Debra Prinzing

Archive for the ‘Playfulness’ Category

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

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

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

Another view of the hanging pieces

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

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

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

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

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

ENJOY THIS FABULOUS VIDEO, COURTESY OF ANDREW BUCHANAN:

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

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

READ MORE…

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

Wednesday, January 27th, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Love this hot, orange-red amoeba palette!

Love this hot, orange-red amoeba palette!

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

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

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

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

The final installation is gloriously wild and magical.

The final installation is gloriously wild and magical.

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

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

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

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

Another view of the hanging pieces

Another view of the hanging pieces

Details of the pink and fuchsia amoeba

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

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

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

Floressence, owned by Anne Bradfield

Terra Bella Flowers, owned by Melissa Feveyear

Splash Floral and Interiors, owned by Lisa Behringer

Columbia City Bouquet, owned by Emily Kopca

Gather, owned by Amy Kunkel-Patterson

Bash and Bloom, owned by Eleanor Blackford

Lola Creative, owned by Emily Ellen Anderson

Camas Design, owned by Erin Shackelford

First & Bloom, owned by Tammy Myers

Smashing Petals, owned by Keita Horn

Melanie Benson Floral, owned by Melanie Benson

Vases Wild, owned by Tobey Nelson

Casablanca Floral, owned by Maura Whalen

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

NEWS TO SHARE

This happened and it came as a total surprise!

This happened and it came as a total surprise!

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

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

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

80K

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 80,000 times by listeners like you. THANK YOU to each and every one of you for downloading, listening, commenting and sharing. It means so much.

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

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

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

Music provided by: Audio Nautix

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

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

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

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

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

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

2016 Tour Dates

(3 additional dates and locations will be added soon)

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

April 13th: Carlsbad, CA ~ The Flower Fields

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

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

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

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

November 5th: Woodland, WA ~ Holland America Flowers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Another view of Elizabeth's beautiful centerpieces.

Another view of Elizabeth’s beautiful centerpieces.

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

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

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

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

Another peek at the Terrarium designs of Andrea Gagnon.

Another peek at the Terrarium designs of Andrea Gagnon.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Syndicate Sales’ Catalog for 2016

Syndicate Stars Reward Program for Florists

“Millie’s Musings,” Syndicate’s Blog

Follow Syndicate Sales on Facebook

Follow Syndicate Sales on Instagram

Follow Syndicate Sales on Pinterest

Follow Syndicate Sales on Twitter

Contact Anne Graves at agraves@syndicatesales.com

MORE NEWS

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

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

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

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

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

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

Reach Erin McMullen here: raindropfarms@peak.org

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded nearly 79,000 times by listeners like you. THANK YOU to each and every one of you for downloading, listening, commenting and sharing. It means so much.

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

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

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

2016 Floral Insights & Industry Forecast (Episode 227)

Wednesday, January 6th, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

Why Slow Flowers? from debra prinzing on Vimeo.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NEWS ITEM

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

OUR 2016 FORECAST

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

READ MORE…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Chorus]

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

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

[Chorus]

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

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

Check out that vintage Gibson guitar!

Check out that vintage Gibson guitar!

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

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

Find Jello Mold Farm on Facebook

Find Jello Mold Farm on Instagram

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

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

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

Jello Mold Farm, fields, and barn

Jello Mold Farm, fields, and barn

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

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

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

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

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

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

Celebrate Poinsettia Day with an Incredible “Living” Poinsettia Dress

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The sexiest poinsettias I've ever seen!

The sexiest poinsettias I’ve ever seen!

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

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

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

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

Bodice detail showing that beautiful ombre styling

Bodice detail showing that beautiful ombre styling

And the back detail is just as lovely

And the back detail is just as lovely

HOW THEY DID IT

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

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

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

Fantasy + Fashion + Flowers

Fantasy + Fashion + Flowers

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

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

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

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

wow. just. wow.

wow. just. wow.

About International Poinsettia Day #PoinsettiaDay

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

About Okishima & Simmonds                 www.okishimasimmonds.com

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

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

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


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

Objects of Desire: Best Gifts for Florists and Flower Lovers (Episode 221)

Wednesday, November 25th, 2015

Gifts for flower lovers Welcome to the first edition of the Slow Flowers’ “Best Gifts for Florists and Flower Lovers.”

The holiday season is upon us and today’s episode will accomplish several things. I created this special gift-themed segment to highlight some of my favorite artisan-made products that I’ve become familiar with in the past year or longer.

Second, I wanted to share the voices of “makers” with you. All are women this year, but that is just a happy coincidence (I’m sure we’ll find many male makers to highlight in the future). I recorded short conversations with each of these select artisans. Each is driven to create beautiful and high-quality products inspired by flowers, botany and nature.

Please enjoy these conversations and check out these artist-makers, their work, and – most importantly, links to their online stores so you can see their collections of American-made goods for gift-giving. Have an unforgettable Floral Holiday and moreover, be inspired by the creative entrepreneurs you’ll hear from today.

PHOTOGRAPHIC TAPESTRIES

American artist-maker Ellen Hoverkamp

American artist-maker Ellen Hoverkamp

First up, meet botanical photographer Ellen Hoverkamp of My Neighbor’s Garden.

I’ve written about Ellen’s work for the Los Angeles Times and for Garden Design Magazine, so over the past few years, we’ve become friends.

It was especially rewarding to have Ellen attend an all-day workshop I taught at Blithewold Mansion in Rhode Island last fall – and to see how readily this gifted artist moves from one medium to another.

A Connecticut-based artist and former art teacher, Ellen Hoverkamp first started composing images from nature using an early model flatbed photo scanner in 1997, she didn’t even own a camera. Nor did she know the names of most of the plants she used. “It was all about form and color for me.”

jennifers_peonies

Peonies, a fine art image by Ellen Hoverkamp

tlf_farmstand

From the farmstand, a fine art image by Ellen Hoverkamp

Fast-forward to 2005 and Hoverkamp’s evocative and artful assemblages of botanicals and edibles were profiled in The New York Times; they’ve since been exhibited in museums and graced covers of books and periodicals.

 

 

 

 

An herb garden, printed on silk as a lovely scarf.

An herb garden, printed on silk as a lovely scarf.

Here's that gorgeous Queen Red Lime Zinnia + Celosia image, printed on silk

Here’s that gorgeous Queen Red Lime Zinnia + Celosia image, printed on silk

A summer kitchen garden on silk

A summer kitchen garden on silk

 

 

Ellen arranges flowers, pods, branches, vines, gourds and roots as vivid still-lifes against striking black backdrops.

Dahlias printed on black canvas tote bags.

Cafe au lait dahlias, with gourds, printed on black canvas tote bags.

I like to imagine that if Ellen had been born three or four centuries ago, she would have been a Dutch master painter. “I love the hyper-real details of my images,” she says.

Ellen relies on cuttings from public gardens, nurseries and private landscapes to create her pieces. She says that the mission of her work is to bring attention to the efforts of gardeners and to the beauty of nature.

At Ellen’s web site you can find a beautiful online store with her photographic products, including signed prints, note cards and my favorite– photographically printed scarves.

Ellen is a renaissance woman. Her 12-by-58-inch scarves feature seasonal floral and botanical compositions printed on silk charmeuse. The reverse side is hand-died contrasting fabric and Ellen custom sews each one.

In addition to drooling over Ellen’s botanical scarves, I know you’ll want to peruse the fine art work on her web site. You can order prints of most of the floral and veggie compositions there – and there are hundreds to choose from. Ellen posts new work each week on her Facebook page, so check out my link to find and follower her there.

Finally, you can now order her beautiful black canvas tote bags featuring a cornucopia of edibles or a just-picked-from-the-garden floral array. Click here to order.

SEATTLE MADE TO CONTAIN YOUR STEMS

Kristin Nelson, American maker and ceramicist, poses with some of her beautiful vases.

Kristin Nelson, American maker and ceramicist, poses with some of her beautiful vases.

Next up, please meet Kristin Nelson of Kri Kri Studio, a Seattle-based ceramic artist whose vases are popular favorites of the local floral design community here and far beyond, including Barney’s stores in Japan.

I’ve selected Kristin’s vessels to present my All-American floral entries at the Northwest Flower & Garden Show for the past two years. Learn more about her story here.

It seems so fitting to combine locally-grown flowers gathered in vases of equal quality and beauty, made by a talented artisan who touches every single product that leaves her studio.

Eve, the lovely, sensual vase by Kristin Nelson, shown in coral glaze

Eve, the lovely, sensual vase by Kristin Nelson, shown in coral glaze

The VIT bubble vase, one of my favorites!

The VIT bubble vase, one of my favorites!

Kristin’s new VIT Collection is modern and clean, inspired by Scandinavian design and a perfect complement to any flower in any season.

I love Kristin’s color sensibility in the glazes she selects — everything from calming neutrals to joy-inducing brights.

If you’re in Seattle, you may want to check out Kristin’s upcoming studio sale in early December where you’ll meet the artist and get to choose the perfectly-imperfect hand-made vase just for yourself or perhaps as a gift for a special recipient. Kri Kri Studio’s Facebook Page will have more details – so check it out here.

Kristin also shared details and links to these upcoming Seattle events, where you can meet the artist and purchase her lovely pieces:

Clementine PoP uP, Nov- Jan

Praxis Arts, Sat. Nov 28th  

Multi Studio Event, Dec 12th & 13th

To be on Kristin’s mailing list for her annual sale, email her at krikristudio@aol.com

Bud vases look great grouped together!

Bud vases look great grouped together!

VIT Torso Vases

VIT Torso Vases

HAND-LETTERED AND HAND-MADE

Karen Plarisan (left) and Karly Sahr (right) of Vebena Flowers + Trimmings

Karen Plarisan (left) and Karly Sahr (right) of Vebena Flowers + Trimmings

Next up, please meet Karen Plarisan and Karly Sahr of Verbena Flowers & Trimmings based in Roseville, California.

The mother-daughter team lives and breathes flowers. Karly Sahr has a graphic design and art degree from U.C. Davis, while mom Karen Plarisan has a landscape design and horticulture background.

They gather inspiration from being surrounded by nature, so it is only fitting that Verbena has developed into a pesticide-free farm and flower design studio.

In addition to floral design work, the two have added an online store that features Karly’s creative product designs.

I want to highlight the “Earth Laughs With Flowers” t-shirt featuring Karly’s exquisite hand-lettering.  She and Karen gifted me a very special tote bag with that same screen print last year and I can’t tell you how many people stop and ask me how they can purchase that tote. The totes aren’t available right now, but the t-shirts are. I know the design will resonate with flower farmers and florists alike.

"Earth Laughs in Flowers," a soft, flattering, American-made T-shirt with a charming hand-lettered message.

“Earth Laughs in Flowers,” a soft, flattering, American-made T-shirt with a charming hand-lettered message.

Downloadable 2016 calendar featuring florals by Verbena's mom-daughter farmer-florists

Downloadable 2016 calendar featuring florals by Verbena’s mom-daughter farmer-florists

Karly's walnut cutting board designs are modern and make a special gift.

Karly’s walnut cutting board designs are modern and make a special gift.

This week you’ll find a sale going on 30 percent off t-shirts, stickers and all graphic downloadsthrough November 29th. And Karen and Karly are offering a free “Life in Color” download with every purchase. It’s just the thing to add to your own inspiration board or to print and give a friend who needs a creative lift.

LUXURIATE WITH HANDMADE SOAPS & BODY PRODUCTS

Holly and Justin Rutt of the Little Flower Soap Co.

Holly and Justin Rutt of the Little Flower Soap Co.

download Next up, please meet Holly Rutt of the Little Flower Soap Co., based in Michigan. Holly spends most of her time during the warmer months running Sweet Pea Floral Design, serving wedding clients, but when the temperatures drop, she turns her focus to a joint maker-project with her husband Justin Rutt.

The Little Flower Soap Co. is a small batch, body care company established in 2010.

Holly and Justin’s mission is to design products that become must-have, can’t live without favorites. They have developed completely natural, healing recipes that smell amazing, really work and are cutely packaged.

All Natural Chapstick made in small batches with lots of care loaded up with generous portions of the greatest ingredients especially shea butter, jojoba, vitamin E oil & hemp oil

All Natural Chapstick made in small batches with lots of care loaded up with generous portions of the greatest ingredients especially shea butter, jojoba, vitamin E oil & hemp oil

The complete spa gift package - a great gift to give and receive

The complete spa gift package – a great gift to give and receive

Please enjoy this short interview with Holly.

It’s too bad you can’t smell all these wonderful fragrances we’re talking about, but her prices are so affordable that you can easily order a few products to give as gifts, but save one yourself.

Holly’s enthusiasm for her products are contagious. There’s something for everyone cooking up in the kitchen at Little Flower Soap Co.

Check out all of the products here.

And a quick note – you’ll meet Holly wearing her floral designer hat in an upcoming segment of The Slow Flowers Podcast when I interview her about the flower-filled bathroom she designed for The Flower House in Detroit. so stay tuned.

SUSTAINABLE FLORA FASHION

Floral wraps by American Flora ~ made from recycled water bottles!

Floral wraps by American Flora ~ made from recycled water bottles!

Mary Brewster, president and founder of American Flora, a sustainable fashion company and all-American maker.

Mary Brewster, president and founder of American Flora, a sustainable fashion company and all-American maker.

My final gift selection introduces you to Mary Brewster of American Flora, a sustainable fashion company based in Connecticut. I hope you’ll enjoy the story of how we met and about Mary’s goal of sourcing textiles and manufacturing women’s fashion here in the U.S.

I’m so pleased to feature this All-American maker who’s charting new territory in women’s fitness and lifestyle apparel.

Mary’s inspiration for starting American Flora came largely from being a ballet dancer and teacher. She wanted to create pieces that would provide a comfortable feel and feminine look in the studio, and would also pair well with lifestyle wear. She was particularly focused on finding a sustainable fabric.

Mary happened upon a book with a painting she had studied while spending a semester of college in Florence. She says that “Botticelli’s Allegory of Spring had always moved me, but I realized that it also depicted so much of what I wanted for my company. Beautiful Flora, the goddess of flowers is shown scattering her seeds over the world. A symbol of renewal.”

Here's one of the many beautiful Amerian Flora wraps, "Lucky Man"

Here’s one of the many beautiful Amerian Flora wraps, “Lucky Man”

"Cherry Blossom" wrap

“Cherry Blossom” wrap

Her collection uses a fabric called Repreve. It’s made from recycled plastic bottles. Another kind of renewal and positive look to the future.

Flora seemed to roll off my tongue, and was so fitting for the other passion in my life, gardening. After many hours of working on a name for my company, it came to me. American manufacturing was a must in the equation. There it was. American Flora,” she says.

I’m so pleased to feature American Flora and Mary Brewster’s innovative designs. You can shop for American Flora products here.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING

Thank You for Listening!

Thank You for Listening!

Happy Thanksgiving from me to you!

Happy Thanksgiving from me to you!

And thanks for joining me today, the day before Thanksgiving. As you enter this holiday season, I wish you moments of rest and creative contemplation.

We all have been racing through a year of flower farming, floral design, events and professional commitments that are equally wonderful and exhausting. Now it’s time to pause and hopefully reflect and recharge to prepare for a new year.

It is with a spirit of gratitude that I thank each of you in the Slow Flowers community for your support. To me, it’s a confirmation that we are on this creative journey together, changing the way Americans view and value the flowers grown on our domestic farms.

Episodes of the Slow Flowers Podcast have been downloaded more than 72,000 times. I thank you and others in the progressive American-grown floral community for supporting this endeavor.

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

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

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

Music credits: audionautix.com

Take a Virtual Tour of Four Rooms and their Designers at The Flower House (Episode 216)

Wednesday, October 21st, 2015
Upstairs and downstairs, the open-air porches of The Flower House were designed by Lisa Waud

Upstairs and downstairs, the open-air porches of The Flower House were designed by Lisa Waud

This week’s episode is dedicated to my friend Lisa Waud and to the flower farmers and florists who created The Flower House. Here’s a recap, by the numbers:

(c) Heather Saunders the official photogapher of The Flower House, captured this opening day image from Oct. 16th

(c) Heather Saunders the official photogapher of The Flower House, captured this opening day image from Oct. 16th

theflowerhouse_graphic 1 Elderly home, circa early 1900s

15 rooms, closets, hallways and porches

30-plus floral designers

3 days

2,000-plus visitors

25,000 to 40,000 individual stems of flowers and foliage; the count keeps climbing and changing!

hundred of potted plants

dozens of American flower farms and farmers

180 Field to Vase Dinner Guests

And now that the Flower House event is over? There will be one glorious Detroit flower farm called Flower House Farm.

image

(c) Heather Saunders. The doors to The Flower House opened on October 16th.

(c) Heather Saunders. The doors to The Flower House opened on October 16th.

Last week I had the honor and privilege of returning to The Flower House, a project I visited the first weekend in May when creator Lisa Waud and her fellow designers decorated two rooms of an adjacent building, now called “the little house,” for a press preview to introduce the ultimate exhibition to come in October.

That event took place last weekend, a three-day, flower-themed wonderland that has garnered international attention, including a huge story last Thursday in the New York Times.

This podcast has the distinction of being the first media outlet to share the story of The Flower House when we aired the original interview with Lisa Waud this past February.

I now feel like the fairy godmother who granted a tiny wish to help Lisa get the word out — and look what a fantastic and beautiful dream it blossomed into!

Officially, I was at The Flower House in Hamtramck, Michigan, a hamlet just outside downtown Detroit, to co-host the final of 10 Field to Vase Dinners for 2015.

What a perfect way to go out with a huge bang — a floral fireworks show that sold out days in advance (for tour tickets and dinner tickets), making this the most successful Field to Vase Dinner of all.

"Nature Takes Back," the upstairs kitchen of The Flower House, created by Sally Vander Wyst and Courtney Stemberg of Wisconsin Flower Co.

“Nature Takes Back,” the upstairs kitchen of The Flower House, created by Sally Vander Wyst and Courtney Stemberg of Wisconsin Flower Co.

Look at this charming cupboard, which Sally and Courtney styled with vintage goods.

Look at this charming cupboard, which Sally and Courtney styled with vintage goods.

I arrived at The Flower House late last Wednesday, having grabbed a lift from the airport with my Seattle flower gal-pal Bev Burrows. Bev is a Detroit native who works in the floral, events and visual display world here in Seattle and she simply could not stay away from the lure of The Flower House in her hometown.

We jumped out of her brother’s car and started hyperventilating as we saw florist friends new and old (a few of our friends from the PNW had flown in just to volunteer for a few days, Slow Flowers members Adria Sparkhawk of Thicket in Portland and Erica Knowles of Botany 101 in Seattle). Then I found Lisa and greeted her with hugs, smiles and a few tears of happiness.

There was much going on with the opening less than 36 hours away. Lisa was busily installing her 2-story display on the home’s upstairs and downstairs porches (see that portion above).

And 14 other spaces were in various stages of installation, too. Buckets of American grown flowers were stacked everywhere and the orderly chaos promised something huge was about to be unveiled.

A tiny, wild moment in Sally and Courtney's kitchen. "If Mother Nature was a Florist . . . "

A tiny, wild moment in Sally and Courtney’s kitchen. “If Mother Nature was a Florist . . . “

Over the next several weeks I’ll be sharing clips from interviews with as many of the Flower House designers as have been able to record.

Today you will hear from designers of four of the rooms; I grabbed these conversations as the designers introduced me to the specific space they embellished with flowers, and as they described the inspiration, vision and design process.

There is one unifying thread that weaves together these stories. Each designer cares deeply about sourcing American grown botanical ingredients from local flower farms and from farms in other parts of the U.S.

They want to showcase the bounty and beauty of the season and help tell the floral industry and the floral consumer that it’s important to make a conscious choice when buying flowers.

Susan Studer King and Caroline Waller, Ohio designers, in the child's bedroom they designed.

Susan Studer King and Caroline Waller, Ohio designers, in the child’s bedroom they designed.

First up, you will meet SALLY VANDER WYST of the MILWAUKEE FLOWER CO., a Slowflowers.com member who created a Wisconsin-filled kitchen called “Nature Takes Back.”

Then you’ll hear from SUSAN STUDER KING of BUCKEYE BLOOMS, Slowflowers.com member and a past guest of this podcast, and her collaborator, fellow Ohioan CAROLINE WALKER of PASSIFLORA STUDIO as they introduce us to the child’s bedroom entitled “Foraged Foliage.”

The third space I visited was entitled “Sweet Mossy Dreams,” a closet and tiny hallway decorated in a most fantastical way by Slowflowers.com member SUSAN KELLY of THREE SISTERS FLOWERS, based in East Palo Alto, California.

And finally, you’ll meet past podcast guests and Slowflowers.com members JENNIFER HAF and LARISSA FLYNN of BLOOM FLORAL DESIGN, based in Petosky, Michigan, as they describe the vivid and electrifying upstairs bedroom, “Wild, Floral Graffiti.”

The walls of Susan and Caroline's "Foraged Floral"-themed bedroom are banded with wooshes of floral color.

The walls of Susan and Caroline’s “Foraged Floral”-themed bedroom are banded with wooshes of floral color.

A wider view of the bedroom, sunshine pouring through the windows.

A wider view of the bedroom, sunshine pouring through the windows.

I’ll introduce these Flower House designers individually at the beginning of each clip, so follow along and enjoy this first installment and virtual tour of the rooms within The Flower House.

Susan Kelly of Three Sisters Floral Design, tucked into her "Sweet Mossy Dreams" closet and hallway.

Susan Kelly of Three Sisters Flowers, tucked into her “Sweet Mossy Dreams” closet and hallway.

The botanical medallion on the ceiling of Susan's tiny closet space - amazing!!!

The botanical medallion on the ceiling of Susan’s tiny closet space – amazing!!! Incorporating 237 leaves and a sunflower, it was inspired by a ceiling she saw at the Museum of the Hunt in Paris.

I think it’s so exciting that you’ll be hearing from designers who hail from Wisconsin, Ohio, California and Michigan – they’re just a few of the many talents whose voices will appear here in the coming weeks.

I especially love the contagious passion and urge to create that exudes from this project. Whimsy, joy, wonderment, sentiment, poignancy, surprise — all combine in this dream of a project.

Larissa Flynn and Jennifer Haf of Bloom Floral Design in their "Wild, Floral Graffiti" space.

Larissa Flynn and Jennifer Haf of Bloom Floral Design in their “Wild, Floral Graffiti” space.

The floral-inspired graffiti underlay seen on the walls of Jennifer and Larissa's space pays homage to Detroit's street art.

The floral-inspired graffiti underlay seen on the walls of Jennifer and Larissa’s space pays homage to Detroit’s street art.

Love these giant flowers on the walls of "Wild, Floral Graffiti," that complement the all-American flowers.

Love these giant flowers on the walls of “Wild, Floral Graffiti,” that complement the all-American flowers.

My hat is off to all of the designers and especially to Lisa Waud. Once the dust settles and Lisa has transitioned from her role as Flower House creator to urban flower farmer for her successful design business Pot and Box, we’ll invite her back for a recap of the project.

In the meantime, I leave you with this impression that Jen and Larissa shared. It has stuck with me as a perfect description of their room and many of the other rooms within the four walls of The Flower House: In designing their room, the women said they experienced a WILD CRAZY FREEDOM.

Extra dahlias grown by Summer Dreams Farm, a local Michigan resource -- spontaneously woven into the chain link fence in front of The Flower House.

Extra dahlias grown by Michael Genovese of Summer Dreams Farm, a local Michigan resource — spontaneously woven into the chain link fence in front of The Flower House.

And I wish that sentiment for you to experience as well. It can happen when you connect with nature and with flowers that have been grown by the hardworking hands of American flower farmers.

Episodes of the Slow Flowers Podcast have been downloaded 68,000 times. I thank you and others in the progressive American-grown floral community for supporting this endeavor.

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

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

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

SLOW FLOWERS Goes to Washington, D.C.

Saturday, September 5th, 2015

This was a red-letter week! For so many wonderful reasons, which all involve flowers, farming and gardening. Rather than write too much, I’m going to let the photos do the talking:

WHITE HOUSE KITCHEN GARDEN

lets_move_logo On Tuesday, four of us achieved one of those “bucket list” goals!

Yes, we received permission to photograph the White House Kitchen Garden and its champion, Deb Eschmeyer, head of the First Lady’s “Let’s Move” program.

I am so grateful for the people who helped make this happen, including my friends at Certified American Grown and the First Lady’s communications and Let’s Move staff.

With James Baggett, editor of Country Gardens; Nick Crow, the magazine’s art director and photographer Bob Stefko, like me, a frequent freelance contributor to the title, I spent an amazing two hours at this very important kitchen garden. Look for my story in 2016 in the pages of Country Gardens!

Yes, here we are! Bob Stefko (photographer); Nick Crow (art director); James Baggett (editor) and me -- after our whirlwind 2-hour photo shoot at the White House Kitchen Garden!

Yes, here we are! Bob Stefko (photographer); Nick Crow (art director); James Baggett (editor) and me — after our whirlwind 2-hour photo shoot at the White House Kitchen Garden!

Here I am with Deb Eschmeyer, the new director of the First Lady's "Let's Move Program," at the Kitchen Garden which is part of the program she manages. Notice, I've just given her signed copies of The 50 Mile Bouquet and Slow Flowers. Hopefully, they will inspire!

(c) Nick Crow; Here I am with Deb Eschmeyer, the new director of the First Lady’s “Let’s Move,” at the Kitchen Garden which is part of the program she manages. Notice, I’ve just given her signed copies of The 50 Mile Bouquet and Slow Flowers. Hopefully, they will inspire!

IMG_0989

(c) Nick Crow. I am seriously in a dream state here. None of us could believe what we were experiencing!

A rainbow of just-harvested organic veggies from the White House Kitchen Garden, just steps from the First Family's residence!

A rainbow of just-harvested organic veggies from the White House Kitchen Garden, just steps from the First Family’s residence!

FARMER-FLORIST PHOTO SHOOT WITH ANDREA GAGNON

On Wednesday, Nick Crow and Bob Stefko joined me at LynnVale Farm + Studios, a Certified American Grown flower farm where we photographed a story with farmer-florist Andrea Gagnon.

It was such a fantastic opportunity to capture Andrea’s farming and design talents. I can’t show you the beautiful bouquets she created because we’re saving them for the print story in Country Gardens, but I can share some lovely flower and farm pics with you. This will be an inspiring and instructional story – you’ll see it in a future issue of the magazine!

With Slowflowers.com member Andrea Gagnon of LynnVale Farm and Studios, on location with Country Gardens magazine (c) Nick Crow

With Slowflowers.com member Andrea Gagnon of LynnVale Farm and Studios, on location with Country Gardens magazine (c) Nick Crow

READ MORE…

Portland’s Elizabeth Artis of Espe Floral + Foliage (Episode 206)

Wednesday, August 12th, 2015
Elizabeth Artis with some of her favorite summer flowers, photographed in Portland, Oregon, in late June 2015.

Elizabeth Artis with some of her favorite summer flowers, photographed in Portland, Oregon, in late June 2015.

Before I introduce you to Elizabeth Artis of Espe Floral + Foliage of Portland, I want to share a few words of gratitude that came my way this week.

Christine Hoffman of Foxglove Market + Studio in St. Paul, Minnesota's design for a restaurant in her community.

Christine Hoffman of Foxglove Market + Studio in St. Paul, Minnesota’s design for a restaurant in her community.

One of the special benefits enjoyed when you or your businesss is part of the Slow Flowers community is the sense of sharing and support among like-minded folks all over the country.

Case in point, a florist in the Midwest recently emailed to ask me for help with a bid she was developing for a restaurant in her town that wanted locally-inspired floral arrangements. She felt she couldn’t ask another florist in her market, but she suspected that a Slow Flowers designer outside her market might have the answer.

As it turns out, when she reached out to me, I had just talked about restaurant “weeklies” with a local Seattle florist. Both of these women have their businesses listed on Slowflowers.com.

It was a cinch to connect them by email and they later chatted by phone. Florist two shared her strategies with Florist one. And I love that they both experienced instant camaraderie!

 

The email came recently from the Midwest florist. Subject line: “It worked! Thank You!”

Thank you, Debra, for connecting me with Tess to chat about restaurant floral work…and Tess, thank you for generously offering your time and insight. After a bit of back and forth (this was new on my end and theirs!), we have come to an agreement, and I’ll be starting next week!​ I love having the support and expertise of the whole slow flowers “family.”

That’s so cool to hear, right?! And you do not have to go through me to get this information. You should feel free to connect any fellow Slow Flowers member for help. It’s part of that “paying it forward” philosophy, conducted with mutual respect for people’s time, talents and ideas.

I don’t always know who’s listening to these weekly podcasts but every now and then I get a glimpse of how these interviews may connect with a listener. then this past weekend, a small note appeared in my Instagram feed, from a gifted flower farmer. She wrote: “Your podcast pulled me through a tough week. Thank you for all your efforts and hard work!” I can’t tell you how much it meant to me to hear these words from an American flower farmer.

The design work of Elizabeth Artis, Espe Flowers + Foliage

The design work of Elizabeth Artis, Espe Floral + Foliage

EspeLogoFullColorCROP_small As I mentioned, today’s episode features Portland-based floral designer Elizabeth Artis.

I met Elizabeth in a totally spontaneous way back in 2010 while working on The 5o Mile Bouquet. It was in December and with photographer David Perry I was scouting in Portland for possible subjects for the book. We knew we wanted to stop at the Oregon Flower Growers market but the rest of the trip was relatively unscheduled.

A fun, truly Portland-inspired image from Elizabeth's blog.

A fun, truly Portland-inspired image from Elizabeth’s blog.

And then we ran into Elizabeth, who was there with another florist for whom she was freelancing.

The invitation was extended and soon David and I found ourselves at Jennie Greene’s flower shop to document the winter-themed arrangements she and Elizabeth were designing, of course with a decidedly local provenance.

Our friendship began there after Elizabeth and I realized we had a few mutual San Francisco florist frienesand it has been a joy to watch Elizabeth’s design journey move on from there.

Elizabeth branched out on her own a few years ago and she runs Espe Floral + Foliage from Northwest Portland with two different channels:

Elizabeth, photographed by (c) Christine Taylor

Elizabeth in her studio, recently photographed by (c) Christine Taylor

More bouquets by Elizabeth!

More bouquets by Elizabeth! (c) Bianca-Jade.com

First, she manages the floral department at Food Front Co-Op Grocery on NW Thurman St. in Portland, a shop-within-a-shop with everything from single stems and bunches to voluptuous bouquets, available seven days-a-week during store hours (8 a.m. to 10 p.m.).

Second, she operates a design studio just around the corner, an approximately 500-square-foot space ideal for meeting with wedding clients and for producing lush, wild and amazing creations.

We recorded our interview there when I visited in late June.

Gorgeous!!!

Seasonal. Local. Gorgeous!!!

Espe is committed to using local and sustainably grown flowers from small farms in the Pacific Northwest and down the coast into California.

As Elizabeth writes on her web site: “Our many friendships with these small operations guarantee quality from season to season. The selection, like the weather, changes from week to week so watch closely and see the next season on its way.”

Elizabeth is one to watch – and I love how articulate she shares her philosophy and her love of flowers.

You can connect with and follow Elizabeth at these social places:

Espe Floral + Foliage on Facebook

Espe Floral + Foliage on Instagram

Love this bodacious Espe bouquet of local roses.

Love this billowing Espe bouquet of local Northwest roses.

Thanks for joining me today. Everything we care about in the Slow Flowers community begins when a seed is planted into the soil. When the elements of water and sunshine enrich it and stimulate roots and stem. When the flower farmer nurtures a tiny plant into a stunning, fragrant bloom. If we remember the amazing origins of the flowers we love, we can’t go wrong.

zady_screen I tried to convey this sentiment in an essay that I was asked to write for the “slow fashion” company called Zady.com. Published earlier this week, I entitled the piece “Honest Flowers.”

Here are a few of the sentences that I wrote. I’m so pleased that the team at Zady understands how essential it is to think about the ethical choices we make as both consumers of fashion and flowers:

What I wrote may sound familiar to those in our community, but I will share one excerpt nonetheless:

One of the mottos of the Slow Flowers Movement is “origin matters.” Having a consciousness about the source of our flowers is just as important to me as knowing the provenance of a menu ingredient is to a locavore. Yet flowers are so rarely “labeled” and the face of the flower farmer is invisible to most consumers.

Knowing who grows the flowers we buy, where those flowers were harvested and what farming practices were employed to transform a handful of seeds into a flourishing bouquet is increasingly important, especially at this time when 80 percent of the cut flowers sold in the U.S. are imported. The result of having low-cost flower imports has lead to a 58% decline in U.S. flower farms since 1992.

Getting to share the cause for American grown flowers offered me a chance to reach 100,000 Zady customers, people who may never have considered the way a flower travels from its origins to their vase. So I’m grateful for the opportunity.

Listeners like you have downloaded this podcast nearly 60,000 times. THANK YOU to each and every one of you for downloading, listening, commenting and sharing. It means so much.

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

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

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