.

Today’s guest, Anne Graves, marketing director for Syndicate Sales (left), with her family.

I give Anne Graves, marketing director of Syndicate Sales, a lot of credit for stepping up and placing a USA-made focus on the products her company manufactures.

Syndicate Sales is a leader in the manufacturing and distribution of floral hardgoods in the United States, employing nearly 300 people in Kokomo, Indiana. This makes Syndicate Sales the largest family-owned local business in that town.

The company was co-founded by Delmar Earl Demaree, Sr., affectionately called “Pap.” Today, Pap’s granddaughter Laura Shinall serves as president, continuing the values of stewardship, hard work as well as honoring customers, creditors, and employees.

As you’ll hear in our conversation, Syndicate has taken new steps to feature and promote its vast selection of made-in-the-USA vases for florists.

I’ve gotten to know Anne over the past few years and I’m very impressed with the decisions she and her colleagues have made to highlight these products in their catalog and on their web site.

Look for the USA flag icon to find American-made vases and other hardgoods from Syndicate Supply.

Look for the USA flag icon to find American-made vases and other hardgoods from Syndicate Supply.

In 1946 Syndicate introduced the 1st quick, convenient way to preserve and transport single stem flowers-- called Aquapic®. Prior to Aquapics, florists had to rubber band flower stems into a plastic bag of water. Aquapics are still an industry staple.

In 1946 Syndicate introduced the 1st quick, convenient way to preserve and transport single stem flowers– called Aquapic®. Prior to Aquapics, florists had to rubber band flower stems into a plastic bag of water. Aquapics are still an industry staple.

The Candelite Cardette® was introduced in 1967: A 9" cardholder designed for prominently displaying the sender's name.

The Candelite Cardette® was introduced in 1967: A 9″ cardholder designed for prominently displaying the sender’s name.

Enjoy this gallery of arrangements from last year’s Field to Vase Dinner Tour. They combine American-grown flowers with Syndicate’s American-made vases — what a perfect partnership.

Elizabeth Artis of Espe Floral + Foliage used the "Footed Rose Bowl" for her F2V Dinner Tour centerpieces held at Oregon Flowers.

Elizabeth Artis of Espe Floral + Foliage used the “Footed Rose Bowl” for her F2V Dinner Tour centerpieces held at Oregon Flowers. (c) Laurie Black Photography for F2V Dinner Tour

Another view of Elizabeth's beautiful centerpieces.

Another view of Elizabeth’s beautiful centerpieces.

Another view of Melissa Feveyear's centerpieces at Jello Mold Farm.

Here’s more of Melissa Feveyear’s centerpieces at Jello Mold Farm.

Syndicate Sales' "Terrariums" showcased the work of Andrea Gagnon of LynnVale Studio + Farm at the Washington, D.C. Field to Vase Dinner.

Syndicate Sales’ “Terrariums” showcased the work of Andrea Gagnon of LynnVale Studio + Farm at the Washington, D.C. Field to Vase Dinner. (c) Linda Blue Photography for F2V Dinner Tour

Another peek at the Terrarium designs of Andrea Gagnon.

Another peek at the Terrarium designs of Andrea Gagnon.

Susan McLeary of Passionflower Events in Michigan used the classic Syndicate "Rose Bowl" for her F2V centerpieces.

Susan McLeary of Passionflower Events in Michigan used the classic Syndicate “Rose Bowl” for her F2V centerpieces. (c) Heather Saunders Photography

Here's another beautiful centerpiece by Susan McLeary for F2V Dinner Tour in Detroit.

Here’s another beautiful centerpiece by Susan McLeary for F2V Dinner Tour in Detroit.

Special Podcast Giveaway. Syndicate is offering one listener a $100 gift of Made-in-USA product. Anne will work directly with the winner to process your choices and ship the goods directly to you.

Here’s how to Enter: Post a comment below by 5 p.m. January 27th and you’ll be entered into the drawing. The winner will be announced in our February 4th episode.

Syndicate Sales’ Catalog for 2016

Syndicate Stars Reward Program for Florists

“Millie’s Musings,” Syndicate’s Blog

Follow Syndicate Sales on Facebook

Follow Syndicate Sales on Instagram

Follow Syndicate Sales on Pinterest

Follow Syndicate Sales on Twitter

Contact Anne Graves at agraves@syndicatesales.com

MORE NEWS

There are lots of cool gatherings going on at this time of the year. We’ve recently heard about the Maryland Flower Farmers meeting, the Ohio Flower Farmers Meet-up and now I’m excited to share the announcement of two days in Oregon taking place next month.

1913891_10205843922083938_750892574376956860_n The first is being held on Saturday, February 20th Oregon State University’s annual Small Farms Conference, held this year in Corvallis, Oregon.

As I understand it, this is the first year that the small farms conference is offering a cut flower farming track — what does that tell you about the growing popularity of local flowers?

On the following day, Sunday, February 21st will be the 2nd annual Pacific Northwest Cut Flower Growers gathering, also at OSU.

I’ve invited Erin McMullen of Raindrop Farms, a past guest of this podcast, to share a preview of these two important events and to let you know how to get involved. She’s been working with  Kathleen Barber and Beth Martin Syphers to plan the Sunday gathering.

I am so excited to hear about the dynamic activity, region by region, where flower farming is exploding. We can attribute this growth to climbing demand from florists and consumers who value their domestic flowers. And isn’t that what we’re all working toward?

Reach Erin McMullen here: raindropfarms@peak.org

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded nearly 79,000 times by listeners like you. THANK YOU to each and every 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.

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.

Lessons from a Historic “Picking Garden” with Quill Teal-Sullivan of Meadowburn Farm (Episode 228)

Wednesday, January 13th, 2016
Meet Quill Teal-Sullivan of Meadowburn Farm, this week's Podcast Guest.

Meet Quill Teal-Sullivan of Meadowburn Farm, this week’s Podcast Guest. Photo: (c) Eric Hsu

Well, we’ve made it through the first week of 2016 and I wonder if you’ve been seeing those social media promises like one that read: “78 days ’til spring,” or whatever the number happens to be at that countdown point.

The New Year causes us to take a deep breath and consider what is essential for our life, our purpose, our creative endeavors. At least that’s how it’s always been for me!

Whether that means taking a baby step or making a radical change, we tend to measure our future choices on or around the first of the New Year. It’s universal. Setting goals and striving to achieve them is what makes us human. I’m excited for 2016 and what it promises in our community, with so many exciting Slow Flowers-inspired gatherings, events, stories and connections on the horizon.

Before I introduce you to this week’s featured guest, I have some newsy items to share.

 

Yay! Check it out!!!

Yay! Check it out!!!

First off: the HUGE news that Martha Stewart Living is featuring Slow Flowers and the slowflowers.com directory in the February 2016 issue – aka the Valentine’s Day issue!

Here’s the text:

“The benefits of choosing locally grown foods over those from all over the world extends to flowers as well. That’s why garden and features editor Melissa Ozawa likes Slowflowers.com, an online directory of more than 600 florists and flower farms across the United States. The site offers local blooms in season (for instance, winter tulips or anemones, if you’re in the Northwest). Have your heart set on classic roses? It also helps users find growers in California and Oregon that ship nationally.” 

There you have it! Short and VERY sweet!

Individually, none of us could have earned this type of media attention from a magazine with paid circulation of more than 2 million subscribers, monthly newsstand sales of 115,000 issues and total audience reach of more than 9 million. The demographics of the Martha Stewart reader are in close alignment with your own floral business. You can find the reader statistics on my show notes at Debraprinzing.com, so check them out and feel proud of what we’ve accomplished!

MSL_Media_Kit

And here’s another mindboggling fact: If we tried to purchase a 1/6-th page advertisement for Slowflowers.com in this issue, it would cost approximately $45,000.

Simply put: those 82 words mean so much to our Slow Flowers community and also represent the incredible value to you as a member of Slowflowers.com.

We can only pursue this type of media coverage if you join the site and support it financially – so keep that in mind as you plan your own business marketing budget in the coming year. For just $200 a year, you can have a significant impact in the success of the Slow Flowers Movement.

When I hear from editors who ask for flower farming and floral design images I often send a call for submissions to members of Slowflowers.com. Recently that paid off in an article by an Associated Press features writer Sarah Wolfe, who wrote about succulents in bridal bouquets.

The work of several Slow Flowers members was featured in her AP wire story that ran in countless daily newspapers across the U.S., including Holly Chapple of Holly Heider Chapple Floral Design, Kelly Sullivan of Botanique and Erika Knowles of Botany 101.

When it came to illustrating the Slowflowers.com piece, Martha Stewart Living‘s art directors reviewed our gallery of choices, including floral images submitted by several Slow Flowers members who responded to my call for artwork.

Kathleen Barber of Erika's Fresh Flowers grew, arranged and photographed these lovely Oregon-grown flowers.

Kathleen Barber of Erika’s Fresh Flowers grew, arranged and photographed these lovely Oregon-grown flowers.

Flower farmer, floral designer, floral photographer, Kathleen Barber

Flower farmer, floral designer, floral photographer, Kathleen Barber

The art directors were drawn to a beautiful, early spring bouquet from Erika’s Fresh Flowers in Warrenton, Oregon.

Erika’s is owned by Kathleen Barber, a gifted flower farmer, floral designer and photographer – all her talents came together for the image you see here.

Our podcast today features a mini-interview I recorded with Kathleen last weekend when I called to congratulate her.

Check out Kathleen’s work at these social places:

Erika’s Fresh Flowers on Facebook

Erika’s Fresh Flowers on Instagram

Kathleen Barber Fine Photography

Enjoy this lovely profile of Kathleen Barber that ran in a local publication last summer. I so appreciate her including the Slow Flowers movement in the story!

And if the image you submitted for consideration for the Martha story wasn’t chosen don’t feel disappointed. I have been asked to share images with another prominent publication for a pre-Valentine’s Day web gallery coming up soon — and you can be sure your floral submissions will be included — I’ll share details once they’re published.

10628400_887376461342199_5702140127668746605_n Next, Amy McGee of the blog Botanical Brouhaha hosted a guest post from me last week in which I shared the Slow Flowers story.

I am so appreciative that Amy dedicated her time (and valuable online space on her popular floral blog) to share the Slowflowers.com story with her readers.

One lucky reader won our giveaway of a one-year Premium Listing to promote her floral business.

Congratulations to Eden Frei of The Garden of Eden Floral Design. I’m so pleased that visitors to Slowflowers.com will soon discover This Idaho-based floral design business that also serves the Spokane, Washington area.

Okay, it’s time to introduce you to Quill Teal-Sullivan, horticulturist, flower farmer and floral designer.

MB_mast3 Quill is the garden manager of Meadowburn Farm, a historic garden and working farm located in the Warwick and Vernon Valley, just 90 minutes from NYC.

There, she is leading preservation efforts and saving the century-old “picking garden” and heirloom floral varieties once grown by the original owner, Helena Rutherfurd Ely (1858-1920), a pioneering figure in American horticulture at the turn of the 20th century and founding member of the Garden Club of America.

Meet Quill Teal-Sullivan, today's inspiring guest.

Meet Quill Teal-Sullivan, today’s inspiring guest.

Quill has worked with the owners of Meadowburn Farm for the past six years to preserve their significant historic gardens, which are listed on the National Register of Historic Places and sit at the center of Meadowburn’s 590 acre preserved farm.

As a graduate student in the Longwood Graduate Program, she spent two years researching the garden’s history and possibilities for their preservation, which served as the topic of her master’s thesis.

Today she acts as Meadowburn’s Garden Manager, working day in and day out to bring the 130 year old gardens back to life.

An aerial view of Meadowburn Farm today.

An aerial view of Meadowburn Farm today.

Helena Rutherford Ely

Helena Rutherford Ely

Here’s a bit more about Meadowburn from the beautiful web site:

Helena Rutherfurd Ely built her gardens surrounding her country home Meadowburn over the course of a forty-year period with the help of her loyal gardener, Albert Furman.

Through trial and error she developed the practical hands-on horticultural knowledge that informed and inspired  her three widely influential books on hardy gardening.

In her day, Helena was considered one of the premier garden experts in America and her gardens at Meadowburn were recognized as among the finest in the country.

The process of rehabilitating Helena Ely’s gardens—interpreting her vision and philosophy and tending the landscape day-to-day—is a deeply rewarding and very personal journey for Quill, who has been gardening since she was a girl helping in her mother’s garden in the Pacific Northwest.

The three influential books written by Helena Rutherfurd Ely in the early 1900s.

The three influential books written by Helena Rutherfurd Ely in the early 1900s.

In bringing Helena’s story and the important historic gardens at Meadowburn back to life, Quill has begun to find her own voice as a horticulturalist.

The feature on Meadowburn Farm appeared in Martha Stewart Living September 2015

The feature on Meadowburn Farm appeared in Martha Stewart Living September 2015

Her work has been featured in Martha Stewart Living, on my friend Ken Druse’s podcast Real Dirt, and on Green Wedding Shoes.

Then and Now, the "Picking Garden" at Meadowburn Farm.

Then and Now, the “Picking Garden” at Meadowburn Farm.

I first met Quill two years ago. We started an email correspondence after Quill made a contribution to the Slowflowers.com Indiegogo campaign and she replied to my thank-you email with this note:

I just saw that you are based in Seattle, which is where I will be for another week and a half before making the trek back East to wake up the gardens at Meadowburn Farm.  If you have any free time in the next week, I would love to take you out to coffee and talk about my project at Meadowburn and perhaps get your advice.  

In a nut shell, I am managing the restoration of a 6 acre historic garden outside of NYC, and working with the family to set up a business which hopefully will incorporate cut flowers. For 100 years the garden had a 1 acre ‘picking garden’ which filled the house with fresh cut flowers from may until frost. We still have over 500 linear feet of heirloom peonies, and hundreds of heirloom dahlias.  I have done quite a bit of research on the possibility of selling our cuts, and have spoken with several other growers such as the folks at Jello Mold. Would you be willing to meet with me?  I would be so grateful.

That turned out to be a lovely moment in the midst of my busy Indiegogo campaign when Quill and I met at my neighborhood bakery.

The beautiful and timeless bearded irises at Meadowburn Farm.

The beautiful and timeless bearded irises at Meadowburn Farm.

She shared the fascinating story of her own journey into horticulture and tempted me with tales of a once famed but nearly forgotten American garden writer whose historic gardens were coming back to life in Quill’s hands. In retrospect, I realize what an opportunity I missed to share her story with the larger community, mainly because that was months before we launched this Podcast.

Meadowburn's famous dahlia garden.

Meadowburn’s famous dahlia garden.

So now I’m making up for that oversight and while Quill was back in the Seattle area over the holidays we sat down to record this interview. Consider this our delayed-by-2-years “do-over” and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

peonies-960

Thank you for joining me today. I hope you’re inspired to check out the Meadowburn Farm web site to learn more about this important living artifact in America’s gardening narrative.

Dahlia 'Jane Cowl'

Dahlia ‘Jane Cowl’

Home gardeners and florists alike are now able to order heirloom dahlia tubers that are the offspring of ones grown by Helena Rutherfurd Ely at Meadowburn Farm in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

Meadowburn Farm’s Sustainably grown, fresh cut flowers from the 130-year-old picking garden are available wholesale to florists and markets.

Peonies are available starting in May until July; Dahlias are available July until mid October.

Other flowers often available include: foxglove, lily of the valley, iris, cornflower, ammi, phlox, nicotiana, nigella, and an assortment of other unusual, rare, and unlikely cut flowers and foliage from the gardens, meadows, and woodlands.

Please contact Quill directly for bulk and wholesale orders and to join her weekly wholesale availability list. You can incorporate a bit of American gardening history into your arrangements and support the restoration of an amazing garden while you are at it!.  Send your name and e-mail address confirming your interest in cut flower availability to quill@meadowburnfarm.com.

NYC florists can often find our flowers at 28th St Wholesale Flowers in Manhattan.

Follow Meadowburn Farm on Facebook

Follow Meadowburn Farm on Instagram

If you are in the NYC area, you are invited to hear from Quill next Wednesday evening in a lecture she’s giving entitled “Finding my Way.” It takes place from 6 to 7:30 pm on Wednesday, January 20th.

This is the first in Wave Hill’s 2016 Horticultural Lectures, a winter series hosted by the Friends of Horticulture Committee and devoted to the subject of garden making and garden design and the meaning of our interactions with plants and the natural world.

The series of three lectures continues February 17 with  garden writer Marta McDowell; and on March 16th with Katherine Tracey, co-owner of Avant Gardens, a nationally known mail-order nursery and garden design/build firm in Massachusetts (and as you all may remember, the instigator of the Slow Flowers Challenge).

All three talks are  held at the New York School of Interior Design in Manhattan. and you can purchase the series ticket for $60/$50 Wave Hill Member or student. Individual lecture tickets are: $25/$20 Wave Hill Member or student. Seating is limited, and advanced reservations are recommended, online or by calling 718.549.3200 x216.

download (1) And one more piece of last-minute news: If you haven’t yet heard, next week on January 18th, Ohio flower farmers are gathering in Cinncinati for their second annual “Meet Up.”

You can find all the details on Buckeye Blooms’ event page, where Susan Studer King and others have created a info-packed and inspiring program.

The meeting will take place at Sunny Meadows Flower Farm outside Columbus, thanks to hosts Steve and Gretel Adams. I’ll be there in spirit, via a Slow Flowers surprise package we’re donating for a door prize. When I checked in with Susan earlier this week, she said that the registration is nearing capacity – but if you’re interested in attending, they may be able to squeeze in a couple late entrants.

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 78,000 times by listeners like you. THANK YOU to each and every 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.

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.

2016 Floral Insights & Industry Forecast (Episode 227)

Wednesday, January 6th, 2016

page-0 As I was preparing to record this week’s episode I had a flashback to January 2014 and it reminded me of just how young Slow Flowers really was only two years ago.

Leading up to the launch of Slowflowers.com, I’d spent six months working with my designers to create the site’s framework. Having invested more than $10,000 of my own money to get the platform off the ground, I decided to turn to crowd-funding to raise another $12,000 in order to pay the web developer’s bill.

My original sketch for how this website could look! Yes, I wanted to call it "Locaflor"!

My original sketch for how this website could look! Yes, I wanted to call it “Locaflor”!

I spent considerable time and effort to set up my Kickstarter campaign, including hiring my friend Hannah Holtgeerts and her then-teenage brothers to create the Slow Flowers campaign video. For those of you who’ve been involved in these crowd funding sites, you know about all the up-front investment of time and resources that’s required prior to ever submitting your project for review.

Why Slow Flowers? from debra prinzing on Vimeo.

On December 24th 2013, less than 24 hours after I had submitted the Slow Flowers campaign to Kickstarter, I received this generic email response:

Unfortunately, this project does not meet our guidelines — resources of this nature do fall outside our scope. This isn’t a judgment on the quality of this project, just a reflection of our focus.

Not only was I devastated, I felt that Kickstarter was wrong and didn’t understand the creative nature of Slowflowers.com. If I had wanted to publish the directory of American flower farmers and florists as a tangible book rather than an easy-to-update web-based directory, I’m sure they would have accepted my proposal. It’s not like I was launching an e-commerce site either. I think it was just a matter of a lazy reviewer who didn’t take the time to thoughtfully read my proposal, but instead made the wrong conclusion and sent me their rejection.

I brushed myself off and turned to Indiegogo, where I should have started in the first place. I resubmitted the exact same campaign that Kickstarter had rejected and within 24 hours – on January 5, 2014, I received this email:

Congrats, ‘Slow Flowers: A Directory of American Flowers, Florists, Designers & Farmers’ is now live! 

Indiegogo_home_pg My chunk of coal in the Christmas stocking turned into a beautiful diamond, thanks to Indiegogo’s acceptance of the project. What followed was nothing short of amazing, with a 45-day campaign generating more than $18,000 from 229-plus contributors— we exceeded the original funding goal by 54 percent! Look how far we’ve come in just two years!

Slowflowers.com launched in early May of 2014 with 250 listings.

Today, our membership has climbed to 640 in 48 states!

It’s always good to look in the rear-view mirror and see the distance covered. The road was bumpy, narrow and had limited visibility – but our wheels are still on the flower cart and it is my dream to help Slowflowers.com membership climb to 1,000 in 2016.

That is my New Year’s resolution – and you can help me reach that goal by referring fellow flower farmers, floral designers and wholesalers to join the site!

NEWS ITEM

Laura (left) and Jacha (right), of Butterbee Farm outside Baltimore.

Laura (left) and Jascha (right), of Butterbee Farm outside Baltimore.

Laura embodies at least three of this year's Floral Insights: She's female; she is an urban flower farmer; and she builds community through collaboration!

Laura embodies at least three of this year’s Floral Insights: She’s female; she is an urban flower farmer; and she builds community through collaboration!

I recently checked in with Slowflowers.com member Laura Beth Resnick of Baltimore-based Butterbee Farm to learn more about the Maryland Cut Flower Growers Association’s winter meetings. Laura is the current president of the Association, which will hold the second of its three winter meetings on January 12th from 10 am to 1 pm (the third meeting is scheduled for February 9th at the same time).

The Maryland Cut Flower Growers Association is a regional group that has met each winter to share information for almost twenty years. The group convenes in Annapolis and the meeting is open to flower farmers in the Chesapeake Region, which includes Maryland, northern Virginia, southern Pennsylvania, and Delaware.

Before you hear her voice, I’ll share a little bit more about Laura Beth. She is a Baltimore native who launched Butterbee Farm in 2013 after a few years apprenticing on East Coast organic farms. The farm’s first seeds were sown on a 13th of an acre in the Reservoir Hill area outside Baltimore. Midway through the summer, artist and California transplant Jascha Owens volunteered on the farm, and the two have been farming together ever since, now farming on nearly two acres thanks to increasing demand for their beautiful flowers.

The Maryland Cut Flower Growers Association meeting will be held at the Maryland Department of Agriculture Building (50 Harry S. Truman Parkway in Annapolis). For more information, you can contact Laura: butterbeefarm@gmail.com. I hope you are able to attend if you’re in the area.

OUR 2016 FORECAST

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As promised, Let’s kick off 2016 with my Floral Insights and Industry Forecast. I’ve been tracking shifts and concepts that are taking hold in the American floral world.  I know some of you have already experienced these developments. In fact, my conversations with guests on the Slow Flowers Podcast have greatly influenced this list.

READ MORE…

Slow Flowers’ Holiday Special with Musician-Flower Farmer Dennis Westphall (Episode 225)

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2015
Dennis Westphall, musician, songwriter, artist -- and American flower farmer

Dennis Westphall, musician, songwriter, artist — and American flower farmer. Photo (c) Linda Blue

Welcome to our Special Holiday Edition of the Slow Flowers Podcast!

Dennis in his element: guitar in hand; seated in the midst of his flower farm (c) Linda Blue

Dennis in his element: guitar in hand; seated in the midst of his flower farm (c) Linda Blue

Today’s amazing guest, Dennis Westphall, is co-founder of Jello Mold Farm in Mt. Vernon, Washington, which he operates with his wife and partner Diane Szukovathy. Diane may be familiar to you because she’s appeared on two prior episodes of the Slow Flowers Podcast – and she is the “cover girl” of the 50 Mile Bouquet (along with floral designer Stacie Sutliff).

Dennis is an accomplished mixed media artist and an award-winning singer-songwriter who has nearly 200 original songs to his credit.

I will let you hear the story directly from Dennis, as he shares his inspiring career path, one that takes us from the era when he was a street musician at Seattle’s Pike Place Market to his success as a founding member of the band Tickle Tune Typhoon, to the past decade when he transitioning into a flower farmer, and much much more.

Interspersed between our fascinating conversation, Dennis will perform several songs for your holiday enjoyment.

The first of many Tickle Tune Typhoon albums features Dennis Westphall on the cover with his fellow band members. The album is a winner of the Parents' Choice Gold Award and the American Library Association's Notable Children's Recording Award.

The first of many Tickle Tune Typhoon albums features Dennis Westphall on the cover with his fellow band members. The album is a winner of the Parents’ Choice Gold Award and the American Library Association’s Notable Children’s Recording Award.

Two are original compositions, both lyrics and music, and two are classic songs that have been given the whimsical Dennis Westphall “new lyric” treatment.

I know you’ll love this episode as much as I do — a gift from Dennis to the flower farming and floral design community to enjoy this holiday week.

Check out more details about Tickle Tune Typhoon’s retro vinyl albums and CDs of the foot-stamping, finger-snapping music that has delighted school children and their families for generations.

Thank you so much for joining me today for this very special episode.

I love how Dennis describes flower farming as a botanical art-supply source for the florists who purchase flowers from Jello Mold.

It’s such an appropriate metaphor for the important, interdependent relationship between flower farmers and floral designers — one that brings success to the entire Slow Flowers community.

Watch a recent segment on Seattle’s KING 5 TV (NBC affiliate) with excerpts of Dennis singing

Dennis has generously shared the lyrics to his original song called “Flowers”:

Recorded by Tickle Tune Typhoon on the CD, All Of Us Will Shine
Music and Lyrics by Dennis Westphall

[Chorus]

Flowers aha
Flowers aha
Beautiful colors bloom
Flowers aha
Flowers aha
Blossoms will dance for you

Ah the smell of summer roses
And it’s a dandy day to watch a pansy play
Gracefully they grow
Bouquet on tiptoe
Rising in the sky so blue
Sunflower shines on you

[Chorus]

Flowers grow make the world a grand bouquet
Row on row bringing color to our day
Flowers grow a pleasure to the eye
That fragrance oh it fills the air and makes you sigh
Everybody sigh
I’m so gladiola, you’re gladiola too

Flowers aha Flowers aha
Beautiful colors bloom
Flowers aha Flowers aha
Blossoms will dance
Blossoms will dance for you

Check out that vintage Gibson guitar!

Check out that vintage Gibson guitar!

Linda Blue captured Dennis performing at his own farm, Jello Mold, as a special feature of the Field to Vase Dinner Tour in September.

Linda Blue captured Dennis performing at his own farm, Jello Mold, as a special feature of the Field to Vase Dinner Tour in September.

Find Jello Mold Farm on Facebook

Find Jello Mold Farm on Instagram

Hear Diane Szukovathy on Slow Flowers Podcast #103 “Marketing Local Flowers the Co-op Way” and on  #215 “Cooperative Wholesaling Among Farmers”

Diane Szukovathy and Dennis Westphall, photographed by Mary Grace Long (c) September 2012 at Jello Mold Farm in Mt. Vernon, Washington.

Diane Szukovathy and Dennis Westphall, photographed by Mary Grace Long (c) September 2012 at Jello Mold Farm in Mt. Vernon, Washington.

Jello Mold Farm, fields, and barn

Jello Mold Farm, fields, and barn

Next week is our final episode of 2015 and as one year ends and another begins, I will be sharing with you the “2016 Slow Flowers Forecast and Insights.”

In the meantime, I  wish you a wonderful holiday season!

I thank you and others in the progressive American-grown floral community for supporting this endeavor.

Until next week, you’re invited to join me in putting more American grown flowers on the table, one vase at a time. And If you like what you hear, please consider logging onto Itunes and posting a listener review. THANK YOU to each and every one of you for downloading, listening, commenting and sharing. It means so much.

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

The Slow Flowers Podcast is engineered and edited by Andrew Wheatley and Hannah Holtgeerts. Learn more about their work at shellandtree.com.

Week 50 // Slow Flowers Challenge

Thursday, December 17th, 2015
Poinsettias as a holiday "cut" -- don't they look dramatic?

Poinsettias as a holiday “cut” — don’t they look dramatic?

The prosaic poinsettia has a new, sexy reputation, especially at a time when floral designers are desperate for beautiful focal flowers to go with all the greenery in our lives.

Begonia + Poinsettia!

Begonia + Poinsettia!

For the past decade the gardening world has watched an explosion of breeding in the poinsettia world. I remember attending a press event in the early 2000s when Molbak’s Nursery in the Seattle area hosted all of us at a breakfast to unveil the new poinsettia colors and varieties (streaked and flecked; and a palette ranging from cream to wine). I wrote that story for The Daily Herald about 15 years ago, so no doubt the news hit the gardening world quite a while ago!

Slowly, floral designers are discovering — and embracing — poinsettias. The flowers are tricky to source as cut options, although I’ve heard from some designers who are able to find poinsettia cuts. We just don’t see them here in Seattle.

A low silver bowl, tarnished, of course, is the ideal vessel for this holiday centerpiece of poinsettias, spray roses, agonis foliage, rex begonia foliage and Korean fir

A low silver bowl, tarnished, of course, is the ideal vessel for this holiday centerpiece of poinsettias, spray roses, agonis foliage, rex begonia foliage and Korean fir

What’s my other option? I went to Lowe’s this week to find locally-grown poinsettias from Smith Gardens in Bellingham, Washington. I was in search of a soft peachy tone and wasn’t disappointed. The flower I found wasn’t labeled (although I did learn that Noche Buena is the Mexican name for poinsettia).

I found three pots with this beautiful type of poinsettia, $6.98 each. Two of the three had broken stems, with unusable blooms, so Lowe’s sold them to me for $2 each. In all, that netted me 7 huge flowers for $11, which seems like a great price.

So nice to see these poinsettias as lush cut focal flowers

So nice to see these poinsettias as lush cut focal flowers

Since coming home from the home center, I looked up peach poinsettias online and have decided it’s possible this one is called ‘Visions of Grandeur’, described as a luxuriously rich, yet soft peach/pink/cream plant. But I could be way off because the colors seem to vary as widely as the petals of ‘Cafe au Lait’ dahlias. Either way, it’s lovely, feminine and romantic.

I began my arrangement with a Goodwill purchase from last in August, a silver-plated Gorham fruit bowl. I think I paid $6.99 for it; just found the same bowl on eBay for $35. I’m in bargain heaven with this great-priced bowl and discount poinsettias!

I placed a dome-shaped vintage metal flower frog in the base and added a second “level” of structure with chicken wire, domed at the top of the 9-inch container.

Foliage and branches:

  • Dark purple Agonis flexuosa, California grown, valued for its sultry color and feathery texture
  • A silvery-green fir known in the landscape trade as Korean fir (Abies koreana ‘Horstmann’s Silberlocke’), from Leo’s Trees, a Southwest Washington vendor who sells at the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market. Danielle Bennett, assistant manager at the Market, told me that Leo only brought in two bunches. I understand why because Korean fir is very slow growing so he probably didn’t want to trim so many boughs from the tree! I planted one of these ornamental conifers in a prior garden and I loved its wonderful winter sheen when hit with the afternoon light!
  • Rex begonia foliage, clipped from my houseplant. I love how the raspberry-wine foliage plays off of the Agonis foliage and the scale of each leaf holds its own against the poinsettia blooms.

Flowers:

  • Poinsettias. Following instructions mentioned in my recent blog post about International Poinsettia Day (Dec. 12th), the best way to prepare stems for floral design is as follows: Cut, then dip into hot water 140˚ F for 20 seconds; then plunge into cold water for 10 seconds.
  • ‘Snowflake’ white spray roses, grown by Green Valley Floral in Salinas, California
A small bouquet made with "leftovers," including a gorgeous amaryllis!

A small bouquet made with “leftovers,” including a gorgeous amaryllis!

A bonus: I used my leftover pieces to create a couple of small arrangements, which also included the final blooms from two raspberry-hued amaryllis grown by Vivian Larson of Everyday Flowers. I enjoyed these in a larger arrangement last week and the final buds just opened this week.

Celebrate Poinsettia Day with an Incredible “Living” Poinsettia Dress

Friday, December 11th, 2015
Even if you can't fashion your own poinsettia dress for a holiday gala, the good news is that you can cut poinsettias and use them in floral arrangements. 

Even if you can’t fashion your own poinsettia dress for a holiday gala, the good news is that you can cut poinsettias and use them in floral arrangements.

If you’re ambivalent about the traditional Christmas poinsettia, then I’m excited to help change your mind. Check out this gorgous “living” poinsettia gown. Yes, the prosaic holiday potted hostess gift has received haute couture treatment by London-based floral stylists, Okishima & Simmonds, in celebration of International Poinsettia Day, which is tomorrow, December 12th.

Here's a great out-take from the photo shoot as the floral stylist "dresses" her model

Here’s a great out-take from the photo shoot as the floral stylist “dresses” her model

I learned of this holiday from horticulture publicist Liz Anderson and it’s no surprise to learn that she’s also deeply involved in British Flowers Week (the inspiration for our own American Flowers Week).

Hat’s off to Liz and to Chikae Okishima-Howland and Jessica Simmonds, the duo behind Okishima & Simmonds, for bringing a luxe look to the potted Christmas plant. The designers have posted a fabulous behind-the-scenes story of how they created the poinsettia dress, which you can read on their blog here.

I met all three of these talented women when I attended the RHS Chelsea Flower Show earlier this year. They are doing some amazing things to promote British horticulture and floriculture — you can see another of their brilliant executions right here! And aren’t these images by the very talented Julian Winslow quite beautiful?

Okishima & Simmonds re-imagined the Christmas classic by fashioning a dramatic ombré gown from over 300 freshly cut stems of red, variegated and cream poinsettia and styling it amongst sea of poinsettia plants.

The sexiest poinsettias I've ever seen!

The sexiest poinsettias I’ve ever seen!

“We love to create unique designs that merge the floral world with the fashion world and International Poinsettia Day has given us an exciting opportunity to do that,” says Simmonds of Okishima & Simmonds, commissioned on the project by Stars for Europe, the EU-wide poinsettia campaign.

“We wanted the dress to flow so that it looked as though it was growing out of the poinsettia beds beneath, so used the traditional red poinsettia for the skirt and showcased other colors through the bodice.”

Poinsettias are as much a Christmas classic as the Christmas tree itself, and are known as ‘Christmas Stars’ in much of the world.

In 2014, over eight million poinsettia plants were sold in the UK in just two months, an increase of 15% on the previous year, making the poinsettia the best-selling houseplant after the year-round orchid. The poinsettia fashion shoot was set in the vast poinsettia glasshouse of Hill Brothers Nurseries in Chichester.

Bodice detail showing that beautiful ombre styling

Bodice detail showing that beautiful ombre styling

And the back detail is just as lovely

And the back detail is just as lovely

HOW THEY DID IT

After I received the gorgeous photos and Liz’s press material for International Poinsettia Day, I had more questions for her.

She explained: “Our aim was to link the poinsettia with the world of fashion and get people to look at the traditional Christmas plant in a fresh way. The dress looks like being a world first!” (yes, indeed!)

And by the way, just in case you wondered: All the plants used are British grown – the red poinsettias were grown in Chichester and the smaller varieties were grown by Woodlark Nurseries near London.

Fantasy + Fashion + Flowers

Fantasy + Fashion + Flowers

Liz also told me that the poinsettia were cut, then dipped into hot water 60˚C (140˚ F) for 20 seconds then into cold water for 10 seconds. This seals in the sap and makes the poinsettia last longer. Even if you can’t fashion your own poinsettia dress for a holiday gala, the good news is that you can cut poinsettias and use them in floral arrangements.

“Cut poinsettia will last for up to 2 weeks in water if prepared this way. Out of water, such as for this fashion shoot, the cut poinsettia lasted well for 5 hours or so before the leaf bracts started to soften.”

If you’re up for trying a poinsettia floral arrangement, take on the Poinsettia Challenge, just launched by friend Loree Bohl of the fabulous blog “Danger Garden.”

She’s just announced the design-with-poinsettia contest and the deadline is 12/24 to submit photos of your entry! Loree writes:  Send your image to spiky plants at gmail dot com. The contest will close on Christmas Eve, I’ll post the entries during the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day.

wow. just. wow.

wow. just. wow.

About International Poinsettia Day #PoinsettiaDay

International Poinsettia Day is celebrated on December 12th and marks the death of Joel Robert Poinsett, the U.S. diplomat and botanist, who introduced the poinsettia to the United States from Mexico in 1828.

About Okishima & Simmonds                 www.okishimasimmonds.com

Okishima & Simmonds is the partnership of fine art graduates and trained florists, Jessica Simmonds and Chikae Okishima. They use flowers to style weddings, events and fashion shoots from their London studio.

About Hill Brothers, Chichester          
                  
www.hillbrothers.co.uk

The family-owned and managed Hill Brothers Nursery was founded in 1920 and, now based in Chichester, covers over 8 acres of ornamental pot plant production. Hills currently produce approximately 3 million plants a year  – including half a million poinsettias – for the UK consumer and also directly supply UK supermarkets.


Floral stylists: Okishima & Simmonds
Photo credit: Stars for Europe. Photographer – Julian Winslow
Make-up: Harriet Simmonds
Model: Tara Francis-Smith
Grower: Hill Brothers Nursery, Chichester 

Slow Flowers Field Trip to Whidbey Island (Episode 223)

Wednesday, December 9th, 2015
The wonderful Slow Flowers people of Whidbey Island. Front row, from left: Pam Uhlig, Kelly Uhlig, Melissa Brown, Tobey Nelson. Back row: Benjamin Corteau, David Brown and Molly Brown.

The wonderful Slow Flowers people of Whidbey Island. Front row, from left: Pam Uhlig, Kelly Uhlig, Melissa Brown, Tobey Nelson. Back row: Benjamin Courteau, David Brown and Molly Brown.

Here's a map of Whidbey Island to orient you! Notice the town of Langley on the southeast portion of the map and you can picture where today's guests live, farm and flower!

Here’s a map of Whidbey Island to orient you! Notice the town of Langley on the southeast portion of the map and you can picture where today’s guests live, farm and flower!

This week we’re introducing a new ongoing feature that I hope to bring to you once a month: the “Slow Flowers Field Trip.”

As you know, I love interviewing flower farmers and florists for this Podcast, but what I love even more is visiting them in person to see them in their element — whether that’s out in the shed starting seeds, in the fields harvesting, or in the studio creating something breathtaking.

As often as possible, I’ll hit the road and visit Slow Flowers members to share a snapshot of a community, highlighting what’s grown in that region, and introducing you to the people who grow and design with those flowers.

For 2016, we’ve already booked a field trip to feature the North Bay Flower Collectivenorth of San Francisco, and several other destinations are in the works.

If you’re interested in bringing the podcast to your corner of the U.S., get in touch and we’ll see what might come together.

While it’s located only 30 miles north of Seattle, visiting Whidbey Island takes a little planning because it is reached via ferry from the mainland. The island is notable as one of the longest islands in the country, at 55-miles long, and it lies between the Olympic Peninsula and the I-5 corridor of western Washington. Whidbey Island forms the northern boundary of Puget Sound.

Picked on November 12th - pre-frost! Melissa Brown of Flying Bear Farm grew and designed this lovely arrangement for my visit.

Picked on November 12th – pre-frost! Melissa Brown of Flying Bear Farm grew and designed this lovely arrangement for my visit.

In my earlier years as a garden writer, Whidbey was a magnet for fantastic specialty plant nurseries and private garden tours, so I have spent quite a bit of time there. Now, thanks to the efforts of today’s guests, there is a nascent cut flower farming community, which is essential to Whidbey’s destination wedding scene.

A few weeks ago, I took a day trip to Whidbey, driving north to the waterfront community of Mukilteo, where I caught the 20-minute ferry ride across Puget Sound to Clinton, on the southern tip of the island. My three stops were concentrated on the southern half of the island, in and around the town of Langley, where there’s a mix of tourism, businesses serving vacationers and owners of second homes, as well as small agriculture.

Let me introduce you to the guests you’ll hear in this extended one-hour episode:

A bird's eye view of Sonshine Farm

A bird’s eye view of Sonshine Farm, photographed by a tree-trimmer who was working there

Kelly Uhlig (left) and mom Pam Uhlig (right)

Kelly Uhlig (left) and mom Pam Uhlig (right)

On my first stop, I visited Pam Uhlig and her daughter Kelly Uhlig, flower farmers who own Sonshine Farm, a specialty cut flower farm that packs more stems into a small homestead than you can imagine.

While pursuing a horticulture degree at a local community college Pam apprenticed with Vivian Larson of Everyday Flowers (a past guest of this podcast) – and that’s where I saw her in action. Kelly, a 4-H superstar who’s herself now a college student, is just as committed to flower farming as her mom. Together the two make a dynamic team; they are now members of the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market, where the local floral community snaps up their gorgeous flowers.

Kelly, with one of her bouquet creations, grown & designed

Kelly, with one of her summer bouquet creations, which she grew & designed

Pam poses with 'Vincent Fresh' ~ a favorite sunflower she grew last summer.

Pam poses with ‘Vincent Fresh’ ~ a favorite sunflower she grew last summer.

Melissa Brown (c) Jenna Bechtholt Photography

Melissa Brown (c) Jenna Bechtholt Photography

After interviewing Pam and Kelly and taking a tour of their farm, I went to meet Melissa Brown of Flying Bear Farm. Melissa is a farmer-florist interested in growing flowers for her own floral design business.

We met up first on a parcel that a friend has invited Melissa to plant with flowers, which is where we recorded our podcast interview.

And then . . . Melissa took me to the Flying Bear Farm headquarters, just outside Langley. That’s where she and her husband Benjamin Courteau have just moved, along with Melissa’s parents Molly & David Brown, into a fabulous compound complete with a barn, two residences, an art studio, and lots of terra firma for growing flowers.

Melissa’s folks treated all of us to a delicious luncheon where the conversation only got better with more creative voices around the table.

Benjamin Courteau, field harvesting for Flying Bear Farm.

Benjamin Courteau, field harvesting Flying Bear Farm’s snapdragons

Here's the land that a friend has lent Melissa and Benjamin to grow flowers on Whidbey Island.

Here’s the land that a friend has lent Melissa and Benjamin to grow flowers on Whidbey Island.

A floral creation from Flying Bear Farm

A floral creation from Flying Bear Farm

A Flying Bear Farm tabletop design ~ lovely!

A Flying Bear Farm tabletop design ~ lovely!

Tobey Nelson of Vases Wild

Tobey Nelson of Vases Wild

After lunch, I grabbed some time with our final guest, Tobey Nelson of Vases Wild.

Tobey and I have been talking about this emerging Whidbey Island flower farming-floral design community for a couple of years so I credit her with pulling together my field trip.

She has an extensive background in landscape design, fine gardening and wedding & event florals, which makes Tobey particularly passionate about sourcing from local flower farms on Whidbey Island.

That said, it’s not unusual for her to jump on an early-morning ferry to come into Seattle where she shops for flowers grown by the farms of the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market.

Floral necklace by Vases Wild's Tobey Nelson (c) Suzanne Rothmeyer Photography

Floral necklace by Vases Wild’s Tobey Nelson (c) Suzanne Rothmeyer Photography

Wedding arbor by Vases Wild's (c) image by Scott O'Malley

Wedding arbor by Vases Wild’s (c) image by Scott O’Malley

Bridal bouquet by Vases Wild's Tobey Nelson (c) Mazagran Photography

Bridal bouquet by Vases Wild’s Tobey Nelson (c) Mazagran Photography

Please enjoy each guests’ unique perspective on growing flowers, island style. They are building a creative interdependence that is a small-scale model of what can and should happen in every community where flower farmers and florists come together.

Here’s how you can find & follow the Whidbey Island creatives:

Sonshine Farm, Pam Uhlig and Kelly Uhlig on Instagram

Flying Bear Farm, Melissa Brown and Benjamin Courteau on Facebook

Flying Bear Farm on Twitter

Flying Bear Farm on Pinterest

Flying Bear Farm on Instagram

Vases Wild, Tobey Nelson on Facebook

Vases Wild on Pinterest

Vases Wild on Instagram

Thank you so much for joining me today. Episodes of the Slow Flowers Podcast have been downloaded more than 74,000 times and I thank you and others in the progressive American-grown floral community for supporting this endeavor.

Until next week, you’re invited to join me in putting more American grown flowers on the table, one vase at a time. And If you like what you hear, please consider logging onto Itunes and posting a listener review. THANK YOU to each and every one of you for downloading, listening, commenting and sharing. It means so much.

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

The Slow Flowers Podcast is engineered and edited by Andrew Wheatley and Hannah Holtgeerts. Learn more about their work at shellandtree.com.

Orchids for floral design with Joan Bateman of Orchidaceae (Episode 222)

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2015
White phalaenopsis from Orchidaceae paired with red ilex from Charles Little & Co., designed by Chad Burnworth of Seattle-based Blue Hummingbird Botanical Studio.

White phalaenopsis from Orchidaceae paired with red ilex from Charles Little & Co., designed by Chad Burnworth of Seattle-based Blue Hummingbird Botanical Studio.

Joan Bateman of Orchidaceae

Joan Bateman of Orchidaceae

It’s not yet officially winter, but orchid season is upon us. And today’s guest will tell us all about growing orchids for floral design.

Please meet Joan Bateman, who with her husband Mark Srull own Orchidaceae.

Joan and I have served together on the board of the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market for two years, and we work closely together on the market’s marketing committee.

I’ve wanted to feature an orchid episode for quite some time!

Joan and I finally sat down a few weeks ago, surrounded by the beautiful plants she and Mark grow, to record this conversation and share it with you.

Here’s a little more about Orchidacead:

Inside the greenhouses at Orchidaceae in Walla Walla, (eastern) Washington

Inside the greenhouses at Orchidaceae in Walla Walla, (eastern) Washington

A gorgeous Cattleya

A gorgeous Cattleya

Based in Walla Walla, Washington, Orchidaceae is an award-winning Northwest grower exclusively dedicated to quality orchids.

With over 30 years of experience, Mark and Joan grow and supply orchids for weddings, special events, interior plantscaping, floral arrangements and to collectors around the country in search of esoteric orchid varieties.

In 2002, the couple moved their nursery from Seattle to Walla Walla and embarked on a rural, flower farming lifestyle.

They brought with them extensive experience in graphic design and marketing, and Mark’s enthusiasm for growing orchids, originally as a hobby that’s earned him numerous awards from the American Orchid Society.

Orchidaceae has a reputation for having the most interesting new orchid hybrids. Its breeding program that includes Paphiopedilums, Zygopetalums, Angraecums, Cattleyas and a variety of unique species. The Phalaenopsis are selected to give floral stylists a distinct design edge with stunning color, interesting patterns and unique styles.

Why Walla Walla? “Even though our major markets are in Seattle and Portland, the growing conditions are very positive here, because of the light,” Joan says.  “We’re excited to be a part of the market and have such a broad variety of our orchids available to Seattle buyers.”

Here is the rare, 1940s-era lady slipper 'Clare de Lune', that Joan and I discussed.

Here is the rare 1940s-era lady slipper ‘Clare de Lune’, that Joan and I discussed.

If you want to learn more about orchid growing and how to have success with orchids, check out the link to Orchidaceae’s answers to the most common questions for orchid care. In the Pacific Northwest you can find Joan and Mark’s beautiful plants at the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market and at the Portland Flower Market.

 

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The Slow Flowers Podcast is engineered and edited by Andrew Wheatley and Hannah Holtgeerts. Learn more about their work at shellandtree.com.