Debra Prinzing

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Archive for the ‘Plants’ Category

Episode 388: Stacey Brenner of Maine’s Broadturn Farm on social entrepreneurship, leadership and sustainable business practices, Plus State Spotlight: California

Wednesday, February 13th, 2019
Stacy Brenner of Broadturn Farm

I’m delighted to share today’s conversation with Stacy Brenner of Broadturn Farm in Scarborough, Maine.

Back in May 2012, after the publication of The 50 Mile Bouquet, I received an email from my dear childhood friend, Shari Shambaugh.

We went to high school youth group together in Portland, Oregon, but she had since moved with her family to Portland Maine.
As part of her newsy email, Shari wrote:

Our CSA farm starts up soon, so we’ll be having our source of wonderful produce back from Broadturn Farm. We tried a meat share with another farm this winter, both stepping back from the amount of meat we eat and choosing better/local sources. I am also thinking of getting the flower share this year, a weekly bouquet of flowers from our food CSA.

You would love the blog site of our farmers (lovely people – we had dinner with them a few months ago at the home of mutual friends). Their daughter is a gifted photographer and Stacy (the mom) is a gifted arranger/grower. I knew they grew local blooms, but didn’t know there was a Slow Flower movement. Makes so much sense.  I may go out and paint a few times this summer. I would be nice to get out into the open, and their farm has wonderful vistas.

John Bliss, Stacy Brenner and family
John Bliss, Stacy Brenner and family
Broadturn Farm flowers, grown and designed
Broadturn Farm flowers, grown and designed

Just months later, I met Stacy Brenner and John Bliss of Broadturn Farm when they traveled to Tacoma for the ASCFG Conference — and we connected the dots that my friend Shari was one of their CSA customers. Love the small-world personal connections that happen when you talk about local and seasonal flowers!

I don’t know why it has taken me so long to invite Stacy (and John, who was otherwise detained when we recorded today’s episode, reportedly working in their greenhouses) to be a guest on the Slow Flowers Podcast. So pleased we were able to record today’s episode via Skype this past week.

Broadturn Farm's vivid branding embellishes the delivery van
Broadturn Farm’s vivid branding embellishes the delivery van

There has been a lot of excitement coming out of Maine in the Slow Flowers world lately, including two back-to-back successful years with the Flowering in the North conferences, not to mention Slow Flowers’ relationship with our sponsor Johnny’s Selected Seeds, and our support of Rayne Grace Hoke’s Slow Flowers-inspired design workshops.

Broadturn Farm, Scarborough, Maine
Broadturn Farm, Scarborough, Maine

So, the focus on Maine is growing. Let me tell you more about Broadturn Farm and its owners, Stacy Brenner and John Bliss:

John Bliss and Stacy Brenner share the work of running the farm and raising two daughters, Emma (22) and Flora (12). They both grew up in the suburbs of large cities, with no direct relationship to agriculture, but they started farming together in 2002.

In their bio on Broadturn Farm’s web site, John & Stacy describe themselves as middle aged, at times cynical, hardworking and always delighted to have a good laugh with friends and co-workers. Good food is a high priority, as is travel and plenty of time to binge on TV in the winter during a snow-storm. Access to real food, a strong need for connection to sustenance, and the potential to connect the verdant world with social justice is what urged this couple to put their hands to the earth.

Summer Camp at Broadturn Farm
Summer Camp at Broadturn Farm

While the desire to raise food was easy to intellectualize, flower farming is a hobby gone wild. Stacy and John both have a love for making and growing, thus flower farming and flower design work is like an extension of the challenges of food production melded with the art of design. Every bucket of blooms still makes them giddy. The first bunch of tulips, the perfect peony and the dahlia with just the right shade brings such joy. And, much like the first meal their family enjoyed with all farm-produced food, the first big wedding they produced with all farm grown and foraged goods made their hearts sing. John and Stacy are truly honored to put food on people’s tables and flowers in their arms.

They value Broadturn Farm as a gift, a real blessing, and they are open to sharing that with their community. There are trails to explore and fields to examine and there is always something going on with the livestock, from cud chewing to a mama hen trailed by her 6 chicks. And, if all that proves unexciting, the barn cats are sure to bring smile. If you come by, and you see John or Stacy puttering around, please say hello. They’re almost always busy in the season but never too busy to share a moment with a visitor. There are no regularly scheduled tours but don’t let that keep you from stopping by.

Dahlias at Broadturn Farm

I’m so pleased to share this conversation with you. Stacy has a lot of exciting news to share as well as insights that may inspire you to take a step back and reconsider your farm or studio’s mission and practices.

Beautiful Bird’s Eye view of Broadturn Farm

So much going on and you’ll want to follow and connect with Broadturn Farm. Find and follow the farm here:

Broadturn Farm on Facebook

Broadturn Farm on Instagram

Broadturn Farm Flower Shop at FORAGE (Portland)

READ MORE…

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

Wednesday, February 6th, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And I continue to listen to your podcast. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Queen City Flower Farm on Instagram

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

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

Althea Wiles, Rose of Sharon Floral Design Studio

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

Follow Rose of Sharon at these social places:

Rose of Sharon on Facebook

Rose of Sharon on Instagram

Rose of Sharon on Pinterest

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you to our Sponsors, including those highlighted today!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

audionautix.com

Episode 385: A Conversation with Soul Fire Farm’s Leah Penniman, author of Farming While Black, Plus State Spotlight: Alaska

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2019

Leah Penniman of Soul Fire Farm and author of “Farming While Black.”

Please meet this week’s podcast guest: Leah Penniman of Soul Fire Farm. I am so incredibly excited to share our conversation with you as we discuss Leah’s brand new book, “Farming While Black, Soul Fire Farm’s Practical Guide to Liberation on the Land,” published last October by Chelsea Green Publishing.

Soul Fire Farm – a life-giving hub for education, advocacy and activism

Leah Penniman is a Black Kreyol educator, farmer, author, and food justice activist from Soul Fire Farm in Grafton, NY.

She co-founded Soul Fire Farm in 2011 with the mission to end racism in the food system and reclaim an ancestral connection to land. As co-Executive Director, Leah is part of a team that facilitates powerful food sovereignty programs – including farmer trainings for Black & Brown people, a subsidized farm food distribution program for people living under food apartheid, and domestic and international organizing toward equity in the food system.

Soul Fire Farm’s Leah Penniman and her family

Leah holds an MA in Science Education and BA in Environmental Science and International Development from Clark University. She has been farming since 1996 and teaching since 2002.

The work of Leah and Soul Fire Farm has been recognized by the Soros Racial Justice Fellowship, Fulbright Program, Omega Sustainability Leadership Award, Presidential Award for Science Teaching, NYS Health Emerging Innovator Awards, and Andrew Goodman Foundation, among others. All proceeds from the sale of Farming While Black will be used to support Black Farmers.

Pollinator flowers at Soul Fire Farm

Soul Fire Farm is a Black, indigenous, and people of colorcentered community farm committed to ending racism and injustice in the food system.

Soul Fire Farm raises and distributes life-giving food as a means to end food apartheid. With deep reverence for the land and wisdom of ancestors, the farm works to reclaim its collective right to belong to the earth and to have agency in the food system.

Soul Fire brings diverse communities together on its healing land to share skills on sustainable agriculture, natural building, spiritual activism, health, and environmental justice. Leah and her colleagues are training the next generation of activist-farmers and strengthening the movements for food sovereignty and community self-determination.

I believe that Farming While Black is required reading for all farmers, and for anyone who wants to have a deeper insight into the often-ignored agricultural history of our country.

I highly recommend it — Leah’s passion and spirit jumps off the page as she inspires, informs, instigates and shares her important life’s work as well as her incredibly smart farming advice.

Here’s how you can find and follow Leah Penniman, of Soul Fire Farm:

Soul Fire Farm on Facebook

Soul Fire Farm on Instagram

Here’s more about Farming While Black. And Leah’s Book Tour Schedule — I hope you can hear Leah speak and meet her in a city near you!

Kim Herning of Northern Lights Peonies

 

Kim Herning (left) at Northern Lights Peony Farm

Our theme for 2019 – Fifty States of Slow Flowers – continues today, with Alaska!!

And now, let’s meet Kim Herning of Northern Lights Peonies — who shares an Alaska floral spotlight.

You’ll want to hear from Kim about her journey toward peonies in her life. She is also on the board of Arctic Alaska Peonies, a past sponsor of the Slow Flowers Podcast.

Left: Our Alaska Forget-me-Not coloring sheet from American Flowers Week; Right: Kim Herning of Northern Lights Peonies.

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

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

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

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

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

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 399,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much. Thank you all!

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

Our first Sponsor Spotlight focuses on Johnny’s Selected Seeds, an employee-owned company that provides our industry the best flower, herb and vegetable seeds — supplied to farms large and small and even backyard cutting gardens like mine. Check them out at johnnysseeds.com and if you missed our recent interview with Johnny’s flower category expert, Hillary Alger, I’ll add a link in today’s show notes so you can find it easily.

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

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

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

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

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

Music Credits:

A Palace of Cedar; Rabbit Hole; Gaena; Perspiration
by Blue Dot Sessions

Lovely
by Tryad
http://tryad.bandcamp.com/album/instrumentals
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/

In The Field
Music from:
audionautix.com

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

Wednesday, January 16th, 2019

Jolea Gress and Jenny Hotz of Green Earth Growers

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

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

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

The flower harvest at Green Earth Growers.

Here’s a bit about their story:

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

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

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

Beautiful field-grown sunflowers from Green Earth Growers.

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

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

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

Find and follow Green Earth Growers at these social places:

Green Earth Growers on Facebook

Green Earth Growers on Instagram

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Find and follow Lisa Thorne at these social places:

Thorne & Thistle on Facebook

Thorne & Thistle on Instagram

Thorne & Thistle on Pinterest

Thorne & Thistle on Twitter

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SPONSOR THANKS:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, January 9th, 2019

Johnny’s Seeds flower trial gardens in Maine.

Johnny’s Seeds’ flowers product manager, Hillary Alger

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you from Johnny’s

An update about the Slow Flowers Summit:

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

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

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

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

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

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 395,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much. Thank you all!

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

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

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

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

This week’s sponsor thank-you’s:

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

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

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

Music Credits:

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

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2019

Welcome to the 2019 Forecast!

Happy New Year 2019!

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

Check out the NEW Slowflowerssociety.com site!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

First up: the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Number #1 Experiences, Not Conveniences

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

READ MORE…

Episode 381: A Year in Review – Slow Flowers’ Highlights for 2018

Wednesday, December 26th, 2018

The Slow Flowers Community and listenership of this program have grown larger than ever, with more than 390,000 total downloads since this show launched in July 2013. That’s amazing news and I’m thrilled to share it with you.

(c) Mary Grace Long photography

Every single week this year; in fact, every single week for the past 282 weeks, it has been my privilege to feature the voices of our Slow Flowers community with you.

Unlike any other internet radio show in existence, the Slow Flowers Podcast is tailored to you and your interests, making its “must-listen” programming a habit among flower farmers and floral designers alike.

In producing and hosting the Slow Flowers Podcast, I seek out pioneers and personalities, style-makers and influencers — as well as unsung or little known heroes — who together are changing the floral landscape, disrupting the status quo, and bringing flower sourcing and growing practices, not to mention eco-conscious design methods, to the center of the conversation. And thanks for joining in. Whether you’ve just discovered this podcast or are a longtime fan, I encourage you to take advantage of the immense body of knowledge that can be found in the archives.

As I have done since the beginning of 2014, I would like to devote today to the Slow Flowers Highlights of this past year. Next week, on January 2nd, I will present the annual Slow Flowers’ Floral Insights and Industry Forecast for 2019.

I’m motivated as a storyteller to connect with the Slow Flowers Community in real and personal ways — and that was certainly the case in 2018. Rather than share a chronological travelogue of the year’s calendar, I’m mixing it up today.

I’ve looked in the rear-view mirror to remember 2018 and — wow — the themes bubbling up to the top are impressive. I’m humbled by the warm embrace of the Slow Flowers Community and more than ever, I realize that making authentic human connections with you is what really matters. Each experience is more meaningful because of the relationships we forge with one another.

I’ve identified 10 Top Themes of 2018 that I want to reflect on and share with you today.

Our speakers, from left: Mary Kate Kinnane, Kelly Shore, Debra Prinzing, Jonathan Weber, Jessica Hall, Walker Marsh, Christina Stembel, Kit Wertz & Casey Schwartz (not pictured: Mud Baron)

NUMBER ONE: the SECOND ANNUAL SLOW FLOWERS SUMMIT

Slow Flowers Summit logo The Slow Flowers Summit is the LIVE event in the midst of American Flowers Week, created to serve the Slow Flowers community of progressive, sustainably-minded florists and designers and to engage attendees who want to network with one another.

Planning and producing the 2nd Summit was a huge financial risk, especially since it was the first time on the east coast, away from our original Seattle venue.

I knew we could lose money but my heart told me it was important to forge ahead, as I found myself inspired by the amazing sense of inclusion, connection, new ideas, beauty and humanity surrounding our floral-filled lives.

I believed taking that risk was essential. That risk paid off and we actually had a sold-out Summit on Friday, June 29th in Washington, D.C., with a remarkably welcoming venue host – the American Institute of Floral Designers.

I have so many people to thank for helping produce the Summit, so let me get started. First of all, thanks to Bob Wollam and his team at Wollam Gardens for opening up their Virginia farm the day prior to the Summit for tours, lunch and community. That bonus pre-event was so positive that it inspired us to add two pre-event flower farm tours for our 2019 Slow Flowers Summit. THANK YOU all!

Ellen Seagraves, Cathy Houston and Dana Sullivan ~ the talented florists who led our interactive floral installation.

We had wonderful day-of volunteers, but I mostly want to single out Ellen Seagraves of Chic Florals and Dana O’Sullivan of Della Blooms, both Slow Flowers Members and part of Independent Floral Designers of Maryland, for volunteering to create the Summit’s interactive floral installation. We had so many wonderful donations from flower farms to pull this off — including Charles Little & Co., FernTrust, Green Valley Floral, LynnVale Studio & Farm and Resendiz Brothers Protea Growers — as well as EcoFresh Bouquets, which provided wraps for the foam-free installation.

I can’t forget to thank our speakers — without whom the day would have been an empty room, of course. Our keynote speaker Christina Stembel of Farmgirl Flowers wowed us with a frank discussion of building a self-funded floral business through grit and determination.

We enjoyed two visually and intellectually-inspiring design + business presentations geared toward florists who are committed to the Slow Flowers ethos, in their sourcing and in the ways they build community — Thank you Kelly Shore of Petals by the Shore and Mary Kate Kinnane of The Local Bouquet and thank you Kit Wertz and Casey Schwartz of Flower Duet.

Our Flowers + Tech panel introduced a fascinating discussion about the challenges of transportation, infrastructure and shipping — thank you to Jonathan Weber of greenSinner, Jessica Hall of Harmony Harvest Farm and Christina Stembel of Farmgirl Flowers for their excellent presentations and for helping us look toward the horizon of new business models.

And finally, thank you to our final two speakers, men who are passionate about flower farming as a tool for improving the lives of their communities ~ Walker Marsh of Tha Flower Factory in Baltimore and Mud Baron of Flowers on your Head in Los Angeles.

Flowers on my head, courtesy of Mud Baron.

Among other messages, we learned from them about sowing future seeds of hope through flowers. If you were in attendance – or if you followed the fun on social media, you also know that Mud was a flower force to be reckoned with as he festooned our heads with bouquets to fulfill his mission of photographing as many humans as possible for his Flowers on Your Head photographic project.

If you missed the Summit, you can find all the video presentations available to watch for just $48 on Vimeo — a full day of ideas, information, inspiration, inclusion and instigation with each of these speakers.

Watch a free clip of my opening remarks about the origins of the Slow Flowers Summit.

And I can’t finish this section without reminding you to register for the 3rd annual Slow Flowers Summit, taking place July 1-2, 2019 as an expanded conference, offering you more value and benefits for attending.

The early-bird pricing continues through Dec. 31st so there’s not much time left to save $100 and grab a seat to join me and some wonderful speakers in St. Paul Minnesota!

NUMBER TWO: AMERICAN FLOWERS WEEK 2018 (June 28-July 4)

This original flower promotion holiday, launched in 2015, celebrated its fourth annual campaign. I was encouraged and inspired by friends behind British Flowers Week to create American Flowers Week (and to continue their generosity, I helped support the creation of Canadian Flowers Week this past September).

This grassroots, all-inclusive campaign provides editorial, branding and marketing resources to flower farmers, florists, designers, retailers and wholesalers who wish to promote American grown Flowers.

And wow, did you participate this past year! We have been tracking engagement on Instagram and Twitter, which this year was tricky because new rules on those platforms restricted our ability to measure the potential engagement of our followers’ followers (IF you saw what happened with Facebook this year, I’m sure that make sense)

Even with those tracking limitations, you and your participation in American Flowers Week generated amazing numbers — 3.6 million impressions in the month leading up to the 2018 celebration. We know the real total engagement was much higher, due to tracking tools not being able to capture Facebook traffic.

#americanflowersweek on Instagram this week!

All I can say is THANK YOU to each one of you who joined in the fun by designing red-white-and-blue bouquets, taking photos and posting/tagging them as #local #american and #seasonal and #slowflowers.

Rita Anders of Cuts of Color in Weimar, Texas, delivered American Flowers Week bouquets and bunches to Central Market stores in Houston.

Thanks to those of you who ordered our bouquet labels to use on your market and grocery bouquets, and for CSAs and popup events. And thanks for building the buzz to raise awareness about the importance of conscious choices when it comes to buying flowers. The more fun and fashion we can share with flowers, the more their origin becomes a top-of-mind decision at the cash register.

And speaking of fashion, 2018 was the third year of our American Flowers Week – floral fashion collection, a brilliant season of botanical garments revealing the beauty of flowers, the people who grow those flowers and the floral artists who reimagine them into garments.

Opening pages of “Field to Fashion,” in Slow Flowers Journal for Florists’ Review (June 2018)

This year, we called the theme “Field to Fashion,” and revealed all five floral couture looks in the pages of Florists’ Review magazine. Producing this floral narrative began in Homer, Alaska, where Kelly Shore of Petals by the Shore partnered with Beth Van Sandt of Scenic Place Peonies to envision a styled shoot reflecting just-picked peonies with a storyline that reflects the character, history and geography of Homer.

The series continued with photo shoots taking place through subsequent months of the year, as designers and flower farmers collaborated to turn cut flowers into haute couture, including a session in Sonoma County, with design talents from farmer-florist Hedda Brorstrom of Full Bloom Flower Farm and dazzling dahlias grown by Kate Rowe of Aztec Dahlias;

a winter woodland narrative reliant upon farmer-florist Carly Jenkins of Killing Frost Farm’s penchant for foraging from the forests and woodlands of the Pacific Northwest and Montana;

Alison Higgins and Nicole Cordier of Grace Flowers Hawaii’s Big Island homage to locally-grown tropical flowers and foliage with two regal looks for male and female models;

and Faye Zierer Krause of Flora Organica Designs’ tribute to the Iris, straight from the Sun Valley Flower Farms’ greenhouses of Arcata California.

It is a privilege and an honor to experience this level of creativity and commitment to American Flowers Week. The inventiveness expressed by the Slow Flowers community — flower farmers and floral designers alike — elevates American-grown botanicals to new levels.

Click here to find the photos of the entire 2018 American Flowers Week collection of botanical fashions, including the stories behind each look.

I also need to thank and acknowledge the talented photographers who made each of these beautiful ideas come to life through their lens, including Alex Brooks, Becca Henry, Megan Spelman, Joshua Veldstra and Leon Villagomez.

Botanical artist Ellen Hoverkamp created our American Flowers Week 2018 image and branding!

One more artist gets a big thank you for helping make American Flowers Week more beautiful – and that is Ellen Hoverkamp of My Neighbors’ Garden. We invited Ellen, a Connecticut-based artist, to create a red-white-and-blue bouquet using her signature scanner photography technique and the result was a stunning image that helped us promote the campaign all year long. Her all-American botanical tribute wowed everyone and I’m excited to be able to use American Flowers Week as a way to highlight the work of such a talented artist.

And now’s the time to mark American Flowers Week 2019 on your calendar — June 28 through July 4 — because it will be our fifth annual campaign celebration! I’ll have more to share in the coming months, but you are invited to check out two links I’ll share in today’s show notes — first, a look at the 2019 botanical art branding we commissioned from Josephine Rice, and second, a sneak peek to introduce the florists and flower farmers who are busy creating American Flowers Week botanical fashions for next year’s editorial package.

READ MORE…

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

Wednesday, December 5th, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We have a vital and vibrant community of flower farmers and floral designers who together define the Slow Flowers Movement.

As our cause gains more supporters and more passionate participants who believe in the importance of the American cut flower industry, the momentum is contagious.

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

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 385,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much. Thank you all!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PepperHarrow Farm (c) Liz Brown @estorie

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

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

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

Music Credits:

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

Wednesday, November 28th, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s a bit about the new book:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(c) Heather Saunders

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

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

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 385,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much. Thank you all!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Music Credits:

Episode 372: News from Flowerstock and my Conversation with its Creator, Holly Chapple

Wednesday, October 24th, 2018

Holly Heider Chapple at Flowerstock 2018 (c) Sarah Collier

Love this photo, captured by Sarah Collier, of the Flowerstock experience, photographed during one of Holly’s presentations.

Last week, Holly Heider Chapple welcomed designers and flower lovers from near and far to Flowerstock at HOPE Flower Farm.

Floral professionals and members of the floral community gathered for two days of demonstrations and talks by renowned floral designers, including Holly, Steve Moore of Sinclair & Moore, Nancy Teasley of Oak & the Owl and Alicia and Adam Rico of Bows & Arrows.

It was an honor to join Holly at Flowerstock for the second time as a a teacher.

I led a number of creative writing exercises for attendees, guiding floral creatives through various modules of describing flowers, color and memories in a new way.

These bud vases, arranged and photographed by Andrea K. Grist, were part of a writing module to describe what we see.

There were many quiet corners for writing, upstairs in the Dairy Barn, which is where I found Kelly Shore with pen, paper and flowers!

Color word-play is an important part of the Creative Writing Process, too, richly expanding our language.

The personal floral narrative is powerful.

We heard this idea many times from my fellow presenters and the timing was perfect for those who brought pens, paper, their open minds and a little vulnerability to the process.

We gathered upstairs in one of the barns, where there was a creative space for writing, photography and floral design. Thank you to all who participated.

I’m eager to read more of your writing!

Before I departed Flowerstock to return to Seattle, I asked Holly if we could sit down for the Slow Flowers Podcast to record an update from her and she agreed.

It was nice to sneak away to the Tenant House, where many of the speakers stayed, and sit in a comfy corner to speak uninterrupted.

We didn’t watch the clock, so this is a longish episode. We’ll forgive you if you listen in smaller units of time.

Sarah Collier captured this party photo of Holly and me, just prior to the final evening’s dinner. What a fun memento!

The first half of this episode focuses on Flowerstock and you can feel our emotions and joy while listening to Holly and I share highlights with one another.

This is the massive arrangement that Holly created at Flowerstock using the new extra-large Holly Pillow, a foam-free mechanic that she designed in conjunction with Syndicate Sales. (c) Sarah Collier

Then, during the second half of this episode, I ask Holly to update me on all that’s has happened in the past year with her new product line created in partnership with Syndicate Sales.

Holly Chapple holding her new grid-format “eggs” and “pillow cages,” designed with Syndicate Sales.

If you’ve missed the news, you’ll enjoy hearing the “backstory” of the Holly Egg and the Holly Pillow, new mechanics that allow efficiency, eliminate the use of foam, and (in Holly’s opinion) lend themselves to higher productivity during the design and production of weddings and events. Click here to learn more about this new product line, called the Holly Heider Chapple Collection by Syndicate Sales.

What a whirlwind of topics and stories ~ thanks for joining us. You can hear my original interview on the Slow Flowers Podcast with Holly, which we mentioned while reminiscing. It was Episode 123, which aired Jan 9, 2014. Wow, has so much happened for both Holly and me in the ensuing years as we’ve both promoting progressive practices in floral design and flower farming — in our own ways.

I want to encourage you to visit the Slow Flowers Summit site to learn more about the amazing program, people and flowers you’ll engage with next summer.

It’s not too early to save the date and secure your seat!

Slow Flowers members receive special discount pricing and everyone receives $100 off with the Early Bird rate, on sale now!

Please come back next week where you’ll hear another amazing episode featuring the leading voices in our Slow Flowers Community.

We have a vital and vibrant community of flower farmers and floral designers who together define the Slow Flowers Movement.

As our cause gains more supporters and more passionate participants who believe in the importance of the American cut flower industry, the momentum is contagious.

I know you feel it, too. I value your support and invite you to show your thanks and with a donation to support my ongoing advocacy, education and outreach activities.

You can find the donate button in the column to the right.

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 372,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much.

Thank you to our Podcast Sponsors, including our lead sponsor for 2018, Florists’ Review magazine. I’m delighted to serve as Contributing Editor for Slow Flowers Journal, found in the pages of Florists’ Review. It’s the leading trade magazine in the floral industry and the only independent periodical for the retail, wholesale and supplier market.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(c) Missy Palacol Photography

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

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

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

Music Credits:
Betty Dear
by Blue Dot Sessions
Music from:

audionautix.com