Debra Prinzing

Archive for the ‘Plants’ Category

Slow Flowers in the UK: A visit to Petersham Nurseries in Surry

Monday, May 25th, 2015
The Garden Shop at Petersham's Nurseries

The Garden Shop at Petersham Nurseries

Lovely spring urn with heuchera, ferns and more.

Lovely spring urn with heuchera, ferns and more.

After a harrowing taxi ride (one hour for 12 miles?) from London, my mom and I arrived on Wednesday at Petersham Nurseries. And once we discovered what was inside the gates, we concluded that our 40 pound fare was totally worth it!

We took the journey in order to meet up with Sarah Statham of Simply by Arrangement, an up-until-now virtual flower friend, who had invited us to spend a few days with her in Yorkshire.

She was also in London for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show and made the brilliant suggestion that we use Petersham as a meeting place before driving to Hebden Bridge, where she lives and designs flowers (and more on that later!).

Petersham Nurseries dates to the 1970s when it was a local garden center carved out of the Petersham House estate.

After years of neglect, the nursery reopened in 2004 after extensive restorations by Gael & Francesco Boglione, the current owners of Petersham House.

Plant displays on old carts - what's more perfect?

Plant displays on old carts – what’s more perfect?

Foxgloves galore! It is spring, after all.

Foxgloves galore! It is spring, after all.

Lunch at Petersham Nursery: pea-and-mint soup with tomato and burrata salad.

Lunch at Petersham Nursery: pea-and-mint soup with tomato and burrata salad.

Beautiful garden furniture, gifts, tableware and antiques can now be found amongst the plants which adorn the vintage glass greenhouses.

In a ramshackle wooden teahouse we found delicious pastries and homemade cakes (as well as lunch!).

There is also a popular restaurant to which I would love to return some day.

This is a thoroughly charming destination not far from London.

It has history, an obviously talented team of horticulturists, beautiful plants and that timeless character you can’t get in the U.S.

The cutting garden, where we met up with Caroline and Rosie. This lovely long raised bed supplies flowers for Petersham House, as well as the Restaurant and Cafe.

The cutting garden, where we met up with Caroline and Rosie. This lovely long raised bed supplies flowers for Petersham House, as well as the Restaurant and Cafe.

Sarah planned a huge surprise for us – a private tour of the Petersham House grounds. Her friend Caroline is gardening here as a volunteer, working alongside Rosie, who is the genius behind many of the landscape plantings you see in these images.

Not much more to say than this: Please gaze upon the beauty of a 150-foot-long English garden double-border in May. Few can replicate this, due to lack of time, money, or land – but please feel free to borrow a few ideas for your own patch! And if you will be in London on June 7th, you can visit the private grounds of Petersham House as part of the National Gardening Scheme charitable program.

Petersham House, as seen from the long border.

Petersham House, as seen from the long border.

The glorious Petersham double border. Sublime!

The glorious Petersham double border. Sublime!

Week 20 // Slow Flowers Challenge with #Britishgrown flowers

Sunday, May 24th, 2015
Beautiful Yorkshire-grown blooms from the garden of Sarah Statham and James Reader

Beautiful Yorkshire-grown blooms from the garden of Sarah Statham and James Reader

I promised to share an uniquely British-themed arrangement for this week’s Slow Flowers Challenge  and the floral offerings you see here are indeed straight from the garden of Sarah Statham, my host these past four days.
Sarah is the owner of a wonderful enterprise called Simply by Arrangement, a floral workshop-culinary experience created with her friend Christie Buchanan.
I met Sarah “virtually” when introduced by Gill Hodgson of Flowers from the Farm. Gill is the champion behind the organization that promotes British flowers and the farmers and florists involved with the renaissance of their domestic floral industry (sound familiar?). When I told Gill that I would be in England to tour the Chelsea Flower Show, she arranged an ambitious itinerary for me and my traveling companion, my mother Anita.
After four days in and around London, we headed to Northeast England with Sarah. She and her husband James hosted us at their lovely home in the Yorkshire village of Hebden Bridge.
We’ve had many wonderful moments together, including joining a gathering of the Yorkshire flower farmers and florists who are part of Flowers from the Farm. They graciously asked me to share the story of Slow Flowers and news of the American grown floral movement. And that was a rare privilege made more special by the service of afternoon tea, in the most proper fashion.
On Friday, Sarah gave me a pair of clippers and a bucket and let me loose in her garden. Together, we both designed truly local and seasonal Yorkshire arrangements to share with you here.
The green glass vase contains an exhuberant display of spring Yorkshire flowers - and captures a moment in time as I clipped and designed with flowers from Sarah and James's garden.

The green glass vase contains an exhuberant display of spring Yorkshire flowers – and captures a moment in time as I clipped and designed with flowers from Sarah and James’s garden.

The flowers and foliage used above in my bouquet include:

  • White Centranthus ruber ‘Albus’
  • A type of acid-green euphorbia
  • Rodgersia foliage (large, dramatica and a beautiful dark rust color)
  • Astrantia blooms (whitish-green)
  • White bleeding heart (Dicentra) – flowers and foliage
  • Meadow rue (Thalictrum) flowers
  • Peach tulips
  • Cirsium rivulare ‘Atropurpureum’ – a NEW perennial to me with deep burgundy, thistle-like flowers and long prickly foliage.
Cirsium rivulare 'Atropurpureum'

Cirsium rivulare ‘Atropurpureum’

Here's Sarah, putting the finishing touches on her lovely design.

Here’s Sarah, putting the finishing touches on her lovely design.

Sarah made me thoroughly envious when I saw her collection of vintage copper containers, including a few she picked up at a Chelsea Flower Show vendor who I’d completely overlooked. The copper informed her designs, as she opted for a sultry burgundy, plum and apricot palette.  

It is stunning, as you can see below:

A copper-inspired bouquet by Sarah Statham - so gorgeous!!!

A copper-inspired bouquet by Sarah Statham – so gorgeous!!!

Here are the ingredients Sarah selected:

  • Two types of Japanese maple foliage
  • A variety of tulips, including peach, plum, white and almost-brown
  • Geum with an apricot flower
  • White Astrantia
  • White-flowering Anthriscus sylvestris ‘Raven’s Wing’
Here are the ingredients Sarah selected: Two types of Japanese maple foliage A variety of tulips, including peach, plum, white and almost-brown Geum with an apricot flower White Astrantia White-flowering Anthriscus sylvestris 'Raven's Wing'

Up close, Sarah’s design is completely shimmery.

The photo shoot: In the courtyard of Sarah's ancient stone cottage in Yorkshire. So magical to be there!

The photo shoot: In the courtyard of Sarah’s ancient stone cottage in Yorkshire. So magical to be there!

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

Wednesday, May 20th, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Subject line: It is Working

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4th generatoin Fern Farmer Eric Hagstrom.

4th generatoin Fern Farmer Erik Hagstrom.

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

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

The family-owned business was started in 1928.

Glossy and durable -- Leatherleaf fern.

Glossy and durable — Leatherleaf fern.

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

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

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

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

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

Variegated pittosporum shrubs, growing prolifically under a shade structure.

Variegated pittosporum shrubs, growing prolifically under a shade structure.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Albin Hagstrom & Son on Facebook

Erik Hagstrom on Twitter: @erikhagstrom

Listeners like you have downloaded the podcast nearly 49,000 times. Until next week please join me in putting more American grown flowers on the table, one vase at a time. And If you like what you hear, please consider logging onto Itunes and posting a listener review.

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

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

Chelsea in Bloom: Floral Decor for London’s Shopfronts

Sunday, May 17th, 2015
Chelsea in Bloom

Chelsea in Bloom

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Color-blocking with carnations.

Color-blocking with carnations.

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

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

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

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

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

SOME MORE FAVORITES:

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

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

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

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

A succulent footstool at Smythson.

A succulent footstool at Smythson.

Another charming detail at Smythson.

Another charming detail at Smythson.

Pink Baby's Breath Butterfly @Smythson.

Pink Baby’s Breath Butterfly @Smythson.

Mad Hatter's Tea Party at  Brunello Cucinelli.

Mad Hatter’s Tea Party at Brunello Cucinelli.

Tea setting in flowers: Brunello Cucinelli.

Tea setting in flowers: Brunello Cucinelli.

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

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

Here are those foxgloves - at Dubarry of Ireland.

Here are those foxgloves – at Dubarry of Ireland.

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

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

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

Week 19 // Slow Flowers Challenge with Flowering Branches

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Flowering Cherry with Snowball Viburnum.

Flowering Cherry with Snowball Viburnum.

Simple: Quince in two hues, plus swordfern.

Simple: Quince in two hues, plus swordfern.

Flowering plum, paired with Lamb's Ear foliage.

Flowering plum, paired with Lamb’s Ear foliage.

Spring hellebores paired with flowering apricot branches.

Spring hellebores paired with flowering apricot branches.

Week 18 // Slow Flowers at Disney Epcot

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

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

Having Fun on the Festival Stage at Disney Epcot.

Having Fun on the Festival Stage at Disney Epcot.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Beautiful blue delphiniums in the high tunnel.

Beautiful blue delphiniums in the high tunnel.

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

Look at this gorgeous, healthy amaranthus!

Look at this gorgeous, healthy amaranthus!

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

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

Hot pink snapdragons.

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

A birds-eye view of the packing operation.

A birds-eye view of the packing operation.

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

And here are two videos I wanted to share:

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

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

Here are other ways to connect with Joseph & Sons:

Joseph & Sons on Facebook

Joseph & Sons on Pinterest

Joseph & Sons on Instagram

Listeners like you have downloaded the podcast more than 46,000 times. Until next week please join me in putting more American grown flowers on the table, one vase at a time. And If you like what you hear, please consider logging onto Itunes and posting a listener review.

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

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

Week 16 // Spring’s Bright Outlook

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

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

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

Here’s what I included in my design demonstration:

Euphorbia foliage, grown by Jello Mold Farm

Lilac blooms, grown by Jello Mold Farm

Poppies, grown by Jello Mold Farm

Anemones (pale purple), grown by Sonshine Flower Farm

Anemones (maroon-red), grown by Everyday Flowers

Fancy orange tulips, grown by Sonshine Flower farm

Bleeding hearts, grown by Ojeda Flower Farm

Potted succulents

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

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

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

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

Back view: showing off those maroon anemones!

Back view: showing off those maroon anemones!

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

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

Earth Day with Updates from Peterkort Roses and Floral Soil (Episode 190)

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2015

Earth-Day-Logo-2015 This week’s episode coincides with Earth Day, fittingly symbolic for the Slow Flowers Movement and flower farmers, floral designers and product innovators who are working to change our industry and push for progress to alter the status quo.

So I’d like to share a few news items as well as two follow-up interviews featuring guests of past Slow Flowers Podcast episodes.

Listen closely to find out how you can win prize packages from each of our guests – you’ll want to get in on the good stuff!

First off, if you enjoyed last week’s interview with Jenny Elliott and Luke Franco of Tiny Hearts Farm in New York’s Hudson Valley and Rachel Gordon of Taproot Flowers of Brooklyn, please check out more photos that I’ve added to the show notes. They’re onto something really special and I encourage you to listen if you missed that episode – and enjoy the beautiful flowers the three of them grow and arrange in their worlds.

FRD_posters_2015_photography_loweres2 Second, I want to share details about this week’s Fashion Revolution Day, which takes place on April 24th.

If you believe in Slow Flowers, you should also embrace and support Slow Fashion, which has so many parallels in terms of labor practices, environmental concern and trade policy.

Slow Fashion asks questions about the origins of the clothing we wear that are virtually identical to the questions Slow Flowers asks about the bouquets we bring into our homes.

Fashrev2015 Fashion Revolution Day 2015 marks the second anniversary of the Rana Plaza disaster in Dhaka, Bangladesh, which killed 1,133, and injured over 2,500 people.

According to Fashion Revolution’s data, one in six people work in the global fashion supply chain. It is the most labor-dependent industry on the planet, yet the people who make our clothing are hidden from us, often at their own expense, a symptom of the broken links across the fashion industry.

Wow, doesn’t that sound identical to the floriculture industry? On April 24th, coordinated teams around the world will challenge global fashion brands to demonstrate commitment to transparency across the length of the value chain, from farmers to factory workers, brands to buyers and consumers.

Zady.com, an innovative online fashion brand based in New York City, is serving as U.S. chair of Fashion Revolution Day. Slow Flowers has been invited to help promote the cause. Check out this Slow Fashion/Fashion Revolution event taking place in Brooklyn. Slow Flowers hopes to have ongoing involvement with Slow Fashion in the future.

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I am inspired by what the fashion industry has done in just two years to mobilize conscious consumers to care about the origins of their clothing — and in the future, I hope the floral industry will be just as vocal. I don’t wish for a fatal disaster to occur at an unregulated flower farm in a distant land to make us all wake up and start asking about the origins of our flowers.

What you can do on April 24th is to use your own social channels to get active. Take a photo of yourself wearing an item of clothing inside out. Tag the brand, share the photo on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with the hashtags: #whomademyclothes and #fashrev.

Not to take away from this important endeavor, but perhaps you’ll be inspired to ALSO take a photo of yourself holding flowers that came from a US mega-retailer, big box store or supermarket and tag that retailer on your social sites with the hashtags: #whogrewmyflowers and #slowflowers. Just a thought.

Thanks for caring!

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Week 15 // Spring Awakening

Sunday, April 19th, 2015
The pods and buds are waking up. They're shouting, "we're here!"

The pods and buds are waking up. They’re shouting, “we’re here!”

It’s been a crazy week here in Slow Flowers Land, but after 8 days of travel, I’m so delighted to be home in Seattle for a week. Seattle has been good to us, with mid-60s to 70-degree weather.
 
Today was no exception. I clipped a bit of this and that – all from my awakening garden. It truly is a Spring Awakening here!
Just unfurled: a vivid yellow poppy

Just unfurled: a vivid yellow poppy

The delicate leaves and flowers that are pushing up through the April soil are each special in their own way. Here’s what I included in my spontaneous spring arrangement:

Variegated hosta leaves
Acid yellow smoke bush (Cotinus coggygria ‘Golden Spirit’)
The young tips of deer fern (Blechnum spicant)
Green-and-rust-variegated Epimedium leaves and a few flowering stems
Yellow poppies, flowers & buds

The final arrangement - all from April 18th in the garden

The final arrangement – all from April 18th in the garden

Love how all the season's new foliage works together.

Love how all the season’s new foliage works together.

A word about the vase. Christina Stembel of Farmgirl Flowers turned me onto“Wine Punts,” 100% recycled, made in USA, these beautiful vessels are wine bottles that have been repurposed into drinking glasses. Or, small vases. Available in sets of 4 in many colors. Love the size and the pale green hue.